April 2018

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2 Corinthians 3:18 – “So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the GLORY of the Lord. And the Lord -who is the Spirit- makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.”

Just like growing up in the natural, from childhood to an adult, there are progressive steps to maturity in Christ. The failure to know these steps is probably the reason for many believers defeat and failure to live in victory. Our goal is to grow to the place where the GLORY of the Lord is experienced in our lives and seen on our lives. The Apostle Paul said that we are to “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). As we grow from glory to glory we will ascend the mountain of the Lord (Exodus 19:3) while conquering the enemies that have been assigned to us by Satan.

The first step toward success on any journey is in understanding where we are going. For every one of us that call ourselves a follower of Christ, the goal must be to have an intimate relationship with God. The reason why so many do not make it up the mountain to the glory of God is that they settle for a dry dead religious life (which is not life) instead of pursuing the relationship that God desires to have with them. The goal of our journey is to become like Him. It’s only out of intimacy with God that we will become like Him. Intimacy is the reason Jesus called the original twelve unto Himself (Mark 3:13). God’s whole intent in redemption is to re-establish us, His creation, back to the place that Adam lost in the garden before the fall. Relationship, walking with God, obeying Him, and fulfilling the mandate to rule on earth (Gen.1:26) is the reason of our journey.

We see the relationship that Adam had before the fall, but in the new covenant, by the riches of God’s grace, we see that God not only restores us back to the condition that Adam had. We are now “New Creations” that not only can walk with God as Adam did but we now actually have God living in us! (Romans 8:11) God has made us His temple and God NOW dwells in us! Jesus actually said that the same GLORY that He had is the same GLORY that He gave us (John 17:22). The GLORY that Jesus gave us is the same GLORY that He possessed. GLORY means Dignity and Honor in the Greek. This is the “New Creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we realize this truth, it wipes out and obliterates the religious idea of unworthiness. With God there is no such thing as an unworthy “New Creation.”

The Lord created man for the purpose of relationship and Moses had one of the most special relationships with God. Moses will demonstrate to us how to live in the GLORY of the Lord. Exodus 33:9-11 states, “And it came about, whenever Moses entered the tent (the place of worship and prayer) the Lord would speak with Moses. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, just like a man speaks to his friend.” That’s pretty awesome but that was an old covenant relationship, and we have a better covenant with better promises. (Hebrews 8:6) Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:10 of how much richer our relationship should be, “For what was glorious (old covenant relationship) has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing GLORY of the new covenant relationship.” The Bible tells us that after Moses had these encounters with God that the visible glory of God could be seen on His face. But in the new covenant that cannot compare to the GLORY we live in. Because we do not just meet with God face to face periodically, we have Him living, walking, and speaking inside of us continually. He does not just descend to meet with us – He dwells with us!

Because Moses met with God face to face it says that his face shone with the glory of God. However, since God dwells in us, our whole lives should reflect a GREATER GLORY (Dignity and Honor), not just on our countenance but in everything that we do. This is the journey, our calling – to be His temple (a place of prayer and worship) the place where His GLORY is manifested. Our maturity will be reflected by how much of His GLORY is manifested through our lives. The reality of this should be as clear on Monday morning as it is on Sunday morning.

My prayer for you today is that the revelation of God’s Glory living in you will transform how you see yourself and will change how you live to reflect the Glory of God.

Pointing people to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”   

James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

When writing a blog, my attempt is to be completely transparent. I am a wife, mother, daughter, employee, daycare, nail technician, taxi, and many more fun titles behind my name. And I didn’t even graduate from college! I deal with the everyday things in life. The never-ending piles of laundry, knowing the last day you can pay a bill before getting a late fee, cutting coupons with the intent to save money only to leave them at home and convincing myself that popcorn and yogurt is a balanced meal. But on the real, the pursuit to be perfect and attain affirmation has to be my biggest stronghold.

This past Sunday, I was in my bathroom putting on my make-up. I had the door closed and it was quiet. Anyone with children knows this is a very rare commodity. Back to the make-up…so during application I heard a rustling at the bottom of the door and then it went away. When I opened the door, on the floor was a folded piece of paper. I opened it and it read, “You make me happy Mimi”. My heart melted. What perfect timing. Like most families, our Sunday mornings are crazy.

I sat the note on my dresser and it hit me. (Please note this has no reflection on my eldest daughter just a revelation from God.) So many times, in life we are looking for someone else or something else to make us happy or affirm us. We seek the approval from man thinking this will solve our problems. Often, we search for it in all the wrong people, places, or ways. Galatians 1:10 reads, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

After going through a divorce, a couple of years ago, I thought drinking would be my cure all. (This was before I had Amiyah.) Drinking made me feel all happy, so I thought. Sometimes I would wake up and not even remember how I got home. I found I had to have a buzz to do my job as a server at a restaurant. I had to have a bottle of Crown to get through a family reunion. I was just so happy!

