HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE

Bible Text:  Philippians 3:20, 21

Setting out on a Summer Vacation has always been a special occasion in my life. Although I don’t travel on long road trips as much as I used to, I still love planning vacations.

When our children were young, some parts of the journey on a family vacation were much enjoyed…while other parts, not so much (He’s touching me…No, I’m not…She’s touching me!).

I remember going on family vacations with my brother, mom, and dad and on the way we would stop for a fresh peach ice cream cone on a hot Summer day in Bakersville, California, but that wasn;t our destination…our destination was Yosemite National Park and the RESERVATIONS were long in place at Camp Curry.

And if you remember Family Vacations as I do and find after arriving at your destination there are NO RESERVATIONS available and you wind up spending the night in a car with a family of five…behind a park ranger’s cabin…hearing strange noises in the dark….you might want to punch a night prowling racoon on the nose!

Arriving At The End Of The Journey

Our loving Father, who wants us to make it to the end of life’s journey posted many road signs designed to get us and keep focused on the road.

It’s why the Apostle Peter writes… “Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, but now you are pitied and have received mercy. Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in the world] to abstain from sensual urges (the evil desires, passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.  Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers,  [yet]  they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God on the day of inspection [when God shall look upon you Wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]”  (1 Peter 2:10-12AMP).

The Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter are in complete 100% agreement. 

OUR HOME ISN’T HERE!  OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, NOT HERE ON EARTH.

We are on a JOURNEY, not to see and taste ice cream or punch a raccoon in the nose, but “We eagerly wait to see our Savior, from heaven.”

We long to glorify God here, because, through that, others might also glorify Him on the day He visits us.

As we look towards the end of the JOURNEY it’s important we realize that HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE.

Got whatever the reason we’ve been bombarded, saturated with pictures of heaven showing white fluffy clouds, Angels with halos, and a lot of singing and strumming.

George Bernard Shaw wrote these somewhat cynical words about HEAVEN:

If heaven is nothing more than a place where we sit on white clouds and play a harp day after day, frankly, it’s not a place to really get excited about…

It’s better than HELL–to be more comfortable than being ‘burnt toast’s-but it’s not a great motivation to keep on the narrow road until the end, especially when Satan offers all kinds of side-excursions on the journey.

Behavior and Hearts Will Never Ever Be Changed Spiritually by Viewing Heaven As A Place.

Don’t get me wrong!  I believe HEAVEN to be real, tangible, rock solid!!

Here’s the problem viewing HEAVEN in a place.

1 Corinthians 2:9, 10  (Good News Translation – GNT)

However, as scripture says, “What no one ever saw and heard what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him–but it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit.”

I had to re-read the above verses several times before I really understood.  Don’t try to present or understand HEAVEN as the end, your earthly, non-glorified eye, ears and mind are not capable.  But you have a RELATIONSHIP with God through His Spirit.  His spirit made Him “Abba” Daddy to you, and this relationship reveals the PROMISE of HEAVEN, not as a place, but as His people.

I want to share Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21 with you:  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’  will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  

When you think of HEAVEN as a place…trying to be good enough to get there, to keep the Law–the 10 Commandments–do church stuff, and Jesus says “you have to know my Father’s WILL (and the only way we know it is through the Holy Spirit), don’t just do STUFF…have a relationship with Me…know Me…and then HEAVEN isn’t a place you go, it’s a family reunion.

It’s Paul’s understanding that his CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN…

VERSE 20:  “But our citizenship is in heaven…and we eagerly WAIT…

And it’s Peter who is excited to give glory to God on the day He visits us.

THE WORK OF GOD can only be carried on by the POWER of God.

The CHURCH isn’t an organization (or it shouldn’t be), but it’s a spiritual organism–a living, breathing thing fighting spiritual battles…and only spiritual POWER can make it function as God ordained.

THE KEY…

It’s not money, organization, cleverness or education, the KEY is God, His Spirit and His POWER moving us forward on the journey.

Romans 8:14 reads “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

“Sons of God”…This is exactly the RELATIONSHIP Paul is talking about.  

God has made us spend eternity in relationship with Him…and we severed that relationship.

How is it RESTORED?

He calls us back…

He pays for our misgivings, our SINS through the BLOOD of His own Son.

We REPENT and ESTABLISH the relationship through the DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION.

The Holy Spirit enters this earthly tent…

Lives within…which is God’s down payment for an external RELATIONSHIP.

Our text in Philippians 3 tells us something so important about the relationship at the end of the journey.

The Greatest Miracle…

The most amazing aspect of ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP is guaranteed by Holy Spirit.

JESUS CHRIST THE ALL POWERFUL WILL TRANSFORM US TO BE LIKE HIM!

VERSE 21:   Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.  [AMP]

WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITY DOES JESUS HAVE?

“ALL AUTHORITY,” ACCORDING TO MATTHEW  28:18-20 –

Empty tomb with three crosses on a hill side.

WHY?  Because He made Himself a servant, was made in human likeness, came to earth in the appearance of man…and then humbled Himself completely in obedience to His Father, even dying on a Cross.

As JESUS prayed before His crucifixion in John 17, look closely at His request:

This PLAN, this RELATIONSHIP, existed before the world begun as did God’s PLAN for SALVATION through Jesus!

Jesus knew this SALVATION would be presented through the DISCIPLES.  Here’s what Jesus wanted more than anything else while He approached the Cross.

