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Sermon of the Week 
Friday, October 27 2023

It’s Harvest Time”…by Pastor Charles C Elliott

You may be wondering where we are in end time events, with all that is happening in the world right now... I have one answer... it is harvest time, in the spiritual realm…. It’s always the season of harvest!!                                                                                                  Matthew 9:35 “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. v36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. v37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; v38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into His harvest”.

Who is it, that needs a church?  The answer is very simple:  EVERYONE!  The unsaved and unchurched need a church to present Christ in a meaningful way, and to teach and disciple them, because we all deal with the same issue, and that is the issue of sin and the curse!  The saved need the church to stay on mission through fellowship, encouragement , common goals and vision, and to be a support mechanism and sending station to the world.                                                                                                             Let me share with you some statistics about our harvest field….How many people are there in the Florida Keys?  I would refer you to the 2023 estimate which accounted for a population of app. 80,000.  If that is the case, then the harvest has hardly been touched since only about 14.4% or 11,000 of those in the Keys attend church on any given Sunday!                                                                               We have 4 million 436,000 visitors each year in the keys. If you reach just 10% of those, it would mean that 44,360 visitors would attend our churches each year…. And if you lead just 1% of those to the Lord, you would be bringing 4,436 souls to Christ every year! Truly we live in a mission field!  Let me break down who our neighbors are, here in the keys… 65% are white, 10% are black, 23% are Hispanic, and the rest constitute the 2% that is left. Since the open borders, that mix may have changed...

Notice also, that of those we live, work and play among, 17% are under 19…. 17% are 20-34…. 13% are 35-44…. 17% are 45-54…. 18% are 55-64.. 11% are 65-74 and 6% are 75 and over.

That’s our mission field, that’s where the Lord’s harvest field is for the church of the Keys….. If the followers of Christ began to consider the harvest as a clear mandate from God instead of a suggestion, I’m certain that some amazing and positive things would lie ahead for the church in’\this coming year… and far beyond! The harvest season would be harvest season on every level, and /that includes every individual!!!

Evangelism is and has always been embedded in the culture of the church of Jesus Christ, wherever it is located by God. Disciples who left home and comfort for the cause of souls, missionaries who were consumed with winning the lost at any cost, and nameless, faceless, unknown believers, who answered the call to the harvest, and because they did, we are privileged to sit here today, with a faith, a hope, and our eternal future secured! SOMEONE ANSWERED THE CALL OF HARVEST!

It has been said that the church is always just one generation away from extinction and each generation must find it within themselves to insure and guarantee the health, strength, vision and fruitfulness of the next generation!

When we come to the place that we dream it, pray it, think it, declare it, and live it, we will accomplish that unfinished mission of the church.

Our perceptions are where our realities spring from…(think about it).                                                                   Romans 11:33 is about transforming our perceptions and priorities….

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ….v36  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”.

If our perception is that the job or career we have is about God placing us strategically in connection with others for kingdom purposes, then we will operate out of that perception, and use it as a springboard to witness to others. (That’s an old picture, Craig looks much better now)                      

If our perception is that where we live was planned by God, in order to influence our neighbors and friends with His eternal purpose for their lives in mind, then we will use our home and our activities to witness to others about the one who placed us there for that purpose. 

If our perception is that our recreation and other activities is always about God setting us up to bring folks into an encounter with Him, then we will use it as a witnessing opportunity. It’s all about our perceptions. We picked apples in the blue ridge mountains, and all the way home, Winnie gave them away as an opportunity to say “God bless you” to folks.

This should be the loftiest goal on our “to-do list”….What iftogether we made the adjustments that are needed, of Sharing our Christianity… Can we begin to Dream it, Plan it and Envisionit??? I believe that God blesses actions, initiative, faith and movement toward His own goals for His priorities. Our daily challenge is to align our vision with His vision, and supernatural things WILL begin to happen…..

Matthew 16:18  And I say also unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock (the revelation of who Jesus is) I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. v19 And I will give unto you, the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”…..                                             Remember that Jesus said these same things to all those who will get aligned with His vision of building His church family in the earth, based on the revelation of who He is! (He will give you the keys to the kingdom)

More than half of the people you pass every day are without Christ. And it is a growing population. More and more people each year are added to this category. And if we were to throw all the folks that do go to church, into the mix, but have never made a profession of Christ, it would probably be 75% or possibly much higher, which, by the way, is the percentage Jesus referred to in the parable of sower and the soils.     That is why Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous.”                                   There are people to reach; there is a work to be done. And of the greatest dangers of the modern church is that we don’t see this as the most important work we are called to do. But sadly, Most everything else comes before the work of reaching the lost with the Word of God.

As Jesus looked at the multitudes around Him, He was moved with compassion for them. This word literally means “to be moved in the heart.” He saw the reality of the need of the people all around Him. He saw them as they were spiritually, and He sought to share His insights with His disciples. He still wants to share His insightswith you and me today! He wants us to see the plight of humanity as He does. He wants us to be able to see the harvest through His eyes. And when that happens, it is a defining and transformative moment!  Our greatest challenge as a church is to see the folks around us like Jesus saw them! 

On one hand is a family that seems happy. They have good jobs, plenty of money, a nice house and all the things this world can offer them. Plenty of people like that live in the keys. But, if you could look at their hearts, you would see turmoil, fear, loneliness and desperation. They have no answers to the deepest questions of life. They need the Lord! But God loves the up and outer the same as the down and outer.

And then there is another family. They don’t have as much as the first family, but they have jobs and they have a place to live but they’re barely getting by. Their lives are driven by alcohol and drugs. They seem hard to the Gospel and they’re antagonistic toward those who try to tell them about Jesus. But, if you could strip off the layers of their lives and peer into their souls, you would see people who are confused and afraid to  die and even afraid to live. They are people without hope and they need someone to see them as they really are and will still love them, and  that’s the very person who can reach them for Jesus! That’s you and me!                              But what’s of greatest importance is thatJesus saw that at the end of their earthly existence, without a relationship with Him, they were all doomed to spend eternity separated from God and everyone they ever loved and held dear. They’ve had some hell here, and now without Christ they’ll have hell for all eternity..

