Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Christians Enjoy Citizenship!

All of us were born into a country where we received our naturalized citizenship. I am a citizen of the United States of America, of which I am grateful. When I met Jesus Christ and became born again by the Spirit of God, I became a citizen of another country. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19) The word “foreigner” means that we are sojourners and pilgrims who are traveling through the world as an alien whose citizenship and ultimate residence are in heaven. It is called our “heavenly hope.”

Here on earth our birth certificate and social security number verifies that we are natural born citizens. According to the Book of Revelation, God has in heaven a register that contains a list of every name and person who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is called “The Book of Life” in Revelation 13:8 and 21:27. The “Book of Life” is God’s eternal record of all who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ.

It is very comforting to know that when we leave this world that we will take our journey to our heavenly home. This world is just our temporary dwelling place. God has such a great plan ahead for us all. Here in this life now, God has destined for us to “reign in life” through Jesus Christ. That means we are “justified” and “made righteous” before our Heavenly Father here on earth now. We are destined to prevail and not to fail. We are free from condemnation and fear. Almighty God has accepted us as His own and He is on our side to defend and protect us. We can be bold for His Name. Whether we live or die, we either live for Him or we live with Him. This world is not our home!  We live here to reign in peace within our soul. But, we also will reign with Christ during the thousand year millennial reign of Christ on the earth. This is reserved for what scripture calls, “first resurrection” saints in Revelation 20:6.  An exciting, yet mind-boggling scenario of our future abode with Christ is found in the 21st chapter of the book of Revelation. This has to do with God establishing a new region of the heavens and the future eternal dwelling place of the saints in terms of a holy city, New Jerusalem. It is a literal city of indescribable beauty. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Rev. 21:27 NIV) If your name is written in the Book of Life, then you have authentic dual citizenship!               

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Embrace your Seasons

“For everything there is a season a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Everything in life is seasoned. There is no season that lasts forever or that does not change. Scripture says, “while the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

Our life began by the seed principle. Every act of your life since your birth has operated by the seed principle. And that principle continues today. We all want to believe that we have a greater purpose for our lives. But, to reach your potential in life, to see your life become fruitful, multiplied, replenished (that is, in health, finance, spiritual renewal, or family), you need to be determined to follow God’s law of seed-time and harvest.

Seed-Time and Harvest
Ecclesiastes 3, tells us that everything has its time. There is a time of planting and a time of harvesting. But both are not at the same time. Everything comes through its own season. We know about seasons here in Wisconsin. We find a purpose for every season. Now in the spring season we are preparing for planting. But we can’t begin to plant until our winter season is over. New seasons follow the termination of the old season.

There are seasons in each of our lives. Sometimes the new season of your life will require the death of the old. There are some things that you must let go before you can enjoy your new season. The season that has passed is past! God is not just the God of the new- but He is the God of the now! He not only has you where you are now, He is with you where you are now.

What to do in your new season:
Allow God to grow you in this season.
Don’t be impatient in your season and miss what God has purposed for you.
Don’t kill your season by complaining or arguing with God.
Maximize your season by making the most of every opportunity. (Ephesians 5:16)
Your future harvest is dependent on your faithfulness to the season you are in.

Whatever season you are in with your life, don’t fight against it but embrace your season until God changes your season. Honor the season you are in. Galatians 6:4 (MSG) “sink yourself into the work you have been given”- Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV) “When times are good, be happy: but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well the other”

Every season has a burden that you cannot know until you are in it. Don’t judge your season as if it isn’t connected to eternity. God knows the times and seasons for each of our lives. Remember: Learn from your season and embrace it until God changes your season. The best season is yet to come!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Be Very Strong!

While I was sitting in our International Ministerial Association board meeting in Branson, MO last week, God dropped this little thought into my heart.

