|Today||March 26 - April 1 2023|
The Words To Say
|20|| knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. NKJV|
When you learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will speak to you. He will speak through you as well. We are all imperfect. We all have issues. If we want to overcome, He will help us. He will work through you, if you are willing. Are you willing? You can be moved and directed by God.
Maybe you didn’t have the opportunity to get an education like Paul did. Maybe you didn’t even get a chance to go to high school. Don’t let that limit you. God can use anyone. The key is being willing. In Acts 4:13, the so called educated religious people were amazed because Peter and John spoke with such authority and they worked signs and wonders in the Mighty Name of Jesus. How could this be? These guys were fishermen. They probably hadn’t been to any school.
The difference is that they had been with Jesus. They spent time in His presence. These guys knew God. You and I can do the same. The Word says that when you don’t know what to say, the Holy Spirit will give you the words.
I have experienced this many times. When I preach, I like to go into that worship service with an outline of all the scriptures I am going to use and illustrations I have researched and studied in advance. It takes a lot of work to pastor, and showing your appreciation just by being at church each Sunday is such a blessing for the Pastor. Your reactions to the anointed Word of God He preaches are so precious.
However, sometimes I go into the message and although I have prepared all week, I feel unsure of what God wants to say. These are the times that others pull out their notes from past messages and get ready to preach an old message. For me, it is different. This is the time I get on my face and seek God all the more, because I want the message to be from the Holy Spirit. I want people to be touched to the heart when they hear the message. I want God to work through me. It is all about willingness. He wants to work through you as well. He wants to guide you and direct you. He wants to give you the words to speak (Luke 21:15).
No matter what your education or your background is, you have access to the wisdom of God. When you have been with Jesus, there is nothing that can stop you as you rely on Him. The most important thing is to get out there and tell people about Jesus. When you go, that is where your faith starts. When you open your mouth, that is where that faith continues. That is when He will guide you by the Word you’ve put in your heart and the Holy Spirit that is there with you.
The Missing Ingredient
|19|| "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." NKJV|
As we were preparing to start our church, I knew that sowing and reaping is an important part of life. If you give, it will come back to you. For me, there are two types of giving, one is tithes and the other is my offerings. My tither goes to my church. Tithe means a tenth, so I give at least a tenth of my income to my church (Malachi 3:8-12) and anything above that is my offering. I do know of people that have tithed higher percentages of their income and have awesome testimonies about how God blessed them even more. Offerings can be given to any ministry but are above and beyond the tithe.
I decided I was going to offer some of my time to pray with a local pastor. I knew that what I sow into others in His Name, I will reap back. He was an American who came as a missionary to Japan. A very nice guy, but did not experienced in the gifts of the spirit. We started praying together once a week at his church. I learned through my experience with God at the Brownsville Revival that prayertime is not sleep time so he was surprised by the power of my prayer. Communicating with God is not talking in some religious weird English language, when I go to talk to my lovely wife, I don’t lay on the couch and start talking with her. I sit at the dining room table and share what is going on and hear what is going on with her. Prayer is communicating with God.
The pastor that I began to pray with came from a traditional background, he had studied organ playing in Bible school. When we began to pray he was surprised at the power and anointing that came as I walked around the church thanking God for His goodness, sang praises along with the worship music that I had brought, read from my prayer book thanking Him for all the answered prayer, and kneeled or laid out flat on the floor just waiting an listening to Yahweh. I saw this pastor’s excitement rise as he began to sense God’s presence in that church each time we prayed. He learned that faith is an essential ingredient of all prayer. I detected that this was really the first time that the pastor really saw power in prayer. He became addicted to God’s presence and glory. It was so awesome!
There were two things at work in those prayer meetings. One thing was when a spirit-filled believer begins to talk with God, things happen. But the second thing is just as important to remember as we are promised, if two or more are gathering in the Name of Jesus, He will be there. God’s presence was at those prayer meetings because we were there gathered in His Name. God’s presence is powerful in our church, because we are gathering in His Awesome Name. Signs, wonders, miracles and all sorts of things happen to those who are faithfully gathering, singing, rejoicing, shouting, praying, and agreeing in the name of Jesus.
