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Sometimes Playing It Safe Is Not Really Safe

Step Out On Faith

Luke 19:16-26(MSG) - “The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’ “He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’ “The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’ “He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’“The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’ “He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’ “Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’ “They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’ “He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.

Interesting parable, isn't it? I once wasted my breath arguing with a guy who showed up to Coffee Shop Conversations with a chip on his shoulder against prosperity preachers. In his eagerness to make a point he made a distinct error when he stated that Jesus never talked about money. 🙂 Oops! Unfortunately for him, I was forced to respond and the rest is Coffee Shop Conversations history. What happened in Starbucks that day stayed in Starbucks. Apparently, some people still don't realize what Jesus was talking about in several of His most notable parables of The Kingdom. Those talents He referred to aren't singing, painting or tap-dancing. He was talking about money. Nonetheless, that's not what today's blog is about. I digress..

Welcome to today's blog. My inspiration for today's blog came while I was in the middle of an intense road run in the hot sun. I was tired and decided a short cut was well deserved so instead of turning left to descend into a hilly neighborhood I decided to turn right to wrap up the run. As I was approaching the fork in the road, The Lord spoke to me and said; "People who take short cuts or the easy way out never accomplish much." OUCH! Since God decided to call me out like that in the middle of the streets I turned left and embraced the hills. Sorry, I'm no punk! I'm going in, Jesus!

Sometimes playing it safe is not really safe. Jesus explained God's Kingdom using a parable of investment. God gives three investors money and shows up later for His returns. Those who invested His money and brought returns were handsomely rewarded but the one guy who was afraid to take a risk was punished. That's how God's Kingdom works according to Jesus, who happens to also be The Master in the version of The Parable in Matthew 25:14-30. He's gone away and will return to establish His Kingdom on earth one day. On that day He will be evaluating what we've done with everything He's given us. Selah! Pause and think about that!

Risk: possibility of loss or injury... the chance that an investment (as a stock or commodity) will lose value - Merriam Webster Dictionary

Risk is built into the very core of Christianity. You can't be a Christian and not take a risk. Why? You took a risk just to become a Christian. You believed in a God you had not seen based on evidence in a book you could not personally verify. What if all of this is fake and you wasted your life doing something that brings no return in the end? That would be a big loss, wouldn't it? On the flip side, what if it's all real? That would be a big gain.

You take a risk becoming a Christian but you also take a risk by not becoming a Christian. This is where you need proper risk management. What's the bigger loss? Nothing to look forward to after living a life for God on the earth or the freedom to do whatever you feel like on earth but an eternity in hell for not believing in Jesus? If you selected the latter you are correct. We lose very little by accepting Jesus Christ because even on the earth we reap benefits. However, if we don't accept Jesus Christ and discover that eternity is for real, we will lose everything. Onward with the blog...

When Apostle Paul coined the phrase in 2 Corinthians 5:7(KJV); "For we walk by faith, not by sight", he could very well have said; "For we take calculated risks because we trust what God has said." Walking by faith is a lifestyle of calculated risks. Instead of taking the safe, popular route based on what you can see with your eyes you take the path less traveled based on what God says. Sometimes, faith looks like something amazing when God asks you to take a big risk while other times, faith looks pretty simple when God asks you to do something that's not such a big deal. Regardless of the level of commitment it takes, walking by faith is always taking a risk because you're trusting what you cannot see even when it contradicts what you can see. More precisely, you're trusting who you cannot see above everything and everyone you can see.

Matthew 25:14-30(MSG) - “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

There are so many valuable lessons in this parable that we need to learn today. First, the master distributed money to His servant according to their ability to manage money. Therefore, the man with the least money to work with was also the man with the least ability to work the money. Was the master right? Absolutely! When He returned, guess which servant did nothing with His money? The one who received the least. Hence, He proved why the master didn't trust Him with anything significant in the first place. Another important lesson is the negative view that the master had on his servant's decision to play it safe. He wasn't just disappointed but He was actually angry. The third lesson comes from the master's decision to take the little from the servant who did nothing with it and give it to the one who made the most money.

If you can't see the parallels between this parable and the reality of life around us you need to open your eyes. First, God doesn't give you more than you can handle according to 1 Corinthians 10:13. That's a good thing when you're talking about temptations, tests and trials but it's not so good when you're talking about money. 🙂 If you can't handle it, don't expect to get it. Second, God expects people to take risks. He frowns upon people who don't. In fact, look at how Apostle Paul addresses this directly in Hebrews 11:6.

