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Sermon of the Week 
Thursday, June 27 2024

In The Valley He Restores My Soul

We would all love to live in the mountain top experiences, in a cloud of glory, but the truth is, we all must come down into the valley. To be more accurate, we spend more time in the valley than we do on the mountain top. 

A couple of the most well known valleys in scripture are in Psalms, where the psalmist tells us “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art  with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”

The other valley is Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones, where God is giving the people of Judah a look into the future. A look that says, no matter how hopeless it may seem, your future is full of hope, prosperity, victory and abundant life! 

In these two valleys, God’s message is clear…. There is no condition, no situation or circumstance, where God’s power is limited or diminished by what we see or what we think…

In both of these valleys, there is a resounding message of resurrection and restoration. 

Ezekiel 37:1 “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. v2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. v3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” v4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”

We are never intended to just live on the mountain, because it is in the valleys that the work of God’s power is to be displayed in the daily izamsand schizims of life. It is in the valleys that we find the purpose for which we were made. The mountains bring us inspiration and charge our spiritual batteries. We get some incredible views and breathtaking moments, but the valleys build our character and present amazing opportunities for demonstrating God’s faithfulness. 

While the mountains are usually bare and bleak when it comes to growing things, the valleys are where things flourish and abound. We grow and flourish in the valleys.     So then, I would submit that the spectacle of a valley filled with dry bones, and a valley called “the valley of the shadow of death” are really oxymorons or contradictions. 

If things flourish and abound in the valleys, then God is telling us that whatever it may look like, (the shadow of death, or dry bones) it’s supposed to be flourishing. What I’m saying is that inspiration may come from the mountain tops, but the valleys were meant for abundance. 

Your life may look like Ezekiel’s bone yard at times or like the shadow of death is hanging over everything…. But you need to stand and say “No, God does not intend for it to be this way, this valley was intended to be a flourishing place of abundance”.

RESTORATION AND ABUNDANCE, should be the norm, in the valley!

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), prophesy, son of man, and say to the (RO-USH) breath, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."" 

Impossibility was written all over this situation.

Though your faith is only the size of a mustard seed it can move and shake the mountains! One shall chase a thousand and two shall put 10,000 to flight… For, little is much when God is in it…. Despise not the day of small beginnings….                                Little David said to Goliath, in the valley…“You come against me with sword and shield, and this rock and sling aren’t much, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, and He shall deliver you into my hands!.... 

It was in the valley, that David slew Goliath, and God delivered the enemy host into His hands….

The world isn’t waiting for a new definition of the Gospel, but a new demonstration of the way God says it’s supposed to be in all the valleys of our existence.                  Hear it…in Psalm 23.. come on David…. “In the valley You restore my soul”!!!

“You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You have anointed my head with oil, My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the presence of the Lord forever”.

I love it when things get a little “noisy” at church services. But I don’t mistake commotion for consecration, rustlings for resurrection, volume for victory, shaking and trembling for restoration, or the rattling of bones for revival. It may be on it’s way, it may be coming because some things have to be shaken free first, but listen to the rest of Ezekiel’s story….

Ezekiel 37:7 As Ezekiel prophesied over the bones, they began to rattle & stir. 

“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, tendons and ligaments were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them”. 

This would be applied to us today, when the church altars didn’t reach out into the family life, the job place, the grocery store, and the market place…. The message preached, never was carried past the front doors of the church, and the parking lot…. The tears shed, did not reach souls to be saved and lives to be transformed….. It was all there, but there was no Spiritual life, breath, passion, power, overflow…. And no “go ye” to the gospel….No breath in it to make a difference…..

I believe this dry bone valley is declaring to us that God delights in takingbroken, 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 and more powerful than before.

He took the little boys lunch and broke it, blessed it and multiplied it gave out a miracle…. He took the poured out oil of the former prostitute who anointed his feet, and allowed her to preach the first resurrection message on Easter morning, (He is Risen)….. He took the broken pride and Ego of Peter, who had cursed and denied him and then filled him at Pentecost and he preached, as 5000 men plus women came to Christ…. He took a group of fearful, terrified disciples in a locked room, breathed on them and sent them out to reach the world with the gospel….(and they did a pretty good job)

LORD DO IT AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN!!! Bring all the pieces together….

God gives us hope in the dry bone valley……                                                                       Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

If you study the great history of revivals, you will discover that in the beginning of every great revival, there were deep moves of repentanceand consecration. 

It was so in the revival of George Whitfield, in his day. It was so in the revival of the Wesleys, in their day. It was so in the great Welsh revival as Evan Roberts preached throughout Wales…. It was so in the mighty revival which flowed out of California called the Azusa street revival…. The Cane Ridge revival in Kentucky, led by Barton Stone…. the Rodney Howard Brown revival from South Africa… and the Pensacola revival with John Kilpatrick and Steve Hill….. all were preceded sometimes by years of intercession and deep repentance…..And folks are crying out today.

Ezekiel’s prophecy is 2 pronged. It was initially addressed to the nation of Israel in captivity but there is a broader meaning for all of us. Israel wasthe dry bones spread across the valley…. In every sense in the natural, the nation was dead, they were over, done with, KAPUT! It would be an impossibility for them to ever live again. National life was gone, their authority was stripped from them…. Oh, yes, there is one word that made all the difference…. 

They were covenant people. They had a covenant with God. Even though all hope was gone, and they were dead as a nation…. God saw them through a covenant agreement. They may have given up, but He never did or will!!!

When we think it’s over and done, God is just getting started!

Friend, when we can’t stand on anything else, STAND ON COVENANT…. When faith is gone and hope is zero, STAND ON COVENANT… When it all looks dead and over,     YOU CAN STAND ON COVENANT…. I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it…..God has a covenant with us for revival….renewal and restoration!

When Noah entered the ark, it was about covenant and that beautiful rainbow God put up in the sky was His covenant signature..

Genesis 9:9 “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you. “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations”.

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….                                             Genesis 17:7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, I will be God to you and to your descendants after you. v11 And you shall be circumcised in the flesh, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you”. 

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, overwith!!!                                                                          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 “RU-ASH” or breath of God… That breath can do what you could never do…. 

That spirit breath went into a blind man’s eyes, and he saw, in Mark 10:46….. That spirit breath went into a leper and he was cleansed, inMark 1:40….. It went into a man who had not walked for 38 years and he walked, in John 5:5…

God’s covenant will bring things together that could not connect, it will arrange things that were far beyond you, it will flesh out things where you gave up and left off….. It will start new things in a new direction and a new way! It will put flesh on your skeletons….

Revival will come when God’s people stop being religious, and become channels and conduits of His glory!!!

