Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Power of Praise

Years ago I read a wonderful little book called “Prison to Praise” by Merlyn Carothers. In it, he discussed the revelation he had received about praising God in all circumstances, whether they be pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad etc. He also recounted stories of how the sacrificial act of giving God praise in difficult situations somehow turned things around in remarkable ways. It is a book well worth reading.
Last week our beloved cat Tommy ran off. I had opened the sliding door when I got up rather early and the little fellow darted out into the great outdoors to face a world of snakes and bobcats. We waited and waited, walked about calling and whistling for him to come home, but he never came.
Now Tommy is not just an ordinary cat. He is an English Short Hair and has the ability to announce himself with the cutest growl when he comes to visit me in my study or before he jumps up onto our bed for a good night’s rest. Needless to say all joy left for the day and all of us were fighting thoughts of trepidation and attacks of fearing for the worst! Where was he? Was he killed by a bobcat? Was he run over by a car? 
As the long day drew on and the shadows lengthened, feelings of great sadness tried to secure a vice-like grip on our hearts. Of course we all prayed, stood on the word, but that did not seem to help in the battle against powerful feelings. I even printed a “Missing” pamphlet and posted them around the neighborhood.
In the midst of all this I was suddenly reminded of the message of that little book and one of the scriptures it was based on, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord, let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:1-3
In Hebrews 13:15 we read, "Through Jesus therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess His name." 

King David was the master of praise. It was I believe, because of this amazing ability and discipline that God had raised him up from a lowly shepherd boy to become the mightiest king that Israel has ever known! Was there a lesson in it for me, to take these scriptures literally? Is there a secret power in praise that we need to apply more in our lives if we want to live in victory? Well, as darkness fell, I immediately started praising God in the situation. I praised Him for who He was, focusing my mind and thoughts on His greatness and awesome power. As I did so and continued for some time, I sensed a change in the spiritual atmosphere.
I had to take my daughter Christine to a youth meeting and as we were driving I was explaining to her the principle of praising God not for a situation, but in every situation no matter how bad things seemed. On the way back home a great sense of being free of all cares settled on my soul. Nothing seemed to matter and that wonderful feeling of closeness to the Creator was all that mattered. I parked the car and as I strolled up to the front door I heard a rustle in the bushes. Bending down under a moving shrub, there was the sweet face of little Tommy! I scooped him up with joy, went inside and together we thanked God for his goodness! I called Christine at the youth meeting and she wept with sheer relief and joy!

This may seem like a simple little story but it does demonstrate a great truth of the Bible, to praise God in all circumstances. On a far grander and more serious scale is the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles Chapter20. Jerusalem was surrounded by enemy armies totaling a million men. The King called an assembly of the elders and as they called on God in their anguish the voice of a prophet rang out. “Do not fear,” he said, “Go out against them, the battle belongs to the Lord!”
The next day the king placed the singers and praise band ahead of the army and went out to meet the invaders and exhorted them to put their trust in God and the words of the prophet. As they praised God the enemy turned on each other, killing and destroying them in their confusion.
Yes, we can indeed face an uncertain future with a mighty weapon in our arsenal, that is to praise the King of kings in ALL circumstances and stand and see the salvation of the Lord! How many battles have we lost because we did not know or apply this wonderful weapon in our arsenal against circumstances that conspired against us?