Hebrews 11:6(NLT) - And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

God is not pleased if you don't have faith. Faith cannot exist without risk. It was faith that enabled Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water to Jesus in Matthew 14:29. It was faith that enabled the woman with the issue of blood to risk her life just trying to touch the hem of Jesus' garment in Matthew 9:20. It was faith that allowed the centurion to believe his servant would be healed with just a word from Jesus in Matthew 8:8. If you don't have enough faith to take a risk based on a Word from God you can't please God. The servant who didn't take a risk made the master angry. That's not what you want for your life.

The third lesson from the parable in Matthew 25:14-30 can be applied directly to the world around us. The wealth gap continues to increase and will do so until the end of time. The rich will keep getting richer and the poor will keep getting poorer. Even when the economy crashes, the people who hurt the most are the people at the bottom of the financial food chain. So, how do you change your situation if you're the person who got the smallest amount of money to work with according to the parable?

Well, if we only stick with the parable, you can see two easy options. One is to increase your ability. Money management is a learned trait so if you didn't learn much and only received as much as you've learned you need to learn more so God will trust you with more. The second option is to show yourself faithful with the little you have according to Luke 16:10. Take a risk and do something with what God has already given you. Going to work, getting paid, going home and sleeping is not what I'm talking about. Step out and try something different! Learn to invest! Sell something! Find a market for your talent! Give a big offering! Yes, there's a chance you can lose but if you did option one first before option two there's a very good chance you can win.

OK! I admit it. I really was trying to stay away from talking about money especially since Jesus NEVER talked about money. 🙂 However, this is what The Lord gave me so this is what He wants you to hear. By the way, you may be one of those people with a "safe" job at a "safe" place that you're sure will be there for the foreseeable future. As a result, you don't understand what's the big deal with all of this talk about risk taking. Well, the truth is that the only safe job is the one you create. You can't trust in your "safe" job, you can only trust in God. If God's not the one providing for your needs, you never know what you'll wake up to in the morning. Sometimes playing it safe is not really safe. Since faith is simply doing what you believe God has said, stepping out in faith is not just an option. It's a necessity.

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


Ask Donnell: "What's Righteous Judgment?"

Ask Donnell: What's Righteous Judgment?

We received the following question from Deborah;

"My question is taken from the scripture, John 7:24. I've been listening again to your 1st lesson on fruit of the spirit. I understand that what we sow we will reap. However, I started thinking of righteous judgment. I've never really grasped what it means to judge righteously. Can you explain this? Thanks."

Deborah, this is a good question. Righteous judgment is the only type of judgment that's expected of us. Hence, it's important to understand what it means and how it works. Let's start with the scripture reference in your question.

John 7:24(KJV) - Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

This scripture reference does not directly define righteous judgment but it helps point us in the right direction because it provides a description of what it is not. Hence, it is a great place to start. So the first step to understanding righteous judgment is understanding that it is not judging by appearance. In other words, be careful to not let your eyes deceive you.

1 Samuel 16:7(KJV) - But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Looking at outward appearance is human nature. That's the point The Lord wanted us to get in this scripture passage. Hence, it was important for Apostle John to state in John 7:24 that righteous judgment does not come naturally to human beings. Therefore, if righteous judgment is foreign to our natural character, where does it come from?

Revelation 16:7(KJV) - And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

Hear this loud and clear! The judgment of God is the only righteous judgment. When God judges someone, regardless of what it is, His judgment is true and righteous. Remember, judgment is another way of saying "reward for actions". Positive actions trigger positive rewards and negative actions trigger negative rewards. Judgment as an entity of it's own is neutral or impartial. It only becomes positive or negative depending on the actions that cause the judgment. Now that we understand what righteous judgment is not and where it comes from, let's understand what it is.

Romans 2:5-11(NKJV) - But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.

This passage provides a revelation of the righteous judgment of God. So what is it? Judging people according to what they have done. Simple! How is this different from judging according to outward appearance? God's judgment includes not just the actions that people see but the actions people do not see. God rewards those who patiently continue to do good with eternal life, glory, honor and peace. He also rewards those who are selfish, disobedient and do evil with indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish. This means that righteous judgment is nothing more than the judgment due for actions that have been taken. So let's bring this home now. How do we execute righteous judgment like we're instructed in John 7:24?

