ACCELERATION

Rom.9:28 – FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.”

This week we have been in revival services with Rodney Howard Browne. Just before the first service I was going over my notebook of Bible prophecies given to me by Dick Mills over the years. Today’s verse was one of those words given to me by Brother Mills. He used it to share with me an expectancy he had for the Lord to enlarge and accelerate the things he was doing at Victory Fellowship. I was kind of caught by surprise when Brother Rodney begin to talk about an acceleration of God’s work over the next three years. The timing and confirmation of reading that prophesy just before service and Brother Rodney sharing about acceleration was more than coincidental; prophetic words confirm the things that the Lord is speaking over our lives. Here is that word Brother Mills gave me twenty years ago.

Frank-

“I feel the Lord is changing your anointing, your vision, your methodologies, your ministry and is adjusting you for all the changes going on in the world. You’ll have a variety of outreach activities as you sow besides all waters – all ethnic groups- all strata of the social order and the unchurched society that are looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Put your spiritual seatbelt on because Romans 9:28 says it will be accelerated!”

In 2000 I received another scripture promise from Dick Mills. He had no way of knowing about those first few performances of Beyond the Grave that had taken place overt the past few weeks before he gave me this word from Jeremiah.

Jer.1:11,12 – The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.

Brother Mills went on to explain how the almond tree was the first tree to be harvested each year in Israel. He said it was an indicator to the farmers in Israel of the size of the coming harvest. Applying that word to our circumstances; Beyond the Grave was to be a sign of God’s accelerated harvest in the days and years to come.

This week has brought an expectancy in my heart of the acceleration of the work of the Lord. I feel like we have already entered into a new season over the last year, now acceleration will kick in. Get ready, something amazing is happening all around us.

SHOCKING REJECTION 2

Rom. 9:3-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

This is one of those hard to comprehend passages. Paul says he would suffer eternity in hell if it could be given in exchange for the salvation of the Jews (of course that is impossible). Why was Paul so passionate? It had something to do with his people’s shocking rejection of the blessings of being God’s people. Yesterday we spoke about their rejection of their adoption as sons and daughters, the blessing of the glory of God’s presence, and the benefit of being God’s covenant people. Paul goes on to describe how they also snuffed at the place of the law in their daily lives. As Christians who are saved by grace we cannot afford to disrespect God’s law. We are not justified by our observance of the law but the law is actually written on our hearts. Rather than saying that grace gives us a free pass to live as we please, we recognize that Christ in us enables us to live a holy life that brings glory to God. Paul also said that the Jewish people lost their sense of majesty in their worship. It seems that it had deteriorated into formalism rather than the passionate worship that lives in His presence. Too often Christians can also lose that sense of majesty. Worship is treated as just preparation or even just part of the warm up waiting for the teaching. Actually, worship is the main event, the act of enjoying God. Finally, the people of God had lost their trust in the promises of God. We too have be given thousands of promises from the Lord that cover every aspect of our lives. God’s promises are like anchors that hold us fast in the midst of the storms we often face.
These six blessings that we have covered these last two days are critical for us to embrace in our walk with the Lord. The Jews snuffed at these blessings and have suffered the consequences. We should run under the protection of His covenant blessing, our very existence depends on it.

SHOCKING REJECTION

Rom. 9:3-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

This is quite a shocking statement from Paul; he actually says he would give his eternity with God as an exchange for the conversion of Israel. He continues to describe the Jews and their lack of appreciation for the blessing that was on their nation as the people of God. His list of the blessings that were treated as insignificant are actually quite disturbing, they are strangely familiar to the common attitudes in the modern church.

First, Paul says they did not appreciate their adoption. The nation of Israel had been chosen by the Lord to be adopted into God’s family. It’s hard to think of a greater honor. Today, Christians are the adopted sons and daughters of God. He has sent the Spirit of adoption into our hearts. Rather than appreciating this incredible blessing, we often would rather look and act like the rest of the pagan world. Next, the Jews took the Glory, the manifest presence of God, as unimportant. The local church is now intended to be the place where the Glory of the Lord is on display. This is the reason the church exists, to display God’s glory. Too often this is not acknowledged and even treated as some sort of fringe fanaticism. Paul continued to say that the Covenants were not appreciated. The Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel starting with their father Abraham. The Jews disrespected that covenant and treated it as insignificant. Today, we have received a new and better covenant established by the blood of the Son of God. Shockingly, this blood sacrifice, the New Testament of Jesus Christ is often treated with disrespect by the church and the blood is often ignored because of its offensive nature. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. These benefits are the very heart of our faith and were the very heart of the Jewish heritage. Rather than shunning these benefits we should embrace and relish our special blessings that belong to us.
To be continued….

