Abiding in Him

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Abiding in Him

When Jesus comes to live in your heart, something happens-

You have this inward divine influence that happens inside of you. When that happens there is an outward reflection of what grace does for us. It’s God’s unmerited empowerment that gives us the ability to go beyond our natural abilities.

Before we got saved we were spiritually dead, but when we give our lives to Christ and repented of our sins, it was God’s grace that brings our spirit man to life. The grace that saves us is the same grace that gives us the ability to stop sinning.

Phil. 1:6 says this: being confident of this very thing, that He (Jesus) who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Grace is about completing that work. He is right there when you need Him. Now there is one stipulation. You have to…

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Esau Had No Honor

“And Esau said to Jacob, I beg of you, let me have some of that red lentil stew to eat, for I am faint and famished!  That is why his name was called Edom [red].  Jacob answered, Then sell me today your birthright (the rights of a firstborn).  Esau said, See here, I am at the point of death; what good can this birthright do me?  Jacob said, Swear to me today [that you are selling it to me], and he swore to Jacob and sold him his birthright.  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils, and he ate and drank and rose up and went his way.  Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice.” (Genesis 25:30-34)

“Now Esau was 40 years old when he took as wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.  And they made life bitter and a grief of mind and spirit for Isaac and Rebekah [their parents-in-law].” (Genesis 26:34-35)

“By your sword, you shall live and serve your brother.  But [the time shall come] when you will grow restive and break loose, and you shall tear his yoke from off your neck.  And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him; and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are near.  When [he is gone] I will kill my brother Jacob.” (Genesis 27:40-41)

“Then Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth [these wives of Esau]!  If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth such as these Hittite girls around here, who good will my life be to me?” (Genesis 27:46)

“Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Padan-aram to take him a wife from there, and that as he blessed him, he gave him a charge, saying, You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan; and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan-aram.  Also, Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please Isaac his father.  So Esau went to Ishmael and took to be his wife, [in addition], to the wives he already had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.” (Genesis 28:6-9)

“Then Jacob went over [the stream] before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times until he came near to his brother.  But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” (Genesis 33:3-4)


Sometimes we take our rights and privileges for granted.  As the firstborn, Esau had it all.  He would inherit the lion’s share of his father’s wealth.  He would receive the verbal blessing of his father.  He knew his father favored him above his brother Jacob.  Life was good for Esau.  But God looked into his heart and saw the truth of Esau’s character.  He had no honor in his heart for his position, his parents or his brother. Esau lived for the moment.  Like so many people today, he didn’t think about the future.  Today, I’m famished and starving, so yeah, you can have my birthright.  Whatever just give me the stew!

In Esau’s heart, he placed no value on his birthright OR his word to Jacob.  His oath to Jacob wasn’t meant because he had no intention of honoring the sale of the birthright.  His word meant nothing.  At the time when Isaac was ready to bless Esau as firstborn, he was perfectly willing to receive it.  His oath to Jacob forgotten in the moment of “oh!  I get a blessing!”  But God had no intention of Esau’s lineage bearing the Messiah, so Jacob went in and got his blessing from Isaac.  Yes, it was deceitful and yes, Jacob paid for it in his own family years later when his sons deceived him about Joseph.  If you really look at this family, they were all deceitful.  Isaac deceived Abimelech about Rebekah; Rebekah deceived Isaac by scheming for Jacob to take the blessing. Abraham deceived Pharoah about Sarah.  Esau deceived Jacob by trying to take his birthright blessing back.

In spite of Isaac’s favoritism towards him, Esau showed no honor when he chose his wives.  He went to the pagans to get his wives.  He didn’t seek his father’s counsel on it, he just did it.  He didn’t care that his wives caused his parents grief and sorrow.  It was all about him.  Nobody else mattered in his heart.

