Username:

Password:

Fargot Password? / Help

Blog

2

Timing is Everything (My Book Writer's Club Entry)

Last Friday, we kicked off the 2019 season of The Book Writer's Club live at The Body Church in Decatur, GA and on Facebook. Our next meeting is Friday, May 24th, 2019. For that upcoming meeting, all writers are asked to present their book Introductions and Chapter outlines. If you plan on joining the club, don't get left behind. Complete a one-page book outline/ summary and email it to us at thebodychurchinc@gmail.com. See below for the introduction to the new book I'm writing alongside the other authors in the club.

I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 (NLT)

While growing up in church I heard The Word of God both directly and indirectly through sermons, songs, prayers, conversations and every other available form of communication. What I heard made sense to me in the context of my Christian reality so I believed what I heard. God answers prayer. Faith moves mountains. You reap what you sow. Givers prosper. Good things happen to those who do what is right in God’s sight. Every Christian is blessed and favored by God. The righteous never have to beg or be put to shame. God rewards the faithful. Wait on the Lord. I could go on and on.

I admit that, in some ways, I was idealistic to say the least, perhaps even naive. In my young mind, life was supposed to work a certain way and very rarely did things happen that shouldn’t. However, with adulthood came a bitterly cold dose of reality. I had to learn relatively quickly that life is full of contradictions. Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. You don’t always reap what you sow during your lifetime. Some people live right and struggle through life while others live wrong and have it easy. Promotion is rarely simply merit-based. Your success in life is not necessarily a direct reflection of your level of effort, qualifications or even talent. You see, strange things happen in life and sometimes, we have no easy way to explain them.

Thankfully, King Solomon had the same epiphany during his latter years and that’s one reason why we have the Book of Ecclesiastes. With more supernatural wisdom than any other man to walk the earth outside of Jesus Christ, Solomon still could not understand why reality doesn’t always fit the universal principles of ethics, morality and overall fairness we commonly espouse. Life happens and we can’t control it. I find comfort in knowing that we live in a fallen world and because of that, everything is supposed to be messed up. Yet,, in spite of it all, I’m not hopeless and neither are you. My confidence is in God’s Kingdom which operates by His principles so, even though I live in this confusing world, I live within His Kingdom which is not of this world. That’s really all I need to keep moving forward.

This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Then I said: “Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, And his words are not heard. -

Ecclesiastes 9:13-16 (NKJV)

Apostle Paul was on to something in 1 Corinthians 13:9 when he said we know in part and prophesy in part. Typically, when I taught from this passage of scripture my focus was on the fact that people without money don’t have a voice. It was true in Solomon’s time and remains true now. The poor wise man delivered the city with his wisdom and then faded into the background for no other reason by his poverty. From all indications, city leadership listened to his solution because they were desperate. As soon as they received their deliverance they were done with the poor man. Does that sound familiar to you? It does to me.

Outside of elections, lawsuits, protests, criminal activity and charity, the voice of the poor tends to be ignored. People in poor neighborhoods can complain for years about unsatisfactory working conditions, substandard schools, inefficient Government services, unfair law enforcement practices or general neighborhood blight and get no response. While at the same time let something happen in a rich neighborhood and see how quickly the powers that be respond with solutions. It’s not right and it’s not fair but it’s reality. In fact, it’s human nature and it won’t change until humans change. Yet, God showed me that my perspective on Ecclesiastes 9:13-16 was quite narrow. He has much more to say out of that scripture and it starts with a few pointed questions.

How could the wise man be wise enough to deliver the city from dire straits but not wise enough to deliver himself out of poverty? Why did his wisdom work with such high stakes for everyone else but not in his own situation? I once heard a preacher say that he had the answer to everyone’s problems in the room. It’s pretty simple. He said to exchange problems with someone else in the room and you will instantly find solutions. Of course, he was being sarcastic but he did have a point. We always seem to know what’s best for someone else but don’t exhibit the same level of expertise for ourselves. We like telling other people what they should do to solve their problems but we don’t know what to do to solve our own. That’s ironic, isn’t it?

That same level of irony extends to the premise for this book and is again expressed by King Solomon through a passage of scripture in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11(NKJV)

If this scripture is not the most misquoted scripture in The Bible, it’s definitely near the top of the list. Other than making up the word helpmeet by combining two distinct words in Genesis 2:18, assuming the word gift in Proverbs 18:16 means special ability and my personal favorite, separating the timing of the return of Jesus from the Resurrection after reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, I can’t find a scriptural misinterpretation more egregious. Instead of reading the scripture for themselves, I cannot count how many times I have heard intelligent, well-meaning Christians say the following; “The race is not for the swift, nor the battle to the strong… but for those who endure to the end.”

I’m sure there’s a good reason why someone made that up instead of sticking to the scripture. Like many other made up Christian sayings, it sounds good and it contains a principle that can be substantiated by a combination of actual scriptures if needs be. For instance, in Matthew 10:22 and 24:13 as well as Mark 13:13, Jesus said, in the context of the Great Tribulation, that those who endure to the end will be saved. You can then perhaps connect that with victory coming not by might, nor by power but by God’s Spirit according to Zechariah 4:6. However, that is not what Ecclesiastes 9:11 is saying and it is not even closely related to what that scripture is about. Take a look at it again in another translation.

I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

Ecclesiastes 9:11(NLT)

Do you want to know the secret to success according to Ecclesiastes 9:11? Timing is everything. After all the wisdom of the Proverbs, life happened to King Solomon and he reflected on the irony of his observations in Ecclesiastes. One such observance he made was the importance of timing. Good things happen when people are in the right place at the right time. In other words, you can do everything else right and still fail if your timing is off or you can do everything else wrong but get your timing right and still succeed. Like I said earlier about how poor people are treated, it’s not right and it’s not fair but it’s reality. You can waste energy complaining about it, trying to change it or being a victim of it or you can choose to accept it and make it work in your favor.

I chose the latter option and that’s what this book is about. Natural ability, physical strength, wisdom, intelligence or skill alone don’t make you a winner. You have to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunities. It’s time (pun intended) for a mindset change. Don’t just think about what you need to do or how you need to do it to be successful. Think about when. Windows of opportunity open for limited periods of time and the people who jump through them reap all of the benefits. God is no respecter of persons according to Acts 10:34 and though He doesn’t give us equal resources, talents or even time, He does present us all with opportunities. Our failure or success is based on what we do when these opportunities are presented to us.

Let me say it again. Timing is everything.

RSVP NOW
4

Why Worry And Stress?

Why Worry And Stress?

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Matthew 6:25-34(NKJV)

There's so much going on in the world right now. Not only that, there's so much going on in our individual lives. On any given day, many of us have to balance the demands of our relationships with God, family, ministry, career, friendships, health, finances, community and so much more. It's impossible for us to give everything and everyone 100% of our attention and sometimes the demands exceed our capacity to meet them. That's when worry and stress enter the picture.

So what is stress in the context of this discussion?

"Stress generally refers to two things: the psychological perception of pressure, on the one hand, and the body's response to it, on the other, which involves multiple systems, from metabolism to muscles to memory. Some stress is necessary for all living systems; it is the means by which they encounter and respond to the challenges and uncertainties of existence. The perception of danger sets off an automatic response system, known as the fight-or-flight response, that, activated through hormonal signals, prepares an animal to meet a threat or flee from it.

Lifesaving as the stress response is, it was meant to solve short-term, life-threatening problems, not extended difficulties such as daily traffic jams or marital problems. It generally takes some time for the body to calm down after the stress response has been triggered. Prolonged or repeated arousal of the stress response, a characteristic of modern life, can have harmful physical and psychological consequences, including heart disease and depression.

Psychology Today

According to the article, "The Effects of Stress on Your Body" from WebMD, consider the following:

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headacheshigh blood pressureheart problems, diabetesskin conditions, asthmaarthritisdepression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

In other words, chronic stress is a huge problem in our society and it's directly affecting people's quality of life, making people sick, costing people money and stealing valuable time. It also consumes large amounts of mental, emotional and physical energy without causing any change in the situations that trigger the stress. In other words, it's like running on a mental or emotional treadmill for a prolonged period of time, sapping your energy but going nowhere.