That’s what we can never afford to forget, when it comes to our friends, our neighbors and our families. They may look like they have it all together, but if they are without Christ, they are destined to spend forever in a place that was never intended for them, but was created only for Satan and his demon slaves. Can you see them as they really are this evening... not rich or poor, good or bad, but without Christ?

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, was one of the last of his family to surrender his life to Christ. He referred to himself  as a “brand plucked from the fire”, because when he was 5 years old, their 3 story home caught on fire while they were all sleeping. Seven of the children and his parents, got out safely, but John was fast asleep, and when they realized he was not with them, the fire was so hot it prevented anyone from going in…. An onlooker, had another man climb up on his shoulders, and reach up to the boy, who was engulfed in flames coming from the window, and pulled him out. The man on the bottom had to lean against the hot burning building to keep his balance and suffered 3 rd degree burns to his hands, face and chest, but because of his rescue effort, Wesley was saved, just one boy, but because of that one boy, the Methodist movement swept around the world. 

I think of the person who lead Billy Graham to the Lord, or Paul Crouch, or TD Jakes. And what about Joel Osteen, or Kenneth Copeland, Rodney Howard Brown, John Kilpatrick, Reinhart Bonke, David Wilkerson, Oral Roberts, or Creflo Dollar, and of course Kenneth Hagin…. Their ministry now, and then, was because someone plucked those brands from the fire… and because of someone’s obedience, those ministries were set inmotion…WOW! I can’t but help recall, while we’re on this,           

Doctor Cho of Sheol Korea, pastor of one of the largest churches in the world, with 800,000 people with 10 services every Sunday to accommodate the crowds! When he was a young man lying on a filthy cot, dying of Tuberculosis, coughing up pieces of his lungs, a young Christian girl, in college, was out witnessing, and found him dying, she told him about Jesus, and led him in the sinners prayer. She gave him a bible, and he never saw her again, but his life has touched all of Korea and most of the world! (that’s what one young girl, seeing as Jesus saw, was able to do)…..May we see the harvest through God’s eyes!!!!

—David Livingstone said "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King ever be considered a sacrifice?" 

—F.B. Meyer said "I believe that if there is one thing which grieves the Master's heart with unutterable grief, it is not the world's iniquity, but the Church's indifferences to lost souls."  

Do we see what Jesus sees?....Jesus didn’t just see how full the church was, he saw how full the harvest field was! He said “The harvest is truly plentiful”… That’s the “Go” in the Gospel....

They only saw the rat-race, Jesus loved the rats in the race! They saw the problems, Jesus saw the potential! They saw peoples condition, Jesus saw their destiny! They saw the bondage, Jesus saw His amazing Grace! They saw trouble, trials, and sacrifice, Jesus saw the harvest! Do we see people as they are, or do we see them as the Lord can make them to be when they come to Him? We need to see like Jesus sees!

John 4:27 “And as Jesus was sharing with the Samaritan woman at the well his disciples came, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What are you doing here? or, Why are you talking with her? v28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, (she was living with) v29 Come, see a man, who told me all things that I’ve ever done, is not this the Christ? v30 Then the people she shared with went out of the city, and came unto him. v31 In the mean while his disciples were calling him, saying, Master, come and eat. v32 But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that you do not know of. v33 Therefore the disciples said one to another, Has someone brought him food to eat? v34 And Jesus said unto them, “My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work. v35 Do not say, “There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are ripe and ready to harvest”

Sometimes you have to persevere like the young soul winner who was out in the farm country, looking for lost souls…. He came upon a farmer working out in his field and being concerned about the farmer's soul the young man asked him, "Are you laboring in the vineyard of the Lord my good man?" Not even looking up, and continuing his work the farmer replied, "Naw, these are soybeans I’ve got here." "You don't understand," said the soul winner. "Are you a Christian?" With the same amount of interest as before, the farmer said, "Nope my name is Jones. You must be lookin for Jim Christian. He lives about a mile south of here." Determined to not give up, he asked the farmer, "Are you lost?" The farmer said "Naw! I've lived here all my life.”  Well then "Are you prepared for the resurrection?" the frustrated soul winner asked. This gotthe farmer's attention and he asked, "When's it gonna be?" Wow!!! Thinking he had finally broken through, the young man said, "It could be today, or tomorrow, or the next day." Taking a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiping his brow, the farmer remarked, "Well, whatever you do, don't say anything to my wife. She don't get out much and she'll wanna go all three days."

Jesus not only saw that the harvest was plentiful, but he saw that it was pitiful!!! He said there’s plenty of harvest, but the number doing the harvest is pitiful….or there are very few working at the harvest! 

It’s the little red hen syndrome…. No one was there to help, until she reaped the corn, processed it and made the bread, then everyone showed up….. When the table is set, everyone shows up, but no one wants to prepare the food, set the table or clean up afterward….Everyone wants the fruit of the ministry, but only a few want the work of the ministry! It’s the Holy Ghost Jimmy club….(Gimme, gimme my name is Jimmy!!!)        The problem is that a lot of folks want all the reward first, or they don’t do the work…. But if we only do what we get rewarded for in the moment, we probably won’t do much! 

Matthew 6:18 “Don’t work to be seen of men, but to be seen of your heavenly Father which is in secret, and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly. v19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust will corrupt it, and where thieves break through and steal it. v20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt it, and where thieves cannot break through or steal v21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.          

In Matthew 4:19 …Jesus told the disciples, if you follow me, I’ll make you “fishers of men”, Now, it doesn’t take rocket science to know that to fish, the fisherman has to go where the fish are…. to the water! 

