Go into all the Bars (World)

Give a drunk person 10 minutes and you’ll know more about his life than anyone else.

Jesus wasn’t scared to go anywhere. He said go into all the world to proclaim the gospel.

I met one of my best friends at a bar. Through our interactions he gave his life to Christ. Be intentional with your actions and words. You don’t have to go to the bar with the intention to drink. You can go with the intention to minister.

Those of you who prophesy, should be there prophesying. Call those people up. Encourage them, and call out their destiny. Its a great practice ground. If you are too scared to talk directly with them, then write the prophecy as a poem and hand it to them. Everyone loves entertainment and compliments. It doesn’t have to say ‘thus says the Lord’ and be spoken in king James.

Take another Christian with you for accountability, and find a different missionfield if alcohol is an addiction you struggle with. But to those who are not tempted, or out of control, go into all the bars (world) to proclaim the gospel. The Bible said Jesus drank and celebrated, but He never sinned. He would’ve been there winning souls too.

Matt. 11:18-19 – For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

– Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

– Eph. 5:15-18 – Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit

– 1 Cor. 12:7 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good

– 1 Cor. 14:1,3 – Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy… the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort 

There are enough people called to the mission field of the church body. We need people going out to the world and taking the Kingdom of God. He will rule the whole earth. Let’s make Him king.

Anxiety & Depression – Distorted Thinking Patterns

crazyMany of us have distorting thinking patterns. We haven’t yet renewed our minds. We have stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps us in anxiety, depression, negativity, and sickness.

Below are 10 types of distorted thinking patterns.

Negative feelings come from negative thinking, so by monitoring your feelings you will eventually be able to figure out which thoughts and beliefs trigger your anxiety. The first step is to identify the trigger. Most people have thought these ways their whole lives, but God says, ‘Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2Cor.10:5).’ Put your thoughts on trial, convict them, and reprogram them with God’s Word. The mind set on the Spirit brings life and peace. ‘Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on the new nature created to be like God–truly righteous and holy (Eph.4:21-24).’ Your thinking is vital to your spiritual life as breathing is to your physical life.


Distorted thinking patterns:

think1. ‘What if’ thinking

What if I lose my job? What if I lose my home? What if my children get hooked on drugs? What if my spouse is cheating on me?

‘What if’ thinking breeds anxiety and fear. Sometimes this even turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. If you treat someone like they are cheating on you, they might eventually just start doing so. If you focus on ‘what if’, your fear grows. If you focus on God’s Word, your fear goes. Learn to replace ‘what if’ with what God’s Word says: God always causes me to triumph. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God be for me, who can be against me?

2. Catastrophizing

worryThe mind magnifies unpleasant events and transforms them into something more awful, terrible, or horrible than they really are. Making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s like spending $10 dollars on a 2¢ problem.

Like pouring lighter fluid on a flame, they use extreme words like hopeless, terrible, unbearable, devastating. These words fuel the anxiety. The only way to put out the fire is to eliminate inflammatory words from your vocabulary and replace them with more practical, realistic, and less emotionally charged words, such as unfortunate, inconvenient, or difficult.  Stop the drama. I choose faith-building words because ‘we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Rom.8:28)’. Practice this pattern of thinking until it becomes automatic, making it a habit and mind-set.

3. Habitually expecting the worst outcome

worryThey usually think if something can go wrong it will, and it will happen to me. ‘My boss didn’t acknowledge me today, so I’m sure she hates me and will probably fire me.’ ‘My husband is late for dinner, I’m sure he is having an affair.’

Realize that when you repeatedly think about something, you create the potential for these thoughts to become self-fulling. Especially if you treat someone as if they are already doing what you fear, it makes them more likely to go ahead and do it. Instead of expecting the worst possible outcome, begin to expect something good to happen to you. Confess God’s Word, ‘No evil will befall my family or me, nor will any plague come newer my dwelling (Ps.91:10).’ Expect God to do something good, and your faith will release a blessing.

4. Leaping to conclusions

needsThey mistakingly believe that they know what another person is thinking without having any facts to support it. They repeatedly and habitually make negative assumptions that fuel depression and anxiety.

You walk in a restaurant and find two friends eating lunch; you see them whisper and immediately assume they have abandoned your friendship and are badmouthing you.

Begin to identify when you are jumping to conclusions. Challenge yourself to expect the best of the other person. Instead of becoming anxious about things you don’t even know are real, determine to wait until you have more information before drawing a conclusion. ‘I am ever ready to expect the best of every person (1Cor.13:7).’

5. Black and white thinking 

perfectionismYou can’t see grey. You are probably a perfectionist that thinks their work is flawless or worthless. You see average as complete failure. You think first place is the only winning spot and every thing else is a loser.

This distortional thought pattern sets you up for failure, disappointment, depression, and anxiety. You will work endless hours to make something perfect, or will procrastinate and never finish because if it’s not perfect, you feel worthless. Also, if you struggle with perfectionism, you will need to watch that you don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. ‘Learn to be content with whatever you have (Phil.4:11).’ Quit focusing on what you don’t have, and start thanking God for what you do have. Choose to love yourself, forgive yourself, and accept yourself unconditionally, even if you make a mistake.

6. Unenforceable rules

nowTrapping in anxiety, they make rigid rules about what should, must, or ought to be done, and tries to put people in a box. The more unrealistic and unenforceable the rules are, the greater the disappointment. ‘They should stop cutting me off in traffic.’ Situations, people, and society aren’t usually going to turn out in your favor. The only should statement you need is ‘I should practice mercy and forgiveness’. ‘Love keeps no records of wrongs’, so I throw out my record-keeping book. Eliminate should statements and use I would like to or I prefer.