Hotline To Heaven

The Atlantic Cable
In 1865 a multi-stranded cable was laid on the sea bed connecting Ireland with Newfoundland. The conductor was a strand of seven copper wires. This cable formed an uninterrupted telegraphic connection between Europe and North America. The transatlantic cable, completed in July 1866, was the beginning of fast communication across the seas.
Multiple channels of communication
New York merchant and financier Cyrus Field first proposed laying a 2,000-mile copper cable along the ocean bottom from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1854, but the first three attempts ended in broken cables and failure. Field's persistence finally paid off in July 1866, when Great Eastern, the largest ship then afloat, successfully laid the cable along the level, sandy bottom of the North Atlantic. As messages traveled between Europe and America in hours rather than weeks, Cyrus Field was showered with honors. Among the honors was this commemorative print referring to the cable as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
The cable under the Atlantic, "The Eighth Wonder of the World"
Your Jesus Connection
More than two thousand years ago, Jesus spoke of his infinitely fast connection to you. In John 15 we read, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
In a way similar way to the signals flowing along the multi-stranded Atlantic and modern day fiber-optic cables, full salvation of spiritual, mental, financial, social and physical blessing and prosperity is flowing to you right now if you are connected to Jesus! In contrast to being worlds apart from the source of the signals, we read of God, "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24) He is right with you pouring His fullness into you! 
Ephesians 3:19
"and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Don’t just receive one blessing, switch on all the channels of spiritual and so-called material blessings. Prosperity does not mean money, it means love, peace, joy, marriage and family life, health, and yes money, etc. Are you receiving me, hallo, hallo…? 
You will soon realize that you can stand complete in Him, lacking nothing! Col. 4:12 "always laboring fervently for you in prayer, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."
The connection to the Source is a multi-stranded one that covers every aspect of life. You may have shut a few off in your mind but it is time to reconnect and let all blessings flow to you. Think of the ones you have switched off, ask, and reconnect.
“I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly” John 10:10
No person or condition is your source of blessing, but only Jesus. People and conditions are just channels of blessing that God uses to bless you with. Once this sinks in, you will not be upset if certain people do not respond in love or in business because you will realize that Jesus is just changing the channel but remains your Source!
Jesus is no respecter of persons. That means He will not send health to one and not to another. The sap in all the branches of the Vine contains the same nourishment. Yes, there is hope even it seems like the final hour. There is hope for a prosperous business, art, music or a writing career. There is hope for a happy marriage, fabulous health or freedom from addiction. They are all my friends, flowing to you right now! Jesus is the True Wonder of the world!         
 You will hear a voice saying,"This is the way, walk in it." Isa.30:21
Keep each channel open!
Remember to keep all channels open. While you are expecting a request to manifest, keep the love, the peace and the joy channels open! "You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace."(Isa.55:12) 
Be a channel of love and forgiveness to everyone, regardless of what they may have done to you. "Faith expresses itself through love."(Gal.5:6). 
Resentment and unforgiveness block the channels. Your faith or expectation or should be quiet and peaceful, joyous and loving. When you find struggling with unbelief, switch to gratitude by remembering what blessings He has already done for you. David built his faith in the same way, pairing his expectations with testimonies of the great works that God had already done! This is a sure way to increase the faith or expectation channel and to keep your peace and joy channel flowing at the same time.
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest." (Hebrews 4:11)
How blissful is the excitement that your prayer requests have been answered and are streaming toward you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Your Christmas Gift

The Argument
I had been arguing with the Baptist pastor that my lady friend at that time had brought to meet me. He was telling me what Jesus meant to him, like he knew him personally. “What about all the Muslims, the Hindu’s and the Pygmies in the jungle who will never get to know who He is? According to scripture they are all going to hell. Is that fair?” I responded angrily. “I can’t answer that, but I do know He loves me, directs my steps and I often sense His presence strongly”, he answered politely. I got mad at him and left her apartment with the words, “Don’t expect me to join your Jesus club!”

Damascus Road
That night alone at my house, I found myself pacing the floor in a troubled state. At one point I picked up the Bible that my friend had left for me, flipped it open and read the page. The passage was about the apostle Paul on his way to Damascus in pursuit of early Christians who he was persecuting and killing. Suddenly Paul saw a blinding light, fell off his horse and cried out, “Who are you?” The voice came back, “It is I, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and why are you persecuting me?” When I read these words, a powerful presence filled my house. I immediately and un-mistakenly knew it to be Jesus! Like Paul of old, I fell to my knees and said in a whisper, “Sorry Lord, I did not know that you were still alive!”
Ever since that time many years ago, I have sensed His presence and direction many times and have come to better understand His love and grace. I also came to know more about His promises about eternal life, healing, health and all the other blessings and instructions that are spoken of in the Bible.
Jesus is your Christmas gift. No promise or blessing compares with the peace and joy that knowing Him brings.

