STEPPING INTO GOD’S BLESSING

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Just because you are a Christian you don’t automatically experience all of the promises and blessings of the Lord that are available to you. As a matter of fact, we have to learn to walk with the Lord. He wants to be in the center of our world and wants to reveal His goodness to each of us. Recently, I have been redigging one of the ancient wells that the Lord brought me to in the first days of my ministry. As a novice pastor I had lots to learn. I had been given a book written by Oral Roberts called ‘A DAILY GUIDE TO MIRACLES’. I believe this book came into my life at the perfect time in my life. I was ready to learn and I was in need of supernatural provision. Let’s face it, I had no trade or means to provide for my family. I had no congregation or financial support from another ministry. I was put in a place of total dependence on the Lord. The good news is that He met me big time. I want to share with you three truths that I learned from Brother Roberts that changed my life. I hope they are also a blessing to you.

First, God is the Source of my supply. This is the beginning of a supernatural life. Like today’s verse says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father”. Learning to look to the Lord as my source no matter what my circumstances were changed everything.

Second, God wants to be first in my life and my giving. Putting the Lord first is exactly what Jesus taught. He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be provided for you”. Seeking His kingdom, building His church was the key. Get involved in what He is involved in will change everything.

Third, whatever I give, I give it as Seed-Faith. I expect a miracle. That was the shocking thing for me. When we first started our church we saw the Lord get involved immediately. I remember Parris and I counting the offering after our first Sunday service and laughing and crying at the Lord’s blessing. He is bigger than you think and wants to be involved in your world.

SUPER ABUNDANT SUPPLY

Lk.6:38 -TPT – Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.

Lk.8:5 – TPT – A farmer went out to sow seeds for a harvest.

Its easy to get stuck in a routine, all of us do it. Many Christians willingly support their churches with their finances but their giving has become an obligation rather than a blessing. For many of us, tithing and giving offerings is part of our world. But there is a danger when your giving becomes a debt that you owe. Even the Pharisees tithed and gave offerings. The problem that they faced was giving to the Lord by obligation. Obligated giving robs us from the blessing of God. The Lord intended for our giving to be closely associated with Him and His nature. The Lord is good, merciful, and amazingly generous. Giving as a debt blocks us from receiving the blessing of the Lord. I learned the importance of giving to the Lord as a seed with the expectancy of harvest from Oral Roberts many years ago. Here is something Brother Roberts said about seed faith giving.

“Before, I had practiced giving after I received. In other words, I was giving my tenth dollar as a debt I owed for the other nine dollars, rather than giving my first dollar back as a seed I sowed. So I redirected my giving from a debt I owed to a seed I sowed. This was revolutionary to what I had been taught by the church, but it was entirely scriptural. When I saw that seedtime and harvest in its purest form is a cause and a result, I was able to see that my giving was what actually caused me to be able to receive. I changed my lifestyle of giving, immediately. I didn’t wait; I didn’t argue. I started sowing seeds of faith and looking for God, my Source, to send me the harvests He had planned all along for me to have to meet my needs.”

The Lord literally said in Malachi that He would open the floodgates of heaven in response to our giving. This is not just a poetic phrase from the prophet, this is literally a promise from the Lord. Give your tithes and offerings to the Lord in expectancy. Let your offerings be seeds of anticipation of God’s supernatural harvest. God’s response will be shocking, as shocking as floodgates being opened suddenly.

KINGDOM PLANS

1 Cor.2:10 – But God now unveils these profound realities to us by the Spirit. Yes, he has revealed to us his inmost heart and deepest mysteries through the Holy Spirit, who constantly explores all things.

This passage could give us a key insight into the purpose of the prayer language. Praying in tongues is a bypass from our minds to the mind of Christ. Praying in the Spirit puts us in a position to hear from God. As we quiet our own mind and thoughts, the Spirit begins to speak to us the wisdom of God. This could come as a deeper understanding of the Lord or possibly insight into His plans and purposes for your personal life. Here are some thoughts from the Passion Notes on this verse.

“God has provided us with a revelation through the Spirit.” This difficult-to-translate Greek sentence may contain an ellipsis, which would render it “Yet we speak [or we know] what God has revealed to us by the Spirit.”

This brings us to a second verse. 1 Cor.2:16 – “For Who has ever intimately known the mind of the Lord Yahweh well enough to become his counselor? Christ has, and we possess Christ’s perceptions.”

