July 24. 2020

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 ESV

Warrior;

When we KNOW GOD, we understand who He is and that HE KNOWS HIS CREATION. God has perfect knowledge, OMNISCIENCE, and God knows how we work: For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:14) When we look at the gifts that God had the three wise men give Jesus, at his incarnation in the manger, it is a reminder that god is about PURPOSIVE STRIVING. We serve a purposeful God, and everything has multiple layers of meaning, because our God is complex and beyond our comprehension. Then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out. (Ecclesiastes 8:17) The three gifts have a meaning, many meanings. The three gifts had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.

Leader, Dr. J. Vernon McGee makes this comment about the three gifts. Gold speaks of His birth. He is born a King. Frankincense speaks of the fragrance of His life. Myrrh speaks of His death. The gift of gold was considered worthy of a king. The buildings and treasures of kings and pharaohs from the ancient past have left reminders that gold was the prize of rulers and kings. Frankincense comes from tree resins. Frankincense was once greatly valued throughout the Middle East from Rome to India. It was expensive and has a wonderful fragrance. Myrrh is extruded from the gum of the Commiphora myrrh plant. Myrrh was used for a variety of purposes in biblical times as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13), an anesthetic, for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25), and to deodorize clothes. I want to suggest that these gifts were all about an aroma, including the GOLD. Success has an aroma, the “Sweet Smell of Success” was coined by a US writer called Ernest Lehman. Showers and baths were rare in Jesus’ day, only the wealthy were able to clean regularly and thus they must have had a pleasing aroma.

Conduit, in the Old Testament, God commanded the priests of Israel to continually burn aromatic incense on the golden altar inside the Holy of Holies. I believe God had many reasons, it was not simply the fragrance itself that pleased God, but what it represented: the constant prayers of his people. In fact, the incense, associated with the people’s prayers, was so pure and sacredly sweet to God that any deviation from what God had explicitly commanded was met with SWIFT DEATH. Remember Nadab and Abihu, Aarons 2 oldest sons- see Leviticus 10:1–2. Scientists and psychologists maintain that exposure to a well-chosen scent can make us more productive. Denise Kohlmeyer in an article she wrote for desiringgod.composits that throughout the Bible, certain scents seem to hold specific meanings for God. While some delight him, others, unfortunately, cause him to recoil. She says there is the Aroma of Our Prayers, the Aroma of Our Repentance, the Aroma of Our Witness, and the Aroma of Our Love. Is your fragrance appealing to God and God’s chosen, or are you just ‘smelling yourself’? It has been said, “Odors are the garden of memories,” smell is directly connected to the brain’s limbic system – which deals with motions, memories, and arousal. How are you smelling to God, how are you smelling to others? God’s desire for us: Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16a) Today decide to do that which makes us SMELL WELL!

July 23. 2020

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” – Joshua 5:13 ESV

Warrior;
This is one of the most important questions that we need to be asking today, “Which team are you on?’ Joshua Chapter 5 is packed with so much, in a relatively short chapter. The Israelites, after 40 years of wandering, wondering if they were going to follow Jehovah or follow their flesh, had finally crossed the Jordan and were in the PROMISED LAND. The Promise land, I believe, represents where and how we are to Live once we have been “Called Out”, saved, identified as a Child of the living God. People were afraid of the Israelites, word had gotten out that they are on GODS TEAM, and their God can help them do great things! As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel. (Joshua 5:1) The kings, and the Amorites were afraid of Israel, because they had heard about their God, and trembled that these foreigners were on GOD’S TEAM. When people are afraid of other people, they either AVOID or DESTROY, and you will see both approaches as these TEAM MEMBERS OF GOD, move through the land of Canaan.