Psalm 119:7(KJV) - I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

For us to judge righteously, we have to learn God's righteous judgments. There are two ways we can do this. Number one, the easiest way to learn how God judges people is to read The Bible. How did God address the actions of people in The Bible? Number two is to listen to the Holy Spirit. He knows the truth and will guide you to it. That's the only way to judge. Now, before we start running wild judging folks because we understand righteous judgment let's get some perspective on becoming a judge.

Quick Facts About Righteous Judgment

1) If you choose to judge others righteously, you will be judged righteously.

Matthew 7:1-5(NKJV) - “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Judgment comes with a warning. Even if you are executing righteous judgment, the moment you judge someone else you are putting yourself in position to receive the same treatment. Is that wrong? Not really! Nonetheless, it's up to you to decide what you prefer. Do you want to be judged? If yes, feel free to judge others. If no, be merciful to others and be open to sometimes not giving people what they deserve. Righteous judgment is a part of God's nature so you won't lose if you leave it up to God. If God does the judgment, He'll get it right.

2) If you must judge, judge by actions not appearance.

Matthew 7:15-20(NKJV) - “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

In this scripture, Jesus explains the difference between judging by appearance and judging by actions. When people are wolves in sheep's clothing they look like what they're not. For example, many people are deceived into doing business with fast talking, good looking, well dressed people who pull up in fancy cars or jump out of private jets. They look like they'll make you money but they will only make money for themselves and the only thing they'll make you is angry or sad. Judging by actions means that you should wait for them to prove themselves first before you ever trust them. That's why you never rush into any kind of business or personal relationship. If you don't have a good backlog of actions from which to judge a person, you cannot judge righteously.

Matthew 12:33-37(NKJV) - “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

In this scripture, Jesus adds to what He said earlier by explaining how judging by actions aligns with God's perspective of judging righteously. In 1 Samuel 16:7, Samuel looked at David's brothers and thought they were God's chosen solely based on their height and stature. He had never seen them in action and didn't know anything else but the way they looked. God on the other hand knew their hearts and was able to judge righteously. Therefore, you have to forget what people look like when it's time to judge them. By the way, why is judging actions not in conflict with judging by the heart? Whatever is in someone's heart will eventually come out in their actions.

In Matthew 12:33-37, Jesus focused on one type of actions and that's the words we speak. Out of the abundance of our hearts do we speak. Hence, if you are judged by the abundance of your words, your heart is being judged. The only difference between God's ability to judge someone's heart and our ability to judge someone's words is time. In either case, we are judging righteously. God sees a person's heart so He can judge immediately. It takes us some time to come to the same conclusion because we can't see a person's heart until the person starts talking. If you want to know someone's heart listen to the person's words consistently. Even if people are lying initially, eventually something will slip out and expose them. Give people enough time and they will tell on themselves.

People are especially honest under extreme conditions. For example, a person will tell you the truth when extremely excited, tired, angry, happy, sad, drunk or high. Outside of these extreme cases you just have to wait for something to slip. That's why I said earlier, never rush into any relationship, whether business or personal. Give people time to show you their true colors then like Maya Angelou said; "When people show you who they truly are, believe them."

3) God's grace and mercy do not cancel out His righteous judgment.

You are probably aware that the message of grace is the hottest message in The Church today. Every time you turn on Christian television there is a high probability that someone is teaching on grace. It's a great message and it's at the core of the gospel. Nonetheless, the message of grace does not cancel the reality of righteous judgment. If you really want to understand God's mercy, we did an eleven part blog series.

Romans 5:12-21(NLT) - When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God's grace and His righteous judgment go hand in hand. How is that possible? If we are in Christ, God responded ahead of time and rewarded Jesus for our sin. He doesn't ignore our actions but is merciful to us by allowing the judgment for our actions to be attributed to the judgment He placed upon Jesus on the cross. Therefore, God's grace caused a great exchange. The reward for our sin was given to Jesus and the reward for the righteousness of Jesus was given to us. This is why God's grace and mercy are beyond anything we can ever imagine. We deserve hell but we get to go to heaven. Jesus deserved heaven but was sent to hell for three days. That's the combination of God's righteous judgment with His glorious grace. The wages of sin is death so Jesus paid it all for us. Now let's bring some quick balance.

