Bible, Life, Ministry, Uncategorized

Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible can be challenging at best and discouraging at the worst. It’s frustrating when you want to know more about God, be a better person, have a better life, and yet you can’t understand the manual. If you feel that way – or know someone that may feel that way – this post is for you!

First off, don’t feel like a freak. Everyone – at some point in their journey – has read the Word and gone, “Huh?”

Most people simply don’t announce that but it’s common place. Even myself, even the elders that I know, sometimes spend days or weeks on one passage trying to understand it by delving through concordances and Hebrew translations.

Reading the Bible is truly a journey. You’ll read a passage and it will mean one thing to you. Many years later, it will be more complex and mean something even deeper to you. That’s one of the most amazing things about the Word of God to me – that the Word never changes yet somehow it always adapts and becomes what you need in your very personal season because it’s alive.

Secondly, God wants you to understand and know Him so He wouldn’t give you a book that you couldn’t understand. He loves you and He want you to succeed.

So, here’s a sort of game plan for you…

1️⃣ Call on God

Don’t just open up the Word and expect it to make perfect sense to you. Don’t open up the Word and expect it to pertain to your moment. Instead of expecting the word of God to apply to what you think you need, go to God and ask him to open your heart and open your mind to what he would have that passage teach you no matter what’s going on in your life right now.

2️⃣Never give up

Often times, when something is difficult, we just want to give up. Reading the Bible is one of those things that, once you get going, you can’t seem to put it down. Unfortunately common too often, it’s that “once you get going” part that’s the challenge. As crazy as this may sound, the devil doesn’t want you to read the Bible. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. He knows that if you read the word of God you will become stronger and you will be armed for battle. So, you will find that distractions will occur, confusion will happen, exhaustion will come against you,… and it’s your job to stick to it and not give up.

3️⃣Trust God

You may feel like, “What does this have anything to do with?” when you are reading the Bible. That’s OK. Just trust God. Usually you will find that the information that you’re receiving, that your etching upon your heart, will be there when you need it though that time may not be right now.

4️⃣Not sure? Test it!

Don’t know if that passage was for you? Test it!

Ask your elders that are more wise than you, those that God has placed in your life!

5️⃣You were meant to understand His Word

As insulting as this may sound to some of you, the Word was written even for the most simplest of minds. Christ spoke in parables so that anyone and everyone could understand. We do not teach children in Sunday School for no reason. If they are capable of understanding the word of God so is any adult that so desires!

6️⃣Understand that you may understand His words, but may not understand all

Sometimes God reveals His words to us just when we need to understand them the most. Sometimes we hide a word in our hearts and at just the right moment the Holy Spirit reminds us of that word and it all suddenly makes sense. Then there are other things such as the idea that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… How can one God be three entities yet one God? If we could all answer these questions, we would have no need for God. All of these things will be understood once we’re with Him. Until then, we have to come to terms with the fact that on this plane we will not understand it all.

7️⃣ Taste and see…

Challenge yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Test Him. Say to yourself, “I’m going to try this Bible reading thing for one year.” In my life, and all the people that I’ve met from around the world, I have yet to meet a person that has told me that the Bible returned void.

8️⃣ Testify

When you see that the Word is good and that it has changed your life for the better, remember where you were before the Word touched your life. Don’t just bury that. Go out and share your testimony so that someone else can have their life changed.

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America, Bible, Church, family, god, Holy Spirit, jesus, Ministry

Yes, you NEED the Holy Spirit

….but you don’t have to have Him. You don’t have to have or do anything. God’s funny that way. He’s a gentleman, never forcing Himself on anyone.

I believe we all need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When Christ left this earth and ascended into Heaven He said that He was leaving us a comforter. If Christ left me something, or someone as it were, I’m going to follow that – since my whole life is based on following Him and being as much like Him as humanly possible – by receiving whomever or whatever that thing may be! We know that whom Christ left us was the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17).