In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus addressed the stress epidemic. On the surface, when the scripture is viewed in the King James Version it seems like Jesus was telling us not to think about our needs. He repeatedly used the phrase, "take no thought" so it's easy to understand if someone assumes that He wants us to not think about things because God will take care of us. As a result, some people are irresponsible and don't take care of their business because they believe God will take care of it.

Some don't work but assume God will pay their bills. Some don't take care of their bodies but assume God will keep them healthy. Some don't prepare for big assignments but assume The Holy Ghost will simply do it through them. Some don't work hard because Jesus finished the work on the cross and human effort is futile. If the birds don't do anything and God takes care of them, why should we? That's what The Bible says, right?

However, the Hebrew word Jesus used was merimnaō which means, "to be anxious or to be troubled with cares". There's a big difference between being a responsible adult who solves problems by executing well thought-out solutions and someone who is anxious and troubled with cares. The former is what we should all be, the latter is what Jesus wants us not to be. When we worry, we expend energy yet do nothing to better the situation at hand. Hence, we make it worse. That's why Jesus told us not to worry.

His solution was two-fold; Seek first the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God which the Amplified Bible defined as His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God. In other words, when you do things God's way with God's heart, you have nothing to worry about because He takes care of your needs. Let's now explore that a bit. How do you seek God's Kingdom and His righteousness first? You seek God!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7(NLT)

Some mental health experts say that simply talking about your problems with someone else helps you to cope with them. I completely agree. However, that's great for your emotions and mental health but that doesn't solve the problems you're talking about in the first place. How about you take it a step further? Why not bring your problems to God in prayer? He's the only one who can solve them all and He's a pretty good listener. 🙂 He'll also reveal what to do and how to get it right which is exactly how Jesus said you'll get your needs met.

Tell God what you need and be thankful for what He has already done for you. Then, and only then, can you experience His supernatural peace which essentially cancels out your worries. He may not change your situation immediately but He'll change your heart and mind by protecting them from worry and fear. Once your emotions and thoughts are taken care of as His first priority, He'll get to work on your situation.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:6-7(NKJV)

Never forget that the all-powerful, all-knowing Almighty God lives inside of you as The Holy Ghost. (See Romans 8:9-11) In the middle of a storm, Jesus was sleeping peacefully in the boat while His disciples panicked. What did they do? They simply woke Him up and He put an end to the storm. (See Mark 4:37-39) What storm are you going through? Wake up the Holy Ghost inside of you and release His power and love and receive a sound mind. Don't panic, pray.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3(NKJV)

If you desire peace in your life, never let your problems dominate your thoughts. Keep your mind on Jesus, the problem solver.

12

God Is Troubling The Water

God Is Troubling The Water
God Is Troubling The Water

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

John 5:1-8(NKJV)

Once a year, an angel would visit the Pool of Bethesda and stir the water which immediately triggered a release of God's miraculous healing power. Anybody needing healing had one job. Step in the water first! Hence, people simply hung out around the pool waiting for their opportunity. If they missed it, they had to wait a full year for their next chance. However, things changed when Jesus, The Living Water, showed up at the pool. For the certain man with the 38 year sickness, his Day of Visitation had come on a completely different schedule. He didn't have to wait for the angel to show up anymore, God Himself was there. Again, the man had one job. Believe! He did and he received his healing.

God is troubling the water! Our day of visitation has come! We are in a season of miracles and answered prayer! These are all statements we hear from time to time in Charismatic Christian church circles. They help to motivate our intensity during corporate worship, encourage church attendance, inspire devotion to prayer and scripture reading as well as heighten our spiritual expectation. However, are they even true?

Honestly think about it. If every time I see you, I tell you that it's your day of visitation or your season of miracles at what point will you start questioning the veracity of my statements? That's why I strongly resist the urge to make frivolous declarations even if they're positive. I know it doesn't hurt to speak good things over your life but the scripture says in Proverbs 13:12(NKJV); "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."

However, when the day of visitation is really coming, I feel like it's my duty to shout it from the mountain tops. As 2018 was drawing to a close I knew something was going on in the spiritual atmosphere around me. God was gearing up to do some new things and my spiritual sensitivity was heightened. Now I can confidently confirm that what I felt was coming is officially here. The season for miracles is not on its way, it's already here. How do I know? I'm seeing it happen before my eyes.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26(AMP)

One by one, God is answering prayers in our family and church, some of which we figuratively threw at the wall hoping they would stick. Things we couldn't see could possibly happen with our natural eyes are happening and they're happening one after the other. We posted a list and have started crossing items out the moment God delivers. Not just that, once we realized that our Day of Visitation had begun we added a few more items to our prayer list that would only happen with miracles.

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8(AMP)

It's impossible to predict how the Spirit of God will move unless He tells us. So without a prophetic unction I couldn't tell you long in advance that 2019 would be a special year. However, I'm telling you now. This is an unusual year. I don't fully know what's going on in the spirit but something is stirring and God is doing something amazing. Not only is the water troubled allowing one person to get a miracle, The Living Water has shown up allowing anyone who believes to access whatever they need.

Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” Immediately the father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.”

Mark 9:23-24(AMP)

Do you want to see impossible things become possible in your life? Can you believe God? If yes, then expect God to do what only He can do. Don't miss your hour of visitation like the Jews. They brought Jesus to tears in Luke 19:41-44. Many of them are still waiting for God to do what He has already done. Let that never be said of you. He is releasing angels. He is answering prayer. He is going miracles. He is opening doors. He is inspiring repentance. He is moving. You have one job. Believe God!

6

I Came For The Anointing!

2 Kings 2:1-15(NKJV) - And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!” Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they came to Jericho. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!" Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.

Elisha followed Elijah from Gilgal to Bethel, Jericho and over the river Jordan, each time refusing to turn away at Elijah's insistence. Not only that, at each stop along the way, the local sons of the prophets kept reminding Elisha that The Lord was going to remove his master Elijah that day. Nevertheless, Elisha pressed on, determined to never leave Elijah's side until he got exactly what he came for. What did Elijah have that was so valuable to Elisha? Over and over, Elijah told Elisha to leave and the chorus of junior prophets seemed to echo that sentiment yet Elisha remained resolute while literally shutting their voices out. Then Elijah did a miracle at the Jordan by taking his mantle, rolling it up, striking the water and causing it to part in two, like the Red Sea under the rod of Moses, allowing both him and Elisha to walk across on dry ground. That was it!

Once Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan, Elijah addressed the "elephant in the room" by asking a direct question. In essence, this is what he asked; "Elisha, why are you here?" Then Elisha provided a direct answer by essentially saying; "I came here for The Anointing, specifically, double the anointing on your life." Elijah explained to Elisha that his request came with a price but that didn't matter to Elisha. He had a one-track mind and was willing to do whatever was necessary to get what he came for. Yet, how did they get to that moment and why did Elisha get the anointing on Elijah's life? At first glance, this looks like an easy question. Elisha faithfully served Elijah and remained by his side all the way to the end making him the logical choice to carry on Elijah's prophetic ministry. In fact, the sons of the prophets referred to Elijah as Elisha's master, further defining the nature of their relationship.

2 Kings 3:11(NKJV) - But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

The king's servants said that Elisha poured water on the hands of Elijah. For a good sermon, it couldn't be any simpler. Elisha received the anointing on Elijah's life because he served him faithfully. Therefore, if you want to walk in a particular anointing, find someone who is operating in it and serve that person with all of your heart until the day comes for you to receive what they have. Do you want to preach like TD Jakes? Move to Texas, become his armor bearer and just wait your turn.

Do you want to sing like Fred Hammond? Volunteer to carry his bags, then try-out as a back-up singer, then follow him around until your day comes? Do you want to be an evangelist like Morris Cerullo? Track him down and get on his team, then follow him around until you get the anointing. It's hard work but it's worth it. It's a simple spiritual father/ son exchange. It's the Apostolic path to succession. The spiritual father chooses the spiritual son upon whom he will bestow the anointing on his life and the spiritual son chooses to serve the father from whom he would like to receive the anointing. The end!