The bitterness set into his heart deeply.  So much so that when he saw that his father blessed Jacob and counseled him to get a wife from his family, Esau went to Ishmael (the illegitimate son) and got one of his daughters and married her in addition to the Hittite wives he had.  Talk about spite!  That is what bitterness will do to a person.

From bitterness, murder entered his heart.  He actually comforted himself that after his father died, he would murder his brother.  He didn’t care about his mother’s feelings on it or that his father would be grieved had he lived to see it.  He didn’t care that this act would bring a curse upon his entire family line.  Jacob wisely left the area because time has a way of healing bitterness.

After many years, Jacob came back to face Esau.  But time had changed Esau too.  Instead of trying to kill Jacob, he ran and hugged him and kissed his neck.  They both wept for the lost years of fellowship and the joy of a restored relationship.  Forgiveness heals the deepest divides.  Forgiveness brings unity.

Esau could have had a completely different destiny had his heart been right.  If he had been honorable.  I believe God would have honored him.  But God chose Jacob’s lineage to bring the Messiah through.  Jacob’s son Judah, is the ancestor of Jesus Christ.  Esau’s lineages are still enemies with Jacob’s descendants.

What can we learn from this tragic story?  First, we must examine our hearts and take a hard look at our ways.  Are we living honorably before God?  Honor begins in the heart.  God has the ability to change our hearts if we let Him.  Second, we must acknowledge and repent of bitterness.  Sometimes life deals some hard blows.  Unfair blows in our minds, but we cannot allow bitterness to take up residence in our heart.  Repent and forgive from the heart is the way to get the bitterness out.  Third, we must ask Jesus to heal us from the inside out.  He is our Wonderful Counselor.  We need to bring our hurts and injustices to Him and LEAVE them with Him.  Take up His yoke and move on with Him in charge of our lives.  Finally, we need to forgive those who have wronged us.  It’s the only way God can bring unity to us.  He loves to restore relationships!

In the end, Jacob and Esau made up and became brothers again.  Restoration is so sweet.  Are you at odds with someone who had wronged you?  Don’t stay in the bondage of bitterness another day.  Go to God and let Him heal you of the hurt by forgiving them.  You won’t regret it.

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…

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Announcement! New Book out!

Hi everyone!  Just a quick announcement to let you know that I have finished my newest book called “Learning to Abide in Jesus Christ.”  It is a great study on HOW to abide in Christ.  It is the result of this journey in my own life and what I’ve discovered.  We can’t be strong and successful Christians without an intimate relationship with God.  This book has lots of foundational scriptures that can be used in your own personal Bible study to let the Holy Spirit make it real to you as an individual.  He’s good like that!

It’s available on Kindle and Amazon at the link below!  Check it out!  Any proceeds go to support my Stones of Fire Ministries.  Have a blessed day everyone!

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He Must Increase and I Must Decrease

“John answered, A man can receive nothing except as it has been granted to him from heaven.  [A man must be content to receive the gift which is given him from heaven: there is no other source.]  You yourselves are my witnesses that I stated, I am not the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), but I have only been sent before Him [in advance of Him to be His appointed forerunner, His messenger, His announcer.]  He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the groomsman who stands by and listens to him rejoices greatly and heartily on account of the bridegroom’s voice.  This then is my pleasure and joy, and it is now complete.  He must increase, but I must decrease.  [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so].”  (John 3:29-30)


As it was true for John, so it is true for us today.  John the Baptist spent his years announcing the coming of the Messiah.  He began the message of repentance that Jesus carried on, and is, even today, still the same message to all the lost.  Repent!  For the Kingdom of God has come!  Why didn’t he say “come!  say this prayer and get your ticket to heaven?”  Isn’t that what “salvation” is today in many churches?  “Come as you are, say this prayer and stay the way you are.  You don’t have to do anything but come to our church and put money in the bucket.”  No!  That is NOT what John the Baptist and Jesus Christ preached.

