Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finances, Fear and the Future

Asher Intrater is the senior leader of a Messianic congregation in Israel. Asher's perspectives and insights are highly valued both in the Holy Land and beyond. He is also personal friend of Pastor Frangipane. We encourage Christian believers to stand with the church in Israel, both in prayer and financial support.

Finances, Fear and the Future

by Asher Intrater

Spiritual Roots of the Current Financial Crisis

Many companies were making huge profits from derivatives and chain linking mortgages. They were not making money from real work, nor providing any real banking services, but just manipulating money on paper. That dishonest work created false profits that eventually collapsed.

Some in the Christian community have made a mistake to think that capitalism in and of itself is enough to bring God's blessing. That is not true. God's kind of capitalism would include standards of integrity, laws against corruption and a primary motivation of generosity.

In addition, some pastors and evangelists have made the mistake of seeing the tithes and offerings primarily as a means to provide a comfortable lifestyle for themselves. That is not true. The goal of biblical donations is 1) funding congregational activities, 2) world missions and 3) helping the poor and oppressed.

On the other hand, there are many righteous businessmen and women in the world. If they will dedicate their businesses to godly principles, fight greed and corruption, and give according to kingdom priorities, then in this time of world financial difficulty, they can be greatly blessed. As Isaac sowed in the year of drought and reaped 100 fold, and as Joseph prospered during the famine in Egypt, now is the time for righteous businessmen and women to rise and take dominion.

During this crisis, God is also moving His people into position. There is a transfer of wealth, a new alignment.
Proverbs 13:22 - The wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous.

The two key principles of biblical finances are 1) integrity and 2) generosity. After a two-year battle with the Interior ministry, we have finally succeeded in getting approval for a new set of by-laws and criterion, which we believe will raise the standard of financial integrity and generosity in the Body of Messiah here in Israel.

Despite the world economic situation, we believe this year will be the best year we have ever had. We intend to increase our giving and our world missions efforts.
Isaiah 60:11 – Your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations.

It is our desire to be a source of financial blessing to many.

Obama and Opportunity for World Evangelism.

We are staunch supporters of pro-life and pro-family values. Appointing judges who favor legalizing full-term abortion or same-sex marriages would be tragic.

As an Israeli citizen, I am also gravely concerned that the West is vastly underestimating the evil and danger of Islamic Jihad. Our young people serve in battle units in the Israeli army on the front lines of the War on Terror.

I was saddened to think voters did not value the patriotic military background of McCain. The media attacks on Palin were vicious, partly because of her outspoken testimony of faith in Jesus.

The US election may be seen as a judgment of God upon America for sexual immorality and financial corruption; and upon the Church for lack of praying for our government leaders, and for lack of concern for the poor and oppressed.

Yet with the judgments of God, there is also a side of amazing grace. With the judgment there is also an opportunity for real moral change. We should walk in holy fear of the Lord and yet thank Him for His abundant mercy.

We need to pray with confident faith for the Lord to direct Obama and his staff (Proverbs 21:1, I Timothy 2:1-4, Jeremiah 29:7). Let us pray for all those who hold leadership positions in legislature, judicial, military, business, education and media. Let us remember that God still exercises spiritual authority over all the governments of the world (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; 5:21).

There is an enormous opportunity before us. Obama's bi-racial background opens a door for racial reconciliation. His being Black and yet calling himself a Christian provides an opportunity for evangelism to Blacks in America, Europe and Africa. His "choosing" Christianity despite his dad's Muslim background opens a door for evangelism to Muslims all over the world.

It is not for the government to preach the gospel; that is our job. Obama has not only become the President of the United States; he has become the leader of virtually the entire world. These next 4 to 8 years could become the greatest period of revival and advance of the kingdom of God in history… if we respond in courage and love.

In these end times, the darkness will get darker and the light will get brighter (Isaiah 60:1-3). Persecution will increase, but so will proclamation of the gospel. Let us warn the world of God's judgments and at the same time exercise bold faith for world revival.

Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.


Praise report from Asher:

New Mayor for Jerusalem

We are rejoicing with the election of Nir Barkat as the mayor of Jerusalem, and believe this to be an important spiritual victory. Barkat has been a successful businessman, an Israeli army Major, and the leader of a movement for renewing the city of Jerusalem. (Two of our sons volunteered in his campaign.)

During election day, the results seemed to be very close. A large number of ultra Orthodox Jews were recruited to vote for Meir Porush, the opposing candidate. One of my sons called me from the street, and we prayed on the phone for an hour until the poles closed.

The next day he called me again to say that there had been a miracle. The "Gur Chassidim" broke away from the Porush group and swung their support to Barkat. Journalists were astonished. My son said, "Dad, it’s just like we prayed that the kingdom of darkness would be divided according to Luke 11."

Let us pray for the new mayor to bring renewal to the city of Jerusalem, for all its inhabitants - secular Jews, religious Jews, Arabs and Christians - living in the city.

The Gift of Woundedness

Francis Frangipane:

"The Gift of Woundedness"

The world and all it contains was created for one purpose: to showcase the grandeur of God's Son. In Jesus, the nature of God is magnificently and perfectly revealed; He is the "express image" of God (Hebrews 1:3). Yet to gaze upon Christ is also to see God's pattern for man. As we seek to be like Him, we discover that our need was created for His sufficiency. We also see that, once the redemptive nature of Christ begins to triumph in our lives, mercy begins to triumph in the world around us.

How will we recognize revival when it comes? Behold, here is the awakening we seek: men and women, young and old, all conformed to Jesus. When will revival begin? It starts the moment we say yes to becoming like Him; it spreads to others as Christ is revealed through us.

Yet to embrace Christ's attitude toward mercy is but a first step in our spiritual growth. The process of being truly conformed to Christ compels us into deeper degrees of transformation. Indeed, just as Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered (see Hebrews 5:8), so also must we. And it is here, even while we stand in intercession or service to God, that Christ gives us the gift of woundedness.

"Gift?" you ask. Yes, to be wounded in the service of mercy and, instead of closing our hearts, allow woundedness to crown love, is to release God's power in redemption. The steadfast prayer of the wounded intercessor holds great sway upon the heart of God.

We cannot become Christlike without being wounded. You see, even after we come to Christ, we carry encoded within us preset limits concerning how far we will go for love, and how much we are willing to suffer for redemption. When God allows us to be wounded, He exposes those human boundaries and reveals what we lack of His nature.