Hence, the man with the biggest church or most explosive anointing will get the most people to serve as armor bearers, leaders and junior ministers because many of them believe that they will one day walk in the same anointing. I don't blame them because that's exactly what I thought for many years. It's also what I was taught for many years. Yet, there were many sons of the prophets in the days of Elisha and Elijah but only Elisha received Elijah's anointing. Nevertheless, Elisha out-served them all. So again, Elisha earned the anointing and the rest of them did not. It's an open and shut case. You serve, you get the anointing. You don't serve, you don't get it. You're either in or you are out. It makes complete sense. Well, almost...

We know that Elisha served Elijah so that's an easy one. We then know that Gehazi did not properly serve Elisha so he didn't get the anointing. So, it looks like Elisha died without intentionally passing on his anointing. Actually, in 2 Kings 13:21, a dead man was thrown into the same tomb as Elisha's bones and the remnant of the anointing on his bones was enough to raise the man from the dead. If I was preaching a sermon, I would say that if Gehazi had done what was right, he would have been able to raise the dead man instead of Elisha's bones. I would then stop there because it's a simple message. It encourages all people to serve in their local churches and leaders to pass on what they have so others could be just like them. However, nothing's ever that simple.

Luke 1:13-17(NKJV) - But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

How did John the Baptist receive the spirit and power of Elijah the same way Elisha received it? Thousands of years had passed and The Bible doesn't clearly depict a direct line of succession that can explain it. In fact, once we get to Elisha's servant Gehazi, we don't know where to go from there. Yet, generations later, another prophet was born with the same anointing and no clear path to getting it. How do you explain that? If you try to use the servant-hood approach you'll reach a dead-end. It makes sense for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Ephraim, Elisha and Elijah, Naomi and Ruth, Jesus and the disciples, Moses and Joshua, Paul and Timothy, etc. but it won't work here. Hence, there must be more to the transference of the anointing than servant-hood. It definitely has precedence in scripture but it does not present the complete picture. Here's what really happened with Elijah and Elisha.

1 Kings 19:16-21(NKJV) - Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Let me ask the same question that I asked earlier. After reading this scripture, let's see if you change your answer. Why did Elisha receive the anointing on Elijah's life? Did he earn it by serving Elijah? No! Did he inherit it because he was a member of Elisha's family? No! Did Elijah choose Elisha as the person to receive his anointing? No! Did Elisha choose Elijah as the person from whom he wanted to receive the anointing? No! When Elijah quit on God, God told Elijah to anoint Elisha as the prophet who would replace him. In other words, like a good boss, God told his disgruntled employee, Elijah to empower and train his replacement, Elisha before leaving the company for good.

Neither of them had any input in the decision. It was a God idea! Yes, the scripture says that Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha. It also says that Elisha destroyed every remnant of his former life to become Elijah's servant. However, all of that only happened after God in his sovereignty made the decision that Elijah needed to pass the anointing to Elisha. That decision and only that explains what happened. Everything else followed. Elisha didn't serve Elijah so that he would be chosen to receive the anointing, Elisha served Elijah because he was already chosen by God to receive the anointing.

What is the anointing anyway and why is it so valuable? In the Old Testament, the word "anointing" is translated from the Hebrew word "mishchah" and in the context of this discussion, represents the ointment used to consecrate individuals who are "set apart" by God for a special purpose. In the New testament it is translated from the Greek word "chrisma" which in the context of this discussion represents the special endowment of the Holy Spirit. Other words that can sometimes be used in the right context to represent the anointing are grace, gift, power, supernatural ability, mantle and empowerment. Now let me share a personal experience with the anointing.

It's been one week since we buried my grandfather, Dr. Levi Duncan in Trinidad and Tobago. He was 93 years old and left behind a ministry legacy that remains untouched by anyone else in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. He finally received his heavenly promotion and joined his Heavenly Father for eternity. However, he left something behind that The Lord knows we still need right here on earth; The Anointing. During the funeral, my father, Apostle Emanuel Vivian Duncan and uncle, Apostle Joseph Vernon Duncan, stood on the pulpit and declared that the mantle from grandfather would fall on whomever chose to receive it that day. I knelt before the altar with my wife, Angel by my side and opened my heart to receive from The Lord. Initially, it built slowly then suddenly I felt the rush of God's Spirit rising in my heart to a level that was overwhelming.

As waves of God's glory shot through my body I started crying out to God. I didn't serve my grandfather. I barely even knew him. How can I get that anointing? It doesn't work like that. I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't earn it. I didn't fully understand what was going on anyway so I kept talking to God but God said nothing. He just released the anointing. He didn't need my input. He just needed my willingness to receive. The decision to pass on the anointing was not my decision. It also was not my grandfather's decision to pass on anything. It was God's decision. God chose Isaac over Ishmael according to Genesis 17:16-21. He chose Jacob over Esau according to Romans 9:13. He chose Ephraim over Manasseh according to Genesis 48:8-20. Each time, God went against the norm in deciding who would be next to receive a particular anointing. It was not the father's choice. It was not the son's choice. It was God's choice.

Based on my understanding, my grandfather led at least four different churches during his time of active ministry. Three of the churches are in Trinidad (Toco, Curepe and Chaguanas) and one is in the US (Plainfield, NJ). Apart from the churches he personally led, there were countless others that were birthed out of his ministry. Many of which are led by individuals who today refuse to acknowledge any connection to him and some of which chose not to honor him by even showing up to his funeral. In fact, I don't know if he ever personally laid hands on his successors and passed on what was on his life. Some of these churches are led by pastors who were appointed by denominational boards, others are in place because they won elections from the church membership. Nevertheless, they figured out what to do and did it.

What's missing in all of this is a proper understanding of the anointing. Yes, you can do what it takes to get control of someone's ministry. Yes, you can use your connection to a man of God to build your own following and become "successful". Yes, you can receive another man's financial, spiritual and social assistance to become "great" in the ministry. However, what you cannot do is walk in his anointing if God did not decide that you are supposed to receive it. That's the missing link. Elijah took his mantle and struck the water in the Jordan river so that it parted in two, then he and Elisha crossed over on dry land. After Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha returned to the Jordan river, took the same mantle that Elijah dropped and struck the water asking, "Where is the God of Elijah?" The water parted again because He was right there. Elijah may have left for heaven but the God of Elijah stayed with Elisha on earth.

Acts 19:11-17(NKJV) - Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

The seven sons of Sceva did exactly what Elisha did. They mimicked the person they saw walking in a particular anointing. However, there was a difference. While Elisha had the anointing he saw on Elijah, they didn't have the anointing they saw on Apostle Paul. Hence, while Elisha could part the Jordan river just like Elijah, they could only attempt to cast out an evil spirit just like Apostle Paul. Elisha called on the God of Elijah and He answered. The seven sons of Sceva called on the God of Apostle Paul and He didn't answer. Instead, the evil spirit answered and beat them mercilessly. What separated the two was not only their relationship with the person who walked in the anointing they desired. The distinguishing factor was their relationship with the God of the person who walked in the anointing they desired. Elisha knew the God of Elijah but the Seven Sons of Sceva did not know the God of Apostle Paul.

I've seen and heard pastors preach like Bishop TD Jakes. They walk like him, talk like him, they even hold the mike like him. However, it doesn't matter what they do, they do not have the same impact that he does. While they may be able to mimic his preaching style what they lack is his anointing. I've seen people try to preach like Pastor Creflo Dollar. They dress like him. They crack his jokes. They talk about wealth. Yet, their words don't have the same power because what they lack his anointing. I've heard singers try to lead worship like the great worship leaders of our time or prophesy like the great prophets of our time. Yet, they don't have the same impact. What they lack is the anointing. God makes the decision concerning who gets which anointing and when. First, you have to be anointed, then you can do what God has called you to do at the level that He has called you to do it. The people you see walking in power have the anointing and they didn't get it from a person, they got it from God.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31(NKJV) - Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

The Bible states that you can earnestly desire the best gifts. I don't know what anointing you desire. Are you amazed by the grace of God on your pastor's life and want to see it in your own also? Do you want the gifts of healing and the power to cast out devils like my grandfather? Do you want to prophesy like my father? Do you want to evangelize the world like Billy Graham or do miracles like Benny Hinn? Do you want to teach like Ravi Zacharias or preach like TD Jakes? What anointing did you come for? None of them own the anointing on their lives and it's not up to them who gets to walk in it. So even if you never had the chance to meet them, that doesn't exclude you from receiving what God placed on their lives. However, there's a price.

