2 Corinthians 5:18 – “All this is from God, who RECONCILED US to Himself through Christ and GAVE US the ministry of RECONCILIATION.”
As believers we have been healed to be healers. We have been forgiven to forgive. We have been loved to be lovers. We have been reconciled to be reconcilers. Every believer is called to the ministry – the ministry of reconciliation. No one is excluded. That’s how valuable and important you are to the body of Christ. So, what does that mean – the ministry of RECONCILIATION? It means that when people hurt us, we keep loving them. Where there is conflict, God expects us to seek reconciliation. It means that when we are offended, wounded, or heartbroken, we choose to forgive and keep loving through the hurt with the heart to reconcile.
The world and the church are full of people who are estranged from one another. We see siblings who don’t talk to siblings, parents who don’t talk to their children. We see people who won’t talk to other people in the church. Someone has offended someone. Someone was hurt by someone. So most of the time instead of seeking reconciliation we simply avoid them. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we must avoid them because we can’t tolerate their sin. But is that fulfilling the call to be a reconciler?
How can we deliberately avoid someone when it’s our responsibility to love them? Where would we be if God ignored us when we messed up? John tells us in 1 John 4:20 – “If you don’t love people that you can see, how can you say that you love God, whom you cannot see?” God loves us through our messes, through our mistakes, and even through our sinful choices. He keeps pursuing us. He keeps offering love in an attempt to bring reconciliation to our relationship. Because that is who He is, He expects us to do the same thing with one another. It’s our responsibility to reconcile.
If you need to be reconciled to someone, take the first step. God took the first step with us and every step after that – to reconcile with us. Maybe you’re waiting for them to change and get their act together before you will accept them. Is that what God does with us? Absolutely not! He loves us like we’ve never hurt Him or disappointed Him. “While we we’re still sinners He died for us” (Romans 5:8). Be the one that makes the first move. Step up and be the reconciler that you are called to be. Reconciliation requires us to love like we’ve never been hurt. “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Don’t stop loving. It’s never out of order to love. Sometimes we just need to love – by faith. Because love never fails; love will triumph and bring reconciliation to the relationship. It might take a week, a month or even years but we are responsible no matter what has been done or said. We are responsible to fulfill our call to the ministry of reconciliation. I know several people who are called to the five-fold ministry (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher – Ephesians 4:11) but have not been able to step into their calling because they have not learned how to fulfill their first calling to be a minister of reconciliation. The MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION is the most important ministry in the church because that is the predominate characteristic of our Father. Before we can reconcile any relationship, we must first choose to forgive. Reconciliation hinges on forgiveness. Jesus acknowledged this principle from the cross – “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Forgiveness always precedes reconciliation.
Maybe you’ve been hurt so deeply that you think that you can’t be healed. Our Father is loving and powerful. He can bring healing to every situation. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). God can give you the grace to love and forgive like you’ve never been hurt. Bring the hurt, the wound, the mess to God. His grace is sufficient. And His love will never fail!
My prayer for you today is that you will love like you’ve been loved, forgive like you’ve been forgiven, and become the reconciler that God has called you to be.
Pointing people to Jesus,
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”
Psalm 91:16 -“With long life I will satisfy them and show them my salvation.”
I love Israel and studying its history. There is so much to learn and take from Israel’s relationship with God. After four hundred years of bondage and slavery in Egypt, Moses shows up telling the people that he was sent by God to be their deliverer. I can imagine that most of the people thought, “right…and if you believe that, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona…” Moses shows up with no army and no weaponry to back his claim. Moses shows up with a shepherd’s staff – a stick. And I’m sure that after forty years of shepherding he smelt like sheep. Most of the Israelites probably thought he was crazy and had been out in the sun to long tending sheep. Tending sheep has a way of driving you a little crazy. But Moses actually did it. Through Moses, God brought Pharaoh to his knees. Then before you know it, the Israelites walked out of Egypt with their wealth as very prosperous people (Exodus 12:36).