Isn’t is interesting, the first thing the enemy wants to do to you and I is discourage us from regularly going to church? Why? If the demonic world can get you out of church, they may be able to eventually discourage you and damage that fellowship you have with Father God. If we have no relationship with Yahweh, then there is no hope. But fellowshipping with God each day is awesome. There is power in gathering in His Name.
It doesn’t end there, remember when Jesus sent people out to let them know He was coming? He didn’t send His people one by one. Luke 10:1 says
|10|| After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. NKJV|
There is power in numbers. The powerful prayer ingredients are pray in faith, get together with other believers regularly, pray in His Name, be in agreement then watch the presence fall.
Being A Tree
|3|| He shall be like a tree|
Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. NKJV
Along the coast of Northern California, there is a famous tourist destination called the Redwood Forest. Redwoods are a type of tree. They are massive as they have been growing there for hundreds of years or more. Many trees are over 600 years old, with the oldest known tree being 2,200 years old. They can get up to 115 meters tall, and 8 meters wide. The bases of these trees are so huge, you can drive a car through them if they had an opening. To support the tree above the ground, there is a huge system of roots going down from the base of the tree deep into the ground. These roots are needed to support the weight of these enormous trees. I am sure the roots go down so deep that even if there were a little bit of a drought, they would draw on the water table (the subterranean accumulations of water deep below the ground). These trees are massive so they are not something you can just pick up and move.
Yahweh compares us to trees but not just anyone. Who are like trees? Psalm 1:1 says people who; don’t follow the advice of evil people, stand around with sinners, or join in the mocking of these people of others are like trees. Maybe we should call them tree people. Who are the tree people? The tree people are people who care for the uncared, people who stand up for those who don’t have a voice, people who do the right thing even when all the people around them are going another direction. Moreover, these people who are like trees love the Word of God, reading it in the morning when they get up, and thinking about it all day, all the way until they go to bed at night. They love God’s Word (the Bible) because they see it working in their lives.
If we believe God and act in faith, we are compared to a tree. Why does He use a tree? I believe it is for multiple reasons. First of all, a tree grows where it is planted. It stays where it is and it grows up from there. But notice it is planted near ‘streams of water’. The tree is not growing out in the desert. It is near a stream. In this case, multiple streams. Rivers and streams feed the plants, trees, and even animals around them. Without the stream, plants would die.
There are multiple streams in life. We need to be near streams of faith. Our stream of faith can be many things, such as our daily time with the Father, our time that we meditate on the Word of God, fellowship with other believers, sharing Jesus with the lost and many other ways of building our faith. For me, a major stream of faith is getting to my church. Worshipping Yahweh, getting in there and just praising God with my voice and music is powerful. After the worship, I hear a word of faith from an anointed preacher. I hate to miss church. It is the most important day of the week.
However, we have to remember that getting into God’s presence is not just a once a week experience. Prayer is not a chant or reciting some lines. Prayer is communion with the Creator of the Universe. He wants us to be like a tree, grounded in the Word, growing and developing near streams of faith. Are you planted by faith streams or in the middle of the desert?
Sin Comes To Church
|15|| "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. NKJV|
God is love. There is absolutely no doubt about that. He is pure, untainted love, and our compassion as believers comes from that base of His love. We are called to this world to love this world. People need to know about Jesus, that He loves them, He died so they could live. The whole way Yahweh made us right before Him through the sacrifice of His son is awesome. God is love, and by the sacrifice of His one and only Son, we are redeemed if we turn from our wrong ways. We are saved by His grace.
What is grace? Grace is when someone does something for you that you do not deserve. Jesus died for you and I even though we did not deserve it. His blood covers over the imperfections we have and makes us right before God. Even as a believer, when you fail, you can know that God will forgive you when you decide you will turn from those ways. You’ve got that promise in 1 John 1:8,9.
There are some people that come to church that do not want to listen to what God has to say. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, but He does not condemn. These people will ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit and continue in their sin.
As the family of God, we want to encourage people. We want to build them up. Sometimes we need to talk to people about their sin. Why? Sin has the potential to pollute the local church. The enemy uses it with the end intention of destroying that church and discouraging the people. When you see sin in your church and unwillingness to repent, you need to pray about it and bring it up to the leadership of your church. Then the leaders of the church should prayerfully go to the person in sin and confront them regarding their sin. These sins can be all sorts of things, but many times it is sexual (ex. Sex outside of marriage, homosexual activity).