The anointing is a free gift from God but walking in it is expensive. Elisha paid the price to walk in the anointing on Elijah's life. God picked Elisha to succeed Elijah but Elisha had to walk away from everything he knew to receive it. The disciples received the same Holy Ghost who rested on Jesus but most of them paid the same ultimate price that Jesus eventually paid for it. Now let me ask you a direct question. What anointing do you desire? If God chooses to give it to you, are you willing to pay the price? Hopefully, you already made that decision before showing up in God's presence. My mind is made up. I came for the anointing. Did you?

1 Peter 4:10-11(NLT) - God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
4

An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

1 Thessalonians 5:18(NLT) - Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the US. Regardless of the questionable history of the occasion itself, it has become a day for family, fellowship, food and most importantly, gratitude. Why is it so important to be thankful? For Christians the answer is simple. It's the Will of God. That's right! It is God's Will for those of us who belong to Christ Jesus to be thankful in all circumstances. What does that mean? God expects us to do more than just respond naturally to circumstances. If that was the case, He would accept thankfulness and gratitude when things are good but complaining and murmuring when things are bad because that's natural. He wants us to go beyond our natural tendencies to respond to circumstances and proactively decide to be thankful in spite of our circumstances.

Colossians 4:2(AMP) - Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is an attitude which means it is a choice. It's not just any choice, it's a very important one. Everyday, you can choose to be thankful for what you have or choose to complain about what you don't. You can choose to be thankful for what is going right or choose to complain about what's going wrong. It's all about perspective. For example, if a glass has water up to its halfway point, some would say a pessimist sees the glass as half-empty and an optimist sees the glass as half-full. May I suggest one more.

A thankful person is grateful to have water in the glass in the first place especially if that person knows what it is like to have an empty glass and be thirsty. That's the attitude God wants us to have. Yet, that's not even what Colossians 4:2 is all about. In that scripture, Apostle Paul emphasizes the important role that an attitude of thankfulness has to our prayer life. He said that not only must we be persistent and devoted to prayer, alert and focused in our prayer life, we must do it with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This is a popular scripture that demonstrates the power of prayer. Instead of being anxious and uneasy about anything in life, we must take everything to God in prayer. However, that's not all. There's a small detail we can't overlook. We must do it with thanksgiving. Don't just pray, but pray with thanksgiving. Since we know now that thankfulness is God's Will, it should not be that hard to understand why He wants us to be thankful when we pray. If we're going to ask God to do something for us, the least we could do is be appreciative of who He is and thankful for what He has already done. Only then, can we access the supernatural peace which comes from God to guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus from doubt, fear and confusion.

Luke 17:11-19(NKJV) - Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Ten men cried out to Jesus for deliverance from leprosy and all ten men received their healing. Without question, they must all have been extremely happy about what they received from Jesus. Yet, only one thought about saying thank you. What's the difference? Nine of them only cared about what Jesus could do for them while one cared about Jesus. Though similar, those two perspectives are quite distinctive and Jesus took notice. First, he asked for the rest of the men who were healed. Jesus then made a prophetic pronouncement over the one who returned to give God glory.

Jesus knew that leprosy was not the only problem he had to deal with. Years of leprosy caused the men to be outcasts from society, potentially costing them their livelihood, family, assets and even their good name. So while nine men only received healing from leprosy, the one man who chose to be thankful received wholeness in every area of his life. If that wasn't worth a simple thank you, I don't know what is. Yet, it's still not simple enough for some people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5(AMP) - But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.

These are the last days and many people are simply ungrateful. In some areas of Western society, there is so much prosperity and opportunity that there's a generation of people growing up who feel entitled. They feel like they deserve to get what they want. Life is just supposed to hand them the best just because they are human beings and for no other reason. Even worse, they want what they see others enjoying without considering the cost of earning it themselves. It's all part of our materialistic, greedy, self-centered culture. It's so hard to please people these days because regardless of what they have, they want more. Personal satisfaction and gratefulness to God is just too much to ask.

This passage of scripture put ungrateful people in the same category as people who are selfish, greedy, boastful, arrogant, unholy, profane, brutal, reckless, conceited and much more. How about that? I always thought that ungratefulness was bad but I didn't know it's that bad. Well, it is... It's so bad that the Apostle Paul says to avoid such people and keep far away from them. It sounds harsh but it's good advice. Ungrateful people are toxic and if you hang around them long enough they'll infect you with their ungratefulness and change your attitude to match their own. Hence, follow the advice of the scriptures and stay away from them.

Psalm 95:1-2(KJV) - O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 100:4(NKJV) - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

It's a good thing to be in God's presence. The scripture says in Psalm 16:11 that in God's presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand, unending pleasures. It also says in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that where the Spirit of The Lord is there is freedom. It then says in Matthew 18:20 that where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, there He will be among them. Yet, what it says about God's presence in Psalms 95 and 100 should be considered alongside these other wonderful scriptures. If you want to enjoy the benefits of God's presence, come before His presence with thanksgiving! Don't show up complaining. Don't show up murmuring. Show up with praise and thanksgiving. He's done enough to deserve it! Gratitude is a choice, so choose it today.

8

Guided by God's Presence

The Importance of Recognizing God's Presence

1 Kings 19:1-10(NKJV) - And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

Elijah, the most powerful prophet of his time was scared. He had just pulled off one of the most improbable miracle in history. He called fire from heaven to douse a wet sacrifice in the world's first and only "Fire from Heaven Competition". Yet, he was so scared of Jezebel's words that he took off running. Don't forget that in 1 Kings 18, he outran the King's chariot so he probably took off pretty quickly. What's interesting to note is that The Bible doesn't show us anywhere if Jezebel actually sent anyone to pursue Elijah. Perhaps, she had nobody to send because he had a reputation for calling fire from heaven on people who came after him. Nevertheless, he did have one pursuer and that was God. In the worst season of his life, every time Elijah stopped to rest God was there. Under the broom tree, God fed him there. In the cave, God met him there. God valued Elijah so much that even though Elijah was straying from God's Will for his life, God still went after him.

1 Kings 19:11-13(NKJV) - Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

In 1 Kings 19:11-13, God told Elijah to stand on the mountain before Him. He then conducted a simple exercise. He passed by and caused a powerful windstorm to hit the mountains, breaking rocks in pieces. However, even though He caused the windstorm, He was not in it. Then, He shook the ground with an earthquake but though He caused the earthquake, He was not in it. Then, He caused spontaneous combustion right before Elijah's eyes but though He caused the fire, He was not in it. Wait, what? How could God not be in the wind, earthquake or fire? He caused them, didn't He? Yes, He caused them, but God didn't want to direct Elijah with storms, earthquake and fire. He wanted to guide Elijah with His presence.

That's why The Bible said that God was not in them. It didn't say that God didn't speak through them which is what we typically extrapolate by reading between the lines. It said He was not in them. Hence, the writer placed the emphasis on the presence of God. In fact, if you keep reading, you would recognize that Elijah did not move until He heard the still small voice which we can safely assume contained God's presence. Yes, there's revelation in the stillness of God's Voice when compared to the grandeur of wind, earthquake and fire. However, today God wants us to recognize the importance of being guided by His presence.

Why was it so important for God to distinguish the value of His presence to Elijah from signs and wonders? Think about this a little. Elijah called fire from heaven at least three times; once to burn up a wet sacrifice and twice to burn up Ahab's armies. In 1 Kings 17:1 Elijah called a drought on the spot and rain didn't fall for three years. In 1 Kings 17:6 ravens fed Elijah bread and meat. In 1 Kings 17:8-16, Elijah showed the widow and her son how to have their cake and eat it too for the duration of a multi-year famine. In 1 Kings 17:22, Elijah called the soul of the dead child back into his body. In 1 Kings 18:11-12, Ahab's servant said that Elijah had a reputation of instantly translating from one place to another.

In other words, signs and wonders were commonplace for Elijah. Hence, the wind, earthquake or fire from God may have moved us but unless God Himself was in them, they didn't move Elijah. Neither, did God want them to, especially with Elijah's state of mind at the time. Elijah's life was in complete turmoil. He was running for his life from Jezebel. He was scared. He was tired. He felt all alone. He knew God's power. He knew God's miracles. He knew the power of God's Word. He didn't need another sign. He just needed God's presence. He was at his lowest point and he just needed to know that The Lord was with him. He didn't want what was in God's hands. He just needed to be in God's face.