But thank God for His Word. Through it all I always had the Holy Spirit speaking to me. The foundation that was formed during my childhood never crumbled. His Word is truth and His promises never cease. The Word says in John 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Just as it is easy to expect other people to make you happy, it is easy to blame someone else for your unhappiness. It’s time to take personal responsibility to improve who you are. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

John 16:33 tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” My prayer for you today is for you to recognize your worth. You don’t need to seek your happiness from someone or something else. That you know who you are in Christ.

All For Him,

Melissa Byers-Bond

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than a DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD, it cuts between soul and spirit…”

Recently there has been a truth stirring in me. And as God has been inspiring me with this truth there has also been some frustration rising in me as well. Many doctrines or Biblical truths in the Word of God carry a double-edged meaning. In other words, they have more than one interpretation or more than one application to life. This truth that I’ve been drawn to recently, is God’s grace. This is one of those truths with a double-sided meaning. And as humans, we tend to gravitate to the side that makes us more comfortable. But in order to get a complete picture of God and what He wants to do, we must see both sides of a truth.

You’ve heard the saying, “there are two sides of every story.” There are two sides of GRACE – although our church culture today and several big-name TV pastors only emphasize one side. Any time there is one side of a truth over emphasized we get out of balance. Just like a car with one tire out of balance, it makes the ride very rough and can cause injury. Webster’s dictionary says that being out-of-balance makes something less powerful. And this out-of-balanced teaching that has become popular today has done exactly that in the body of Christ. It has made the church less powerful. This form of grace that is being propagated from many denominational pulpits and now from some of the biggest non-denominational TV pastors is a hyper-grace that is out-of-balance. The idea that we can live anyway we want and God’s grace covers it, is a lie from the pit of hell! But most believers believe it. That’s called living with less power than God intended. The truth has not changed, “the consequences of sin is death (Romans 6:23).” The same consequence that Adam experienced in the garden. When we WILLINGLY live contrary to holiness, (there I said it) – when we willingly live contrary to HOLINESS we will suffer the loss of relationship with the HOLY GOD. God says in Hebrews 12:14 – “For those who are not HOLY, WILL NOT see the Lord.” I know a believer who was a faithful church member and walking with the Lord for over thirty years, she told me that her living in adultery was okay because the grace of God covers her. This hyper-grace really is nothing new. Because of the flesh, it’s been around since the beginning of the church. The first Apostles had to deal with it. The Bible is very clear, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and look for teachers who will teach what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). This is what is happening today. It attracts a big following. Because this issue existed in the early church the Apostle Paul tells us, that if anyone teaches contrary to what they, the apostles have taught, have nothing to do with them (Galatians 1:9). That is a serious warning from the Apostle who wrote two-thirds of the new testament. This is out-of-balanced teaching that says, “because of the grace of God all my sins are covered so it doesn’t matter what I do or how I live.” It’s on Christian TV. I just heard it last weekend. The Apostles of the Bible did not believe that lie nor did they teach it. Consider this, Galatians 5:19-21 was written to the church – to people who called themselves believers. “The acts of the flesh are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures; idolatry, sorcery, hostility, discord (people who cause division in church) jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties. I warn you, AS I DID BEFORE, those who live like this WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.” Again, Paul is writing to church people and it’s obvious that he did not believe in hyper-grace. Neither did the founding Apostles believe in Calvinism, who is the author of this modern hyper-grace teaching. Since when are we supposed to give more consideration to a man’s teaching over God’s Word?

Serving God is submitting 100% of our will to His!

It is true that the word grace does carry a double-sided meaning, but we can’t over emphasize one side. The double-sided definition for grace (charis) is graciousness. Praise God that He is gracious – which means that He doesn’t judge us with some form of punishment. The grace of God gives us what we don’t deserve, Salvation, Faith, Favor, Love and Mercy. Because grace is the character of God so when we sin God extends grace instead of judgement believing that His love and grace will bring us to repentance. Praise God for the graciousness of God. But always remember that living a life contrary to the will of God carries its own consequences (Romans 6:23). God doesn’t have to bring punishment. But the other side of grace, the definition of charis, which gets overlooked and rarely taught is EMPOWERMENT. EMPOWERMENT to not fulfill the weakness of the flesh but to live according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). I believe that if there is going to be an emphasis, let’s put the emphasis on this side of grace, the EMPOWERMENT side. A recent survey found that 98% of “born-again” believers understand the graciousness side of grace but had no understanding of the empowering side of grace. We need a revival of GRACE! The true grace of God. The grace of God that is merciful and gracious when we miss it but also the grace of God that EMPOWERS us to live overcoming lives. In other words, the grace of God is not an excuse for me to sin but rather the EMPOWERMENT to overcome sin. REVIVAL is not an event, it is a lifestyle! We need a revival of the grace of God.