But He wasn’t just thinking about the 12…

John 17:11-19

HE WAS THINKING ABOUT THOSE WHO WOULD BE SAVED THROUGH THEIR MESSAGE.

LISTEN TO THE HEART OF JESUS!!

 

Powerful Stuff, don’t you think?  The RELATIONSHIP that Jesus has with the Father and the Father has with Him, flows powerfully into the lives of His followers through the Holy Spirit… 

Not just for the TWELVE, but even those who would be SAVED by their message,

Those who have been ADOPTED into the Family of God.

You see it’s the Spirit that’s transforming us into the IMAGE of Jesus.  Holy isn’t His first name, it’s the work He performs in us as believers.  He’s molding (as we surrender) our hearts, minds, attitudes into being shaped like Jesus’ heart, mind, attitude…

CROSS SHAPED!

So while this is occurring, our inward TRANSFORMATION through the Holy Spirit taking place in a body that’s wasting away, a TENT, inwardly we are hopefully becoming Holy – H.O.L.Y.

But our earthly bodies are becoming Holey – H.O.L.E.Y. …

  • Holy=filled with Jesus
  • Holey=filled with holes.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

I can probably bet that Paul wasn’t focusing on clouds, harps, and golden streets.  He was looking straight at the face of a Savior Who reversed His blasphemous, violent, persecuting hide!  The One Who pulled him out of the angry dust on the Damascus Road one day and redirected his path towards home.

And in that place, we call HEAVEN, in the presence of Jesus…spiritual perfection is attained, and our satisfaction becomes GLORIFICATION.

And then folks, that perfect Spirit will then be housed in a perfect body…

“Transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”

Spending A Day Or A 1,000 Years On My Face…

Telling Jesus how much I love Him, how grateful I am for His grace, my salvation, and I’ll get up to my feet, and look for my Dad and ask “Want a fresh peach ice cream cone?”  And he’ll say, “You know, you look great without all your scars.”  And then we’ll both fall at the feet of Jesus again for a day or 1,000 years, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

REUNION

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV);  Amplified Bible (AMP) and others as noted in the text.

PHOTOS:  All Photos used for this post were found on Google Image Search, Advanced Search settings.

DICTIONARY:  VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY.

 

It’s Time For A Good Old Neck Stomping!

Bible Text: Joshua 10:24-25 (NLT)

24  Joshua told the captains of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.”  And they did as they were told.  25  “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men.  “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.”

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.
pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

God says, it’s time for us to put our foot on it…

Someone who has been feeling down, somebody who has been feeling distressed, or disappointed, and confused needs to hear this message.  Somebody who has felt something so heavy in circumstance that it felt as though a foot is on one’s neck trying to choke the living daylight out of you; not killing you, but cutting off your breath, making it hard to breathe, taking the JOY out of your life.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another in life.  Maybe right now.

But now is the time to change!  Hopefully, after reading this blog-study and reading the words in Joshua.

You will begin changing positions –

You are going from being under the circumstances to being on top of the circumstances.

From being under pressure, to being the one applying the pressure.  You are going to put your foot on it!

When you put your foot on it– it means you are in charge.  It means that you are on top of it, it means you are in control, it means that whatever it is you are facing right now… has lost its power to affect you, it means that you have won!

The FIVE KINGS in Joshua –

The FIVE KINGS mentioned in Joshua 10, can represent anything–

Represent financial problems, or marital problems, or physical problems, or spiritual problems.  It can represent debt, or sickness or even some personal problems like addictions–drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc.

Whatever it is, it’s time to put your foot down.

“And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with you”  (Romans 16:20).

AMEN!

Satan has already been defeated, and Jesus has stripped him of his authority and power.

“[God]  disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]”  (Colossians 2:15).

The devil has NO POWER over my will…

NO POWER over my mind…

NO POWER over my spirit.

It doesn’t matter what the devil does, he cannot take me out of God’s hand!  That said…

Don’t make the tragic mistake–

To believe that the devil has no power; that Satan is weak and helpless, that is a tragic mistake.

The devil is defeated from a God perspective, but he is not dead.

While he cannot affect my standing with God, he can definitely mess with my circumstances, my emotions, and he can manipulate people and things.

He can attack through people, through sickness, through financial problems, through attacks on people I love.

It’s one thing to know JESUS defeated Satan and it’s another thing to see that manifested victory in my own personal experience.

I want more than just a revelation of how JESUS defeated the devil (I want that devil under my feet).

JOSHUA’S Message to His Captains:

Come near and put your foot on their necks.

Why the command for a ‘neck stomping’?  I believe it was to demonstrate that the victory was real.  It was personal, that the enemy was under their feet.  That domination over the enemy was being displayed.

Joshua said to those men, this day is your day.  Instead of running from it, crying about it and even praying about it.

Today, you’re going to put your foot on it.  (And when you do, you’re going to choke the life out of it!).

Waiting for God to Move In and Do Something?

Many times we find ourselves waiting on God; to move in some great supernatural way, and with one swipe, wipe out all our enemies.

But the truth is, to a large degree, God has done everything He is going to do until we do something.

SPIRIT GUT CHECK:  He has given us,  (His Word), (His name), (His Spirit), (the power of Praise), (the Armor of God).

2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

3  For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according in the flesh and using mere human weapons.  4  For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood],  but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [nourished thoughts: The Word Detective’s insert].  5  [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

NOTICE that Joshua himself did not put his foot upon the necks of the enemy kings, but rather let his captains do tt.