The path narrows as we seek true transformation. Indeed, many Christians fall short of Christ's stature because they have been hurt and offended by people. They leave churches discouraged, vowing never again to serve or lead or contribute because, when they offered themselves, their gift was marred by unloving people. To be struck or rejected in the administration of our service can become a great offense to us, especially as we are waiting for, and even expecting, a reward for our good efforts.

Yet wounding is inevitable if we are following Christ. Jesus was both "marred" (Isaiah 52:14) and "wounded" (Zechariah 13:6), and if we are sincere in our pursuit of His nature, we will suffer as well. How else will love be perfected?

Yet, let us beware. We will either become Christlike and forgive the offenders or we will enter a spiritual time warp where we abide continually in the memory of our wounding. Like a systemic disease, the hurtful memories infect every aspect of our existence. In truth, apart from God, the wounding that life inflicts is incurable. God has decreed that only Christ in us can survive.

The Wounds of a Prayer Warrior

Intercessors live on the frontier of change. We are positioned to stand between the needs of man and the provision of God. Because we are the agents of redemption, satan will always seek the means to offend, discourage, silence, or otherwise steal the strength of our prayers. The wounding we receive must be interpreted in light of God's promise to reverse the effects of evil and make injustice work for our good (see Romans 8:28). Since spiritual assaults are inevitable, we must discover how God uses our wounds as the means to greater power. This was exactly how Christ brought redemption to the world.

Jesus knew that maintaining love and forgiveness in the midst of suffering was the key that unlocked the power of redemption. Isaiah 53:11 tells us, "By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities."

Jesus possessed revelation knowledge into the mystery of God. He knew that the secret to unleashing world-transforming power was found at the Cross, in suffering. At the Cross, payment for sin was made. As Christ forgave His enemies, Heaven's power rent the temple veil in two. Christ's stripes purchased our healing. I am not just talking about suffering, but the suffering of love.

The terrible offense of the Cross became the place of redemption for the world. Yet, remember, Jesus calls us to a Cross as well (see Matthew 16:24). Wounding is simply an altar upon which our sacrifice to God is prepared.

Listen again to Isaiah's prophetic description of Jesus' life. His words at first seem startling, but as we read, we discover a most profound truth concerning the power of woundedness. He wrote, "But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand" (Isaiah 53:10).

How did the power of God's pleasure prosper in Christ's hand? During His times of crushing, woundedness and devastation, instead of retaliating, Jesus rendered Himself "as a guilt offering."

The crushing is not a disaster; it is an opportunity. You see, our purposeful love may or may not touch the sinner's heart, but it always touches the heart of God. We are crushed by people, but we need to allow the crushing to ascend as an offering to God. The greatest benefit of all is the effect our mercy has on the Father. If we truly want to be instruments of God's good pleasure, then it is redemption, not wrath, that must prosper in our hands. If we are Christ-followers, we must offer ourselves as an offering for the guilt of others.

Conformed to the Lamb

When Christ encounters conflict, though He is the Lion of Judah, He comes as the Lamb of God. Even when He is outwardly stern, His heart is always mindful that He is the "guilt offering." Thus, Jesus not only asks the Father to forgive those who have wounded Him, but also numbers Himself with the transgressors and intercedes for them (see Isaiah 53:12). He does this because the Father takes "no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11), and it is the pleasure of God that Jesus seeks.

Is this not the wonder and mystery, yes, and the power, of Christ's Cross? In anguish and sorrow, wounded in heart and soul, still He offered Himself for His executioners' sins. Without visible evidence of success, deemed a sinner and a failure before man, He courageously held true to mercy. In the depth of terrible crushing, He let love attain its most glorious perfection. He uttered the immortal words, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Christ could have escaped. He told Peter as the Romans came to arrest Him, "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53). In less than a heartbeat, the skies would have been flooded with thousands of warring angels. Yes, Jesus could have escaped, but mankind would have perished. Christ chose to go to hell for us rather than return to Heaven without us. Instead of condemning mankind, He rendered "Himself as a guilt offering" (Isaiah 53:10, italics mine). He prayed the mercy prayer, "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34).

Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also" (John 14:12). We assume He meant that we would work His miracles, but Jesus did not limit His definition of "works" to the miraculous. The works He did - the redemptive life, the mercy cry, the identification with sinners, rendering Himself a guilt offering - all the works He did, we will "do also."

Thus, because He lives within us, we see that Isaiah 53 does not apply exclusively to Jesus; it also becomes the blueprint for Christ in us. Indeed, was this not part of His reward, that He would see His offspring? (see Isaiah 53:10) Beloved, we are the progeny of Christ!

Read these words from Paul's heart:

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His Body, which is the Church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" (Colossians 1:24).

What did the apostle mean? Did not Christ fully pay mankind's debts once and for all? Did Paul imply that we now take Jesus' place? No, we will never take Jesus' place. It means that Jesus has come to take our place. The Son of God manifests all the aspects of His redemptive, sacrificial life through us. Indeed, "as He is, so also are we in this world" (1 John 4:17).

Paul not only identified with Christ in his personal salvation, but he was also consumed with Christ's purpose. He wrote, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10).

For those who blame others for the decline of our nation, to be a follower of the Lamb, you must render yourself as an offering for their sin. By your wounds they shall be healed.

What a wondrous reality is the "fellowship of His sufferings." Here, in choosing to yoke our existence with Christ's purpose, we find true friendship with Jesus. This is intimacy with Christ. The sufferings of Christ are not the sorrows typically endured by mankind; they are the afflictions of love. They bring us closer to Jesus. We learn how precious is the gift of woundedness.

Let's pray: Father, I see You have had no other purpose in my life but to manifest through me the nature of Your Son. I receive the gift of woundedness. In response, in surrender to Christ, I render myself an offering for those You've used to crush me. May the fragrance of my worship remind You of Jesus, and may You forgive, sprinkle and cleanse the world around me.

Francis Frangipane

Ministries of Francis Frangipane



What is Spirit Empowered Prayer?

James W. Goll:

"What is Spirit Empowered Prayer?"

James W. GollIntro

This week I thought I would share a "teaching" that is based from my new book Prayer Storm with this accompanying study guide. I want to encourage us to engage in Spirit Led and Spirit Empowered Prayer. Therefore I have chosen to bring a portion of that material. Enter into thanksgiving and then practice "praying in the spirit." It is such an honor and blessing to pray with the Holy Spirit's help. I want to focus on praying in the spirit and seeing whatever He places in your heart to pray - then pray it!

We encourage you to make plans now to join us in Nashville on January 15–17, 2009 for our annual Secret Place Gathering (see details below in itinerary).

Thanks Once Again for Standing With Us!

