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Acting On God’s Word

`LITTLE FAITH, MIGHTY MOUNTAIN - BROWN

James 2:17 says, “Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead ….” Many people misunderstand this verse because they take it completely out of context. They try to interpret it to mean that man must “work” to earn his own salvation. But the context of chapter 2 of James is not about earning salvation. It is about showing forth that salvation through the natural results that come from believing. What are those natural results? Actions. The word “works” used in this passage, in its original language, literally means “corresponding actions.” So what the Word is saying is that if we have real faith, we will have actions that correspond with – result from – bear the fruit of – that faith. If we really do believe what God’s Word says, we will act like it.

Many have been the times that I was believing the Lord for healing in my body, and applying His Word as medicine, but had to stand my ground for a period of time before I saw the manifestation. We don’t always know why the manifestation takes a while to show up, when at other times, it shows up immediately. There are any number of things that could be hindrances, and as we stay in prayer, we can be assured that God will show us anything that we need to know in order to speed things up.

But regardless of the reason, the one thing we do know for sure is that God’s Word and His promise will not fail. So we keep standing – and acting like we believe. Now we do not mean that we are “putting on an act.” We mean that we speak and move and carry on our lives to the best of our ability as though the manifestation were already evident. I can remember more than once when I was scheduled to teach God’s Word at a meeting, and found myself in pain as the result of a physical attack. The enemy was shouting in my ear that I would have to cancel the meeting. And when I refused to cancel, he shouted that I would make a fool of myself to go and speak about God’s healing and then have to be rushed to the hospital because I would be too sick to continue the meeting. He has some of the most colorful scenarios, but what we must remember, beloved, is that all of them are lies.

Often I would simply have to grit my teeth and act on the Word from Isaiah 53:4-5 and Matthew 8:16-17, which tell us that we are already healed by the stripes that Jesus bore in His own body at the time of His crucifixion. I had to get up, take a shower, and put on my make up. (And sometimes I would deliberately apply it even more dexterously than usual, so that I did not give the enemy an inch to work with in making me look sick.) I would drive myself to the meeting shouting the praises of God at the top of my voice, and I would stand up in front of the congregation and teach the truth that God wills to heal all of His people all of the time, and that the healing has already been provided by Jesus’ finished work.

Sometimes, we just have to act, beloved, because we believe even though we have not yet seen. And whether that period of time between praying and seeing the manifestation lasts several hours, several weeks, or several months or years, we must not move from our stand on God’s truth. To move from that Word can mean the whole difference between life and death.

Evangelist and Bible teacher Gordon Lindsay, founder of Christ for the Nations ministries, shared with his listeners, over the years, a number of testimonies of when he found himself in similar situations and always found God faithful. Brother Lindsay, who has been with the Lord now for many years, shared one particular testimony that always encouraged my faith personally.

He told of a time when he had just begun his evangelistic work and came down with a case of ptomaine poisoning. The first point he made when he shared this particular testimony was that when he experienced the first attack of cramps, he should have taken his authority over the situation in the name of Jesus and rebuked the illness, driving it from his body. Instead, he let it go, thinking in his natural mind that it would eventually subside on its own.

However, it did not. In fact, as is the way with serious food poisoning, it grew worse and worse until he was wracked with horrible bouts of cramping for two weeks. During this time, of course, he did pray for relief, and several friends prayed as well. He did not see any relief at the time, but seemed to continue to grow worse. He had been invited to stay in the home of some friends, since he was in the midst of holding a series of meetings, but the friends grew frightened when he seemed to continue in such a serious condition and insisted he call a medical doctor.

Brother Lindsay, who firmly believed the Word of God concerning healing, had, years before, studied the scripture in which the Lord declares that He will be the physician for His people (Exodus 15:26.) He believed that scripture, and had committed his body to God alone for its health and welfare. Since he did not want to call a human physician, his friends felt he needed to be moved from their home, and another evangelist, John G. Lake, took him into his own home. John G. Lake was also a great believer in healing, and throughout his own ministry saw multitudes of people healed in answer to prayer alone.

While at Reverend Lake’s home, Brother Lindsay lay in bed and read Brother Lake’s printed sermons on healing. Those sermons, which were full of God’s Word, created more faith in Brother Lindsay and stirred him to take hold of that Word in a new way. He related a portion of this testimony in one of his own teaching books, Christ, the Great Physician:

“The affliction … now had reduced me to a condition of extreme helplessness. Gradually weakening in body and wracked with constant pain, I resigned myself to death. … I had wanted to preach the Gospel of Good Tidings more than anything else in the world. Now it appeared that my ministry would end with abruptness. Was this the Will of God? …

“But God was to show Himself. First, through His Word. … As I read those messages, my attention was taken from my suffering to the power of the Risen Christ. Certain scriptures came to me with force and vividness. … Acts 10:38, concerning Jesus, ‘who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil,’ left a deep impression upon me. Again, in Luke 3, Jesus, in healing the woman bowed over, showed that the infirmity was caused directly by the binding power of Satan. … It was not the will of God that I should die, but rather the will of the devil.