7. Labeling

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is absolutely false. We need to eliminate labeling words from our vocabulary, such as idiot, loser, klutz, failure, stupid, pathetic, pitiful, jerk. Labels destroy self-esteem, self-worth, and as a result many never accept love. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ Choose to see yourself and others the way God sees them. He calls me ‘the apple of His eye,’ ‘His beloved,’ ‘His child’.

8. Negative Filter

capableThis person usually discounts all information that is positive. They discredit compliments. They remember mainly criticisms and negative information. They focus on the bad while the good slips away. These ‘pit thinkers’ usually overgeneralize, taking one bad circumstance and believing its it the trend of how your life will proceed. They use words like always and never. ‘I will always be like this.’ ‘I will never change.’ Stop using absolute words that set you up for failure. Try to enjoy the next compliment you receive. Practice eating the meat and spitting out the bones. Remember that God Himself forgives and forgets our failures. ‘Think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).’ Filter the news, tv shows, music you listen to. If anything falls short of every criterion, refuse to watch, think, or speak it.

9. Emotional reasoning

graceThis person feels like their feelings are facts. If they feel hopeless about an exam, they might not even show up to take it. They give up because their emotions make them feel defeated. The healthy thinker separates emotions from their overall self-worth. They realize that despite how they are feeling, they can change the outcome of the situation.

Realize that negative feelings are a sign that you are thinking negative, depressing thoughts. You need to immediately tune in to the thoughts or beliefs that are at the root of the emotion and simply change the channel of your mind to the one of gratitude. I will not be influenced by my emotions or feelings, because ‘the just shall live by faith (Heb.10:38).’ ‘Let us not weary in doing well: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal.6:9).’

10. The blame game

Many are stuck in a trap of blaming others or God. This creates a vicious circle of thinking and feelings that leads to anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, and anxiety. People with a victim mentality fit within this group of faulty thinkers. They feel like everything bad that happens to them is someone else’s fault. Blame locks you into the past; it prevents you from examining yourself, recognizing, and removing thought patterns and mind-sets that continue to sabotage your life. Learn to take responsibility for yourself, forgive yourself and others, and refuse to blame anyone. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ Refuse to rehash any hurt or pain.


mistakeTestimony: I remember when I started trying to reprogram my mind. Every single thought I had was negative. I put a list of these 10 concepts on my dashboard, and memorized them. I started pinpointing them and trying to refuse the negative thoughts. In the beginning I could hardly keep out a negative thought for a whole second. Just like any goal, you have to do some work. Lifting weights will wear you out, but the next time you go, you are stronger. You can work your way up to 2 seconds without negativity. Maybe you can start to think one positive thought; try to convince yourself that it is true. At least believe that God’s Word is true and quote those over yourself. Keep going! It’s been a year, or two, and I am completely changed. I can’t stand hearing a single negative comment. After coming out from under nearly 25 years of negativity, I truly have a distaste for it. I am free, positive, and know God’s plan for me is good. I can see myself through His eyes, and I can see bad situations through His eyes. IT. IS. SO. WORTH. IT. Don’t give up.

distorted thinking

healthy thinking


Worship: Emma, by Jason Upton: Trusting The Angels

facePrayer: God, thank you for creating us and saying ‘It is good’. Restore us back to our factory settings. Help us once again submit our will, ways, and thinking to your ways which bring health and wholeness. Thank you for being the great physician, our healer, and therapist. Thank you Spirit for being our counselor and teacher. Thank you Jesus for setting the example and giving us authority. Help us take dominion over our own minds and submit them to your kingdom instead of this world which bring such distorted thinking. Everything out from under your authority is in rebellion and chaos. We want to overcome the enemies of anxiety and depression. Go to this generation now and tear down the spirits exalted above it. Let the knowledge of you cover the earth as the sea. Stay the death angel and deliver your people from their slavery; free their minds. Bring them out of bondage. Let this generation x, that the world thought would be the dog, rise to be the head and not the tail. Bring transformation to their minds, and to the world. Wrap them up in a cocoon of your Words and see them through this transformation where they will no longer crawl, but sprout wings, in Jesus name, Amen.


For more on this topic get the book:

Bible Cure for Anxiety

7 Quotes from the Cross

Jesus went through His worst day, to help you through yours. When we go through junk, it makes us masters and gives us wisdom for those going through the same struggles. In one day Jesus was emotionally distraught to the point of sweating blood, was physically beaten, strung up naked for public humiliation, rejected by all his friend, suffered the most agonizing death, and yet he still perfectly taught us how to get through a bad day. He said 7 things on the cross, and all of them are significant for us today:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)
  2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)
  3. “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)
  4. “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)
  5.  “I’m thirsty.” (John19:29)
  6. “It is finished.” (John19:30)
  7.  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

Fix your Eyes on Jesus– Heb. 12:2 (MSG) – keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.


1. On your worst day, forgive people
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)

– Eph. 6:12 – we struggle not against flesh and blood but evil forces in the spirit realm.

If you need someone to be mad at, get mad at the devil.

Leave It, or be a Slave to ItForgiveness is not:
1) Minimizing the seriousness of the offense
2) Instant restoration of trust
3) Resuming the relationship without changes

We need to forgive because:
1) Our own emotions can’t be healed from the pain until we let go of it
2) Everyone has done something wrong
3) If we can’t forgive, we can’t be forgiven by God or man
4) Jesus forgave us
5) The people who hurt us were victims too


2. On your worst day, help someone else
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)

Criminal on Cross– Luke 23:39-43 – One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus was dying on the cross, and He didn’t fear piling on more rejection from people, or harm from the soldiers – He still spoke the truth. He talked to the two criminals hanging next to Him. It was a 50/50 shoot. He took the chance and He saved one! One criminal accepted Jesus as his savior. The other, more or less, said, ‘Get yourself off the cross and I’ll believe what you have to say; why should I trust you if you are in the same position I’m in?’ It didn’t faze Jesus.