This was to represent the fact this VICTORY belonged to every single Israelite; that every single one of them had defeated their enemies that day.

That means that you and I…

We have the AUTHORITY,

We have the POWER,

We have the WEAPONS (Ephesians 6:11-17).

Quit complaining about it and instead…PUT YOUR FOOT ON IT!  TAKE YOUR GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY!

Luke 10:19:  [Note: Insert your own name when you see the word “you”]

Behold!  I have given you [Mel] authority and power to trample upon serpents and [physical and mental] strength and ability over ALL THE POWER that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you [Mel].

Bringing the Enemy Out of Their Caves

We see Joshua and his men bringing out the FIVE KINGS from their hiding places (Joshua 10:3).

Before you get the VICTORY over that which has burdened you, robbed you, oppressed you, bring it out of hiding.

You have to admit it and identify it.  You have to quit pretending it doesn’t exist, or it isn’t that big of a deal, or that you can handle it yourself, keeping it hidden in a cave.

THINGS THAT CAN GROW IN THE DARK

Fungus growing into mushrooms in a cave
Fungus growing into mushrooms in a cave

The fact is:  Whatever you keep in the dark, grows, and intensifies and multiplies eventually bringing you into slavery–bondage–and if not dealt with–it will DESTROY your life.

Before you can put your foot down and stomp on it, you have to identify it.  Recognize it for what it is.  Expose it.  Get honest with God about it.  And HATE IT, and want to be rid of it.  I don’t want a “fungus” growing in my house, do you?

For twenty years I smoked a pack of cigarettes per day.  I told myself that I couldn’t quit! (No, I didn’t want to quit, because I loved it.)

I hid the evidence from my family; I wouldn’t smoke at home.  And yes, even lied about my tobacco addiction to my wife:  “It’s all the smoke from the office on my clothes and hair that you smell.”

And then one day, I put my foot on the neck of my addiction.  Literally.  I spoke out loud to that pack of cigarettes in 1983,  “I HATE YOU!”  Then I threw the nasty habit on the floor and stomped on it!  The desire was gone…forever.

You Will Never Quit anything If You LOVE IT!

—  You will never quit drinking if you love it.

—  You will never quit lusting if you love it.

—  You will never quit overeating if you love it.

—  You will never quit over spending if you love it.

—  You will never quit quarreling and arguing if you love it.

—  You will never quit holding grudges if you love it.

HOLY HATRED – Psalm 139:21-22:

21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?  And am I not grieved and do I not loathe those who rise up against You?  22 I hate them with perfect hatred; they have become my enemies.

In other words, David here was speaking of a hatred born out of love, his love for God was so strong, it made him hate the things opposed to God.

Your love for God must prove you to HATE the things that adversely affect your relationship with Him.  My FLESH may want to learn from a particular direction that it desires, but if it is harmful to my relationship with God, then my spirit man HATES that.

Before You Can STOMP ON IT, You Have to HATE IT!

You can’t tolerate it and conquer it!

You can’t stroke it and conquer it!

You can’t cover it and conquer it!

You can’t deny it and conquer it!

You have to HATE IT…Holy hatred and when you do…go after it to destroy it.

When you passionately hate it, not only will you want VICTORY over it, but you’ll want everyone to have victory over it (a “reformed smoker”);  You’ll want to destroy it!

I don’t know what’s in your life right now that you are fighting.

I don’t know how big it is, or small it is.  But IT’S TIME!  Time for you to put your foot on the enemy’s neck.

When you do, something supernatural is going to happen.  God almighty is going to FIGHT with you.

JOSHUA said to these men:  If you will just turn and fight your enemies, then God is going to fight with you and not one of your enemies will stand against you.

After putting their foot on the enemies’ necks…(Joshua 10:26)

JOSHUA took those FIVE KINGS and killed them on FIVE TREES till the evening so everyone could witness the VICTORY over the defeated foe.

‘If He did it for me, He will do it for you.  Here they are but they are dead now, they have no influence, no power, and no authority over my life.’ 

It is Time to Put your foot down on it –

It might be something like being STUBBORN (believe it or not, stubbornness is not a spiritual gift); it is an offense to the spirit of Christ.

Or, it may be something like being SARCASTIC.  The Bible says that our speech is supposed to be kind and gentle–suppose to minister GRACE to the hearers.

You may say:  Well I’m just telling the truth; I’m telling it like it is.  (Yes, but when you speak sarcastically, you’ve made the “truth” offensive and you become an instrument of offense instead of grace).

I have been guilty of this very thing.  When younger, even while teaching God’s word, I found myself in the cave of SARCASM.

I thought of it as a strength, not as a weakness in my character.  I’ve had to deal with it in my life by admitting it, exposing it, and then hating it.

God can help me conquer that area of PRIDE–self-centerness that raises its head occasionally…if, I put my foot down and stomp on it.

Achieving the Victory –

I don’t presume to know what (“it”) is in your life, but it’s time for you to get victory over it.

It’s time for you to have a good old neck stomping on whatever (“IT”) is.

 

VICTORY WON!
VICTORY WON!

CREDITS:

Exerts from “Put Your Foot Down” by Shelley Wilburn.org

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

Photos:  Google Search (Images); Photo Pin

 

 

JESUS: There’s Something About That Name

Text: Hebrews 1:3; Philippians 2:9-11

Well, it’s the Christmas Season once more (2013).  And like most people, I love to put some old CD’s on and listen to my all-time favorites.  One of those favorites, although not traditionally known as a Christmas song, in my mind… is certainly a CHRISTMAS SONG:                         There’s Something About That Name.  