If we want our churches to go deeper with God, we have to deal with sin. If we know about it, and the leadership allows it to go uncorrected, it is not only bad for the individual but it can also hurt the church. Sin can occur with anyone in the church and we all have to protect our hearts.
My wife and I served 3 years at a local church. We volunteered 50 hours for two years in a row on the leadership board, we gave a lot physically, spiritually and financially. My wife translated for foreign speakers and taught a class after church that was filled to capacity each Sunday after church. We were putting are all into our church. In our third year, we were shocked to find out that the pastor was cheating. He was not reporting all the income into the church and was ‘cooking the books’ as they say in accounting (reporting false numbers about the church’s finances). Cheating is a sin. As the pastor or leaders we have even more responsibility to do the right thing. Of course, if this sin in the church was a member we could have worked with them. We talked to the pastor and tried to understand if there was something we could not see. There was not. When the pastor refused to correct the problem, repent, and turn from this sin, we decided we had no other choice but to leave. A church in sin will not see the presence of God.
A huge thing that I saw about the Brownsville Revival was that sense of purity and holiness. Witches came into the meetings and could not work their magic and curse the meetings. Many of them came to Jesus. Lesbian couples came in and the Holy Spirit convicted and they knew that their relationships were wrong and dissolved their relationships of sin. Gang-leaders, drug-dealers and prostitutes came in and were changed in the awesome presence of God there in those meetings.
The Holy Spirit will move in our meetings as we seek God first. We must deal with sin and make sure that we are right with God. There is no sin in God’s presence so we have to be diligent to keep it out of our lives. Has the Holy Spirit spoken to you about some sin in your life? Deal with it now. Stop it, confess it and cut off its influence in you live now. If there is sin in your church, talk to the pastoral team. A pastor with a heart after God knows he has to deal with it.
Just Add Faith
|2|| For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. NKJV|
Although there seems to be many types of Christians, we have explained how really there are only two types of Christians. There are Cultural Christians and there are Committed Christians. Cultural Christians are people who profess Jesus but they do not walk in His power or authority. They go to church out of a sense of duty and tend to see being a Christian as rules to follow. They tend to become legalist. Committed Christians are passionate people who know Jesus and are more focused on the relationship with God than being attached to rules or tradition. Their worship is lively and you can really sense the presence of God emanating from them. (If I have the choice of going to a Cultural Christian church or staying home, I would stay home and spend time with God there). I love to be around Committed Christians.
The interesting thing about both groups is they have all heard the gospel. The difference is the reaction. Basic physics tells us for every action there is a reaction. We have all heard the Gospel but it is a matter of what we have done with it. How did you react to it? Do we see being a Christian as being a package of laws, restrictions, and a burden, or do you see it as freedom and blessings. When you go to a church of Committed Christians you should feel freedom. The Word says in 2 Cor 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Your life of being a believer does not come down to God and “His will”. Many people get trapped in always trying to guess His will even though it is clearly laid out right in the Bible before them. God wants our lives to be bringing heaven on earth. ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven’. It comes down to you and your will. This is really clear in the Word. I will be blessed, I will get up and be in church, I will tell people about Jesus, I will NOT fear. In Hebrews, we see that the Word worked for some people that heard it. But in the same verse we see it did not work for others. Why not? They did not have faith.
We started our church in our living room and quickly moved to a city hall as. We knew that God wanted us to focus on young people and young families but the limitations of the public space (we couldn’t always get the same time or days) was not how God wanted us to operate as a church so we began looking for a place to meet. Financially speaking, we did not have the money to buy or rent any type of facility but we began looking in faith. We found our place but were unable to get the location. By faith, we knew that was the place for church but we could not get in. We believed in faith as we continued to meet at the city owned hall but began preparing to get our space. We started looking for a builder and thinking about what we were going to do once we got our space. We knew that was the place for us so we just thanked God for the space and waited, thanking Him for the space every time we thought about it. It took a year, but by mixing a bit of faith with our plans we were able to get our first building. We are believing God for even more as our church grows and overflows from our first location.
