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Tag: Curse

6

Ask Donnell - Why Would God Put The Tree of The Knowledge of Good And Evil In Eden?

Ask Donnell - Why Would God Put The Tree of The Knowledge of Good And Evil In Eden?

We received the following question; "Since God knew that The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil was nothing but trouble why would He even put it in The Garden?"

This is a great question. If you really think about it, that's the type of question that many people would like to ask but few will ever receive a satisfactory answer. God created a perfect garden with perfect created beings yet He placed a tree in the middle that held the curse of certain death. Why would He do that? Why put the tree there then tell the humans they can't touch it for their own good? Why create the tree at all? Thankfully, we'll address those questions today.

Genesis 1:26-27(NLT) - Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground." So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

When God created human beings He gave them something He had never given to any other created being. He gave them total dominion. They were given free reign over His earthly creation and with that they were given the power of choice. As the rulers of the earth they could make decisions on their own as it pertained to the earth and God would accept those decisions. In fact, in Genesis 2:19-20, God gave Adam the opportunity to name all the animals and God accepted those names. Nonetheless, the power of choice can only operate where there are options to choose from and the concept of a good choice assumes that there is also a bad one.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20(NKJV) - I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

God said, "May heaven and earth stand as witnesses to the following; I give you choices, so make the right choice." Why let us choose? So we can choose to love Him. That's almost like a mission statement from God to humans. God's love for humanity was demonstrated in the blessing of free will. That's a great gift because by it's very nature, free will is the epitome of freedom. When people can choose as they please they are free.

Hence, people can choose right or wrong and that's the way God likes it. God's Will is for us to have choices so that we could make the right choices. He wants us to choose to love Him. He doesn't force us to love Him because that wouldn't be authentic love. How would you feel if your spouse forced you to love? That's not love at all, isn't it? That's not what God wants either. He wants us to choose Him. He wants us to choose life.

Genesis 2:8-9(NLT) - Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Was the tree inherently bad? I don't think so because everything God created He called good in Genesis 1. Yet, He expected Adam and Eve to obey His directions. It had more to do with obedience to His instructions and less to do with the actual tree. As a result, God wanted them to honor Him with their obedience. Also, look at the name of the tree. When they ate it, their eyes were opened and they knew good and evil. Until then, they only knew good and that was good enough for God. Is there something inherently wrong with knowing good and evil? Perhaps so, it sure opened up a can of worms that we still can't close today. However, at that time God didn't want them to learn it that way and that's all that matters. He obviously had a different plan.

So why did God plant the garden and put The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and The Tree of Life in the middle of it? It was a test of love. He laid before them life and death, blessings and cursings, then told them to choose life. He didn't force them to choose life but He encouraged them to choose it. That's His nature when it comes to His relationship with humanity.

He wanted an authentic relationship with us so He wanted us to be free to choose whether we wanted one with Him also. Any relationship that involves one party being forced to participate in it is not a real one. God loves us so much that He gave us the option to accept or reject His love. God continued that pattern of choice with His plan of redemption through Jesus.

John 3:16-17(NKJV) - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Many people ask the question, "Why would a good God let people go to hell?" The answer is the same. God wants people to choose Jesus. Whoever believes in Him will live. He won't force salvation on anybody. He lays before us options. We can choose heaven or hell, life or death, blessings or cursings. That's how He operates. Our choices have consequences but God's love allows us to make those choices regardless of those consequences. He loves people who choose Jesus just like people who choose hell.

In The Garden of Eden, there were two trees in the center; one provided life and the other death. God didn't force Adam and Eve to choose either but He clearly explained the consequences then He got out of their way. He did that then and He does the same now. He makes sure we know the consequences so that when we make our choices we can be held responsible without ever being able to blame Him. In the end, it's your power of choice that makes you human. You can pray for God to do all kinds of things in your life but what you cannot ask Him to do is take away your power of choice. Let's bring this to a fitting conclusion.

John 17:14-19(NKJV) - I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

When Jesus prayed this prayer He had the opportunity to save us all from this world by asking The Father to take us out of it. Yet, that was not His prayer. He prayed that The Father leave us in the world but keep us from the evil in it. That's the same approach God used with Adam and Eve in The Garden. He didn't take them away from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, nor did He take the tree away from them. He put them and the tree in the garden but He gave them something that was supposed to keep them from the evil.