Those who farm know that the harvest doesn’t just gather itself. You’ve got to get out there, get down in the field and do the dirty work of harvesting it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the green beans picked themselves , and piled themselves on your table? What if the okra, the squash and the corn plucked themselves and came to you to report for duty? Well, it doesn’t work that way! To harvest the field, you have to go to where the harvest is. We can sit in the church, but never see a harvest until we go where the lost are sitting & spending their time. For the Christian, the purpose of your job, is to be where the people are, You go shopping to be where the people are. It’s not just about a pay check, or the shopping, it’s where people are that need to come to Jesus. 

A Christian arrived at the gates of heaven. An angel met him and asked, "What is your Denomination?" The man tells him and the angel looks down his list, and says, "Go to room 24, but be very quiet as you pass room 8."  Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. "What is your Denomination?"  The man tells him, "Go to room 18, but be very quiet as you pass room 8."  A third person arrives at the gates.  Again the angel asked for their Denomination and was told....

"Go to room 11, they were told, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

The man says, "I’m sorry but may I ask why I need to be quiet when I pass room 8?" "Well, said the angel, the folks in that room are under the impression that they're the only ones here”. …..Aren’t you glad Jesus said. “whosoever will, may come”?….

Evangelist D.L. Moody said...."The only monument I want after I am dead is a living monument composed of those I have won to Jesus, with two legs going around the world, telling everyone about the salvation of Jesus Christ."  

I am always amazed and inspired that D.L. Moody, who saw tens of thousands, come to Christ in his great evangelistic meetings, of 1860’ to 1890, after his nightly services, when he had refreshed himself, and enjoyed fellowship with his host,                                                                                he would go out into the streets of the city he was in, and not return to rest, until he had personally led someone to Christ! He never wanted to allow himself to become careless about the lost, but his desire was to keep it personal.. He loved seeing folks come to Christ!

Psalms126:5 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. v6 He that goes forth weeping, and bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his harvest with him”. 

JESUS SAW THE SECRET OF SUCCESS IN THE HARVEST… and He told folks what the real power was….He said  “Pray to the Lord of Harvest”!  The Lord of harvest is Holy Spirit! We come before the Father in Jesus name, and petition the Holy Spirit, when it comes to salvation, conviction of sin, and the drawing of men and women to the place of acceptance, of Christ, repentance, and justification and God inside mindedness, It’s the Holy Spirit’s area of expertise. 

John15:26 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, that proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me.”

John 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. v8 And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment v9 Of sin, because they believe not on me v10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more v11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world (Satan), is judged. (notice the Holy Spirit is in you to judge Satan)

v12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot handle them yet. v13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. v14 He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you”.

The Holy Spirit must prepare the soil of the heart. He must water the seed of the Word that is planted and He must cast the sunshine of grace upon the lost heart, or there will never be a harvest! You want miracles? The new birth is the greatest miracle you will see! But for this amazing miracle to happen, we are to sow the seed, pray over the harvest and be available to do what the Lord of the Harvest would ask of us. It will happen when we see the harvest as the Lord sees it!!!

Let me close with this…. 130 years go in New York City, the glow of earlier religious awakenings had faded. America was prosperous and felt little need to call on God. But in the1850s the third great financial panic in American history swept away the fickled structure of easy wealth. Thousands of merchants were forced to the wall as banks failed, and railroads went into bankruptcy. Factories were shut down and vast numbers were thrown out into the streets to join the multitudes of the unemployed. In October 1857, the hearts of people were in great despair, while debt and hunger stared them in the face.

On July 1st, 1857, a quiet and zealous Christian businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier accepted the call of the harvest, in downtown New York, which was quite a challenge because of the homeless, poverty strickenpopulation of the lower city. Burdened by such great need, with few resources, Jeremiah Lanphier decided to invite folks to join him in a noonday prayer meeting, to be held on Wednesdays once a week. And he distributed a small printed announcement to hand out….

It said “HOW OFTEN SHALL I PRAY”?  As often as the language of prayer is in my heart; as often as I see my need of help; as often as I feel the power of temptation; as often as I am made sensible of any spiritual decline or feel overwhelmed by the spirit of this world. In prayer, we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and the interaction with men for interaction with God. A daily Prayer Meeting is held every Wednesday, from 12 to1 o’clock, in the annex building located in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets (entrance is off of Fulton and Ann Streets). This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, and businessmen generally an opportunity to stop and call upon God amid the joblessness occurring in their respective vocations”. So, at twelve noon, September 23rd, 1857 the door was opened and the faithful Lanphier took his seat to await the response to his invitation …. Thirty minutes later, at 12.30 p.m., a step was heard on the stairs, and the first person appeared, then another, and another, and another, until six people were present and the prayer meeting began. On the following Wednesday, October 7th, there were forty intercessors.

In the first week of October 1857, it was decided to hold the prayer meetingdaily instead of weekly …. Within six months, ten thousand business men were gathering daily for prayer in New York, and within two years, a million converts were added to the American churches ….

Probably, one of the greatest revivals in New York’s history swept thru the city, and far beyond. There was no fanaticism, no hysteria, simply an incredible movement among the people to pray. Before it was over, 1 out of every 5 persons in America had been saved by the grace of God! Think of it....1 out of every 5 people saved....

That is what God can do when people begin to see the harvest through His eyes. May God help us to get His harvest vision! And see the Lord, as the true gate keeper of this city! We’re going to believe God for a Holy Spirit sent, life changing, church transforming harvest…..Can you get in agreement with me?....

Let’s pray together….Lord we pray that any and all demonic vultures and parasites that are feeding on the seeds we have sown, be evicted and terminated, in the name of Jesus. We declare that our labor shall not be profitless and unproductive and every evil force be broken and paralyzed and rendered powerless. Lord, we put to shame and uproot every evil force that would neutralize our labor, our efforts and our energy put forth in Your name. We break open and bring down every stronghold that is keeping back and hindering the harvest from coming to us and all that is holding us back in Jesus name. We take possession and claim ownership to every God given promise, and declare that every instrument, transaction or contract used against us be completely disorganized, canceled and destroyed, in Jesus name. We declare breakthrough concerning growth, increase and success, today in the name of Jesus. We declare that we shall be equipped, enabled, and prepared for a great ingathering in Jesus name. 

