What Faith Looks Like

It looks impossible, doesn’t it? The thing you’re facing poses so much resistance that you doubt you will see a favorable outcome.

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done (Psalm 118:13-17).

Your call to be faithful in the trial is really a call to put all of your trust in the Lord. Not some. All.

If, in the midst of the struggle, you realize something is out of order and needs to be righted, you’re what I call a current-changer. You seek God for wisdom about the circumstance, and you act upon the revelation.

To understand the walk of faith required for acting upon the revelation, imagine a”river current” that kids in a swimming pool create when they go around and around the interior of the pool’s perimeter. Their repeated motion in the same direction creates a current, and, eventually, swimmers will automatically float in the direction of the current with little effort of their own. But, when one decides to change the direction of the current, she turns the opposite direction and begins to push against its strength. What initially begins as a struggle becomes increasingly easy with each passing lap. The current moves with the same force but in the opposite direction.

I use this example because, if you’ve ever tried to go against the flow of a current, then you know the struggle. Perhaps the figurative current you’re going against is your old lifestyle. You’ve repented of your ways when you confessed your faith in Jesus’ salvation, and now you live empowered by the grace of God. You’re going against the current. The things of the past may present themselves as fresh opportunities, but your faith calls you to push ahead and not give in to the thrust of their force. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation (Psalm 118:13-14).

Maybe your role as a current-changer is for changing the atmosphere of your home. Your  excitement over your marriage has diminished, and you have moved from a level of contentment to tolerance to utter disdain for your spouse. To turn in the opposite direction is to trust fully the faithfulness of God to restore love and honor to your relationship. The flow working against you is strong, but you do not give in to the old practices of criticism or repaying hurt with hurtful words and actions. Your faith sees a better day for your home. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” (Psalm 118:115-116).

Many of us know the call to remain faithful against the force of the current when our health is on the line. In those seasons we set our eyes on God’s promises and push into the resistance. The faith walk into that current is the trust walk. We keep declaring the scriptures because we trust that God’s Word is true for ourselves and everyone else under Jesus’ covenant of blood. Even when there’s no evidence of change, we keep moving against the current, because we know that any name seeking to exalt itself above the name of Jesus Christ was already defeated. I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done (Psalm 118:17).

If current circumstances tempt you to believe God will not uphold His Word, go back to the truth of His character and rehearse His attributes, for He is unchanging- the Eternal Father who has already proven His love for you.

A Vision of the Coming Rapture

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TBN Grace 2016 Tour Participants awaiting the start of Praise the Lord programming from the Southern Steps in Jerusalem.

While seated on the Southern Steps in Jerusalem, I listened to Bishop Clarence E. McClendon’s description of a vision he received from the Lord. It was there in Israel that McClendon knew he was supposed to release the vision- to share the revelation given him from heaven.

“Jesus is coming soon!”

“I had a prophetic revelation in a dream. Awakened, I spent six hours in the presence of God, writing and studying all that I had seen.”

“I was driving in my car on a California freeway and there was a great shaft of light. It was miles away but vivid. The span seemed to be one hundred miles wide- like when a spacecraft comes out of heaven [as depicted in a film]. At that moment, people began pulling over and were gazing at it.”

“Time stopped.”

“What was clear was the message of preparation. Images in heaven were moving- shadows only, silhouettes, as if they were preparing for a mass influx into heaven. Suddenly, I thought, ‘Is this happening?’ I asked myself in the Spirit, ‘Am I ready?'”

“Jesus appeared. So beautiful to behold the face of Jesus. Everything became clear- visible as through a window of heaven. It was clear that HE IS A KING!”

“Coals of incense were thrown on a burning fire- a majestic act. A controlled explosion of glory. God was giving Jesus His moment. Every eye saw this and time was frozen. At this moment, eternity invades now.”

“When I woke up, I wrote down my thoughts. In the dream, my eleven-year old son knew this was the rapture, but I was unsure… God wants us to have a restful confidence like my son displayed in the dream.”