Leader, “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. (Mark 9:38-40) There are only 2 teams in this world: God’s team, EKKLESIA, which means “those who are the called-out ones.” If you are NOT on God’s team, then you are on the WORLDS TEAM and this team is against God’s team. Simply put, God’s true church is composed of those who are called by God not only outwardly but inwardly by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus calls someone to discipleship, He is calling that person to Himself, to belong to Him, to follow Him, and to learn from Him and of Him. Confusion is our enemies #1 weapon formed against us. We can be confused on who is on God’s team and who is not. Jesus says those who call on MY NAME, those who follow MY WORD and those who do things MY WAY are the “Called out” ones, those who are on MY TEAM! At that time, the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” (Joshua 5:2) Newly in the promised land, in enemy territory, foreigners in a strange land, God incapacitated the team, through an medical procedure that was to be an inward transformation, identified by an outward act. When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. 9And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day. (Joshua 5:8-9)

Conduit, when Joshua asked the angel if he was on his team or the other team, Jesus’ answer was profound: And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:14-15) This angel was Jesus incarnate, before Jesus was incarnate in the manger. This is an example of a CHRISTOPHANY. A Christophany is a physical appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Why would I say this, because He is identified as the COMMANDER of the LORD’S ARMY and Joshua was told to take off his shoes, because he was standing on HOLY ground. In the Bible, people only TOOK A KNEE for God, not His angels nor His servants- only HIM! So much to learn in such a short space. When we are on God’s team, and we do things GOD’S way, and we SEEK GOD’S WORD, then Jesus is there, He is present. It is time to decide which team you are on. Are you on God’s Team or are you on the World’s team. It is easy to differentiate which team you are on by what you do, what you focus on, who you listen to and who you MARCH for. In the book of Revelation God chastised the churches for being team members of the WRONG TEAM. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:14) It is time to choose teams, and start acting like you are ON GOD’S TEAM. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God. – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a God is not on our team- HE calls us to join HIS TEAM!

July 22. 2020

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test! – 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

Warrior;
What an appropriate time to consider Paul’s command; Examine yourselves to see if you are in the Faith! It is appointed for man to die one time and then be judged. We are called to have discernment, to know the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, better or worse, God’s or the World’s? However, to do that we need to understand that all those words I just described are COMPARISON words; better than what? Closer to God, then when? Good or Bad- compared to what? We need to understand we are called to have discernment. Yet, we are also called to NOT JUDGE. The favorite scripture for non-believers to quote is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” That verse is thrown around whenever you start having people EXAMINE THEMSELVES, and they do not like what you are implying or what they are experiencing from the examination. We are NOT to judge, but we are called to have discernment and that is a slippery slope. Attempting to define discernment without using the word JUDGE, is extremely hard. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. If you notice, this definition, which I like- says distinctions in our thinking about TRUTH! There is your comparison. It does not matter what your opinion is, it does not matter what my opinion is- what matters is what does God say about this. In order to know what God says about things, we must be able to DISCERN HIS WORD, HIS LEADINGS and quiet the other voices in our head and in our world. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

Leader, I one time had a pastor start his message by reading from certain scriptures in the Bible, and he would stop after reading something and say, “I don’t like that”, and then RIP IT OUT. He did this about 3 different times and every time, the parishioners GASPED! Then the Pastor asked the congregation, “What’s wrong with what I am doing, we all do it daily. We take what we want, and we remove, ignore, or pretend that which we do not agree with- is a minor disagreement. Or we take what God says and we put our own “twist” on it, and do it our way, which is pretty close to God’s way.” Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:27-31) God says if we partake in a manner that is unworthy…. We can clearly see God has a standard, and when we MISS THAT MARK, we fall short of the Glory of God and God calls that SIN! Sin is MISSING THE MARK of God’s standard. In order to have discernment and make proper eternal decisions, we must know what that STANDARD is, so we can compare ourselves to what is being expected from us. We are responsible to KNOW God and to KNOW HIS STANDARD and to KNOW if we are IN THE FAITH.