In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul writes, no matter what our diversity of gifts in the Spirit are, it is the same God who works within all of them. He goes on to say, in addition, “but the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”

Now, I should be clear that what you’re about to read – my thoughts, God’s word, here is not referring to some willy-nilly unorganized chaos of emotion that so many Christians nowadays call “an outpouring” and that you may have been witness to in person, on television, or the internet. There are certain things that must line up for an outpouring and often times (more often than not, I’m afraid) these things simply do not line up; but, rather people are overcome by their own emotions. That is not always the case though. We must be vigilant to not have the audacity to put God in a box while still cross referencing occurrence with His Word.

I only have a few things to say about this (I’m sure I’d have more but I’ve forced myself to only say three): 1) If your church is having such an “outpouring” that you haven’t heard a message delivered in weeks… you may want to really seek the Lord and ask Him for some discernment in regard to that. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be like throwing pearls before swine if the church hasn’t even been fed.

2) You don’t live like the world Monday through Friday and then speak in tongues on Sunday. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is only possible through having a relationship with God and then making it an intimate one. Think of the most intimate earthly relationship you have. Now, compare that sort of communication, love, understanding, forgiveness, etc. to your relationship with God. It’s incomparable; yet, we almost never even attain that level of intimacy with our Father.

My husband is not going to feel as if we have such an intimate relationship that he wants to share unimaginable gifts and truths with me if I’m dancing with another man just two nights before. We should not expect God to be any different.

3) I do believe that you have days of outpourings but God is organized, orderly. He is, in most all things, a gentleman.

His word says, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”

He also lays it out in Deuteronomy by telling us that one way leads to blessings and one ways leads to death; and, then He says, “…choose life that you and your descendants may live.”

See, God has given us the authority to make our own decisions in life.

He will honor those decisions without interfering. He does not force Himself upon us. If a number of individuals within a church are actively living under the anointing of an intimate relationship with God, and then they collectively come together within a church (or any gathering place) and find themselves unified – of one mind, there God will be. Now, He’s been made welcome. Now, if He sees fit to share with us knowledge, prophesy, etc. He will speak to us.

On the flip side, if you are content simply believing that structuring your life around the Word of God – rather than doing that along with believing God moves, heals, and speaks to His children in real-time – that’s your choice. There’s no judgment here. I would be remiss, however, if I did not share with others what they may be missing out on simply because they can’t conceive of God doing and moving miraculously right before their eyes.

So let me share my thoughts by starting with Romans 8:26, since I feel so strongly about it, where we are told that “we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” I cannot imagine knowing of the hell that I have been through in my life and knowing that there is an interceder for me (Jesus) and not going to him.

Further, I cannot fathom knowing that there is a sort of conduit, for far lack of a better term, in the Holy Spirit that He would actually pray for what I truly need rather than what I think I need so that I could find true happiness and success… and me not doing everything I can to access Him.

If you have been praying, and it seems as if nothing is getting through to Him – it’s as if you’re praying to the walls and the words are just bouncing off of the sheetrock – I encourage you to look at Romans 8:26 as if it were the first step in God’s list of instructions on “How to Pray.” It is my thought that we, as a whole, simply do not know how to pray to God. I say this based on two things, specifically, that the Bible has told me: 1) In Luke, when John asks Jesus how they should pray, Jesus doesn’t respond, “Oh, you guys do just fine. Just keep talking and He’ll hear ya.” Rather, He gave them specific words to say to God. These words were sort of a catch-all. “The Lord’s Prayer,” as it has been dubbed, covers everything from worship to provision to sin!

I believe He gave us this prayer in order to supplement our prayer lives until we each have come to the place that we have attained that divine entity that would pray for us (Romans 8:26-27). I should add here that of course I’m not in any way inferring that when you talk to God He’s not hearing you. I know that God hears every word you utter. I’m simply trying to draw attention to what is available to all of us.

I’m trying to open your mind – just as the disciples asked Jesus – to ask God, “How should I pray? I know what I want to pray for; but, what would You have me pray?”

As for praying in tongues…. I recognize that a lot of my followers are not as they would describe “Pentecostal.” I pray that you would read this with the understanding that my focus is on your obtaining the power of the Holy Spirit within you that God wants you to have, more so than any outward display.

Paul says to us, in 1 Corinthians 14, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.”