In 1970, Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote the music and lyrics to favorite of mine:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus;

There’s just something about that name!

Master, Savior, Jesus,

Like the fragrance after the rain,

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

Let all heaven and earth proclaim;

Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,

But there’s something about that name!

Each one of us possesses a name…

This name given to us is usually by our parents.  Perhaps we were named after some relative, or were just given a name our parents liked.  Whatever the reason, however you came by your name, it probably came with no great significance.

My name for the record, is Melvin Dale…  MEL means “chief”; DALE means “valley”.  Put them together…Chief of the Valley.  Did my parents have any idea of the meaning before they named me?  Not so.  DALE is my father’s middle name and MELVIN came from my mother’s brother who died in infancy.

THE “POWER” THAT THE NAME OF JESUS HOLDS!

When we say Father (God), we’re immediately in the presence of God; we immediately have His full attention.  Have you ever really thought how awesome that is?

We Serve A Mighty God!  We Serve An Almighty God!

God certainly loves us, but He also expects us to worship and serve Him.

God calls us to be “servants”…Romans 6:18, 22:

[18] Having been set free from sin, you have become servants of righteousness.”

[22] Now since (you–insert your own name) have been set free from sin and have become SLAVES…[servants] of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.”

The word “servant” sometimes makes the hair on our arms stand up straight.  We might be thinking as we hear the word, “I’m not a ‘servant’, I’m a child of a King.”   So, we often put our own definition behind what the word conveys… making it more palatable as we swallow it.

8113389762_13766f8b8a“PALATABLE” EXAMPLES: In Giving Football Terms to Our Religious Experiences on Sundays–

Many of us our big fans to American Football.  Our entire life is surrounded by the local teams, college or professional.  We get enthused, even excited over the possibilities that come from attending the “Big Game.”

I found during my detective investigation this week of FOOTBALL EXAMPLES that could be applied to some of our expressions in “serving” on Sunday mornings in America:

GAME DAY:

QUARTERBACK SNEAK – When church participants leave during the invitation.

DRAW PLAY What many children do to the bulletin during worship.

HALF-TIME – The period between Sunday school and worship when many attendees choose to leave.

BENCH-WARMER – Those who do not sing, pray, work, or apparently do anything but sit.

BACKFIELD-IN-MOTION – (I sometimes would like to throw a” penalty flag” here)  Making a trip to the back restroom or water fountain during the service.

STAYING IN THE POCKET – What happens to the “offering” and the “tithe” that should be given joyfully.

TWO-MINUTE WARNING The point at which you realize your pastor’s message is almost over and begin to gather up the kids and belongings.

SUDDEN DEATH – What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the pastor/preacher goes “overtime.”

TRAP – You’re called on to pray and are asleep with your eyes open.

END RUNGetting out of church quickly, without speaking to any guest or others gathered on Sunday.

HALFBACK OPTION –  The decision of 50% of the congregation to…NOT return to the evening service.

THE BLITZThe rush for the nearest restaurant following the closing prayer (personally one of my favorites).

WHAT MAKES THE NAME OF JESUS SO POWERFUL?

2735461489_203a7f5316Well for one, God said Himself that it was so:  “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,”  (Philippians 2:9 NIV).

Hebrews 1:3 further explains the POWER of the  Name of Jesus:

“He [JESUS] is the sole expression of the glory of God, and He [JESUS] is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power.  When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high”  (Amplified and the Word Detective’s adding for emphasis). 

“All Hail the “Power” of Jesus’ Name”

That old hymn written by Edward Perronet was based upon the bible verse… “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised” – Psalm 145:3:

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!  Let angels prostrate fall;  Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him  Lord of all”.

BIBLE VERSES CONCERNING THE “POWER” OF JESUS’ NAME AND THE BENEFITS:

Acts 2:28:  And Peter answered them,  REPENT (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be BAPTIZED, every one of you, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the (gift) of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 4:30:  While You stretch out Your hand to cure and to perform signs and wonders through the authority and by the POWER of the NAME of Your holy Child and Servant JESUS.

Acts 8:12:  But when they BELIEVED the good news (the Gospel) about the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST  (the Messiah)  as Philip preached it, they were BAPTIZED, both men and women.

Colossians 3:17:  And whatever you do  [no matter what it is]  in word or deed, DO EVERYTHING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

Now there are several more bible verses pertaining to the POWER of Jesus’ Name:  John 14:13, 14; John 16:24; Mark 9:39; 16:17,  just to mention a few.  I’m sure you have many more written on your heart (and your refrigerator).

How We Should Use the Name of JESUS.

[10] That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,    [11] And every tongue  [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”  (Philippians 2:10, 11 AMP).

Right now, those who believe in JESUS acknowledge Him in this lifetime as Lord and Savior; they already have the POWER and AUTHORITY to use His Name because He says so in His Word.

Those who do not believe, don’t have the authority to use the power in Jesus’ Name.  But one day, every tongue, yes the unsaved… and in heaven, earth, or under the earth will bow down and accept Jesus.  Unfortunately, the outcome of living an eternity in Hell, is made clear at the time of judgement.

“But I don’t believe in Hell!”

Whether you believe in something or not; it doesn’t change the truth of God’s Word.

God has set the NAME of His Son Jesus above every other name.