When revival comes, Christians will get a new love and excitement for God’s Word.  When revival comes God’s people will get a new spirit of prayer. 

When revival comes, Christians will get a fresh passion for lost souls.

When revival comes, Christians will live in the joy of the Lord.

The word “revival” is not found in the Bible. The Hebrew word for “revive” is found some 235 times in the Bible. In the New Testament the word for “revive” is found only 5 times.  The word “revive” is translated in Both the Old and The New Testaments to mean “to return to life or vitality”.

Let me amaze you with a truth that amazed me, about the great awakening in England….Charles and John Wesley along with George Whitfield were three Greek students at Oxford university who began to study the term, “born again.” They began preaching and sharing what “born again” meant. The churches did not want them and they were turned away.

George Whitefield went to Kingswood, a coal mining town. Coal miners,were mean spirited, hard men and bitter drunks who lived a hard life. No church was there so, Whitefield stood on a stump and preached. 200 stopped and listened and when he finished, he didn’t know what to do next, so he just said he would be back on Wednesday.

On Wednesday 2,000 were waiting. He Preached again and again he didn’t know what to do next, so he said he would be back on Friday. On Friday 5,000 were waiting. He told them that Jesus loved them and that he had experienced this new birth and was saved.  He told them if they would repent Jesus would save them. He said he would be back on Sunday and 10,000 were waiting to hear the rest of the story. There was absolute silence. Even the dogs were quite. Trees were filled with people. He began to preach and was startled when tears began to flow down their coal-blacked faces. They all received Christ, and this was considered the beginning of the Great Awakening revival in England, which then spread to America. 

This is the stump which George stood on, and many visit the site, to believe for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit on England….

Charles Wesley went to Newgate Prison, where the same revival visitation took place among the prisoners there. John Wesley took a church and it started the Methodist movement, which was powered in those days by a Pentecostal experience…The Methodist church was birthed in Pentecost…..

What I think is so marvelous about this, is that these guys didn’t even know how to lead someone to Christ, but the Holy Spirit worked and moved through their simple obedience and passion, to touch tens of thousands for Christ, and usher in revival all over the nation of England.

God brought revival to Nineveh through a rebellious preacher who was angry at God for interrupting his plans and telling him to go to Nineveh. If most people in rebellion against God had been barfed up on the beach after being in the belly of a whale, they might have made the late night TV circuit with the “Whale of a tale” interviews….. or launched a reality show, or start a church called the “Whale Deliverance Center”… or maybe start a water theme park called “Jonah’s World” …. I mean, there were plenty of opportunities to get fame and fortune out of this…. But listen to what Jonah did…. 

Jonah 3:1-2 “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

OK, OK, I GET IT LORD, I NEED TO STOP RUNNING AND JUST OBEY! But here’s the kicker, Jonah preached and then sat down and expected no results, and no response. As a matter of fact, he got angry because these wicked people were visited by God…. Revival hit Nineveh and EVERYONE GOT SAVED, FROM THE KING ON DOWN!!!!

HEY, GOD WANTS TO SEND REVIVAL, MORE THAN WE WANT REVIVAL….. WOW!

The porch light is always on in the Father’s house. He is always ready to welcome the prodigal son home. 

Look at some things that we and Jonah learned through all of this….

1.​God doesn’t negotiate… He could have used anyone, but He chose Jonah…. 

2.​God wasn’t just reaching Nineveh, he used Nineveh to reach Jonah…

3.​God didn’t need Jonah nearly as much as Jonah needed God.’

4.​Little is much when God is in it.

5.​God never quits when it comes to revival and changed lives…

6.​God wants to save entire cities still today….

Now, listen, You’ve got to hear the entire message which Jonah preached!! … It must have been powerful, eloquent, compelling and brilliant…..RIGHT??

OK, here it is…

Jonah 3:4 “Forty more days and Nineveh will be DESTROYED” ……EIGHT WORDS!!…. No pleading, no being careful not to offend anyone, No emphasis on love, grace, mercy….. JUST “FORTY MORE DAYS AND NINEVEH WILL BE DESTROYED”….

And in spite of the fact that no one knew this man, he had a strange accent, and he had the strong smell of fish, 600,000 people, repented and turned away from their idols and wickedness and turned to God!

Here’s what God wants us to know out of this, HE CAN USE ANY ONE OF US TO INAUGERATE A SOUL SEARCHING, SPIRIT BIRTHED, LIFE TRANSFORMING REVIVAL….. (CAN YOU SPEAK 8 WORDS?) YOU’RE HIRED!

I heard of this one young man who got a burden to see folks saved, so he just went out and started knocking on doors. The problem was that he stuttered very badly. So it went like…. HHHHHHHiiiiii, iiiiimmmmmm, JJJJohnnyyyy. JJJJJJJeeeeesssssuuuuusssss lllllovvvvesss yyyoooouuuu. wwwwoulllddd yyyoooouuuuu llllliiiiikkkkkeeee tttooorrrrrrecccceiiiivvvve hhhhhimmmm aaaaas yyyyyyourrrrrSsssaaaavvvvioorrrr?

The pastor started seeing all these new people in church, and started asking how they happened to come. They told him that Johnny came to their door and asked them if they wanted to be saved, and they quickly accepted before he had a chance to say much more, and he gave them the church card and they promised to come if he would just finish talking.                                                                                                                                                                                                               Can anyone here dddddoooooat lllleasssstttt as good as Johnny?!!!!!

Anyway, the king of Nineveh upon hearing this eight word sermon, sent out a proclamation throughout the city, which went to every person in Nineveh….listen to what the proclamation said….                                                          

“Let us seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near, let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”. (This is a heathen king and yet his words are inspired of God) 

Remember that Nineveh is one of the major cities of it’s day and the capital of the Syrian empire….

This account would be equivalent to, let’s say . . .Everyone in Tokyo believing in God. Everyone in Singapore repenting. Everyone in San Francisco becoming a Christian. Or maybe we should say it this way:

Cleveland turning to the Lord. Boston getting right with God. The whole city of Miami getting saved and becoming a center for the gospel!

It’s phenomenal, unbelievable, incredible…..And yet it happened.

Look at what Luke says about this, in Luke 11:32 “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here”. 

Many that God has used have come and gone and their voices are silent. And now, God is asking us, you and me…. Will you go, will you speak, will you tell them. 

Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then said I, “Here am I. Lord, Send me!”

Do we still truly believe that God can reach the unreachable?

Do we still truly believe that God can do the impossible?

Do we look around us and see how bad things are and say, “It’s hopeless"? 

Or do we say, “God still loves Nineveh”!

Jesus still touches the untouchable.

Jesus still reaches the unreachable.

