|Today||September 17 - September 23 2023|
One For All, And All For One
|5|| one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. NKJV|
There is a famous story of three soldiers who swore to stick together and fight together no matter what. One friend’s attacker, was everyone’s enemy. The film versions of their story had them coming together and frequently saying, “One for all, and all for one”. As believers, we also have to stand together. We need to put aside our differences and concentrate on sharing what Jesus did for us with the world around us. There are no other ways to connect to God’s Kingdom than through a knowing grace of Jesus and a daily walk with Him.
Only Jesus is Lord. There are no other names that powers and principalities must bow to. There is only one faith to obtain. There is only one way to believe and be baptized. Everything else is a just a ritual. Faith in nothing or no one else, can bring you into the fullness that God has for the people who are turning to Him. There is only one God. He is three but yet He is one. Romans 11:36 says,
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. NKJV
Everything is God, God is everything. All things come through Him. That’s right. ALL THINGS COME THROUGH HIM. It is what we do with them. Nothing evil comes from Him because evil cannot exist near our awesome God.
If your dream is to start your own company, go out and do it. But make sure Yahweh is a part of your plans. Proverbs 16:3 tells us
|3|| Commit your works to the Lord,|
And your thoughts will be established. NKJV
If you are going to commit your what you do to the Lord. You can expect great things.
As believers, we need to look for common ground with other believers. Realize that not everyone will be of like faith. I remember when I first discovered that God wants to work miracles in our lives. It was amazing because I realized that day that being a follower of Jesus, being a Christian is not a church culture. God is all about wanting to be involved in our lives.
When I discovered the authority I have as believer, that was even better because I learned I don’t have to sit there and take it anymore. I no longer had to just say with everyone else, “I’m catching a cold.” Or sayings relatives and friends would say that were filled with fear like, “Scared me to death.” When I discovered the endowed power I received through Jesus, I started taking authority over sickness for my wife, my children, and myself. I started speaking words of faith and eliminating words of fear from my daily speech. What was I doing? I was renewing my mind to the Way, God’s way as Romans 12:2 commands us. You’ve got to do the same thing if you want to go deeper.
When you start to unify yourself with God’s ways, you will start to see amazing things happen in your life. There will be those who don’t want you to change. Shake those people off. It is all about unity with Him. There is no other God. There is no other Word by which you must be saved. There is no other way to peace. There is no other way to establish your plans for great success. When you are unified with Him, you will become very quick at identifying other people of like faith.
Encourage yourself today in prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. Contact another follower of Jesus the Messiah and encourage them as well. Focus on unifying people of like faith and encouraging them to go deeper with our awesome Father! One for all, and all for one!
Learning To Abound In Grace
|2|| Corinthians 8:7|
But as you abound in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us — see that you abound in this grace also. NKJV
When I started yearning for more of God in the 1990s I discovered faith and the power of the Word. I discovered that there was no reason to ever be sick and for 7 years I never got sick. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but I began to slowly think that health, healing, and prosperity were just something that automatically came if you generally knew the Word. I discovered I was dead wrong. Just as you have to daily feed your body food to keep it alive, you have to daily feed your spirit spiritual food for it to stay alive and thrive!
I was working very hard. Working long hours at the company and beginning to think I was some hotshot chief executive officer (CEO) now. One night I was driving home very late from a dinner meeting of CEOs in central Tokyo, when I noticed my throat was really starting to hurt. I prayed in the Name of Jesus but because I wasn’t in the Word I didn’t sense the power of God as usual. You see, I had eaten after my daughter that had the mumps a few days earlier. I was under attack of sickness. My spirit was spiritually starving so there was no word for my soul (my mind, will, and emotions) to feed on in the time of need.
The next morning I woke up in incredible pain. I knew I couldn’t just stay at home by myself in that condition. My wife was not around so I had to call a taxi to go to the hospital. I was hospitalized for a week with intravenous needles in my arm pumping fluids and antibiotics into me. Some people came to visit me, it was such a blessing. (If you know people in the hospital, go visit them and pray the prayer of faith over them. God will raise them up through your faith. They will also be encouraged).
