A Form of Godliness

“For men will hold to a form of Godliness, although they have denied its power.”

There are a lot of people in the church today searching for power.  There are people in the world today that are doing the same thing.  The whole world is about who has the power.  But how does true power come to someone?  That is the question for today?

A good study would be the life of Daniel.  Why was it that God gave Daniel such extraordinary wisdom to interpret dreams?  It was because of what Daniel did first.  Daniel obeyed God.  He walked a Holy life and would not compromise God’s Word. Even though he was in captivity, he was totally submitted to God.  That’s why God used Daniel so greatly.  That’s why God used all the people who He used, and all the people He will ever use mightily.

My point today is very simple but so lost in the church today.  Everyone wants to be somebody or wants to operate in the power of God, but not a lot will do what it takes.  It takes a Holy separated life, nothing more, nothing less!  So if we want the power in our lives and in our churches today, we must preach the uncompromising word of God.  And even more important, we should live the same way!

I’ve preached in some churches that are using everything the world can offer to bring people in.  Every gimmick and new trend is put in the church to grow the church so that we have more power.  Everyone likes a church that is “seeker friendly” and has all the latest things that the world can offer.  “Come to our church, we have the best music in the world.  And you can get a sausage biscuit and coffee to eat while you’re enjoying.  We have the latest lights shows and the kids will love it!”  I’ve had the opportunity to visit a lot of churches to give the Word and I’m constantly amazed at what I see.  The problem is that when I get to minister to the people, I’m amazed at how little of the power of God is in their lives.

So what is the point?  It’s simple.  A God fearing life, fully submitted to God will bring power to the church.  When the power of God comes, there is no need for the latest trends, hurting people will come.  Forget about how big your church is and how many people are coming every Sunday.  The real question is, “How many people are truly getting healed.”  I’m talking about Salvation (spiritual healing), Deliverance (healing to our soul) and physical healing to their bodies.  How many people are getting free from all the bondage in their lives?  We don’t need bigger and more beautiful buildings and the latest high tech. If we used the church’s money the way God said we should, there would be no poor and destitute in our communities, but that’s quite a different topic, isn’t it?

I believe that when God’s power comes back to the church, it’s going to come to those who are living god fearing lives before Him.  And when He comes, all forms of godliness that we have placed before Him will have no value.  The church will come together and not worry about anything but seeing people get saved and healed!  What a day that will be!  So, if you want to get ready for the coming revival, let’s concentrate on godliness and forget everything else.  That’s what will draw Him to us, nothing more and nothing less.  Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Need to Give Ourselves a Break!

“If you confess your sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Gone!  Just like that!  The moment of eternity we confess our sins He covers them and carries them away!  You see, and we need to understand this. He doesn’t sit on His throne and contemplate whether or not He’s going to forgive us or not.  No sir!  He doesn’t look at our sin as something He didn’t already know about.  You see He’s all-knowing.  He knew every sin you had committed, you do commit and you will commit at Calvary.  He’s already accomplished total forgiveness on the cross.  So when we confess our sin, He’s not just learning about it, He already shed His blood for it.  Oh, it’s true.  We are simply coming to Him and admitting that His ways are right and our ways are wrong.

So why does it feel so bad and continue to linger? It’s not because He doesn’t forgive us that we feel bad.  It’s usually because we have a hard time forgiving ourselves.  We get so full of shame and guilt that we can’t move on.  Am I talking to the right group of people?  It feels like we’re in a pit and we’re ashamed to look at the world.  But God not only took our sin on His body at the cross, He took our shame and guilt, or, if I might say, the effects of our sin on ourselves.  Shame and guilt is what the enemy lies on us to keep us down.  But if we believe that it just takes a second of eternity for God to forgive our sin, then why don’t we give him our shame and guilt also?  Why do we want to hold on to something that Jesus already carried on the cross?  These are all good questions, but much easier to put into action.  So how do we let it go?

The best thing I can tell you is, “Just give yourself a break!”  We always tend to be so serious about everything.  Now I know that this is a serious thing we are talking about but my Bible says that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”  We have to understand that God wants us to continue to move forward, but when we fall along the path He picks us up, brushes us off and keeps walking with us.  Our falls don’t shock Him one bit.  So I’m not telling you it’s okay to sin.  May it never be!  But we do sin!  If we say we don’t we’re liars and the truth is not in us.  But our sin doesn’t define who we are in Christ.  His presence defines us.  It’s all about Him and nothing to do with us.  I’m victorious through Christ, not on my own!  I don’t know about you, but I’m personally glad that it’s not about me.  How about you!

We Should Never Lose Heart!

