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He'll Fight For You!

Oh, To Know You Lord!

Philippians 3:8-10(NLT) - Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Everything else is worthless when compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Everything! The King James Version uses the much stronger word, dung, to describe how little we should value the things we consider to be so important in this world. Our qualifications, reputation, money, status, possessions, knowledge, etc. are nothing compared to Him. In fact, the very things that we set our alarms for and woke up this morning to do should never be placed before knowing Him. If He is not the primary reason for waking up each morning why do we wake up? Why? He should be the reason why we wake up because whether we want to admit it or not, He already is the reason why we can wake up in the first place. It's His prerogative to give us another day of life and for that we must be grateful.

Welcome to today's blog. Yesterday, at The Body Church we emphasized the importance of developing a true friendship with God. Though He might not be a respecter of persons according to Acts 10:34, He treats His friends completely differently to other people. When you're close to God there are distinct advantages that nobody else has access to. In the article, Accept God's Friend Request, a few weeks ago we studied the lives of several people who benefited from their proximity to God.

The Apostle James said in James 2:23; "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God." In Genesis 20, God defended His friend Abraham by issuing a death threat to King Abimelech in a dream for even thinking of sleeping with Abraham's wife. A death threat? Yes, check this out;

Genesis 20(NKJV) - And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” 8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. 9 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” 10 Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” 11 And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. 12 But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 Then to Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you[a] before all who are with you and before everybody.” Thus she was rebuked. 17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; 18 for the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

God didn't just threaten Abimelech with death but He made all the women in his household barren just because the king thought of sleeping with Abraham's wife. Don't you want God to value you so much that He would defend you the way He defended His friend Abraham? Are you close enough to God that He could call you His friend? Do you really know Him? Do you have a track record of seeing God unleash His great power against anybody who has ever come up against you?

Oh, to know you Lord! I have enemies I cannot see plotting against me. There are traps laid out for me today that are well hidden. Without you, I will fall right into them but with you, my enemies will fall into the traps they created. Everyone who even thinks of harming me or my family will face the brute force of your power. You defend your friends so I know that you will defend me. God is ready to defend His people against their enemies. He is ready to scare the living daylights out of our enemies. It's time for the fear of The Lord to hit this earth like it never has before. Yet God can't put His fear in our enemies if we don't first put His fear in our hearts. We must willingly fear, honor and respect God before we expect anyone else to be forced to do so on our behalf.

Numbers 12:1-9(NKJV) - Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) 4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. 5 Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” 9 So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed.

What a fascinating account of God standing up for His friend? Pay close attention to verse 6. God demonstrated that His relationship with Moses was stronger than His relationship with any prophet. He said that when He speaks to prophets He uses visions and dreams but when He speaks to Moses He speaks face to face. Not just that, but He speaks plainly and does not use riddles. Wait, there's more. He said that Moses sees His form. What? Yes! God would manifest Himself to chat with Moses like He did with Adam and Eve. The Bible says in Exodus 33:11(NKJV), "So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend...."

Don't you want God to do that for you? Think about it. There are people right now gossipping about you at work when suddenly a blinding light enters the office stunning everyone. Then a deep voice like a trumpet thunders from the light calling each of them out to stand before Him. Then He asks them a simple question like He asked Aaron and Miriam, "Now you know the kind of relationship I have with (put your name here), were you not afraid to speak against my child? I talk to people through the scriptures, signs, dreams, visions and parables but I talk to (put your name here) face to face. Why did you think it was okay? Now you will feel my wrath."

Maybe it's just me but I'm tired of defending myself. I'm tired of getting deceived and bamboozled because I trust that people would treat me fairly. It's time for me to get so close to God that I never have to fight alone again. In fact, He doesn't just want to fight with me. He wants to fight for me. He wants to win battles on my behalf that I never even know were fought. I just show up after to pick up the spoils. With that arrangement, I can never lose again. He wants to be my friend. He wants to be your friend too. He wants to fight for you.

John 15:14(KJV) - Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

It's that simple. God's friends do whatever He says. If you obey God you have accepted His request for friendship. Now read what He does for His friends. He fights for them.

2 Chronicles 20:14-26(NKJV) - Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” 18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high. 20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”[c] 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies,[d] and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. 26 And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah[e] until this day.


Waking Up To The Sound of God's Voice!

Waking Up To The Sound of God's Voice

Isaiah 50:4-5(NKJV) - “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.

God has impeccable timing. Over and over I hear His voice the instant I awake from sleep. Sometimes, He gives me a scripture. Other times, He gives me specific instructions but at all times whatever He says is loaded with power. I am learning that there is a dimension of spiritual wisdom reserved for those who receive a direct impartation from God Himself. He's eager to share what's on His heart but He first needs to find those of us who are willing to listen. Morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear mysteries so that I could speak profound things reserved only for the wise.