God showed Himself strong on behalf of Israel. He supernaturally delivered them, protected them, punished their enemies, and preserved them in their exodus. But when they came to their first test (the bitter water) they immediately complained about the man of God, Moses. They complained about the man God chose to lead them out of bondage. They had just been delivered from four hundred years of bondage. You would think that after seeing the awesome power of God deliver them, they would be so full of faith that they would believe purifying the bitter water would be easy for God. But no, they immediately forgot about faith in God and went back to their old mindset of being enslaved to doubt and unbelief, grumbling and complaining.
There’s a lesson here for all of us to learn. We must train ourselves to always keep the testimony of what God has done fresh in our minds. We must discipline ourselves to not consider the hardship in front of us as anything more than an opportunity to believe God and see His breakthrough because God and His faithfulness never change (Lamentations 3:23). As He was faithful before, He will be faithful again (Malachi 3:6). In order for us to walk in everything that God has provided for us through His salvation, we must discipline ourselves through the Word of God. Because He is always faithful to His Word and because He is not a man that can lie, He will always stand behind His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). Our only responsibility, no matter how it looks, is to stay in faith – believe. (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Moses was an awesome leader. The one thing I believe that qualified Moses was that he spent forty years on the back side of the desert tending sheep. It’s my belief that the burning bush experience was the culmination of encounters that he had with God during those forty years. Those encounters prepared him in the supernatural, which came from intimacy with God. So, when the people complained, Moses’ response was different because he already settled it in his heart about who God was. Instead of grumbling and complaining, Moses knew that God had the answer, so his voice was not one of doubt and unbelief but one of faith. When Moses cried out in faith, God gave the answer. In Exodus 15:5, “The Lord showed him a tree, told him to cast it in the waters, and the waters were made sweet.” Out of Moses’ faith and obedience the waters were made drinkable. Again, God released His power as Moses obeyed in faith.
Several years ago, I was having some health issues. I told the Lord that I didn’t understand. I’m a man of faith, that I believe His Word and confess His Word over my body, so why am I having this problem? His answer was, “When are you going to get back in the gym and steward your body?” I didn’t need chapter and verse because I knew 1 Corinthians 3:16,17. I obeyed in faith and in a short amount of time my health issue was gone. God is not a man. He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). Faith and obedience will always bring about the proof of God’s Word in our lives.
God had already proved Himself to be Deliver, Provider, Defender, and Protector to the Israelites. But after this miracle of bitter water turned sweet, God revealed Himself to the Israelites as Jehovah Rapha, the Divine Physician that heals His people. This is where divine health was established as the norm for God’s people. So, for us today, this revelation of who God is accompanies the salvation that Jesus has provided for all His people (on the tree).
In your walk of faith don’t be content in just looking back on history as moments of breakthrough for yourself and others. Thank God that what He has done and what He will always do. God wants to always prove Himself as Jehovah Rapha. God promises He wants to satisfy you with long life and show you His SALVATION (Sozo) (Psalm 91:16). Sozo – Saved, Healed and Delivered from the power of sin, sickness, and disease. Christ paid the price for this salvation (Sozo), so it can belong to every believer. God wants you to live in divine health so that you can be a testimony of His SALVATION!
My prayer for you today is that you will believe the testimony of who God is and who He wants to be for you. So that you can experience and minister His healing power to others.
Mark 16:24-“If anyone desires to come after Me, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow Me.”
When we decided to follow Jesus, everything changed. You became a new creation, the Holy Spirit moved in to live in you. God now lives inside of you empowering you to live out the life of Christ. Everything about your life is now changed. The most amazing change is that His ways and desires now become ours. This is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit living in us. In spite of this, we still have a will and we must grow to the place that His will for our lives becomes the priority of our lives. Jesus said that as we follow Him there will be times when we have to choose between our will or His, denying ourselves for Him. Jesus said that we must take up our cross to follow Him. As we know, the cross is never a pleasant experience. Jesus Himself had to deny Himself on the cross and submit to the will of the Father. There are sorrows and joys. There are test and trials. There are failures and triumphs.