An agnostic college professor visited the FiJi Islands and he remarked to the elderly chief who had become a Christian, "You're a great leader chief, but it's a pity you've been taken in by these foreign missionaries. They only want to use you as a statistic for their annual reports. No one believes the Bible anymore. People are tired of the fictitious story of Jesus Christ dying on a cross for the sins of mankind, we all know better now. I'm sorry you've been so foolish as to accept their story." The old chief's eyes flashed as he said "see that great rock over there? In that very place we once smashed the heads of our victims. Notice the furnace next to it? In that oven we once roasted the bodies of our enemies. If it hadn't been for those good missionaries and the love of Jesus that changed us from cannibals into Christians, you'd be our supper by now! You'd better thank the Lord for the Gospel; otherwise we'd already be feasting on you”. But revival came to a nation of head hunters and cannibals!!!

When all else fails, folks will know that God never fails…. And God knows that there are many who have tried everything and everything has failed to solve the problem, and has not given them the peace they long for…

I think of a school not long ago which posted a little sign outside a principal's office that read "In the event of a terrorist attack, a fire, or earthquake, the ban on prayer is temporarily lifted!"

THAT’S A CRY FOR REVIVAL, NO MATTER HOW WEAK IT MAY SOUND!!!!

When true revival shows up, the words of John the Baptist will be it’swatch words. John 3:30 “He must increase and I must decrease”.

When the wells of prayer and intercession are dug, the living river will flow, and the water will spring up in the most unlikely places…. And in amazing ways.

There have been great and transforming revivals but the world is about to have the greatest revival ever known, because all the mantles of previous revivals are about to fall on this generation, and it will usher in the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. We’re not going out with a whimper, we’re leaving here in the mighty roar of revival!

There are leaders that don’t even know it yet. There are workers of signs and wonders and miracles that don’t know it yet. There are prophetic voices that will shake the heavens and the earth, and they haven’t even been saved yet !!!

We have God’s covenant about this in Joel 2:28 “In the last days, It will come to pass, that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind (this is a global outpouring) And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. v29 “Even on the lowest and poorest, I will pour out My Spirit in those days”.

He has saved the best for last… That’s what The master of ceremonies at the wedding feast where Jesus turned the water into wine, said "You have saved the best wine until last!" 

The greatest healings and miraculous acts of God are yet to come, in greater and greater measure. Multitudes of young and old will be summoned forth by the Spirit to demonstrate God’s power through signs and wonders and miracles. Heaven will be open and under this open heaven, a move of God like never seen before will transform millions who will also be sent forth. 

And the Presence of the Holy Spirit will be seen in our midst at a level we have never experienced.

We don’t want to watch it happen we want to be part of what happens… We don’t want to dangle our feet in the river, we want to plunge in and swim in it’s current!

POUR IT OUT, LORD, POUR IT OUT! 

DO IT AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN!!

Song…. (There is a river)…. “There is a river, that flows from deep within,

There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin, Come to this water, there is a vast supply. There is a river, that never shall run dry…

Everything around us, the violence of people against one another, the division, the social confusion, the rise of anti semitism, the flood of illigals, the injustice and stirrings of war and threats of nations against nations, all the signs of the end times are a cry for revival….. Let’s not miss what God can and will do in the valley of dry bones, and who He will use to accomplish it…..

Posted by: AT 03:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 17 2024

The Person You Were Meant To be…

Clark Kent was a lot more than meets the eye, and so are you.                                                                          (I was always amazed at how a pair of glasses, could totally disquise Superman so that he was never recognized)                                                               Someone said, “It bothers me that with all the hacking going on, someone could steal my identity and use it to make thousands of dollars behind my back. But it mostly bothers me because I currently have this identity and I can't figure out how to do that...                                                                               It can be easy to look at the future with rose-colored glasses. You have a deeper relationship with God in the future. You are a better spouse in the future. You’re a better parent in the future. And that can all be true and more! However, these things do not just happen. There are layers of decisions, delayed gratification, and necessary experiences, that undergird every effort which leads tothe person you were meant to be.                                                                                                                                                    Let me lay some old Covid humor on you….

A man went for a consultation to get the results of his wife's tests. The doctor on duty tells him: "I'm terribly sorry sir, but there was a bit of a problem with your wife’s test results. You see, your wife's tests were sent in along with another lady with the same last name, to the lab. The results came back, but they got mixed up, and we don't know which one is which. The results may either be 'bad' or they may be 'worse'!" "What do you mean?" asked the husband anxiously. "Well one woman has Alzheimer's and the other one has Covid! - we don't know who is who” "So what do I do now?" the worried man asks. "Well, your doctor recommends that your wife keep her mask on, thendrop her off in the middle of town. If she finds her way home –don’t get anywhere near her!"  

So we must ask ourselves the question, “Are we making decisions that are pushing us towards what we want out of life, or, are our choices pushing us away? It’s like the frogs that wereput in warm water which was then gradually turned up little by little in temperature until their goose was cooked…(you didn’t know frogs had a goose, did you?)                                           If the frogs had known where they would end up, they would have jumped out quick and not tolerated it. Because it was not the path which would take them where they wanted to go…                                                     Speaking of gradually turning up the heat till your goose is cooked…..                                                               The party in power is once again pushing against all gender titles and gender identity, out of our vernacular… People are identifying as animals and even the animals are getting confused! God doesn’t care what is or is not on the bathroom door… He made women to be women and men to be men! Jesus cast dumb spirits out of people, and He would have his hands full today, because I’m seeing dumb spirits working everywhere!!! Beware of all the dumb spirits!!!

He says what He means and He means what He says, and He will do it!

The good news today and every day is, God Is Still Saying “I Will Restore” He knew what He wanted us to be, and He hasn’t changed His mind. No matter where we’ve come to, God can still get us there!! I love this version of Deuteronomy…..

Deuteronomy 30:3 “God, your God, will restore everything you lost, He'll have compassion on you, He'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where your inheritance was scattered. v4 No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there v5 and bring you back to your possession. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than before. v6 God, your God, will soften your heart and your children's hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live. 

v7 God, your God, will set Himself against your enemies who hated you and were out to get you. v8 And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his word that He has given you. v9 God, your God, will outdo Himself in making things go well for you. You'll have babies, see increase in every area, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will take joy in you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for so many before you. v10 So, listen obediently to God, your God, and keep the principles and covenants written in His Book of wisdom. You must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, and mind, holding nothing back. v11 For, this word that I'm giving you today is not out of your reach”.

The book of Job tells us that “… the LORD restored Job’sfortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!” God gave Job a double portion of all he’d lost, restored his marriage and many of his relationships, gave him a new housefull of children and allowed him to live happily to a ripe old age.