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

Paul is talking about something he’s well aware of in this passage. He says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not ourselves.”  He’s talking about the afflictions, perplexities, persecutions and all the other things that the world throws at us to strike us down.  Sometimes the world gets you in the corner and just starts to body punch you.  It feels like you are at your end but you can’t escape.  The good news is that no matter what it is that you’re going through today, although it looks and feels really bad to you, God’s plan is being carried out in your life.

It’s hard to see when we’re in the middle of it but that’s why Paul told us not to lose heart!   God can use, and does, every situation that comes into our lives in a positive way.  In Romans it says that God can cause all things to work together for good, and that’s good news.  But how does He do it?

In our main scripture for today, the word decaying means to lose one’s strength and vigor, where the word renewed means to regain one’s strength and vigor.  The world continues to break down our outer body and tries to kill us.  That’s the plan, to steal kill and destroy us.  But when these things happen and our strength and vigor starts to drain us and we feel like we can’t make it, God’s grace falls upon us.  His strength rises up within us.  His power takes over and brings us through. So whenever the enemy tries to destroy us, He’s actually causing God’s strength to increase within us.  Hallelujah!!  Every time the world comes against us, God causes growth inside of us.  So the more that the outer vessel is destroyed, the more Jesus grows inside of us, and again I say, “Hallelujah!!”

So no matter what it is that you’re facing today, put your hands up in surrender and praise the Lord for it!  Thank Him that you are victorious and that the Devil is defeated!  Thank Him for His grace and mercy.  Thank Him for His strength rising up in you!  You are more than a conqueror in Christ and you can do all things through Him!  So bring it on Devil!  The more you work to destroy me, the more I’ll rise back up!  That’s the good news today so stand up, don’t give in, and above all else, never lose heart!  Amen!

 

We are Sealed!

“Having believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

I was at a funeral last week and the pastor talked about a passport.  I have been overseas and I understand passports.  You see when you get off the plane, bus, ship, or whatever means you travel to another country, you must present a passport.  But to be able to enter the country, someone must put a stamp on your passport.  In other words, you can have a passport that’s in proper order, but it won’t do you any good unless it’s stamped.

So, we have religion.  We can carry out our religion our whole life.  We can dress like a Christian and talk like a Christian.  We can go to church and call ourselves whatever we might profess to be.(Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Catholic, etc.)  We can do all kind of things in this world.  These actions are, in a sense, our passport.  We call it a lot of different things but in reality we hope it’s our passport into another world.

The Bible says that we are not of this world.  We are foreigners and aliens in this world.  So we need a passport to enter into another place.  Some would believe that this passport is called organized religion.  Now, if you will, shift your gaze forward to the gates of Heaven.  We have all these jokes we tell about meeting St. Peter at the gates of heaven.  That’s not what the Bible actually teaches us, but let’s for a moment just envision this scene for the sake of discussion.  You get there and Peter asks for your passport.  You very proudly announce that you are a member of so and so church.  You have given a lot of money to the church.  You’ve even been baptized.  You had the service committed to memory and could even quote it to St. Peter.  He was actually quite impressed with your memory.  But then he says to you, “Your passport seems to be in order but there just appears to be something wrong.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but, oh yea, I know what it is.  It’s not sealed!  Why is your passport not sealed!  I’m very sorry but I can’t let you in without the seal, no matter how much order there is in your passport.”  Wow!

Now you might say that’s just ridiculous, but what if the Holy Spirit is the only one who can get you through the gates.  What if you can’t make it in without Him.  Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly what the Bible teaches.  You can’t be truly saved except by the Holy Spirit.  You can have all the religion you want, but without a personal relationship with the Father you can’t get in.  And that only comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  He is our seal.  He is the down payment to the eternal life that God offers us one day, yes, but also on this earth.  So no matter what you believe, no matter what church or organization you belong to, make sure that you get your passport stamped.  You are not allowed in without it.  Amen!

To Minister (Serve)

Jesus answered and said, “What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter.”

First of all, foot washing was not uncommon in Jerusalem during the days.  Everyone wore sandals and all the animals traveled the same roads, so when you had people come to your house their feet where normally washed.  This was to prevent all the dust and other items that one would have picked up on the roads to be left at the door.  It’s kind of like when you’ve been working outside all day and you take your shoes off before you come in.  Or if mom yells, “You better take those shoes off before you come in!”  The problem here was that there was no host that night in the upper room, just Jesus and His disciples.  He was probably waiting to see if any of them would do it, but He knew they wouldn’t.  You see, they were all fighting about who was to be in charge and who would sit next to Jesus in His coming kingdom.  So Jesus gives them some, if you will, on the job training.