“Another scripture came especially to my attention. It was Mark 11:22-24, and is yet today my favorite passage. ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ A light was dawning, and I began to understand the difference between passive and active faith. Here was a direct warrant for my immediate healing if I would dare to accept it. I could wait no longer.”

He went on to explain that he called for his clothes to be brought to him, and even though still horribly weak and still in pain, he managed to put them on, focusing his thoughts, not on his pain, but on the promise of God. He had lost 25 pounds during the illness, and his clothes hung on him, but he ignored that fact as well. “As my feet touched the floor, I began to praise the Lord for healing,” he said. “At that instant my cramps vanished. And for the first time in many days I felt the sensation of hunger. I sat down to a hearty meal.

“I was healed indeed!”

He closed his testimony by adding, “Faith is an act. After prayer is made for healing, there is a time to act upon the Word of God. Deliverance came to me at the moment that I acted upon the Word of God.”

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© Sandra Conner

(Quotes from Gordon Lindsay taken from Christ the Great Physician, Gordon Lindsay,  pages 3-6.)

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God’s Weight-Loss Program

CHECKING WEIGHT - SEPIA“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” — Hebrews 12:1

Without doubt, one of the most consistent preoccupations of the American mind today is this subject of weight – more specifically, too muchweight. As a result, about every two weeks a new diet plan is foisted upon gullible Americans, and another fortune is made by some clever soul.

Maybe it’s time we looked into this matter of weight from a different perspective: not the kind of weight that an exotic diet will solve, but the burdensome weights that the Apostle Paul admonishes us to lay aside. He is referring to that excess baggage that affects our Christian walk and witness – weights that make it difficult for us to move along as well and rapidly as we should, delaying, and even preventing, progress. The apostle directs us to lay them aside, and the clear implication in this Scripture is that we can do that by an act of our will: put it away! Whether it is hanging on our backs or sitting in our paths, we must move it out!

Weights appear in many and varied forms, and Satan will use any one or all of them to prevent our being the effective Christian witnesses Jesus wants us to be. He will also use them to keep us from having a happy and peaceful life. Some are so commonplace and deceptive that we hardly recognize them as such; we just thoughtlessly pick them up and carry them.

Let’s examine some of the weights noted in the Scriptures:

Possessions:  First, let’s remember the encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler in Luke 18. Having possessions is not a sin, and, in fact, properly handled they are, or can be, a blessing. The problem surfaces when possessions begin to dominate our lives — as was the case of the rich young ruler. How much better for us if we keep our material blessings in perspective and use them in all ways to the glory of God.

The Cares of the World:   In Jesus’ parable of the sower, as recorded in Matthew 13. Here is a weight that can get so heavy it will simply override the things of God. We get so wrapped up in jobs, social schedules, sports, and selfish desires that our church attendance and commitments are relegated to a lower position on our priority list. Then there is too much busyness. God expects us to provide for our families. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that he who provides not for his family is worse than an infidel. But he also reminded Timothy that there is a place where we are to be content – not continually striving for more.

To some men (even Christian men) their jobs take precedence over everything, including God and family. The same is true with some women. This is a terrible weight, and it will drag our vital fellowship with God to a complete stop.

Self:  Self can also be a weight. We need to consider carefully whom we are serving and whose will we are concerned about. How did Jesus deal with this problem of the importance of “self”? His whole attitude and focus can be summed up in this one statement: “I delight to do the will of my Father,” He said. “I do the will of Him who sent me.”

The Desire to be Seen and Heard: This desire can be a weight. In one of His teachings, Jesus admonishes us to “take the worst seat at the table.” Remember that Jesus washed feet! He also instructed us to do as He did. Remember, it is God’s job to elevate us to the higher positions – not ours.

Timidity: This characteristic can develop into a weight. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no on is pursuing; [this is actually a picture of timidity] but the righteous are bold as a lion!” and 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Murmuring: This habit is one of the heaviest weights of all. First Corinthians 10:10 needs no clarification: “Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured and were destroyed.” Something about us is always destroyed when we murmur. It may be our fellowship with our Lord; it may be our strength or joy, or even our health. But something is definitely affected in a damaging way. God said so.