This fresh revelation has the power to transform everything both inside of me and within those who receive what He has given me to say. If you choose to wake up to the sound of God's Voice, you too will have a word in season that will bring strength to the weary. You too, will have the ability to speak with supernatural wisdom. You too, will have open spiritual ears to hear wondrous things but there is one condition. You cannot be rebellious and you cannot turn away. From Isaiah 55:11, we understand that God's Word will not return to Him void so He won't give it to you if He knows He won't get results.

Welcome back to the blog. Hopefully, you took advantage of the break to catch up on the Worship sermon series that we posted to the site. This morning God told me that many of us are blindsided by the enemy because we do not position ourselves to hear His Voice consistently. We decipher what God is doing by construing that if the enemy is attacking us then God must have something planned. Though that may be correct, God wants to remind us that He's actually a person and we can talk to Him. He's also the revealer of secrets according to Daniel 2:28. As we discussed in our sermon series, nobody shouts a secret. If you're going to hear secrets from God you need to be very close to Him.

Now, let's go back to the beginning of the blog. Why is it so important to hear God's Voice the moment we wake up? Is that even necessary? Why do we have to even wake up to hear from God? Can't God just speak to us while we sleep with dreams?

Job 33:14-18(NLT) - For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.

Yes, God can speak to us in dreams but not all of us have the ability to recognize what He's saying. Any dream can be a message from God but every dream is not. In fact, even if you get a dream from God that does not mean you know what it means. You can make up your own meaning but if you do so, you'll probably get it wrong. It is true that we are in the last days and with the outpouring of The Holy Spirit has come an increase of dreams, visions and prophetic utterances. However, with an increase of dreams must come an increase of dream interpretation. As you can see by reading The Bible, anybody can dream but very few can interpret.

Ecclesiastes 5:3,7(NKJV) - For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words... For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

If you're going to try to guide your life strictly by dreams you're going to be very confused. Why? Some of your dreams reflect an over-active mind. Sadly, that's one reason why some spiritual people veer over the edge and become spooky people. They don't recognize the line that separates a true message from God and their imagination. Anyway, that's why sometimes God chooses to wake us up to speak to us instead of giving us the directions we desire in a dream while we sleep. He doesn't want us to miss His voice in the midst of our internal noise.

So if we can be noisy on the inside while we sleep what about while we are fully awake during the course of a normal day? Why can't God wait until we wake up and get rolling with our day to start speaking? I'll put it like this. If your sleep can be noisy because of all the things on your mind what do you think your day can be like? Remember, sleep usually takes place in the midst of physical silence so all of the noise is internal but once your day gets started the decibel level of the noise becomes deafening. All of the activities of your day can overwhelm the one voice you need to hear and that's God's Voice. So what do you do?

Psalm 4:4(NKJV) - Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah

Psalm 63:6(NKJV) - When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.

Psalm 149:5(KJV) - Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

Take advantage of the most quiet times you have each day which are just before you sleep and just after you awake. Meditate, be still, remember The Lord and sing praises upon your bed. Think about that. When you lay on your bed, you have a great opportunity to set the tone for your night and your day ahead. In Psalm 4:4, the Psalmist David says it's okay to be angry as long as you don't sin. Then he immediately follows that by saying meditate with your heart on your bed and be still. Hmmm, what's the connection between anger and meditation? Let's see. Have you ever gone to bed completely distressed or beside yourself with anger? Did you try to get a good night's sleep? What do you think that did to your sleep? The best way to be tormented in your sleep is to be tormented before you sleep.

The scripture instructs us to meditate on The Lord and be still upon our beds. You might not control your circumstances while you are awake but you can control what your sleep will be like. David's son Solomon said the following in Proverbs 3:24(KJV); "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet." I'm sure you've heard some version of the saying, "Don't lose sleep over that." Well, if you want to develop your ability to hear God's Voice clearly don't let anything or anybody rob you of your sleep. Remember, you don't just want to hear God while you sleep, you want to hear Him before you sleep and just after you awake when your heart is completely still.

Ephesians 4:26-27(NKJV) - “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

When you let the sun go down on your wrath, guess who you've given place to? The devil! He loves angry, bitter, resentful people. There's nothing like some wrath to open the door for him to walk right into your life. Many people have done things they regret because they let anger linger in their hearts. They may be good people but the devil exploited their anger. Do you want the devil and demons to visit you while you sleep? Go to bed angry! However, do you want The Lord to visit you? Go to bed meditating on His Word with a praise on your heart! Still your heart and focus it on The Lord.

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

The moment you awake is one of the best times to hear from God. He is inviting you to talk to Him. What does your heart say?


The Body Church - Worship (Part Two)

Date - Sunday, September 7th, 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


Why Does God Care About Us So Much? (Part Two)

Why Does God Care About Us So Much?