Help othersWe feel like we don’t have the right to try to help others when we are going through the same struggle that they are. Jesus shows us otherwise. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else. ‪It probably comforted Jesus to have a friend hanging there next to Him, going through the same pain He felt; especially after all his so-called friends had rejected Him that day. It’s easy to say ‘I can’t take anymore’, but what if helping someone else is God’s way of lifting our pain? Taking our mind off our own problems can ease our anxiety. Seeing someone else go through the same struggle can give us a different perspective that can help us. There are countless ways that God uses helping others, to help ourselves.

– 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

– Col. 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


3. On your worst day, take care of those who are important to you
“Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)

Jesus helps Mary from the cross– John 19:25-27 – Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Joseph, Mary’s husband, was dead and Jesus, her son, was dying. Jesus’ situation was really bad, but He still did what it took to take care of those He loved; even if it meant getting a friend to help Him do it.

The people closest to you, usually get the brunt of your bad day, but Jesus took care of the people closest to Him. What a great example!


4. On your worst day, you’ll feel like God has forsaken you
“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)

Job forsakenSometimes we try to make God tell us why, before we do what He assigned to us.

– Job 3:23 (MSG) – What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?

Realize that there are going to be some questions that you don’t get an answer for. We live by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. God says His plans for us are good, so we have to take His word for it sometimes. When you get to heaven, and get the answer, you will say, ‘Oooo, ok. I couldn’t see that, but I’m glad that happened the way it did.’ God’s plan for everyone is good. Job basically said, ‘God, make this mess in my life go away, or at least tell me why my life is so messed up.’ There are 35 chapters of that, before God responds from a scary storm:

– Job 38:2 – Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

– Job 38:1-5 – Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

– Job 38:18-21 – Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!

– Job 40:2 – Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?

God creates UniverseBasically, we assume that if God gave us an answer that we would be able to comprehend it. Gods understanding far exceeds our own. Sometimes the answer is too complex for us. We can only understand it once we get to heaven and see how it played out with our new, more capable, mind.

God got a little sarcastic with Job. God who has lived infinite years, said ‘Surely you know, since you have lived so many years!’ The point is, we don’t have to understand everything. We can just trust Him. Paul & Silas did:

– Acts 16:22-23 – The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison

Was it God’s will for them to be flogged and imprisoned? No. It happened because God gave people freewill, and the ability to make their own choices. Freewill is a gift, but unfortunately it is one that is highly abused. God chose not to control us, or make us slaves, and I thank Him for it, because I’ve had enough control and manipulation in my life to be sick of it. Anyway, they were flogged and most of us would be wondering why God would allow that to happen. Yes freewill, but yes, He could also save them. God could’ve rescued them. God rescued several other people from things like this. Nonetheless, they weren’t offended that God didn’t rescue them. In fact:

– Acts 16:25-26 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Paul & Silas in PrisonGod delivered them. He came through. Not on their timing, but with perfect timing. They went on the mission to spread the gospel. The free people didn’t receive the message, but God knew who would. The people in the prison had been mistreated the same way Paul and Silas had. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Paul and Silas had freedom, and that freedom got on everyone. God allowed Paul to go through the flogging so he could save all the prisoners. Since that was Paul’s intentions of going to the city anyway, I don’t think he would’ve had a problem with being flogged, once he knew how many people it saved. But Paul didn’t have to know God’s plan in advance. He knew God and trusted that His plan was good.

Remember:
1. God is always with you; even in the depths of hell (Ps.139:7-8 )
2. God is never late (Hab. 2:3)
3. God knows best (Heb.11:39-40)
4. God cares (James5:11)


5. On your worst day, you have needs
“I’m thirsty.”
(John19:29)

Jesus drinks Be human enough to acknowledge your need. We feel like we can’t have feelings or emotions. We like to act like we have it all together, but God Himself acknowledged His need. We need people in the church to start being real with each other.

We all have hidden weaknesses, a desire for approval, and past hurts that need healing. We need support, growth, protection, and unconditional love. This is what the church should look like.


6. On your worst day, you need to know that it doesn’t last forever
“It is finished.” (John19:30)

HopeBe confident that there is a purpose, and an end, to every suffering. No struggle is pointless. No suffering is unending. This life is temporary, but the glory to come is eternal and every tear will be wiped away.

– Ps. 126:5-6 – those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

– Rom. 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He works everything out for our good.

– 2 Tim. 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

1. I know that God loves me
2. I know that God wants the best for me
3. I know that God has a plan for me
4. I know that God will bring me through

– Lam. 3:21-22 – Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

– 2 Tim. 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


7. On your worst day, you can give it to God
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

quoteJesus felt abandoned by His father, but He still knew that He needed to trust Him. Surrender your day to God, and let it go. I’m going to turn this loose and let you have it, God. I want to hold onto this, but take it over.

– 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

– Phil. 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Worry is a control issue. Are you going to be in control or is God going to be in control? The root word means to choke or strangle. It means a divided mind. Worry is unreasonable, unnatural, unhelpful, and unnecessary.

– Matt. 6:27 – Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

RestWorry doesn’t make life better, it shortens life. Ever heard the phrase: ‘I’m worried sick.’ Worry is bad for us. Remember God promises us 7,000 times, in the Bible, that He will take care of us.

– Matt. 6:32 (MSG) – People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

– Matt. 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1. Get to know God
2. Put God first in every area of your life
3. Live one day at a time


For more on this topic: How to Live Through A Bad Day – Highlands Sermon Series
Worship: Where you Go, I Go, by Jesus Culture


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Fear

Big things come from small thingsChristians like to make hot topics out of ‘big’ sins and ignore ‘small’ sins, but everything big starts from something small. God says sin is sin (1John5:17). All sin grows, and all sin leads to death (James1:5). Trying to get rid of ‘big’ issues is often met with failure. We can pick up broken branches everyday, or we can cut the tree down and pull up the root once and for all.