James W. Goll

What is Spirit Empowered Prayer?

A. Letting the Holy Spirit Lead

1. Romans 8:14 states, "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."

2. Just like in a great waltz or dance, you want another to take the lead and gently nudge you in the direction you are to go. Follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and He will guide you into a power prayer that is strong and effective.

B. Letting the Holy Spirit Empower

In Spirit empowered prayer, as it was on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit will light upon you and give you power that you previously did not know. When you add the Holy Spirit's power to the force of prayer, it is like getting a booster to your missile or rocket. A burst of energy that is not your own will come upon you or even through you, and your prayers will hit the target!

There are various forms of Spirit Led and Spirit Empowered Prayer. Let's take a look at a few of them.

Praying in the Gifts of Tongues

A. Praying in the Spirit through the Gift of Tongues

While there can be many expressions of Spirit empowered praying, praying with the gift of tongues is one of the foremost ways. The following are some key points concerning this type of prophetic intercession.

1. Praying in the Spirit is your spirit communicating directly with God. It is primarily for use in your devotional prayer life for intercession, praise, and worship.

a. 1 Corinthians 14:2 - "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries."

b. 1 Corinthians 14:28b - "...let him speak to himself and to God."

2. Praying in the Spirit is a Perfect Prayer

a. Romans 8:26 - "And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."

b. 1 Corinthians 14:14 - "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful."

c. Since you do not always know how or what to pray in a given situation, you can bring the need before the Lord by praying in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, your Helper, enables you to pray as you ought thereby praying in the Lord's will.

d. Praying in the Spirit is a means by which the Holy Spirit intercedes through your spirit. This is where we get the term "prayer language."

3. Praying in the Spirit has Definite Meaning

a. Although you do not understand what you are praying, God does. He who inspired it also comprehends it.

b. 1 Corinthians 14:10 - "There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning."

4. Praying in the Spirit Edifies the Person Praying

a. As you use this prayer language consistently, you become built up, strengthened, and encouraged. You then have the refreshing ability to continue on in your intercessory warfare task.

b. 1 Corinthians 14:4a - "One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself..."

c. Jude 1:20 - "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit."

5. Praying in the Spirit has the Authority of Heaven Behind It

a. There is no way you could know in the natural when satan and his demonic forces will launch an attack. But the Holy Spirit will prompt you at the strategic, opportune time and keep you on the alert.

b. James 5:16b - "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."

c. 1 Corinthians 14:15 - "What is the outcome, then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also."

d. Like Paul, you can pray in the spirit and praise and worship Jesus. As you do this, you regain territory from the demonic kingdom in the lives of those for whom you are praying.

e. This perfect prayer and praise weapon is powerful and always on target. Praise and prayer in tongues is God's secret anti-ballistic missile!

B. Diversities of Tongues

1. 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-7, 27-28:

"Concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant."

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God, which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal

"Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

2. There are Different Types of Tongues

There is more than one kind of tongue. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 (above), the word translated "diversities" is the Greek word genos, which means "kin" or "offspring." It is a term that is used to refer to a collection of different things belonging to the same group or family. In other words, diversities of tongues are heavenly utterances that are all different from each other, yet all are related to one another by the same Spirit.

3. Examples of Diversities of Tongues

a. Tongues at the filling of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-46; Mark 16:17.

b. Tongues for interpretation - 1 Corinthians 12:7-10; Isaiah 28:11.

c. Tongues of edification - Jude 1:20; 1 Corinthians 14:4.

d. Tongues as a sign to the unbeliever - 1 Corinthians 14:22.

e. Tongues of intercession - Romans 8:26. The word groanings in this verse can be translated "inarticulate speech." It refers to speech that does not originate in the intellect or with the understanding. It is speech that is not related to race of nationality. Inarticulate speech includes, but is not limited to "other tongues."

f. Tongues of Warfare

There is a place where the Holy Spirit goes on the offensive. He battles through us. Sometimes there is a coupling together of the gift of faith with tongues. A rising within occurs and a push or urge to launch out against the demonic forces happens. Sometimes it is the wedding between discerning of spirits and tongues. You combat or attack the dark force, commanding it to flee.

In these situations, you are operating in a "militant tongue" or "warring with the gift of tongues." When you pray in this type of tongue, you are attacking the powers of darkness. You are taking authority over the power of satan. You are rebuking the enemy and rejecting his plans for your life by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you. This is the tongue of intercession engaged in warfare. Deliverance, healing, and liberty can come through the power of warring in the gift of tongues.

Being Tenacious!

A. Never Give Up!

Never Give Up! Passionately pursue God and tenaciously pursue your enemy until you prevail! Love never quits and as intercessors we are called to prevailing prayer motivated by the love of God – not just sporadic praying! Be constant in your prayers. Never Give Up!

B. The Watchmen's Anointing

In Spirit empowered prayer, an anointing of a watchman can be granted to you. You are watching to see in the Spirit what the enemy is doing and what the Holy Spirit desires to do. You take the keys of the Kingdom and bind up darkness and may see the opposite spirit of the Lord's presence. Watch! Be alert! Be vigilant! Be on your guard!

C. The Words of Jesus' Word from Matthew 11:12

"The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force."

Such will be the Holy Spirit empowered intercessors in a last generation! Will you be among them? Will you volunteer freely?

Let's Pray: Father, I want to make a difference! I want to take the Kingdom by force. Teach me Spirit empowered and Spirit led prayer. Anoint me with a prayer power that goes beyond my natural mind. Take me further than I have ever been before, for Your Kingdom's sake. In Jesus name, Amen and Amen!

James W. Goll

Encounters Network



Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is it ever right to lie?

By Abraham Israel -

Question: "Is it ever right to lie?"

Answer: The Bible says that a lying tongue is an abomination to the Lord (Prov 6:17; 12:22), he who has a perverse tongue falls in to evil (Prov 17:20), a righteous man hates lying (Prov 13:5), whoever hides hatred has lying lips (Prov 10:18), a lying tongue hates [those who are] crushed by it (Prov 26:28), a lying tongue [is] but for a moment (Prov 12:19), Getting treasures by a lying tongue [is] the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death (Prov 21:6). Nowhere in the Bible is lying considered to be a right thing to do. In the Old Testament the ninth commandment says, “You shall not bear false witness [i.e. lies] against your neighbor” (Deut 5:19; Exodus 20:16). False witness is someone who speaks lies (Proverbs 6:19). The Bible says vividly that a man lying to his neighbor is committing sins and trespassing against the Lord (Lev 6:2).