We dismiss and cancel out every imagination, image, picture and thought of failure. We declare that there shall be no barrenness in our lives and that we are productive, fruitful and increased, in Jesus name.  Let every good thing devoured by the enemy be returned 40, 60 and 100 fold, now, in the name of Jesus. Let that which hinders us from the greatness and effectiveness which You have planned for us, begin to give way now, in the mighty name of Jesus. Let all imprisoned, misguided and misused potential begin to blossom, and come forth now, in the name of Jesus. We dismantle every assignment against the vision and that our children and their children’s children, to ten generations shall be saved, and their lives transformed.  We declare that the garments of reproach are removed, so that favor and honor may come. We declare that we shall no longer sow but not reap the harvest in the name of Jesus. We declare that we shall no longer reap but not enjoy the fruits of our labor, in the name of Jesus. 

We declare that we shall not be subject to the power of the emptier, in the mighty name of Jesus. We declare that we shall not be prey to the wasters and robbers of the harvest, in the name of Jesus. Lord, grant unto us the power to retain, maintain and safely deliver the harvest, in Jesus name. Let there come re-arrangement, re-organization and re-routing of situations and circumstances in order to create a path to miracles, in the name of Jesus. We bind, plunder and render to nothing every anti-testimony, anti-miracle and anti-harvest force, in the name of Jesus. We receive victory over all the plans of wickedness, and we declare that we are no longer the tail, but the head, no longer beneath, but above, for we take our rightful place as power changes hands in every area of our lives, and signs, wonders and miracles begin to abound. Lord, we receive your mandate and we petition the Lord of Harvest in the name of Jesus, and we thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving us the victory for your glory and honor, amen!!!

Posted by: AT 03:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, October 17 2023

The Purpose Of Storms In Our Lives

So, since we’re talking about storms today, here’s a little storm humor to start out with......

A new pastor made his way to his rural church in the middle of a terrible storm on Sunday morning, arriving with only five minutes to spare, before service. He entered, turned on the lights, and took a look around. No one had come for service. An old farmer, wind blown from the storm, and wet from the rain, strolled in just as he was ready to turn everything off and go home.

The preacher said, “Hello, Joe. Nobody else appears to be able to make it. I don’t think there will be a service today.”

“Well, Reverend, I know I’m only an old farmer, but I can tell you this: if I take a load of hay out to the field to feed my cattle and only one cow comes up, I still feed it”.

Embarrassed, the pastor answered “Without a doubt. You are correct. I’m going to get ready.”

So the pastor began the service and, inspired by the farmer’s faith and dedication, he preached for an hour and a half.

After the service, the pastor approached the farmer and said, “So Joe… I hope you enjoyed today’s sermon.”

The old farmer looked at him, shook his head, and said, “Reverend, if I go out to feed the cattle and only one cow shows up, I still feed it, but I don’t give it the whole blessed load of hay.”

Well, get ready for the whole load, and hopefully we make it for lunch.

Our storm scripture is....Mark 4:35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Cross over to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.                                                                                                                                                                         

Did Jesus know this storm was coming? Absolutely. This storm was part of the day’s applied truth for the disciples. Jesus was going to use it to teach them some things about Himself and some things about themselves.

May the Lord bring His truth, home to our hearts, in a personal and penetrating way today, in Jesus Name....

Every person here has what I call “Storm theology.” Storm theology is what you believe about God when things seem to be going horribly wrong. Listen carefully..... storms penetrate the veneer and probe beneath the exterior of our lives and get to the heart of the matter.....

Storms in life have the ability to bring to the surface what’s really inside of you. 

Storms will reveal to you whether you live by fear or by faith? 

Storms will reveal to you if your heart is full of trust or doubt. 

The way we react to God during a storm reveals the truth about ourselves, whether we want it to or not.

Storms have a way of revealing the truth about you’re real motives. 

So, in those times when you follow Jesus, and you end up right in the heart of a storm, you learn some things about Jesus, some things about yourself, and some things about storm theology.           

Mark 4:35 begins with the words, “As Evening came”... so we know that it had been a full day of ministry.....

Jesus started the day in a religious storm, as He was confronted with some Pharisees (the religious leaders of the day) who said that He was possessed by Satan and that this is where He got His power to do all the miracles. They also accused Him of blasphemy which was punishable by death. This was intense stuff and an adrenaline pumping confrontation.

Then there was the storm of family tension, as Jesus’ brothers came to see him and try to take Him away because they thought He had lost his mind. They thought He was delusional, so Now you have the added strife with the family, as they questioned His credibility.

Then you have a storm called physical weariness and exhaustion. If Satan can’t get you to sin, he’ll try to just wear you out and wear you down.... It had been a long day, as Jesusand the disciples spent the day under the hot sun, and Jesus taught the crowds in parables and then He had to privately explain them to His disciples. He taught about the parable of the farmer scattering seed, the parable of the lamp, the parable of the seed cast into different soils, the parable of the mustard seed and a host of others. This continued throughout the day under the heat of the sun.

But now Jesus would give them a practical storm of testing, to see how much they had really learned as they get in the boat to cross over.                  

God’s Word is intended to produce faith and faith must always be tested. It’s not enough for us merely to learn a lesson or be able to repeat a teaching. We must also be able to apply that lesson by faith, and that is one reason why God uses “Storm Theology”...   

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

Notice the words Jesus had used, as this all begins to unfold....Jesus said in verse 35, “Let’s cross to the other side”. Jesus told them He was staying behind, but He said “Let’s cross to the other side”.... 

He will never send you where He is not with you.....