Because the church isn’t talking about small sins, people often live under fear, competition, suspicion, and a variety of smaller sins their whole lives. They want help with their problems, but can’t pinpoint the issue, because no one is talking about the issue. Many of our smallest problems are the culprit for our giants. Today I want to show you how fear took root in my life and caused branches of immorality, broken relationships, dishonesty, and many other issues. Fear is a hidden killer, and this ‘small sin’ called fear is just as dangerous as the ‘big sin’ of murder. Lets look at how fear can hurt other, self, and our relationship to God.


1. Fear hurts others.

One day, in high school, I saw a girl crying. I had compassion, but I walked past her anyway. God kept nudging me to turn back, and eventually I did. I went and talked to her; she accepted Jesus, and a few years later she died in a car accident.

Don't fear man. Fear God

Don’t fear man. Fear God

I had the choice that day whether I would be a murderer or a lifesaver, and only by the grace of God did I make the right choice. It was just like the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke10), except it looked like the road from the cafeteria to the classroom. The Samaritan found a person half dead; he helped him, where a religious leader had passed by ignoring that voice of compassion.

Don’t you think if the Samaritan had passed by this half dead man, God would have held him accountable? If I had passed by this girl, wouldn’t I been held accountable? If they had died from our lack of help, wouldn’t we have the blood on our hands from our decisions?

I’ve missed many right choices and that puts the fear of God on me. I can see now that my fear is equal to murder, and it’s time for it to go to hell. Fear is just as deadly as any other sin.

– Rev. 21:8 – but the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Those who fear cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. God doesn’t have a hierarchy of sin; He sees fear as equal to murder – and it is. I was barely alive myself, in those days; barely making it. More times than not, I was scared to go out on a limb, and say anything, for fear that it would bring on even more pain. I was fighting suicide. I didn’t feel like I had the ability to help that crying girl, but Jesus was dying on the cross, and He didn’t fear piling on more rejection from people, or harm from the soldiers – He still spoke the truth. He talked to the two criminals hanging next to Him. It was a 50/50 shoot. Jesus was suffering the same thing they were. He took the chance and He saved one! One criminal accepted Jesus as his savior. The other, more or less, said, ‘Get yourself off the cross and I’ll believe what you have to say; why should I trust you if you are in the same position I’m in?’ It didn’t faze Jesus.

We feel like we don’t have the right to try to help others when we are going through the same struggle that they are. Jesus shows us otherwise. People don’t care about answers as much as they want to know someone understands what they are going through. God doesn’t want us to go through hard times, but since He gave people freewill, we often suffer for other people’s bad choices. He could save us, and often He does, but sometimes He ships us out to the front lines of a battle so we can help the people fighting there. This time I helped and we won; but my fear, my silence, my disobedience to God’s law (to share the truth with all people) meant death for someone else. Those times I made the wrong choice, I became a murderer. I left them half dead and something might have come behind me that took them out. Jesus has washed my wrongs away. He can forgive you of anything–even murder; you just have to ask Him. Don’t let fear hold you back. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else.

– Is. 58:10 – if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

When you help someone else YOU get light in your life. Help someone and it brightens up your own dark places.


2. Fear doesn’t only hurts others; it hurts self.

My previous church split; it was a horrible thing to happen. The body of Christ being cut in half… Ouch, we cut Him in half… Yeah, its damaging. Our pastor was seeking God fiercely, and biblically, and I stayed. Many of my closest friends left with their families and  a spirit of fear came over me and said, ‘If my friends rejected the pastor, and part of the bible, they will reject me too’; so I stayed silent. Like I said, I was barely surviving in those days, and I let fear take over my relationships. I stopped opening up, sharing, or telling my perspective. I had no intimacy in my friendships, because I wouldn’t let them: into-me-see. This led me into problems like looking for intimacy in the wrong places, anger from not being understood, and loneliness which grew into suicidal thoughts. I was dying and I wouldn’t let anyone help, because I let fear of rejection take over. I had many friends and still felt utterly alone; fear stole my intimacy, and kept me from having someone to help me when I needed it. My enemies had a field day with me, because I wouldn’t let anyone see where I was and help guide me out. Jesus was there for me and my love for His laws kept me from going over the edge. The strand of fear was broken, but I was still strong in other areas. He saved me, and brought many teachers and encourages to me in those seasons. 

Fear can shut you down. It can steal your identity. It can open the door for other problems too.

Knowing Jesus as protector gives me courage to be vulnerable

One friend said the things the church believed were crazy. They didn’t know that the only reason I was still alive was because one of the people, with that crazy idea that God still speaks today, saved my life. They didn’t know I believed in the prophetic, or why I would believe in it; but today they do. Now I don’t have to live in constant fear of losing my friend. Their reaction will show me what our friendship is made of. Either they will love, respect, and accept me, or I need a better friend. And now they have heard part of my testimony of what God has done in my life. That prophecy, though it sound crazy, has held unquestionably true in multiple parts of my life.

“The standard has got to be set at such a high level that you have to be so uncompromising, and so unyielding in your convictions, that you make up in your mind that I would rather be my myself, than have somebody fall in love with a me that’s not me.” – Jamal Bryant

Acquaintances have often said hateful things about me to other people. Many assume that I am too prideful to talk to them. That’s why God tells us not to judge with our eyes. We can’t see what people are going through, unless we ask God to show us what He sees. Those people saw me as confident and arrogant. They had no idea that I felt beneath them. They didn’t know that fear had shut me down. I had a false confidence; one that used to say, ‘I don’t care what they think; screw them, because they look down on me.’ Now that God is tearing down fear in my life and helping me see through His eyes, I know that He sees all of us as equals. I ask Him to help me see myself as equal to others, and to help me speak when people walk by. I ask His Spirit to give me boldness, and power, to speak when I have fear. My introversion was full-blown, but even the Myers-Briggs is a witness of how God is transforming me. I am becoming less introverted. While people can cut me down with their words and actions, only God can kill my soul. He is my protector, healer, redeemer, and He has called me to be a light to others. I cannot be a light if I am hiding.