Lying is a spirit which causes people to be influenced by it, when people resist the truth of God (1 Kings 22:22-23). So only the Psalmist cried to God saying, “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips [and] from a deceitful tongue” (Ps 120:2). God will allow send such lying spirits to those who do not receive the love of the truth, who do not believe in the truth, but hate righteousness and desirously walk in wickedness (2 Thess 2:10-12). Even prophets of God who had wrong motives in the Old Testament were influenced by these lying spirits to mislead God’s people using the name of God (Jer 29:23; Ezek 13:19). True Love “rejoices [only] in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). God encourages everyone to “…Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for truth” (Zeph 8:16).

Scripture after Scripture speaks very negatively against lying and forecasts only destruction, doom and gloom for all those who make it as a habit to practice such lawless behavior. These scriptures are Ps 119:29, 163; 120:2; Eph 4:25; Col 3:9. God has as clearly as crystal has expressed that “…all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8).

There are many people who have lied for some reason or the other in the scriptures. Jacob who very name means “Supplanter or Deceitful [One Who Takes the Heel]’ (Gen 25:26). Jacob deceived his father to receive the family blessing of birthright which only belong to the firstborn legally (Gen 27:22-30, 35-36). The Lord did not accept the doing of Jacob as something commendable, but he allowed Jacob to repent in his own time and gave him a transformed name and character only after he repented of his wrongdoing (Genesis 32:6-11, 22-30). The Lord truly blessed Jacob only after He repented of his inability and unworthiness to please God through his own effort (Gen 32:30). In the New Testament God judged the couple Ananias and Sapphira for lying to His apostolic messenger Peter. Apostle Peter then equated it directly as equal to lying to the Holy Spirit. As a result both of them died and great fear came upon the Church and all those who heard these things (Acts 5:1-11). This shows that God hates lying as a serious offence and that He may judge it severely any time He chooses.

People try to justify lying at rare instances as unavoidable by pointing to two instances in the Bible where they believe it produced favorable result with God. Actually they are mistaken. The first instance is when Hebrew midwives lied to Pharaoh and saved many Hebrew babies as a result of it, they say that the Lord blessed them because of it (Exodus 1:15-21). Actually the Lord did not bless them for their lies, but for their faith in Him as the real God. Their faith in their heart caused them to act according to God’s plan. Considering the scenario at that time, they too were pagans who because of their faith in the God of Israel as the true one, they lied to Pharaoh. It was their faith in God that justified them. It is the same in the case of the second instance of Rahab’s life too. She lied as a pagan because of her real faith in the real God who could only save her from destruction (Josh 2:1-24). The prime thing is that in both instances the people who lied were still pagans with a only beacon of childlike faith rising in their heart for the true God (Exod 1:15-21; Heb 11:31; James 2:25). God justified these ungodly people because of their faith (Rom 4:5). One sin is enough to throw us away from heaven, in that way we are all ungodly whom God has justified though the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross (James 2:10; Rom 3:10; 5:1, 6) that “He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith of Jesus.” (Rom 3:26). Once we become justified, we become righteous and godly in Christ Jesus, after this we do not have the rights to turn the grace of our God into lewdness [vulgarity] and deny the only Lord God Christ as the ungodly men do (Jud 1:4; Rom 5:9). Justification through Jesus Christ makes a righteous man obligated not to lie no matter what the reason in their lives, as the righteous man will “hate lying” because of the nature of God in him (Prov 13:5). The Bible does not give an option to choose lying in instances where it seems acceptable and also nowhere does the Bible state lying as the right thing to do.

The question that still remains in some people’s mind is– Is there ever a time when lying is the right thing to do? The answer is a clear no. The most commonly misused illustration of this dilemma comes from the life of Corrie ten Boom in Nazi Germany. Essentially the story is this: Corrie ten Boom is hiding Jews in her home to protect them from the Nazis. Nazi soldiers come to her home and ask her if she knows where any Jews are hiding. What is she to do? Should she tell the truth and allow the Nazis to capture the Jews she was trying to protect? Or, should she lie and deny that she knows anything about them?

In such a scenario a believer is expected to pray to the Lord to “do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt 6:13). In all the cases discussed below, God responded to deliver a believer from such evil tyrants where God blinded them so as not to see what is before them. This was true when many Bibles were taken in to communist countries where the guards who checked the vehicles at the entry point could not see loads of Bibles in the car. It has also happened just a few decades back in another case where a minister of God who was arrested and jailed for life in the most highly secured prison in China walked before the securities to the main gate to escape their evil clutches unnoticed and finally escaped in the same way out of the communist nation.

In the Bible too when Elisha prayed to God to strike the people with blindness who came to arrest him, God responded to his faith and did just that (2 Kings 6:16-18). Also when the men of Sodom wanted to harm Lot and break the door of his house for not handing over the angelic visitors to partake in their lustful perverse behavior with them, the angels struck the men with blindness so that they became weary trying to find the door (Gen 19:4-11). So the bottom line is God is able to protect his people in such situations. It is up to the people of God to trust God and ask God to supernaturally intervene in such situations by faith. Or else the believers can pray preventive prayers such as ‘Lord please do not allow the soldiers to come and check for people in our home!’ in situations discussed above as Corrie ten Boom’s situation. Even though we are living in the evil world, we are not of this evil world system of governance (John 16:33; 17:6, 14-16). Lying is of the world. But we are of God and we belong to His heavenly government which has commanded us to overcome the world by faith (John 18:36; 1 John 4:6; 5:4-5).

No matter what the desperate situation you may face, it is not a right thing to lie saying that, it is a lesser evil to lie in order to prevent a greater evil from happening as though God cannot prevent things from happening and protect His people. It is unbelief to say and think like this as the Bible says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do [it], to him it is sin.” (James 4:17). Praise the Lord!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Are Any Homosexuals Saved?

Ask a Bible Teacher - by Jack Kelley

Q. Do you believe that a person can truly be born again and be active in the homosexual lifestyle? I know several who believe they are born again and are very active.

A. The Bible classifies homosexuality as a sin, just like stealing, adultery, murder, etc.(Lev. 18:22 & Rom. 1:26-27)) People don’t have to stop sinning before they can be saved, but the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit is intended to draw us into a life pleasing to God. Most people, while still being sinners, experience a diminished enjoyment of their sins as the Holy Spirit convicts them of a need to change. And yet Christians commit adultery, kill people and steal from others just like non- believers. And they engage in homosexual behavior. The question isn’t whether we still sin, but whether we recognize our sinful behavior as such and seek forgiveness.