1 John 4:16(NKJV) - And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Do you believe the love God has for you? Do you really? If you would only believe His love, it would change your life.

Romans 8:35-39(NKJV) - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How He loves us.. Oh how He loves us... Oh how He loves us... Oh how He loves...

This is a continuation from yesterday's blog; "Why Does God Care About Us So Much?" After writing that blog and turning off my computer, God said to me clearly that the top reason why He cares about us so much is quite simple: It's in His nature. God cares because that's who He is. He doesn't choose to love, He is love. He can't help Himself. His love defines Him.

Why is it important to understand how God's love really works? Glad you asked. It's important because it shows that God's love has absolutely nothing to do with us and all to do with Him. He offers His love freely regardless of what we've done or not done and all we have to do is receive it. It's the overarching factor above everything else and helps to explain why He is considerate of us even we're not considerate of Him.

Psalms 139:13-16(NLT) - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Why does God care about us so much? The last reason we'll address today is that He is a loving Father and we are His Children. Can you picture a doting Father looking at an ultrasound of his baby developing in the womb of his wife? In much the same way, God watched us as we were formed. Regardless of the circumstances of our birth, He paid attention to the entire process. He was interested in us before we were born. Thanks be to God for His love.

When you receive a revelation of God's Love you will change the way you look at yourself. You will stop settling for less than His love would desire for you. You will begin to value yourself because of the value God places in you. You will stop self-destructive activities. Your confidence will skyrocket because you know you are loved by Love Himself. Even if your situation is troubling, remember God's Love is always available to you. It's His Love that kept you through life's challenges and it's His Love that will take you to the finish line. Nothing can stop His love from getting to you, whether you are on top of the highest mountain or at the bottom of the lowest pit. In the words of Apostle Paul in Romans 8:38 - "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Why Does God Care About Us So Much?

What Is Man?

Psalm 8:1-9(NLT) - O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

I sat in tears writing this blog as I worshiped The Lord from the depths of my heart. The same God who created the vast universe and orchestrated the intricate details of human DNA is interested in a personal relationship with me. By a mere thought in His consciousness my existence could be nothing but a memory. Yet, He chooses to use my life to fulfill His purpose on the earth. What is man that your are mindful of us? What is man that you made us a little lower than yourself? Why did you consider us worthy of glory and honor? Why did you put us in charge of your earthly creation? I bless you Lord from the depths of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If other human beings choose not to honor you, there will continue to remain a remnant who will praise you. If the remnant stops, there will still be me.

Welcome to today's blog. Our current message series at The Body Church is Worship and as we delve deeper into understanding this most important aspect of Christianity God's Word has been changing our hearts. The worship this week was amazing at our Sunday service. People plugged into the spirit realm and let God's glory shift the atmosphere. Within that atmosphere we were able to prophesy and lay hands on each other for breakthrough. When the worship sets the tone like that for a church service, everything else works well. Now back to the blog.

Why does God care about us so much?

Genesis 1:26-28(NKJV) - Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Reason number one for God's affinity for humanity can be found at the beginning of time. When God sees us He sees Himself. A human being can be described as His "mini-me". No other created being, regardless of how glorious, has that distinction nor can ever have it. We were made in His image and likeness with an assignment to recreate on earth what He already established in heaven. As a result, God truly values us. He spoke every other created entity into being but when it was time to make man He molded our bodies with His hands out of the earth then personally breathed His breath of life into us.

Exodus 2:23-25(NKJV) - Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

Why did God acknowledge the Children of Israel? Why did He even care about their plight? Why did He save them from their oppressors?

Deuteronomy 8:18(NKJV) - “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Why did God give His people the power to get wealth? Why are Jewish people some of the richest people on earth? Did they do something to deserve it? Did they earn it?

The second reason for God's continuous attention to our lives is His covenant. When God gave His Word to Abraham He meant it. He was willing to do whatever it took to fulfill His covenant and that's the reason why He favored Israel. In fact, that's the reason why He still favors Israel. It has absolutely nothing to do with them and everything to do with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God struck a one-sided deal with some human beings and was willing to die to enforce it.

Galatians 3:13-16,29(NKJV) - Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ..... And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Our Heavenly Father made a covenant with two people at the same time; Abraham and his seed, Christ. Christ died so that the covenant that was made between The Father and Abraham would be extended to whoever wants to participate. Once again, God has chosen to honor human beings and for some reason continues to think highly of us. He sacrificed His life for us just so that He would have a reason to bless the rest of us the same way He blessed Israel throughout history. That's amazing. So why does God care so much about us? He has a covenant with us through Christ and He cares about His covenant. When The Father sees us, He sees Christ and anything He would do for Christ He would do for us.