That Is The Lord We Serve–

We serve a Mighty Master…

We serve a Risen Savior…

He is exalted (Lifted up) above all others…

Jesus sits on the right hand of God…

Today, He is our intercessor (our mediator, our go-between) with God.

JESUS’ NAME IS POWERFUL BECAUSE…

WHOEVER CALLS UPON IT WILL BE SAVED!

“And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the NAME of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord–Christ] SHALL BE SAVED”  (Acts 2:21).

“This  [Jesus]  is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner  [the Cornerstone].    And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other NAME under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved”  (Acts 4:11, 12).

BUDDHA can’t SAVE you…

MOHAMMED can’t SAVE you…

No other name can save you; only the NAME OF JESUS leads to your salvation.

Why Don’t We Apply the “Power”?

The POWER to heal, to perform MIRACLES, cast our demons…?

We FAIL to give Him our problems to Him because we really don’t believe He will or can handle them.

We will TRUST Him for the most important thing we have, our salvation, but we won’t trust Him with our troubles and problems.  We forget about the POWER IN JESUS’ NAME that is available to those who believe!

The “Exousia” :

The Greek word for “authority” is exousia, or as Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary explains: “freedom of action, right to act; delegated authority…”;  all in the name of Jesus.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”  (John 1:12 King James Version).

A Faith Believing Story from Smith Wigglesworth–

Smith Wigglesworth was a British evangelist, born June 8, 1859 and died March 12, 1947.

This true story of his carries the theme of my POST,    “All things are possible through the Name of Jesus” …if we have the FAITH to let it be done!

“THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME” –

I want to instill into you through the following story of Mr. Wigglesworth,  a sense of POWER, the virtue and glory of that Name.

Six people went into the house of a sick man to pray for him.  He was an Episcopalian vicar who lay on his bed helpless without strength to help himself.

He had read a little tract about healing, heard people praying for the sick and had sent for these friends, who he thought, would pray the prayer of faith.  

He was anointed according to James 5:14, but…because he had no immediate manifestation of healing, he wept bitterly.

The six people then walked out, discouraged to see the man lying there unchanged by the condition.  When the six friends were outside, one of them said,  “There is one thing we might have done.  I wish we could all go back in and try it.”

They went back inside and all got together.  This one brother said,  “Let us whisper the name of Jesus.”  At first, nothing seemed to happen.  But as they continued to whisper, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”, the POWER began to fall.  As they saw God was beginning to work their faith… joy increased; and they whispered the NAME louder and louder.

As they did so, the man arose from his bed and dressed himself.  The secret?  Those men had taken their eyes off the sick man, taken up with the Lord Jesus Himself, and their faith grasped the POWER that there is in His Name.

O, if people would only appreciate their God-given AUTHORITY in the POWER there is in this NAME, there is no telling what could happen.

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE NAME OF JESUS!

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Our Approach to the Gate Called “Beautiful”

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Entering the Gate

ONE HISTORICAL ACCOUNTING & LOCATION OF THE “BEAUTIFUL GATE”:

In my detective investigation for this POST, I discovered many scholars seem to disagree with the exact location of THE GATE CALLED “BEAUTIFUL”.

I tend to side with Leen Ritmeyer’s Archaelogical Design and his explanations of the historical account in relationship to The “Beautiful Gate” ; connecting the description found in Acts 3:2, 10:  

jlm_herod_tm_s_m01-copy-copy

There was The Double Gate located at the southern wall of the Temple Mount.  A 210 feet (64 m) wide monumental stairway led up to this gate from the lower plaza.  Because of its monumental proportions, this gate was probably used by most pilgrims going up to worship and pray at the Temple [www.ritmeyer.com/2010/12/14/the-beautiful-gate-of-the-temple/].

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THE MAN AT THE BEAUTIFUL GATE:

Acts 3:1-2:

“[1] ONE DAY Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon.  [2] Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts”  (NIV).

Here we see a man who was crippled at birth and earned his living by begging.  In taking liberties and reading “between the lines”, I began to look closely at the facts presented by Dr. Luke.

#1.  Every day, this man was carried to and from the church (“temple”) gate.  That FACT tells me that he had friends or family that helped him.

So, why do you think they called the “temple gate BEAUTIFUL”?  

My guess is, the people might like to make their entrance here through the beautiful way and enjoyed the aesthetics of the place.  Especially the art work and engravings of Solomon’s Porch [above drawing].

A Crippled Beggar
A Crippled Beggar

But, how does the “crippled beggar” fit into this picture of perfection?  

He doesn’t fit in! Presumably this majestic and beautiful gate prepared your mind to worship an awesome God.  Then you open your eyes and your smile of contentment begins to fade as you spy the beggar lying or sitting in the dust.  Your spirit feels fingernails screeching along a blackboard.

It’s like when driving down the road to the supermarket and glancing towards the curb at a stop light.  There stands an unkempt stranger holding a sign that reads, “HOMELESS – NEED HELP”.  You try not to give him any notice, feeling that eye contact will only encourage him.  OUCH!   “Another “homeless beggar” on the street.”  And soon as the RED LIGHT turns green, you step on the gas and you’re off!  Safe and secure from all alarm!

So Why Was The Beggar There?

Why do the temple authorities permit this to happen every day at the Church Gate?  The beggar wouldn’t sit there every day unless…he was making money.