Because we are the recipients of grace, so the greatest expression of grace is in how we treat each other!

As children of God, our main purpose is to experience relationship with The Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We are to carry them into every part of our lives. What a privilege. When you truly understand that, you know that every part of our lives is to become a reflection of Him. In knowing that, Jesus makes it clear that He did not believe in this form of hyper-grace being taught today. In John 14:21 Jesus tells us, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and REVEAL MYSELF to them.” Love without accountability produces dysfunctional relationships. And God refuses to condone dysfunction. When I married Sue, I told her “I promise to be faithful to you and to not entertain any others because I love you.” If I was not to keep my word, that would be unfaithful and unloving. Remember our purpose is to live in His presence and reveal Him unto others, by how we live. Jesus makes it clear that He will only reveal Himself to those who obey His commands. Because He says that those who obey His commands are the ones who love Him. Have you ever been in a worship service where there was no anointing, no obvious presence of God? David tells us why in Psalm 24:3,4 “Who can ascend the mountain (presence) of the Lord? Who may stand in His (presence) HOLY PLACE?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Jesus makes it clear that the people who obey His commands are the people that He will make Himself apparent to and reveal Himself to. Only those who hear and keep Jesus’ commands will experience His manifest presence. Whether you realize it or not that is why we are here, to live in His presence. Let’s become people that are so full of the grace of God that we despise sin and the thought of violating our relationship with our Lord. The other side of grace says, “My grace is all you need, for my power (grace) works best in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God’s grace empowers us to stand up against temptation and to overcome the weakness of the flesh. Grace gives us the ability to go beyond our natural ability and tap into His supernatural ability, that’s His GRACE. “For by GRACE you are saved, it’s not of yourself, it (grace) is the gift of God.” God’s grace is the gift that saved us, now empowering us to live out the life of Christ. Grace was the impartation of the fullness of Christ at the time of accepting Him. We are saved by grace, we live by grace and we are EMPOWERED by GRACE! Let’s be like the Apostles that turned the world right side up by the grace of God.

My prayer for you today is that you will look to the God of grace to overcome every temptation and live a life that reflects who He is.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On earth as it is in Heaven!”

1 Peter 1:23 -“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the Word of God, which lives and abides forever.”

You won’t really get excited about the Word of God until you realize that it’s more than just a collection of divinely-inspired promises. It’s a living force that literally carries within it the power to make every promise become a reality in your life.

Is it tough for you to believe such a thing is possible? It shouldn’t be. You see it happens in the natural world all the time.

If I were to put a tomato seed in your hand and tell you that within that tiny, dry seed lies the power to produce a stalk thousands of times bigger than the seed. The ability to produce leaves and roots and round red tomatoes, you wouldn’t have any trouble believing that, would you? You know from experience that even though that scrawny seed doesn’t look like a tomato, somehow, given the right environment, it will become one. Jesus says that the Word of God works by that same principle (Matthew 13:1-9). There’s miraculous power within it. It is supernatural seed that once it is planted by faith in a human heart, will produce more blessings than you can imagine.

Once you grasp that, you’ll get extremely excited about the Word of God. That’s what happened to me. Over 30 years ago, I caught a glimpse of what the Word could do. I got a revelation of the power within it. I became addicted to the Word of God and it has totally transformed and changed me and how I look at life and has totally affected the results of my life.

After I understood this truth, I spent every possible moment in the Word of God because I wanted the power of that Word inside me more than I wanted anything else in the world. I knew it would blow the limits off my life, limits that had held me back and kept me down for years. I knew that when I read it, I wasn’t just reading, I was planting seeds. Seeds of prosperity, seeds of health, seeds of greatness, and seeds of victory for every area of my life. In the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that we live in, there is no such thing as shortage. Where the shortage is, is in us. For most people there is a shortage of the Word that accesses all the resources of the Kingdom. Any time there is lack in our lives it’s an indication of a lack of the Word in our lives. Everything that God has is available to you but must be acquired by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Ramp up your faith by being filled with the Word (Romans 10:17)

Don’t treat the Word of God like a book. It’s not! It’s spiritual seed that has the supernatural power within it to produce a harvest for a lifetime. I encourage you today to get excited about the Word of God and start planting today!

My prayer for you today is that God would open the eyes of your understanding and give you wisdom and revelation knowledge of Him and the power of His Word in your life.

Pointing People to Jesus,
Rocky Byers
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”