When God saves you from a bad situation like He did when He saved the Children of Israel from Egypt there's one thing at the front of His mind; His covenant with Abraham's seed, Jesus. Even though it may be true that you're special to God just for being you, what's even more true is that God remembers the covenant He has with you through Jesus Christ. As a result; God favors, protects and provides for you even when you have done nothing to deserve it. You do not deserve the attention God's giving you but Jesus does. Hence, you are now God's beloved just like His beloved son. God cares for you and there's nothing you can do about that. The day you made the decision to follow Christ, you became God's business and He takes care of His business.

We'll talk more about this tomorrow.


Friday Feature: I Curse Death (Hiding Behind Religion)

Friday Feature: I Curse Death (Hiding Behind Religion)

Welcome to our Friday feature where each week we will feature one of my books. Today's feature is an excerpt from my book, "I Curse Death".

Genesis 3:9-11 - And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil opened Adam and Eve’s eyes to natural wisdom, but instead of empowering them, it allowed them to see their own weaknesses, which resulted in fear. Isn’t that amazing? What we got from that tree was the realization that we were naked and immediately subject to the Spirit of Fear. Oh yes, before I overlook it, we also got a curse from God, designed specifically for us.

Nonetheless, when God made man and breathed Himself into man’s body, He also made His wisdom available to man (James 1:5). With only God’s pure wisdom, Adam would have been a successful manager of all of the resources placed under his command. This reminds me of a little child, once again. A child is born into this earth with a blank mind and the parents have a few years to shape that child’s personality.

During that highly influential period, they can represent God on the earth and ensure that the child thinks like the Word of God. They can teach the child to stay under the covering provided by their Heavenly Father. I understand that this seems impossible but nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). Like Adam, a child who is taught to rule on this earth will only understand authority and is prepared to face the challenges that arise in life.

I smile when I think about what happens to many human beings who get too much information about the things of this world. They suddenly see themselves in a way that is contrary to God’s way of thinking. Their vast knowledge gives them the confidence to walk in their own power and avoid the power of God. In other words, they hide themselves. How do they hide? Like Adam and Eve, they jump behind some bushes and think God can’t see them. Let’s discuss one of these bushes.


There isn’t a more popular bush to hide behind than religion. I call religion the man-made version of a walk with God. With religion we turn the dynamic nature of daily communication with our Heavenly Father into a static representation or a form of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5).

Hence, many people do all the things that look like a relationship with God and are proud to be religious. They sing the songs, wear ten dollar “Too Blessed to Be Stressed” t-shirts, show up at church in the holiest outfits and they offer a great imitation of the Christian life. Empty repetition of religious action is a total waste of time.

If this Christian walk ever goes stale I would not enjoy it, yet many people seem to relish a dry, empty religious life. Some even act like they are doing God a favor by living like that. In contrast, God wanted Adam to walk with Him in the cool of the day and converse (Genesis 3:8).

Right now He wants this Christian life to always be on the cutting edge. We need a Word from God that is “hot off the press,” something that is still smoking because it just left the stones of fire before the throne of God, something fresh like manna. Every morning He gives us more grace and we should stay current (Lamentations 3:22&23).

We should use the provision of “manna” to the Children of Israel in the wilderness as a good illustration of how God wants to communicate with us (Exodus 16:14-36). He has something new for us everyday that we have to use during that day. The next day we can open ourselves to hear again and He will continue to supply us with fresh revelation from heaven.

Religion puts God in a box and at the same time puts us in a box. The only box that confines people without any resistance is a casket, and by the time you finish reading this book you will have a good idea of my view on the casket. It’s all about compressing a human being to fit into some preconceived notion of the ideal person.

As human beings, we can use religion to place personal limitations that God never created and to also place limitations on God’s freedom to act on our behalf (Mark 7:13). Even though He is all powerful, we can bind His hands in our own lives by limiting Him with our doctrine.

It’s easy to see what God thinks about religion by looking at Jesus and His interaction with the religious leaders of His time. A good example of this is shown in Matthew 12 when Jesus had to put the Pharisees and Scribes in their place for trying to question His actions on the Sabbath day.

I Curse Death

Jesus taught us to live in the Spirit, free from the laws that were created for the Children of Israel to give them an awareness of sin. When we live in the Spirit we will fulfill those same laws of God and that is a much easier way to live (Galatians 5:16). Thank God we now have an awareness of our righteousness and our new life in Christ. Therefore, we can all walk in the Spirit, follow the direction of God and always fit into the plan of God, which agrees with His Holy Word.


Bold As A Lion

Bold As A Lion

Luke 10:19 (AMP) - Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

Acts 1:8(AMP) - But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

The King James Version uses the same word, "power" to describe what Jesus gave us in Luke 10:19 to defeat the enemy and what He in Acts 1:8 said the Holy Spirit will give us to preach the gospel. However, they are not the same. The power we have over the enemy is "Exousia" which is authority, hence all we have to do is speak to him in the name of Jesus and all the forces of hell must obey. On the other hand, the power we get from The Holy Spirit coming upon us is "Dunamis" which is ability and might. That's important because all Christians have "Exousia" power since it comes only by the name of Jesus. Hence we can pray for the sick, cast out demons and make declarations against the enemy.