This gives the Christian a huge advantage over the natural man. The Lord knows all things and rules all things. When I tap into the mysteries of God I begin to receive clear and specific guidance about the practical as well as spiritual aspects of life. Here is the Passion Notes on this verse.

“That is, we believers possess the Holy Spirit, who reveals the thoughts and purposes of Christ. The revelation of the kingdom of God that Jesus preached was not understood by the intellect of men but by those who welcomed his truth. Humanly speaking, no one can understand the mysteries of God without the Holy Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit now possess the perceptions of Christ’s mind and can implement his purposes on the earth.”

How many Christians actually take advantage of this huge benefit? This is so much better than just depending on my own talent, my own energy, or even human connections to help me along. The Lord has the ability to advance us suddenly. What is He looking for? Wise and faithful stewards that He can trust with His valuable resources. When He finds a faithful man, all things are possible.

JESUS PRAYED

Lk.5:16,17 – But Jesus often slipped away from them and went into the wilderness to pray….And the power of the Lord God surged through him to instantly heal.

The humility of Christ is seen again and again in His humanity. In today’s verse we see the Son of God in prayer. Think about the implications of this. Jesus is the Creator. He is the sovereign ruler ruling the universe with His word. He is all knowing as well as all powerful. In His humanity He apparently gave up these attributes and found Himself as a man totally dependent on His Father. He would pray for guidance, strength to overcome temptation, power to perform miracles, for guidance, and even for His daily provision. We see in Christ the necessity of prayer as well as the power of prayer. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“We read about Jesus praying eight times in Luke’s Gospel. (1) At his baptism Jesus prayed and the heavens were opened, revealing his sonship. Jesus asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen him for his wilderness temptations (3:21-23). (2) Jesus prayed in solitude, and miracles broke loose in his ministry (5:16-17). (3) Jesus prayed all night before he chose his twelve companions (6:12-16). (4) Jesus prayed for his apostles to receive the full revelation of who he is (9:18-22). (5) When Jesus was about to be glorified in splendor on the mountain, he prayed, and his face glowed with a flashing light (9:28-29). (6) Jesus prayed that he would be an example to every one of his disciples (11:1). (7) Jesus prayed for Peter’s restoration and future ministry (22:31-32). (8) Jesus prayed in Gethsemane for strength and glory as the terrors of Calvary lay before him (22:41-46).”

The prayer ministry of Jesus of Nazareth did not end at the end of His life. Today, Jesus of Nazareth continues in prayer. He is now the Heavenly Intercessor praying on my behalf before His Father. He serves as my Advocate before the Father representing me as my sacrifice for sins. I often think about the prayers of Jesus in heaven and how they relate to the prayers of the Holy Spirit on earth. When we pray in the Spirit the Holy Spirit literally prays through us and for us. Knowing the unity of the trinity, I have a feeling these are echoing the prayers of Jesus in heaven.

FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE

1 Cor.13:8-11 – Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.

This is one of those misunderstood passages that has effected much of the church for many, many years. Paul is describing the motivation of the gifts of the Spirit as being the love of God. He says that one day all of the imperfections of this life will be swallowed up by the perfection of heaven. Love will continue because God is love and is eternal. The gifts will be no longer necessary because all of our imperfections will be put off in heaven. The gifts of the Spirit will continue as long as suffering is present on the earth. God’s love pours into us as we drink of His Spirit and flows out of us in ministry. Here are some thoughts on God’s love from the Passion Notes.

“Faith and hope both spring from love, which makes love the greatest virtue of all. Faith and hope are temporary, but love is eternal. Paul gives us ten characteristics of divine love in this chapter. Love (1) is patient under stress, (2) is kind at all times, (3) is generous, not envious, (4) is humble, not self-promoting, (5) is never rude, (6) does not manipulate by using shame, (7) is not irritable or easily offended, (8) celebrates honesty, (9) does not focus on what is flawed, and (10) is loyal to the end.”

Faith and hope both spring from God’s love. Tasting God’s love gives us an assurance (faith) that the Lord will meet us. This assurance is the hope that keeps us pressing forward in difficult times. Faith, hope, and the gifts of the Spirit will no longer be necessary when we are in God’s kingdom for eternity. These things are necessary in an imperfect world. When perfection comes we will no longer need to speak in tongues, prophesy, or pray for the sick. There will be no more tears or sickness when Jesus comes for His bride.