Hide it under a bussel? No! I'm going to let it shine

Hide it under a bussel? No! I’m going to let it shine

It’s foolish to hide who you are, then live in constant fear of what would happen if someone knew the real you. Just let what’s going to happen, happen and get over it. Either your relationship gets stronger, or you get to trust God to bring you a better friend. I’m slowly choosing life instead of fear. I’m casting down every idol of fear and it is making my life so much better. I feel free. I can be known and put myself out there, whether it be for rejection or acceptance. Now people can learn more about God through my openness and experiences, and I can be intimately known by those who love me. Win, Win. Who knew that fear could shut down intimacy? No one told me, so let me tell you! If you don’t have healthy friendships where you can be intimate and vulnerable, then you are going to look for the wrong kind of intimacy somewhere else, and it is still not going to fill the need of being known. God is Love, and in Love there is no fear. To have true, loving, intimate relationships, you have got to pull the plug on fear. God even gives us a helper to bring us out from under fear:

– 2 Tim. 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us fearful and timid, but gives us power, love, and good judgment.

People are looking for someone who understands more than they are looking for answers. That’s why you shouldn’t wait till you have come through a situation before you try to help someone else. You can help someone while you’re in the midst of your hard situation. Jesus gave up His life, and He gained it. He made a friend who was going through the same thing He was. It probably comforted Jesus to have a friend hanging there next to Him, going through the same pain He felt; especially after all his so-called friends had rejected Him that very day.


3. Fear hurts our relationship with God.

The root to all sin is not trusting God. When you don’t trust God for provisions, you’ll steal. When you don’t trust God where your marriage is concerned, you’ll commit adultery. When you don’t trust God plan, you fear and make your own.

Fear God not man; respect God above man.

– Matt. 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul

David trusted God, and God gave him victory over his giant

David trusted God, and God gave him victory over his giant

Most people aren’t going to kill you, so just do what God asks you to do. Even if they kill you, you don’t answer to man but to God. The judgement of God determines our eternal freedom or condemnation. He asks us to be fearless in taking the kingdom. Take the kingdom with force. Be a soldier. Don’t hide. The brave, and the valiant, gain great honor and wealth.

– Jos. 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

– 1 John 4:4 – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

– 1 Sam. 17:24-25 – As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him.

– 1 John 5:3-5 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. Forwhatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Put your trust in God’s words. They are here to guide you in every situation. Renew your mind and allow God to show you how He would do things. Leave no stone unturned. Question every aspect of your life to see if it lines up with God’s ways. He will give you victory over everything. Even the smallest sin in your life could be the cause of your biggest problems.

– Gal. 5:9 – A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough

Sin grows, just like yeast works through dough. Don’t let sin sit in your life. Confess and turn away from even the least bit of it. Tear down fear today, because I am a living witness that it leads to death.


Worship: Voice of Truth, by Casting Crowns

“The stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth”

Prayer: Lord, start to show your people the destruction of the seeds. Bring forth more understanding of how small things can cause big problems. Raise up voices to talk about these issues so your people don’t live in confusion and ignorance. Help us see the problems so that we can overcome them by your strength. Help us hear your voice above all the others and know your truth when the enemy is coming against us. Increase our discernment of your voice. Teach us your ways. Tear off fear from each person; put a spotlight on it, so they can remove what they were stumbling on in the dark and so they no longer have to walk in darkness. Sign your light and let your word illuminate every mind and bring peace to every situation fear has affected. Help us chase after you without hinderance. Tear down this giant and take us that much closer to stepping into our promised land. Let us no longer fear being known. Let us no longer fear speaking in your name. Let us shout praise to you as you bring us through the battle; a war cry, and a shout of victory, for all to hear. Just as David took down Goliath – and he opened the eyes for others to see that you can bring them victory – many people were strengthened and later took down Goliath’s brothers. Grow and develop us. Help us work together, as your church, and take down every enemy, in the name of our crowned victor, Jesus; our God is mighty in battle, and at His name every knee will bow. Your kingdom lasts through eternity Father; Amen.

Lord of the Dance


God didn’t create our bodies to respond to music so we would have something else to fight. He made us want to dance, because He wanted us to be joyous! I’m not talking about bumping and grinding, that is a perversion of what God created. The purpose of that dance is to sexually seduce. Footloose did get the Bible verses right though. The true, intended, and holy purpose of dance is to praise God radically and unabashedly! Everything is aligned with its intended purpose when it is used as a tool to love God. Dance is to 1)celebrate what He has done for you, and to 2)ask Him for what you need; it’s 3)to lift moral, because a merry heart brings life and health to the body. Dance is can teach people just as much as song or lecture. Dance is biblical, and maybe if dancing were still in every church we wouldn’t be missing an entire generation of young kids and teenagers; maybe people would wake up excited to go to church, stay longer, build community better, and leave happier

– 1 Cor. 14:26 – What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Choreographed dance, theatre, and the arts can show us who God is just as much as anything else. Every person should be able to show what God has given them. Dance doesn’t even have to be choreographed to happen in the church. Everyone should be able to let loose in praise, using their bodies to celebrate the God who gave it to them.

– Ps. 149:3 – Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

– Eccl. 4:3 -A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

– Ps. 30:11 – You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

– Jer. 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

– 2 Sam. 6:14 – And David danced before the Lord with all his might

David celebrated God's presence with dance

David celebrated God’s presence with dance

David’s wife confronted him and tried to shame him, or say it was ungodly, and he responded with:

I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.