He gave them the truth and had they accepted the truth they would have been protected from the evil. Jesus said that the truth can sanctify us which means that it can set us apart or separate us from the evil in this world. As a result, the first thing the enemy did when he tempted Eve in Genesis 3 was to challenge the truth of God's Word that she had received. The moment she let go of the truth by questioning God's Word she was susceptible to the evil that was lurking in Eden. In much the same way, it's the truth of God's Word that keeps us from the evil in the world.

God's plan with Jesus was not to take the evil out of the world nor take us out of the world so we could escape the evil. His plan was to leave us right in the middle of the evil but protected from it by the truth. When we embrace God's truth we are safe from the evil of this world. He gave Adam and Eve the truth about the tree knowing that armed with the truth they would be protected. That's how it was supposed to work because the truth should have kept them away from the tree.

Nonetheless, that's God's modus operandi. He doesn't remove evil from the world and He doesn't remove us from it, He just shields us from evil by giving us the truth. He doesn't remove the darkness, nor does He remove the light, He just puts the light in the darkness. This will continue until Jesus returns. Only then will the earth be finally purged of all evil and only then will we be removed from it.

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Why Knowing The Holy Spirit Is So Important

Why Knowing The Holy Spirit  Is So Important

Today's blog is an excerpt from my book, "Mysterious Kingdom of Heaven".

Understanding the Importance of the Holy Spirit

Colossians 1:15-22(NLT) - Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

The message in the opening line of Colossians 1:15-22 is very substantial. It basically states that Christ is the physical manifestation of God. Therefore, as Jesus told Phillip and the other disciples in John 14:8-10, seeing Him was the same as seeing The Father. However, once Jesus physically left the earth and returned to heaven, He sent The Holy Spirit. For that reason, if we don’t see The Holy Spirit as equal to God, we’ll completely underestimate our Christianity.

Many members of The Body of Christ today wish they could have been alive during the days when Jesus walked the earth. They cannot conceive anything greater than sitting at His feet, conversing and sharing their lives with Him. It’s definitely a valid desire that we should all have but there is a dilemma here. Didn’t Jesus say that He would return to earth as The Holy Spirit in John 14:15-19? Didn’t He say that He would not leave us as orphans? Didn’t He promise to never leave us alone? So why are we wishing for something that we already have?

John 14:11-17(NLT) - Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

Why desire an opportunity to walk with Jesus like the disciples when you have the opportunity to have Jesus live inside of you? Jesus said that we could do even greater works than He did because He was going to The Father. Why is that important? He went to The Father and sent The Holy Spirit. He was with the disciples before He returned to heaven but was in them after. With this understanding, we can ask anything in His name and He will do it. That’s His guarantee. It only makes sense when we see the relevance of The Holy Spirit. We can’t think of Him any less than we think of Jesus Christ, our hero who died on the cross for our sins.

In fact, since I’m on this issue, let me share something else. How do you think Jesus was capable of rising from the dead? Yes, I agree with The Apostle Paul’s statement in Galatians 1:1 that The Father raised Him up. On the other hand, since The Father remained in heaven throughout the entire progression of The Resurrection of His Son, how do you think He did it? When you discover the answers to questions like these in the scriptures, your perception of who you are in Christ must change.

Romans 8:11(NLT) - The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Jesus was The One who rose from the dead but it was The Holy Spirit who raised Him. He is the same Holy Spirit who lives inside of every Christian. Accordingly, as much as we marvel at the thought of Jesus Christ destroying the work of the enemy, we must marvel that The Father thought us worthy enough to do the same. The thirty three years Jesus spent walking the earth as a man were an example of what we can do when we rightly discern the Holy Spirit. The disciples didn’t have an advantage over us. They just understood what we struggle to understand. When Jesus walked the earth they looked to Him to do everything they needed but once they received The Holy Spirit, He could do all He wanted through them.

The Holy Spirit has everything we could ever need from God because He is God. The Mystery of The Trinity is that The Holy Spirit can live inside of us on earth while Jesus and The Father remain seated on thrones in heaven. Whatever you can imagine Jesus doing in your situation if He was going through it you can do it yourself. If Jesus can conquer the most powerful foes and escape every possible trap of the enemy so can you. If Jesus could call legions of angels at will, so can you. If Jesus can speak a Word and see deliverance, so can you. Nothing ever stopped Jesus from operating in the fullness of God’s authority but unbelief. So if you have The Holy Spirit inside of you and you’re being stopped then you know what’s stopping you.