Jesus lets us know in John 16:33 that while we are in this world there will be trials and sorrows, but we can be at peace because He overcame every test and trial so that we too can overcome. Here lies the major difference between a believer and an unbeliever. Everyone in this world faces problems, test, and trials. The unbeliever walks through them on their own (in their own strength) while the believer has the strength of Holy Spirit. And because Jesus has already been there and triumphed over it, HE WALKS WITH US through it knowing the victory that awaits us (Hebrews 4:15).
In this test of wills, I look at the life of Peter and can relate to why we don’t always experience the victory that Christ promised us. After three years of walking with Jesus, Peter saw the miracles, blind eyes opened, the dead brought back to life, demons cast out. Peter himself even ministered seeing signs, wonders and miracles (Luke 10:17). But while Jesus was on the cross dying for our sin, Peter denied Christ not once, not twice – but three times. I don’t know about you, but I can relate with Peter. How many times have we had opportunity to do His will and we denied Him?
What I love about Peter is that I relate with him in his failures. But what gives me hope is because of the consistent pursuit of the love of God, Peter rebounds to triumph. Let’s learn from Peter’s failure and how he returned to triumph.
While Jesus was being taken captive to be beaten and tortured, it says in Luke 22:54 -“But Peter followed from a distance.” Peter had been following Jesus closely for three years but when it looked like there could be consequences to following Christ, Peter’s commitment wavered. We may find ourselves following from a distance by not going to church as much as we used to. We don’t read the Bible as much as we used to. We don’t have the desire to worship or we don’t spend time praying and talking with God like we need to. These are all indications of following from a distance – and following from a distance is a dangerous place. Being in this place of distance – we are on our own…like being “up a river without a paddle.” If you find yourself there, NOW is the time to get back to following Jesus closely and make the change. Because of the downward spiral of following from a distance, Peter said, “I am going fishing” (John 21:3). What Peter was saying is, I’d rather go back to who I was before I knew Christ. Because of following from a distance, the enemy now beats us up and convinces us that we’ve blown it. We failed. We tried following Jesus, but we can’t do it. So, he talks us into giving up. Listen to me. Messing up does NOT MEAN you should give up! We all mess up. We all blow it but it’s not getting knocked down that makes us – it’s the getting up. When you mess up, it’s time to look up, not give up. Ask for forgiveness and ask, “Lord, what can I learn from this?” His strength is matured in us when we recognize our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). When you mess up, don’t give up, LOOK UP!
Peter’s return to triumph after failing is so encouraging to me because it reinforces God’s unrelenting love for us. In John 21, it shows us that after Peter failed he returned to his old life. But while out fishing, he saw Jesus on the shore, waiting for him. It didn’t matter that Peter had messed up. Jesus still pursued him with His love. No matter how good you think you’ve been or how bad you’ve messed up, you can’t make Jesus love you any more or any less. He will relentlessly pursue you because He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Like Peter, Jesus waits for us to make the choice to deny ourselves and follow Him. Peter, by making the right choice, was later filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the first sermon of the new testament church. He saw three thousand people come to Christ. Now that’s a return to triumph.
Wherever you are, be assured that His love for you remains steady and unquestionable. Your calling remains sure (Romans 11:29). When you mess up, Jesus doesn’t turn His back on you. Instead He opens His arms to draw us back to Himself. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end” (Lamentations 3:22). You may give up on Jesus, but He never gives up on you! Since Jesus did it for Peter He will do it for you.
My prayer for you today is that you will continue denying yourself to follow Christ, by taking up your cross to follow Him. If you’ve missed it, look up, His love never fails.
We love you!
Ephesians 5:21 – “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Today’s church culture has taught us some important things about the maturity of the body of Christ. Many people are struggling to find the “right” church with the “right” pastor who has the “right” preaching style. Maybe you struggle with this in a less obvious way. Perhaps you go just because it’s the religious “right” thing to do but you’re bored and disconnected. Today I want to encourage you by saying that life in the body of Christ is so much richer than just showing up on a Sunday as a consumer. What if attending church was less about showing up to be taught something and more about being a blessing to others around you? One of the things that I have come to realize is that if I just show up at church to receive, then I will be disappointed.
