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11

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?
4

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.

10

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.....

2

Friday Feature: I Curse Death

ICurseDeath

Welcome back to the blog. This is our first full week back. Each Friday, we plan to feature one of my books. Today's feature is on "I Curse Death". If you don't already have a copy of this book, you can use the link above. When the book first came out in 2007 I did a series of interviews. Today I want to share one of them with you. I think you'll like it.

INN THE BASEMENT Exclusive Interview With Author Donnell Duncan

If Adam had never sinned in the garden of Eden, would he still have died? If death came by sin and Jesus Christ defeated sin on the cross, what happened to death? In I Curse Death, author Donnell Duncan boldly answers these questions and many more. The message is simple: man was designed by God to be immortal and only lost that gift by falling into sin. Duncan demonstrates with scripture that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ restored this gift to all those who believe. With each intriguing chapter, Duncan draws the reader into a world governed by the original Will of God. In that world, each human being is given a specific time to complete a specific purpose and does not die before it is completed. With an abundance of scriptural support he makes it clear that death has no power over the plan of God for an individual. After reading I Curse Death the reader will be convinced that the Bible holds the keys of life that unlock the mysteries of death.

ITB: God. The Almighty of the Holy Bible. The Bible has been proven to be the most prophetic book in the entire world across all generations. Author Donnell Duncan has written a powerful book entitled I Curse Death. This book takes the evidence from the Word of God, and describes its original promises that would have been, if in fact, Adam and Eve had not sinned, how one will in fact live fulfilling his or her purpose, and how death is powerless against God’s plan for anyone’s life.

Author Donnell Duncan has agreed to check INN THE BASEMENT with me to share about his book, himself and beliefs, as well as about another one of his awesome ministries, The Cracked Door - www.thecrackeddoor.com.

Come along with us as Donnell Duncan shares the ins of success and the outs of fear when it comes to fulfilling purpose as well as learn how to truly live with the knowledge that death has become completely powerless!

Mirika (ITB) : Alright, Mr. Duncan, I am so extremely excited to get on with this interview that I don’t know exactly where to begin. However, I am going to attempt to make a start at a good point seeing as that there are many items of interest to me as well as to the many who check INN THE BASEMENT. So…I Curse Death. The title caught my eye immediately, and I told myself that I must get in contact with this author after reading what the book is about.
In your own words, tell us, Mr. Duncan, how in fact you found the correct and absolute purpose in your life, and were you ever lost or in search of that one or many things that you just knew that you had to accomplish? Did you ever feel like giving up in the process?

Donnell Duncan: That’s a great question, Mirika. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

To discover God’s Will for my life, I first made the decision to obey His written Word. With each act of obedience, I became more familiar with His voice. In addition, I realized that my natural talents and true passions were the same.

It wasn’t too difficult for me to discover my purpose because everything about me screamed the same thing. I won several high profile awards for writing and worked as a freelance columnist for a local newspaper before I graduated high school. If I couldn’t tell what God had called me to do, I obviously wasn’t paying attention.

The main issue for me was not identifying my purpose but figuring out what I needed to do with it and when. That’s where the guidance of my parents really kicked in. Even though my gifts were clear, the path for my life was not. My parents helped me out while I was younger by guiding me through the confusing years. Fortunately, as I matured, I learned to follow God’s guidance on my own.

Mirika (ITB): Life and death are both things that people struggle with on a day to day basis. At times, life may even feel like death. On the other hand, some people can’t even live for the fear of death, physical or mental, due to a feeling of hopelessness. How would you in your book address this issue or problem of bondage within their lives, and is it easier to overcome than what it seems?

Donnell Duncan: Mirika, Paul said in Hebrews 2:14-15(NLT); “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

Jesus Christ died and rose again, breaking the curse of death. However, what you receive is a direct result of your faith. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God and Romans 10:14 asks the question, “How can people hear unless someone tells them?” Therefore, God inspired me to write my book. It provides people with an understanding of the scriptures they need to develop their faith for victory over death.