Romans 6:1-4, 15-18(NLT) - Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives... Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

God is still a righteous judge. His grace does not cancel out His judgment. Therefore, when you have a revelation of God's grace it does not mean that your actions no longer matter to Him. It's God's grace that makes it easy to live right. Jesus received the reward for your sin so that you would no longer be in bondage to your sin nature. The moment you become a Christian the grip of sin has been broken over your life. You are free to live right and that's what God expects. That's the balance between God's grace, mercy and righteous judgment. Don't challenge God to have to judge you for your actions. He's offered a way out through Jesus! Why not just take it?


Ask Donnell - "What Does God Mean By Come Up Higher?"

Ask Donnell - "What Does It Mean To Come Higher With God?"

We received the following question from Dannie;

"When God wants you to come up higher with Him what exactly does that mean? Does it mean to spend more alone time with Him?"

Dannie, this is a great question. If you've been a Christian for some time it's easy to become religious and make assumptions about God's heart. However, the only way to find out what God means by anything He says is by His Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:11(NKJV) - For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

Yesterday, at The Body Church we studied the role of The Holy Spirit in giving life to the scriptures. Without Him, even if we locate answers in The Bible we wouldn't know what to do with them. Therefore, before we go any further let's humble ourselves and ask The Holy Ghost to guide us through this process. We don't just want the right answer but we want the right answer for you. Let's get some context first, then it will be easier to understand.

Revelation 1:10-13(NKJV) - I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

In order to write The Book of Revelation, Apostle John was in The Spirit. While in that state, he received a visitation from Jesus. As the last surviving member of the original twelve disciples, John knew Jesus firsthand. However, even though John had walked the earth with Jesus in human form for three years this encounter recorded in Revelation 1 was on a whole new level. Since Jesus showed up in His glorified form, John had to be in The Spirit to engage in this supernatural encounter.

Why is this so important? Being in the Spirit is the master key to engaging God in His glory and hearing His voice. However, this is just the beginning. There are different dimensions of The Spirit and Apostle John was only in the dimension that allowed him to receive a visitation from Jesus. To many of us, that's the highest level we can imagine. How many of us dream of an encounter with Jesus like this one? Nonetheless, three chapters later, God was ready for John to enter the next dimension. This is where we get the answer to today's question.

Revelation 4:1-2(NKJV) - After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

Pay close attention to what's happening here. Wasn't Apostle John already in the Spirit since the beginning of his encounter with Jesus in Revelation 1? Yes, he was. However, God wanted him to come up higher. He had already received a visit from Jesus on earth but it was time for him to leave earth and enter heaven to see the future. For this to happen, God called him into a deeper dimension of the Spirit. So let's summarize the three dimensions of the spiritual journey of Apostle John. In Dimension One, he walked the earth with Jesus in His earthly form. In Dimension Two, he received a holy visitation from the glorified Jesus. In Dimension Three, he was invited to heaven to see the future. Now, let's bring this home to your situation.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10(NLT) - This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. 5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God's calling you to the next dimension of the Spirit. Where you are right now might be better than where you used to be but you've been there too long. One of the worst things that could ever happen to a Christian is stagnation. Complacency is the enemy of progress. When you no longer desire a deeper walk with The Lord you're stuck. God wants to show you things you've never seen before and tell you things you've never heard before. If you've walked with him before He's ready to visit you. If He's visited you already in His glory He's ready to invite you to heaven.

Now that you understand what God desires of you, this comes with a warning. As you go deeper into the Spirit remain humble. It's your humility that got you this far and it's your humility that will keep you going in the right direction. Two nights ago I was at a meeting in Atlanta hosted by Pastor Benny Hinn and he talked about this same thing. He referenced recent historical accounts of great men and women of God who experienced such advanced encounters with the Spirit that they walked in the power to change nature. He also talked about men of God in The Bible who entered deep spiritual dimensions and struggled to handle it.

Therefore, when God asks you to come up higher, like Apostle Paul, your weaknesses are going to be exposed. The trials and tribulations you will face will only allow you to see how helpless you are without the mighty hand of God on your life. It's this call to a deeper walk with The Lord that should trigger an intense desire in your heart for purity, humility and spiritual sobriety. Regardless, this is nothing to be afraid of. Your response to God's invitation should be a resounding yes. Prepare your heart for the ride of your life.