“I also learned that my state of wondering in the dream was of God. God let me experience what others will go through at the moment when eternity invades now.”

“Finally, I learned that the moment this drama begins, every individual will be FROZEN in the state we’re in. If you’re ready, you’ll know it and you’ll leave. If you are not ready, there will be no opportunity for repentence.”

As a witness of the public sharing of McClendon’s vision, I can say that he is very convinced of what he saw and experienced in the dream. All who hear it should respond with a quest for Scriptural truth concerning the matter. Jesus spoke clearly about His return for His bride. Please reference Matthew 24 and 25.

Takers, Receivers and a Giver

Finally settling down for a day of rest, and the sorrow of this world catches up with me. All that I can say is, “Father, forgive us for we know not what we do.”

When reality sheds light on the utter destruction we reap by our own hands, my mind races to formulate some measure of understanding. The following thought surfaces: At the heart of our carnality, we are takers.

Eve took from the tree… Cain took Abel’s life… Jacob took his brother’s birthright… Laban took advantage of Jacob’s trust. Moses took an Egyptian down to the dust. David took Uriah’s wife.

Herod took John’s head. Judas took the bribe. Zealots took stones and cast them upon Stephen.

Today the actions of takers are just as obscene: Hitler took the lives of millions of Jews. Human traffickers take people as slaves. Traveling businessmen take young girls for a source of pleasure. Radical Islamists take lives in the name of their god. Killers take police officers from the line of duty.

At the heart of our carnality, we are all takers. As much as you and I want to believe otherwise, we have an evil nature that cares not for what is good, holy and true. The evil nature consumes that which is of interest to self. Lest we view takers as only those who do criminal activities, let us remember how quickly we are to take sides or to take away another’s good reputation through gossip. We take advantage of a situation for personal gain. We take liberty with the truth. We take a little off the top for ourselves. We take a longer lunch than the company pays us for.

But God is the Giver of everything good. He gave this universe existence. He gave the world He loves His Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him will not face the penalty of eternal separation from God but, instead, know and experience everlasting life. God gave Jesus; therefore, His beautiful redemption frees the heart once bound to sin. How joyous to know the Giver of Life. How freeing to live constantly aware of His unceasing and immeasurable love for me. God is the Giver to whom our bankrupt soul cries out.

Apart from His gift of Jesus, we have no hope. We have no chance of escaping our carnality. Without Jesus, we are destined to live as takers and to die and descend to a hell full of takers. Keep in mind this hell is subject to Lucifer who sought to take God’s glory for himself. Hell was created for the devil and the angels who followed his lead.

O sweet Gospel that rings true for all eternity and in every corner of the globe! We were created to be receivers! Having received eternal pardon for my sin, I am free to receive the blessed gift of the Holy Spirit- the Spirit of truth who is ever with me. Through the Spirit-infused life I am a receiver of teaching, counsel, comfort, power, spiritual fruit, and spiritual gifts for service.

Embracing my new identity as a receiver sets me up for a lifestyle of expectation. As a child of the Father in heaven, I have assurance of receiving His steadfast love, His 24/7 protection, His daily provision, and a strong sense of purpose matched with His all-surpassing power to carry it out!

What need have I to take from another? Must I demand validation of importance from another? No. My heavenly Father assigns me identity and significance in His Son. I have received assurance from Him that I am holy and dearly loved because of the blood of Jesus.

Must I connive a way to provide for myself and my family? No, my Father’s grace out-supplies my every need. I rest in knowing I will receive from His generous heart all that I ever have need of and more.

Shall I seek vengeance against those who offend me? No, because my heavenly Father sees all and will not allow any to escape justice. I am a receiver of His promise that He has a day in mind when He will right all wrongs.

Shall I fear what is to become of my life? Fear is not part of my inheritance. As the Father’s child, I know I am kept in His perfect love which casts out all fear. I am a receiver of His assurance that all the days He has ordained for me will come to pass.