There have been many times when I’m so busy I’ve skipped meals and later settled for something to eat that I normally would not even consider eating but because of my hunger I settled for it only to be disappointed afterwards. It’s the same way with our spiritual hunger. If we just eat one meal a week in the natural we will end up malnourished, weak, and sick. So why is it that we think one spiritual meal a week (Sunday morning) is going to sustain a healthy, vibrant, and strong spiritual life? We should be like David who said in Psalm 23:5 – “God has prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint me with oil; my cup overflows.” We should be so full from eating at the Fathers table every day that when we show up at church our spiritual cups are so full they run over and bless others. I want to encourage you with a fresh perspective on the real point of church.
Romans 12:2 – “Do not copy the behavior and the customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God’s will for yourself, which is good, pleasing and perfect.” Everything that we do after accepting Jesus as the Lord of our lives is spiritual. There is no such thing as secular anymore. Going to work or school or hanging out with friends is no longer a secular part of my life. When we came to Christ we joined the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). As priests we take our spiritual lives with us everywhere we go, looking for God to lead us in what He wants to do. As priests, we don’t go to church to be ministered to, we come so that we can be better equipped to minister (Ephesians 4:11,12). The church is not an organization, it’s a body of people seeking to fulfill the purposes of our Father. Jesus said that He did not come to do His will but the will of the Father (John 6:38). There is no greater purpose and no greater fulfillment in life than to do the will of God.
Every believer is a minister. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that God has called us all to the ministry. That doesn’t mean we are all called to the pulpit, but it does mean that everywhere we go we are to be ministers. And when you know that you’re a minister, you’re not waiting for someone to minister to you. Instead you go to church to be better equipped so that you are prepared for those ministry opportunities that God opens. If you work in a nail salon, you’re a minister at a nail salon! If you are a stay at home mom, you’re a minister to your children! If you are the CEO of a fortune 100 company, your greatest opportunity isn’t in managing your staff and finances, it’s in bringing your ministry to the market place. Some people believe they work in a dark place. That may be true, but it isn’t dark when you’re there. Jesus said that “You’re the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Wherever and whenever you show up, light shows up! And light is always greater than darkness.
So, as you approach this weekend I want you to think about your perspective of church. Are you going as a consumer, waiting to be ministered to or are you going with an open heart and open eyes to what Holy Spirit is wanting to do? I really hope that you will go this Sunday with the heart of a minister. How will you be equipped? How will you serve? How will you pour out?
My prayer for you today is that you will begin to see yourself the way that our Father sees you – as a member of the royal priesthood – an ambassador of the Kingdom of God – an able minister of the gospel!
We love you and look forward to seeing you this Sunday.
Acts 2:1-4 -“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly came a sound from heaven…….and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them tongues of fire and sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Maybe you are like me and this season has been one of intense battle. If so, it is no mistake. This past Sunday was Pentecost Sunday. Two thousand years ago the promise that Jesus made to send the Holy Spirit was fulfilled. And He, the Holy Spirit has been here ever since carrying out the will of the Father. On that day when the Holy Spirit was poured out was not some coincidental day. God is very strategic. It was the fiftieth day after Passover, the last day of the Jewish festival Shavuoth, celebration of harvest. All of the Jewish population had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate. This day turned out to be not only a day where the people celebrated the reaping of their wheat harvest, but it was the first day of the New Testament church and it was celebrated with a harvest of souls for the Kingdom. Again, God does nothing by mistake. So, this past season has been intense warfare for many of us because we are about to step into an abundance of harvest. Whatever you have been in faith for, this is your season to see the manifestation – the harvest!!
Perhaps it looks like you can’t win, like you will never see change or victory over your circumstances. I want to encourage you. God has a secret weapon for you. In Acts 1:8 Jesus spoke about this secret weapon when He said, “You will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” This secret weapon is the same Holy Spirit that the believers in the upper room received two thousand years ago. The Holy Spirit empowers us to defeat every attack of the enemy.