A believer who denies that homosexuality is a sin is like one who denies that adultery is a sin. They’re kidding them selves and rebelling against the Holy Spirit’s convictions. Eventually one would question whether they were really saved. But a sinner who admits he or she is a sinner and sincerely asks for forgiveness deserves to get it “even 70 times 7 times” (Matt 18:22.) They deserve our prayers and support as well. We have no idea what demons they’re fighting, jut like they have no idea of ours. Remember, if we could stop sinning we wouldn’t need a Savior.

Q. Read your article re homosexual practice with interest.

Your statement that when you are born again if we do sin and ask for forgiveness it is forgiven. I agree but if one continues sinning the same sin you did as unsaved is it forgiven. Because if you are “Born again of the spirit of GOD” when you sin you feel great remorse and look to God to deliver you from this sin.

If I kill a person and commit my life to Christ but continue to kill people,something is wrong. At rebirth the old should be gone the new man should desire the things of the spirit.

I say this because when I do something that I know I shouldn’t I feel terrible and when I ask for forgiveness it is sometimes with deep remorse that I approach the Lord. I have weaknesses and I know that is where the enemy will always attack so I earnestly look to God for help,Grace and mercy to deliver me from the temptation and desire to sin.

I agree once you are “Born Again” sin is forgiven but it must be a new man, right?

A. I know you don’t mean to come across this way, but you don’t sound very merciful. When the Lord told Peter that he had to forgive a brother 70 X 7 times He didn’t condition that by adding, “Unless it’s the same sin over and over.” Have you never committed the same sin twice?

I believe that sexual behavior can be addictive just like drugs or gambling or overeating. If you’ve been blessed with a life free of addiction then thank the Lord for that. But while you’re doing so, ask also for mercy on behalf of those who struggle every day to maintain control of their lives. At the end of the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:21-35) that was prompted by Peter’s question, the Lord had the king (who represented God) saying, “I forgave you all your debt because you asked me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant as I had on you?” It’s a good question for all of us.

When Jesus went to the cross, all of the sins of our life were in the future. Yet He knew every one of them and nailed them all to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15) No where in the Bible is there even a hint that He left some of our debt unpaid.

Q. I’ve read your reply to the person who questioned whether the unrepentant homosexual woman would be taken in the rapture, and I disagree. I have read your answer to that person, and you say that nowhere in the NT does it say our salvation can be taken from us. Technically, you are right. Nobody can snatch us out of Jesus’ hand against our will, but we can voluntarily walk away.

in John 15:1-2, Jesus says He is the vine, and that the Father is the vinedresser, and that “Every branch in Me that does NOT bear fruit, He (God) takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” In verse 4 it continues “ABIDE in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, UNLESS it abides in the vine, neither can you, UNLESS YOU ABIDE IN ME.”_ A perverse homosexual lifestyle being lived by an unrepentant person is NOT abiding in Him. I’m sorry, but it just isn’t.

Yes, we all stumble and sin. Yes we are all sinful until the day we die, but the key is asking for forgiveness and trying hard to not repeat the things that do not please God. Will we all fail? Certainly! But when one is unrepentant, and ceases to care about the sin, then one is in willfull rebellion and is treading very dangerous ground. That woman will not be raptured unless and until she has a change of heart and becomes repentant.

A. 2 Cor 1:21-22 says that when we are saved God accepts responsibility for keeping us that way and puts His Spirit in us as a guarantee. How does the Holy Spirit become unsealed, and God’s guarantee get broken? Also all the sins of our life were paid for the moment we accepted the Lord. (Col. 2:13-14) How does He later rescind that forgiveness? And Salvation is not a fruit bearing event. Your quotes in John 15 teach us that a believer out of fellowship will live a defeated life, of no more value than pruned branches.

If your view is correct then Jesus lied to us about losing none of us. Sheep wander away all the time, that’s why they need a shepherd. If he saves us and then loses us then he has violated His father’s will.(John 6:38-40) Finally, the qualification for salvation is belief, not behavior. (John 3:16) The Bible cannot contradict itself. If that woman’s sister is born again then the Lord will bring her back into fellowship before the rapture, because He promised he would not lose her. He will always leave the 99 and go find the one. (Luke 15:4) Our job is to pray for her, not to condemn her, because we could easily find ourselves in a similar situation.

Q. I have a close friend of mine who is gay. He believes that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior. Will he go to heaven?

A. Homosexuality is a sin and is forbidden by God. But so are adultery, theft, murder and the like. Some say that a practicing homosexual is different from a murderer because typically murderers don’t kill people every Saturday night. But when Jesus went to the cross He already knew every sin we’d ever commit in our life and how many times we’d commit the same ones over and over. He nailed all of them to the cross and paid the price for them with His life.

When a sinner of any kind gives his heart to the Lord all the sins of his or her life past present and future are forgiven. There are special rewards in Heaven for those who overcome behavior that God dislikes, but our salvation is not dependent on that. It’s based solely on our belief that Jesus died for our sins. All of them.

Q. I can’t get enough of this website. It’s so full of useful information. Thank you for the time and energy you obviously put into it.

I read all I could on homosexuality as I have a brother-in-law who has left his wife of 17 years and three almost grown daughters for another man. He has convinced himself and daughters that he fought off this desire for years until God told him he was born that way and must embrace the lifestyle for his happiness. His Christian parents are accepting him and his partner into the family, encouraging the grandchildren to call him “uncle”!

My question: My husband (his brother) and I have three young children and while we let him know we love him, however do not approve of his actions, we are not willing to embrace him while he is with his partner. In other words if they are coming together to family gatherings we will not be present. We grapple with this, please know, but we strongly feel it sends a message to our kids that what they are doing is OKAY! We also feel it sends the same message to him and his partner, if everyone acts as if what they are doing is okay. If everyone goes on as if nothing is wrong with the picture what is that really saying? Isn’t that christians tolerating blatant sin? Our whole family has been torn apart over this!

A. I don’t know who told your brother-in-law that he was born a homosexual, but it wasn’t God. The thing we most depend upon where God is concerned is His word. We have to know that He doesn’t ever change His mind, or else He could suddenly decide to “unsave” us and we’d be hopelessly lost.

In Leviticus 18:22 God called homosexuality detestable. In Lev. 20:13 He made the act punishable by death, along with adultery, incest, and other sexual sins. In Romans 1:27 He called homosexuality a perversion and said that it’s a judgment for sin.

If He created some to be homosexuals, then He couldn’t condemn homosexuality this way, any more than He could condemn someone for having blue eyes. Neither can He condemn something so completely at one point and then accept it at another. God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. It’s clear that God views homosexuality as a sin like theft, murder, adultery, blasphemy, etc.