Mirika(ITB): You are the founder of The Cracked Door – www.thecrackeddoor.com, and your philosophy as I read from your site is “If the Door is Cracked, the Door is Open.” This, to me, is exceptional as many wouldn’t see a cracked door as a fully open door. Will you please explain this philosophy and how it pertains to the life of an individual?

Donnell Duncan: King Solomon, the wisest man in history said in Ecclesiastes 11:4(NLT); “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” In other words, if you sit around waiting for perfect conditions before you make your move, you’ll go nowhere. God doesn’t always have to swing doors completely open for us to walk through them. A little crack in the door is all we need.

Paul said in Ephesians 5:16 that we should make the most of every opportunity we receive in life. That’s what I mean by; “If the Door is Cracked, the Door is Open.” While most people wait for something obvious to happen, successful people take advantage of the slightest chances available.

Mirika (ITB): Mr. Duncan, it looks as if you come from family of prophets and you also have studied to earn a number of degrees. Out of all of your accomplishments and the people/family in your life, what or who would you say played or plays the biggest part and why?

Donnell Duncan: My parents are my biggest inspiration. Their passion for God and desire to serve in His Kingdom have encouraged me to do the same. They are also career professionals who placed a high priority on education. Now that God has opened several doors for ministry I see the benefits of that decision. I don’t need to depend on the ministry to pay my bills so I don’t have that added pressure.

Even though they knew that God had called me into the ministry at the age of 17 they encouraged me to pursue an engineering career. Mirika (ITB): Were you ever intimidated when you decided to answer your call into the ministry or do you feel like you were always ready?

Donnell Duncan: I live by the following scripture;

Jeremiah 1:4-10(NLT) – “The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.”

I wasn’t always ready for ministry but the desire for it burned inside of my heart. When I published my book, “I Curse Death” I envisioned a blockbuster like “Purpose Driven Life” or “Da Vinci Code.” However, at one point, the sheer magnitude of the message in that book overwhelmed my heart. I didn’t know how it would be received by The Church. Thankfully, The Lord settled my heart with the words of Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Now I preach the Word of God with all of my heart and refuse to be intimidated.

Mirika (ITB): Absolutely amazing! Now, once and for all time, there is victory over death. Tell us briefly about that Victory, Mr. Duncan.

Donnell Duncan: Let’s start with one of the most fascinating scriptures in The Bible; John 11:23-26(NKJV) – “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

There’s something about believing in Jesus that I think many of us are yet to understand. He obliterated the curse of death and offered that victory to us. However, the responsibility to receive it is on our shoulders. He embodies The Resurrection so everything we can expect to happen at that event can happen wherever Jesus is.

The Apostle Paul described The Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:52-55(NLT) and said in Romans 8:11 that The Holy Spirit within us can bring life to our mortal bodies. We don’t have to limit ourselves to our natural abilities when Jesus died, rose again and gave us His victory over death. There’s so much I can say about this but my book goes into detail and blows this revelation wide open.

Mirika (ITB) : This seems to be an amazing prophetic word and book for anyone to read. Where can the public purchase this book and will you be on tour for the rest of the year?

Donnell Duncan: “I Curse Death” can be purchased directly from my publisher at www.TatePublishing.com or at my website, www.TheCrackedDoor.com. It can also be ordered by name from any major bookstore across the US like Borders, Barnes and Noble or Family Christian Bookstores.

Mirika (ITB) : Thank you so very much for checking INNTHEBASEMENT for this insightful interview. It has been a true pleasure, Donnell Duncan, and may God remain with you and may you continue to be the apple of His eye. Visit www.thecrackeddoor.com today as well as www.myspace.com/thechristiansocialites and www.myspace.com/icursedeath!

2

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.”

4

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?

32

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.”
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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

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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.

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

www.TheBodyChurchInc.org

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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.

Sundays

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

www.TheBodyChurchInc.org

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