One person was not such a blessing. This person I wished would have never showed up at the hospital. They came and said, “If you are such a faith man then you should not be in the hospital”. They asked what was wrong with me and why I was sick in the first place. They said so much more that I care not to remember. It was so mean and discouraging to me. A few hours after that experience, I remember going to a pay phone in the hallway of the hospital to call and talk to my parents in the US and really being encouraged by them. Praise God for parents who love Jesus! After a week in the hospital and thanks to the prayers of many, I recovered from that sickness and was released.
As I look back at that situation, I praise God for His grace over me. I had learned to abound in faith, healing, and prosperity. However, I had taken it for granted and just thought I would be well even without doing my part. (It is like expecting to live a long life and not exercising your body (physically) and your soul (mentally), your body will die soon with that kind of thinking). I got sick because I was spiritually weak.
You must abound in faith, in what you say, in what you know, and in your love for others. You’ve got to be diligent about doing this. When I think abound, I think bouncing around because you are so full, so full of His presence. However, the last part of 2 Corinthians 8:7 talks about abounding in grace.
Of course, I forgive the condemning words of that hospital visitor, but I do not forget lest I do the same thing to someone else. Grace is exactly what that person needed to do for the guy in the hospital, they needed to abound in grace and not harsh words. They needed to show grace to others when they needed encouragement not rip them down. If you want grace, you need to give it to others and when you need it, it will come back to you. If you want love, you need to show that to others. If you have spoken harsh words to someone, go to them and ask their forgiveness. You’ve got to do it. Show His love in you.
Abound in grace today and watch the world around you change!
Why Givers Never Lose Their Joy
|6|| But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. NKJV|
Did you know that if you are 40 years old you are one third through your life? That’s right, if we go by our Biblical promise we can get 120 years out of our bodies. Of course, we have to eat natural foods and exercise our body 3 or more times a week. But we can go long, and we can go strong.
Did you know God is our perfect example of a giver? When I started to really search the Bible I realized that being a believer is all about giving. Our God is the perfect example of a giver. Just check out the fundamental for the Messiah’s coming, John 3:16 says, “...for God so loved the world, that He gave....” God is the first giver; because He gave we can give.
If you think about it, we are here for a limited time on the earth. Everything we have will eventually go to someone else. We all work for money. We don’t work because we love our governments or our politicians. I don’t know too many people who like to pay taxes. However, King Jesus said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” meaning pay the taxes that are due otherwise, you will have to pay the price later. It costs to live on this earth.
Another thing to remember is that Jesus said that the enemy is a thief. And you know what the enemy wants to do... kill, steal, and destroy you and whatever you’ve got (John 10:10). The enemy are also huge liars. You thought that friend in back in junior high school had a lying problem, those demons are even worse. They try to manipulate people to do their bidding. Seductive spirits, lying spirits, thieving spirits, sexual spirits, deceptive spirits, violent spirits, the list goes on. But a common thing that happens to us is we’ve all been ripped off.
You’ve heard about my experience with my car being broken into during my undergraduate work at University. But you know, I am careful, but I am no longer that concerned about losing things because I discovered that if you take from me, there is a price to be paid. Of course, I protect what I have but ultimately God is my provider. One day I was listening to a preacher from Texas and I got turned on to Proverbs 6:31 which says,
Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house. NKJV
Here, it talks about catching a thief. I realized whether this is talking about a human thief or the enemy behind them, ultimately it is the enemy. If the enemy rips me off, then I am going to demand a seven-fold return. That’s right, if someone steals $100 then spiritually I am going to expect $700 back. However, I have noticed that I have to keep my joy and can’t get all up set or out of control about it. If I get ripped off at the department store by the clerk not giving my full change back, of course, I am going to go back and let them know. If they do not return my money, I am going to keep my joy and tell the enemy and thank God for my seven fold return.
If you check out Exodus 22: 1-9 you will see when you catch a thief there is a heavy price to pay with varying penalties for varying crimes. The Law Of Retribution is clear there, there is a price to be paid.