The FedEx Man
Say a man from FedEx knocks on your door with a pile of Christmas parcels from Jesus, all addressed to you. The first one is labeled and reads, “Eternal Life (Romans10:9)” You gratefully accept that one, and sign for it. The second one reads, “Healing and Eternal Health (Isaiah 53:5)” You struggle accepting that one for a moment but with some encouragement from the FedEx man (The Holy Spirit) reminding you of the relevant scriptural promises, you sign for it too.
He still has many packages for you however and gives you the next one. It reads, “Riches and Wealth (2 Corinthians 8:9)” The FedEx man starts reading down a list of scriptures to encourage you to take that parcel too. While you stand there in confusion, he starts passing all the others to you. The labels float past one by one. One reads, “Whatever you ask (Mark 11:24)” Another reads, “Happily Married (Proverbs18:22)” Yet others read, “Children (Deuteronomy 28:4), Freedom from Addiction (John 8:36), More Than Enough (2 Corinthians 9:8), Living Water (John 7:36), Victory (Psalm.108:13), Whatever You Say (Provebs18:22), Whatever you wish (John 15:7)", etc., etc.
You remain standing there in a state of shock and softly respond to the delivery man, “I am sorry, I am just not worthy, I can’t accept these, they must be for someone else, there must be some mistake. I can’t believe He really wants me to have all these too?”

Will you accept them all?
“ No, I assure you, the parcels all have your name and address clearly marked on the labels, they have all been prepaid for and are just for you!”, the Holy spirit is now whispering to you. “Please don’t let Him down, Jesus bought and paid for all of these.” If you don’t believe it He will be so disappointed!” The man turned around, leaving all the gifts on your porch and left with the words ringing in your ear, “Merry Christmas!” 
Will you leave them outside or bring them all into your heart?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Clunker or Cadillac?

I overheard a salesman telling a customer on a used car lot. “This one goes like a Cadillac!”
“No way”, I thought to myself, looking at the condition of the old clunker.
This incident took me back to the day when I bought one of my first wheels, a beaten up panel van. The hood was up and the keen salesman and I were looking at the dirty engine. He said, “It needs a cleaning but goes like a bat out of hell!”  I looked at him in disbelief  and then he added, “At least, I think it does”

No engine?
The Smooth Ride
Whatever car you like to drive, a Cadillac has a reputation of giving a smooth ride. We all know that some roads are better than others but one thing is sure, it’s far nicer to drive a Cadillac than a clunker. It is also much more enjoyable to travel on a good road than a bad one.
In Isaiah 40:3-5, the prophet speaks about a road that you should make for God in your heart;”Make straight in the desert a highway for our God” 
He is saying to keep God’s presence continually in your thoughts and to let Him have His way with you. In return, God creates a highway for you in this life and travels it with you
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells it like this,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”
You can go through life without God and experience mountains and valleys, ie highs and lows, rough terrain and crooked paths. Somehow walking with God just smooths out things. His Word in your heart smooths out your ride. Meditating on the promises of God makes each difficult situation so much easier to bear.  His Word lets you trade in your clunker of a life for a brand new smooth-ridin’ Cadillac!
This does of course not mean that you will not have troubles in life. It does mean that they will affect you less! The clunker will rattle and shake over fifty miles of bad road. The Caddie will just fly over it!

The Peace of God
John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It is the peace of God that makes the ride of life smooth. Jesus says you will experience rough patches but He has made them smooth. They just won’t affect you that much!
The Smooth-Ridin' Caddie
Keep the windows closed!
Imagine for a moment that you are riding in your new Cadillac on a beautiful smooth road say, somewhere in Arizona. Suddenly you hit a dirt patch with gravel flying and clouds of dust blurring your vision. Tell me, would you then roll down your windows and let the dust in to choke you? Of course not! In the same way when the troubles of life come on you suddenly and unexpectedly, keep your peace! Don’t allow thoughts of the trouble at hand to come in and dominate your thinking. As you will know by now if you have studied my other blog postings, thoughts lead to feelings. Good thoughts like scriptural promises cause good feelings. Bad thoughts like continually thinking about the trouble at hand causes bad feelings.
I love this scripture, 
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, He who rules his [own]spirit (is better) than he who takes a city” Proverbs 16:32
You can rule your own spirit in only one possible way, not to react to circumstances but by displaying the fruit of the spirit and not the reactions of the flesh. Stay peaceful when trouble shows up. Stay joyful because the joy of the Lord is your strength. Stay loving because love conquers all. It takes practice of course, but eventually you can gain a good measure of control. 
The ability to control emotions is rooted in the ability to choose the thoughts you think. Refusing to think hateful thought when you have every reason to do so, forces the situation to change for the better. Jesus said,
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
Somehow, this changes the situation in your favor. You become a channel of blessing to your persecutors and they are either changed for the better or their plans come to nothing. So, when trouble shows up which it will, decide to display one and all of the listed qualities below by refusing any contrary thought!
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I would also venture to say that against such things no one or no situation has any power over you! What a smooth ride that can be.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Power from the Vine