In Christianity we’re supposed to hate sin but love sinners, but that’s not the same as accepting or even tolerating behavior that’s sinful. Paul told the Corinthians to expel an immoral brother from the fellowship. (1 Cor. 5:1-11) Later, when he admitted his sin and asked their forgiveness, Paul told them to restore him. (2 Cor. 2:5-11)
The Lord is always working toward restoration and reconciliation, even if it takes an entire lifetime, and so should we. While leaving no question as to where you stand on his behavior, and why, be sure to continue expressing your love for your brother-in-law and your desire to be reconciled. Pray that God will keep all your hearts open to His will in accomplishing this.

Q. I’m quite confused on this issue that seems to be very prominent in many churches. I have seen and heard the Bishop of New Hampshire on several interviews and he speaks of Jesus and salvation and seems quite convincing that he is truly a Christian and that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and that we have been interpreting scripture wrong to make this a sin when in fact it isn’t. We have some family members who claim to be homosexual and are living with their partners which adds to my confusion. Can you shed some light on this issue?

A. I don’t see how anyone could misinterpret the scriptures concerning homosexuality. For example, Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 both say that if a man lies with another man as one lies with a woman both have done what is detestable. And how about Romans 1:26-27?

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

These passages simply can’t be misunderstood if you read them as they’re written. Homosexuality is a sin. But like every other sin it can be forgiven because like every other sin it was paid for at the cross. And like every other sin, you don’t have to stop doing it before you can be forgiven. Once we’re born again, any sin we commit, no matter how many times we’ve done the same thing in the past, is forgiven and forgotten the moment we ask.

We don’t have to like it or even tolerate it in our presence, but we do have to recognize that we’re all sinners, and while some sins seem worse than others from the human perspective, all are equally detestable to God and unless paid for at the cross will result in our eternal exclusion from the presence of God.

Q. I am fifteen-years-old. I have grown up a Christain. I have faith in God with all of my heart, but I need help. Despite that fact that I went to a Christain elementary school, went to Sunday school through out middle school, and go to church, I am a homosexual.

My question is: Should I continue to hide these thoughts for the rest of my life? (If I do then I would have to lie to any man I end up with and will continue to be sad).

Or should I live as a homosexual? (This is the only way I will be happy. The Lord wants me to be happy and not to be homosexual, but I cannot see how this would work). Please help.

A. I can’t begin to understand what you must be going through, and don’t pretend to be an expert on this. But I do know two things. One is that God’s word is unmistakably clear on His attitude toward homosexuality, and two is that He is a just God and therefore couldn’t condemn any of His children for a condition they couldn’t help or correct.

These two things lead me to conclude that He didn’t create anyone to be a homosexual. Something has to have happened to put homosexual tendencies into a person’s mind, and that something, whatever it was, has to be reversible. They also lead me to conclude that homosexuality is no different from any other sin. And that means it was paid for at the cross and can be forgiven.

1 Cor. 10:13 seems to apply here. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

There are several sites on the web that specialize in working with believers who have homosexual tendencies. I suggest you contact them to find out more about them and then choose one and ask for their help. Thousands of us will pray that the Lord leads you to the help you’ve asked for.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The focus of Christians on Thanksgiving

Question: "What should be the focus of Christians on Thanksgiving?"

Answer: The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for corn, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.

These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Indians in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Indians in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 friendly Indians (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.

From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.

Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh's army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.

In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).

Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart!

Patricia King:

"Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart"

Patricia KingHe Invades the Darkness In a prior meeting in Houston, Steve Mitchell began singing a song he had written called, You Were There. The lyrics expressed thanksgiving to God for being there in the difficult, lonely, dark, and confusing times of our lives. Tears came to my eyes during that worship service as I recalled the many times I experienced the precious comfort and encouragement of His presence.

I reflected on the times when it felt like no one was there to stand and support, when confusion caused my thoughts and emotions to swirl, and when everything in my heart hurt. We have all had those seasons in life. Some describe this type of experience as the dark night of the soul.

In continued reflection, I vividly recalled the moments when in the midst of those dark and painful hours, the glorious presence of His tangible love would suddenly invade the darkness, flooding me with sweet peace and granting me courage to continue. The moment He manifested His presence, the battle settled. No matter how devastating the circumstances were, they were seemingly insignificant in the light of His abiding presence.

The only appropriate response to such divine intervention in the midst of our dark hours is thankfulness. Even the memory of such moments releases once again the gratefulness I feel for all He is, and for all He does. Our God is so amazing and His eye is ever upon us. I want to praise Him all the days of my life, no matter what state I am in.

I want to praise and thank Him when I am soaring on the mountain tops, but I want to also passionately and extravagantly praise and thank Him when I am walking through my darkest hour. Why? Because He is good! He is always good! The Lord is good and His loving kindness endures forever. He is forever worthy of our praise!

Gratefulness to Him

The Lord is touched deeply by the expression of our gratefulness to Him. Gratefulness carries a sweet savor and ministers the fragrance of thanksgiving, love, and kindness. Oftentimes, individuals who have been blessed by our ministry will approach me in a meeting or write me an email or letter sharing how thankful they were for what they received through our ministry. Sometimes they will give a little token of their appreciation through a special card or a little gift.

There is never a time when I am not deeply touched and humbled through their sweet expressions of gratitude. Often I am touched to tears. I love serving the Body of Christ and I don't personally expect to be thanked or honored in any way. I love serving and blessing God's children and I adore the privilege of pouring myself out for them, but when an individual graciously expresses their thanksgiving, it both disarms me and empowers me. It always carries a heavenly fragrance.

In John 12, Mary of Bethany poured out an offering of thanks on the feet of Jesus. She had sat at His feet often as she received from His presence and teaching. Now, she was pouring out the perfume of her grateful heart. Many believe that the expensive oil she poured out upon Him was in fact her dowry. In gratefulness for all He was to her, she poured out her future upon Him. Without a dowry, she would have no hope for a husband.

The fragrance of this act of love filled the room and it filled Jesus. Some say that on the Cross the fragrance of this oil was still experienced in the atmosphere. Others say that it even flooded the tomb where He was buried. The fragrance of a grateful heart does indeed bring Heaven to Earth and the Lord loves it.

Seven Points to Meditate On

The following are seven points to meditate on regarding the grateful heart:

1. The grateful heart is a sign of a humble heart.

In order to exercise gratefulness, you need to move your eyes off yourself and esteem God and others higher than yourself. Gratefulness and humility go together.