When I first heard about Proverbs 6:31, I realized that there is no reason for me to lose my joy about losing anything. Give the situation to God and the enemy will have to pay back. Next time you lose something just expect your seven-fold return and don’t fret a bit. Just watch, wait, and keep expecting until you get it. Once it comes, be sure to glorify God with your first fruits and watch Him bless you more and more as you do His will. We must never forget that God loves a cheerful giver. Frankly, the more you give in life, the more you get.
We don’t give to get, we just love to give. Why? Certainly because He first gave to us.
A great prayer for today.
Father I thank you and praise you for the life in me. Right now I repent for any bad choices I have made over the years. Please forgive me. I pray your glory in me will be greater in my latter years than my former. I command everything that has be taken or stolen from me to be restored in the mighty Name of Jesus. The thief is a liar and I command right now a seven fold return of everything that was taken from me. Father, I thank you for your anointing on me and your abundant blessings. I keep my joy because your joy is my daily strength. In the powerful Name of Jesus, Amen!
Also see Joel 2:23-26.
Who You Associate With
|2|| Cor 6:14|
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? NKJV
The Word of God commands us not to marry unbelievers. If you love Jesus and you marry someone who doesn’t love Him, you are just asking for trouble. Have you heard of ‘missionary dating’? This is when a believer is dating unbelievers because they think they are going to save that person. If you have ever helped in the leadership of a church, through your career (and depending on where you minister) you will likely see hundreds of people who have compromised. They missionary dated and got attached to some unbeliever. Then they got married and these are the people you meet, people who are married to someone who is not a part of the Kingdom. These people have the hardest time.
Most of the time, these people are women, who dated some guy hoping that he would come around. He didn’t but then they got attached emotionally to that person. Somehow they thought “After we get married, I bet he will become more open to repenting and turning to Jesus”. They got married and nothing changed. In one case, I saw a western guy who married a Japanese woman when he was back-slider from God. After marriage he got turned on to Jesus again and his wife went even farther away from Jesus and at that point started actually verbally abusing him constantly for being a follower of Jesus. This is not the type of thing you want to come home too.
You see after making a decision to follow Jesus, marriage is probably the most important decision you have to make after deciding to follow Jesus. You pick the wrong spouse, you are going to be in trouble. When you pick the right one, you can stand together. This verse in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is very graphic. It says don’t be ‘unequally yoked’. When our generation thinks of yokes, we think of eggs. But until the invention of motorized vehicles, people were pulled around by animals; horses, oxen, donkey, mules, and other large animals. (You thought carbon monoxide from cars is bad, I am sure the ‘exhaust’ from these animals must have been foul smelling on the roads in the old days).
If you needed to pull something heavier in your wagon, you would yoke (a yoke is one large piece of wood they would put on the necks of two animals so that they could pull together) two animals together. This way you get more power and could do more.
When you are married to an unbeliever, it is like riding a two seater bicycle. The unbelieving spouse becomes extra weight on the back of the bicycle because they are not pedaling and in many cases may be actually breaking. When you marry a believer, it is like two people on this bicycle flowing together. They can move faster, go farther, and do it for a longer amount of time. One can compensate by riding harder if the other is unable to. They support each other.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. Don’t get married just because you’re getting older and still single, the person is rich, you’re lonely, or any other reason. Marry because you love that member of the opposite sex and want to spend the rest of your life with them. Most importantly marry someone who has a passion for Jesus. The husband and wife working together can go farther, faster, and much longer in life.
Your Faith Access Credentials
|7|| For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. NKJV|
As a man or a woman of God who has just turned to Jesus, a very difficult thing to do is to walk by faith. Somewhere somebody got the idea that quitting your job and hoping that food to feed your family would magically appear on you doorstep was faith. No, walking by faith is not throwing everything out the window and hoping for the best. God will use whatever you got. By faith, God enhances your giftings, your talents, and your resources so you can do more, go farther, and impact the world for the Kingdom. Hallelujah!