When God delivered Israel from Egypt:

– Ex. 15:20 – Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

– Zeph. 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

– Ps. 150:4 – Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

We celebrate marriage, and festivities, with dancing, and God wants us to do that with Him. Celebrate the God who gave you the spouse, the job, the raise, the home, the harvest, the souls. Celebrate him everyday, even when it seems like you aren’t winning. Paul & Silas praise him from prison chains and the praise set them free emotionally first, then also physically.

– Rev. 19:6-7 – And I heard something that sounded like a huge crowd, like rushing water and powerful thunder. They said, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, exercised his royal power! Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give him the glory, for the wedding day of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Rushing water are shouts of excitement and the powerful thunder is dance? STOMP! How are you going to crush the serpents head without a stomp and a dance? Walking gets tiring, but waltzing to the destination give you something different. Joy takes you further. You don’t even realize you’re tired when you are having fun. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be dancing on my wedding day to the Lamb, and I’m gonna go’head and practice now! At church, on Friday, I grabbed up a flag, went to the back of the church, and danced. Jehovah Nissi, is my God; my Banner and my Victory.


Worship:
Stomp, by Kirk Franklin
Dance, by Jesus Culture
Shackles (Praise You), by Mary Mary


Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Prayer: Lord of the dance, bring back the dance! You are Lord of Lords; You are the king of celebration and joy. Help us see you as you are, break every chain of religion, and loose your people to praise you with all their mind, heart, soul, and strength (Deut.6:5); you tell us that praise looses your people from bondage. Use dance to heal, deliver, and set free every mind and body. Tear down every man made law that stands in the way of your laws. Fear of man leave, and fear of God return in Jesus name. Bring joy back to the church as we realign ourselves to your ways and see who you truly are. We may feel humiliated in our own eyes as we dance, but you exalt those who are unashamed to praise you with all their strength! You made joy to be contagious, so raise up people to dance without shame and show your people that there is freedom in You; let all those who are free from the chains of sin and death rejoice!

As our country continues to talk about black&white, slave&free issues, cause your church to lead. Where blacks were once slaves, and white free, today the tables have turned. Your beloved black church is living in freedom, and your white people are slaves to religion and man-made law. Cause a war to rise up, and people to fight for the freedom of every person. Bring your people together. Send out those who will stand for freedom, justice, equality, and tear down the lies, chains, and man-made law that hold us in bondage and keep us from praising God with every fiber of our being. No longer shall it be shameful to say ‘you dance like a white person.’ Let is now be said with the meaning, ‘Wow, your dancing has put us to shame!’ Raise up whites who are radical in praise! Bring the spirit of Africa to us. No matter if we have food, clothing, or water, make us joyful with what we have. Tear down this idol of reliance on wealth and possession, and cause us to take joy in You. When the foot taps, let the body move, and tear down this idea that skill is required. Let the people dance without care of man or level of learning.


My friend is over in Zambia, Africa changing lives and building water wells. The people there know how to celebrate God’s gift of water. Lord, bless us with this Spirit just as you blessed them with water:

You can donate at Water282.org

The Body of Christ

Some denominations think the body of Christ is composed of only their sect. What is the body of Christ? Why call us His body? What does it mean?

Let me paint a picture for you of the body of Christ:
– Jesus is the head of the body.
– We are the parts of the body.
– The Spirit is the power of the body: the Spirit is the communication system of the body; the neurons, or synapses.

The Spirit is an advanced communication system to the spiritual body of Christ, much like nerurons transmitting information in our physical body.

The Spirit is an advanced communication system to the spiritual body of Christ, much like nerurons transmitting information in our physical body.

When you, a part of the body, are hurting, you pray! The Spirit inside of you sends the message to Jesus, who asks God; God then gives the answer to Jesus (the mind), who gives it to the Spirit (the neurons), who gives it to you (the body part).

So, imagine again that we are the body of Christ. We make up different parts, but we are all joined together by the Spirit of God. We pray and we listen. I can send a prayer request to the mind (Jesus), and Jesus can tell another part of the body, who is listening, to come help me. I didn’t have to know how, or who, could help. I just need to know that Jesus can help. Jesus can send whoever is needed, but He can only use the parts of the body who are listening to the Spirit (functioning in the Body). So, also, I can pray for what I know I need, but then I can pray in tongues, by the gift of the Spirit, so that God is praying for me. The Spirit knows everything, and He can activate the right part of the body to come to my aid, where I couldn’t know the who, what, when, and wheres.

Let’s look at the verses for this painting:

– 1 Cor. 12:13-14 – For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

– Col. 1:18 – Jesus is the head of the body, the church.

– Matt. 10:20 – For it is not you who will be speakingit will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

– 1 Cor. 14:2,14,39 – For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to GodFor if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays.. I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding… Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.

The true baptism is the baptism of the Spirit; this baptism which Jesus said would be greater than water baptism, was first seen on the day of Pentecost. Now, go and baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit also.

The true baptism is the baptism of the Spirit; this baptism which Jesus said would be greater than water baptism, was first seen on the day of Pentecost. Now, go and baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit also.

– Rom. 8:26-27 – the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

– 1 Cor.2:10-11 – for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man who is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

To function as part of the body of Christ, we need to be able to function under the power of the Spirit. Any part of the body that does not respond to the signals, transmitted from the mind to that part, is broken.