However, until The Holy Spirit empowers us with "Dunamis" we will remain scared to death to tell our co-workers about Jesus. Isn't that amazing? It's not the same. As bold as we are in church stamping on the enemy and laying hands on people we assume we can translate that into preaching the gospel to people we meet on the streets. Well, have you ever tried that? My goodness, its easier for most of us to command the enemy to get out of our lives than to just tell a human being we don't know that Jesus loves them. It's easier to wage war against a spiritual enemy than to show love to a human. It's easier to bind principalities and powers than to be witnesses for Jesus. We all already have "Exousia" but for those of us who want boldness to spread this gospel, let's ask The Holy Spirit for "Dunamis."

Welcome to today's blog. It was 2:30 AM EST when I was up writing this blog. I had just had an interesting dream that night which left an indelible mark on my mind and heart. Let me share with you the salient points;

"I kept this lion as a pet for some time. It was extremely disciplined and fit nicely into my daily routine. One day, I put it on a leash and took it out into the streets for a walk. I didn't reach too far from the house before I started drawing some serious attention. Dogs were barking, people were staring and commotion was building. Suddenly, I released it, turned around and returned home. I could hear the mayhem in the background but I didn't care. The time had come."

The lion represents the anointing on my life. I kept it "domesticated" for some time. I attracted limited attention because of it as I've displayed it on a limited level. However, it's time for me to stop holding it back. God wants me to let it go free and whatever happens, happens. The Holy Spirit, who is the source of the anointing, is the source of my boldness. I'm not afraid. I'm taking this message to the world and The Lord will protect me.

I awoke and The Lord spoke to me with these three sciptures. 

Proverbs 28:1(NIV) - The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Acts 4:13(NKJV) - Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:31(NIV) - After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Boldness is one of the most valuable traits any Christian could develop. These three scriptures demonstrate three ways to increase your level of boldness; walk in righteousness, spend time with The Lord and receive a fresh infilling of The Holy Spirit. In my dream, God challenged me to increase the level of boldness in my life and when I awoke He told me how to get it done.

What about you?

Seeing Life Through A New Set Of Eyes

Seeing Life Through A New Set Of Eyes

2 Kings 6:15-16(NKJV) - And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

It must have been terrifying for Elisha's servant that morning. He woke up early, walked outside and was greeted by the powerful Syrian army all around. If you read 2 Kings 6:8-14, you will be able to understand why they were there. God gave Elisha the ability to sit in Israel and see in the spirit directly into the Syrian king's palace in real time. Therefore, he was able to give the king of Israel a "heads-up" every time the Syrians made plans to attack.

So when the Syrians tried to ambush the armies of Israel, the tables were turned and they were the ones getting ambushed. Frustrated, the Syrian king blamed the leak on a mole in his kingdom. After questioning his servants, he was duly informed by one of his servants that God was feeding the information to Elisha. As a result, the Syrian army was dispatched to capture Elisha in Israel.

Upon seeing the army, Elisha's servant was understandably afraid. They were up against a formidable foe and outside of the mercy of the Syrian king, death was a real possibility. Think about it. When it's just the two of you and your most powerful weapon is a stick, your options are limited. That's especially true when the enemy has horses and chariots in battle formation as far as your eyes can see. Those are the facts and we can't pretend that they don't exist.

Nevertheless, when his servant approached him in complete panic, Elisha remained calm. Elisha told his servant not to be afraid because they had more on their side than the Syrian army had on the other side. That sounds great in hindsight but at the moment it probably didn't make much sense. According to simple Math, that would be statistically impossible judging from the mere fact that it was only two of them. Elisha's servant probably looked around again and wondered; "What is this man talking about?" That's when the story completely changed.

2 Kings 6:17-18(NKJV) - And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Elisha knew something that his servant did not. Elisha also saw something that his servant could not. The difference between the two men was their perspective. Elisha looked through the eyes of faith which enabled him to see into the spirit realm while his servant looked through natural eyes. In response, Elisha prayed a simple prayer, "Lord open his eyes so he can see what's going on." That's an interesting prayer because from a natural perspective his eyes were already open and working very well. He was able to accurately see the Syrian army surrounding them.

Nothing was wrong with the servant's eyes. However, everything was wrong with his perspective. While the servant was seeing the Syrian army surrounding them, Elisha was seeing the armies of God surrounding the Syrian army. Hence, God opened the servant's eyes so that his perspective extended beyond just the Syrian army around the city. With a fresh set of eyes, he was able to see into the mountains above them where God's army of horses and chariots were warming up for battle. (pun intended) He literally looked above his problems into the hills where God had sent help. This is the exact perspective David had in Psalm 121.