Israel was on the doorstep of entering into Canaan after an exhausting and troubling forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The people were eager to go into the land of promise which had been told to them by their leader, Moses. They had been without a homeland and served as slaves of the Pharaoh's of Egypt for 400 years. God had made a promise to Abraham centuries before He would make his descendants into a great nation and give them Canaan as a homeland on condition that they remain faithful and obedient to Him. (Genesis 17)

The Jewish people did remain faithful, though imperfectly, to the one true God and had clung to the promise He had made to their forefather, Abraham.  Now they are at the threshold of experiencing the fulfillment of that promise in Joshua!

BONDAGE - FREEDOM - WARFARE

Egypt is a type of sin and bondage which makes slaves out of people. Israel is called out of slavery and was baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (1 Corinthians 10:2) This is a type of our baptism into Christ and freedom from bondage to sin. (Galatians 3:27)  Israel then was placed in the wilderness where they learned God’s ways and learned to believe and trust in Him.

After our salvation, God takes us into a time of learning His ways and learning to believe and trust Him in all things. (Ephesians 4:15) He prepares us to be ready for serious battles and conflicts in the spirit.

When Israel crossed over Jordan to receive the promised land they would inherit through God’s promise, they were met with a lawless, brutal, and depraved culture that was governed by a very divided and immoral, politically corrupt government. The stage was set and the land ripe for conquest. It was time to go to battle! Joshua led the warfare to possess the land for Israel’s inheritance for 25 years. Ephesians 6 tells us that every believer must be prepared for spiritual warfare. But we are not fighting all alone. In Joshua 1:5 God provided Joshua with the promise of His ever-present Holy Spirit just as He promises His Holy Spirit presence to be with us in every battle and in every storm. (Hebrews 13:5)

God’s thought to me was to encourage God’s people to “be strong and courageous” in battle. Don’t relent by the things that you see around you. Joshua told the people that they were ready for this. He said, “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:9

You are ready for this too! Our strength is in the Lord. Stay on the offensive with the two-edged sword (God’s Word) in your hand and God’s high praises in your mouth—for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!  BE VERY STRONG TODAY!  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Power of Agreement

Amos 3:3 states “Can two people walk together unless they be agreed?”  I have learned that it is very difficult to work with or for someone you do not trust, and it is hard to lead people that you do not know. Jesus did not come to earth to build His ministry or gather great crowds; He came to earth to build agreement with others in the Kingdom.

Agreement determines how we handle things emotionally, spiritually, and mentally with others in the Kingdom. Many times agreement determines what we can actually accomplish for God. Jesus stated in Matthew 18:19, 20 - “If any two of you agree on earth concerning anything they ask, it will be done of My Father in heaven.” Agreement is the power to bring the will of heaven into the earth. Agreement closes the distance between believers in all dimensions, and it enables us to see the Kingdom of God. There is no other way to fully behold God’s Kingdom; we need other believers to help us see clearly what the Father is doing, and then to activate our own faith for the manifestation of His Kingdom into our own circumstance.

The power of agreement is demonstrated over and over in the life and ministry of Jesus. In Mark 2:1 Jesus was preaching and healing the sick in Capernaum. He was in a crowded house when four friends of a paralyzed man arrived, and could not get in, so they dug through the clay roof above and lowered their friend into the house.  The power of agreement in those four friends enabled a miracle. Jesus, seeing their faith commanded the paralytic man to rise and walk! These four friends - agreeing together - broke through the intimidation of the crowd to find a solution for their friend.

AGREEMENT = BROKENNESS

To build real agreement and to properly align ourselves with other believers in the Kingdom of God, we must be broken, to enable us to network together, thereby focusing on not only what is important to us, but what is important to others as well. When position is less important to us, it enables us to serve one another willingly, honoring and preferring one another in their ministry and service.

I have recognized through many years of service to God, that true evidence of maturity in a believer’s life is demonstrated most clearly by the willingness to serve others in the Kingdom. It is not how much we know that counts to qualify for maturity, but its real love in our hearts toward others that qualifies us for promotion and positioning.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:1 “While knowledge will make us feel important, it is love that really builds up the church.”  Do you agree?