This power of the Holy Spirit’s presence accompanied the believers when they opened their mouths and began speaking in an unlearned language. You have to understand that the devil knows every language on earth. But, this new language, the language of the Holy Spirit, the devil does not know. This new language is given by the Holy Spirit to defeat the power of sin and Satan. It is a unique language – a language Satan cannot understand.
And no, it’s not nonsense. It hasn’t passed away. It wasn’t just for the disciples two thousand years ago. “God does not show favoritism”(Acts 10:34). If the disciples needed this gift from God, we need it as well. God knew what it would take for us to live out His purposes for our lives, so He made available to us this Supernatural power. Our assignment today is of no less importance than theirs was then. This language of the Spirit is not gibberish spoken by crazy fanatics. It is the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT praying through you, in a language that the enemy cannot decipher, cannot destroy, and cannot defeat. Praying in the Spirit (other tongues) brings victory into your battles. Why is this necessary? 1 Corinthians 14:2 says, “For one who speaks in other tongues does not speak to men but SPEAKS TO GOD, for no one understands his meaning, because in the Holy Spirit he utters secret things that only God knows.” The reason this is so important is that it takes us out of our natural understanding to pray out what the Holy Spirit knows – the will of God. When we pray in other tongues we are not praying to talk to people, we’re talking directly (unhindered) to God. Again, the devil is clueless of what is being prayed but God isn’t. This unknown language is your secret weapon giving you power to defeat the enemy and win your battles.
You probably don’t know the solution to your problems. You may not know how to win the battle that you’re in. But don’t despair. Pray in the Holy Spirit language and know that victory is on the way because you are praying out the perfect will of God (Romans 8:26,27). My spiritual father who was a very recognized prophet and teacher that God used mightily in the gift of healing used to say that he prayed about 90% of the time in other tongues. And I know that he prayed for hours every day. Because praying in other tongues builds our faith and releases the will of God (Jude 1:20). Even when we can’t see the way to victory, we can pray in other tongues and we are assured that we are praying the perfect will of God. You may be confused, uncertain or perplexed, but when you pray in other tongues, a clear voice goes out to God that God answers to bring about His perfect will.
What battles are you facing? Are you feeling defeated by financial problems, addiction, struggles in your family or relationships? Maybe you have been fighting on your own. The blueprint for victory is through praying in other tongues. It releases the power of God into our lives. it releases the will of God and the victory of God into our lives. Just like the disciples experienced on the day of Pentecost, when we pray in other tongues we will experience the harvest of God.
My prayer for you today is that if you don’t have this gift of the Holy Spirit power, that you ask God for it. This gift is available to all that ask. If you do pray in the Spirit, that you will increase your prayer life to see greater victory. YOU WIN!!
Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.”
The foundation of our relationship with God is our faith. God is good (Psalm 136:1), and everything that God wants to do in our lives is good. And the truth is, that in this life everything that we receive from God is acquired by faith. Fear is also faith, only it is in what the devil wants to do; or in the negative. Any time we choose not to believe God it is called unbelief. God gave the Israelite’s a promise to enter into the “promised land.” But in Hebrews 3:19, God says that they were not able to enter into the promise that He gave them because of their unbelief. Jesus would ask his disciples, “Why are you so faithless?” You see fear and faith in God cannot coexist- they work against each other.
Like faith, fear is a substance. Satan has no power in our lives except through our agreement. Fear is agreeing with any suggestion that the enemy is making that opposes the promises of God and will try to cause our heart to come into agreement with his intimidating suggestions.
Unbelief or fear is safe because it takes no risk and always gets what it expects. Then, after a person gets the manifestation of their unbelief they say, “I knew it.” Which proves what Jesus meant by saying in Matthew 9:29,”It will be done unto you according to your faith.” Fear is faith only in the negative.