Wow, that’s a lot to digest for anyone. The fact is clear, though, that Paul wants us all to speak in tongues. Further, Paul wishes that we would desire, and attain, the ability – through the Holy Spirit – to prophesy because it edifies (instructs or improves (someone) morally or intellectually) the church, rather than simply edifying ourselves.

However! Don’t miss this:

While Paul wishes the new Church all spoke in tongues, He wishes even more greatly that we would prophesy because that is edifying for the entire Church!

After all, this would go hand-in-hand with each and every Christian’s first and most important calling – to share the gospel. What could be better for this world than the gospel than God’s current, spoken, word? A rhema Word as it were…

I must admit that to be in the presence of God, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit is powerful and … awing. If the presence of the Holy Spirit is nothing else, it is that – awing.

Through my teenage years, for mostly medical reasons, my relationship with God became a struggle for me. Thankfully, by the time I was 18 and had a brand new baby girl, I was able to focus on what everything else in my life hinged upon – my relationship with God.

Over the years that followed God showed me how He could be everything to me – husband, father to my child, father to me, best friend, provider, healer, teacher, etc. I had no idea that a person could have that kind of a relationship with someone. It was literally as if He were my husband. Communication now goes both ways between me and God. Through that progress in our relationship the Holy Spirit – within me – was growing all the while; and, I can honestly say that the Holy Spirit has used me in some powerful ways since then.

And, yes, during this relationships of ours (God and mine), I have watched Him heal each of my children. I have heard His voice delivering me from any thought of suicide. He has woken me in the middle of the night to address a spiritual attack from Satan on my husband. That is what having the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life means to me.

So, what am I saying? I’m saying THIS is what the anointing of the Holy Spirit means to me. I’m saying this is available to you. Answered prayers are attainable. Knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is hearing you is possible. Praying over a perfect stranger and God meeting their need is totally possible. And, this world is going to hell in a hand basket all around us. What does it say about us if we’re not trying to change the world?

If you want to change the world, then you must be greater than it. The only way to be greater than the world is to have God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) residing within and acting through you.

That’s it. That’s all I’m saying. You can be a cog or you can be a spectator.

If you want to know more about the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit – but would prefer to hear it from someone more unbiased (as I grew up in a Pentecostal Church), I encourage you to read the book They Spoke with Other Tongues.

This book, from a sceptic’s point of view, shares with you historical and biblical accounts of who the Holy Spirit is and how He can and has operated. I so want someone’s life to be changed that I’m giving away a copy of this book. I am not giving this book away as a promotion. I am not even going to promote this on social media other than to share this blog post as I do all of my posts. I just ask that you comment below that you would be interested in winning a copy of this book because you are interested in what it has to say. I will then take all of those peoples names and let Rafflecopter choose a name.

Please, if you have any questions drop them below. I love all of you and want us to get our job done – changing people’s lives through God – the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Bible

The Good Samaritan Challenge

Luke 10:30-37 The Good Samaritan
This poor guy was left on the side of the road beaten, half dead. How many times have you felt half-dead? Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally? 


This priest sees him. The priest looked the other way because he can’t get caught up in that. He can’t get dirty. He’s got a sermon to prepare. He ain’t got time for drama. That’s what other people are for: police, counselors, associate pastors. 

Then a Levite comes by, a neighbor. He even takes time to look at the carnage on the side of the road but then “keeps driving” so to speak. He hopes the guy is okay, maybe, but he’s got some place to be. He’s got his own problems. 


Then…a Samaritan comes by, someone seen as lesser than the man beaten, an outsider, possibly even an interloper. 


This Samaritan doesn’t just see the beaten down guy. He actually bandaged his wounds. He didn’t call someone and say, “Hey, could you…uh. Could you take care of this?” He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He even gave him a ride on his own ride. He then took him to an hotel. It doesn’t end there, though. He went in and took care of him. Then, when the Samaritan left…he paid the hotel manager and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”

So, today…I challenge you: be a Good Samaritan. Stop right now and think: Who hasn’t been around? Who do I know is going through something? Who might be hurting?