Exodus 33:12-17(NKJV) - Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

Moses understand the value of God's presence. He spoke to God face to face. He knew God's personality. He shared God's heart for His people. So he chose to be guided by God's presence. If God's presence moved, they would move. If God's presence stayed, they would stay. Wherever God's presence would go was the place that the Children of Israel needed to go. Wherever God's presence would not go was the place the Children of Israel needed to avoid. From the days of the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day, they understood that following God's presence was the best way to remain in God's Will. Today, God also wants us to get to that stage of our relationship with Him. He wants us to move away from simply following signs, impulses, trends or crowds to following His presence. If you believe God is leading you somewhere or to do something you should use His presence as confirmation that you're on the right track because God doesn't show up where He doesn't want to be.

2 Samuel 6:12-15(NKJV) - Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.

Why did King David dance before God with all of his might when they finally got their hands on the ark of The Lord? The ark represented God's presence and wherever God's presence rested so did His blessing. That's the essence of this entire message. If we only understood the intrinsic value of God's presence we would stop running after every other thing and pursue His presence for the rest of our lives. In His presence we will find joy and pleasures (Psalms 16:11). Where His Spirit is, we will be free (2 Corinthians 3:17). It's His presence that's the difference maker for our present and our future. It's His presence that will keep us through difficult seasons of our lives. It's the people who have God's presence who will be confident that all will be well with them. It's all about His presence.

Psalm 51:10-12(NKJV)- Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

This is my prayer and should be yours too. Enjoy God's presence today.

16

Understanding The Time and Season You're In

Understanding The Time and Season You're In

Understanding The Time and Season You're In!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8(NKJV) - To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

My wife and I frequent a Caribbean restaurant near our home in Metro-Atlanta where they sell some of the best Jamaican food. Sometimes, after an early morning workout, we would buy ackee and saltfish for breakfast. Ackee is a West African fruit that became the national fruit of Jamaica and it's delicious. However, there's an interesting fact about ackee that's relevant to today's blog. Ackee can only be eaten at the right time. Until it's fully ripe, it's poisonous and can put you in a coma or even kill you. It doesn't matter how hungry you are, how much of a rush you are in or how desperate you are, you cannot enjoy ackee until it's ripe.

Today, The Lord wants to teach us a valuable Kingdom principle. Many important things in life are time-dependent. They cannot be rushed. They cannot be manipulated. They cannot be forced. They only happen when they're supposed to happen. It doesn't matter what you do, certain things won't happen until the time is right. Even if you find a way to force them to happen early, they won't happen right.

For instance, the full-term of a human baby in the womb is targeted for nine months. If a mother wants to have a natural child-birth under normal circumstances, she has to wait until that time for the baby to be delivered. If she simply gets tired of being pregnant after two months she can't decide to give birth on her own schedule because premature child-birth comes with serious health risks. She has to understand where she is in the pregnancy and act accordingly for the sake of her child's life. In the same way, when the time comes for certain things to happen, there can be no delay, they must happen. At the end of nine months, ready or not, when a baby is ready to leave the womb, the mother typically has only one logical choice; push.

1 Chronicles 12:32(AMP) - Of the tribe of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, two hundred chiefs; and all their relatives were at their command;

Do you understand the times like the tribe of Issachar? Do you know what season you are in? What has God called you to do in this season? Are you doing it? Your answers to those questions could explain your success or failure in life. Do you know that if you do the wrong thing at the right time or the right thing at the wrong time you will fail? Yes, it's crucial to know what your purpose is but it's even more crucial to know when is the right time for your purpose. If you don't get both right, you won't succeed. Yet, understanding times and seasons in God's Kingdom is not that straightforward.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, King Solomon taught one of the most simple, yet profound life lessons in The Holy Bible. There is a season for everything and a time for every purpose "under heaven". Pay close attention to the last two words because that's where God wants to reveal some gems of wisdom today. What did he mean by "under heaven"? Don't the same rules that govern time on earth apply in heaven? Nope! Time is a natural construct created by God for natural things. The heavenly realm operates under its own set of rules which govern eternity and they supersede our concept of time.

Psalm 31:15(NKJV) - My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.

God holds my times in His hand; not my time (singular), but my times (plural). Over the weekend, I attended the ministry school graduation of my wife, Angel, where she received her Masters in Ministry. In the opening remarks, one of the school's founders, Tim Scott, talked about four dimensions of time;

1) Chronos (Greek) - Linear, sequential, chronological time; the time that's captured by clocks and calendars.

Genesis 1:1(NKJV) - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Daniel 8:19(NKJV) - And he said, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.

Chronos time has a precise beginning and a precise end. As long as we are on the earth governed by the systems of the earth, we must submit to the laws of chronos time. Certain things must happen before other things can happen. Time is what it is. I can't speed up time and make a minute happen any faster than 60 seconds. I can't slow time down and make a minute last longer than 60 seconds. I can't gain time nor can I lose time. I can't control time. I can only control what I do with it. One of my favorite college professors said that time is our only non-renewable resource. Once it's gone, it's gone and we can never get it back. Nothing can be done to compensate for lost time. We can only learn from our mistakes and do better with the time we have left. Yet, that's just one dimension of time. There's so much more.

2) Set Time - A time that's appointed, like the time set on your alarm clock; the moment ordained by God for something to happen; it's non-negotiable and cannot change.

Psalm 102:13(NKJV) - You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.

Psalm 105:17-22(NKJV) - He sent a man before them—Joseph—who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him, The ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, And ruler of all his possessions, To bind his princes at his pleasure, And teach his elders wisdom.

There was a set time for Joseph's dreams to come to pass. Until then, he went through some trying times. In fact, The Bible says that The Word itself tried and tested him. What does that mean? When God gives you a prophetic Word about your future, that Word will challenge you all the way until it happens. It will challenge you to keep going. It will challenge you to stay focused. It will test your faith. It will try your patience. It will keep you on your toes knees. So what do you do while you wait for your Word to come to pass at its set time?

Galatians 6:9(NKJV) - And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Keep doing good. Keep praying. Keep serving. Keep obeying God. Keep worshiping. Keep walking in God's Will. Don't give up. Don't lose heart. Don't get tired. Don't be weary. Stick it out until your due season comes because those who sow and care for their crops while they develop will reap when harvest time comes around. You can't force your set time to come ahead of God's schedule so all you can do is be faithful to God long enough to see it happen during your lifetime. As the psalmist said in Psalm 27:13(NKJV); "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living."

John 7:1-9(NLT) - After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.

Jesus knew His "set" time and refused to let His brothers talk Him into getting ahead of His Father's schedule. The time had not come for Him to reveal Himself to the masses so instead of going to the festival He stayed home. That's the perfect example of how we should apply our understanding of our "set" time. If you know that your time has not come for something, don't get ahead of God. How can you be so sure? First, listen to God's Voice. If He doesn't tell you it's time to move, it's not time to move. Second, look for God's open door. He won't ask you to do something without first opening the door for you to do it. When He opens the door and tells you to walk through it, it's your "set" time. Until then, wait.

3) Fullness of Time - The time when something is complete, like the time when a baby is ready to be born; it marks the successful end of a process and varies depending on the exact duration of the process.

Galatians 4:3-5(NKJV) - Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden God set in motion a plan of redemption that spanned thousands of years. It started with the first animal sacrifice by God Himself. He killed an innocent animal and used its skin to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness. He called for sacrifices from Cain and Abel. He broke the curse on the earth because of Noah then washed it clean with a flood. He brought Isaac, the son of Promise through the seed of Abraham, the Hebrew nation through Jacob, salvation from famine through Joseph, freedom for slavery and the advent of the law through Moses. This plan unfolded until it ended in the fullness of time with Jesus Christ, the innocent lamb of God, dying on The Cross for all sin. Jesus didn't just die because the time had come, He died because the process was complete. That's why on The Cross He could say with confidence, "It is finished!"