King Jesus had 12 people He poured His life into. He taught them the Word, He taught them to love like God, and He brought them a direct connection to the heavenly Father. He taught them so that they could go out and spread the Word and affect others. Their faith grew as they heard the Word and saw the signs and wonders that followed. You and I were not there, but we have incredible documentation and first hand testimony of His goodness from the people who were. Jesus’ friends were able to see these great things in front of their eyes. I’ve heard people say they wish they were living in the times of Jesus so they could have seen all this. Of course, I would have loved to see the great faith of King Jesus in action (but I would certainly miss plumbing for bathing, cooking and rest room). Oh, those signs and wonders would have been great to see, but I am thankful for the time period He put me into. He put you and I here for a reason. He was thinking about us as well.
Did you know that even though you weren’t there, Jesus talked about you too? In John 20:29 we read,
|29|| Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." ESV|
Hallelujah! If you believe, you are blessed even more because you were not there. We are blessed because we believed in Him even though we have not seen Him. Faith is all about believing, faith is about living for Him and faith is about watching your dreams come true.
Remember that you are only here for a time. Don’t waste your life away. In 2 Corinthians 5:8 we see that when our spirit (and soul) leaves our body, our time is done. We go to the only perfect place there is, heaven. If you are a follower of Jesus, when you leave your body you go to be with Him as it clearly says:
to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Heaven is a better place. Clearly. When you repented and started following Him you gained access. That is why we can confidently say,
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21) NKJV
We need to constantly remind ourselves that we should ‘walk by faith, and not by sight’. Don’t live your day today going by what you see. Make up your mind that nothing can take your joy, make up your mind that you are blessed in whatever you do, make up your mind that you are healthy and whole, make up your mind that you are going to serve King Jesus no matter how you feel. Tell someone about Jesus today. If they are not living by faith, they will be eternally separated from the Kingdom and God’s love. If you don’t tell them, who will? For them, the Good News you have really means the difference between eternal life, or eternal death. Live by faith and don’t be afraid to tell someone they need Jesus. Tell them what He did for you. Tell them what He is doing in your life and ask the Holy Spirit do the rest. Lift up Jesus and watch what happens. In John 12:32, Jesus says what will happen,
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." NKJV
We’ve got to lift Him up!
How In The World?
|1|| Corinthians 5:11|
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. NKJV
As a young professional I remember doing a project for a multinational company. This company would talk about ‘integrity’ all the time while the managers were sleeping with each other, the employees were fighting, and all sorts of cheating was going on in the background. To them, integrity meant doing the right thing, talked about it, but, they did just the opposite. That’s the world. What about the church?
Well, we find a similar thing in churches were they talk about doing the right thing but they end up doing exactly what they spoke against. If you love Jesus, you are not supposed to do what the unbelievers are doing. You are to be different. That’s right. The Word says in 2 Corinthians 6:17
"Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you." NKJV
We are to come out of the world and be different. We are the ones that are supposed to be ‘coming out’ to share the joy and life in King Jesus! We are not to go into the world and be the same. As a matter of fact if there are people in the fellowship of believers around you who say they love Jesus but are in sin, and the Word makes it VERY clear that we are not to hang around them (1 Corinthians 5:11). Get away from people who say they are believers but are in sexual sin, cheating others, lying, or any other sin that will separate you from the presence of God.
I will never forget a young professional who came to our church, who wanted to minister so bad to the people but he had no anointing. He was in sin. We were a bit slow in those days, but we perceived something amiss we just weren’t sure for about 4 weeks. After hearing about how we loved homosexuals but needed to help them to get out of this sexual sin, he wrote a lengthy email to the church. In that email, he tried to explain away 4 or 5 of the many scriptures that show how this lifestyle is sin and how sexual sin brings judgment. He was clearly not open and chose his sin over King Jesus. When I asked the Holy Spirit about it, He showed me 1 Corinthians 5:11 that showed me we must put out people who profess to be believers but are in the various sins, with no repentance, that are listed there.