Perspective: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed .... point of view... the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Your perspective is your point of view. It's how you see what you see. Perspective is everything. Regardless of the facts or even the truth, your perspective shapes your reality. What you see is not as important as how you see it. Two people can see the same thing but how they see it truly determines what's real to each of them. As a result, God can instantly change your situation by instantly changing your perspective. He can then gradually change the facts of the situation to match the truth of His Will for your life. So what really shapes your perspective? Information. What you know determines how you see things. For instance, Elisha knew that God was on their side so his perspective on the Syrian army was that they were no match for God's army. If you really know what's going on, you will see things differently.

1 Samuel 1:1-20(NKJV) - Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. 4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head." 12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, "How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!" 15 But Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now." 17 Then Eli answered and said,"Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him." 18 And she said,"Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the Lord."

Where, when and why did Hannah's mood change from sad to peaceful? Where? In the place of prayer. When? The moment she received The Word of God through the priest, Eli. Why? She believed God. She believed God and that changed her perspective enough that it brought her time of fasting and prayer to an abrupt end. Do you realize that the only thing which had actually changed at the moment when Hannah quit crying was her perspective?

She did not have her son yet but she knew that if God said she was having a son, it was done already. With that fresh perspective, there was no need to keep on crying. Her change had already come and her prayer was already answered. With that level of faith, after a lifetime of barrenness she got pregnant the same night. It looks like she got home and told her husband what God had said so they didn't waste any time doing their part of the miracle. One Word from God was all Hannah needed to change her perspective.

What's your story? What have you been praying and crying and praying and crying out to God for? Has God spoken to you about it yet? If yes, stop crying and praying about it. He's given you the answer, so break out in thanksgiving. Get up and start getting ready to receive what He has promised. If He's not spoken to you yet, then feel free to keep crying and praying about it until you get an answer. One thing is for sure, He will eventually answer. He will answer through His Word, in your heart, through a friend, through a preacher, through this blog, etc. Nevertheless, it may not always be the answer you're looking for but whatever He says is the answer and when He speaks, that's all the info you need to change your perspective.

Psalms 121:1-8(NKJV) - I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

I know you want your situation changed but before anything changes around you, something has to change inside of you. One Word from God is all you need to change the way you look at things. Like Hannah, after you change the way you look at things to match what God has said you can expect God to change the actual situation. Apostle Paul said in Hebrews 11:1; "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." When you look around and it seems like you have no chance, faith says to look up. Your help comes from The Lord.


Why The Church Still Needs All of The Five-Fold Ministry Gifts

Why The Church Still Needs All of The Five-Fold Ministry Gifts

Ephesians 4:11-16(NLT) - Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

After The Resurrection when Jesus returned to heaven, He left His Church in the hands of a team of expert builders: Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Pastors and Evangelists. This team of people have been left with the following assignment;

1) Equip saints for ministry
2) Edify The Body
3) Facilitate unity
4) Bring an understanding of Jesus
5) Help people mature

This assignment is not complete until, "we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." Are we there yet? If not, then the work of the five-fold ministry continues. Simply put, the five-fold ministry gifts are in place to equip, edify, unify, educate and help God's people mature. When Christian people are missing any of the above it's a sure sign that they're not properly connected to these ministry gifts and that's a problem.

1 Corinthians 12:28-30 (NLT) - Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages. Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not!

The Importance of the Pastor and Evangelist

Two of the most widely accepted roles within The Church are the pastor and evangelist. Few Christians deny their relevance in the Body of Christ and most would vigorously defend their viability. The word, pastor is mentioned in the Bible nine times and is used in the same capacity as the word, shepherd. Outside of Ephesians 4, all other references to pastor are in the Book of Jeremiah. Therefore, since the formation of The Church it was only mentioned once.

Jeremiah 3:15 - And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

So the job of the pastor is to feed the people of The Church with knowledge and understanding like a shepherd who takes care of a flock. Now the other ministry assignment that’s widely accepted is evangelist. This word is only mentioned three times in the Bible and all of these times are in the New Testament. This position is reserved for the preacher of the gospel. Therefore it only came into existence after Jesus Christ died to defeat sin on the cross and rose from the dead to defeat death.

2 Timothy 4:5 - But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Romans 10:14 - How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Since the word evangelist means preacher of the gospel any mention of the word preacher in the New Testament may be associated with evangelist. However, a distinction should exist because they come from two different Greek words. Nonetheless, to sweeten the statistics, the three times that the word preacher is mentioned in the New Testament will be combined with evangelist for a grand total of 6 times.