On this side of the lake Jesus had performed miracles, confronted the Pharisees, taught about the Kingdom of God, the crowds are growing and everything is looking good. On this side, the disciples faith and trust in Jesus has been easy, exciting and fun, but on the way to the “other side” they are about to be tested.                                       Like it or not, there are storms on the way to the other side waiting for every true hearted believer... Just reading the many personal stories in scripture, it is safe to say that a storm is headed our way...

On the way to the “other side” of good health, there may besickness and disease. How will you respond? Your faith is going to be tested on the way to the “other side.”

On the way to the “other side” of the dream marriage may bea broken relationship. How will you respond on the way to your break through to the other side? Your faith is going to be tested as you move to the “other side.”                                                                                   On your way to the other side, of every need supplied, may be a time of insufficiency and lack. How will you respond? Your faithfulness is going to be tested on your way to the “other side”.

On your way to the “Other Side” of confidence and peace, youmay feel inadequate, intimidated, and fearful at the task before you. How will you respond on your way to the other side?

On your way to the “Other Side”, you may lose the job which you counted on for the future, and you’re feeling the financial pressure, and you wonder how you’ll be able to even give God His 10%, How will you respond as you pass through the storm to the other side”..

We are told that other boats started out with them, but they turned back before they reached the other side. They never made it through the storm. They lost sight of the Other side...

One moment you are doing fine and the next the bottom falls out. One phone call and you find yourself in the middle of a storm. 

One doctor’s visit and you are in a storm. One conversation and you are in a storm.

There is no way I can explain the specific reasons behind all the storms we will experience, or that we are now experiencing. Only God holds the answers to our questions and each situation is unique and has its own “Storm Theology.”                                                           However, we can learn from the storms that others have gone through. Understanding the purpose behind their storms will help us find a purpose in our own personal storms.

For Ezekiel, the other side was through a bone yard.....

Ezekiel 37:7 “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise , and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. v8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 

v9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy breath (RO-USH spirit wind), into them. 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army”. 

There is one word that made all the difference….That word is Covenant! Even though all hope was gone, and the valley was filled with dead things....God saw the other side, and imparted that vision to Ezekiel.  

Friend, when you can’t stand on anything else, STAND ONGOD’S COVENANT FOR THE OTHER SIDE…. When faith is gone and hope is zero, STAND ON WHAT GOD SAID WASON THE OTHER SIDE… When it all looks dead and over, YOU CAN BELIEVE WHAT IS WAITING ON THE OTHER SIDE…. 

When Noah entered the ark, it was about WHAT WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD and that beautiful rainbow God put up in the sky was His covenant contract signature, that they would make it..

When Abraham had no children, he had covenant (scripture says his body and Sarah’s body were dead) yet he dared to believe that he would be the “father of many nations” and his descendants would find a city whose builder and maker was God ON THE OTHER SIDE….                                             

If you saw someone having a conversation with a skeleton, you might think he’s on drugs, drunk, or needs some time at the funny farm…. But God tells us to preach and prophesy to SKELETONS….. Some of you talk to your spouse, your kids, your co-worker, to your finances, your health, or to your situation in life, and it’s like talking to a skeleton!

Ezekiel was prophesying to folks who WERE DEAD…..THAT’S D….E…..A…..D!!!!! DEAD, Pushing up daisies, expired, done, over with!!!

Our Covenant mandate given us from God, is to Speak life into dead things. Speaking the God breathed word. What Ezekiel discovered is that … the word of God we speak and prophesy with, that we declare and decree with…contains the very “RO-ASH” or breath of God… That breath can do what you could never do…. I believe this dry bone valley is declaring to us that God delights in taking broken, poured out and used up things and demonstrating how He can take it, bless it and restore and resurrect it so that it is better than before ON THE OTHER SIDE!!. LORD DO IT AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN!!!

We can all be encouraged that Jesus clearly stated that THEY WERE GOING TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE, because He was the one who sent them to the other side.                                                                                             If He has predetermined an “Other Side” for each of us, then we can be confident, that no matter how intense or severe the storm, when we are under His authority and command, WE TOO WILL GET TO THE OTHER SIDE!

Hurricane Andrew, hit Homestead, Florida, 31 years ago, as a category 5. It was one of the most expensive such disasters in U.S. history. The killer storm left thousands of families, without homes. Nearly 85 percent of the town of 31,000 wasdestroyed. Homestead Air Force Base was wiped out. In total,Andrew destroyed more than 63,500 houses, and damaged more than 124,000 others, caused $27.3 billion in damage, and left 65 people dead, from Coral Gables to Homestead. Many of the survivors were asked the question: “How has this storm changed you life?” Almost without exception, each of them responded with a similar basic answer: “I have learned what is really important in life!”                                                                                      Storms have a way of clarifying what is important. They sift through all the clutter and debris in our lives and clarify our goals and priorities. Storms are designed to give us a new direction. The disciples’ storm came because they were trying to follow God with too little faith in God. You may remember that Jesus rebuked them for having such “little faith”.... In each case the storm came to activate personal faith.                                                                                   

Storms will activate our personal faith that has been tucked away for a more convenient season. People begin to turn to God when there is nothing else to turn to.

Jonah’s storm came because he was running away from God.                                             God told Jonah to go preach salvation to Nineveh, but Jonah didn’t think they deserved grace and mercy so he caught a ship to Tarshish. He had faith in judgment but not in grace. That’s like I’ll let Satan have this one, and I’ll choose God’s side later, If I happen to agree with God....Have you been in a storm, because you didn’t agree with God....

Jonah caught a ship to Tarshish to get away from God’s purpose for him. So his storm came to give him new directionand put him back on track...Just like He did for Jonah, God will send a storm to renew our sense of purpose and direction.

Storms can teach you about yourself. 

In one of the storms, the disciples encountered they cried out....“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” That is a very revealing question....They asked, “Teacher, don’t you care…?” They called Jesus “teacher” not Lord. So their understanding of Him was not where it needed to be and instead of asking, “Lord, can you help us?” They questioned His love and concern for them. This is the temptation when we become afraid. Because we see the storm in our life as so large and powerful, and we see God as less than He is and we doubt His love and care for us. That’s like asking God if He is still God!!