Hebrews 10:35-36(KJV) - Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

You only receive the promise after you have done the Will of God. However, there's no guarantee that you'll receive it immediately after. That's why you have need of patience. The fullness of time depends on what you do but it doesn't only depend on what you do. There are many other corroborating factors that must be in place. We can only see things from our narrow perspectives so we may believe the time is right for something because we're ready for it to happen. The Most High God, on the other hand sees it all and has to ensure that all things are working together for our good and the good of everyone else involved. When all things are in place in the fullness of time, the promise will come to pass.

Isaiah 50:4(NKJV) - “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.

Before I get to the final dimension of time, The Lord woke me up to write this blog at our 3:00 AM set time (his favorite time to speak with me) and revealed another dimension of time that I will address now.

4) Cyclical/ Seasonal Time - The moment when certain things take place after regular intervals of time; the sun sets and rises in one day; spring, summer, fall and winter repeat in one year.

Genesis 8:22(NKJV) - “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”

Spring comes after winter. If you're tired of winter, you can't force spring to come any faster, you have to wait for it. That's just the way it is and there's nothing we can do about it as long as we're "under heaven". We are also subject to cyclical time. When the sun rises, it's morning time and when the sun sets, it's evening time. The sun won't set in the morning or rise in the evening. That's how time works and we're bound to it. Certain things don't happen unless the season is right for it to happen.

Psalm 1:1-3(NKJV) - Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

You can only bring forth fruit in the season designated for that fruit. A revelation of that will change your life for the better. It will help you to curb your expectations to match the season of your life. It will save you from disappointment and frustration. It will cause you to focus your energy in the right direction. There's a season to sow and a season to reap. If you sow during your planting season you can be confident that you will reap in your harvest season. There's a season to work and a season to rest. If you work during your resting season you won't make it through your working season. There's a season to start certain things and a season to end them. There's a season to go to certain places and a season to leave them forever. Since there's a season for everything, you're always in the season for something. What season are you in right now?

5) Kairos (Greek) - Right, critical, opportune time; the time when God breaks into the natural realm with His supernatural power and authority demonstrating His Sovereignty.

Joshua 10:12-14(AMP) - Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord handed over the Amorites to the sons of Israel, and Joshua said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, And moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation [of Israel] took vengeance upon their enemies. Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? So the sun stood still in the middle of the sky and was in no hurry to go down for about a whole day. There has not been a day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to (heeded) the voice of a man; for the Lord was fighting for Israel.

What really happened that day? Did Joshua's words stop the sun from moving? One of the most basic lessons we learn in classical mechanics is that, as it relates to the earth, the sun is not moving. It's the earth that's moving. What about the moon? Did it stop moving? Did the moon's lack of movement affect the force of gravity or the tides? Do you understand the collateral impact that a situation like that would have had on the earth? If the earth stopped rotating for several hours so that the sun was directly above the battlefield what happened on the other side of the earth? Were they in darkness?

Obviously, this situation defies all logic and cannot be explained using natural phenomenon. What if there's a Kingdom explanation for this? God inserted His supernatural power to save Israel and took control of natural time. His Kairos time was imposed upon earth's chronos time long enough for His people to defeat their enemies. God also overrode the reality of cyclical time, stopping the earth's daily movement because it was the set time for Israel to defeat the Amorites whose wickedness against God and His children reached its fullness of time.

Kairos time has no limitation or schedule and is not subject to any laws. It's the time that represents God's sovereignty. It's the time when God imposes the power of infinite eternity on finite time. Whenever He feels like breaking into a situation with His power, He will do so. He created time and can do whatever He pleases with it. Any time is a good time for the Kairos time of God.

Case Study: Moses and the Children of Israel

Exodus 2:11-14(AMP) - One day, after Moses had grown [into adulthood], it happened that he went to his countrymen and looked [with compassion] at their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. He turned to look around, and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. He went out the next day and saw two Hebrew men fighting with each other; and he said to the aggressor, “Why are you striking your friend?” But the man said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Certainly this incident is known.”

In Exodus 2:11-14, we read the account of Moses killing an Egyptian to save a Hebrew slave. At that point, he was 40 years old. He did it out of compassion for his people but it didn't work out the way he thought it would. To Moses, it seemed like a good chronos time because any time is good to be free from slavery. Yet, it wasn't God's Kairos time because God did not break in and help Moses free his people in response to the actions of Moses. It wasn't the set time for freedom because we read in Genesis 15:13(AMP); "God said to Abram, “Know for sure that your descendants will be strangers [living temporarily] in a land (Egypt) that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years."

The Hebrews had to be enslaved for 400 years and would not be free any earlier than that. It also was not the fullness of time because look at the response of the Hebrew man when Moses told him to stop fighting his brother. He obviously wasn't ready and neither was Moses. Their freedom would only happen after a process and it was a threefold process. Moses had to go through a process in the wilderness with God for 40 years. After that, Egypt had to go through the process of 10 plagues. Most importantly, the Hebrews had to finish their process of learning to trust God for their salvation and freedom. Unfortunately, for most of them, even though they made it out of Egypt, they didn't make it into the Promised Land because they never completed the process. Sadly, even though they made it out of Egypt, they died in the wilderness and their fullness of time never came to enter the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 8:1-3(NKJV) - “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

The "set" time for freedom from slavery was 400 years. The Chronos time for entering the promised land was 11 days. They had chronos time and God's set time on their side but they still didn't see the promise. Why? They didn't reach the fullness of time because they didn't complete the process of mental and spiritual transformation in the wilderness in 11 days or even 40 years. Hence, they never experienced God's Kairos time and died in the wilderness. While God was dealing with the Children of Israel as a group, He was also working on Moses as an individual.

God worked with Moses in 40 year cycles. At 40 years old he felt a sudden compassion for the Hebrew slaves and killed an Egyptian. It was not the "set" time for their freedom so he ran into the wilderness where he spent another 40 years before God showed up to call him back to Egypt. He returned at 80 years old and that time, The Lord was with Him. When Moses was done in Egypt not only did every first born in Egypt die, their entire army was drowned in the Red Sea and the Children of Israel were set free. Forty years after that, at the age of 120, Moses finally saw the Promised Land. Unfortunately, he couldn't enter because he didn't do so 40 years before. He wasn't weak, sick or impaired but he died at 120 at the end of his "chronos" time.

Times Are Changing!

Daniel 2:20-22(NKJV) - Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.

Amos 9:13(AMP) - “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When the plowman shall overtake the one who gathers the harvest, And the one who treads the grapes [shall overtake] him who sows the seed [for the harvest continues until planting time]; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills shall melt [that is, everything that was once barren will overflow with streams of blessing].

The Lord said through Pastor Tim that we are entering a season when all dimensions of time will occur simultaneously in our lives. This is how The Lord showed it to me this morning. Think of your times as 5 intersecting circles with one spot at the center where all 5 overlap each other. There's a koinonia or union of times that takes place when enough "chronos" time has passed, God's set time for your favor has come, you've been through your processing and it's your fullness of time, it's your season for breakthrough and God supernaturally breaks into your life with His miraculous power. In that moment, all natural laws will be suspended. You will reap where you did not sow. What should take years will happen in a moment. God will turn back the clock and restore all that was lost. God will open doors that should never open under natural circumstances. God will heal diseases that became progressively worse over the years. God will perform miracles.

So what now? When is the right time for you to see God's promise come to pass in your life? Well, it depends on your definition of time. Understand the time and season you're in. You can't stop, speed up or slow down chronological time so accept that the clock will keep ticking. You can't control God's "set" time so submit to God's schedule of events for your life. However, you need to know where you are in your season and you need to do what God has called you to do for this season. Only when you complete what you should be doing in your current season will you be able to enter your next season in the fullness of time. Also, only when you're doing what God has called you to do for this season will you be rightly positioned for your "set" time for His promise. Last, but definitely not least, the only overriding factor on all time is God's Kairos time. It can happen whenever God chooses and when it comes, it will be right on time. It is my prayer that you're ready for God to break into your situation right now!

2

God of the Open Door

Psalm 25:4-5(NKJV) - Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

Options... options... options... life is full of so many options. What career should I choose? Where should I go to school? Where should I work? Who should I marry? Should I even get married? What church should I join? Where should I live? What should I do with my free time? What should I do with my life? What should I do with my talents? What should I do with my money? Those are some of the biggest questions we need answers for. Yet, on top of those big life questions with existential significance, there are many more smaller questions we have to answer everyday of our lives. Why? It's because life is about choices and the choices we make define the lives we live. How do you know which option is God's choice for you?