Last, but not least. What does The Bible mean by being "in the spirit"? In short, it means letting The Spirit direct your life. In other words, you see things according to what you see with your spiritual eyes, you hear things according to what you hear with your spiritual ears and you only say what The Spirit says. For example, in 1 Corinthians 14:2,14-15 and Ephesians 6:18, praying "in the spirit" means praying in tongues which is simply allowing The Holy Spirit to direct the words that come out of your mouth. In Ezekiel 37:1, the prophet carried in the spirit to the valley of dry bones to prophesy. What does that mean? He was led by The Holy Spirit and his spiritual eyes were opened so that He could see the reality of the spirit realm.

Romans 8:9(KJV) - But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

You can experience The Spirit during a time of worship or prayer. You can sense the Spirit while studying God's Word. However, you can only be in The Spirit when the Spirit of God dwells in you and takes control of your entire life. It's time for you to come up higher and be in a whole new dimension of The Spirit. God's extended the invitation so respond.

Psalm 27:8(NLT) - My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

The Intercession of The Holy Spirit

The Intercession of The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:26(NKJV) - Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

For many Christians, the biggest dilemma they have ever faced is figuring out The Will of God for their lives. If they only knew what God was thinking in a given situation so much stress would instantly disappear. Instead, they just pray to the Father in the name of Jesus according to John 15:16 hoping that He would just work it out in their favor. What about you? Have you ever considered what The Holy Spirit would pray for if He was praying to The Father directly? Since 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all scripture is God-breathed shouldn't we be fine if we just pray scriptures?

Maybe that's true but depending on the context, certain scriptures appear to contradict themselves. In fact, are you considering merely reciting them in hopes that your situation changes or declaring your interpretation of their meaning? Well that problem is solved by the intercession of The Holy Spirit. Since none of us know how to pray the way we should, He volunteered Himself to pray on our behalf. He knows what's on The Father's heart and how it can become a reality. So acknowledge The Holy Spirit today and thank Him for a job well done as your personal intercessor.

Meditate on Isaiah 26:3-4


The Body Church - Sunday Worship With Prayer

Date - Sunday, June 15th, 2014

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.

10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer
11:00 AM - Worship With The Word


The Body Church - The Seed of God's Word

Date - Sunday, June 15th, 2014

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

Galatians 5:22-23(KJV) - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer
11:00 AM - Worship With The Word


Satisfying The Desires Of The Holy Spirit

Satisfying The Desires Of The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:5-9(NIV) - Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

The Holy Spirit is a Person who has desires. He likes certain things and doesn't like other things. He knows what He wants and does not compromise His standards. However, since He made the rules by which we live, every Christian needs to share in His desires. If you think in agreement with Him you will have life and peace but if you constantly disagree in any area, death is your portion right there. So the question that must be answered is, “How can I discover the desires of The Spirit so that I can agree with them?”

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The Spirit of God is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and deserving of praise. If you focus on Him and embrace the heavenly standards you will find peace even if storms surround you. Anytime you want what God wants, if you ask Him, you will have it.

Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:1-10 and Galatians 5:22-25


Undercover Spiritual Warfare

Undercover Spiritual Warfare

Today's blog is dedicated to Janice. She reached out to us yesterday asking for the daily messages to return. Saying we're a little busy these days is an understatement. As you should already know, we started The Body Church a few months ago. We will also be releasing a new book soon. We also have some new developments in other areas. Nonetheless, if you enjoy reading these daily devotionals let us know so we'll make sure you get them. We need to hear from you. 🙂

2 Corinthians 10:4-6(NIV) - The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Do you know that one of the most popular spiritual warfare scriptures in the Charismatic Christian church is usually not used in its proper context? 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 is not necessarily referring to evil spiritual forces roaming the earth. It’s directed to mental strongholds on the inside of people that cause them to disobey God. This type of spiritual warfare is really a war for control of our minds. We win or lose this war by the decisions we make in response to God’s directions.

James 4:7(KJV) - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

When a Christian submits to God’s directions he is resisting the devil by resisting his temptations. When the devil cannot influence a Christian to disobey God, the devil is powerless and has to run. Hence, spiritual warfare in this context is really pulling down disobedient mindsets with the simple decision to be obedient. Every Christian has The Spirit of Obedient Fear of The Lord so every Christian can win the war for their minds.