But I want us to notice that it wasn’t until after Job lost everything but his nagging wife, that Chapter 42 takes place….and notice also, that before then, Job lived with fear of the very thing that happened to him….But in the midst of it all, he had a reset in his life….

Job 1:21 Job says, “The LORD gave me what I had, and it is the LORD’Sto take away. Praise the name of the LORD!” That’s what total surrender sounds like. Trusting God will do what is best, no matter what the situation. Job totally believed God would cause him to become what he was always meant to be!                                                                                              Despite his suffering, he trusted God’s will for his life and continued to praise Him. As a result, not only did Job’s faith soar, but his life did as *……..well. The God of who we were meant to be, hit the reset button  andJob began to make a come back! Job’s story is there to tell us that no matter how bad it looks, how far down a person has gone, How much they missed it, God can hit the reset, and turn it around!                                      You can get there from anywhere you happen to be!                                           (tell someone, You can still get there)

God has given me an amazing life… coming from being an abandoned child, to being allowed to sing at the 3000 seat Bushnel Memorial arena on national television. I’ve hosted and co-hosted the 700 club for a year, out of Hartford Ct., on international TV, until the Hartford station was sold. He’s allowed me to build 2 Christian schools alongside my wife, Winnie, to build a radio station, here in Key West, and to pastor 5 amazing churches, and enjoy amazing seasons of open heavens, this being one of them, over my 60 plus years of ministry. And I don’t believe God is finished yet!! You can still get there!!!

Winnie enjoys doing cross word puzzles, where they give you names or even phrases that are scrambled within the puzzle and you have to find them and identify them. (some of you started solving it already, didn’t you) Doing something new and different every day is a great way to open your mind and your imagination. Or doing what you usually do in a different way, will invigorate your brain.

We used to put picture puzzles together, of course the idea is to put all the pieces together to match the picture on the box that it came in. I discovered that everyone has a different method…. Some folks start with the corners, others with the edges, and some pick out the horse, or house or a person and start there. But the real point is that when you buy the puzzle, you trust that the company that made it, has put in all the pieces that you need, to do what they said you could do, on the box.                                        

In the Bible, we see a picture of God's plan for us. So if we can trust a company to provide everything we need to finish the puzzle, once we begin, How much more can we trust God to provide all the pieces of this puzzle called life, that He has promised us…..And when we miss it or mess it up, He knows how it’s supposed to all fit together!

It's up to us to follow His instructions as we put those pieces in place and watch it happen!

It’s important that I believe what God has told me in His word, more than I believe everything around me in this natural world….

That’s what Paul was talking about when he said….

Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, v14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

No matter how far off course and how far away from the picture God has given us, we have gotten ourselves to, we can get back on track, and back to His original intention for us. The prodigal was in the pig pen, Peter was cursing and denying Jesus by the enemy’s camp fire, all the disciples but one abandoned Jesus during His trial and crucifixion, Come on, we’ve all had places where we totally missed it, but…                                                                                “It’s never too late to be what you were meant to be.”                                     What was yours is still yours, and it’s still waiting for you!!

When I was a kid, Charles Atlas was a big marketing deal for getting yourself in shape. In the commercials, you would always see this skinny kid, that everyone was bullying and making fun of, come to the place that he had had enough. He would stand in front of the mirror, and shout out, “I’m not going to take it any more”! So he gets a weight set and startsworking out and eating right and then shows up on the beach and finds the guys who were bullying and taunting him, and confronts them with his new hulked up, fabulous body. Charles Atlas was a real guy, and it was his real story! All of us, at some level, could relate to his experience!

When we get to the place that we can say, “I’m not going to take it any more”! We are willing to do all the things that we didn’t do before, to confront the devil, our core values, our own selves, and become the person we were always meant to be! I challenged to improve my body, and in a short time I achieved a body that even I whistled at!! 

We must find a balance between our public and our private lifeif we are going to escape the horns of the bull. A few questions are in line here… Does a person's private life affect their public life?                                      Of course it does. Can a person continually make poor decisions in private matters and be expected to make good ones in public matters? The chances are slim to none…. 

How do we live when no one is watching? What do we listen to? What are we watching? What are we looking at on the internet? How do we treat our family behind closed doors? Here’s a question for all of us. Would we live the way we’re living right now if we knew that all our family and friends could see itall…..Everything?

Reputation and Character are two different things. Look at them as twins on a seesaw….Reputation is what other people think about us. Character is who we really are.                                                                                                                        In Luke 8:17 we read, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

But the big question we’re looking at today is, “At the end of our life, will we be the person we were always meant by God to be”?

Johnny Hamer played Danny Thomas’ son, Rusty, on “Make Room for Daddy” for 11 years. (are there any other old people in the room, who remember this?) 

After the show ended, in 1964, Johnny was never able to transition into new roles in Hollywood. He became type cast and could never find other work as an actor, so, he became bitter, the rest of his life. In 1990, feeling he had no options, he ended his life by shooting himself.    

When your identity is based on the wrong things, it can take you to a dead end street. Johnny got stuck in a place that was only meant to be temporary.                                                                                                            So many jocks have no place to go when their career is overbecause of an injury or other circumstances, end their own lives, when they are no longer in the spotlight. It was always supposed to be temporary….but they never looked beyond what was always going to be temporary, to find who they really were as a person.

Scripture tells us that if we want to become the person we are meant to be – who God intended us to be, we must become likethe prototype which He gave us as our pattern, which is Jesus Christ. The more we spend time with Him, the more we become like Him…                            Romans 8:29 “God has “predestined [His people] to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” 

2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory”

The constant challenge is to look more like Him tomorrow, than you do right now today.

A big problem in our country, which has led us down the socialist path, is that we allow our leaders and those in authority, to separate their private lives from their public lives. The poll numbers bear this out. Polls show that Americans believe as long as leaders are doing a good job with the economy and continuing the social issues that they endorse politically, then half of the American people do not care what they do behind closed doors. "Give me mine, and you can go do whatever you want," is what they are saying. "You're an all right guy if you just scratch my back where it itches”. “I don't care what you do in your personal life, Just keep giving me what I want."

Scripture doesn’t agree with that….. The bible says that “a little yeast will leaven the whole loaf”. You can’t keep yeast from spreading through all the dough, it won’t stop until it spreads everywhere….it will show up in the whole loaf! In the same way, what is done in private will spread out into our public lives eventually…..I’ve thrown away enough moldy bread to know what I’m talking about!!!