Conduit, God is NOT playing around. God is wrapping up the TIME OF THE GENTILES, and we are getting ready to go into a NEW TIME, a new dispensation and we need to know if we are acting, thinking, believing, BEING the men and women who God has called us to be in these closing days. Playtime is over and it is time to get serious, because God DEMANDS things be done HIS WAY. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. (Leviticus 10:1-2) Aaron watched his sons, his oldest 2 be consumed by the fire of God and Aaron was not even allowed to grieve for them. Because they did not discern the Lord’s commands and follow His instruction, they died performing for God. Moses is a notable person in the patriarchy from the old testament, God used him to bring out the people of Israel from the land of slavery, the land of Egypt. God had promised Moses and the people that they would make it to the promised land. Because Moses did NOT do, exactly what God commanded- speak to the rock- Moses was stopped from getting into the promised land. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (Numbers 20:12) We are not to JUDGE- to decide who is God’s child, and who is a child of the world- but we are called to have discernment. “When Jesus returned … a Roman officer came and pleaded with him … Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed … When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” (Matthew 8:5-13) This Roman soldier undoubtedly knew who Jesus was, and what He was capable of. It is time to EXAMINE ourselves, to see if we are in the faith. In order to have the proper discernment we need to KNOW JESUS and to KNOW what He desires us to be doing, be thinking, be preparing, to BE LIKE JESUS! The only way to do that is through HIS WORD and a connection TO HIM! Prayer and studying HIS WORD. Jesus is the Word of God, the Word of God is the Bible; JESUS=BIBLE. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2) The TIME IS NOW, to choose; the world or the LORD? The only way to KNOW JESUS is to KNOW HIS WORD. Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”(Romans 10:17, Matthew 4:4) Discern; are you doing what God is commanding you to do in these end days? Are you in HIS WORD, are you on YOUR KNEES in prayer and DO YOU DESIRE HIS COMING for us? If all three are YES, then you are in the FAITH. If any one of those questions is NO, or MAYBE; “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

July 21. 2020

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? – 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV

Warrior;

We have portals into our experience. There are 5 portals and they are our senses. We let things into our experience in these 5 ways: We see things, we hear things-or speak them, we feel things-both emotionally and tactile, we taste things and we smell things. The five modalities are called: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory. Diane Ackerman in her book, “Natural History of the Sense”, tells us that of the senses, the sense of smell, olfactory, is the most primitive of all. Each sense goes through a filtering process before it hits the main part of the brain. However, the Olfactory sense is unique because it goes directly to the main part of the brain. Our ‘state of mind’ is the way we feel. A smell can CREATE a STATE OF MIND, quicker than anything else; the second quickest way is through music. Then Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood on the fire; it is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. (Leviticus 3:5) I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18)

Leader, an Aroma, a smell can set the stage for many things; hunger, waking up, being peaceful, being agitated, making us feel better and making us feel worse. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, fresh buttered popcorn at a movie theater, the smell of fresh garlic being roasted as you walk into your favorite restaurant: smells can set a good standard. Aromas can also set a bad stage, create an uncomfortable state of mind; animal odors in a house, walking into a bathroom and knowing that this place is filthy. God speaks in language that we creatures can understand. God the Father is Spirit, essence, power- He does not have features like a man- that is Jesus, He is not physical in form. When we read that God is pleased with the aroma, it is anthropomorphism; the idea of referring to God by human characteristics. For example, God is said to have a “face.” He sets His face against evil (Leviticus 20:6). God the Father is often spoken of in Scripture as having human body parts in a figurative manner. Deuteronomy 33:27 mentions the arms of God, yet it is clear the writer did not intend to communicate that God has physical arms like people do. Genesis 6:8 mentions the eyes of the Lord. Exodus 6:6 speaks of God’s outstretched arm. God the Father; Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, Adonai…has no nose yet; And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. (Genesis 8:21)