The word minister in Hebrew is a verb which means to serve.  That’s what Jesus was trying to tell them.  “You must be servants of the people.”  Today in the church, servants are few and far between because, you guessed it, everyone wants a position and wants to sit close to the Pastor. Everyone has a card with their position on it that they can hand out.  The church today has taken the verb and made it into a noun, a Minister, or a profession.  We have far to many ministers (professionals) in the church!  Where are all the servants.  Jesus was trying to tell them, “If you want to be great in the kingdom, you must serve others.”  That has to be your way of life, not just a fleeting act that you perform for the benefit of others!

The servants in the church today are the most important ones!  Unfortunately, every Pastor would tell you that they are few and far between.  If you have one or two in your church, you are lucky, but don’t try to think who they might be.  You see, true servants don’t ring their own bell.  They are very humble and in the background.  They go unnoticed by most.  We need some good ministers in the church today.

Over the years, I’ve had more than I can count that have come in church and told me, “I have a call on my life.  What can I do for you!  Where can I serve?”  I have always told them the same thing, “I need someone to come in every week and clean the toilets.”   Interestingly enough, not one of those people ever stayed in my church more then a couple of Sundays.  You see they were really saying, “What position is open and when can I preach!”

Brothers and sisters, servants are the most important people in the church today.  These true ministers are the heart beat of the church.  Oh, how they are needed.  You might ask the question, “Where do I start to serve?”  Just put your hands to whatever is in front of you.  If the chairs need straightened, just do it.  If help is needed in the kitchen, just do it.  If the grass needs cut, just do it.  Don’t do it for earthly rewards.  God will reward you on that day when He says, “Well done My good and faithful servant!”  Amen!

The Lord Will Do It

"The Living Word"

“Then I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it.”

Sometimes we just become so broken up and dry that we can’t even move anymore.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not God’s doing.  We are the ones that wonder away from Him or do things that we know we’re not supposed to.  We’re the ones who don’t do what we know to do.  And so we become like dry bones.  The world becomes to much and we just lay down and feel like we don’t want to get up any more.  We can’t function or do anything.  We don’t even want to get out of bed.  But God won’t let you stay there.  He’ll open your grave and pull you out.  He’ll…

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Your Will

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!”  “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord, ” will  enter the kingdom of heaven: but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven!”

We pray the Lord’s prayer so often but sometimes I don’t think we have a clue what we’re praying, “Thy will be done!”  What does that mean?  The scripture says that we can prophecy and cast out demons, and even perform miracles but we still stand a chance to not make heaven if we don’t do His will for our lives.  That’s pretty scary if you ask me. Because I for one know that I don’t always do what He wants me to do.  Oh, I do good things and try to please Him but I don’t always even take the time to ask Him what He would have me do.  You see, I believe that the plans and purposes of God are tied up in His will for our life.  So sometimes we don’t do exactly what He wants, but we expect Him to take us to our appointed destination.  How unsettling for us.  We could build Him a kingdom here on this earth, maybe the biggest, most beautiful ministry man has ever known or seen.  But what if it’s not what He had for us to do on this earth?  What if we did it all in our own strength?

You see we tend to think that God will never say no to us as long as we’re doing good things.  But He said no to a lot of good people along the way.  I remember when Paul had a thorn in the side and he kept asking God to take it away.  God basically said, “No!”  “But God, look at everything I’m doing for you!  I’m reaching all these people and going through quite a lot of torment at the same time.  The least you could do is take this demon away from me that keeps messing with me, I mean, what’s the deal Lord!”  I can hear the Lord say, “No!  My grace is sufficient.  Just deal with it!”  Wow.  You see, God doesn’t always do what we want, He just allows what’s best for us!  Ouch!

He did it to His own Son.  That’s right!  Jesus prayed, “If you can take this cup from me, please take it.”  Our Lord’s Father spoke with the force of eternity behind Him, “No!  Deal with it!” Jesus did the will of the Father but it wasn’t pleasant at all.  It was the worst torture known to a human body.  But Christ had to walk through it to accomplish His Father’s will for His life.

So my point is that sometimes we think that God is so good to us that nothing bad is ever going to happen, but that’s the farthest thing from the truth!  If we truly pray, “Thy will be done, not mine,” then we should expect that we might not always experience the best this world has to offer.  We might have to go through some things to accomplish His plans and purposes for our lives.  That’s where trust comes in.  If I truly trust Him, I know that when I do what He wants, no matter what the cost, He will always be there with me and will always see me through it.  I know that He’s allowing what’s best for me to accomplish His plans and purposes for my life.  He is a good God and has a plan for my life.  It’s not necessarily what I think He should do, after all I could probably do it better!  But I can trust Him that His eternal plan is working through my life to accomplish something great!

So if you’re going to pray the Lord’s prayer be careful.  “Thy will be done,” could open up a can of worms!  So don’t be shocked at what you might find!  Just be obedient.  Doing His will is the path we each need to take to hear those words we all long for, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”  That’s what I’m talking about.  How about you?