That company talked about “integrity” but was not able to do much in that area. Now the world preaches “tolerance”. They tell us we have to accept everyone as they are. They try not to say anything to ‘offend’ others, they are afraid to tell the truth. They want us to accept their lifestyles and say nothing. A big saying for believers in the US in the 2000s was “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD). So what does King Jesus have to say about the same sex trying to ‘marry’? About movies that promote fornication and violence? About songs filled with vulgar words and spreading hate?
We are to cut relationships with people who profess to be believers but are not obeying the Word. Why is that? If a fellowship of spirit-filled believers associates with a sinner that professes to be one of us, the unbelievers around them will think we are like them. Their sin becomes your sin. Who you associate with is a reflection on you.
We are supposed to be a light to the unbelievers in the world, not like them. We are not to accept these false believers, but we are to show Jesus to the people that don’t know Him.
So, what would Jesus do? How did Jesus deal with sinners that He met? John 8:10-11 gives a great example of what King Jesus thought. A woman was caught in adultery (Where was the man that was with her??). The religious people brought her to Jesus because they wanted him to judge her. They were going to kill her with stones. He told the one without sin to throw the first stone. He stooped down and began writing in the dirt with his finger. They all left one by one.
|10||When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"|
|11|| She said, "No one, Lord."|
And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." NKJV
King Jesus was without sin. He was the only one there that had any right to throw a stone. He didn’t. He didn’t condemn her, but he told her that she needed to quit sinning.
We don’t have to tolerate people’s sin. If we live in a free country, we have every obligation to tell people what is sin that will kill them and stand for the right. We are the light in the darkness. Our first witness is our lives, secondly we’ve got to use our mouths and tell people about Jesus.
You can talk all you want about cleaning fish, but it is pretty difficult to clean a fish you haven’t caught. Focus on sharing the love of Jesus today and getting people into the kingdom, the Holy Spirit will clean them up. Believers are not afraid to call wrong, wrong and right, right. Our Messiah didn’t tolerate sin, but He acted in love. We should do likewise.
When I Don’t Know What To Pray
|1|| Cor 14:2|
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. NKJV
Have you ever got up in the morning and just not known what to pray? You have seen God’s power in your life, you’ve seen prayers answered time after time, but you just felt like a slug? Well, this is the time we need to know how to pray in the spirit more than anything.
Notice I didn’t capitalize the word ‘spirit’ here. Why? Well, in the Greek New Testament we have the word ‘spirit’ all over the place. The original Greek word (remember the New Testament was written in Greek and Aramaic) for spirit here is pneuma. You may have also noticed that in the good English Bible translations (we usually recommend the New King James Version for English speakers) that in some places the word spirit is capitalized. That indicates that the passage is talking about the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit). If it is not capitalized, it is usually talking about the human spirit (or even demonic spirits in some cases). In English, it is the translators that have determined whether the passages are talking about the human spirit or the Holy Spirit.
With this knowledge, I have begun to read my Bible with more thoughtfulness. I study the passage and determine for myself whether it is the Holy Spirit or the human spirit. I think in many cases it could go either way. Prayer is a physical activity that goes spiritual.
We must also recognize that we all have to be saved by repenting and turning to Jesus. The is the most important thing of all. The second most important thing is to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Without this, we are missing most of the power of God. I have observed that every open person I have prayed for to receive the Holy Spirit has received the gift of tongues. Evidently it happened with other followers of Jesus as well.
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. NKJV
Either immediately after prayer, or shortly thereafter the people we have prayed for have received a special language (either heavenly or earthly language that they did not study or learn), the gift of tongues. What is the purpose of these tongues? A huge reason you have tongues is for prayer. When you don’t know what to pray, pray in tongues. When you feel like a slug, pray in tongues. When you feel pressed in, pray in tongues. When you need wisdom, pray in tongues. When you want to start your prayer life, pray in tongues. Yahweh will reveal things to your spirit, by His Spirit.
|10|| But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. NKJV|
When you pray in tongues, your spirit tunes in to His Spirit. Oh, if every believer would pray in tongues consistently and act on those revelations! If you understand the Spirit of God, you can understand Yahweh so much more.
|11|| 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. NKJV|
Now we all know what to do when we don’t know what to pray. Pray in tongues!