GOD’S FIERY LOVE

1 Cor.13:1 – If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.

Many people miss the whole meaning of this beautiful passage of scripture. It could very well be the most well known passage of the Apostle Paul’s writings, we simply know it as the love chapter. A little digging will get us to Paul’s intent in this passage. He is actually correcting a problem with the use of spiritual gifts in the church in Corinth (at least they were still using the gifts). Chapter 12-14 in 1 Corinthians is an extended teaching on the purpose and proper usage of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 13 gets to the heart of the matter. The gifts are supernatural in nature but they are instigated and permeated with the love of God. The purpose of the gifts are to help hurting people. The gifts are intended to be a display of the love of God. Here is how the Passion Notes describe this passage.

“The Aramaic word for love is hooba, and it is a homonym that also means “to set on fire.” It is difficult to fully express the meaning of this word and translate it into English. You could say the Aramaic concept is “burning love” or “fiery love,” coming from the inner depths of the heart as an eternal energy, an active power of bonding hearts and lives in secure relationships. The Greek word is agapē, which describes the highest form of love. It is the love God has for his people. It is an intense affection that must be demonstrated. It is a loyal, endless, and unconditional commitment of love. Feelings are attached to this love. It is not abstract, but devoted to demonstrating the inward feelings of love toward another with acts of kindness and benevolence.”

If you take into account Jonathan Edwards’ teaching on this passage it really clears things up. He said that the Holy Spirit is actually the personification of the love of God. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit we become saturated with God’s love. The gifts of the Spirit are the outflow of this love. Stir up the fire of God in your belly. The result will be God’s love touching hurting people through you.

SEEDTIME LEADS TO HARVEST TIME

Gen.8:22 – While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,Cold and heat,

Winter and summer,

And day and night

Shall not cease.

Small adjustments can effect the rest of your life. Parris and I learned the importance of stewardship as new Christians. Learning to look to God as our Source and plant seeds of faith as a lifestyle has been the way we have lived for many years. As a result a number of things have happened. First, Parris and I have been blessed by the Lord in the good times and the lean times these last forty six years. Secondly, our ministry has been sustained and blessed by the Lord enabling us to be a blessing to many ministries as well as hurting people over the years. Everything from Feed the Multitudes to BTG, as well as our partnership with Second Harvesters is the results of the seed faith living we have embraced. Thirdly, many people in our church have learned giving as a lifestyle and have experienced blessing in their own lives. Here is a quote from Oral Roberts on seed faith living.

“When you give your tithes, think of it as Seed-Faith. Then a wonderful new attitude will possess you. No longer will you think of tithes as a “debt you owe.” You will think of your tithes as “a seed you sow.” That makes all the difference in the world in giving you joy in your giving, because it immediately helps shift your mind into expecting to receive a miracle harvest from God, who is a good God. You see, our giving goes all the way back to Noah to whom, when he came from the great boat in which he and his family survived the Flood, God said, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest…shall not cease”. This is God’s eternal principle of sowing and reaping, of giving and receiving…..Jesus often spoke of the farmer and his sowing and reaping. The farmer in following the eternal law given by God for His universe and His people always gives the seed to the ground first. This natural law comes from the higher spiritual law that you have to continually give to be continually renewed in your spiritual and material resources.”

So go ahead and embrace this miracle way to live as a lifestyle. You will be blessed so that you too can be a blessing to many.

“Sing to your Well”

MERRY MONDAY- By Parris

 They went on to Beer (The Well), where God said to Moses, “Gather the people; I’ll give them water.” That’s where Israel sang this song:

    Erupt, Well!

Sing the Song of the Well,

    the well sunk by princes,

Dug out by the peoples’ leaders

    digging with their scepters and staffs.

Numbers 21:16-18

“And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love.”– Jonathan Edwards

I have always loved this passage. God promised that he would always give us water. Our part is to sing to the well in expectation. We stay forever thirsty and God keeps the supply going. Back when Issac was around he had the ministry of rediscovering the wells his father Abraham dug. Issac became a well digger and I wonder too if he did a little singing/laughing? Maybe your well needs a little erupting? Get out your staves and re-dig the wonderful truths that have been placed in you! Re- dig his promises and re-dig the times he touched you! Maybe your a little crusty, grumpy and not so full of faith. The bad news of the day has an engulfing aroma that suffocates us. His supply is always there and he has provided hidden springs all around us. Jesus cried with a loud voice! “If any man is thirsty, come to me!”