James 1:22-25(NLT), “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

You have two choices. You can marvel at this Heavenly Wisdom and walk away unchanged or you can make the decision to transform your life. As you look into the mirror of the scriptures you can see the difference between God’s image and your image. If you see a discrepancy anywhere, it is your responsibility to adjust. God’s not going to change to match what you look like because He is perfect. Genesis 1:26 should open your eyes to the truth of your creation in God’s image and likeness. Therefore, I can’t say enough that anything outside of God should be purged from inside of you.

The Holy Spirit is more than a speech therapist that teaches charismatic Christians to speak in tongues. He is more than the energy that causes excited people to dance around during worship services or inadvertently jerk their shoulders when they “feel the power.” He is the personification of Christ and the same way He moved over the earth at Creation, He entered the physical body of Mary to produce Jesus.

According to Ephesians 1:13-14, He also entered your body when you accepted Jesus into your heart. In Hosea 4:6, God lamented that His people are still being destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Hence, a continued rejection of knowledge will position every Christian for destruction. Therefore, follow the directions of 1 Peter 5:8 and be alert to what God’s Word says about The Holy Spirit because the enemy is looking for ignorant Christians to destroy.

7

Ask Donnell: Must All Christians Uphold Jewish Traditions?

Ask Donnell: Must All Christians Uphold Jewish Traditions?

We received the following question;

"What can I say to my Christian friends who still follow The Sabbath with every phase of the moon, follow the law and perform all the Jewish feasts and traditions? They also call Jesus by His Hebrew name, "Yeshua". They suggest that I am the one who is not following God's Will for how we are to live and we all need to call him by his "real" name."

Thanks for this question. It's one that needs to be addressed because of its relevance to what's currently going on in The Body of Christ. Christians who have nothing to do with the Nations of Israel or Judah other than their Christian beliefs are using Jewish greetings. They are praying under Jewish "prayer tents" like they did in The Wilderness. They are blowing the shofar. Some even wear Jewish robes and Kipas on their heads. Some rock back and forth while they pray like the Jews do. They utter Jewish prayers. They celebrate bar and bat mitzvahs. Some call themselves Israelites. They have adopted Jewish names. They worship in synagogues. I can go on and on. They do everything they can to connect with Jewish traditions but one minor thing is missing; they are not Jewish.

In fact, this is not a new issue. It's been a hot topic since the foundation of The Church. That's actually good news because if it was a major issue back then, it is clearly addressed in The Bible somewhere. Apostle Paul's God-given assignment was to clear up many of these confusing and distracting issues in the early church. The most challenging issues to deal with in The Church today are ones that are relatively new because we won't find them verbatim in The Bible. Without a clear precedent in scripture we need supernatural wisdom and guidance from The Holy Spirit to present solutions that are completely objective and accurate.

Otherwise, the door remains open for tireless debate and that's not what we want. Nonetheless, this is an "open and shut" case so let's get to the bottom of it right now. First, observing The Sabbath is a non-issue that I addressed several years ago in the blog, "Ask Donnell: Does The Church Need To Keep The Sabbath?" Read it for a thorough understanding of how we should approach the law in general and The Sabbath in particular based on the words of Jesus. Let's move on now from that discussion.

Acts 1:8(KJV) - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Once The Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples and everyone else in The Upper Room, The Church of Jesus Christ was launched. Instantly, they took the gospel to Jerusalem which was familiar territory. Hence, when The Church first started, it consisted mainly of Jewish people so it was easy. They all followed the same traditions and all came from the same culture so they were able to keep many of their traditions even though they chose to follow Christ. However, The Church began to grow and grow as the gospel went next to Judea, then to Samaria, then to the uttermost parts of the earth. Whether that's the exact historical sequence of the spread of the gospel or not, the point is that the gospel spread from the local Jewish community to everywhere. That's when things started to get confusing. Let's pick up the story from there.

Acts 21:18-25(NLT) - The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19 After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, "You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21 But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They've heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22 What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 "Here's what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24 Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws. 25 "As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality."