The easy answer is to say that the option you should choose is the one that lines up with God's Word. That's a great answer but it works best if the choice is between doing what is clearly morally right and doing what is wrong. God's Word will always tell you to do what is morally right. Yet, moral or ethical choices aren't the only ones we have to make. What do you do when you have to choose between two options that are morally right or morally neutral? Which scripture is going to give you the answer? This option also works if you can find an example in The Bible which either closely matches your situation or can be related to it. However, what do you do when your circumstances are not easy to match with specific scriptures?

Isaiah 30:21(NKJV) - Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.

The next easy answer is to say that God will tell you which option to choose. I like that answer because it is the right one. However, how does God speak to you? What did He tell you this morning? How did He say it? For the last five confusing situations where you needed to make important choices between options that were morally neutral or good, how did God tell you what to do? Are you sure it was Him? Do you still wonder if you made the right choice? Hindsight is 20-20, so you should know by now if at least some of your older decisions were right or wrong.

I'll be honest with you. God talks to me all the time. I'm thankful He does but that's not the whole story. Sometimes, I can hear what He's saying with total clarity but other times I can't and that's a problem. It's not good enough for God to speak. I have to hear what He's saying too. It's especially difficult to hear His Voice when people around me who also hear from God provide conflicting perspectives on the same situation. It's not good enough to be religious about it and act like you always know what God is thinking. Let's get real. Yes, God has all of the answers. We just don't always know what they are. Hence, we need a consistent and reliable way of getting answers from God even when we're struggling to hear His Voice. Hence, the subject of today's blog; "God of the Open Door".

Revelation 3:7-8(NKJV) - “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

For over two decades, God has shown me what to do in the simplest of ways. He opens the door to the path He wants me to take and closes the door to the path He doesn't want me to take. When faced with some of the most difficult choices in my life, my prayers have remained largely consistent. "Lord, open the door you want me to walk through and close the doors you don't." Even though life presents us all with choices, I like narrowing mine down by the process of elimination. I know it works because I can look back over my life at a track record of good decisions that were only possible because I chose the doors God opened for me and gave up on the ones He closed. It's a remarkably simple approach but it's worth a try.

In the Old Testament, the names of God were directly related to revelations of God's character. When God provided a lamb for Abraham in place of his son, Isaac, The Bible says in Genesis 22:14(KJV); "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." When the Angel of The Lord visited Gideon and commissioned him as the savior of Israel in the midst of their oppression by the Midianites, The Bible says in Judges 6:22-24(KJV); "And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites." So when God showed me how to make good decisions in the midst of confusion by noticing the open door, He revealed Himself as "God of the Open Door".

Psalm 37:23-24(NKJV) - The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

If God orders our steps, He won't order us to keep butting our heads against doors He has purposefully closed. He would order us through the doors He has purposefully opened. My engineering career is a perfect example. Since the day I graduated with my BS an MS degrees from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech it's been an interesting journey. When I was in graduate school God opened the door for me to get my first job then after 12 years the door started closing. Since I'm a creature of habit, I watched the door closing and the walls closing in around me but did nothing about it. Then after months of inaction, God did the following to me.

Job 33:14-16(NLT) - For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings.

When I wouldn't notice the God of the Open Door, He transformed into the God of the Terrifying Dream and got my immediate attention. Since then, my career has been on autopilot. Each step I take now is away from closing doors and through open doors. God hasn't terrified me with dreams about my career lately so it looks like He's satisfied that I'm getting the point. I've stopped trying to force things to work that just aren't working anymore. Things that are past their season have become the closing doors in my life. When the door is closing, it takes tremendous human effort just for it to stay open because I'm on my own. Yet, the more I do to prop the door open, the more the door closes. Eventually, I have to accept that it's not what God wants and He's the one closing the door. Fortunately, God never closes a door without opening another so if a door is closing, it's time to look around for the door that He's opening.

All of us don't have the special ability to hear God's Voice in every situation. However, all of us can see if a door is closing and another one is opening. God has guided me this way for two decades and for the last few days He's been stirring my heart to share our special arrangement with you. Now is the time to ask yourself the tough questions. Have you been trying to keep a door open that door is closing? Have you been ignoring the only open door because you don't want to walk through it for whatever reason? Your success or failure in life is based on the choices you make. A life that's defined by forcing open closed doors is always going to be hard. It's not worth it trying to swim against the current when God is in the current. As my father says; "The worst place to be is where God was." When the cloud moves, even if you're comfortable where you are, pick up your tent and move with it.

Acts 26:14(AMP) - And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic) saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick [repeatedly] against the goads [offering pointless resistance].’

I won't challenge Floyd Mayweather to a boxing match, Usain Bolt to a 100m dash nor Michael Phelps to a swimming race of any length. Why? I'll lose! It's pointless. Then why would I, in my right mind, think it makes any sense to resist God? If He opens the door and says go right, why would I go left and try to force open a closed door? Because he offered pointless resistance, Saul ended up being knocked off of his high horse by Jesus (pun intended). Jacob would not stop wrestling with God so he ended up with a disjointed hip in Genesis 32:24-25. Jonah tried to go to Tarshish instead of Nineveh so he ended up at the brink of death in Jonah 2. What will be your story?

I invite you to get to know Jesus as the God of the Open Door. Unlike many of us, He is very decisive according to 1 Samuel 15:29. He knows exactly what He wants to do and He knows what's best for you. Even if He's promised you things that you are not seeing right now in your life, He can be trusted. Focus your energy on the opportunities He has placed before you. Don't waste energy stressing about the opportunities you did not get. Set your sights on the doors He has opened. Don't be distracted by the doors He has closed. In this season of your life, He closed them for a reason. Now is not the time for that. It's the time for something else. Something He wants you to have. Something He's placed before your eyes. Something on the other side of the open door... something good. Get up and take it. It's yours.

4
May 7, 2018Posted by admin in angels

An Angel Visited Me at My House Last Night!

Acts 2:16-18(KJV) - But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

I woke up just after 3:00 AM this morning angrily shouting; "Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus." Thank God he didn't resist and left in a flash. However, so did my desire to sleep. Hence, today's blog. 🙂 What was strange is that I actually heard voices outside after I woke up. I looked out the window and two of my neighbors who only recently moved in across the street were talking in their porch facing the direction of my house. Yes at 3:00 AM in the still of the night they were standing up in their porch talking! I don't know what that's about but it's too much of a coincidence for me to ignore. A few minutes later there was silence again. I looked out the window and they were gone. Now that I know who they are, they are about to get a prayer drive-by with some machine-gun tongues; "Brrrrratatatatat!" More on that later.

Hebrews 13:2(KJV) - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

This blog is about my angel. He came to my house last night and this time we actually talked. For what it's worth he also finally told me his name. It's Michael. I know what you're thinking. Like Michael, the archangel? I don't know about that part. That's exactly what I thought when he first told me but I didn't ask him so I'll make no assumptions. He's Michael, the angel. That's what I do know. What's unique about this encounter is that he came to my house for the first time to talk to me like that. In addition, this is the first time he didn't give me a message about the ministry. He came to tell me something personal.

Psalm 34:7(NKJV) - The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Psalm 91:11-12(NKJV) - For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

I know by faith that angels are always there because I believe Psalms 34:7 and 91:11-12. Yet, the last time I actually saw one I was still a teenager attending college. In the space of about two years one appeared to me 3 times. He came to my aunt's basement and took me to heaven to show me where I fit in world history. Another angel met me on the side of the road outside of World Changer's Church International and told me God will take me to the nations. That angel appeared in the form of a woman in the passenger seat of a car.

Then the last time I saw an angel, he came into my 8:00 AM Statistics and Probability class at Georgia Tech during the 1999 summer session while I was falling asleep. That morning he just stood next to me saying nothing. God told me he was just there like personal security to keep an eye on things. He had nothing to say but I got the message. Since then, no encounters like that have come to my mind. I do remember last night distinctly wondering why God didn't encounter me like that any more. I just thought it to myself and it happened a few hours later.

