Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16 Thought for the day...real healing


I have been blessed to participate in numerous healings. I have prayed for people and experienced the "Acts" miracles from blind eyes, deaf ears, a baby that was dead coming to life, cancerous tumors disappearing or falling off of people, HIV being healed basically all kinds of healings, but I am not special, you should be able to be part of it too!

"And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17,18

First, it should be obvious, but the meaning of laying hands on the sick means to physically lay your hands on the sick. However, as Christians, we need to be wise and be careful to do this appropriately so as to not make the person we are praying for feel uncomfortable. Jesus placed His hands on the sick.

Who are the sick? The word sick here means without health, to be so weak, worn down as to be critically ill. In Matthew 14:14, Mark 6:5,13, the same word is used to refer to people who were critically sick, they were devastated by illness. Jesus healed each one that came to Him.

In Luke 4:40 we see a different word for sickness. "When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them." This phrase "sick with various diseases" this is talking about a wide range of diseases the word sick refers to virtually anything and the word "diseases" has to do with those who are terminally ill with no cure.

Jesus laid His hands on people, and they were cured. However, we misinterpret things sometimes in our haste. The phrase Jesus uses for "will recover" means just that they will recover, but the implication is not necessarily immediately. PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS... Jesus is saying that recovery is promised, but it can come instantaneously or gradually over time. Many feel disappointed if they do not see the healing immediately but Jesus does not promise that here. He promises they will recover steadily and many times gradually but people will indeed recover. This phrase can be translated this way, “…they shall progressively feel themselves getting better and better until finally, they are well and healthy.”

We need to grasp that Jesus does not promise instantaneous healing all of the time. It does happen a lot, but many have left prayer meetings and the altar thinking they are not healed when in fact God is doing the work to bring healing as he promised, but we miss the healing because we drop our belief.

We are called to believe for healing. All that is required for God to use you in this way are three basic criteria: 1) That you have a desire for God to heal through you; 2) That you have hands to lay on sick people, and 3) That your faith is released to activate the power of God to heal. If you can fulfill these three requirements, you’re ready to get into the healing ministry!

Healing the sick is part of your responsibility as a believer. You can't do it alone, but the Holy Spirit is present to pour out His power when you act in Jesus’ name. So rather than look at sick people and feel pity for them, why don’t you pull your hands out of your pockets and go lay them on those sick people, just as Jesus did when He was ministering on the earth?


Friday, July 13, 2018

July 13 Thought for the day...what are you eating



In my travels around the world, I have eaten, sheep face, every part of the pig you can imagine, dog, guinea pig, camel, and baboon and those are not even the stomachs turning things. I haven't purposely said, "Boy I want to eat something bizarre to our culture. These are the things that have been placed before me, as the cultures best, so I have gladly received them. Jesus tells us about that kind of thing.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; Mark 16: 17,18

I know I was talking about "eating" strange things, but we must understand the word used for "drink" means to consume any deadly or fatal thing, chemical, food, or drink. The word translated "hurt" means to harm, damage, disable, or make you ill. Are we supposed to test our faith by drinking poison, as some have done in the past? Absolutely, not!

Yesterday we talked about how Jesus sent the disciples out to share the Gospel in Luke 10:7,8 "And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you." As we are going about the Kingdom purposes we may end up eating mystery foods, things we aren't sure what they are. The disciples had added pressure in that they would eat foods offered to idols, things that went against their culture and foods they were not used to digesting. Jesus was saying, "don't worry about what you will eat or drink, as long as you are a believer, whatever is put in front of you, I will bless and keep you from harm."

Do we test this, no I don't think we should ever purposely drink or eat things we know are bad but if we do, it will not have a long-lasting effect on our systems? It is always a matter of faith, we must be believers that know God is with us and for us. We must know wherever He sends us He will protect and bless.

BTW this is mango/key lime cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory if you were drooling! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 12 Thought for the day....handling snakes


We have all seen them or at least heard about the churches that literally pass poisonous snakes back and forth during a religious meeting, trying to prove that they can handle snakes. While these people are sincere in their belief, they are sincerely wrong in what Jesus meant.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; Mark 16: 17,18

The Greek word for serpents means serpents, so how can I say they were sincerely wrong about handling serpents. The first rule of interpretation is context. What is the context of this statement? In Luke 10, Jesus is talking about challenging His followers to go out into the harvest fields continually! In verse 19 He says this, "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

The word "trample" means walk with force. Jesus was challenging His followers to keep sharing the Gospel. His promise is, that as we are walking, by faith, to share the Gospel, He would protect us. We could travel the highway and by-ways and know that the Lord is with us. Both snakes and scorpions were a very real problem in Israel. One bite would be death or permanent injury. Wherever you are traveling for the Lord He will be with you, for you, go ahead of you and protect you!