While many of the disciples initially clung to their own Jewish people, The Apostle Paul accepted his call by God to minister to the Gentiles. As a result, his approach was quite different. To that end, he developed a reputation of being a bit of a radical in some aspects of the theology he presented especially when it related to Jewish traditions. When news of his teaching got back to the "First Church" in Jerusalem, James and the entire eldership of The Church confronted him when he returned there to report on his ministry.

They heard that he encouraged Jewish Christians to move on from their traditions and customs including circumcision. Paul didn't defend himself. They knew that if Paul was telling Jews to leave their traditions, the Jerusalem Church would be totally against him. So, to keep peace, the elders reserved the Jewish traditions for the Jews and asked Paul to participate in the purification ceremony as a sign that he agreed. However, they settled on only three requirements for the Gentiles; don't eat food offered to idols, don't consume blood or meat of strangled animals and stay away from sexual immorality.

If any of that was a lie, Apostle Paul would have defended himself and he did not because it was all true. For instance, he said in 1 Corinthians 7:18-19(NKJV); "Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters." Ouch! In other words, let the Jews keep their traditions and let the Gentiles not worry about them because obeying God is what matters and not following traditions.

That's just a sample of what he said concerning circumcision. He also addressed it in detail in Romans 2, 3 and 4, Galatians 2, 5 and 6, Ephesians 2, Philippians 3 and Colossians 2. By the time he was done there was no more confusion as to whether or not Gentile Christians needed to be physically circumcised. He put that to bed and dropped the mic. Now, on to the issue of Jewish feasts which is a major highlight of your question. Apostle Paul also addressed that directly so we don't need to beat around the bush with it. Let's hit it head on with the truth of the scriptures.

Colossians 2:16-17(NLT) - So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

Shadows.. that's what they are.. shadows of Jesus Christ. He is the light and every tradition is a shadow. There's nothing wrong with calling Jesus, "Yeshua" which is His Hebrew name. If translated to English it would be Joshua. We get Jesus from the Greek translation which is the main language of The New Testament. If you prefer to talk in Hebrew, go for it. If you prefer Greek, go for it. If you prefer English, go for it. Yeshua knows we're talking to Him and we know we're talking to Him when we say Jesus.

There's nothing wrong with celebrating the Jewish holidays, talking Hebrew instead of English, using a prayer shawl or blowing a Jewish shofar. There's nothing wrong with celebrating Hanukkah or lighting a jewish menorah in your house. What's wrong is when we think these things have any power in them when they do not. They don't save! They don't heal! They don't deliver!

They are traditions from the Jewish people that were precursors of Jesus. They prepared the way for Jesus for thousands of years. When Jesus came we didn't need them anymore. We're done with them the same way we're done with animal sacrifices. The shadow is no longer needed when the light has come. Apostle Paul had no problem helping people to realize that it was time to let that stuff go and grab on to Jesus. So, here's the bottom line.

Romans 14:5-11(NLT) - In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we don't live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. 10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Christians who feel like it's important to keep the Jewish traditions are free to do so. Personally, I consider them important from the perspective of better understanding The Bible and how God related to the Jewish people. They all meant something and I would love to know more about God through those traditions. However, they are not a law unto themselves and they are not to be forced upon people. They are good to know about but that's about it.

Hence, Christians who believe these are wholly unnecessary and choose not to keep them are free to do so. They can't condemn us and we can't condemn them. Don't let your friends put any pressure on you to be like them and don't return the favor if they choose to do so. They have to answer to God just like you do. What matters is that we all choose to honor The Lord from the depth of our hearts.

We don't have to agree on how we do it but we have to agree to do it. Honor The Lord with your life the way He wants you to honor Him. Love Him with all of your heart, soul and strength while at the same time, love your neighbor like Christ loves you and you love yourself. On these two commandments hang all of the law and traditions. Start with those and you will satisfy God's requirements as outlined by Jesus. That's the end of the story.

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The Power of The Sacrifice of Jesus

Date - Sunday, June 14th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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Spiritual Warfare In The Book of Daniel

Spiritual Warfare In The Book of Daniel

Today's blog is an excerpt from my book, "Faith Science". After teaching on The Book of Daniel at The School of The Bible on Tuesday night this revelation was one of the highlights.