Numbers 32:23 puts it this way, “Be sure your sins will find you out”…        

1 Corinthians 11:31 Now if we judge ourselves properly, we shall not come under judgment. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.…”                                                                                          1 Timothy 4:8 Paul says we need to “train ourselves.” In the Greek the words “Train yourself” is (gymnazo). It’s where we get our English word gymnasium. The word literally meant, “to exercise naked,” which was the way ancient Greek male athletes usually did. In this passage the word is used spiritually, to make the point that Christians need to train themselves, fully exposed to the truth! Not covering anything up, or hiding anything.                                                                                                  

Imagine what a group of Jewish fishermen living underoppressive Roman rule in 1st century Palestine felt like when it came to having power over their own lives. So, Jesus tells these guys who are living far below what God meant for them to be, how it can be through Him. These are not remarkable guys –they are fishermen at the bottom rung of society, they have no political connections, No connections to the religious hierarchy. They’re everyday people just trying to make a living.

The Kendrick brothers released a film called “Overcomer”. It’s a story about a small-town, high school basketball coach who’s got an up and coming team. They are all looking forward to winning next year’s championship. But then the town’s biggest employer relocates and takes with it pretty much all of Coach Harrison’s team. He ends up being demoted to coaching the school’s cross country team that has one member – and she’s an asthmatic girl being raised by her grandmother. He also gets a 10% pay cut. 

Coach Harrison is feeling pretty bummed out and powerless.The coach joins his pastor to make some hospital visits. At the hospital, he happens to engage with a patient and shares his frustration with life. The patient is also a Christian and challenges the coach with this question:                         “Who are you?” The coach replies, “I’m a basketball coach.” “But you’ve pretty much lost you team now,” says the patient. The coach answers, “Well, I’m a history teacher too.” “But you could lose your job, then who would you be?” “Well, I’m a husband and a father.” “Yes, but life is not always predictable and certain. And if it happened that you were to lose your wife and children, then what would you be?” The coach paused for a moment to consider his answer and then said, “Well, I’m a Christian.” The patient pointed out to him how far down the list he had placed his Christianity as part of his identity.

It leaves us with the conclusion…”When you find your true identity, it will change your entire perspective….It’s a great movie and you all should see it. When the coach found his true identity, it affected everyone around him. That little conversation was the most powerful part of the movie script for me. Because itcaused me to ask myself, “Who am I? Where do I find my identity?” If we look to other people, or our job, our health, or some other factor for our identity, that will change as people come in and out of our lives, won’t it? It’s vitally important where we find our identity.

It all starts with MAKING A COMMITMENT…When you make a commitment, you build hope, and when you keep it, you build trust.    James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

The process that takes place is Decide, Commit, Succeed. I put decide first, because if you commit to the wrong things, it is only an exercise in frustration….But with that in mind, Unless commitment is made, there are only promises, but there is no clear contract that binds you to success… without commitment we live in the transitional zone of indecision....Indecision is a decision to remain uncommitted!                                                                                               James1:6 For those that waver (without commitment) are like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. v7 Let not that person think that they shall receive anything from the Lord. 8 For a double minded person is unstable in all their ways.

Each Day Have A Time Of Self-reflection… Self reflection is a date you have with yourself. Someone has said that we don’t only learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on our experiences….The Psalmest called it “Selah time”…                                                                                       Daniel maintained his identity throughout his exile in Babylon, by going three times a day and bareing himself before the Lord in prayer. Don’t let things accumulate and get piled on top of one another…or you will procrastinate and keep putting it off.                                                                   Self reflection is a getting to know YOU better time. It’s about checking your status with God (is He first, is He the priority), are you being true to the truth (is truth being crowded out), it’s a time to check your character (are you being true to your goals), examine your relationships (are you considering the needs of others)… It’s a time to stop avoiding the actions you know you need to take, which you have been putting off.

Trust God That He Will Do What He Said….                                                                   Matthew 6:4…”Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly, Himself”                                                                                                                                    He sees your sacrifice, your secret giving, the choice you made to take a different path, the times you gave up something, or you refused to compromise…. Not everything will happen quickly, it’s a process, and God is building line upon line and precept upon precept. The Father has placed the evidence and the substance of what you’re hoping for within you, and He’s using your faith, your commitment, and your obedience to bring it into the earth. Too many want God to do something to them, but God is wanting to do something through them…..and through each of us.

Do What is Right, Not What Is Easy, no matter what everyone else is doing….What if Jesus or Clint Eastwood, had only done what was easy, and what about Noah, Abraham, or Joseph, or Moses…                                           Being righteous is about doing the right thing as He has revealed it to you in the momentyou’re in, which has come through the training you have let Him bring you through. It’s just another word for obedience.Remember, no one else is going to stand before Him in your place, You will stand all by yourself. And on that day it will all be open, if we haven’t taken times of honest self-reflection, and began to establish the right priorities in our life, God himself will establish them, but it will be too late to apply them.                                                                                                                         1 Corinthians 3:10 “But let each one build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work”. 

How much better to deal with it now, to make the right choices beginning now, than to wait till it’s too late to make a difference, too late to get it right… Amen!                                                                                                                           Jesus blows their ever lovingminds as He looks at them and tells them: You are the light of the world! Then He tells them they are the salt of the earth. Something folks can’t live without, Salt, and Light! The purpose of light is to illuminate, to drive back the darkness, and to put *……..the spotlight on things of value, things that are profitable, eternal, but mostly on Christ. Jesus was telling them not to hide who they were in Christ, but let it shine!                                                                                         The purpose of Salt is to add flavor to life, it influences everything it is around, it prevents decay, it purifies, and keeps water from evaporating, in this case, it is the water of life and vitality for life.                                                           Jesus was telling them what they were going to be, not what they had been, but what they could be….See, the real power of this narrative, is that Jesus was actually talking to every believer, regardless of their situation or who they saw themselves to be….He became the constant version of you, that you can be!

We’re going to close with a time of personal recommitment, The Apostle Paul said that “today is the day of salvation… The word salvation is wholeness, completeness, and what you were meant to be, so He’s not only talking about being saved, but becoming all that we were meant to be…..a time of trusting and entering into in Jesus’ finished work.                                                 I believe the Holy Spirit is here working in our midst, reminding us of why we’re doing what we’re doing…and surrendering to what He is doing…

All things are from Him, through Him, for Him and to Him…..

Someone may be struggling with a decision you have to make, or a choice that is before you…. Someone may be struggling with, “Where do I begin”…. Take the first step by just asking, what will honor God most in my life…. And Will this take me where I want to be, spiritually and in becoming the best me possible….

Close with Song, “I surrender all”…..

Posted by: AT 11:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 11 2024

An Open Heaven Is Our Inheritance

Ezekiel 1:1 “Now it came to pass…that the heavens were openedand I saw visions of God”. 