Jesus goes on in Luke 10: 19b to say, "nothing shall by any means hurt you." The word "hurt" means, no injustice or no wrongdoing will be able to overcome you. God will always plan a way of deliverance.

For us today, this means we can travel in shoddy transportation, be in uncomfortable areas, do things that are way out of our comfort zone and he will be with us, protecting, encouraging, and enabling our success if we will trust Him. We see it every day with the ministry center, our various outreaches, and just ministering to people one on one. God meets our faith as we choose to trust Him, handling any snakes that may come our way!

By the way, this was me in Iquitos, Peru with an anaconda and someone who knew what he was doing with it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 11 Thought for the day...talking God's way



Communication is a very difficult thing. It is probably the number one problem I help people through on a regular basis. God entrusted His powerful message of freedom to a group of humble, lower class, less educated people but He gave them the power to speak to change the world.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17

Let's go down the road together to understand one form of God's communication. In Acts 2 we see the first experience of speaking in new tongues. I am not going to quote the scripture here for space reasons. The scripture says there was a multitude gathered in Jerusalem. This is a huge crowd of people from many different countries speaking not only various languages but numerous dialects within those languages.

The Bible records that disciples were speaking so loudly and the tense means, non-stop, continuously! It caught the attention of the people in the street. The people were confounded or "overwhelmed" by them. They heard each one in their own "language," meaning not only the words but the exact dialect, slang, and accent that was spoken by every individual. In other words, 120 people were being heard in the exact style of language of the thousands of people in the street that day. How could that happen? We'll get there in a moment.

In Acts 2:7 the people were amazed because these were humble, common Galileans. The word amazed means, shocked, stunned, speechless. Imagine 120 people speaking in the language, dialect, and exact accent of over 5000 people. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14 how that happens. Paul states when we speak in tongues we are speaking in an unknown language. The implication in the Greek is that tongues are not a language known by humans but a God language.

Three miracles occurred that day, believer's were filled with the Spirit of God, they were liberated so they could worship the Lord in Spirit, then the third is found in Acts 2;6,8, and 11 that the crowd "heard" them in their own language. The disciples were speaking freely as the Spirit spoke through them, a heavenly language. As they spoke, everyone heard them in the exact language and style as if they were home.

Tongues are the language of God, He certainly understands every language, but it is the special language of heaven. As a believer, we can all have access to this language by asking. I spend time every day praying in tongues knowing that these prayers are the language of heaven. Take time today to ask the Lord for this language. It is an important gift for you to prepare for your daily walk and allow others to see the power of God in you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July 10 Thought for the day..."NO DEVILS"


Hollywood has made a great show of demonic and satanic activity. If you watch these movies, you would think that demons and Satan are all-powerful and that God is merely an old man past His prime. We have been empowered to deal with forces greater than we are because of Jesus' love.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17

If you are like most people casting out demons is not high on your list. If anything you would rather not stir up and trouble with demonic forces. The question is why? I need you to think about why these forces intimidate you. If you contemplate long enough, you will most likely come to the conclusion that Hollywood's version of their power is what comes to mind.

Demons are powerful beings to be sure, and if we are arrogant, they can overrun us. But "greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world, and Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy. How is he going to do that? First, He did it on the cross, the bondage and right the enemy had over us was broken at the cross. Second, He has given us the power to defeat the enemy in every way!

I have cast out my share of demons over the years, and I have also watched people go through all kinds of gyrations and drama to make deliverance seem more like something you need a college degree to obtain or you have to be very dramatic to make it happen. Neither is true when you walk in the confidence of who Christ is and the power of the Holy Spirit in you deliverance is a natural occurrence around your life.

Discernment is the key to understanding deliverance. Jesus never went looking to perform deliverance and neither should we, God will cause the people who need deliverance to cross our paths, and when they do, we need to be aware that deliverance is necessary and set people free.

Casting out demons has another important part as well. In Acts 19:18,19 we see many came and told their "deeds" and brought their books to be burned. Many who came to be believers had been involved in magic, spells, incantations and such things. Today we have things that seem innocent but are this type of witchcraft they are horoscopes, astrology, tarot card or psychic readings, anything that places even a meager sense of your future in something that is not God, is witchcraft. We have to burn it from our lives eliminate any influence, we might not be like the demonized people of old, but these things will control us if we place even the smallest trust in them.

Casting out demons is sensing an influence in the life of an individual that is not God. It can begin as something natural but if fed on a regular basis becomes a demonic influence in our lives. We lose control, and we might not even know it. We are called, not allow any influence in our lives except that of the Holy Spirit and also called to set others free. The power of God in you is more than enough to cast out any demon or demonic force.

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9 Thought for the day....what's following you?