That’s exactly what the devil wants you to do. Their fear blinded them to who Jesus really was, and needed to be to them. What will we exalt in the storm?                                                                                    SHOUT IT WITH ME.... “JESUS IS LORD”!! (Repeat it again)                                                

John 6:66-67 Tells us that at one point in Jesus’ ministry many of his disciples began turning their backs on Him—they walked away, and no longer followed him. Jesus turned to the inner core of His disciples, those twelve he had hand-picked to follow him, and said, “Will You leave me too?”.....

I don’t want Jesus to ever wonder if I’m going to stay with Him....       I don’t want Jesus, after watching my actions, or hearing how I talk, and how I think, to wonder if I’m going to stay true...                                          I want to have Him turn to the Father, and say what He said about Job, “He will never deny me”... Or about David, “He’s a man after my own heart”... Or about Abraham, “I can trust Him with generations yet to come”.... I want Jesus to brag on me, no matter what people say.....                                                                                                

Mark 9:23-24 A father was facing a demonic storm, and brought his demon possessed son to Jesus inquiring if Jesus could cast the demon out. The father pleaded with Jesus, requesting Jesus to have pity on them and cast out the demon if He could. Jesus said, “’Everything is possible for him who believes.’ Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’.

When the storms begin to blow in...How do you respond, when Satan is telling you, “What difference does it make, serving and following Jesus faithfully”. “Where has it gotten you.”  Or “Think about yourself, your needs, your enjoyment, do it your way”....

Notice Peter’s answer: John 6:68 "Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God”.


Don’t let the storm cause you to end up like the five foolish maids in Matthew 25:1 five of them, allowed the cares of life to catch them unprepared, they lived only for this life and not for eternity, but five of them stayed prayed up, they kept their testimony effective, they lived the life, they talked the walk and they walked the talk... 

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. v2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. v3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, v4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. v5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

v6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ v7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. v8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 

v9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ v10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut”.

When the storms of life come upon you, where do you turn? Do you turn to Jesus, or do you jump overboard. Do you seek to deepen your faith in God, or do you run from God? Your past is not your past if it’s still showing up in your present, and you will never run fast enough to run from yourself....

It’s a humbling experience to turn to God and say, “God I’m not sure about what you’re needing to work in me, but I need some relief—rescue me, save me, get me to the place you need me to be.” 

If you’re hearing from the master at all, then you’re trying to get to the promise, the vision, the goal or destination, that He put in your heart. But you need to know that you’re going to have to go through some things to get to some things.....and know that your blessing is still waiting if you push through to the “other side”....                                            The other side that He promised is waiting as you move through this storm....

Have you walked on water lately?.. Maybe it’s because His voice has been drowned out, and you can’t hear his words, because you’ve let the storm have a voice in your Spirit...

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”.

Sometimes the storm comes to blow open and expose the secrets we’ve been hiding in the closet of denial.....It’s not the past if it’s still showing up in your present....

The anointing can’t rest on what you’re hiding. The blessing cannot rest on what you’re running from. The Holy Spirit already knows all our secrets... If you’re praying for power in your life, start with your closet...You cannot be spiritually mature or emotionally healthy, if your past secrets are still showing up in your present reality....What an incredible release comes, when the weight of all the secrets is gone...Lay it all down, and if you think you have... then why does it keep showing up, and cycling through your life....

Listen to Him speak now what He spoke to the disciples in the storm.....

Matthew 14:27 “Be of good courage, it is I, be not afraid”.

What does that look like?....Jesus had just fed up to 20,000 people with a “Happy Meal”.... but that didn’t cause them to fall down and worship...But when He stilled the storm, they all fell down and worshiped Him... The storm caused them to worship Him...            What if He’s looking for your worship in the storm?.... Just to get on your face before Him, and recognize that you are nothing without Him, and with Him, you have everything....

Our courage comes from the unchanging Lord and master, who said He would be the same yesterday, today and forever. Everything else may be changing, but He remains faithful, and His word is ever the same....Hallelujah, He’s there in our give us courage...

I am often reminded of the plaque hanging at the foot of my bed, which glowed in the dark. Hanging there on the wall, it’smessage, comforted me and gave me courage in the storms of my life... It said, “Forget not in the storm, what God has promised when the sun was shining”....

We become our choices, we are the decisions we make.

And if you can tune out the storm, you will hear what Peter heard, before he walked on the water.....He said Jesus is that you.... And Jesus replied with one word that sums up the entire New Testament, “COME”..... You that are weary, “COME”.... You that are afraid, “COME” .....You that are lost, “Come”.... I am here in your storm.... Before You called, I answered, Before you cried out, I heard you... 

When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about. You will see Jesus differently and you will see yourself differently.

There are some things you can only learn in a storm. So learn them.

Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear a path. Some storms help you to see some things more clearly.

You are either headed into a storm, in the middle of a storm, or you are coming out of one. Learn from your storms. God is teaching you something about Himself, about yourself, and about the storms of life. You have been given a “Storm Theology”, let’s refine it, improve it, and apply it. See the storms of life as an opportunity for God to display who He isand what He can do in your life.

I want you to close your eyes and see Jesus walking toward you in the storm of your life.... whatever that may look like... I want you to hear Him say... “COME”.... 

(Lyrics) Oh, come unto me, I will give your rest, cast your cares upon me, hear me and be blessed. I am meek and lowly, come and trust My might; Come, My yoke is easy, and My burden’s light.

Posted by: AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, October 07 2023

I open this message with a little story I came across....

A truck loaded with thousands of copies of paper back dictionariescrashed, losing its entire load in the street. Witnesses gathered and were stunned, startled, shocked, surprised, awed, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, astounded, amazed, astonished, overwhelmed, speechless, perplexed, aghast, wide-eyed and awestruck. Meanwhile, those waiting to receive the shipment of dictionaries were at a total loss for words.