Stuck in the Mud

It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
Romans 9:16
I often remember the time a national children’s ministry used our church facilities for one of their regional conferences. I thought I would pass out when I heard and read their promotional materials. ‘Come learn from the experts’, they proudly boasted. I guess they actually felt responsible for the supposed success their ministry had generated. So much for the glory of God. It’s terrifying how quickly Christians can move over from grace into some sort of system of works. We started by faith, we have to finish by grace through faith. Martin Luther understood the message of mercy and grace. Check out his thoughts on this important truth.
“Even with extreme effort, learning to depend on God’s mercy is difficult— We are so rooted in our habits, and our hearts are so used to it, that we can’t stop thinking this way: “If I have lived a holy life and done great and many works, then God will be merciful to me.” It’s extraordinarily difficult to change our thinking and clearly distinguish between faith and love. Even if we already have faith, the mud still sticks and clings to us. We keep wanting to brag, “I have preached so long, have lived so well, and have done so much. Surely God will take note of that.” We want to bargain with God. We want him to look at our lives and change the judgment seat into the mercy seat because of what we have done. But nothing will come of this. You may be able to tell other people, “I have tried to do good to everyone. Where I have fallen short, I will try to make it up.” But when you come before God, leave such bragging at home. Remember that you are appealing for grace, not justice.”
Every Christian leader has struggled with the temptation to take credit for all that the Lord has done. The Lord told Paul that he had received a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan, because of the revelations he had received from the Lord. The Lord did not want Paul to slip out of grace into works. He wanted Paul to stay totally dependent on God’s grace. What was God’s answer to Paul when he asked the Lord to remove the thorn? “My grace is sufficient for you”.

SATISFIED WITH CHRIST ALONE

SATISFIED WITH CHRIST ALONE

Rom. 9:23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Knowing that I belong to The Lord brings ultimate peace and tranquility to my life. Like Paul said, “If God be for me, who can be against me?” I may face quite miserable circumstances from time to time in my life but I know this one thing; God has an ultimate destiny for me in this life as well as in the life to come. He is drawing me to Himself. Even my supposedly worst problems in my life are ultimately bringing me to a place of conformity as well as to a place of incredible joy found in Christ alone. For a number of years in my Christian walk I was side tracked. I had bought into the deception that my life was defined by my accomplishments in life. Being in the ministry, my accomplishments were supposedly spiritual. Somehow, over the years I had come off of the rails. I was in pursuit of His blessing and gifts but had forgotten the joy found in Christ alone. It wasn’t His gifts that I needed, it wasn’t accomplishments for the kingdom that my heart was really hungry for; it was The Lord Himself. He alone is the pleasure our souls can be satisfied with. Jonathan Edwards spoke often of this Biblical truth, here is a quote from one of his sermons.

“God designs His people for glory. God had chosen the children of Israel for His own peculiar treasure; and it was His design to bring ’em out of Egypt to Himself, to bring ’em to Mt. Sinai, and to bring ’em to Canaan, to His holy habitation, for He was determined and resolved upon it. So it is His design to bring all His spiritual Israel to the heavenly Canaan and Mt. Zion so that there they may dwell in glory forever. The glory of the saints consists in God’s bringing them to Himself. His bringing them into nearest union to Himself, His bringing them to a perfect and sinless conformity to Himself. His bringing them to His immediate, glorious, presence, His bringing them to see Him, and His bringing them to the full enjoyment of His love. In these things exist the highest possible blessedness of the rational creature… Whatever men design with respect to God’s people, yet this is God’s design; their enemies often design other things. Satan designs quite the contrary; wicked men often design nothing but their calamity and misery- but God designs their perfect and immortal glory and blessedness. They are vessels prepared foreordained to glory.”

There really are adversaries in this life that try to distract us from what really matters. These enemies are seen and unseen, but they are totally ineffective to the heart that is enraptured with His love. So God does have a plan, His plan is my total delight and satisfaction in Christ Alone. As He carries me along toward His ultimate plan, He is glorified and I am satisfied, satisfied with Christ alone.

DO YOU HAVE A FREE WILL?

DO YOU HAVE A FREE WILL?

Rom. 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

The question about free will, salvation, and predestination have been fought over for the last 2000 years. There was Augustine and Pelagian, Luther and Eramus, then there was Wesley and Whitefield. It seems that those words, free will and predestination are, as they say, fighting words. Most everyone believes man was created by God with a free will, but after the fall of man how was that effected. Martin Luther had some stunning insight into this whole dilemma. This is how Luther viewed it.

“It is false that the will, left to itself, can do good as well as evil, for it is not free, but in bondage.”