We make the statement that “Abraham’s promises are ours”, and that “we are grafted into the vine”, and this is true through out the scripture narrative. What God has promised to some, He intends for all in principle. It’s the DNA of the church. An open heaven is a description of living our lives, where there are no barriers between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm, the throne of God, and all the resources of heaven.

As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we can live in the constant awareness that nothing separates us from our Father God and His resources, gifts and callings.

Isaiah 45:8 "God of Heaven, I see the doors and I see heaven being opened. Drop down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness. Let the earth be opened up and let salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it."

When the heavens are opened, God becomes real. The revelation of God, His kingdom, and eternal realities are released in powerful ways in the earth. We go from the idea of God to the reality of God. From the omnipresence of God to the manifested presence of God. There are outpourings of the Holy Spirit, a harvest of souls, powerful miracles, healing, and deliverance. God’s blessings are poured out and His righteous judgments are released. Barriers in the spiritual realm are removed, and the veil between heaven and earth is torn. There is   access on earth to the riches stored in heaven.

Scripture tells us that Jacob Experienced an Open Heaven

Jacob was on the run from the murderous fury of his brother, Esau. Everything in his life was up for grabs and he was in a strange land.

There was nothing in Jacob’s life that would cause anyone to suspect, what would happen next. His past was a mess—his future seemed uncertain. His hope was that a relative in a distant place would give him refuge from the elements.

The journey was longer than the daylight that he had left for the journey, and he laid down on the hard ground with a stone for a pillow, hoping that somehow he could repair the rift between he and his brother who had threatened to kill him on sight. He was at the end of his rope and the outcome looked bleak.                                                       

Yet that night, he saw a stairway reaching from earth into heaven, and upon it, angels were ascending and descending.                                             Above the staircase stood Almighty God. He spoke to Jacob of the covenant promise that He had given to Abraham and Isaac, which now passed on to Jacob.

Jacob’s life was changed by the revelation of an open heaven over his life. There was nothing he had done to deserve it. It was his inheritance.

An Open Heaven is Our Inheritance as well…

God’s favor towards Jacob was based on covenant, not on personal merit

Jacob was an heir to the promises made to Abraham and Isaac before he was even born. And like Jacob, we are heirs of a covenant; not through anything we could achieve ourselves, but by grace, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and the covenant He has given unto us.

When the Israelites left Egypt, a lot of Egypt was still in them, but God said He would go before them, with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud of His glory by day. They didn’t deserve it, but they were people of His covenant with those who had come before them.                                                    They had passed through the blood, on that night of terror, when the death angel came through the land, and they put the blood on the door post of every home in Goshen. God was faithful to place His glory over them. It was their inheritance, and even today, though much of the population of Israel has rejected Christ, they are His chosen because of covenant. They still continue the blood sacrifice, which was the instrument of covenant between them and God. Our prayer is that the Jews will receive the revelation of Christ, as so many have. 

A Christian lady, had a dream of a young girl who was on a see saw and as she sat there, a large, man came and sat on the other end. Which sent her suddenly up in the air, because of the difference in their weight.   The man laughed at the sight of the girl, helplessly lifted up on the other end of the see saw, but she was not upset or nervous, as a matter of fact she had a smile on her face. 

Then in the dream, she saw a large rock, lowered down and placed behind the girl, and immediately the large man was thrown off the see saw. Someone asked the girl in the dream, what happened, and she said, with a big smile, “The rock, made all the difference”…

Jesus is referred to as the rock…. His glory is called the “Kabod”, which means “the weightiness of His presence”…. His glory, gives us weightiness, and ability, and impact, we do not have in ourselves. 

He comes in His Kabod, and changes everything, as His Kabod rests upon us!

Tell someone, “The glory makes you a heavy weight”

When Jesus was baptized, Mark tells us that the heavens were ‘torn open’ as the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. 

Mark 1:10 “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus as fully man, lived and ministered under this open heaven. 

Nothing was impossible. Demons fled, diseases were healed; even death could not stand in His way

Heaven’s supernatural resources were made available to Jesus as He ministered and as He did what He saw the Father doing. 

John 5:19 Jesus told them, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does”.

That’s the amazing results of an open heaven…..He is our Father, and we are also His sons and daughters. The Father desires this level of intimacy for His children. To know Him and make Him known….

When the veil of the temple was ripped open at Jesus’ crucifixion, the heavens were opened to every believer, for all who would believe in Him and become children of God—Jesus Himself is our access and ticket to heaven. We were given direct access, to God’s glory through Him.

Matthew 27:51 “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom”. God was giving us an invitation to enter in!

Remember, before this, only the high priest, could go into the glory of God, once a year. The glory is no longer off limits. We have been given access, it is the season for the glory!

John 14:6 ”And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” ….

Jesus has placed His spirit in us, so that we might see and experience the open heaven, and the invisible things of the Spirit, made visible…..

Then, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of God baptized the waiting believers, and it’s still available for us today. The church was birthed and empowered under an open heaven.                                                          Acts 2: 2 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”.

Then the bible tells us that as they went outside to preach to the crowd that was waiting, they went from other tongues, to other languages….

Everything that was available to them in order to accomplish the Father’s will is also available to us today. Jesus would not say, ‘Follow Me,’ and do the works that I have done, if that were not the case. Living under an open heaven is our inheritance, and it should be our expectation.

John 20:21 “Then said Jesus to them again, “Peace be unto you. As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.”

The Father sent them forth with power and glory…. That’s why Jesus told them in Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give”.

How clear could it be that this is for us today, to experience the Open Heaven…

Acts 2:39 “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Jesus wanted us to know that there was no expiration date, on His “Open Heaven” promise to His people, who were called to walk in His glory, and experience His power….

Remember, Jacob did not name the place where the heavens were opened to him, ‘The House of Angels.’ He named it Bethel, ‘The House of God.’

The revelation of God, he received that day was so profound that later God would re-introduce Himself to Jacob as ‘The God of Bethel.’

In another era and on another person’s journey, Elisha had to pass a test in order to bear the mantle and authority of Elijah.

Would he keep his eyes fixed on his spiritual journey to the very end?

Or would he be distracted by the hardships and difficulties or even of the glorious spirit horses and—the chariots of God? But Elisha remained faithful and was there when the mantle fell from heaven…

When the heavens opened to Stephen, to Ezekiel and to John the revelator, they saw the heaven open and beheld the throne of God.

Let’s have our focus on the throne—where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.’ I want to move the heart of God, & walk in the anointing

Colossians 3:1 So then, since you have been raised with Christ, (that means we operate in two dimensions) set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not just on things of this earth’.

This is where we find the source of our life in the spirit, and our authority. This, is where we find the Father’s will and directive, knowing that the resources of heaven—including the angelic hosts—are released at His word and by our partnership with Him in prayer and obedience.