Faith offends the religious and the comfortable. Just like in Jesus’ day it was the religious that were offended by his ministry. Jesus said in Luke 18:8, that upon His return, He would be looking for people of faith, the kind of faith that He displayed. In John 14:12 Jesus makes it very clear that we can minister and live in the same kind of faith. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me, the works that I do they can do also; and greater”(in quantity). The reality is that the outcome of our trials is the evidence of our faith, usually indicating for most of us that we have not arrived and are in need of growing our faith. I like what Bill Johnson says in saying, “After I pray for someone’s healing and there is no change, I don’t point a finger at them, I look in the mirror and ask why?”
God has called us to live a life that is totally dependent on Him and His unwavering power, love, and ability. Let’s be those people that step out, take risk, get out of our comfort zones, and have faith in God. Faith that does the impossible, changes the natural and amazes the skeptics. Whatever your circumstance today, I encourage you to believe that “Nothing is impossible for them that believe”(Mark 9:23).
My prayer for you today is that you will continue to grow your faith by trusting God and His Word, that you would be so full of God’s Word that when trouble’s come you already have the evidence of your faith in you.
Luke 5:37- “No one puts new wine into old wine skins…. verse 38 But new wine must be put into new wine skins, and both are preserved.”
Here in Luke 5, Jesus tells us that NO ONE (including God) will put NEW WINE into old wine skins. One of the references in the Bible to the Holy Spirit is WINE. We see in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out, the believers had an intoxicating experience and expression. This was NEW WINE being poured into a new wine skin. This was a new experience, a new encounter, it had never been done like this before. Yet it was God. But at the time of this NEW WINE we see the religious skeptics response in Acts 2:13, “these men are full of NEW WINE.” Meaning it to be a judgement and criticism about something they didn’t understand. But it was true, these believers were full of NEW WINE. These religious skeptics still exist today. They have already come against me and what God is doing in this NEW WINE SKIN. They are nothing but old wine skins, but their disapproving keeps me encouraged. The thing that we have to always understand is that everything God does, He does out of love and for the purpose of love. A wine skin becomes old because the wine steward (believer) fails to keep the skin oiled, causing it to get dried up, brittle and rigid (religious). When the skin became this dry it no longer had any capacity to stretch or expand – it was at its limit. As believers if we don’t stay oiled up with the presence of the Holy Spirit we become the same way – dried up, rigid, and we lose the capacity to stretch and expand our thinking or the ability to receive what God is doing. This is nothing new. In past moves of God, typically the people that were involved in the last move became stuck and became critical of the new thing that God was doing. When all along God is wanting everyone to be included in the NEW WINE being poured out.
In order for us to expand and enlarge our capacity for NEW WINE, we have to keep our wine skin oiled and filled with the Holy Spirit. Anytime we become critical of something that we don’t understand it’s an indication of our Holy Spirit tank being low and in need of filling. God wants 2018 to be a year for us to have great encounters with Him. Great encounters always bring about great experiences and expressions of the Holy Spirit. This NEW WINE outpouring of God’s can only be experienced in new wine skins. In other words, we cannot allow ourselves to become religious, dry, or rigid. These attitudes of, “I know it all”, “I know how God moves”, “I must understand it to believe it” or “it’s never been done like that before” are all old judgmental wine skins and religious attitudes. Having an old wine skin attitude says, “I want God to be predictable.” We must not allow ourselves to come close to having this attitude. It will stifle our ability to grow and expand in our relationship with our Father.
The condition of the wine skin always determines its ability to contain the contents. Jesus said in Luke 5 that when the wine skin is able to contain NEW WINE, both the WINE and wine skin are preserved. When we keep our expectations up, open, and receptive to everything and anything that God is wanting to do, it preserves our natural lives as well as our spiritual lives – giving us the capacity to go to a greater level of experience with God.
Allow this year to be the year of NEW WINE for yourself. 2018 can be the year of NEW encounters, NEW experiences, and NEW life with God, that will not only preserve your life but the lives of many others because of your acceptance of God’s NEW WINE.
My prayer for you today is that you will constantly be being filled with the Holy Spirit and that NEW WINE will be poured into you so that you can overflow onto others.
WE LOVE YOU!