It’s not about saying a prayer, it’s about SURRENDER.  We make a divine exchange between Jesus and us.  We give Him our life and He gives us His.  This decision means that a heart change is required.  This is done through true repentance.  A decision to completely turn and go in the other direction towards God.  The turning requires surrender.

The more we get to know Jesus, the less “we” become.  It’s a natural progression.  It’s about Jesus increasing His influence in the world around us and our influence fading.  Just as John recognized the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so must we.  It isn’t about the blessings WE receive, rather it is the blessings we GIVE through the love of Jesus Christ that is poured from our lives.

Jesus said to come to Him all who are burdened and heavy laden with the cares of life and He will give us rest.  To take His yoke upon us because it is easy to bear.  What does this mean?  Cares of life are weighty and heavy.  They prevent us from a life of freedom in Jesus Christ.  That’s why Jesus said to not have “cares.”  Yes, we will face troubles, but the trouble doesn’t have to bring us down.  In Jesus Christ, it can’t.

The scripture says that our lives are to be “hidden” with Christ in God, and that is it in a nutshell.  When we abandon our “self-life” to embrace Jesus’ Lordship and cultivate the intimate relationship with Him, then our lives become hidden in Him.  This allows Him to increase in our lives and we can decrease and enjoy every minute of it!

Beloved, take some time today to search your heart and see where you are spiritually.  Is your life about you or Him?  Do you have an intimate, personal relationship with Him or just said the prayer?  Really search this out because there is nothing more important eternally than a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  As this relationship deepens, He WILL increase and you WILL decrease…

Blessings everyone…

 

 

 

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My House

Even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;
For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)

“And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers den.” (Matthew 23:13)

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” (I Corinthians 3:16-17)

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)


The house of God is about one thing: PRAYER.  His house is in our hearts and in church buildings.  God is about the individual and about all people.  It is the individual heart that is full of prayer that makes up the house of prayer in the church.  When two gather together to agree, then ANYTHING is possible!

The one person of prayer makes up the many people of prayer.  Prayer is communication with our Creator.  It’s that simple.  Who wouldn’t want to talk to Him when He is so accessible?  Jesus made the way for us to come boldly to our Creator for help in times of trouble, but also just to visit with Him!  It’s about the relationship that we can have just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden.  Walking and talking with God is His house.

There is no force on earth or anywhere in the universe that is more powerful than prayer.  The power of prayer can change the destinies of nations, of people groups, and each one of us as individuals.  Unified prayer is even more powerful.  The unity or agreement of people is like strapping a rocket on prayer.  It explodes in power!

When the people of God can fully grasp the power they have literally at their lips and in their hearts, this world will change.  I Chronicles 7:14 says it best, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and I will heal their land.”  Wow!  What a promise.  God’s people can turn the destiny of their own country by getting serious about God.  That’s what this is really saying.  Get serious about Me, God says.

What we are discovering at our little church is that prayer has a saturating effect on a building.  It has a build up or residue of His presence the more time is spent in prayer in that space.  For example, our church is always open to our people to come worship and pray.  We have a prayer meeting night, where people come early to worship.  Our Sunday service is bathed in worship and prayer an hour before it begins.  This has been going on for seven years.

When people enter the building who have never been there, they always say “how peaceful it is in here!”  Without fail, the first syllable out of their mouth is “ooh.”  This type of presence doesn’t come overnight.  It’s like a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.  You have to cook with it year after year and it just gets better and better.  But if the people as individuals weren’t people of prayer, the building would not be like it is today.

The invitation is always there from the heart of God: “come to My house; My house of prayer!”  Beloved, make the decision to come to His house of prayer.  In your heart and in the body of Christ He plants you into.  Both are important.  What you build in your heart WITH Him, He can use in His Body to build it up even more.  It’s like the Cross of Jesus.  The vertical timber is our relationship to Father God.  The horizontal timber is how we impact other people on the earth.  God flows through us to bless people.  It’s all about souls to Him.  He wants EVERYONE in the Kingdom of God!