I would like you to pay close attention to the direction of this discussion because I am building a very strong argument. The pastoral assignment is mentioned nine times in the Bible with eight of those in one book of the Bible. The evangelistic assignment is mentioned six times and all in the New Testament. Nonetheless, please note that the entire Body of Christ should preach the gospel outside of The Church. However, the ministry assignment of the evangelist, as defined in Ephesians 4 is to preach the gospel to The Church or to others so that they can join The Church.

As mentioned earlier, their mission is to perfect the saints so that they can work the ministry and edify the Body of Christ. At this point let us have a short recap. It is clear that the pastor and the evangelist are listed among the main ministry gifts. However, they are not singled out on the wider list of spiritual gifts. They are called to minister to the Body of Christ and should always have that primary responsibility at the front of their minds.

The Importance of the Teacher

The word teacher comes from the Greek word, “didaskalos” and is described as an expert, master, doctor or instructor. It is mentioned thirteen times in the New Testament and twenty times in the entire Bible. There are very few masters among us. I thank God for the honor and privilege to sit under the ministry of one whenever I can.

James 3:1 - My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Hebrews 5:12 - For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

These individuals have a special gift of wisdom and understanding of the Word of God. I respect them greatly and I am sure most of The Church agrees that they are rare gems whom we cherish. I like reading the books written by some of these teachers because of the understanding that I receive from them. Nonetheless, this is not an office you force yourself into. You have to be called by God, anointed and disciplined in your study of the Word of God to fill these big shoes.

The Importance of the Apostle

The word apostle comes from the Greek word, “apostolos” and is described as a delegate, an ambassador of the Gospel, an official commissioner of Christ, one with miraculous powers, a messenger and one who is sent by God. This office is very special and is mentioned eighty three times in the New Testament alone. It is a part of the five main ministry gifts assigned to leadership and must still be present in The Church if perfection is to be achieved according to Ephesians 4:11-13.

I know some apostles personally and I must acknowledge that these are some of the highest ranking ministers in the Body of Christ. I say that with confidence because Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 put them first, before he mentioned the other two offices, prophets and teachers in the list of spiritual gifts. You don’t choose to be an apostle. You are chosen by God. The definition of the position includes one who is sent by God. Therefore, you don’t volunteer for that position. You can volunteer to watch cars in the parking lot! You can volunteer to be an usher! You can even volunteer to lead song service! However, God has to make you an apostle.

The Importance of the Prophet

The word prophesy in the New Testament comes from the Greek word, “propheteuo” and has the following meanings; to foretell events, speak under divine inspiration and exercise the prophetic office. The word prophet is mentioned one hundred and sixty three times in the New Testament and a total of four hundred and ninety times in the Bible. This is one of the most maligned words among conservative Christians but somehow seems to be given more emphasis in the Bible than pastor, evangelist and teacher combined.

Every main ministry gift listed in Ephesians 4:11-13 is important to The Church, so if one is missing The Church cannot be perfect. As a result, those who deny the relevance of prophecy rob themselves of an important aspect of God’s plan. In fact, just by the sheer magnitude of the emphasis placed on prophecy in the Bible, what conclusion should you draw? Do you see how many times the word prophet is used in the New Testament in stark contrast to any of the other ministry gifts and assignments?

I’ll make a simple analogy. The Church is the Body of Christ so all together we represent God on the earth. The leadership of The Church points it in the right direction. For the purpose of this discussion, let us refer to the leadership as the fingers on the Hand of God. Now let’s assume that the five main ministry gifts that constitute church leadership; apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor and evangelist are the five fingers of the Hand of God. What do you think happens when one of these assignments is removed?

You end up with a four fingered hand! Do you think a hand with four fingers can be as effective as one with five? I don’t think so. As a result, large sections of The Church have chosen to operate with four fingers and in fact, some operate with just three because they deny the role of The Apostle.


Healing Through Worship

Healing Through Worship

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

John 4:21-24(NKJV) - Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Are you a true worshiper? I sincerely hope so. Do you worship God as The Holy Spirit leads you and does it come from a sincere heart? That's what God is looking for. Welcome to today's blog. Coincidentally, this month we're in the middle of a sermon series on Worship at The Body Church. Sunday, September 7th was the third session of the series. If you've never watched any of our message videos, let this series be your first one. It's worth it. If you want to stay abreast of our video releases or just want to catch up on the rest of the teachings you can check the church website. Anyway, it was also refreshing to sit at the feet of the young people at International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Atlanta over the weekend as they shared what God has released to them about worship. Anyway, on with today's blog.

1 Samuel 16:13-18,23(NKJV) - Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul's servants said to him, "Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well." So Saul said to his servants, "Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me." Then one of the servants answered and said, "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him."... And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

Pay very close attention to the start of this passage. The Spirit of The Lord came upon David but left Saul. As a result, the enemy was able to swoop in and torment Saul. There's something my father said a long time ago that has never left me. The worst place you ever want to be is the place where God was. Why? Once God's presence leaves, guess who comes right after? Think about it. You always want to be where God is. Like with The Children of Israel, when the pillar of cloud moves by day or the pillar of fire by night to indicate a move of God's presence, you need to move with it.