Conduit, during the Christmas time celebration I love the smell of pumpkin, and sweets baking. The smell triggers corresponding feelings associated with it from my past. It is not just the aroma that I love, it is the feelings that come with the smell, everything that I associate with it: contentment, happiness, love, famiia… memories. How this particular aroma stirs me is beyond explanation. It runs deep. We can meet someone and automatically like them, or not like them. We do not know why, but we say, “it’s a gut feeling’… something about them. Either you really like them, or you do not but you are not sure why you feel the way you feel. What if it is an aroma, at the unconscious level that is telling you a story that you are not aware of, but you feel it, because you smell it? There is a saying when we know something is awry; “Something smells fishy”. There is a slang saying for being conceited, full of yourself; ‘Smellin’ yourself’, thinking you’re better than you are. If you are a child of God and you share the Gospel openly- in other words you are not separating God from other aspects of your life, some people are not going to like you. They might NOT know why they have a problem with you, but maybe they think you are ‘Smellin’ yourself’- it might be that your GOD FRAGRANCE might make them extremely uncomfortable. Conversely, if you are a child of God and you walk boldly with that GOOD NEWS and want to share it whenever and wherever you can- that smell of GRACE, MERCY and FORGIVENESS might just move someone close to you- without them knowing why. Smells create an unconscious feeling, a feeling that is at the cellular level. So today be a FRAGRANCE of GOD and also PUT A SONG ON YOUR HEART for the LORD and you will either be moving HIS CHILDREN closer to HIM, or you are moving the Devil’s children away from you. Either way SMELL WELL, for the LORD, WARRIOR!

July 20. 2029

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? – Psalm 13:1-2 ESV

Warrior;
For a child of the Kingdom, living in this dark world that is the question: HOW LONG, O LORD? Our God is long-suffering, and He is developing the same trait in His children. Patience and endurance are qualities that are necessary for this journey, they are key elements in our faith walk. WE know God’s sense of TIME and our sense of TIME is different, as are so many other things. Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9) If you have ever desired to be used by God, to play BIG for God, or ache to see God’s return then you know the CRY: HOW LONG, O LORD?

Leader, when we decide we want God’s will and NOT our own. When the world no longer has anything for you and you CRAVE, you DESIRE the LORD to RETURN, when you have “JESUS’ EYES”, and see the world through HIS HOLY FRAME, you have to cry out- HOW LONG, O LORD? In the Old testament there are minor and major prophets. The minor prophets wrote shorter books, the Majors wrote more extensively. One of the minor prophets in the old testament is called Habakkuk and he too wondered, “HOW LONG O LORD?”. Little is known about Habakkuk except that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah and a man of vigorous faith rooted deeply in the religious traditions of Israel. In other words, He was a MAN OF GOD and He was wondering what many TRUE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST wonder today: Why are bad people prospering and good people suffering- where is our God and why is He silent with so much chaos. His prophecy begins with the same question under the heading of “Habakkuk’s Complaint”. How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. (Habakkuk 1:2-4) This sounds like my journal entry today. I watch the news; Pandemic, BLM, face masks, social distancing, Joe Biden rising in the polls and churches closed, hatred rising, racism and prejudice open for business under a new name….HOW LONG O LORD, before you come back and get us out of this ever troubling world and bring us into your MARVELOUS LIGHT? There are 2 values of this feeling; 1- you know that this world has nothing for you, you are a child of the Risen King. 2- it is developing our Patience, our DESIRE and our FAITH.

Conduit, Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land. (Psalm 27:14; 37:9) God wants us to TRUST HIM, to have FAITH and that means PATIENTLY WAITING ON HIS TIMING! All great Leaders for God learn to trust in His timing, and not our own. The time between the Promise and the delivery of the promise is a GAP where FAITH is developed at its deepest levels. David, Abraham, Isaiah, the JEWS, HIS CHURCH and others in God’s drama and plan, understand the GAP and it is in the ‘GAP’ that our FAITH is GROWN! Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31) God is in control and He is coming back soon to retrieve His church, His bride. WE need to STAND FIRM in this dark time and WAIT UPON THE LORD! Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory. (1 Peter 4:12-13) LORD help us with our unbelief, our lack of patience. Grow us into the warriors and the leaders you have called us to be in this darkening time. We ask this in the name of the one who we LONG FOR, who we look up for His immediate return, Jesus. Amen! I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:13-14) Keep HOPE alive and LOOK UP!