The Vine and the Branches
 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit.” (John 15:5-7)
The imagery invoked by these words of Jesus is an extremely powerful aid in transforming our thinking.

The true vine
The chapter starts by Jesus saying that He is the true vine. I believe that He is implying that there are false vines, ie false teachers. There are so many today that teach spiritual principles that are mostly derived from Bible scriptures but leave out the first essential, being connected to the King of kings. Indeed, one can apply the spiritual principles in writings of people like Wayne Dyer or Rhonda Byrne of “The Secret” fame and manifest amazing results. Their words may sound the same, taking Biblical principles and mixing a dose of misleading Hindu philosophy, but without remaining in Jesus, sadly all people willultimately be branches that are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned.

Remaining in Jesus
The spiritual connection we as believers have to the presence of Jesus is by far our greatest blessing. The reality of that connection takes us through every trial and stays with us wherever we go. It is the pearl of great price. No ability to manifest health, wealth and earthly happiness could ever compare with the ability to come boldly into the Father’s presence through our connection to Jesus. And yet, too many good believers neglect to apply Bible teachings on how to experience an amazing life through mental transformation because New Age teachers have grabbed hold of it and running with it! I have made it my objective to help believers with the Lords instruction in Romans 12:2“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Power from the Vine
As you as a believer are a branch connected to the true Vine, all blessing flows from Jesus. As a branch, you are a conduit of all that Jesus has to offer, eternal life, love, peace, joy, health, wealth, satisfying relationships etc. A constant flow of all good is pouring through you second by second causing buds to form and delicious clusters of grapes to appear. Your job is to allow these blessings to pass through the conduit of your thoughts so that wonderful results can manifest! 
Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Again, your job is to ask Jesus for it and allowing it to happen through you as you think, picture and confess the end result. If you don't expect it coming to you, you will not be fruitful. You open or close the tap valve to the volume of the flow of God's blessings flowing through you by your faith or unbelief. If you chase after things you simply chase them away because in reality you are acting as though you don’t have them. Instead, confess that having asked, you have them and that they are busy happening, budding, flowering and coming to fruition. How hard is that? Yes, I know it is hard for the natural mind but it is well worth the dedicated effort!

Bearing abundance
Make a list of the fruit you want to manifest. Make a big list, bear much fruit. Remember Jesus said this, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit.”
The more you get this right, the more pleased your heavenly Father will be! Now contrast this with the traditional Christian thinking of being satisfied with the minimum while in reality secretly wishing you could have it all!
God wants you to have it all. In fact Jesus warned in verses 1 and 2 that,He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Prayer for bearing much
“Thank you Lord that You have given me the opportunity to be a fruitful branch on You, the true vine. Thank you that you are helping me to discover my heart’s desires so that I can ask you for them. Thank You Lord that I simply have to be still and know that You are God and that you are bringing about, all that I desire, have asked you for and see happening in the eyes of my spirit. Amen.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Think possible!

This is your time
This is your time to think possible. What seemed impossible yesterday is possible for you today. The time has come for you to step out beyond what seems impossible and reach for your dream!