Maybe you have become a broken cistern in which you allowed all your hope vision and Christ’s victories to be taken from you. Again there is water enough for you and it is an inexhaustible fountain of supply. He provides a way of escape from the heat of the day. He will give us water. He is the flinty rock that breaks forth from its banks, he is the flask of water that Hagar found when she was near death, He is our Jacob that will uncover the stone from the well when we can’t lift it ourselves, He will meet us at the well at noon day and we will not leave as the same person. His ministry is to come and give us drink out of his divine supply!

 “Spring up, O well; Sing ye unto it.” Sing before the well begins to spring. Sing confidently, sing in expectation for we know His promises are yes and yes and yes! “Flow on, flow on, perennial fount! Spurgeon says, Flow on, thou wondrous stream divinely given!”

“Thy place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.”

“Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also fills the pools.”

SEED FAITH LIFE

2 Cor.9:10 – This generous God who supplies abundant seed for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals, is even more extravagant toward you. First he supplies every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it, so that the harvest of your generosity will grow.

Seed Faith Living can change every part of your life. Many Christians categorize their lives to the point that they never seem to allow the Lord to become involved in much of their life. If we saw Him as He really is that would be unthinkable. Everything the Lord comes in contact with becomes blessed. Whether it is a fishing trip, a business venture, or a ministry. It really makes no difference. Everything He touches literally explodes with life.

Our tithes and offerings are only a part of this but they are clearly an indication of what is going on in the rest of our lives. Giving your tithe as a seed rather than a debt will change everything. Planting your financial gifts as seeds rather than obligations will bring great blessing on your finances. Here is how Oral Roberts describes this truth.

“What you give is the seed you plant. And like attracts like. You plant wheat, and you will get wheat. Plant peaches and you will get peaches. God says, “Each after its kind.” If you want God to supply your financial needs, then give seed-money for Him to reproduce and multiply. If your need is not money but something else, let the seed you give represent it. Use it as your point of contact to release your faith for God to meet this need. For example, if you need companionship, find a lonely person (you won’t have to look far) and share seed-friendship. The Bible says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24). Or give a seed-smile or seed-love or seed-compassion. Just as you breathe out in order to breathe in, you will see these as seed-giving multiplied back in the form of your need.”

This is the way the Lord has ordered His creation. Everything reproduces after its kind. Our actions, prayers, and our giving are all connected to the blessing of God in our lives. Walk in love and love comes back to you, bless the hurting and the poor and you lend to the Lord. Pray for the sick and healing will come back to you. Take on this new way of living, the way of love. Oral Roberts called it seed faith living. This is the way of unthinkable blessing in your life.

EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES

Acts 19:11,12 – God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul. Because of this, people took Paul’s handkerchiefs and articles of clothing, even pieces of cloth that had touched his skin, laying them on the bodies of the sick, and diseases and demons left them and they were healed.

“Miracles of no ordinary kind, i. e. extraordinary miracles.” This is what Adam Clarke said about the astounding outpouring in Ephesus. Luke had seen all sorts of miracles in his travels with the Apostle Paul but what they were seeing in Ephesus was unprecedented. Nothing like this had ever been seen by Luke before. Obviously the Lord had big plans for the church in Ephesus. I find it quite interesting the way these miracles were described. Luke said that pieces of cloth that had been part of clothing worn by Paul were sent out to the sick and the afflicted. Apparently the anointing that was flowing from Paul was collecting in his clothes. How else could you explain what was happening here? This is reminiscent of the garment that Jesus wore. Often times people would touch the fringe of the Lord’s clothing and healing would flow into their bodies.

Next, Luke describes the effect these clothes had on demons. Apparently, these clothes would be attached to individuals being tormented by evil spirits. The result would be that the spirits would leave and the people would be made whole.

What Luke was describing was a regional outpouring of the Holy Spirit characterized by signs, wonders, and miracles. It started with twelve men in a Bible study and progressed to daily meetings in a rented facility. After two years of these daily meetings there appears to have been an explosion of miracles that effected all of Turkey.

Is it possible for these types of things to happen in our modern world? Maybe we need more of a focus on saturation in the Holy Spirit if we are to see outbreaks of the power of God. Think about what happened here; daily meetings with Paul for two years. Maybe that is why unprecedented things began to happen. In our modern world of social media and smartphones it wouldn’t take much for our world to be turned upside down. Unprecedented miracles would surely get the attention of the world. Maybe its time for another outbreak of signs, wonders, and miracles.