Now let’s paint a picture of teamwork:
One horse can pull 700 pounds and another horse can pull 800 pounds, but together they can pull 3000 pounds! Here are just 3 ways we can use this concept:

yoked oxen1. Teamwork (exponential power) in Marriage: Taking this concept we can begin to understand why God said not to marry someone who is unequally yoked. You need to be healthy & whole when you marry, and choose someone just as strong as you are. You don’t put two damaged, injured oxen under a yoke and expect them to carry 3000 pounds with ease; the burden becomes heavy and hurts them even more. Likewise, you don’t take a donkey and yoke it to an ox. The ox overpowers the donkey, and it can hurt both animals. So don’t marry an unbeliever, or a believer who hasn’t been completely set free from the pains of sin yet. Someone who is not living in the fullness of the Spirit is dead weight. We cannot help those who are not trying to help them themselves or looking to God for help. Those who are trying, and looking, we can help like this:

2. Teamwork (exponential power) in Life: Jesus set this example for us…

– Matt. 27:32 – As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

We don’t take the cross from people, we have our own, but we can help people carry their cross. Look how much it looks like a yoke.

Cross help

We need people to help us through life. We were never meant to walk alone. In Jesus days people walked in groups to their destinations. We still walk in groups in life; we travel short and long periods beside each other, toward like destinations – one day with one person, and 20 years with another. God has a purpose for where He put you. He marked out the timing and location of your life. Get to know the people around you and help them carry the burden.

Acts 17:26 – From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. – Esther 4:14 – For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

A decree had been made that all the Jews would die. No one knew Esther was a Jew. She could’ve kept living her cushy life as queen, but she saw God’s calling on her life; she put her life on the line to help someone else. She took on the burden. These are the good works God has destined for you since the beginning of time: Help those around you.

– Rom. 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

That guy didn’t want to help Jesus; he saw Jesus as a criminal with a death sentence.  Helping others, helps us too though. We learn their struggles and pain; we learn of their good and bad decisions. We gain wisdom for our own lives, causing the power of exponential growth. Maybe what we learn from them helps us, or helps the next person we meet. Along with helping them, pray for God to help them:

3. Teamwork (exponential power) in Prayer:

group prayer– Matt. 18:19 – Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” – Jos. 23:10 – One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. – Is. 30:17 – A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill. – Ex. 17:15 – Moses built an altar and called it Jehovah Nissi.

Joan of Arc with bannerJehovah Nissi means ‘the Lord is my Banner’. The Lord is my victory! God fights for us when we remind Him of His promises in prayer. He is with us when we pray, but when we agree with other people in prayer HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! Jesus found a man who was demon possessed; the demon called himself Legion, saying he was many. Jesus, one person, put 1,000 demons to flight. Imagine what we can do when we come together, in unity, as the body of Christ, to pray for our nations problems. Demons flee, situations change, and Jesus gives us the victory! For those who are praying in the Spirit (in tongues), there is exponential power available. Everyone in the Spirit is united by the Spirit:

Example:
– Earlier this week, I thought about a teaching I had borrowed. I felt like I had kept it too long, but I wanted to finish taking notes on it, so I ripped the cd’s and put the discs in my purse. While at work, yesterday, the lender called me; I couldn’t answer, but I put the disc in her mailbox. Just then she came through the doors, checked her mail, and said, ‘WOW! God is good! His timing always astounds me. In ten minutes I am going to a meeting, and the person I’m meeting needs this study!’ The Spirit of God knew her heart, mine, and the next persons – and provided for all of us. The lender never asked me to return the study, or asked when I would be done, but the Holy Spirit knew and gave us the tools we needed to keep seeking out His will and ways.

– One day, while living in habitual sin (wayward from God), I had a desire. Someone living in the same type of sin, or under the same demonic spirit, came to me and brought me the things I had desired. They didn’t know I wanted them, and they knew that I would not use those items with them, but the evil spirit dwelling in both of us knew both of our hearts. That demonic spirit saw that he sinfully wanted to give me the items, and that I wanted the items to help me keep sinning. These items where something strange, and I was not close to this person; even in my waywardness I knew that there was no way this could’ve happened without demonic influence. That demonic spirit provided for both of us the things that we needed to continue growing in our lives of sin. You have an enemy and he mimics God’s ways. Satan has a plan for your life too. God says, if you aren’t for me, you are against me. We might not even see it, but if we don’t have the Spirit of God, we have the spirit of something else.

– Phil. 2:2 – … by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

– 1 John 4 – Dear friends, test the spirits to see whether they are from God; This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood… He has given us of his Spirit. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Simply acknowledging Jesus isn’t enough to be able to discern the Holy Spirit from a demonic spirit. We need the gift of discernment from God. We also need to realize that Satan knows who Jesus is, and he can quote scripture; he tempted Jesus in the desert with scriptures that he had perverted, twisted up, to use in the wrong context as lies. Demons, likewise, can acknowledge Jesus and know scripture, but they cannot produce God’s version of love. They can only give a perverse imitation of the things God creates. They are trying to deceive us.

The Lord said He would light our path, but He does this through the gift of the Spirit called discernment. If you refuse His way, good luck...

The Lord said He would light our path, but He does this through the gift of the Spirit called discernment. If you refuse His way, good luck…

Example:
– God’s version of love is respect and patience; saving sex for marriage and protecting others. True love heals.

– A demon’s version of love can be providing a feeling of love when you have sex outside of marriage; a false/imitation love that never holds true for long. You take what you want and after you have become one in spirit (and body) with your lover, you are ripped from them leaving both people broken. False love breaks.

– 1 Cor. 12:7-10 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.To one there is given through the Spirit… distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues…

– Luke 4:33-34 – In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are– the Holy One of God!”

The gifts are for today! You need to be unified to the body of Christ, through the Spirit, to be able to pray, and to be able to discern. The gifts are necessary for this day and age, because there are many AntiChrist spirits running amuck. The only way to recognize Truth is through the Spirit of Truth (the Spirit of Jesus) and with the gifts/tools He gave us (1 Cor. 12).