July 19. 2020

And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. – Luke 1:11-13 ESV

Warrior;
God is in Control! For behold, He Who forms mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what are His thoughts, He Who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, the LORD God of hosts (Sabaoth) is His name. Amos 4:13) God is Jehovah Sabaoth; the Lord of hosts, meaning, of ALL the angelic world. From Amos’ description, God’s attributes of sovereignty, omniscience and omnipotence are clearly implied by this majestic Name. It is in HIS HANDS that those who call on HIS NAME and the name of HIS SON, Jesus-REST. As we learn in the book of Job, nothing can happen to us outside of the permissive will of God. Our job is to trust IN HIM, like Job did- no matter the circumstances; He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ (Job 1:21)

Leader, it is normal to feel fear, but we are called to NOT BE AFRAID. There are close to 400 times that God tells us to NOT BE AFRAID. God knows that this world is at war with HIM and HIS followers and He also wants us to know HE IS on the JOB and HE IS IN CONTROL, even when the world and its leaders mock Him, and it seems like evil is reigning. Therefore, we need to be around like-minded believers in church and daily in fellowship with blogs like this, in the WORD being encouraged to FIGHT the GOOD FIGHT, to run a good race. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1)

Conduit, John Wesley understood the power of Focus when he said; “Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world.” Zechariah had been praying to God for years for a child and when God answered his prayer, he was afraid, and he didn’t believe! If you read further in Luke, you will find that he lost his ability to speak until after John was born. God tells so many stories in the Bible like this, for our benefit, so we can see and hear how others struggled and others stumbled- and yet we call them great. You too can be great, but it takes the right focus. We are to focus on GOD, HIS POWER, HIS WILL and HIS MIGHT. In the book of Judges, we read about a man full of fear, Gideon. As we read about Gideon, we see that he has many fears and that he is not very confident. He has a poor self-image. He’s afraid of the Midianites; he’s afraid of the men in his own village. Even after being visited by God he’s still afraid of the enemy’s army when it gathers in a nearby valley. Gideon was afraid, but when he finally put his trust in God and obeyed, the Israelites were freed from seven years of oppression. There will always be moments in life when we are worried to give ourselves over to God, but the truth is we can trust him with our tomorrows. Today, choose to focus on GOD and not the object of our FEARS and remember like Gideon, and so many other people of the Bible; The battle is the Lords! In our weakness HIS STRENGTH IS PERFECTED! Keep your focus on the one who is OMNIPOTENT; HE is ALL POWERFUL!

July 18. 2020

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:14-17 ESV

Warrior;
James goes onto say in verse 19; You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! Hebrews 11 the FAITH chapter starts out by stating; Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. If you break down the word SUBSTANCE, it is a compound word; Sub and Stance. It literally means- something beneath that you can STAND ON. The root of Faith is the word of God. TRUE FAITH shows itself in the manifestation of GOD’s WORD in our lives. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10;17) STAND FIRM on HIS WORD!

Leader, In the Bible there are two primary Greek words which are translated “word” in the New Testament. The first Word= LOGOS. Jesus is the LOGOS, the Word of God; the written word that tells us of the LIVING WORD. Jesus is the logos and also the Bible is the LOGOS. If A=B and B=C, then A=C! The second Greek word translated “word” is rhema, which refers to the spoken word. Rhema literally means an utterance. WE can call it A word from the Word. When you start reading the bible, logos, and God begins to speak to you from the word of God- that feeds your FAITH. You get a Rhema from the Logos, you get an utterance from God in your heart, you hear from God. In order to have Faith you don’t have to hear from a friend, or a Pastor, but you need to hear from God. See Romans 10:17.

Conduit, there is only ONE FAITH that matters; Faith in God and FAITH in His WORD; Logos and Rhema. The ROOT of Faith is that you hear from God- so you MUST be in HIS WORD! The RESULT of TRUE Faith is that you DESIRE- GODS WILL BE DONE! The RELEASE OF FAITH, is obedience. Doing what the WORD of GOD says! If what you say you believe DOES NOT TRANSLATE into action-you don’t really believe- then you have NO FAITH! When you Believe it, you obey it! Faith is belief with Legs on it! It is the actioning of your feeling, when you RHEMA from the LOGOS. It is the doing of the saying, or of the hearing. Remember; what you are DOING speaks so loudly people don’t need to HEAR a WORD you are saying! Let your actions speak louder than your words, let them show HIS WORD! LIVE IT, and live it with PASSION- Heart, Body and Soul! Your Faith in the LOGOS and the RHEMA will move your mountains! Amen!