Nonetheless, the basis for this scripture is the Spirit of The Lord. He was upon David and that was clear to one of Saul's servants who said that The Lord was with David. This entire passage highlights the power of worship to bring healing. When Saul was tormented by the devil, his servants automatically understood that the only solution for his problem was to get someone to release healing through music. How did they know that? Obviously, they had seen it happen before or it was common knowledge. However, they did not need just anybody but they needed someone who had The Anointing or Presence of God because they were dealing with an evil spirit.

Isaiah 10:27(KJV) - And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

Here's what I just realized; the only reason why David's music was able to deliver Saul from the devil was because David was anointed. God does not anoint music but He anoints people so when an anointed musician plays music the music becomes anointed. As a result, without even saying a word of prophecy to Saul, David's music spoke to the spirit attacking Saul and told it to go away. Think about that. David prophesied through his worship. If you read through the Book of Psalms you will be able to visualize the kind of music David was able to produce during his private time of worship while playing his harp before The Lord.

When people are anointed by God, whatever they say, write, sing, play, draw, dance, mime or act out in worship to God will also be anointed. That's why you can't expect to mimic what someone else does and see the same results. The Anointing does not exist in a vacuum and will not work for you unless you are also anointed just like the person who created the original. David used his anointing to worship God with original music while watching his father's sheep. It was that same healing sound which Saul's servant heard sometime before Saul needed deliverance. As a result, David's ministry to Saul was really just a fringe benefit of David's worship to God. The same anointing that healed David's heart many times in his secret place was able to heal Saul in the king's palace.

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

The power in anointed words don't exist in the words but in the person who is speaking, singing, writing or delivering the words. That's why the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees could recite the law but there was no power in their words. In Matthew 15:6, Jesus said that they killed the power of God's Word with their tradition. Additionally, the power of anointed music doesn't lie in the music itself but in the person who's playing it. Therefore, when someone with an anointing starts to worship in any way possible, expect the power of God to be released and if healing is what you need, open your heart for God to heal you.

Music is just one avenue of worship that releases healing. Have you ever seen someone dance and release the power of God? I have. How is that even possible? Is it the actual dance? Nope! Sometimes, the dance itself is not really that impressive. If it was a dancing competition that person would lose but when the person is dancing under an anointing of God, a wave of His power is released. Sometimes, you might just be enjoying the dance when BOOM! God's power hits you and you are enveloped with God's presence. That's what happens when a true worshiper is behind the dance. I have heard songs that released the power of God and the person wasn't the best singer. I have heard someone preach and in the middle of the message I have broken down in tears as the Spirit of God overwhelmed me. What's the secret? The Anointing; the tangible presence of God resting upon a person.

Luke 7:36-48(NKJV) - Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying,"This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." 40 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it." 41 "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

Picture this. A broken woman with a heart heavy with guilt got the chance of a lifetime to meet Jesus. Her life was rife with sin and people knew it. She needed healing for her heart and can't you see how she got her healing? She brought her oil, poured in on the feet of Jesus and wiped it with her hair. She cried her heart out and didn't say a word. She worshiped and worshiped and worshiped with all she had within her and Jesus heard her heart. She walked in the room a sinner and walked out completely forgiven because Jesus received authentic worship. No, she was not perfect. No, she was not clean. No, she was not pure. However, that's not what Jesus wanted. He had the power to make her perfect, clean and pure so she was welcome to come before Him just the way she was.

Think about that. After your biggest screw up, what do you think would happen if you run into God's presence and worship Him with everything you have? Do you think He would push you away because your heart is dirty? Is that what He did with that woman in the Pharisee's house? No, He did not. Everyone else wanted her gone but God welcomed her worship. God makes you pure. If your worship is authentic, even if you're a dirty vessel, give Him what you have and ask Him to clean you. He doesn't only accept worship from clean vessels, He accepts worship from willing vessels.

Many people backslide because they feel unclean and don't believe they can worship God after something they did wrong. In addition, many people are afraid of what others would think if they return to church after the sins they've committed. Listen, if your heart is messed up and you need healing, don't run from God's presence thinking He'll reject you, run into His presence and worship like you never have before. Fall at His feet, cry, pour your heart out, break open your heart like an alabaster box and empty the contents out before Him.

You may have walked into the room feeling dirty and guilty but you will walk out clean and forgiven. Forget about the people who are looking at you. People looked at the woman when she worshiped Jesus but she didn't have any pride because she was desperate for the Love of Jesus. She didn't care who was looking, like her alabaster box, she was broken and only Jesus could heal her. How desperate are you? How much do you want your healing? There is healing in your worship. Listen to this.....


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