We can't help but influence people. As people see us and talk with us, they are impacted and influenced by who we are, what we say, and what we do. Jesus has called us to have an even more significant impact than we can imagine.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17,18

What does this mean? A "sign" here means a signature, the way we live our lives and the things we do are to so God's signature on our lives. The power we flow in is to be the "stamp" of God's life on our lives. The things we are supposed to do so that God is with us in a world of unbelief. The specific "signs" in our lives are...

- They will cast out devils.
- They will speak with new tongues.
- They will take up serpents.
- If they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.
- They will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will recover.

Wow, that is some powerful stuff! I will talk about what each of these means in the next few days of "thoughts."

I do want to talk about "follow," what does Jesus mean when he says "follow?" The idea here is not of passivity but actively not just following but pursuing, being a true disciple of Jesus. It shows someone tirelessly accompanying someone, sticking by their side in every season and situation, it is a commitment to be in step with the message so as a direct result the signs follow the message we live.

These signs are the verification of the message we live so no matter where we are, we should be sharing the message through words, deeds, or words and deeds and these signs will verify the message.

By now you are asking why don't I see them? The answer is in the next word "believe!" The tense used for this word means "constantly believing." We should always believe that every time we minister to someone God will begin to put His signature on what we are doing by showing up with these signs. The number of signs and wonders that follow us is determined by the activation of our faith to believe for them. God wants them flowing through us we need to believe and allow them to flow. So when you preach and share the Gospel, expect things to happen! When you pray for the sick, expect them to be healed. When you confront someone who is demonized, expect that person to be set free. When you are in a situation that requires the miraculous, expect the miraculous to occur. When you need protection, expect God’s hand of protection to be upon you.

If you haven't seen these things in your life, that's OK. However, having read this, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle that flame in you to expect God's signature on you as you begin to apply faith to the message you live and share!

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6 Thought for the day...be the "Kerux"


Have you ever thought about what Jesus meant by "preach the Gospel?" Did you think that means you need a pulpit and a church? The word preach tells an interesting story. Let's look at the scripture.

"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15

The word Jesus uses to say, "preach" means to be God's spokesman. The title used for a spokesman of the king is called "kerux." This is what Jesus was talking about when he said: "preach." A kerux had an extremely important role. He was respected by all people because he was one of the few people who had direct access to the King.

When the King had a message to deliver he would summon the kerux. The kerux would sit silent listening to every word of the King so he might deliver the message exactly as the King wanted it. Once the King was done speaking he had the freedom to ask any and all questions he might have. The kerux was to deliver not only the words of the king but so understand the King's heart and emotions behind it that it came out of their mouth as it came out of the mouth of the King!

The words were not the only message conveyed by the kerux. They must be a person of grace, kindness, strength, and love. They had to deliver the heart of the King in every way. They would only deliver the King's words not adding or subtracting anything from it. If he were not versed on what the King had to say about a particular subject he would remain silent. He also was a man of character and integrity because he was representing the King.

So as those who are to "preach" the Gospel we must...

1) Spend time listening to and being with the King
2) We must not only know the Kings words but his heart as well
3) We must be an example of the King in words and action
4) When we are unsure what to do, we must remain at peace until we hear from the King. We must never respond out of our will
5) We must also always be people of character and integrity

You thought preaching meant only to share the Gospel with people...it does, but it is not merely in words but action and attitude as well. So preach the Gospel many times you will use words but sometimes it will be your actions and attitude will speak more than your words!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

July 5 Thought for the day...reaching your world


Each of us has a purpose for our lives. We are called to influence those around us for the good, to be salt and light but are we all called to pack up and leave everything and everyone to travel around the world? Let's look at how we are to change our world.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Matthew 28:19

We will look at this verse then one other version of it today to see what Jesus meant. The word, "nations" here is the word "ethos" or ethnic groups, groups of differing cultures, customs, and civilizations. Jesus is challenging us to look beyond our heritage, skin color, culture, and custom to more than share the Gospel but to make disciples (help people become like Jesus). We used to have to travel around the world to do that, but now the various "ethos" is down the street from us, come into our places of work, play with our kids on their teams. We don't have to travel the world to reach every nation.

Mark's version is slightly different. Mark was the scribe for Peter, so it is really Peter's Gospel that we are reading when he says in 16:15 "And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." The word used for "world" is the Greek word "kosmos" which has its root in systems as in political, a sphere of influence, circle of friends. Paul used this word when describing that Satan is the god of this world, not meaning this earth literally, but he has been given authority over various systems like our political, economic, or social arenas. Peter, under the same inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is challenging us to impact people by working in the systems of this world our peer groups, social groups, political world, business world. Any area that has influence in our culture we are to go into the system and impact it for the Kingdom.

Are we to go around the world to impact nations for God? Yes, is the answer! Almost more importantly, we are called to change our world right where God has us, where we work, our neighborhood, the sports teams our kids are on, and the places where we are not comfortable with different economic, racial, cultural groups as well as groups with different customs.