In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship. When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. On April 23, as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people. Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. - Daniel 10:1–9 nlt

I am about to share with you one of the most poignant demonstrations of God’s love. Through prayer, he has given us a direct connection between the invisible and visible worlds. For three full weeks, Daniel went through an intense season of fasting and prayer. In a fascinating display of discipline, he put his natural desires under subjection and focused his life on deep spiritual intercession. Fortunately, the hierarchy of heaven noticed, and God sent an angel with a message that blows this teaching on the invisible world wide open. Like he did with Elisha’s servant, God opened Daniel’s spiritual eyes while he stood on the banks of the Tigris River. In the form of a vision he was given instant access to the invisible world.

Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twentyone days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” - Daniel 10:10–14 nlt

For twenty-one days Daniel prayed for something that God released from heaven the first day. While Daniel engaged in spiritual warfare on earth, for twenty-one days an invisible battle was waged in heaven. The angel holding his answer battled the fallen angel of the kingdom of Persia until Michael, the archangel of war, was dispatched to help him. Once Michael arrived, he took over the fight while the angel holding Daniel’s answer slipped away with the urgent delivery. Daniel could not have known exactly what was going on in the spirit realm during those three weeks, but he trusted God. He felt the necessity in his heart to keep praying because God must have been doing something. Carefully observe the name of the spirit that opposed the angel of God, because it will become very important as we move along.

While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince. - Daniel 10:15–21 nlt (emphasis mine)

Daniel’s vision reveals so much wisdom that it can change how we approach the spirit realm altogether. The angel asserted that even while he spoke with Daniel, Michael the archangel was still fighting against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. The heavenly war was far from over, and once he was done with delivering his message he had to return to the battlefield. Nonetheless, the hidden message in this portion of Scripture begins in verse twenty. Since there is no time in the spirit, the angel knew exactly what would happen after they were finished with the territorial spirit over Persia. An intense battle with the territorial spirit over Greece would follow. Why is that so significant? I’ll show you.

I have been standing beside Michael to support and strengthen him since the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede.) “Now then, I will reveal the truth to you. Three more Persian kings will reign, to be succeeded by a fourth, far richer than the others. He will use his wealth to stir up everyone to fight against the kingdom of Greece.” - Daniel 11:1–2 nlt

The spiritual battle that was taking place in heaven was a precursor to the physical battle that was coming. In the spirit realm, God’s angels were already in the middle of a heated fight with the fallen angel assigned to Persia. Soon after, the Grecian fallen angel was on his way to the battle. In the natural realm, after the reign of Cyrus, the current king of Persia, three more Persian kings were rising to power. Then a war with the kingdom of Greece was next on the schedule. What looked like random wars between opposing earthly kingdoms was really a reflection of the spiritual war. The real war was invisible and was being fought between God’s angels and the spirits behind these kingdoms.

That is so important for us to understand because in these few verses dwells the entirety of spiritual warfare and its effects in the natural realm. While Daniel prayed, angels were fighting for the people of Israel. They were being physically controlled by the Persian kingdom on earth but may not have been aware of the spiritual consequences. The territorial spirit in control of the Persian kingdom used that authority to resist Daniel’s prayers from being answered. Once he was defeated by the angels in heaven and the Greek spirit took over, it was only a matter of time before the Persian kingdom on earth lost its power over God’s people to the Greeks. So many conclusions can be drawn from that, but I’ll leave it right there. The mystery revealed here is the direct connection between the invisible and visible realms.

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Seeing God In Everything

See God

Romans 1:19-20(NLT) - They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Last night I taught a class on The Book of Daniel at The School of The Bible, a one year Bible school out of my parent's church; Divine Destiny Worship Centre. One of the major themes of the book is The Sovereignty of God. This is highlighted in the following statement from King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:35(NKJV); "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him,"What have You done?"

It's easy for people to underestimate the power of God because of God's grace, mercy and supernatural patience with us here on earth. Yet, we must be reminded that He is involved in everything and nothing takes place without His permission. The level of His involvement, however, varies according to His Will. Sometimes, it's obvious that He's actively involved but other times it's not so obvious. God may not always get the credit when things go well nor does He deserve the blame when they go wrong but He's involved somehow. Hence, we must be reminded that we can see God in everything. We just need to have the right perspective.