Jesus was always encouraging His disciples to think possible. Walking on the water to their boat on the lake, He told Peter, to come to Him. Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Him. We know that Peter looked away from Jesus his destination, saw the wind, was afraid and began to sink. Jesus reached out and caught him saying, “you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew14)
Jesus walking on water
Your hearts desires are your destinations. Jesus is saying to you, “Come”, believe you have received them, and you will have them! Peter looked away from his destination and realized that according to all his past experiences, what he was now doing was just not possible. In an instant he moved his mind from thinking possible back to impossible. The key to Peter’s few moments of success was the single focused thought, “I am coming, Jesus!” Oh that we all would follow in his footsteps!

A single focused thought
A single focused thought will carry you over seemingly impossible terrain. I say seemingly impossible because to Jesus’ way of thinking there is no difference in walking on land or on water. It only seemed different to Peter based on what he was conditioned to think and that of course, became his experience. 
Walking on hot coals or fire has existed for several thousand years, with records dating back to 1200 B.C. in cultures across the globe, from Greece to China. Recently in the United States, fire walking has been used by motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins to destroy limiting beliefs. I am reminded of the Lord's words of protection in Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.The important issue is not what we are able to walk on but that by faith we can make "impossible" things happen.

Reach beyond what you have experienced in the past and realize that your dream is within easy reach. Think that you already have it, that you are already there, and the terrain under your feet literally becomes immaterial. Transformation comes by single thought saturation. Saturate your brain with that single thought. Think it continuously without interruption and repeatedly over short but regular periods of time. Think it, see it and say it!

Hold that thought!
Hold the single word, "victory", or “success”, or “married”, or “health”, or “wealth” or “debt-free” or whatever is presently lacking in your life as your destination thought. Hold the thought and feel the feeling, knowing that as you do, Jesus is causing the impossible to become real! Train your mind to do it. Keep your eye on the ball, and you won’t drop it!
Remember the words of Jesus, “Nothing will be impossible for you” Mat.17:20
Do it many times a day, think it and say it, for a few minutes at a time at least. You have to repeat the process day and night as abbreviated from Joshua 1:8, “Meditate on it day and night, then you will be prosperous and successful.”
"The Thinker" by Rodin
Old Abraham too showed us the way. After receiving the revelation that what had seemed impossible based on past experience could actually come true, he tenaciously grabbed hold of his dream. 
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:19-21 
Every night he contemplated the symbolic image of the end result, the millions of starts in the sky that represented his progeny. As he gazed upwards at the starry feast he was most likely saying to himself, “Children, children, children!", calling what did not yet exist as though they did. God promised, but Abraham had to do his part.

Saturate your brain!
The best time to saturate your mind is as you wake and before you fall asleep. At that time of deep relaxation mental activity slows, changing from beta to the longer alpha brain waves. The division between soul and spirit becomes less defined and that is when we are most impressionable for learning and accepting new thought-images.  
Doing things with God is what makes all things possible. He wants to do it with you. Like Peter, you have to get out of the boat and start walking, just holding the single thought. God is the one who make it possible
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
What seemed impossible yesterday is possible for you today. The time has come for you to step out!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Breeze to Victory!

My friend Paula had a way of staying cool when she taught kids in a hot African classroom without air-conditioning. She imagined she was standing in front of a large fan that was blowing cool air all over her. “It works”, she insisted! Anyone who lives in Florida as I do, knows the feeling of walking off the street into a cool store the middle of summer and pausing for a moment as you enter just to savor the cool, cool breeze. Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling!
I awoke this morning with a sense of great victory in my spirit. I was meditating on scriptures of victory;
 “The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.” Isaiah 42:13
“But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57 
”But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ's victory] “ 2 Cor. 2:14

Your Victory
There is a breeze blowing your way, a breeze of your victory in Christ. The breeze is blowing to you the desires of your heart, all the situations you have prayed for and have desired to receive from God.  Take a moment to remember the feeling of victory you experienced when you succeeded an achieving something you wanted. It may have been finally getting the car you had saved for, or getting the diploma you had worked so hard for. Mentally re-live those past milestones and savor again the sweet sense of victory and achievement! Now, couple that feeling of success to the blessing you are hoping to receive as though it has actually happened!
 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive!
To all my single friends who would love to be married, let us take the need for a good marriage as an example. Say that you want to be married but the right person has just not come your way. Stop thinking that you are lacking fulfillment but imagine instead the feeling of being in a happy marriage. Picture someone else’s happy marriage and transfer the situation to your life. Couple the marriage situation with the feeling of victory and achievement that you had in other situations. With a bit of effort you will get into it, it is not hard to do.  I believe that God gave the capacity for imagination exactly for the purpose of bringing about the hearts desires that He gave us in the first place. In so doing you will be breaking the association of marriage with defeat and replacing it with a sense of victory. Blow a breeze of being happily married all over you!