I’ve written much, but I pray that I have spoken equally as much. This hurting world has one hope, and His name is Jesus. Every taker has the right to know the Author of Life, to be given the opportunity to put to death his sin nature, and to receive God’s glorious redemption.

May all receivers on the earth go forth with this gospel and make disciples as the Spirit enables us.

When God Is Central in Our Hearts and Minds

You know that God reigns. No one has to convince you that by His almighty word He created the heavens, the earth, the seas, and all that is within them. You know that His plan for His creation is absolute; nothing nor no one can thwart what God has done, is doing, and is yet to do.

Concerning the details of your personal life, are you just as convinced of the Lord reigning over all?

I wonder if we commonly attribute to God all power on a grand scale, but a disinterest on a personal level? If such a mindset is present, we will be quick to doubt Him. If we’re honest, we can all attest to having some measure of weakness in the battle of the mind.

Personal discipleship is the antidote. By posturing our hearts and minds to take in God’s eternal truths, we are day-by-day shaping our beliefs. To not know the Father’s nature is to distrust Him. But to see Him in the revelation of Himself through Jesus and in the Bible is to know Him! Knowing is believing. Believing is trusting.

Our thoughts are the architect of our lives.

Right believing forms right attitudes. Right attitudes shape right actions. Living faith is the proof of the believer’s confession.

The psalmist declared, “The Lord reigns forever” (Ps. 9:7). I looked up the verb in the original language and noted the synonyms: to live, inhabit, dwell, stay. I turned this concept from the universal to the intimate and asked myself, “Does God inhabit the central core of me? Does He dwell in my thoughts, my heart? Does He stay present in all the dealings of my small life?”

Let us never be satisfied with the measure of spirituality in our lives. Let us cry out with passion, “God, increase my capacity for Your glory!” There is a river that never runs dry, so remaining continually thirsty is a good thing! I’m willing to grow and experience God’s increase, are you?

What does a God reigns lifestyle look like? Jesus. All of the security. All of the strength. All of the peace. All of the purpose.

Before the end of 2016, let’s view again the life of Jesus while He was on the earth. Let’s set the goal for our discipleship to study again the potential for the one who yields His life to Almighty God. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Who’s in?

Do Something

I must confess, I have thrown my hands up a few times in shock and dismay. Have we as a nation lost our minds?

Last year we learned that taxpayers funded federal grants for Planned Parenthood that totaled $500,000,000 in one fiscal year!

This week’s news included a military bulletin that is effective immediately: sex-change operations for enlisted, transgendered men and women will be provided just like any medical procedure.

Where is the outrage? Never have I witnessed so much nationally sponsored (at taxpayer expense) disregard for the sanctity of life! Creator God makes no mistakes! Life in the womb is holy and must be protected. Gender is determined by the Maker’s hands; it’s not a personal choice.

You know this, so I will cease from unnecessary ranting. But on this day of our celebrating American freedom, I am compelled to charge us to do something. Do something that is the right thing- the right thing to preserve freedom for citizens to worship, to speak freely, to defend their lives and their family’s lives.

The least we can do is to grow in a vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and to teach our children, grandchildren, neighbors and co-workers to do the same. It’s the least we can do.

And vote. Dr. Ben Carson reports that 25,000,000 Christians did not vote in the last presidential election! We cannot let that happen again this year. We must vote and charge all of our friends and family to vote. Give rides to the polling centers if necessary! Please vote this November. Vote your conscience. You believe everyone has the right to live- vote for the leader who believes the same.

Photo Credit: Compfight

Get involved. Where injustice exists without any pushback, you are needed. Is there something that enrages you, something that causes you to hit your fist to the table and say, “That should not be?” Women and children sexually exploited. Repetitive cycles of poverty, failing education and crime. The unborn ripped from a mother’s womb. Be the one who makes a difference. Join with others who are committed to justice.