Look around you, there are both an "ethos" and "kosmos" everywhere you look. Where is your closest group you are called to impact? You are salt and light allow the Lord to use you to impact everywhere you are!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4 Thought for the day...encourage one another


To all my readers in the US, Happy Independence day! The United States is so named because it was not a nation divided but one united so I thought for today, it would be appropriate to encourage you about our need for each other.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

The word "exhort" gives the picture of someone who has come closely alongside another person for the sake of speaking to him, consoling him, comforting him, or assisting him with instruction, counsel, or advice. This word is meant to be so helpful it is translated in many places as "encouragement." A form of this word is what Jesus calls the Holy Spirit as the Comforter (John 14:16)

The word also is in a tense that means to do so continually. We are to not just encourage one another once, but it should be something we always do, it keeps our hearts soft!

The writer is telling us to encourage, comfort, give advice, standing with them on a daily basis. We need to take the time to ask, "How people are doing?" Encourage everyone to know they are appreciated, not just on a one-time, basis but daily (while it is today).

The current condition of our nation is sad, rather than building one another up, we are tearing one another down. Rather than growing through encouragement and unity, we are increasing division. Generally, opinions are as a culture we have a hopeless outlook. The writer of Hebrews is encouraging us to change all of that. You need to be encouraged, and you need to encourage others, daily, continually, on a regular basis. Let's rebuild our unity and let's start with our friends, neighbors, church, and family. From that core, we can rebuild our nation and change our world.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3 Thought for the day...feeling a tug


It is awesome to me the way the Lord leads. Even in the simplest things he can cause us to make wise purchases, make the correct turn on a highway, and give us great wisdom in everything we do, provided we choose to allow Him to lead.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Romans 8:14

The word "lead" is the idea of an animal being trained to walk properly. A rope is tied around its neck, and the master will tug or pull on the rope until the animal begins to simply follow. If we are willing, this is what the Holy Spirit will do for us.

I don't know about you, but there are times where I can be stubborn. I get comfortable doing things a certain way, being around certain people, even having certain theological understandings. I am glad the Lord loves me enough to allow me to get comfortable. He knows my heart and knows I want so much to be everything He wants me to be so sometimes He has to tug on me to get me to where I need to be! How about you?

It can be scary to follow His lead, but after I have learned to trust in some new area, He no longer needs to tug but gently leads me to the place I want to be!

We always must remember Jesus called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. As He is leading us, we can rest assured that it is the best place, the place we were created to be, and a place of growth and maturity. Our Father will not lie to us, deceive us nor will He play games with us. He leads us, always into truth, life, and power.

By allowing Him to lead we reflect the Father's heart in all we say and do. This is the way we prove to the world we are the children of God. Let Him lead you every day. Choose to trust that He has an amazing plan for you, even for today! He loves you and created you for a destiny, if you allow Him to lead, you will get there and get there in His and your perfect timing!

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2 Thought for the day...what we love to talk about but shouldn't



If there is a problem that is blatant, out in the open, we will notice and deal with it. However, if it is hidden, chances are we will not see it unless it causes us trouble. Gossip does this to both the person who participates and the recipient. Most people do not realize the damage this "innocent" sin causes.

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" Ephesians 4:29

I better start by defining gossip, what is one of the primary meanings for the phrase, "corrupt word."
It describes a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts, rumors, or reports of an intimate nature that are none of his business. For instance, gossip would include: Talking about other people's business and things that do not concern you. Repeating what someone else said, even though you don't know whether or not it's true. Talking to others as if you were an authority on matters that are other people's business when in reality you don't know what you are talking about.

One of the problems with gossip is that the person who is the victim has no way to defend themselves either they never hear about the gossip or if they do and try to defend themselves, they can be perceived as guilty even in their defense because the gossiper has damaged their reputation. God hates gossip! Gossipers are among those who do not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. That doesn't mean if you gossip once your spirit is in jeopardy, but a habit of gossiping means your heart has been corrupted and that corruption, if not dealt with, will eventually lead to your spirit being corrupted and relationship with the Lord broken.

Paul continues in the next verse, "do not grieve the Holy Spirit," the implication being that corrupt communication causes the Holy Spirit to be grieved, youch! The word gossip in the Greek also means to whisper. As most gossip is based on hearsay and a lack of facts and/or understanding it is most often whispered. A rule to help you eliminate gossip in your life is to ask yourself, "could I say this in public? Have I said this to the person, face to face?

If we are honest, most of us have gossiped, and whether we know it or not, most of us have been the victim of gossip. When you have a heart to gossip, your heart is generally hurting. Confess your heart to gossip and ask the Lord to heal your heart or wound so you can...Philippians 4:8 Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."