What this shows to me is that the “church goers” had a heart for those less fortunate.  Not all the attendees were going for the “beauty experience”; they were going to worship God.  No one said the beggar was there by the temple (the visible dwelling place of God) because he hoped to be healed in his proximity to God.

Was this Beggar hoping for a miracle or is he looking for help from man?

“So when he (the “beggar”) saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift.  And Peter directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John and said, Look at us!  And [the man] paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them”  (Acts 3:3-5 AMP).

Based alone on the above verses, it’s clear to me… the man was looking for a “hand-out” and not a “hand-up”.  He was begging for monetary relief.

Are we like this crippled beggar?  We come close to God, but look to man for help?  We come close to God, but look for temporary relief for what is really ailing us?

You might be thinking, “I’m not crippled, a beggar either.”  Maybe not physically crippled, but maybe crippled from brokenness or strife in your life over the years from all types reasons.

Mary Lowry and Buddy Greene wrote the lyrics to a great Bill & Gloria Gaither song that was popular in the 70’s:

Something beautiful, something good

All my confusion He understood

All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife

But He made something beautiful of my life.

NOTICE ALL THE DISCUSSION ABOUT WHO IS LOOKING AT WHAT AT THE GATE CALLED “BEAUTIFUL”:

(VERSE 4)  “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him (the “beggar”) with John, said, LOOK ON US”  (KJV).

Verse 4 tells us that Peter and John looked, gazed intently, fixed their eyes, looked “straight at the beggar”.  Then Peter told the crippled man to look at them.  Was Peter suggesting that the beggar should look back at them…to receive a healing?  Did the beggar expect to get something in return for all this eye contact?

“YES”.  (See verse 5):  “And [the man] paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them.”  Peter wanted to have this man’s undivided attention!

So whose FAITH is revealed?

[6] “But Peter said, Silver and gold (money) I do not have; but what I do have, that I give to you; in [the use of] the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WALK!  [7] Then he took hold of the man’s right hand with a firm grip and raised him up.  And at once his feet and ankle bones became strong and steady.  [8] And leaping forth he stood and began to walk, and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God”  (Acts 3:6-8 AMP).

Did this “crippled beggar” have FAITH that he would be healed?

The Bible verses makes it clear–he expected money, not healing.  However, when he was told to walk he obeyed; the man crippled from birth, who was brought every day to beg before the Beautiful Gate, made the effort to rise up!

Don’t you wish that when things aren’t going the way you expected, that God would just “Do it”?  Well, if the “crippled beggar” wasn’t obedient to Peter’s words to STAND…would he have been healed, or would God have healed him right where he sat?

FAITH IS AN EXPRESSION:

I love Creflo Dollar’s definition of FAITH:  “Faith is…the practical expression of the confidence in God and His Word.”

The CRIPPLED BEGGAR was giving his practical expression; his faith being expressed in confidence and obeying the command of the apostles AUTHORITY.

Peter said in verse 4, “what I have I give you…”  And what did Peter have?  Did Peter have power to heal?

In my detective work this past week, I came upon a commentary Interpreting Acts by Harrison (p.79), where he says,  “In himself Peter had not more power to bestow healing than he had money in his wallet.”  Is Harrison right?

Matthew 10:8 reads,  “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.” 

The Message Bible reads,  “Tell them that the kingdom is here.  Bring health to the sick.  Raise the dead.  Touch the untouchables.  Kick out the demons.  You have been treated generously, so live generously.” 

Is this what Peter was giving in Acts 3?

According to Matthew 10:1, what Peter had, was AUTHORITY, in the name of JESUS to HEAL.

“AND HAVING summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them AUTHORITY over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and HEAL EVERY KIND of disease and every kind of sickness.”

PETER had authority to use Jesus’ name.  But he links two concepts together in Acts 3:16:

–He says, “Jesus name”.

–He says “the faith that comes through [JESUS] has given complete healing.”

Do We Who Live in the 21st Century Have the Authority to Use Jesus’ Name As Effectively?

Here is just a few Bible references that will answer that question if you are in doubt of your effectiveness as you approach the Gate Called “Beautiful”:

[ 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:7-13; Romans 12:4-8 ].

The referenced verses above, all talk about “gifts” — all of us as Christians can have the same effectiveness through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:9 specifically mentions “healing” as a gift.

Does that AUTHORITY rest only on those who are “worthy”?  Does that God-given AUTHORITY rest only on those who “have faith”?

“JARS OF CLAY”  Might Be the Answer–

JARS OF CLAY
JARS OF CLAY

What is meant by “jars of clay?”  (Us!)

2 Corinthians 4:7:  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”  (NIV).

I can understand on the surface why we can be called “clay” (Gen. 2:7).  But why are we “JARS”?

As I looked more closely at the apostle Paul’s words in VERSE 7, what I received was–JARS HOLD SOMETHING!  And in this situation–a “treasure”.

So what is that “TREASURE”?  

The knowledge of God reflected in JESUS (verse 6) in the POWER from God (verse 7).  “WOW”, I thought to myself.  Is “this treasure” not being shared with others?

Does the FACT that the “JAR” holds a treasure mean…the jar in and of itself is a treasure?

Peter’s Story in Luke 22: 

Peter confesses to Jesus,  Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and death (verse 33).  

Was this true, did he really know his own heart?

In verses 49-50 and John 18:10, the words cast additional light that reveals the servant who drew his sword was…PETER; it shows that Peter was willing to stand and fight and die for his Lord!