God is alive and active in our lives. We may not always acknowledge Him but He's busy doing what's best for us. When we recognize God's activity on a regular basis in our lives and respond accordingly we develop our God-consciousness. As it is developed, our spirits are sharpened and we become increasingly sensitive to the moving and prompting of The Holy Ghost. With this spiritual sensitivity comes the ability to know more about what's going on around us than we can decipher with just our five natural senses.

Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV) - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

There is nothing too big, too small, too important, too insignificant, too complicated or too simple for God. He's interested in everything that concerns us. As a result, God expects us to acknowledge Him in all of our ways. In other words, there's nothing we should be doing that should not involve God. No decision must be made without God's input. No move made without first hearing God's Voice or sensing heavenly direction. This is important because God will only direct our paths when we acknowledge Him.

It is now a habit of mine to see God in everything. If something good happens He gets the credit. If something bad happens I put it in His hands. I see Him in saved time when He directs me away from traffic disruptions during rush hour. I see Him in my investment decisions when He shows me where to put my money. I see Him in a good parking spot at the grocery which saves me time and direct exposure to this blistering summer heat. God might be invisible but His role in our lives is not. It's time we acknowledge God's activity in everything we say and do because without Him we would be nothing.

Psalms 139:7-10(NKJV) - Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

God is everywhere! Whether we notice Him or not, He is there. He knows what you're going through and He knows where you're going to. He knows what you need and where you need to be. He knows the choices you have to make and the path you have to take. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Before you encounter a problem, God has already created the solution. You can't leave Him out of your life because that's impossible. The only thing you can do is try to ignore Him and pretend He's not there but you know the truth; He's always there. God says in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave you nor forsake you. He's with you so acknowledge His presence today everywhere you go and in everything you do. Even if you don't involve Him, He's already involved. 🙂

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Cast Your Cares On The Lord

cares

1 Peter 5:6-7(NKJV) - Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Lately, God's Voice could not have been any clearer to me when He said; "Cast all your cares upon me." Since He doesn't waste words, the fact that He had to say something meant that He noticed that I was carrying around some cares that belonged to Him. I forgot what God said for a few days until yesterday I had a conversation with one of my friends who said the same thing to me but in a different way. Immediately, The Holy Spirit reminded me of what He had already said; "Cast all of your cares upon me."

If you're anything like me, these words from The Lord resonate with you also. I usually don't consider myself to be the worrisome type. I don't waste energy just worrying about things because worrying gets nothing done. However, I do believe in searching for solutions. As a result, when I'm faced with challenges I get to work looking for solutions. Even though it's good to look for solutions, the search itself can become a stressful experience. It can also become extremely frustrating when the deadline for a solution is looming and I'm nowhere closer to finding one than when I first started searching.

That's where The Lord has chosen to intervene. He cares for us so much that He doesn't want us to rely on ourselves to solve our own issues. The truth is that many times we can't do it on our own anyway. We need to rely on Him. Perhaps, that explains why 1 Peter 5:6 starts off by talking to us about humility before the next verse tells us to cast our cares upon God. Humble yourself and be exalted, then cast your cares on God because He cares for you.

It takes humility to trust God with your situation and not feel like you're the only person who can do anything about it. It takes humility to trust God to exalt you in due time and not assume you'll get there only by hard work and/or strategic relationships. It takes humility to give God your cares and not carry them yourself. It's easy to feel proud when you solve your own problems but when God does it for you, nothing is more humbling.

Matthew 11:28-30(NKJV) - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

God's calling all of us hard workers out there whose necks are sore from putting our shoulders to the plough day in and day out. He's calling all of us who can flip an internal "beast mode" switch when we start getting tired and can turn it up another gear when our bodies start slowing down. He's calling those of us with the "never say die" attitudes. The ones who refuse to give up. He's asking us to come to Him so we can rest. God knows we need it. Rest is one of those four letter words that needs to return to our vocabulary.

Maybe this is not for you because you are resting right now. If so, forward it to one of your friends who needs to hear what God is saying here. It's time to rest. You can't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders because it's too heavy. You can't make anything happen. Only God can make things happen. In fact, God wants to give you His Will for your life and His power to carry it out as the easy yoke you pull and the light burden you carry. He'll take the heavy stuff.

Matthew 6:31-34(NKJV) - "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.