The answer my friend
“The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.” – Bob Dylan
Victory in experiencing every heart’s desire is assured. Check the scriptures above and associate them to all your needs. Remember that God does not respond to need, only to faith. Let the breeze of victory in each situation blow all over you. Take the time to do it. God, working with the dominant sense in your spirit, be it victory or defeat, will maintain or bring about a change in that condition in your life. If your experience has been lack and defeat, switch on the mental fan and let the cool breeze of victory blow all over you.  Do it day by day until victory and success come to dominate your spirit.
Join Usain Bolt in a lap of victory.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Biblical Origins of Thanksgiving

Biblical origins
The great American tradition of Thanksgiving has become a world wide phenomenon, in essence calling people everywhere back to a relationship with our Creator. Spend a few moments following its Biblical origins. In the Old Testament If you have sinned in any way you were to bring an offering to the priest who would offer it as atonement, restoring a right relationship with God. The poorest could only afford a little grain or two doves and others a ram as an offering of guilt. This act of giving to God through the priest would leave one forgiven. 

The Fellowship Offering
Leviticus 7 tells about the fellowship offering of people bringing food as an expression of thankfulness in which they offered thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in. Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they were to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast. They were to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the Lord that belonged to the priests to share.
Bon appetit!
Gratitude through song and dance
Under the King David the expression of gratitude reached a high point. He set aside special priests for the specific purpose of making music and singing out songs of thanksgiving to the Lord. This was to take place after tending to the rituals of the sin and guilt offerings. In 1 Chronicles 16 we read, “They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman. He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 
David was the master of giving thanks. As you will see below, through him gratitude was transformed by divine inspiration to such a level that it brought heaven down to earth. Small wonder that God elevated him from a lowly shepherd to king! I believe that regular and heartfelt thanksgiving was the key to David’s and Israel’s extraordinary success during his reign! Here are some words of one of his beautiful songs of thanksgiving.
“Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
His love endures forever.
Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to Your holy name,
and glory in your praise.”

Remember past blessings
“Remember the wonders he has done, sang the priests, “His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced.” In this song of gratitude and praise David teaches us how to reach up to heaven with our thanksgiving, remembering past past blessings, all the great things that God has done for us. 
Let us do the same as a family this Thanksgiving day and not just be satisfied with good food and fellowship. Make a list of past blessings and proclaim them out aloud. Gratitude builds the faith and expectation of good that will make them come true. How very much God has given to us. Let us give Him praise!

The priests could not stand!
Let God's glory fall!
The same chapter in the Bible tells us that the trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good, his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God!
The scriptures reveal that our bodies are the temple of God and that we as believers are now all priests and kings!
1 Corinthians 6:19
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
Revelation 1:6
“and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Let us learn to give thanks and praise with such sincerity that we too can experience the power of His presence!

Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Apetit!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kingdom Economics

The Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that started in the U.S. with the fall in stock prices and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. From there, it quickly spread to almost every country in the world. The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich and poor. Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Crop prices fell by 60%.  Facing plummeting demand with few alternate sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as cash cropping, mining and logging suffered the most. When U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of office in 1933, the state governors had closed every bank in the nation; no one could cash a check or get at their savings if they had any! 
Wall Street on Black Tuesday
Roosevelt’s New Deal
The common view is that U.S. President Roosevelt's New Deal policies caused or accelerated the recovery. It was a series of programs passed by the U.S. Congress that focused on relief for the unemployed and poor. The Work Projects Administration; (WPAemployed millions to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a park, bridge or school constructed by the agency. The WPA became the largest employer in the country. Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its jobs. Hourly wages were the prevailing wages in each area; the rules said workers could not work more than 30 hours a week, but many projects included months in the field, with workers eating and sleeping on worksites. America's entry into the war in 1941 finally eliminated the last effects from the Great Depression.
Migrant mother in the Great Depression
God’s New Deal
The world is again facing an enormous decline in trade and an increase in unemployment. Many good Christians too are unemployed. The future for countless millions looks bleak. It would be a mistake to again look to government programs for the answer. This time they may not succeed in working an economic recovery. Here is God’s answer to the problem. He wants to employ you!
 “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all, His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Matthew 6:33 (Amplified Bible)
Jesus invites us to leave the world’s system with all its uncertainties and seek after and join His system and ways of doing. Then, He says, all other things will be added to us. We will have, love, companionship, housing, food, health, money and of course, eternal life. What a deal! Let’s take Him at His word and take up His selfless offer.

God’s payment plan
In Matthew 20, Jesus explains His payment plan to workers in His kingdom. He likens God's kingdom to an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of an amount per day, and went to work. At various times through the day the manager hired more unemployed people to work. The last workers only worked for an hour before receiving the same wages as the others who had labored all day. Responding to accusations of being unfair the manager replied, “Can't I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?” The moral of this story is that it is never too late, whatever your occupation, to start working for God on a full time basis and to expect a generous reward. See below.

The true source of all income
“See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” Isa.40:10
Recompense by definition means to repay, remunerate, and reward, as for service, aid, to pay or give compensation for; make restitution or requital for.
As clearly stated previously God owns everything, is all powerful and is therefore more than capable to see to it that you get recompensed for your labor in His vineyard. If you work a full time job, God remains the source of your salary even if your boss disagrees and falsely believes that he is.
Allowing this reality to sink into your spirit will eventually bring about a freedom from fear that following your hearts desires will somehow lead to poverty. 

God’s secret job openings
An important point is that God’s jobs do not have to be formal in the sense of being recognized by the world or even by other Christians. You don’t have to have a formal paying job such as the pastor of a church to be recompensed by the Lord. In fact it may just be the opposite.“Take care not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you will have no reward [reserved for and awaiting you] with and from your Father Who is in heaven.” Mat.10:1

Vineyard jobs
Just as a good manager will divide all the tasks according to the abilities of his workers, Jesus calls us to various tasks within His kingdom. No one is excluded. Not the evangelist, not the businessman, not the artist, writer or musician! “Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.” 1 Cor.12:15

1.   1.   Jesus still tells His disciples to go!
“Go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Mat.10:7.
2.   2.  You are called to pray.
“And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [there is much ripe grain], but the farmhands are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”  Lk.10:2
3.   3.  You are called to minister to God and man through spiritual gifts. 
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
4.   4. You are called to minister to God and man through your natural gifts.
In Mat.25 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability.”

Whatever you do, make yours a kingdom job!
The bottom line is you can switch your present job from a worldly job to a kingdom job by not doing it for the money but simply changing your way of thinking and doing for the Lord! 
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1Cor.10:31  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Col.3:23      
You can do it regardless of whether you have a boss or you are your own boss. Step one is to grasp fully the revelation that God will be paying you and not your boss or the worldly system that is so dependent on market fluctuations. even if He decides to pay you through them.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Mat.6:24
No earthly job is safe but all kingdom jobs are secure! If you start working a job you hate or just tolerate but do it for God, and stop being afraid of losing it, He is able to move you to one in line with your hearts desires!
Are you really doing what you do as unto the Lord? If you don’t make the switch, more than just your livelihood is at stake.
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Mat.25:45. When we who believe pass on to the next life we will be judged as believers for the works we did while in the flesh. Did we do it for the Lord or for the money?
Working for God is called "giving"
Vineyard work means giving your time, energy, money and resources to and for God. "Give and you shall receive" is how His economy works. He keeps tabs on the motivation for all you do. Do what you do as unto the Lord and He will repay you handsomely if you take Him at His word and expect it. Kingdom economics works by faith.

God pays better!
Here are our wages. And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].” 2 Cor.9:8 (Amplified Bible)
What more would we want?
(Reference Great Depression and New Deal, Wikipedia)