You Are A Joint!

You are a joint

(image courtesy of Freelyphotos.com)

If you have been spiritually born into the family of God then you are a Joint!  Ephesians 4:7-16 says that Jesus gave gifts to the church for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ and that the members are joined and knit together by what every joint supplies and what every part does in edifying the body to growth and maturity to the stature of Christ Jesus!

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–from whom the whole body, joined together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So, what is your motivation in going to church?  Is it to give or to get?  We all look forward to gathering together at church to see our friends and participate in worship and hearing a great message from our Pastor, but what is our individual purpose?

If we are going to be givers of our supply then we need to adjust our thinking to be pro-active, looking forward to our church attendance as a means to share what God has placed within each of us that will benefit the whole body.  It’s always fun to be on the receiving end of things, but Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Acts 20:35 NKJV  “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak.  And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

Matthew 10:7, 8 NKJV  “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.

God has placed within each of us what we need to be joints in the whole body of Christ!  He has equipped us with gifts and talents that we should be sharing when we come together to worship Him.  What He has freely given to us is intended to be used to change the lives of others!

1 Corinthians 14:16 NKJV  How is it then, brethren?  Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation.  Let all things be done for edification.

When we come together in corporate worship, the Apostle Paul says we all have gifts that can be used, but they should be done in balance and to build up the body.  The Corinthian church was an exuberant church that was imbalanced in the extreme use of their gifts, but today in many of our churches we see an imbalance in the non-use of God’s gifts.  Where is the balance?

I think the answer to that question has to begin with a willingness to be used of the Lord for whatever purpose He has in our gathering together.  It’s not wrong to be on the receiving end of what God is flowing through another, but we all should be looking for the opportunities to give as well as to receive.

Hebrews 10:23-25  NKJV  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Here we see a caution to not go to the other extreme of not joining together in corporate worship, but to use that time to stir others up in love and good works.  We are to be a people who give out of the abundance of God’s gifts to each of us using them to express His love and encouragement to do and be the best that He has gifted and called us to be.

1 Peter 4:10  NKJV  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Do you know what gifts God has placed within you?  Could that be what may be holding you back from giving your supply?  Pray before going to church that God will show you what He wants you to do and say that would build up the body of Christ and be the supply that you are to give for that day.  God has a place for you to fill in His church.  He has gifts that He wants to express through you.  Are you willing to step out to be a vessel of His use to bring glory and honor to the name of Jesus and help in building up His body?

Father, I thank You for the gifts that You have placed in each one of us as born again believers in Christ Jesus.  I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that You would awaken their spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear what You want them to do and say as they meet together with other believers in a corporate worship setting.  I pray that You will give them Your heart of compassion to speak into people’s lives that which will build them up and bring growth and maturity in the lives of the hearers.  I pray that in turn they would be edified and grow into more mature believers as they yield themselves to be vessels of honor for Your use.  Cause us to have boldness to step out in faith that You will do what only You can do in us and through us to build up the Body of Christ.  You alone, Lord, are the giver of the gifts and deserve all the glory for them!  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Here’s Another Lemon, Lord!

lemons

(Image courtesy of freeimages.com)

Have you ever looked into your life and thought you could see nothing but lemons….hard, sour times where there seemed to be no good that could possibly come out of them? Well, I have good news for you today! God makes the BEST lemonade!

Psalm 103:6 Msg. GOD makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.

Wow! Hooray! There is redemption for all things in your life when you bring them to God!

Just look at the life of Joseph. He was 17 when he had a dream that his brothers would some day bow down before him and he would reign over them. They already hated him because he was his father’s favorite, but after hearing of his dream they hated him even more. So much so, that they were going to kill him, but instead sold him to some traveling Ismaelites and convinced his father that he had been devoured by a wild beast. This one act of hatred toward their brother set him on a course that would forever change his life as well as that of his brothers and father. For approximately 18 years his life had many ups and downs, times when he experienced much difficulty as a direct result of what seemed to be the lemons in his life. But there came a time when God said enough is enough! The time was right for Joseph’s lemons to be made into lemonade. And as a result the dream he’d had at 17 became reality when his brothers stood before him and said “Behold, we are your servants.” (Genesis 50:18) And Joseph replied to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?” “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:19, 20)

God will take what is meant to harm you, just like He did for Joseph, and turn it into something good; something of value that will be fruitful in your life for His glory!