Meditate on James 1:12-17


The Fruit of The Spirit

Date - Sunday, June 8th, 2014

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.


10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer
11:00 AM - Worship With The Word


Ask Donnell - Why Is Dan Not Sealed By God in Revelation 7?

Ask Donnell - Why Is Dan Not Sealed By God in Revelation 7?

We received the following question from Deborah;

"Hi Donnell. I have been looking at your youtube vids "living in the last days". I have a question concerning the 144,000 that were sealed of the tribes of Israel. Manasses was sealed but the tribe of Dan was not mentioned. Is there any scripture stating why he was not mentioned? I asked this also on the youtube but I think this is the most appropriate place. Thanks."

Revelation 7:1-8(NKJV) - After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: 5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; 6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; 7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; 8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

Pay close attention to Revelation 4 which states that the 144,000 came out of ALL the tribes of Israel. So why was Dan left out? Deborah, that is a good question. It wasn't until you asked it that I noticed the tribe of Dan missing from the 144,000. Since nothing's by chance, let's see what clues exist in The Bible that can help us to understand what could possibly have happened. Let's start with some background information on Dan.

Genesis 35:22-26(NKJV) - ....Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: 23 the sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24 the sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin; 25 the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant, were Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant, were Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Padan Aram.

Of Jacob's twelve sons, Dan was one of only two born to Rachel's maid, Bilhah. Did the nature of his birth play a factor in Revelation 7? The answer would be no because the tribe of Napthali, Dan's brother, who was also born to Bilhah is named among the 144,000. In addition, the tribes of Gad and Asher, children of Leah's maidservant were also included. Therefore, the tribe of Dan's removal from the list of Israel's tribes in Revelation 7 had nothing to do with the nature of his birth. Let's dig in some more.

Genesis 49:1-2, 16-18(NKJV) - And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days: 2 “Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father...... “Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heels So that its rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!

As Jacob approached his final days he called his sons together in Genesis 49 and prophesied to them concerning what would happen in the last days. He says two interesting things that seem to contradict each other concerning his son, Dan. On one side he said that Dan would judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel but on the other, he said that Dan would become a snake in the path of people trying to pass by. Here's the first stage of the fulfillment of this prophecy.

Joshua 19:40-48(NKJV) - The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families. 41 And the territory of their inheritance was Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh, 42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Jethlah, 43 Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45 Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon, 46 Me Jarkon, and Rakkon, with the region near Joppa. 47 And the border of the children of Dan went beyond these, because the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem and took it; and they struck it with the edge of the sword, took possession of it, and dwelt in it. They called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father. 48 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

When the Children of Israel entered The Promised Land they divided it up into portions that were presented to each tribe. Dan didn't feel satisfied with their portion so they did a little extra by conquering a neighboring area called Leshem which they incorporated into their inheritance. They continued this pattern later on and that's how things changed for them. Read Judges 18 and you'll see where the Tribe of Dan went off the right path.

Judges 18:27-31(NKJV) - So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no ties with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth Rehob. So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish. 30 Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

When the tribe of Dan conquered Micah, they took idols into the land of Laish where they settled and became idol worshippers from that day forward. This is where one dimension of the fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy of Dan being a serpent began to take shape. By opening themselves up to the devil who is described as a serpent in The Book of Revelation they became associated with a snake. They developed a reputation as idol worshippers as evidenced by a reference in Amos 8.

Amos 8:13-14(AMP) - In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. 14 Those who swear by Ashimah or the sin of Samaria and say, By the life of your god [the golden calf], O Dan! and [swear], By the life of the way of [idolatrous] Beersheba, they shall fall and rise no more.

The god of Dan was no longer the True and Living God but a mere idol. In the end that could explain why they will be left out when God seals all the tribes of Israel. They were supposed to be included with the rest of their brethren but gave themselves to idols. Hence, even though they are technically Children of Israel 12,000 of them won't get the same protection as those within the 144,000. those who would follow the example of Dan will suffer the same fate. According to the prophet Amos, they shall fall and rise no more.

Leviticus 26:1(KJV)- Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.

Hebrews 6:4-6(NLT) - For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.

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