As Jesus said, in Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed (highly honored) be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’” 

A revelation of what Jesus has done in opening heaven to us will change the way we pray.

It will change the way we see,

It will change the way we think and act,

We will be conscious of what Father is doing ‘NOW’ and the resources that are available to us ‘NOW’,

We will have confidence in exercising our authority,

Our faith will be increased,

We will live in constant expectation,

We will live centered upon God.

We must move from …. Pleading and begging, to Receiving

Mark 10:15, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter into it.”

As I look back, I realize that much of my Christian service and belief system had operated out of an ‘orphan spirit,’ rather than the position of sonship that Paul talks about in..

Galatians 4:7 “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. So you are no longer a slave, but God's child, and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir”.

Having been abandoned, and given away, several times, I was marked with deep separation anxiety and fear. I didn’t belong, I was an outsider, I would never be family, I would never beincluded like real family was. An orphan mindset believes and fears that we are separated from the Father and His resources. There is an outsider mentality, it’s us and them… not just us as the family of God….We’re not exceptions to the rule, it’s for everyone …..”Whosoever the Lord shall call”….                                                                                       

If the story of the prodigal son tells us anything, it should show us that the son who left and went off on his own, didn’t appreciate what he had until it was gone. 

But then found out as soon as he returned, that What was always his, was still his. It was all waiting for him to receive what was always his, because of the deep love bond of the father.. He had changed, but the Father had never changed….                          

John 1:12-13 says, “To all who did receive him, to those who believe in hisname, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or of the will of man, but born of the will of God.”

We should no longer see the move of God as something to plead for. The open heaven that I once cried out to God for, I now seeis mine—and belongs to the church—in God’s word, by inheritance through Christ.

It is the privilege of sons and daughters to ask and receive. 

Luke 11:9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; everyone who seeks finds; and to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened”.

Revival and open heavens, is simply New Testament Christianity. It’s simply getting back to normal.’

We are moving From ‘Not Yet’ to it is here…. here and now!

We spend so much of our life waiting and praying for God to begin something that He has already done, accomplished, finished!

The revival that we are waiting for is here and now. It is being realized as Christians and churches across the earth awaken to our inheritance and to the reality of Jesus’ prayer:

Matthew 6:10  “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 

There is no shortage in heaven….no shortage of glory, no shortage of health and wholeness, no shortage of supply……

I believe that the great harvest of people coming to faith in Jesus, and the fruitful church that we envision, has always been here with us. 

We don’t have to settle for lifeless facts, when we have been promised an open heaven, with total access, to heaven come to earth. 

We are not orphan children, we are children of the most high God. We have been invited to the table, we are included in the family….

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness And rivers in the wasteland.”                                  Now, it shall spring forth! (Repeat itwith me)! Now it shall spring forth!

So let’s adjust our thinking from seeing The outpouring of the Holy Spirit as some event at some future date, to something that is here with us right now today……Jesus said He would do it 2000 years ago, and we are 2000 years into the fulfillment of it!

Let’s adjust our thinking from seeing provision and blessing as some event at some future date, to something that we have right here, right now, because God said He would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus, and we are 2000 years into the fulfillment of it!

Let’s change our thinking from seeing Salvation for our families as       some event at a future date, to something that we have right here, right now, because God said that “salvation has come to your house” 2000 years ago, and we are 2000 years into the fulfillment of it!

Let’s change our thinking from seeing Angelic activity bringing   Supernatural Answers to Prayer, as some future date, to something that we have right here, right now, because God said He would give His angels charge over us, 2600 years ago, in Psalms, and we are 2600 years into the fulfillment of it!

Luke 10:8 Jesus told them, “When you enter a place and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come unto you.’

If the kingdom has come 2000 years ago, then it is something right here, right now…..(Say it with me, “Right here, Right now”)

The Bible describes WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TO LIVE UNDER AN OPEN HEAVEN… and of all books, it is in Deuteronomy…..This description was written 3400 years ago… so an open heaven has been God’s design since the garden of Eden, and Moses wrote about it 3400 years ago….If it was true then, it is true now! Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. He had the glory on him so powerfully, that they had to put a sack over his head, because his face was shining so brightly.                                                 (When you see your pastor come in with a sack over his head, you better get ready for some supernatural stuff!!)

Look at what God told Moses, an open heaven looks like!

Deut. 28:1 "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all people of the earth. 

2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:                                                                                                  3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. 

4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.

5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. (blessed in the kitchen

6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

7 "The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

8 The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

9 The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.

10 Then all the people shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be in awe of you.

11 And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 

12 The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 

13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.”

3,400 years ago God said it was our portion, so it is true, now, today too!!

Let us Pray this prayer together in closing….

Heavenly Father, I come before You with a humble heart, thanking You for divine blessings that are ready to flow into my life. Thank you for an open heavens over me, and for pouring out Your abundant favor, grace, and provision. Help me walk in alignment with Your will, so that Your blessings overflow in my life, and I can be a blessing to others.

Thank You for open doors of opportunity and for Your favor resting upon me like a shield, so that Your love and grace may flow out to those around me. Let Your grace abound in my actions, thoughts, and interactions. Help me to extend the same grace to others that You have shown to me. Let me walk in Your abundance and not in scarcity. 

Grant me the wisdom to steward Your blessings for Your glory and the well-being of others. I receive open heavens over my life, so that Your purposes can be fulfilled. Grant me discernment to recognize the opportunities You place before me and the courage to seize them for Your glory. I praise You that through Your power, I can break down any barriers and obstacles in my life. 

Open the heavens and grant me the strength, wisdom, and determination to overcome every challenge and reach my full potential. Help me break through every limitation and accomplish Your will. As I walk under Your open heavens, guide me to the right doors to enter. May Your favor and grace open doors that no one can shut, and may I walk through them with confidence and gratitude. Bring healing, restoration, and breakthrough where they are needed.

I trust in Your power to intervene and change circumstances for Your glory. Help me walk in obedience to Your commands and receive the blessings that come from following Your will. Father, I desire to step into the abundance You have promised, so that Your will is done on earth as it is in heaven.Father, I desire a deep connection with You and as You open the heavens, allow me to experience Your presence in a profound way. May my prayers and worship bridge the gap between earth and heaven, and may I walk in close communion with You. By Your power, Lord, bring revival and transformation. I pray that Your presence would break strongholds and usher in a season of spiritual awakening, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Do You Receive It?!!!