Our Creator has the ability because of His intense love for people, to make everyone number ONE!  You as an individual are the most important one to Him and at the same time, everyone else is equally important to Him.

Beloved, don’t think that your prayers don’t matter.  Don’t assume that not going to the prayer meeting isn’t that big a deal.  Your prayers make a difference.  But the desire for prayer and participating in prayer won’t come until the Father’s House of Prayer begins in YOUR heart.  As your relationship with Him deepens and your life becomes a house of prayer, then you will desire to go to His House of Prayer: the Church, and add your voice to all the others.

I was in our prayer meeting last night and thinking about how the individual makes up the house of prayer.  How powerful it really is.  Take a listen to this song by Eddie James “Make Me a House of Prayer”

Blessings everyone…

House of Prayer — Eddie James

 

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Deeper Still

“Arise, My love.  Open your heart, my darling, deeper still to Me.  Will you receive Me this dark night?  There is no one else but you, My friend, My equal.  I need you this night to arise and come be with Me.  You are My pure, loyal dove, a perfect partner for Me.  My flawless one, will you arise?  For My heaviness and tears are more than I can bear.  I have spent Myself for you throughout the dark night.” (Song of Songs 5:2 TPT)


Song of Songs aka Song of Solomon is a picture of Jesus Christ and His Bride.  The Bride being all followers and lovers of Him.  In this scripture, you can see the cry of the Bridegroom for a deeper relationship.  He senses the complacency of the Bride.  Watch what she says:

“I have already laid aside my own garments for You.  How could I take them up again since I’ve yielded my righteousness to Yours?  You have cleansed my life and taken me so far.  Isn’t that enough?”

In her mind, she’s already given everything to Him.  In her mind, she has “arrived” at spiritual fullness.  She’s reached the pinnacle and there is no more.  But He says no, come deeper still!  There is no end to God.  There is no bottom and no limits.  He never runs out of wisdom, knowledge, power,  and love.  He daily loads us with benefits.

It’s like a  couple who have been married for several years.  Life together can get mundane and boring.  The tendency is to take one another for granted.  What does that mean?  It’s forgetting the traits that originally attracted one another in the first place.  It’s becoming complacent and lax in the garden of the relationship.  Complacency breeds weeds.

The Bride is in the season of preparation to meet her Bridegroom.  Don’t get complacent.  Don’t let the cares of life draw you into the belief that you have arrived into an ultimate intimate relationship with God.  There is so much more when we arise and go deeper still.  And that is the call today.  Arise! Open your heart deeper still to Jesus.  He’ll take you places you cannot even imagine…when you put Him FIRST.

I have recently been struggling with the cares of life.  Things I’ve lost.  Things in my life that have changed and caused unsettling.  I spent so much time trying to figure life out that I let my relationship with the Lord grow cooler.  I was doing all the right things.  I was fulfilling my duties in the ministries He has called me into, but our love affair had waned some.  I left my first Love.

What does Jesus do?  He comes knocking on the door of my heart saying “arise, My love!  Open your heart to Me, deeper still.”  I realized that I can’t change anything without prayer and worrying about it certainly won’t change anything.  He asked me to abandon all the cares and come deeper still.  He said if I do that, then it will come together in ways I can’t imagine.  So it has begun.  A new level.  A new journey.  A new adventure with the Lover of my soul.

This is the season of deeper still.  He is calling all His lovers, His people to do the same things.  This is the preparation to meet Him in the air.  Prophetic words we have been receiving in our church have been more frequent.  “I am coming soon.  Fill your lamps, trim your wicks.”  “My return is imminent, prepare your hearts.”

Beloved, as the days get darker, more evil, more fearful and more uncertain; we must make the decision to go deeper still in our intimate relationship.  It is in the Secret Place of the Most High where our victory resides.  It is where we live out Psalm 91.

If you are where I have been recently, take heart!  He is calling us all to go deeper still.  Abandon the cares to Him and watch what He does in your life!