So how did Peter get from being willing to die to repeated denial in Luke 22:55-60?

He believed in his sword with the fact that together, they could win this fight.

When Jesus allowed Himself to be taken captive, it turned Peter’s ideas upside-down.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  Do you see the same parallel occurring between the crippled beggar– at the gate called ” BEAUTIFUL”– and Peter during the Luke 22 happenings?

What stuck out clearly to me was the beggar was close to God but was depending upon man and his sharp Realtor’s idea of location, location, location; how to get man to provide for his own personal welfare…every day!

Peter was close to God, but depending on his sword and his idea of how things needed to turn out.

So if Peter is much like the beggar he healed in Acts 3, why does he get to heal?

In this First Church–why this apostle, this follower of Jesus in His ministry on earth…why does he have such moral superiority that he can call God to heal the crippled beggar?

I know that this a wordy question to ponder.  The point is…Peter doesn’t have “moral superiority”.  What he has is knowledge that he’s just a “jar of clay.”  And, the “jars of clay” and their treasures are as current in today’s churches as they were in the First Church!

Unlike the beggar, unlike his ideas accumulated in Luke 22, Peter now realizes the TRUTH!

“And Peter…answered the people,  You men of Israel, why are you so surprised and wondering at this (healing of the crippled beggar)?  Why do you keep staring at us, as though by our [own individual] power or [active] piety we had made this man [able] to walk?”  (Acts 3:12 AMP).

The realization is the “authority” allows the POWER of God to work through FAITH.

“Healers in Need of Healing”

Do we sometimes get confused in our churches we attend, believing that we are part of the “treasure” instead of just the “jars” holding the treasure?

Are you a devoted Christian as long as things go the way you planned?  And if they don’t, you find yourself “crippled” by circumstances to move on?

Do you believe you should get part of the “credit” for your work in advancing the gospel?

Some soul-searching questions to ask ourselves as Christians.  God works most powerfully through JARS, who clearly understand their role and content to trust God in whatever transpires.

 

Miracles, Signs and Wonders Are Alive!

“The Wonder Of It All”

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told them, “you will never believe at all”  (John 4:48).

“Signs” are never pointed to themselves or the human performer!  Rather, they point to the Person; the Work of Christ.”  Let me get you started with Bible verses that attest to that thinking:  (Acts 2:4-12, 22, 43; 3:7-9; 11-12, 16; 4:30; 6:8; 14:3; 15:12; Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 12:4-12; Hebrews 2:4; 6:1-2).

There is a debate amongst many schools of thought between Christians.  Many say that miracles, signs and wonders have stopped.  Others say they are functioning today but are rare.  Others go overboard with manipulation, using electronic and magician tricks to seek and perform and captivate a crowd in “Jesus name.”

The Bible gives no indication that miracles, signs and wonders have stopped.  They may be rare but they are here and working praise God!

“On A Foggy Morning”

Almost a year ago (Feb. 11, 2011) I published a post entitled, “Getting Results in Prayer- A Foggy Day”.  It was a personal story of mine in Southern California 1979; about my experience on an early foggy morning.

I was a ‘long-distant’ commuter in those days.  I traveled from Poway to San Bernardino daily–95 miles one way!  I would leave the house no later than 6:15 AM and travel Interstate 15 all the way to my place of business.

One morning, it was unusually “foggy”.  So much so, even with headlights on, I couldn’t see any further than 20 feet in front of me or behind me.  And just ahead was the expected traffic light.  I knew it was there but seldom was it ever Red–STOP. 

As I pulled up and stopped, another vehicle pulled up beside me and came to a halt, both of us waiting patiently for the light to change green. 

And then, it happened.  I made a quick glance in the rear-view mirror while waiting and seeing nothing but two high-beamed headlights racing toward us both.  The on coming car obviously couldn’t see our tail lights or the red traffic signal aheadI tightly closed my eyes, preparing for impact and prayed out loud, “Jesus, keep us both safe!”  And then the miracle, the sign and wonder happened!  With approximately four feet between the two stopped cars, the oncoming vehicle drove between us and disappeared in the dense fog ahead, never slowing down.  I looked wide-eyed at the car stopped next to me and he looked back with the same expression on his face. 

The light turned green, but we both just sat there for a moment in amazement and maybe a little ‘shock’.  How did it happen and why didn’t a horrific accident not take place?  I believe to this day that it was a miracle and a sign.  And the driver that was next to me?  I don’t know but all I could say then and now, “Thank You Jesus for answered prayer and Your saving grace, the Miracle You performed today.”

Often, when we do see and experience miracles, signs and wonders, we become discerning, seeking scientific and psychological reasons–preventing us from jumping to conclusions to what ‘just happened.’  We don’t want to get ourselves into trouble or fall prey to shysters and manipulators. 

We need to recognized and trust in the words of an old hymn:

The Wonder of It All

There’s the wonder of sunset at evening,  The wonder as

sunrise I see But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul

Is the wonder that God loves me.

O, the wonder of it all!

Written by–George Beverly Shea

Are Signs and Wonders–Miracles For Us Today?

YES!  It is often debated to the normalcy aspect; whether or not it still continues today in the church.  Some scholars propose that miracles are no longer a function of the church.  We’re just a part of “redemptive history.”

There isn’t Scriptural support for that position!  Miracles may be rare but to say they don’t exist today puts a limit on God’s sovereignty.  God has no limits; hence, why “process theology” (God is evolving, such as evolution), or “dispensationalism” (God is limited to time periods in history and contracts).  These theologies are not rooted in Scripture but only the minds of men.