– 1 Cor. 14:1 – Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit


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The Paradoxical Nature of Christianity

I’m in love with a king who became a slave.
I’m in love with a God who is humble.
You gotta go down, if you wanna go up.
You’ve gotta go lower, if you wanna go higher and higher.
You’ve gotta hide, and do it in secret, if you wanna be seen by God.
It’s the inside, outside, upside down kingdom,
where you lose to gain, and you die to live.

I love the lyrics to this song by Misty Edwards: Servant of All

Have you ever noticed how much of the Bible seems to have a paradoxical nature? I’m not saying that the Bible contradicts itself; I don’t think Jesus is bipolar. I’m saying that, the ways of God seem to be the stark opposite of our ways a lot of the time. It’s like watching a movie were there are two realms: 1)right-side up heaven, and 2)upside down earth.


Paradox: Hide to be seen
Misty used some great examples of the paradoxical nature of Christianity in her song. Let’s look at those examples, and some others in scripture, and try to understand why everything seems so backwards to us:

Matthew 6:16-18 – And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

People, by nature, want to be honored and get attention from others. It’s okay to want a reward, but we should want it from God not man. It’s not wicked to expect payment for your work. It is wicked to show off to people hoping that they will think you are better than them. Love is not prideful (1 Cor. 13). Fasting is not for man anyway, it’s for God; and we don’t get God’s attention the same way we get mans attention. We’ve got to hide, and do it in secret, if we want to be seen by God.


Paradox: The servant is made king. Least is the greatest. Last is first.

Matt. 23:11-12 – The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Servant and KingThe one who cuts others down, will be cut down, and the one who builds others up, will be built up. It’s natural for us to try to build ourselves up, by cutting others down – forcing our way into leadership, but that’s not God’s way. God is Spirit. Man is flesh. His ways are higher than our ways (Is.55:8). God says instead to humble yourself, build others up, and then they will build you up and you will have a strong following. Would you rather follow a leader who is clearly in it for personal gain, or one who is doing what is best for the workers?

Philippians 2:5-11 – You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was Godhe did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges… he humbled himself… and died… Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Jesus, who was God, humbled Himself, and stepped down from His kingship to become a slave to sin and death. His willingness to die caused billions of people to live. God therefore, elevated Him to the place of highest honor.

Luke 17:33 – If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.

We now have the choice of whether we will: 1)briefly die to our own desires, so that God will exalt us with Christ and give us eternal life, or whether 2)we will live briefly in our own desires, and lose our eternal life.

Matt. 4:8-10 – the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

Jesus had the option to cling onto His own life. He could have gone ahead and stepped into His kingship, without dying on the cross. He probably preferred the idea, but Jesus realized that if He stepped into His kingship prematurely, without the hard work of dying to Himself, there would be dire consequences. He would have been eternally separated from His father, and He would have led the nations to battle, killing many of the people who He instead chose to save, help, heal, and deliver by being obedient to God’s timing/ways. Though it sometimes seems counterproductive, or contradictory, the best way to get the desires of your heart is to ‘let them die’ and hand over control to God. He will give you the desires of your heart, far exceeding what you could’ve expected or done for yourself.


Paradox: Lose your life, gain the world
Satan desired to be exalted to a higher level. He saw God make man in His image and Satan got mad about it. He wanted our position, so he cut us down for it. In doing so, Satan condemned himself to eternity in hell. If he had instead, humbled his desires, and served mankind, God probably would’ve raised him up to a new level of authority.

Ps. 37:4, 7, 9, 35-36, 38 – Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heartBe still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways… those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land… I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more… there will be no future for the wicked.

1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money… some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

How many movie stars and millionaires have we seen that commit suicide? Have you met people who were rich, who were still miserable? Most people desire a life of comfort; it’s natural for us to look to money for that comfort, but God says true happiness and comfort come from enjoying your hard work and by giving to others.

Matt. 6:31-33 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matt . 7:7-11 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

It’s when we stop trying to build up ourselves, and start trying to build up God’s kingdom, that God gives us what we need and  want. If it’s God that makes us unique, and puts desires in our hearts, then its Gods job to bring us the fulfillment of those desires.


Paradox: Stop looking to find

– Gen. 2:19-22 – Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Did you notice that it says no helper was found for Adam while he was looking among the animals? Why was he looking for a helper in the animals? Sounds like modern America to me! We should be looking for someone made in God’s image, not a wild beast of a person. But even still, it was when Adam quit looking that God brought him a suitable helper. Not by our works, but by His grace He gives good gifts to those who love Him.


Paradox: Jesus is the Tree of Life

Jesus: the Tree of Life. I love the paradox of Christianity.

Jesus: the Tree of Life. I love the paradox of Christianity.

Jesus' death, on a tree,
 brought Life for all the world to see!
Enter into me,
 O, Jesus, who died on Calvary.
You died in front of all the world,
 yet your Spirit lives inside of me.
Let the world see that you live, you breathe;
 you came back with 'God speed'.
Wisest of the Wise,
 you confound everyone –
The wisdom of the world
 is folly to the One,
Who with a paradox 
 caused us fools to know,
That the battle has been won;
 we can rest in Him who's shown:
That in death, you have true life.
 and in service, you become king;
And to deny our own power,
 is to sprout God's very wings.
The Spirit's gifts 
 are for everyone to partake;
I am wholly yours, 
 make a fool of me and take:
All the lies,
 and all the works of man –
Burn them up, 
 billow and fan.
God is Spirit, 
 and God is Love,
 He lives in every man!
Not by my might, nor by power,
 but by My Spirit, says the Lord –
Go into the world, 
 and knock on every door!
He who hears My voice and opens
 shall surely say:
Jesus, you are my hope;
 the only Truth, 
 the only Way!

– 1 Cor. 1:25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Paradox: We can’t save ourselves, but God can save us. When we accept God, God comes to live inside of us.  … you’re so weird God ❤


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