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV He has made everything beautiful in its time……

My friend, you may think that God can’t do anything with the failures and disappointments that you’ve experienced in your life, but don’t be disheartened. He is in the redemption business! Trust Him to change your life when you turn it all over to Him.

Psalm 103:4 NKJV Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

God redeems, or buys back, our failures, sin and disappointments. He places a crown on our heads of His lovingkindness, His goodness, His mercy, His salvation that makes all things new again. He is the God of restoration! Jesus died to redeem your life from destruction! Have you given Him your heart? If not, why not make today your day of salvation? Pray and invite Him into your heart; give your lemons to Him, and let Him make your life brand new!

“See Me, Says The Lord”

Yesterday in church a prophetic word came forth from the Lord that, in it’s essence, said, “see Me, says the Lord. See Me, above the circumstances of life, above the problems you may be experiencing. See Me, as the All-powerful, All-knowing, All-seeing, All-sufficient One.” This word from the Lord is still resonating in my heart this morning and as I meditated on it the Lord prompted me to look at a portion of scripture in Isaiah, chapter six.

isaiah-seraphim-coal

Isaiah 6:1-8 NKJV In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

In thinking about this portion of scripture the first thing that I noticed was the time when Isaiah saw the Lord. It was in the year of the death of King Uzziah. My Bible commentary says that Isaiah was called to prophesy to his people during a crucial time in the history of Judah and Israel. “Both the southern and northern kingdoms had experienced a half-century of increasing prosperity and power.” The people, under the leadership of the past six kings, had succumbed to pagan worship and had fallen into serious moral and spiritual decline. It was in the year of King Uzziah’s death that Isaiah, with all the turmoil and conflict that was taking place in his country, saw the Lord in His majesty and holiness! I can only imagine the splendor of that heavenly setting!

Does this picture seem familiar to you? Do you see the correlation between that time and place during Isaiah’s prophetic calling and the time and place in which we are living in our world today? Ecclesiastes 1:9, 10 says that there is “nothing new under the sun”. “Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.”

Isaiah, immediately upon seeing the Lord in all His splendor, was reminded of his own sinfulness, weakness and frailty. He said even the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of the Lord” and he cried out to the Lord confessing his uncleanliness.  Immediately God took care of his unclean lips by purging them with a coal taken from the altar in heaven. God is quick to forgive and remove our sin when we confess it to Him. Jesus was sacrificed on God’s altar to pay the price for our sin and when we acknowledge our weakness and frailties He immediately says, “be thou clean; you are forgiven”. Once Isaiah’s sin was dealt with he very quickly answered God’s call to service, to be the prophet called to bring the voice of God to his people.

When we see God in His glorious splendor, the One bigger than all of life’s uncertainties and problems, suddenly what we are experiencing in our own personal lives must take a back seat to His majesty. The enormity of our problems fades away as we look into His face and experience His greatness. Isaiah was forever changed in the presence of God.

Have you given God the place that He deserves, above the cares of this life? Has He called you to a life in His service that seems to be an unfathomable undertaking based on the weakness of your humanity? See Him, high and exalted, far above the mountain of your inability; see Him, the Greater One who lives within you and desires to flow through you to effect His change in your sphere of influence. See “Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on this earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When your perspective changes your walk will follow. At one point in that prophetic word yesterday the Lord said, “See Me, and your body will follow”. What we behold becomes what we walk towards. If we are beholding our problems, our cares, our insecurities, and our sin our walk will be one of negativity, depression, defeat, and discouragement. But when we see Him, we can’t help but elevate our thoughts, our vision and our walk. Isaiah, after seeing the Lord, immediately began to walk out the vision of God to speak into the hearts of his people. His walk changed, his talk became what God wanted to say through him, and hope was restored when a picture of the coming Messiah was given. Hearts were changed, beginning with his own.  Now, I believe God wants to do the same in our lives today. When we “see Him”, we will be changed!  