Luther believed that our will to choose rightly was deeply effected by the fall. Many times our conscience tells us what is right, the law definitely does, but fallen man always manages to choose badly. That is the problem with our sinful nature. It is ensnared by sin and easily falls prey to the promises of pleasure and happiness offered to us by the pleasures of this world. Fallen man, without the influence of God’s grace can never choose God.
Augustine also believed in the bondage of the will. In his teaching he went on to teach how we could be freed from that slavery of sin that holds us in its clutches. Augustine believed and preached that grace, what he called Sovereign Grace, had the ability to liberate us into a whole new life of joy in God. Augustine believed that the Lord would make demands upon us then fulfill those commands with His Sovereign Grace. Here is what Augustine said about freedom of the will.

“In some places God requires newness of heart [Ezek 18:31]. But elsewhere he testifies that it is given by him [Ezek.11:19; 36:26]. But what God promises we ourselves do not do through choice or nature; but he himself does through grace.”
He went on to pray, “Command what you will but give what you command.”

Did you catch that? The Lord gives us the ability to live this Christian life ( and to like it) by His Sovereign Grace. Today there is a lot of false teaching about grace. Grace is not God overlooking sin and blessing us with worldly goods. Grace is the effect of God upon our souls. What kind of effect? The kind that opens our eyes to His goodness and beauty and also shows us the horrible corruption of sin. Grace also changes our heart. As Jonathan Edwards has taught me, grace arouses our affections for God. The Lord Himself becomes irresistibly attractive when we come under the sway of the Sovereign Grace of God.
So is our will free? You tell me. You are free to do drugs and practice immorality and chase the desires of the flesh. You are free to choose what kinds of sin you indulge in. When the grace of God falls on you, then and only then are you free to live for God.

WHO DAT

The Language of Sovereignty

Who Dat?

Rom. 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

The Language of Sovereignty (the Almighty God/ the Creator/ the Ancient of Days/The Everlasting Father) brings to us the rhetorical question; “Who Dat?”
You might ask, what is meant by “Who Dat”? This is New Orleans speak for “Who Shall”? or “Who Will”?, etc.
The God of Heaven by His own free will and according to His own pleasure in choosing us before the foundation of the world to be redeemed through the blood of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; sits in the heavenlies and asks this question:

WHO DAT GONNA OUTSMART GOD?

Romans 11:34 (KJV)
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

The Lord Jesus prayed this prayer:

John 17:1 ¶ Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,
John 17:2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.
John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

And we know that the Son always did the will of the Father, and the Father always answered the Son.
We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have been prayed for by the Son of God before He went to the cross and we are secure in His redemption;
Therefore we hear this question thunder with the all the authority of God,

WHO DAT GONNA SEPARATE YOU FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST?

WHO DAT GONNA ACCUSE YOU? YOU HAVE BEEN REDEEMED

WHO DAT GONNA CONDEMN YOU? IT IS CHRIST THAT DIED AND NOT ONLY THAT HE IS RISEN AND AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.

WHAT IS HE DOING FOR YOU AT THE RIGHT HAND? HE IS INTERCEEDING, BY MAKING SURE THAT WHAT HE PAID FOR AT THE CROSS BECOMES YOURS. YOUR COMPLETE FORGIVNESS!

We are not saved because we believe in a high moral belief system.

We are born again, born of the Spirit. It is because of His mercies that we are not consumed.

He has called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light. He has made us to be His children.

No matter what trials and tests we may be facing. No matter what situations in our own families that is causing stress in our lives. The language of the Sovereign King of Glory Who Dat King of Glory (Psalm 24) is :

WHO DAT FIGHT AGAINST HIS WILL? Romans 9:19

In other words, is there anyone on the earth who is stronger than your King to change His mind concerning you and your life?
Is there any man? Is there any power? Principality? Devil? Government? That can interfere, change or undo what God has already determined to do for you?
No, a thousand times No!

Jer. 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Let’s look to Him today in faith, in complete assurance that we know that no matter what happens, we have a God in heaven, Who fills us with His Spirit and His Word , Who delights to do His will in our life.

WHO DAT?

CHOSEN

Chosen

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”* 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth”.
Rom 9:14-17

Remember what Paul is saying, “I beseech you therefore brothers, in view of the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Be transformed….he continues in Chapter 9 to describe for us the matchless mercies of our God. In this chapter Paul talks about the blessing and mystery of God’s sovereignty and His election of Sons and Daughters. Remember the words of Jesus, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Paul spoke about this in Romans 9:15,16. “For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.” This teaching can bring great change into our lives. He has a plan for my life. This plan is surpernatural and eternal. His plan is sure, perfect, and will come to pass. As I let go of my plans and yield to God’s eternal plan, I am changed. The heavenly man rejoices in the sovereignty of God. This is the place of safety and humility. Trusting in His goodness , wisdom, and power brings great peace into our lives. We spend our lives yielding rather than striving. Today, in view of the SOVEREIGN PLAN of God, yield yourself to Him. His plans for you are good and you will never be disappointed as those plans begin to come to pass. Instead of worrying, striving, and doubting; you can enter a time of spiritual rest and enjoyment.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your path
Prov 3:5,6