July 17. 2020

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:2,4,21 ESV

Warrior;
Words can build you up or words can tear you down. Put a fire in your heart, or make it go out! God is clear about our words and the responsibility we have to wield them with great compassion and empathy! In the Gospel of Matthew, we are clearly told; You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”(Matt12:34-37)

Leader, We need to decide- our words or HIS WORD? In the book of Genesis- in the recount of creation- God CREATED by the Word, speaking, “Let there be light.” And it was, and it was GOOD! THE WORD of GOD brought the whole world into being, THAT WORD became flesh to live among us, to walk with us, to LIVE WITHIN us! When we use HIS WORD versus our words- LIFE ETERNAL is in our breath! The word of God is more powerful and more transforming than any word you or I could possibly utter. (2 Tim 3:16) John’s Gospel tells us that that Word brings light, pure light, light that casts away the darkness of fear and pain. Light that offers the only real possibility of reconciling with enemies, of welcoming strangers, of truly loving one another, of truly knowing ourselves. LET YOUR WORDS SPEAK LIFE!

Conduit, when you squeeze a sponge the only thing that can come out of it, is what you PUT IN IT! In this story, YOU are THE SPONGE! When life squeezes you, AND IT WILL, the only thing that can come out of you is what is in you! Put the WORD in you, so whatever comes out of you BRINGS LIFE! I pray for the GIFTS of the SPIRIT through your words: to your enemy-forgiveness! To a broken heart- words of encouragement! To an opponent-tolerance. To a friend-your heart, understanding. To a customer- good service. To every child- a GOOD EXAMPLE. To yourself-RESPECT. TO ALL- the WORD of GOD!

July 16. 2020

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. – 1 Timothy 6:2b-5 ESV

Warrior;
What an interesting time we live in. Not a surprising time, for it has been talked about for thousands of years, by Biblical scholars. The time we are in has been read about in the scriptures and studied by those who seek the LORD and study HIS WORD. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 1:18-19) This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. (2 Peter 3:1-3) Remember, it is impossible to please God without Faith! “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned/ credited/ accounted to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3). The same verb is used by Paul when he asks that any debt owed by Onesimus-the escaped slave who stole from his Master Philemon-be put to the Apostle ‘s own account (Philemon 1:18)

Leader, Faith requires a gap. If you can see how all the pieces connect, if you can do it without God, if there is NO uncertainty, if there is no ‘alternate’ data that creates a fleshly doubt…then, THERE IS NO FAITH! Faith is believing what God says, that God is in control even when your fleshly eyes, ears and feelings tell you something different. Is God in control or are you in a series of random acts that are driven by happenstance? God has perfect knowledge, He is OMNISCIENT. There has never been an emergency meeting of the TRINITY! God knows all — past, present, and future — and providentially controls all that happens, there is no meaningless suffering. The reasons for our pain may often remain mysterious, but there is no doubt that the Lord works for our good and His glory in all our difficulties and pain (Rom. 8:18, 28). He is never surprised by our suffering, and He is NOT disappointed by our response! He understands our frame, for He said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart”. Psalm 139:16 tells us, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be”. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. (Psalm 103:14)

Conduit, God permits the trials to come. God is in control of the trials. God enables us to bear them and whether we live or die, God will deliver us from them. Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4:12-13) In Romans. the 12th chapter. Paul elucidates our litmus test in these END TIMES, let us meditate on these CLEAR instructions for these CONFUSING times. Under the heading of ‘Marks of the TRUE CHRISTIAN’: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21) These are our marching orders from our Commander! GENERAL JESUS, reporting for duty! Use me LORD, change me LORD, let your words be my words, let YOUR WAY be my way, let YOUR WILL be MY WILL! I ask this in the name of the Son of Man, the ONE who was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not- the name of Jesus. Amen!