We are not without hope. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We have the light of Jesus Christ radiating from within. We have the truth that stands eternal. We are not bailing out nor are we backing down.

It’s our watch, friends. I’m linking arms with you and standing firm. We resolve not to be defiled by our world. On the contrary, we are bringing the purity of the goodness of God to our homes, our neighborhoods, our work places, our churches, towns, cities, nation and world.

The America I Do Not Know

This post is a difficult one to write for two reasons:

  1. I lack understanding of politics.
  2. I fear it may come off as a scare tactic.

I remember during Barak Obama’s first presidential campaign that he spoke about wanting to bring fundamental change to America. The word, fundamental, was a red flag for many who heard him speak. At its root, fundamental speaks of the foundation upon which something is built. In the case of America, the foundation is the Constitution. The law that has governed the land of the free is in danger of being viewed as antiquated, as something in need of a replacement. The more we citizens relinquish our demand for the Constitution to be upheld, the more we watch our beloved freedoms slip through our fingers, like water through a sieve.

Let us not be ignorant- currently our freedom to assemble, to travel, to dine in a public place, is under attack. Islamic terrorists are here, and they are on a mission. Kill the Jew, kill the American, and kill the infidel are mandates that even the youngest of terrorists learn. What began with shots riddled with praise to Allah in Ft. Hood, San Bernadino, and Orlando is just the beginning. There is more to come.

Do not succumb to fear; that is not the purpose of my posting today. We the People are still a force to be reckoned with – we are America. We are wise because we know our rights, and we have children and grandchildren for whom we will protect freedom. We still have the freedom of speech, and I will not miss the opportunity to declare “foul play” on our national leaders. They appear to be more concerned with the comfort of those who have no desire to assimilate to American culture than with the protection of citizens.

While I live in the America I do not know, I am fully comforted by the fact that I know Jesus Christ, and He knows me. I belong to God the Father. Though my freedoms are under attack, my eternal freedom in Christ is secure. Whether I die of old age, or I am caught up with the Lord in the sky at His time of coming for His church, I know where I will go. Heaven is my home, and the knowledge of such floods my soul with peace.

If you are reading this and you cannot say that you know peace concerning what will happen to you after you die, I want to share truth with you. You can know peace- His name is Jesus- the Prince of Peace.  The best decision I ever made was to confess my sins to God and receive the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. I prayed a simple prayer and experienced a new birth that opened the door to my ongoing walk in newness of life. You can pray this prayer too:

Father in heaven, I have rebelled against You, and my sins are many. I believe upon the blood of Jesus to cleanse me of all my sins. I believe that You, Jesus, died on the cross and came to life again on the third day. Come into my life and make me new. I will finish my days living for You, for You are my Lord and Savior. Amen.

The Words of the Prophet

My assignment in Scripture interpretation and application brought me to an Old Testament passage that I can’t seem to shake off. I want to go on to the next lesson, but I know it is best to stay and meditate a while. 

These words written thousands of years ago resonate in my heart today. The time was during the reign of Jehoiachin; the place was the kingdom of Judah. Ezekiel was faithful to the call of God; as a prophet, he spoke the hard things that explained the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel if they were to turn away from Him. Judgment came via the Babylonian takeover, and Ezekiel was exiled from Judah along with most of his countrymen.

Although these words detailed a different time and place, there rings a tone of familiarity. Read the passage out of Ezekiel 33 and see if you identify with the warning pronounced in the words of the prophet.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But it the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.

Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”‘ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'” 

  • Do you identify with the prophet in that there is a dire warning to give?
  • Who or what currently represents the sword that may come (or has already come) against the land?
  • Is there a spokesman speaking the warning? Has the symbolic trumpet been blown?
  • Death is a common theme in our world’s current events. What is God’s heart concerning those who die apart from a knowledge of His salvation?
  • Do you sense a responsibility to speak about the days in which we live?
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