God's offering an easy exchange. He's offering us to take responsibility for His Kingdom on the earth while He takes responsibility for all the things we need. He won't need to worry about His Kingdom in the earth at this time because we'll be doing His Will and we won't need to worry about the things we need. Fair exchange? Well, it's not fair but it works for us.

Cast all your cares upon Him. Give Him all. He can carry them. This is something you have to do on purpose. The word "cast" is used many times in The Bible in a very aggressive manner. For instance you will see phrases like "cast out", "cast the first stone" or "cast in the lake of fire". In those applications the word "cast" is quite intense and there's nothing gentle about it. In other words, Jesus wants you to treat your cares like you can't stand them anymore and throw them on His strong shoulders. Don't gently remove them. Get rid of them quickly. Give them to Him now. You've carried them too long. Cast your cares on The Lord!

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June 21, 2015 Posted by admin in Vision

Who or What's Blocking Your Vision Of The Lord?

Who or What's Blocking Your Vision Of The Lord?

Isaiah 6:1(NKJV) - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

According to 2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah became King of Judah at 16 years old. He was a good king during the days of the prophet Zechariah. As a result, The Lord prospered him and gave him victory over his enemies. Unfortunately, when he became very strong his pride got the best of him. He thought he could usurp the authority of the priests and opted to burn incense on the altar of God. While he was in the act, the priest Azariah and eighty other priests confronted him in the temple concerning his transgression. Instead of being repentant, he got angry and God struck him with leprosy. They ran him out of the building and he spent the rest of his life in isolation until he died. Interestingly, it wasn't until the year he died that Isaiah saw The Lord. Maybe it was circumstantial but what if it was not?

Isaiah 6:1-8(NKJV) - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged." 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

Not only did Isaiah see The Lord but he also received and responded to his call into the ministry. If there was nothing important about King Uzziah's death taking place just before Prophet Isaiah's heavenly vision of God it would not have been mentioned. Obviously, there was a reason why King Uzziah had to be taken out of the way before Isaiah could have been released to do what God had called him to do. Perhaps, Prophet Isaiah was called by God to operate in a season that began only after King Uzziah's death. That's a fair assertion. Perhaps, King Uzziah's rebellion against God would get in Isaiah's way. Whatever the reason, God had no intentions of showing up to Isaiah with King Uzziah still alive.

Is there a King Uzziah in your life that has to go before God can be free to reveal Himself to you in a whole new way? Perhaps, God recently moved someone out of your way and you can't seem to understand why. What if that person was blocking your vision of The Lord? What if you had to keep looking around that person to see God for yourself because your experience with The Lord did not exist apart from that person? Who is your King Uzziah? Whose shadow falls on you when the light of God shines in your direction?

Is your Uzziah a spouse? Is your entire experience with God tied to that person? If that person ever fails, will you backslide? Is your Uzziah a parent? Are you still worshipping your parent's God? Is your Uzziah a pastor? Can you only see God through the eyes of your pastor and you are unable to see Him for yourself? Who needs to get out of your way so you can see God for yourself? What if your only understanding of God is what someone else has seen and relayed to you causing you to have a third party Christian experience?

On the other hand, perhaps Uzziah is not a person in your life. Perhaps Uzziah is your education. You're just too intelligent to let go of logic and believe God for the ridiculous. Perhaps Uzziah is your denomination. You can't receive certain things clearly depicted in the scriptures because people in your denomination just don't believe that stuff. Perhaps Uzziah is your own pride. You know that God is calling you to something deeper but you don't want to deal with it so you ignore the tug of God on your heart. Hence, you never get to see Him on the level He wants you to.

Matthew 5:8(KJV) - Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Hebrews 12:14-15(KJV) - Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Last, but certainly not least. Is sin blocking your vision of The Lord? The Lord says that the pure in heart and those who are holy shall see God. You can repent according to 1 John 1:9 and clear your spiritual vision. Jesus died so you can access God without any blockage so don't let any sin get between you two. Nonetheless, maybe it's not your sin that's blocking you, it's the sin of others you continue to associate with. Let's return to the story of Isaiah. I think we may have just stumbled upon the answer to why something or someone was blocking his vision of The Lord during the time of King Uzziah.