Beloved, it is important to remember that God never tells us to do something we cannot do. If He admonishes us to put away from us each of these hindrances to serving Him effectively, then He does so in order to make our lives freer and better. He does not intend to add another burden by insisting we do something that is going to make our lives harder. So let’s believe our Father when He tells us the way to a happier and more effective life. Let us eagerly “… lay aside every weight,” and “… put off the old man …” and let us run the race that is set before us with top efficiency – all the way to victory!


© 2006 Ted Pavloff

 

 

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JESUS IS ALIVE! What Does That Mean?

TERRY'S BLUE TREES WITH SUNRISE AND BURST expanded

We’ve just celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What exactly does that mean for us? Here’s 5 truths that are part of our lives as a result of Jesus’ resurrection. Are you enjoying all 5 of these benefits in your life? It’s the heart’s desire of the Father that you experience daily the fullness of the fruit of the resurrection:
Jesus Lives!
Sin has lost its grip!
Death is defeated!
Mercy has triumphed over judgment!
Love has won the victory for all eternity!

 

 

 


 

Killer Storms Are NOT From God

Clouds & Sky 129The state of Florida, as well as the whole southeastern coast of the United States has been preparing this week to face one of the most horrendous storms in the century. Our Gulf Coast — particularly Texas — is currently trying to recover from a storm almost as devastating.  I have friends and family in both places, and their well-being is a priority in my heart. I live in the Heartland of the United States. Most years during the spring and fall, when our seasons undergo a major change, our section of the country, along with the section to the south and east of us, experiences frequent occurrences of severe weather. In recent years, there have been some devastating storms that brought hundreds of deaths and destruction to massive portions of the Midwest.

When horrific events like these killer storms develop, there are a number of people who automatically suppose that God is behind those events — or that He deliberately allows them as a way of teaching or punishing the people on earth. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in response to a number of misguided comments on that subject, by both Christians and non-Christians, I am posting this article in an effort to clear the record and bring to light the truth — both about devastating storms and about God.

Jesus said, in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”

And there you have it, friends. Those words say it all. That one statement by Jesus gives us the definitive answer to the question of whether hurricanes, tornadoes,  and other “killer storms” are from God.  Do they kill?  Do they destroy?  Then according to Jesus Christ Himself, they are not from God.  Where do they come from?  They come from an aberration and twisted use of the natural elements that is orchestrated by Satanic power in operation on this earth.

God made all natural elements, including the elements of weather, to be a blessing to man.  And even in Psalm 8, He tells us that man is to rule over “all the works” of God’s hands.  But man rebelled against God and His purposes in the garden, and listened to Satan instead.  His actions in response to Satan put man in a position of subservience to the devil, and that sin opened the door to a curse that would effect all of the created earth. (Gen. 3 / Rom. 8).  When man gave Satan the right to operate in this earth, Satan then moved into a position of being able to take hold of any of the natural elements, adulterate them, twist them, and use them to inflict evil upon mankind — and the planet itself. He operates this way on a regular basis and then tries to convince the world that God causes it all. That’s Satan’s M.O.

However, that is not the last word in the story.  God’s Covenant with man — which He calls a “covenant of peace” (Is.54) — restored man’s right to rule over the elements again — only through that covenant — and to take authority over those demonic powers.  Even in the Old Covenant, the Lord expected His faithful servants to know how to use that authority over the natural elements.  When Jesus is with His disciples in the boat, they are all still living and operating under the Old Covenant with God. But notice that when they are struck by a severe storm (Matt.8), He tells them that they are showing a serious lack of faith in responding in fear rather than authority.  He finally stills the storm for them, but at the same time, He asks them “Where is your faith?”

Please note that He did not say, “God sent this storm as judgement for the evil that’s been going on.”  Nor did He say, “God is sending this storm to test your faith.” We can’t believe two contradictory things at the same time, friends. We either believe these horrible storms are from the hand of God — or we believe Jesus and recognize them as an evil that we are supposed to take authority over.

As part of the New Covenant, Jesus literally bought back man’s right to govern in the earth as He was intended to do.  We as believers are made the Body of Christ, and since the government is now upon His shoulders – His body – us – we are supposed to be “governing.”  (Is. 9).  The devil still has the right that man gave him to operate in this earth, but we now have absolute power and authority to bind his power and activity wherever we will make the effort.