Hope Stealers or Hope Instillers?

Hope More

Hopeless or Hopeful?

proverbs13-12 Hopes tree of life More

Is Jesus Sleeping Through Your Storm?

Jesus Calming The Storm

Matthew 8:23-27 NKJV Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?

Wow! This was a “suddenly” that the disciples didn’t anticipate or enjoy. Jesus had given the command in verse 18 to “depart to the other side”, but the disciples had no idea that the trip across the sea would be such a tumultuous one.

Isn’t that the way life sometimes happens? We are inspired when we hear the word of the Lord that we are going to a new level in Him, or we’ve been called to a certain ministry, or a great promise that He has spoken to us is in the birthing process and we’re excited to begin our new journey….to the other side. Then, somewhere, out of nowhere, a storm of hurricane magnitude arises and Jesus is asleep in the boat! We’re blindsided, not seeing it coming! What a time to be asleep, Jesus, right when our ship is tossing to and fro and we’re being pounded from one side and another! And we, like the disciples, cry out to Him, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

This story is one that all of us have had or will experience at one time or another in our brief journey through life here on planet earth. The question to us then becomes that which the Lord Jesus asked of His disciples….”Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” I’ve heard the Lord speak that question to my heart a few times in my journey to the other side. Jesus has always been in my boat and at times it seemed like He was “fast asleep”, like in a coma, and I couldn’t awaken Him. My prayers seemed like they bounced off the ceilings and I appeared to be going down for the third time, without my life jacket.

But notice that Jesus questioned His disciples about two things…..fear and faith. He first asked the question, “why are you fearful?” An acronym for “fear” according to Joyce Meyer is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Fear often tries to carry us into the realm of the worst possible case scenario. In this case the disciples feared perishing, dying, losing all that they had and their lives as well. The definition of “perishing” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is to “become destroyed or ruined; cease to exist”. So the disciples were immediately hit with the worst thing that could possibly happen to them delivered through this storm: they would be destroyed, even to their death. It hit them hard; a blow of supernatural strength, that in their mind’s eye would ruin them. So, it is with us, when the devil brings a storm into our lives that seems to have the propensity to destroy our health, our home, our family, our marriage, our finances, our lives. FEAR – false evidence APPEARING real. That’s right, appearing real…..

The other thing Jesus addressed with His disciples was their “little faith”. The word for those two words in the Greek, according to Strong’s Concordance is oligopistos, which is taken from oligos, “small”, and pistis, “faith”. It describes a faith that lacks confidence or trust too little. Another way to describe it is an “underdeveloped faith”. It doesn’t mean outright unbelief or distrust, but simply a faith that is in the process of being strengthened and matured.

The storm that seemed to arise out of nowhere, that was fueled with what appeared to be unnatural, hurricane force winds, rain and waves, tested the faith of Jesus’ disciples. It helped to locate their trust and confidence; it uncovered a need to draw near to Jesus, to depend on His strength and ability to calm, not just the storm as it raged around them, but their innermost beings. Their faith needed developing.

This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. It is a time when we see our inability beside God’s ability. It causes us to look within and see our need to dig our heels in and firmly declare that our God is Lord over the storm and regardless of what it looks like to us, His presence in the midst of our storm brings a calm assurance that it will be okay.

My friends, it just takes one word from our God to totally change the atmosphere, causing the peace to come in the midst of a troubled, stormy situation. Immediately when you call on the Lord in your storm, He arises to meet your need. It may not seem like the storm is calming, but our perspective is not the same as Gods.

This morning my husband and I, being new to this area, were looking for an address. He was explaining to me that one road went on one side of the lake and the other one went on the other side. I was having difficulty picturing it in my mind so Gerald told me I should look up the map on google earth to become familiar with the area. He said it looks totally different when you are looking down on it than when you are driving around it. Immediately the Lord spoke to my heart that He sees things from a perspective far above what we see in the natural. While we are experiencing the turmoil of the storm we need to draw from His perspective above the storm.