Posted by: AT 10:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 04 2024

Message presented by David and Vickie Elliot, June 2nd, titled “Saturation”

(Col 2:5-10) How many of you would honestly consider yourself pretty stubborn or maybe at least a little strong willed? How many of you have ever tried dieting? Statistics from Univ. of PA, show only about 5 % of those who use restrictive dieting keep the weight off Drug addiction relapse after rehab can be upwards of 60-70% Alcohol relapse – 75% (according to National Institute on Drug Abuse) How many of you have made New Year’s resolutions? How many of you even make it through February? Fun fact – 90% of people quit a gym after 3 months (lifehack.org) Where is that stubbornness or strong will when we ACTUALLY need it? What does that tell us? What did Jesus say to Peter, James, and John, in the garden of Gethsemane twice after He found them sleeping? “Couldn’t you tarry or just pray for an hour? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Anyone found that true for you?! Paul did! What I want to do, I don’t What I don’t want to do, I do. In fact, Paul was pretty mortified by his inability to do the right thing and made a very un-American, currently “un-Woke” estimation of himself, “Oh WRETCHED man am I” So our solutions/our efforts, diet, rehab, exercise,….we continually fall short We need a new solution! But God doesn’t want our efforts nearly as much as He desires yielding to Him day to day (which will include Spirit inspired/Spirit empowered effort) It’s transformation through saturation. But what does gettingto saturation point look like? Col 2:5-10 5 For although I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit, rejoicing as I see the disciplined and resolute firmness of your trust in the Messiah. 6 Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him. 7 Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow in thanksgiving. 8 Watch out, so that no one will take you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, following human tradition, which accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Messiah. 9 For in him, bodily, lives the fullness of all that God is. 10 And it is in union with him that you have been made full — he is the head of every rule and authority. Let’s work through some principles/statements in these verses – starting from that last verse. Full 10 And it is in union with him that you have been made full — he is the head of every rule and authority. God wants us full – not empty, not ½ full, not even ¾ full In fact, when Jesus described the Holy Spirit in us, it was as rivers of living water,… Our fullness will lead to a life that looks DIFFERENT than the world around us Our lives will look: Cohesive Directional Focused Steady/consistent Purposeful Eternal Victorious (not always immediate) Peaceful even in tribulation It isn’t even just so that we experience these things as we live full, it’s so our world will SEE a different Way ----THE Way, the Truth, the Life There’s a huge difference between saturated & damp. Both are wet. Saturated = Uncontainable, unstoppable, no way to keep it in the sponge. More than can be held. We will never be FULL/SATURATED until we yield & learn to live in the Water Source. In fact, v6 tells us that. 6 Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him How do we live that way, transformation by saturation - daily? 1. Saturation requires trust 5 For although I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit, rejoicing as I see the disciplined and resolute firmness of your trust in the Messiah. Trust (often translated “faith”) – Oxford Languages – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Trust IS developed through relationship – even if it’s a chair. To some degree it must be given, at first, or we never get to experience the fullness of that relationship. Skepticism/distrust doesn’t contribute to deep relationships. You trust your spouse or best friend more after years of being trustworthy. They have a track record. Why are we so quick to distrust God the moment He doesn’t come through in our way, at our time, after years of His faithfulness? A. Disciplined trust – Grk taxis Orderly, almost militant What happens if every soldier is a great fighter but they doubt their commanding officer and start operating how they feel is best in the moment? Disciplined trust is actually adecisive alignment of every area where we would tend toward distrust or mistrust, doubt or disbelieve. (THIS is why it says, “keep living united with Him”) If we are honest, every time we feel tension, reactive, frustrated, we are distrusting or mistrusting Him - His goodness - who He is - what He will or can do,… His heart. The same problem as Eve Our trust gets OUT OF ORDER, misaligned, mal-aligned This word “disciplined” tells us to realign our trust with God and His Word B. Resolute trust – Grk stereoma Firmness, again, militaristic as in a solid military front. “Resolute is the continual call to hold the line.” It’s the Battle of the Bulge. It’s “None shall pass!” Think of the ramifications to a whole army if they have 5 scared people who run or stand shaking when there’s a frontal assault. Eph. (full armor psg - “when you’ve done all, STAND”) C, Acquiring disciplined, resolute trust 1. Remember – Is. 46:9 Remember things that happened at the beginning, long ago ---that I am God & there is no other,… David often rehearsed in the Ps. the stories of God’s faithfulness to Israel Moses told them to rehearse often to their children the deeds of God on their behalf 2. Rhema-- Rom 10:17 So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God Sobering thing – “Word of God” in this verse is not necessarily the “written” Bible Word here is rhema. The Bible can be rhema But rhema is a God-word spoken directly to us in relating with HIm Peter stood on water at a personal direct word – a rhema In essence, rhema requires 2 way prayer This is when we live close enough relating to Him that we hear His direct word (rhema) often, and then we regard that word obeying and moving on it, our trust is strengthened. 2. Saturation requires deep roots 7Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow Rooted = rizoo – to strengthen with roots, to strike roots, to be thoroughly grounded, render firm. A. What are we to be rooted in? In Him – perfect soil, supremely fertile soil. There will never be a SOIL problem if we are in Jesus. But, the problem is we tend to transplant ourselves. What happens to a plant that is transplanted too often? B. Rootedness is NATURAL if we stay in good soil Rootedness is actually a natural result of a plant interacting with soil. The plant has to actually “receive” what the soil has to give. To be deeply rooted, saturated, we have to take in His endless supply over and over. A plant will wither if the roots no longer get nutirents from the soil. Ex. of ants or moles creating air pockets. C. Guard where you root. Where you get your nutrients matters. Be intentional and protective of what feeds you – not, well if something doesn’t come up… Don’t settle for loose roots. 3. Saturation requires being built up 7Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow Built up = to finish the structure on the foundation already laid The roof being on doesn’t mean the house is done. A. A Problem: Many starters. Few finishers. Are you a finisher/a completer? There is no prize for starting ---- Heb. 12 ,…let us run with perseverance the race set out for us The life we want --- full, cohesive, directional, focused, steady, consistent, purposeful, eternal, victorious. It’s all for finishers, those who STAY in the game. “Those who endure will be saved” Sis. Virgie, Mrs, Jane B. A Process: Being built up is A PROCESS. James 1:4 And let steadfastness (endurance) have its FULL effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing. He wants your life to BE A TEMPLE, a place where others can find Him – a full life - a fruitful life, a saturated life. Will I set my heart to trust – relating to Him, hearing Him, obeying no matter what in every circumstance? Will I allow my roots to go deep by staying in and with the TRUE SOIL? Will I refuse to serve him in fits and starts, and stay in His process of building His temple in me? Is. 7:9 …without firm faith you will not be firmly established Getting to saturation point is staying in Him & surrendering to Him (over & over) Title Slide

Posted by: AT 10:29 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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