Isaiah 6:5-7(KJV) - Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

From the top down, the people of Judah were unclean and it started with King Uzziah. As a result, when Isaiah was confronted with the holiness of God, his own uncleanness was highlighted. In response, God dispatched a seraphim with a live coal from the altar of God to cleanse him. He did all of this BEFORE calling Isaiah into the ministry.

Isaiah 6:8-10(NKJV) - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."

Once Isaiah was cleansed by God, he was called into the ministry. That's what happened the year that King Uzziah died. God purged Isaiah from the sins of the people he lived among while under King Uzziah's corrupt leadership. So what The Lord is showing us through these scriptures is that your personal holiness and your purity of heart could be corrupted just by your association. With that, comes a limitation of your ability to see God and to accept His calling on your life. In a situation like that, God is left with no choice but to either get those people out of your life or get you out of theirs. They are unwelcome because they are blocking your vision of Him.

So what's the moral of this story? Don't hang around people who lower your level of spirituality and cause you to drop your desire to go deeper in God. Evaluate your relationships and decipher who in your life is helping you see God better. Those people you can keep. Then decipher who is blocking or skewing your clear vision of God. Those people can go. It's time for you to see The Lord high and lifted up. It's time for you to see His angels. It's time for you to see His throne. Maybe King Uzziah is not a person in your life. If so, evaluate everything else in your life and decipher what is helping you see God better and what is not. Keep what's helping you and eliminate what's blocking you. It's time for King Uzziah to get out of the way. God wants you to see Him on a whole other level. Don't you want to see Him too?

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Understanding The Purpose of The Sacrifice Of Jesus

Date - Sunday, June 7th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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June 17, 2015 Posted by admin in Success

The Power of Consistency

The Power of Consistency

Proverbs 20:6(NKJV) - Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

Look around. Can you find someone faithful? Many people talk a big talk but when you really need them to be consistent you can't find them. If you find any faithful folks in the Atlanta area tell them we need them at The Body Church. The more consistent people we have the more effective we will be. It's tough to be consistent. That's especially true when it comes to being productive with your time. Human nature is to be emotional and emotions fluctuate. So if we are led by our emotions we cannot be consistent at anything. We'll feel like doing one thing today and something else tomorrow which is the recipe for stagnation and ineffectiveness.

I'm human. Sometimes, I just want to be random... just do whatever I feel like doing... whenever I feel like doing it. Forget the schedule. Forget the responsibilities. Forget the future. Forget what I'm working on. Random people seem to be having so much fun. They live like free-range chickens that drift wherever and whenever the wind blows them. Yet, I know too much to do that. I understand the power of consistency. So, each day I do the same things at the same time with the same intensity regardless of how I feel. Hence, I continually move closer and closer to the fulfillment of my destiny. What about you?

Proverbs 22:29(AMP) - Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Are you diligent and skilful in your business? Many people want to stand before kings but few want to be diligent and skilful to get there. Few want to put in the work. Few want to earn their stripes. They want shortcuts. They want luck. They want someone to do them a favor. They want the hook-up. That's like a student wanting all A's without being willing to study or complete assignments. Or it's like someone who is out of shape wanting to look like a professional athlete without the willingness to eat right and work out. Let that not be said of any of us. We must refuse to be lazy and undisciplined yet expect the rewards that are reserved for the diligent and skilful.

Matthew 24:45-48(NLT) - "A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.

Consistency is even more important in kingdom business. If we are to grow spiritually, we must be consistent in our communication with The Lord, diligent in our church attendance, disciplined in our time in The Word of God and faithful in our service. Throughout the scriptures, God makes it abundantly clear that He values faithfulness and intends to lavish the faithful with rewards. Can you be counted in that number? Have you been a faithful, sensible servant of God? Have you done what He left you on earth to do? I sincerely hope so. Otherwise, you can get started now.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32(NKJV) - For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Let today be one of personal reflection. Let this be a time to judge yourself in the privacy of your own thoughts without anyone else being in your business. What is it that you are expecting out of your life? Have you been consistently doing what God requires you to do to achieve it? If yes, then remain faithful because your time of reckoning is approaching and your reward is sure. If not, why are you expecting what you are expecting to happen? It's not going to happen because it's not supposed to happen until you obey God's directions concerning it.

Proverbs 13:4(AMP) - The appetite of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the appetite of the diligent is abundantly supplied.

THE END! 🙂

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