2. The grateful heart is evidence of a worshipping heart.

When you express your gratefulness to the Lord, it is evidence of a heart full of adoration and thankfulness to Him. This adoration releases worship.

3. The grateful heart ministers blessing and encouragement to the Lord and others.

Gratefulness warms the heart of those who receive it. It ministers encouragement.

4. The grateful heart often opens the Heavens over us so that blessings are poured out.

Whatever you sow, you will reap. If you sow the blessing of gratefulness into the Heavens, the Heavens will pour out blessings upon you. On the other hand, if you murmur and complain, the Heavens can be brassed over and you will be hindered from living under the blessings of Heaven above.

5. The grateful heart will often give victory in warfare.

We know that thanksgiving and praise will oftentimes release the victory of the Lord in the midst of battle. This was the case with Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 when he called the nation to praise the Lord while enemies, much stronger than themselves, hemmed them in on every side. Their praise changed the atmosphere. They were delivered from being victims to victors.

6. The grateful heart releases and sustains divine provision and miracles.

Before the miracle of the loaves and the fishes took place in Mark 8, Jesus gave thanks. There was more than enough for the 4,000 people there that day. When ten lepers were cleansed in Luke 17:11-19, only one returned with a grateful heart. This was the one who was not only cleansed, but made whole.

7. The grateful heart ushers in the glory.

I have discovered that when I release my thanksgiving and gratefulness to the Lord, His tangible presence falls. This is what happened in 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 at the dedication of the temple. When they celebrated His goodness and mercy with thankful hearts, the glory cloud filled the house of God.

Let's commit to living before God with a grateful heart. We have so much to be thankful for and He is forever worthy of our sincere praise.

Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One, Forever!

Patricia King

Extreme Prophetic Ministries


Website :

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Art of Gratitude

Graham Cooke:

"The Art of Gratitude - It's Not Just for the Thanksgiving Weekend"

Graham Cooke

It's in Our DNA

In all things, we must give thanks. It is part of our DNA as human beings that we be grateful. If I eat a great meal in a restaurant, I want to thank the server and the chef. It's just natural! If someone gives us a beautiful sweater for Christmas, we want to say thank you.

If someone scores a touchdown for our team, what are we doing when we stand up and cheer? We are showing our appreciation. If someone wins a gold medal, or overcomes a daunting deficit to win, we jump up and down. We are thankful to be a part of that historic moment.

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus," Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Intimacy has a voice, and we need to be vocal in our praise and gratitude. Thanksgiving is not just for the Thanksgiving weekend; it should be an everyday occurrence.

I believe that real intimacy with God cannot be hidden. It transforms us. To get there, however, we need to press into communion and praise. We have to live with a heart captured by God.

Appreciation is often a tool God uses to draw us closer to Him. When we enter His presence, He usually tells us something He loves about us. He is very good at being grateful - and we need to follow the Holy Spirit's lead in that.

Thankfulness is the Door to God's Presence

God's blessing should propel us into thanksgiving - our excitement over what He is doing must manifest itself in gratitude. Thankfulness is a test we need to pass every day of our lives. Whether life is good or bad, we always have something to give thanks for.

Many Christians have been conditioned to think that they enter God's presence with prayer. But Scripture is clear that thankfulness is the door to His presence - "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name," says Psalm 100:4.

Whatever happens, we must thank God for the set of circumstances we are in. I'm not saying that we must thank God for something horrible that has happened - Christians are not called to be masochists. However, we can thank God that He is always with us.

Rejoicing in God gives us the opportunity to hear Him. When we enter His presence with thanksgiving, we open more of ourselves to His voice. When we want to know God's will for a situation, we begin by giving thanks.

Thankfulness Helps Us to Remain Happy

Probably two-thirds of the rest of the world would change places with us in the west - in a heartbeat - no matter how poor our lifestyle. To many, we are rich beyond their wildest dreams. Count your blessings; there are so many things to give thanks for.

If we struggle with being grateful to God for what He has given us, chances are we will be ungracious to people in how we live our lives. It is disciplines like gratitude, thanksgiving, praise, and worship that keep the presence of God fresh and alive in our hearts.

This is a fundamental spiritual truth that can re-shape and re-ignite our personal time with God. By entering His presence with praise, not petitions, we learn how to adore God. Our hearts become full of constant, continuous worship. We are people called to be happy in God; if we don't have joy in our relationship with Him, how can we expect anyone else to?

As a Christian, who would you rather be represented by - the most miserable swine on earth, or the happiest person in the world? This is the very choice God faces! Nobody wants to be represented by someone who is glum and miserable.

Thankfulness helps us remain happy in God.

Graham Cooke

Brilliant Book House


About Graham Cooke: Graham Cooke is part of the pastoral leadership team of The Mission in Vacaville, California, working with senior pastor David Crone. Graham is a popular conference speaker and is well-known for his training programs on the prophetic, spiritual warfare, intimacy with God, leadership, and spirituality. A thinker and a strategist, Graham is also a builder with a particular desire to produce finances and resources to help the poor. He financially supports and helps to underwrite church planting, leadership development, evangelism, and health and rescue projects in many countries in the third world. Graham has written several popular books, including Approaching the Heart of Prophecy and Developing Your Prophetic Gifting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Father's Prayer

Kathi Pelton: The Power of The Father's Prayer

by Kathi Pelton

"Our Father, Who is in Heaven, holy is Your Name; Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4

Over the past couple of months, I have found myself beginning each day by praying the entirety of the "Father's Prayer." I have to admit that I have never done this in my entire Christian life. I have prayed the prayer occasionally, but never daily with such a sense of the power of the Holy Spirit backing up these Words. Although I do not know, I would not be surprised to find out that many of God's people around the world are being led by the Spirit to pray these words.

Holy Is Your Name

"Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.'" Revelation 4:8

It is so appropriate that the first line of the Father's prayer is the echo of what is heard in Heaven both day and night, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty..." As Jesus taught His people to pray, He knew the sounds of Heaven and taught us to come into the unity and the sounds of His Kingdom as we approach our Father. As we pray this first line, "...holy is Your name..." we are joining with the angels in raising an anthem of "Who He is."

In our schools here in the USA, the day begins with the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation, and in Canada each Monday morning the national anthem is sung by the students. So, as God's people, we can begin our day with our "pledge of allegiance" or singing the anthem of Heaven that shouts "Holy is Your Name."