Sometimes that’s what I feel when a scripture just comes alive and on fire within my spirit! I want to begin with one of those scriptures....thathad me stunned, awed, astounded, amazed, wide-eyed and awestruck..... 

Romans 11:17 (New Living Bible) “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—the lineage of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, (non-Jews) who were branches from a wild olive tree, (outside the covenant) have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing (miracles, signs and wonders) God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment and provision from the root of God’s special (covenant) olive tree”.

My message today is titled “Grafted Into The Branch”....                                       We are by nature the product of a wild vineplanted by the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, which produces bitter and sour grapes. We are by nature, sinners, who cannot please God. But the good news is that...

Jeremiah 23:5 tells us...“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, 'that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth'"                                                                                                               When we received Christ, the Holy Spirit cut us off from the wild branch of Adam and grafted us into the true branch, Jesus Christ.    As long as we are joined to Jesus Christ, we will receive of His life.                                Just like the root of the tree sends out all that is needed into its branches, so Christ Jesus sends all that is needed, flowing from Himself and into us. But, just as when you cut a branch off of the   main trunk, it shrivels up and dies unless it remains grafted in.Just the same way, we would wither and lose our eternal lifesource, if we were separated from Christ. Our blessingswould wither and fall off. Our flowers which are the promise of things to come, and the fruit which is the product of our divine connection, would fall off.                                                                     John 15:5 “I am the vine (the source) you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, but apart from me you can do nothing”.

What’s so powerful to me, is that we are being told here, that the life, the resources, and full provision of the vine, now flows into whatever is grafted into it.... Wow!! Wow!! Wow!!

Jesus is wholeness.... that same wholeness now flows into all who are grafted into Him, through salvation.... Jesus is righteousness and Holiness....and now His righteousness and Holiness flows into all who are grafted into Him, through salvation.... No sin or anything of the Devil could be found in Him, and now that very same spirit, flows into all who are grafted into Him, through salvation....

Romans 8:11 “If the same Spirit (divine life force) that raised Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, He shall quicken (dzo-op-oy-eh'-o... re-animate, restore, energize, re-vitalize, and empower) our mortal bodies also”

In the natural realm, You cannot ingraft, outside of a species or biological family..... for example, apples must be grafted to apple trees, Oranges to citrus trees, peaches to peach trees.....You can’t graft mangoes to Avocado and get a “man-acado”.... melons must stay with melons, citrus to citrus, apples to apples...etc. 

But in the spiritual realm, you can have every type of race, gender, ethnicity, genetics, personalities, talents or intellect all grafted into one spiritual family, called Christian, with its many expressions, and manifestations, yet with one common source which is Christ. Amazingly, that common denominator, over-rides and brings together, all the things that make us different, and makes us one spiritual family....flowing from a common spiritual source.

Romans 12:3 “For through the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body (grafted) in Christ, and individually parts of one another.                                                                                                                             6 However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor, 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, and practicing hospitality”.

No matter what your race, culture, or other factors, it is said that we all bleed red! But in Christ, it goes beyond that and we all share one common Spirit, one common faith, one common family....

Turn to someone and tell them, “Wow, we all resemble our daddy”...

Now tell them,....”How can I help you?” (that’s what hospitality sounds like)... “How can I help you?”

Notice that with the ingrafting process, we are grafted into all the promises that have been made to others who came before us....

Romans 11:16 If the dough offered as firstfruits (the shew bread in the holy place) is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root of the tree is holy, so are (the ingrafted) branches.

The shew bread, in the temple, was made according to the instructions given unto Moses, in order that it could be placed in the temple, and be worthy of representing Christ, the bread of life, from which the lumps, (that is us), could be taken.... The oil in the tree with branches, represented the Menorah, which was the symbol of Christ with all the branches that are grafted in, as the oil flows from the main trunk into all of us....

Galatians 3:26 For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized (grafted into)Christ are now in Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one, as you are (grafted) into Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the (ingrafted) promise”.

Before Abraham, there was Christ. Christ was the word made flesh. He was forever and always is, the promise made flesh. That promise came into the world, to offer all people of earth the opportunity to be grafted into the God life, and all the resources that come with it, as we remain grafted into Him. 

Galatians 3: 14 “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the (ingrafted) Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”.

The promise of the Spirit, is the fruit of the Spirit, and the Gifts of the Spirit, and the offices of the Spirit, and ministry in the Spirit....          John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes (is grafted) in me, and will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”.

Why, because we know it is not us, but it is the life of God that flows in and through us that is the source. We are just the branch of the Menorah that the divine oil of the spirit is flowing through. If we could really get a hold of this, it would shake our world!!

The disciples were amazed as they returned with this testimony....

Luke 10:10 “After this the Lord appointed and sent seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few...... 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

What happened to these 72 folks who had never experienced any of these things before.... They were grafted in by faith in Jesus....and the source of power and authority, began to flow through them...

When I was in Lothian Maryland, we had a fellow who was a millionaire, who would attend our church there. Bill didn’t like to dress up, and loved spending time in his shop. So I would drop by, to just sit and chat. He always had coffee on, and would grab an old stained, unwashed, chipped cup, and fill it with coffee. He never washed them, just swished some water in it. He would always say, “the coffee is great, just don’t judge it by the cup!” I said some extra prayers as I drank it, and hey, I’m still alive!!

That statement stayed with me all these years....Sometimes we get so caught up with the appearance of the cup, that we can’t enjoy the coffee.... We can get so focused on appearances that we don’t let the oil flow.... or we can get so caught up with people’s past, that we don’t let the ingrafting process work... Everyone has some chips and stains and places that are pretty worn out....But if we stay grafted in, something transformative and supernatural will happen!

Lucy, Charlie brown, Linas, and the gang were playing baseball. Lucy ended up in the outfield. Charlie Brown pitched the ball and Linas made a solid hit. The ball was headed straight for Lucy, and she got underneath it, but as it came down, she missed it. When Charlie Brown, asked what happened. She said, well, I started remembering all the times I had fumbled the ball, let it bounce out of my glove, or just totally missed it, and I let my past get in my eyes.....