Mark 4:15(NKJV) - And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

What's interesting is that during that season of my life, the angel of the Lord was not the only one who paid me a visit. Satan also visited me a few times. He actually came to my bed in my aunt's basement also. He didn't say anything but he brought this oppressive darkness that made it hard for me to move or even breathe sometimes. God reminded me of that a few minutes ago. Back then I didn't know what to do but scream out to Jesus for help. This time was different. As I said earlier, I rebuked him without thinking about it and he left immediately. I won't bore you with the rest of the details but remember this. When God shows up with a Word for you, Satan will come immediately to try to take it away. Don't ever let him do that!

Now why did God send angels to visit me so many times? I can't tell you I fully understand why but I do have an idea. Since those visits I started this website, preached countless messages, wrote 6 books and started a church with my wife. God used those angelic encounters to propel me forward in ministry. Now He's doing it again. Obviously, it's a signal that a new season has started. Even the enemy knows it because he came back again trying to stop it. I wish he wouldn't but it's not my choice. When there's a shift in the spirit realm, he takes notice and tries to get in the way. That's why he got himself rebuked this morning.

Genesis 28:11-19(NKJV) - So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.

In this account of "Jacob's Ladder" we are given a vivid picture of angelic activity. My father explained one time that the angels seen by Jacob were ascending from earth into heaven then returning from heaven to earth. In other words, they were already on earth to start with. They just went to heaven to get some stuff to bring back to earth. I know that the moment Jacob had his dream was not the moment the angels showed up. It was the moment God opened his eyes to see what was already going on. In the same way, I believe God's angels are always with us but last night he opened my eyes to see Michael.

When Jacob had his dream, he was in a period of transition. He had just received the blessing from his father Isaac and was following his father's instructions to find a wife. He was also running for his life from his older brother Esau who promised vengeance for losing the blessing. God showed up to reassure Jacob that He was was with him. Even though Jacob already received the blessing from his father, God confirmed everything that was said and added even more.

Why after almost two decades would the Angel of The Lord return to me like that? I'm in a period of transition myself. If you want to know the details, add me on LinkedIn. I plan to update it later this week. Now as I sit to write this blog The Holy Ghost is reassuring me that everything the angels told me as a teenager is about to start happening. That's why he returned. It's time!

(to be continued)

3

The Power of His Resurrection

Philippians 3:7-11(NKJV) - But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

As I prepare to preach this Resurrection Sunday at The Body Church, I've been mulling the significance of this scripture. In our current sermon series, Vision 2018, we've come to the part where we're dealing with "The Power of God" and the role it plays in our personal and corporate church growth. I don't consider it a coincidence that what God wants to say to us this Easter Sunday is directly in line with what He's already saying to us in this sermon series. So today, I'll introduce Sunday's message in this blog.

Apostle Paul's primary desire was to know Jesus Christ. He put that desire above everything else in his life including his personal accomplishments and self-generated righteousness. He then elaborated on the specific aspects of Christ that interested him the most. He wanted to know Christ in two main ways; the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Why? So that the same victory Jesus Christ attained over death would also be his portion. In other words, through Christ's resurrection, he would receive his own resurrection.

At first glance, it seems quite simple. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, so that those of us who were once dead because of sin, can receive life through Him. That life manifests itself through instant spiritual renewal at the point of salvation. It is then followed up by physical resurrection on The Last Day (not before) when Jesus returns to earth. For those who die before that day, the resurrection is literal. Yet, for those who are still alive, their natural bodies which are subject to death and are already in the process of dying will be changed to immortal, glorified bodies similar to the one Jesus received. It also means that those who are in Christ will not experience eternal death which is separation from God. Yet, there's more.

John 11:1-7, 11-15, 20-27(NKJV) - Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, “He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” ... These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house... Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

After Lazarus died, Mary and Martha were distraught. First, they were devastated by the loss of their beloved brother. However, what made it worse was that Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, had the power to do something about it and never showed up until after Lazarus was dead. Interestingly enough, Jesus revealed to His disciples that He did that on purpose. It was actually Jesus' intention to let Lazarus die first so that He could raise Lazarus from death (sleep) and glorify God through it. As demonstrated in their conversation, Martha exposed the outer limits of her faith in the power of Jesus. First, she believed that Jesus had the power to heal so if Jesus had arrived on time Lazarus would have been saved. Then, she believed in The Resurrection at The Last Day. At that point, all believers would rise again so even though Lazarus was dead He would live again eventually.

The only thing she didn't believe was God's power to do anything for someone after physical death and before The Resurrection. In other words, she didn't fully understand The Power of His Resurrection. So, to teach her and the rest of us a valuable lesson about His true power, Jesus orchestrated the perfect demonstration. His main goal was to redefine The Resurrection as a person (Himself) and not an event that takes place on The Last Day alone. Hence, wherever He was present, so was His supreme power over death. He also used the opportunity to explain that belief alone gives anyone access to His power. Those who believe in Him as The Resurrection and die before The Resurrection will live again and those who believe and are alive will not die.

Obviously, we can apply His statement to The Last Day when we are assured that The Resurrection of all believers will take place. Yet, Jesus was clear that He was not just talking about The Last Day but He was talking about any time before then. He then proved it by raising Lazarus from the dead after three days and subsequently raising Himself (Jesus is God) from the dead after three days. Let me reiterate something you may have missed. Those who believe in Him as The Resurrection are able to tap into the Power of His Resurrection. Why do I say that? Whether we know it or not, belief in The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is crucial to our salvation. It's even included in the main scripture we quote for salvation.

Romans 10:9-10(NKJV) - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and “believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

To become a Christian you don't just believe in Jesus as a prophet, a Rabbi, a miracle worker, teacher or an overall good guy. You can't even simply believe that Jesus was born and died for your sins. You have to believe in His Resurrection. In other words, you have to believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead to be saved. No Resurrection, no salvation! It's that simple. Essentially, The Power of His Resurrection is the power that gives us salvation. Since Jesus is The Resurrection, when you believe in Jesus you believe in His Resurrection from death on the cross and also your Resurrection from death on The Last Day. What you should also believe is that His Resurrection has the power to affect your life between those two events. In fact, because you believe in Jesus Christ, The Power of His Resurrection is active and alive in you now the same way it was available for Lazarus to defeat death before Jesus even died on The Cross!

1 Corinthians 15:12-19(NKJV) - Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Our salvation is all about The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's because He lives, that we can live again. It's because He lives that we can face death with hope of life everlasting. It's because He lives that sin has been defeated forever. So, as we commemorate the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend, let us remember how important this is to our existence as Christians. The good news of the gospel does not end with Jesus dying for our sins but continues with Him rising from the dead to totally defeat it. Not only did He pay the price for our sins but by rising from the dead He defeated the power of sin. He had His cake and ate it too. He paid for sin with His death, then rose from the dead and took His life back once the debt was paid. We should be clear about what that means for us on The Last Day. Now let's talk about what that means for us right now.

Romans 8:9-11(NKJV) - But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The Spirit of Christ lives in us which means The Resurrection lives in us. Yes, our physical bodies are subject to death but the life-giving power of His Spirit lives in our physical bodies right now. Hence, all of the power we need to rise from the dead on The Last Day is already inside of us. It's the same power which raised Christ from the dead. It's also the same power which raised Lazarus from the dead. It's the power of The Holy Ghost and The Power of His Resurrection. What can we do with this power? Possibly, anything. We just have to believe. And what do we have to believe? Whatever we see in His Word that applies to us.

Mark 9:23(NKJV) - Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 16:15-18(NKJV) - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Luke 10:18-20(NKJV) - And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Like Martha said to Jesus in John 11, every Christian believes that we will defeat death on The Last Day and rise again in The Resurrection. However, what do you believe God can do for you today? What are the outer limits of possibility in your life? If you can believe, all things are possible for you. You can defeat demons, serpents, poison, sickness, criminals, accidents, disasters or any other agent of death on earth today. You just need to have the faith! How does faith come? By hearing and hearing by The Word of God. Saturate your mind and heart with God's Word until you believe what's written in it. Then everything you believe will become possible in your life.

What's the extent of The Power of His Resurrection in your life? Whatever you believe in His Word!

Pages:12345...7980

Slider by webdesign