When we set our minds on things above as we are experiencing the storms of life we are enabled to see them from a different perspective. Paul writes to the Colossians in chapter 3:2, 3: Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Yes, we will experience trouble here on this earth, but we belong to God and the as His children He has a good plan for our lives. If you are going through a storm right now, give God time to unfold the plan He has for you and to work out the details. Remember that fear and faith cannot co-exist. Rebuke the fear and feed your faith by spending time in prayer and the Word; listen to faith-filled ministers who preach God’s word of truth and power to encourage you and build you up; feed your spirit through inspiring Christian music and spend time with believers who will encourage you to stand strong until the storm is over. Believe that God is at work. He never sleeps nor slumbers and He is never late, but always right on time!

Father, I thank You for being God, for being Lord, over the storms of life.  I declare you Lord over the wind and the waves, the rain and the appearance of potential destruction.  Your name is above all names that would appear real in our lives, that of destruction that would try to come to bring ruin to our families, our homes, our health, our finances, our nation.  Father, You are God!  There is none above you nor beside You!  You reign supreme over all that we would encounter in this life.  I pray that right now You would calm the storms that are raging in people’s lives that may be reading this blog.  I speak life to all that appears to be dead; life, in Jesus’ name!  I ask You to comfort, strengthen and encourage those who are hurting and who need Your presence close to them right now.  I pray that You will reveal Yourself to them, showing Yourself strong on their behalf.  Give them new life, new health, new opportunities for success in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

What Are You Feeding Your Mind?

Strongholds

Romans 10:17 AMP So then faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).

Faith comes by hearing what is told! Whatever you hear the most freqently is what you will place your faith in. It works in the negative as well as the positive. If you hear condemnation, negativity, doom and gloom your heart will respond with a low self esteeem, fear of failure and depression. Your actions will follow because every action is birthed through your thoughts. The primary attack of the devil, the accuser of the brethen, comes through his arrows of negative thoughts shot into your mind. That’s why God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we are to take every thought captive and bring it into the obedience of Christ. Brother Kenneth Hagin used to say that you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head but you can stop him from building a nest in your hair. Well, you can’t stop negative thoughts from coming into your mind, but you CAN stop them from taking root and growing there.

To have faith in God’s good plan for your life and to refute the negative thoughts that come into your mind you must arrest the negative ones and replace them with the truth of God’s word. Satan will try to set up a stronghold in your mind through repetitive thoughts. Philippians 4:8 in the Amplified Bible says that we are to “fix our minds” on good thoughts.

Many are fearful today because they are hearing the bad that is going on in the world. They then “fix their thoughts” on ISIS, fighting and unrest in the world, persecution and horrible acts of mistreatment. Then the thought comes that “what if “it happens to me? And from there fear takes root in the heart. If a person “feeds” on horror movies those will be the thoughts that constantly come up in the subconscious mind. Many of the horrible acts of mass shootings are the acts of children’s minds that have fed on video games and T.V. shows where those things, or like things, are the focus. They are simply acting out what they have focused on through their young lives.

God has a good plan for each person’s life. In order to experience it you must have faith in the “good” that He has planned for you and “refute” the negative thoughts that go against His word about you and for you. The only way that can happen is by “hearing” and “hearing” the word of God and listening to His voice through prayer and Bible study. If you hear His voice though His word and by His Spirit and then confess the good news of His Gospel over your life you will evetually change or “renew” your mind so that the negative isn’t what you are believing and expecting to happen in your life. Focus on God’s word, not what is happening around you!

Father, I thank You for the good plan that You have for our lives.  I thank You that we can guard our hearts through listenting to Your voice and even though their are bad things happening in our world we can have security in knowing that Your word says that You give Your angels charge over us to guard us and keep us in all our ways when we make You our refuge.  Father, I ask You to help us to build our faith in Your word so the enemy can’t set up a stronghold of fear in our hearts and minds.  Remind us to feed on Your word, to builld our faith that You will protect us from the evil one that only comes to steal, kill and destroy.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

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