As I enter into each new day, I want to declare that He alone is Holy, that He alone is God Almighty, and that He was and is and is to come. Even now my Spirit is rising up as I write this, declaring, "Holy is Your Name!" There is great power in this statement alone. It is an acknowledgement of His Holiness, His might, and His Name being the name above all names.

Stop even now and begin to let your spirit join with the voice of Heaven and say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." I believe this is the most powerful statement we can make. It must be, since the four living creatures never stop saying it! May all His living creatures, in Heaven and on Earth, begin to say both day and night, "Holy is the Lord."

Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done

"...Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven..."

As God's people we long to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. My greatest desire, above every other desire, is to see the desires of God's heart accomplished in the lives of His people. Though I live with many personal desires, each one of them are laid down at the feet of Jesus and submitted to His desires alone for my life.

Recently, my family took a foster baby into our home. He is a six-month-old, adorable baby boy. Our entire family has fallen in love with this little bundle of joy. Our five teenagers have become the source of his constant entertainment. Though we have less sleep (way less!), less free time, and less energy, we have gladly exchanged these things for the beauty of his little smile, the sweetness of having his little fingers stroke our faces, the tenderness of kissing his cheeks, and the adorable giggle that he releases when we act funny.

But, here's the dilemma: There's another daddy and mommy who love him too and are longing for his return to their arms. In my natural thinking, it would make sense if God gave him to us for adoption since he would be raised in a Christian home, but God understands things in ways that I can never understand or figure out. It just may be God's will for him to return to his birth parents.

Each morning (and sometimes numerous times throughout the day), I pray the Father's prayer over him, "Your Kingdom come and Your will be done..." By doing this, I submit my desire over to His perfect will, knowing that His will carries wisdom that my desire alone will never comprehend. I believe that as God's people do this in every area of their lives, it is a pleasing sacrifice that invites Him to entrust us with the deepest desires of His heart.

Our Daily Bread

"...Give us this day our daily bread..."

As many in these days face economic struggles, there is a reality to the prayer for our "daily bread." Although I believe that this verse is speaking of provision of our daily needs, I also believe that it speaks to the daily needs of us spiritually, emotionally, and in every way. This year, it's often been daily comfort that we needed to eat of.

For our family, 2008 has been an especially tough year as we have faced numerous deaths, the greatest financial struggle of our married life, unexplainable delays and trials that have stretched us and our faith beyond anything we have ever experienced. But God tells us not to worry, because our daily bread will be provided...this is a promise to us. Let's look at this promise in Luke 12:22-34:

"That's why I'm telling you to stop worrying about your life - what you will eat or what you will drink - or about your body - what you will wear. Life is more than food, isn't it, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky. They don't plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren't you? Can any of you add a single hour to the length of your life by worrying?

"And why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies in the field and how they grow. They don't work or spin yarn, but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. Now if that is the way God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and thrown into an oven tomorrow, won't He clothe you much better - you who have little faith?

"So don't ever worry by saying, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?' because it is the Gentiles who are eager for all those things. Surely your Heavenly Father knows that you need all of them! But first be concerned about God's Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well. So never worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

As God's people, we struggle with the worry that will come and hit us without advance notice. It is hard in those moments to feel very excited about the faith that we have been called to walk in. But here's the truth: Faith is not a feeling - it is a posture and conscious decision that we make for our lives.

We must daily submit our flesh and it's feelings to the truth that our spirits know. When our family lived as missionaries for a number of years, it rarely "felt" good to not have a weekly paycheck to depend on, but once again, it was not a walk of feelings but rather a walk of faith. Our faith came from the promises of God as we just read in Luke 12. God will give us our daily bread.

Forgive Our Sins

"...and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us..."

We have been forgiven of so much! The longer I walk with God the more I realize how much I have been forgiven. It has been like the peeling of an onion. I now see the truth of the sin behind some of the things that seemed permissible in my youth. The good news is that I am not condemned in any of these things because of the merciful forgiveness that flows from God. I understand the words that Jesus speaks about the woman in Luke 7, who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair:

"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." Luke 7:47

Jesus was quick to love and quick to forgive, and I want to be like Him. Whether it was tax collectors, prostitutes, or fishermen - He forgave their sins and poured out His unconditional love upon their lives. We must do the same.

Last week my husband and I were at the memorial service for his best friend's father. During the service, this man's sons got up to speak about coming to the place of forgiving their father for not being everything they needed him to be when they were young. Do you know how they came to this point of forgiveness?

It was when they became men and fathers and began to realize how we all fall short, even when it is our deepest desire to be all that our children want us to be. When they were able to forgive their dad, they began to see all the beautiful gifts that he possessed. Prior to the point of forgiveness, all they could see were his failings, but after forgiveness they saw what an amazing man they were privileged enough to call "Dad."

Forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves, because when we forgive we set ourselves free. My husband loves to say, "Unforgiveness is like eating rat poison and expecting the rat to die." This is such a true statement. We have been forgiven much so we need to love much. What a great act of forgive someone who has sinned against you!

Even while dying on the Cross, Jesus was forgiving the ones who hung Him there as they divided up His clothing, "Jesus kept saying, 'Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they're doing.'" Luke 23:34

Deliver Us From Evil

"...and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

This is such a powerful verse to pray. This is a prayer for God's "keeping grace." I would rather be kept from sin and evil than to have to be forgiven for it! There is so much evil in this world and temptation that is put before us each day that we must ask God to lead us away from it. I am sure if you were to talk to other brothers and sisters who fell into sin in their past, you would discover they needed God to deliver them from temptation, because that came before the sin (evil). I would bet that none of these people desired to fall into sin. None of us want to either, so this simple prayer is important as we walk out our Christian life.

This is a prayer that we should be teaching our young people as they begin to face the many temptations that will dance before them to allure them into evil. Not even Jesus was kept from temptation, although He never gave into any of it. Not one of us is beyond temptation, but we can ask God to keep us from being led into temptation.

Final Thoughts - Thanksgiving

"...For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen."

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."--Psalm 100:4

As I have been beginning each day with the Father's prayer, I have also been reminded of another verse to enter each day with. Psalm 100:4 exhorts us to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. I want to enter into each day with thanksgiving and praise. Thanksgiving is the key to open the gates, and praise is the way to go through His courts.

I also want to encourage each of you to enter each day with thanksgiving and praise. As we pass through our U.S. holiday called Thanksgiving, let us mark this day with the beginning of a year that we release thanksgiving each and every day to our God. As our nation enters into a new era with a new President, let us open up the gates for the King of Glory to come in with thanksgiving and praise.

"Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty - He is the King of glory." Psalm 24:7-10

Kathi Pelton

Light Streams Ministries