Methods that are laid down for us ~

These methods are taught in the Book of Acts in your Bible.  They are as much for today’s believers as they were for that day.  I and others believe that God set down a pattern for us to follow this path.  It is a dependence upon His means and promotion of His ends.

Miracles have different accents:

— a “sign” is a miracle.

— a “wonder” is a miracle.

— a “miracle” is a miracle.

The miracle has the accent upon the power of the act.

The sign puts the accent; the pointing of the act; pointing to the word and His grace; pointing to His servants; pointing to Jesus!  It is sort of affirmation of the person, the message and the means and methods.

Then the wonder has to do with the effect of that the miracle on the observer.  They get into the wonder of it all. Be careful, you might miss it; the sunrise, the sunset, the wonder that God loves me!

So you see, they are All Miracles!

The Methods In Scripture of Advertising the Miraculous

“He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard”       (Galatians 3:5 AMP).

Do you know what we need to do?  We need to pray and say,  “God, sharpen my spiritual ears.” 

God, get the sin of the world out of my ears so that I might have a better spiritual hearing!  Because if miracles take place by the hearing of faith, then give me the faith that hears.

I want to take you to some scriptures I found in investigation of the truth; to show you how much God put miracles, signs and wonders in the evangelism of the Bible.

“For [of course] I will not venture (presume) to speak thus of any work except what Christ has actually done through me [as an instrument of His hands] to win obedience from the Gentiles [nonbelievers], by word and deed”  [19] “[Even as my preaching has been accompanied] with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit. [The result is] that starting from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel [faithfully executing, accomplishing, carrying out to the full the good news] of Christ (the Messiah) in its entirety”  (Romans 15:18-19 AMP).

Paul constantly says, “my Gospel was not in word only,” and he tells us about this deed in verse 19I decided to do some further research on the verses I quoted in the Letter of Paul to the Romans.  I did so to see if I could find what the words contained in verses 18 and 19 are actually saying to me.  My conclusion results: there is a partial gospel and there is a full gospel.  If you want to preach the full gospel you can’t divorce it from miracles, signs and wonders: “I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.”

So, if you want to fully preach it–it’s through miracles, signs and wonders bythe Power of the Holy Spirit!  We want the power of God; we don’t want to separate the spirit and the word.  We want God, through His Spirit, working with and in us.

Getting Our attention inActs 2:22

“You men…, listen to what I have to say:  Jesus of Nazareth, a Man accredited and pointed out and shown forth and commended and attested to you by God by the mighty works and [the power of performing] wonders and signs which God worked through Him [right] in your midst.”

Jesus of Nazareth, a Man accredited (approved) by God in your midst.”   You have heard of schools that were accredited and non-accredited.  But Jesus was accredited with miracles, signs and wonders in the middle of the people around Him; where He was preaching the Gospel.  God put His stamp of approval on Jesus by the signs, wonders and miracles.  Should we as believers in Jesus have the same opportunity today?

Jesus said, “Greater works shall you do because I go to my Father.”  Now I’m not saying I have it all but I am certainly open to what God has for me.  I admit the need, I admit that I need more, the anointing of the spirit; I need more of God working through me by His Spirit.

I believe that the church today needs to go back to the patterns of the church of Acts 2:22; not a churches denomination or doctrine or a Pastor who has dreamed up and developed a plan with their own traditions and misunderstandings of God’s Word.

The human body has an “outer ear” and an “inner ear”.  What we hear in the pastor’s message in church, we initially hear with the outer ear; the logos word.  What we need to hear more often is the rhema word; the words we hear with our inner ear, from the Spirit of the living God.  If we do, we will see more miraculous, more manifested presence of God, more conviction of sin and more things that cause people to fear God in a good way.

Jesus Didn’t Go to the University of Jerusalem!

Jesus didn’t get his accreditation from school or membership in the local church.  He didn’t say, “See the sheep skin I have on the wall.”  He didn’t go up to someone being possessed by demons, “In the name of the Alma Mater of the University of Jerusalem, come out!”  It didn’t work that way then and it doesn’t work that way today.  God backed Him and He is still backing His adopted sons and daughters today.

The disciples and the town folk that day were amazed and even the spirits obeyed His voice.  And so it was the miraculous signs that began to spread in the land and is also spread throughout the Bible to show the importance of miracles, signs and wonders.  How we can ignore the evidences in God’s Word I don’t know.

The writer of The Letter to The Hebrews takes the thought even further:

“[Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers–you and I] according to His own will”  (Hebrews 2:4 AMP–my addition; you and I).

Scholars who ignore the power imparted to the church today by the gifts of the Holy Spirit are missing the importance of the rhema word; the Holy Spirits whispering in the inner ear.  They separate the logos from the rhema.  It just doesn’t work in that way.

Are you still in doubt of your God-given authority?

“And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages”  (Mark 16:17)  [verse 20]  “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]. Amen (so be it).

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer like is described here; that these signs might follow me as I go out!

Then in verse 19:

“So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and He sat down at the right hand of God.”

Come on Church…the people who heard Jesus when He raised His hands and blessed them is still confirming it today right where you are living; with Miracles, Signs and Wonders as we go out to preach the Gospel.  That is Church Evangelism Father.  He gave us the power as believers to perform miracles, signs and wonders through the gifting of the Holy Spirit.