Then…


1. Go to them: Don’t just call or text. You can do those first but then physically GO TO THEM. 

2. Attend their wounds: This may mean literally. This may mean saying, “Lets look in the Bible together, right now.” This may mean bringing them food, talking with them, and praying with them. 

3. Then “come again”: That means follow up. Go back and check and see if they’re healing.

4. Challenge someone else to do this. Can you imagine if a Good Samaritan Challenge went viral?! How insanely awesome would that be?!

But it starts with you.


You could change someone’s life. You could SAVE someone’s life

This isn’t merely a suggestion nor a trite challenge made by yours truly. This was a tactfully directed commandment made by the Son of God.
“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:30-37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Bible, family, Uncategorized

It’s time: Put your big boy britches on!

In Joshua Chapter 1 it says, “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Moses My servant is dead….” How many feel that way right now? Moses was not merely a man but a ministry. He was a vessel, used by God – a man that was broken and rebuilt. So many of us feel that way about our country right now – we built something, a nation under God, and now that…the idea…the plan is dead. 


GOD DIDN’T STOP THERE. He went on to say to Joseph, “…Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses…” 


God’s all, “Look, he’s dead but I’m not! You’re fretting over a person, a thing, an idea. I’M STILL HERE. I’M THE THING, THE PERSON, THE IDEA. Focus! Put your big boy pants on because it’s time to keep on with the plan I already gave you.”


That needs to speak to our hearts, today – we have the same job today that we had yesterday, last week, last year. You think missionaries in other countries stop their objective when they realize the government they’re in promotes idol worship and slavery? No! They become more adamant! They become so desperate to rid themselves, their flock, their country of the sin that they humbly devour God and His word like ravenous dogs. Are you sitting there like a bump on a log or are you even hungrier for God and to do His works more today than ever before?!


God goes on to assure Joseph that he carries the SAME PROMISES that He had given to Moses,”…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage…that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you;” Stick to the game plan! One of the greatest attributes a Christian can have is steadfastness. Do you have it? Of course you do! 

God is careful to remind Joseph and us, “…do not turn from it (His law) to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” Don’t try and make your life easier by going along with the world. Don’t try and explain away what God “really” meant in His word. It’s plain. It’s clear to all that are filled with His Holy Spirit and it is a right, good, and perfect word. We need not add to it nor subtract from it.

He instructs, “…This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” He says it clearly here – mediate (to calm and empty the mind in order to concentrate on one specific thing) on His word so that you will naturally observe It! It will be second nature for you to do what His word says if you’re daily meditating on it!

(Sidebar: For those of you thinking, “…but New Covenant! Jesus!” Remember this: Christ said, ““Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”)


“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” THIS is how you do it. THIS is how you find prosperity, peace, success – to simply follow His word! And, then again, He reminds, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV)

I assure you that when the pilgrims set out to start new lives unhindered by their government and religious chains, to have a real relationship with God through His word alone, they didn’t stop their plight halfway through. The Israelites, even through their grumbling, didn’t pitch permanent tents in the dessert though many began worshiping golden idols in the middle of a pilgrimage. We might pause to remind ourselves, however, that losing their focus on who would bring them out and looking at each other, their situation, and “stuff” caused them to be in that desert an entire generation longer than they should’ve been! Oh, God, help us not to pitch a tent in the desert but to run through that sucker on ATVs!

Finally, when Christ himself appeared to have died, to have left this world, His followers got three days. They got THREE days to feel sorry for themselves, to mourn, to question, and to worry. BUT THEN CHRIST GOT UP

If you are followers of Christ then hear this: 

YOU HAVE HAD YOUR THREE DAYS! NOW GET UP!!

Life won’t get easier. It’ll be hard and messy! Life didn’t get easier for the apostles! God didn’t promise easy! He promised life eternal, love, peace, and so much more than we could ever imagine…IF WE WOULD FOLLOW HIM! 

It’s money where your mouth is time, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to love them like He loved us when we all are so undeserving.

It’s time for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to change the world, starting at home so that our children will change the world. 

It’s time to flip this planet on its axis like Christ did. Christ said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and GREATER a works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12 NKJV)”

So…what greater works are you striving for? Or, are you content sitting on the sidelines?

photo credit: Baptist Courier