Since the finished work of Jesus, we are now literally in the highest position of authority on this planet.  Philippians 2 says that every created thing — in heaven, on earth, and under the earth — must bow its knee to and obey the name of Jesus Christ.  Do we believe that?   Ephesians 1 says that Jesus reins over all principalities and powers and that He is the head of His body – which is the Church.   If we are His body, and all things are “under His feet,” then all things are under us as well.  Do we believe that?   Jesus made it so clear: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.”

We now have the blood-bought spiritual authority living in us to take command over every natural thing.  All natural things were created by a Spirit God, and they will respond to the commands of the Spirit God in us.

What do we do with that authority?  In Mark 11 — as well as several other scriptures in the Gospels — Jesus says that if we will speak to a mountain or a tree and tell it to move, and not doubt in our hearts, but believe that it will come to pass, we will have what we say.  And He clearly demonstrated that the same action works with a storm.  Do we believe Him?

Unfortunately, some Christians seem to think that all natural calamities are some kind of judgment from God.  There will certainly come a time for God’s judgment to be unleashed — at the end — but that time is not now, if we are to believe the commission of Jesus Christ to His church.  Jesus said twice in the Gospel of John that He did NOT come to judge the world, but to save it.  He then told His disciples, and all of those who would become disciples, to follow His specific examples and continue to carry on that work of taking the Gospel to the world.  That being the case, we need to get into agreement with Jesus and say God is not judging right now; He is delivering the grace and mercy of the Gospel of salvation. 

HOWEVER: We do need to be aware that when a nation or a people deliberately throw God’s Word in His face and deliberately take a stand or practice things that God clearly says are against Him and His ways, they are literally opening the door to an attack from demonic power.  When we do those things, we set ourselves up for that attack — even invite it.  God isn’t sending it, but it will come.  But even in that kind of situation, God has repeatedly shown mercy and turned destruction away from people — even in the Old Covenant — because faithful believers prayed and took a stand of faith.

Many times in my own life, I have experienced the power of God’s Word and the name of Jesus Christ taking authority over destructive storms, and as a result, I’ve seen those storms dissipated, turned away, and or destroyed.  Many other believers have experienced the same thing.  And yes, I’m talking about deadly tornadoes and hurricanes as well as severe thunderstorms.

But when you are facing a huge battle, sometimes you need a huge, united front to win.  The need in this nation is for a strong united front of faith on the part of the Christian believers to stand in authority against these deadly storms and weather systems.  This whole massive movement of deadly, destructive weather is nothing but a spiritual war being waged by demonic forces, using natural elements.  We must learn to recognize it as such and command the demonic forces to take their hands off — and command those elements to obey the purposes of God in the name of Jesus Christ.

Come on, Church!  Rise up and take your authority! If true believers in this nation will unite in faith, take a strong stand on God’s Word, and take authority over these destructive storms in the name of Jesus Christ, the storms and elements of weather have no choice but to obey.

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Monthly Devotional 8/2/17: You Win

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“Truly my soul waiteth – is silent – upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62: 1 & 5)

CHESS GAME - FREE
photo courtesy of free-extras.com

Have you ever played chess?  Or maybe even checkers? Well, even if you haven’t, you’ve, no doubt seen others playing — even if only in a movie or television show. You know that the players — if they are serious about winning — make it a point to focus closely on the board. They are not only watching to see what their opponent’s going to do next, but they are thinking and laying out their own strategy. And most of the time, they are quiet. A lot of conversation or noise disrupts their concentration and can make a difference in their success.

Our scripture this month tells us that there are times when we need to be quiet and focus on God and what He has in mind for us. We sometimes find ourselves in the midst of an attack or a battle, and we knew that we don’t have the solution in ourselves — or in the world and its systems. And the truth is that we are rapidly coming into a time on this earth when the world has become so controlled by evil and demonic forces that all of the systems of the natural world offer us as much danger and possible harm as they do solutions of any kind.

But that’s okay, because we have a God who knows our every situation in detail — and who already had a plan to deliver us long before we got into the trouble. When we find ourselves overwhelmed by these situations, the Word tell us that we can always — always expect God to move on our behalf.  All we need to do is get into His Word, find out what He says about the problem, and focus our eyes and our hearts on Him expectantly, waiting in quietness and peace for Him to act. We wait silently — meaning we are not fuming, fretting, struggling, whining, complaining, or talking to scores of other people trying to figure out what to do. We wait quietly because “our expectation if from Him.”

So whatever problem you’re facing right now, find the promise relating to it in God’s Word and apply it to that problem. We do that by praying and confessing that Word with our own mouths. Then stand your ground, keeping your focus on God alone. Do not give up, no matter how long it’s taking, or how bad it looks, because when we’re in trouble, our God always has one more move to make. And when He makes His move, YOU WIN!

 

 

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