Satan loves to do that, but I want you to know... God knew what He was doing when He chose you, and He never makes a mistake....

If He grafted you in, then His life, His power, His resources are now flowing through your life, your situation, and your outcomes....

Listen to who you are as you’re grafted into Christ....

Acts 17:28 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being”

The YOU before Christ, is not the same YOU, THAT’S GRAFTED INTO CHRIST!

2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (say that’s mine)                                                                                In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and an expression of God.

Ephesians 2:6 “God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. (say that’s mine)                                                                                 

2 Corinthians 1:20 “All the promises of God find their full expressionin Christ” God’s yes and amen, now finds expression in you.... (saythat’s mine)                                                                                

Philippians 4:19 “My God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. (say that’s mine)                                                                                 

Philippians 4:7 “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. (say that’s mine) 

The roots determine the fruit.... Notice something important here... it is no longer the roots of your past, the roots of your present situation, or the roots of what you or anyone else thinks about you... All that now happens is not about your past roots of insufficiency, insecurity, fear, or past is now about being grafted into Your new source, which is Christ.... 

A divine exchange has taken place.... “Not I, but Christ in me, the hope of glory!!!!

When God now looks at you now, He looks for Christ in you....

You are loved because of Christ in you now.... He is crazy about you,                            You can love others, because Jesus now loves them through you...

You are chosen because of Christ in you now....

You are forgiven because of Christ in you now...

You are blessed because of Christ in you now... so be a blessing! You can put up with other folks, and give them mercy and grace, because of Christ in you now....

If these things are not happening..... start with repentance that you have allowed Satan’s lie to creep in.... repent that you have allowed, fear, doubt, self love, and unbelief to find a place....

Then invite all that Christ said you are back into your life, and determine not just to do that, but to be that....                                              1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special (ingrafted) possession, that you may show forth the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 

We’re not really talking about anything new here.....

We are actually becoming who we already are in Christ....                               But if we don’t grasp that, we can’t become that!

How many times are we told what to do, in order to become... But the truth is, we need to identify and embrace our true identity in Christ, and then what we need to do, will flow out of that.... 

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge”…

A certain hog farmer refused to have anything to do with the church because of some hypocrites who belonged to it. He always referred to two or three of the attenders when he critized the church and it’s pastor..

One day the pastor of the church came by to buy a hog from him. After looking over the farmer's entire herd, the pastor pointed to a scrawny, sickly, ugly little runt and said, "I want that one."

The farmer tried to change his mind , "Why, Preacher, you don't want that one. He's the scrawniest runt I ever saw. Look, here are some fine hogs over here." "No, no, no," said the preacher, "I want that little scrawny one."

After the purchase was completed, the pastor said, "Now I am takingthis pig all over the county and telling everyone that this is the kind of hogs you raise!"

"Hey wait a minute, Preacher, that's not fair," the farmer protested. "I raise fine hogs. An occasional runt isn’t a true reflection of my whole herd."

"Well, sir, I’m only following your example of condemning a whole church because of the spiritually stunted Christianity, of a few of its attenders,"                         The farmer got the point and eventually attended the church!

Don’t be a stunted Christian, because you don’t know who you are in Christ! Stop identifying yourself by your faults, and failures....                                                                                                                  Our identity in Christ is one of those critical truths that, if we grasp it early in our Christian life, it will resolve all kinds of problems and issues later on. God tells us that we are already his, secure in Christ, and that having set us free from the power of sin, he is utterly committed to transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. 

Become what you already are in Christ....                                                   We are not going to be delivered, we are the delivered!  Scripture says... “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His dear Son”,                                                                                                                    We are not going to be set free, we are free.... scripture says “Whom the son sets free (present tense) is free indeed”....                                                                  Our needs are not going to be supplied... scripture says “Thanks be unto God who supplies (present tense) all my needs according to (not out of) His riches in Glory”.... 

We are not going to be healed, we have already been healed.... scripture says, “by His stripes, we WERE already healed” 

We are not without direction and guidance... scripture says....My steps are ordered of the Lord”. “For He knows the way that I take”....

Begin today believing God has already done it.                                                 When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father. (Ephesians 1:20) You don’t have to wait for God to do something, He is waiting on you to do something. It is time to believe Him and follow Him. Know His Word, Listen to Him, and Obey Him. YOU HAVE IT!You have been grafted into the source of every blessing....                                                                              

Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things”(Can someone say “All Things”?)

What does “all things” mean for you?

I want to close with some scripture about all things....Guesswhat “All Things” means all things!                                                                                 Ephesians 4:6 “There is One God and Father of all, who is over all things and through all things and in all things”.                                                                                                                               Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for Him”.                                                                                                                       1 Corinthians 8:6 “For there is one Lord, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.. One Lord, Jesus Christ, for through Him are all things and through Him we exist”.

Closing Prayer.....”Lord Jesus, In this moment You have brought me to, I let go of all thoughts and concerns that have filled up my mind. As I let go, I am able to receive. When my hands are formed into tight fists, I cannot open my hands to receive anything. When I hang onto control, and I close off my heart and my spirit, I cannot receive the blessings You have for me. In letting go, I receive your loving presence around me and within me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I let go, so that I may receive your peace. When I feel afraid, I let go, so that I may receive love and courage. I let go of problems and challenges in order to receive your guidance and clarity. Lord, I let go because I trust you. You will hold me up, and carry me forth to where I need to be. I let go and trust in the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, inside of me. Help me to cease my struggle and surrender to You. I gladly receive the freedom, and release of letting you lead me and guide me. When I am weak, You make me strong, when I am confused, you are my way, when I am insufficient, You are my sufficiency. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, my fortress, my deliverer, my provider, my ever faithful one, my God, in whom I trust. In Jesus name. 

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