July 15. 2020

And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. – Genesis 17:8 ESV

Warrior;
So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:14,29) Lets first consider Dr. J Vernon McGee’s belief that the Promised Land does NOT represent Heaven, like many believe- but represents the place where we should be living down here. Just like the Israelites, we are at choice; we can live in the wilderness, and many believers do, but we are to be living down here in Canaan. The Wilderness is NOT FUN, the wilderness march is not easy, but it does tend to require more dependence on God. However, God desires us to walk with Him, and in the land of Canaan that is where we are blessed with all spiritual blessings. As we know through Romans 8:28 God will use ALL things for our good to grow us into the likeness of Christ. So even though many choose to live in the wilderness on this planet, God still uses that choice for our good and HIS GLORY. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Leader, God told Joshua, what He told Moses and what HE is telling us. Every place the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spake unto Moses. (Joshua 1:3) God was saying to them, and to us, “It is yours, go in, possess, and enjoy that which you take”. I do not know what the actual figure is, but the Israelites took only a small part of what they could have possessed and today they are still paying the price. How about you? Are you living in the wilderness of God, even though He has been working to get you into the PROMISED LAND? Why would the Israelites settle for so much less than God desired for them? Why do we settle for so much less that God desires for us? It is because of the WILES of the ENEMY. God knows ALL. It is impossible for God to learn anything, otherwise he would lack perfect knowledge; OMNISCIENCE, and thus cease to be God. God knows our frame, He knew us before we were in the womb; see Psalm 103:14, Jeremiah 1:5. We settle because we get attacked by our three enemies, just like Joshua, who had a threefold blockage to break. In the Promised Land Joshua encountered these formidable enemies. Immediately ahead of him stood Jericho, it was central, and it was fortified by those GREAT WALLS. Then just beyond that stood little Ai, which he underestimated and had to deal with again. To the South, was an alliance, he must face the Gibeonites. The 3 enemies of Joshua are the same enemies of every Christian; The World, the flesh and the devil, that is what the three cities represented then, and the three enemies that we must face today.

Conduit; And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. (Joshua 6:2) Joshua was a man of war and he knew strategy, but God said you will do it my way! The defeat of Jericho and her impenetrable walls was done by the Lord’s method and NOT MAN’S method. That is the same way we must battle the world, God’s way, not our way. Ai, the second Promised Land city the Israelites attacked, was believed to be an easy victory since spies reported it had so few people (Joshua 7:2 – 3). Joshua, therefore, sends a force of only 3,000 men to overtake the city. To the army’s surprise, they are not only repelled but also suffer the loss of thirty-six lives! We cannot take the flesh battle lightly- if we do we will lose that war. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:17) Now it is on to GIBEON. The people of Gibeon, who had recently lied and tricked Joshua into a peace agreement with them (see Joshua 9), now call upon him to save them! God reveals to Joshua that not only should he help the Gibeonites but also that the enemy will be delivered into his hands (Joshua 10:8). The Lord not only allows fear to come upon Jerusalem’s king and his allies, he also miraculously rains huge hailstones upon their heads killing many of them! Then, in one of the most unique Biblical miracles, God causes the sun to slow , stand still-in the sky in order to allow more time for his people to complete their victory (Joshua 10:12 – 14)! God is showing us, we cannot defeat the devil on our own. He is a wily foe, and sometimes works in alliance with other believers- unknowingly. Then Satan brought disaster upon Israel, for he made David decide to take a census. (1 Chronicles 1:21) Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” (Matthew 16:23) King David and Peter the apostle, both great men of God who were used by the devil- unknowingly. There is one group of people who always knew who Jesus was- demons. We cannot fight the devil on our own, we are powerless, but he, and they, must respond to the name and blood of Jesus. There are no deals to be made with the devil, and there is no power, outside of the name and blood of Jesus that can defeat the devil! Joshua and the Israelites faced the same three enemies that we face today in our PROMISED LAND: The World, the flesh and the devil! The only way to win, is to SUIT UP and WORD UP! Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Ephesians 6:11, Romans 13:13-14) Soldier on!