Life is so much the same. If you need something, don’t just say, “I wish I had …” Add faith and action to it and really believe God for it. When God created the world He did not just say, I wish I had light. No! He said, let there be light! What happened? There was light.
There are two types of people who hear the Word. Those who just hear and those who hear in faith, act in faith, and believe by faith. Add faith to your life today!
It’s Just Temporary
|2|| Cor 4:18|
..while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. NKJV
Everything in the world around you is temporary. We have to realize that what we have is temporary, the situation you are in is temporary, even the weather is temporary. When trouble and stress arise you have to remember it is temporary. It only becomes permanent when you accept something as permanent.
If you don’t know Jesus, then the only chance you have is luck in life. Luck meaning, whatever happens, happens. But if you know God, there is so much more. The Word of God says in Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. NKJV
If you want to please God, you’ve got to have faith. If you are afraid about that cancer that runs in the family, those kids of yours rebelling, or that you may never marry, then that is exactly what you will get. Fear is negative, fear will take you down, fear will take you were you don’t want to go and won’t let go until you smash it with the power of faith in Yahweh and the power of His Word.
Before I went into the ministry and my children were small, I had walked in faith for 5-6 years no longer getting sick. Every time sickness came I would fight it rebuking it every time, and every time I thought about it in the Name of Jesus I would thank Him for my healing. It became my act of faith to fight in the Name of Jesus and then thank God for my health every time I felt any attack of sickness on my body. I had learned to walk in divine health.
However, faith is living and active, so if you do not exercise it, it will not work. In those days, I had gotten very busy working on a project in West Tokyo and made no time to get into His presence or seek Him. With every day and week, my faith got weaker. The first of my three children caught the mumps and was sick for about a week. My second daughter also caught the mumps.
One morning she was eating toast. In our rush to clean up and get out the door, I ate the toast that she had left there on the table. I didn’t think about it at all, but that Thursday night when I was driving home late from a dinner meeting I began to feel the mumps set in. I did not fight it because I didn’t even think about it. I just thought, “I think I am catching the mumps”. Guess what? I caught really bad mumps.
I had asked my wife, but ended up having to call a taxi to go to the hospital as I was in such pain. I was hospitalized for 1 week. My wife was so disappointed in me because I had let sickness get the best of me. I understood her disappointment because I was also disappointed in myself and not walking in the divine health I had learned. I needed encouragement and my parents and in particular, my oldest brother were such an inspiration to me. They showed such love. I started to rebuild my faith during that time in the hospital.
I recovered from the sickness but lost a week of time and suffered a lot of pain. I saw who really cared for me as my wife, family members, and parents in the US were visiting me at the hospital or calling and checking on me. I learned how important it is to keep your faith strong, but I also learned to be an encouragement. It was clearly not God’s will for me to get sick.
In the midst of the sickness, it seemed it would never end, but after a week I was feeling a lot better and released from the hospital. What a horrible experience! We must have strong faith and not care what people say or do around us.
Let me to encourage you to keep your faith strong. No faith? Start building your faith today. How? Romans 10:17 tells us,
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
You want faith? It doesn’t come from putting your Bible under your pillow when you sleep at night. It doesn’t come from praying all night long or shouting. Nor does it come because your father was an evangelist or pastor. Faith comes by reading (and meditating) His Word, listening to inspired ministers of God, and communing with the Father. By hearing and hearing and hearing. Are you using your faith in God to change your circumstances?
Praise and Favor- God’s Way
|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 paths.
If you trust God and if you are praising God, then people are going to want to be around you. From there you will find great favor.
I have found when praise God and when I trust God, then He directs my path just as Proverbs says. It seem like wherever I go, I see good things happening to myself, my family, my church, and my business. I walk into the department store, and there just happens to be a sale on what I want to buy. I go to the restaurant, they see my joy, and they stand there and talk to me and offer me extra food. I get on the airplane and suddenly my seat changes to the better seat. This is the favor I am talking about. With or without it, I will praise God. However, it sure is nice to have the favor of God as we go about daily lives.
Isn’t Proverbs interesting? In Spencer Patrick lingo, I would say, trust God and don’t just rely on what you know. In whatever you do, acknowledge and praise Him, and He will put you on the road to a great life.