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…

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What are You Doing Here, Elijah?

“Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your ]life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.  And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.  But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” (I Kings 19:1-4)

“So, He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11-13)


Elijah was one of the most powerful prophets of all time.  He is coming again in the Great Tribulation as one of the two witnesses who will wreak havoc on the earth during that time.  He was a fiery prophet who was fearless in proclaiming the Word of God to wicked rulers like King Ahab of Israel.  King Ahab was one of the most wicked kings of Israel and his wife made him seem like a choirboy.  She was a witch of the highest order.  In fact, Jezebel is synonymous with evil and witchcraft.

Elijah showed the entire nation of Israel who God is.  The mighty miracle of fire coming from heaven to consume a sacrifice drenched in water convinced the nation that God is greater than Baal.  Elijah went further than that by killing all four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.

Jezebel issued a threat to Elijah that she was going to kill him for his actions that day.  What did Elijah do?  Terror gripped him and he ran for his life as fast as he could.  Hardly the picture of a fearless prophet.  But before we look down on Elijah, how many times have we let a mountain defeat us and have us ready to die?

After Elijah quit running, he sat down at a brook and told God he was ready to die.  “Take me home Lord!” was his cry.  How many times have we been there?  Ready to just go home, life is too hard to go on.  Did God oblige him?  NO, He didn’t.  Instead, He gave him some instructions.  God wasn’t upset with Elijah.  He is acquainted with our frailties.

The Lord issued the greatest blessing anyone could have!  His presence.  That’s right, God told Elijah to go and stand on a mountain “before the Lord.”  Elijah went to the presence of God in the middle of his defeat.  In the middle of the ash heap of defeat.

Elijah follows God’s instructions and goes to the mountain and waits on the Lord.  Suddenly there was a wind so powerful it was rending the mountains.  The rocks were broken up.  Then there was an earthquake.  Then a great fire broke out.  Surely, God would be in such power right?  He was not in any of these powerful things.  Then a gentle wind blew.  When Elijah saw that all the power had gone and a gentle wind was blowing he left the safety of the cave and stood in the entrance.

Then the voice of the Lord spoke one sentence to him.  He said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  Elijah had left his post as the prophet of Israel.  He ran away from his calling.  Here the Lord asks that simple question.  From there, He strengthened Elijah.  He pulled him up, dusted him off and sent him back to his position to complete his mission.  He diffused Jezebel’s vow and Elijah went on to confront Ahab and eventually declared rain in Israel.  Elijah finished what God sent him to do.

Elijah went on to pass his prophetic mantle to Elisha and God blessed him even more by sending His chariot of fire to translate Elijah to heaven without dying!  Talk about going out with a bang!

We can take a lesson from Elijah.  In the middle of our defeat, when it seems all is lost; He is there in the middle of the chaos, the misery, and the shame.  He says, “what are you doing here, _______?  We can put our name in the blank.  The question still remains.  Just because you are defeated today, doesn’t mean your race is over.  It doesn’t mean God is finished with your life.

Go to the mountain of God’s presence and wait for the gentle breeze of His Spirit to blow into your defeat.  Let Him strengthen you and send you back to your purpose.  Greater things awaited Elijah when he left the cave.  He even outran Ahab’s chariot!  Through Elijah’s defeat, God brought rain to Israel, Elisha received a double-portion and did mightier works than Elijah.  And through Elijah’s defeat, God is still going to use him in the Great Tribulation to fulfill his destiny.

Our defeat doesn’t stop God’s purposes for us.  He doesn’t get exasperated or full of despair because we cave in.  No!  He’s right there to pick us up, dust us off and send us back into our destiny to do great and mighty things for Him.

Beloved, be encouraged today, to hope in the Lord in the middle of your defeat.  Look up to the Author and Finisher of your faith.  To the One who loves you more than anyone else.  In the middle of your defeat, what do you have to lose?

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…

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