Monday, January 8, 2018

The Wind Blows Where It Will

John 3:8 "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

In describing to Nicodemus the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, he uses the wind as a metaphor. He says essentially that it blows where it will. You can't tell it where to come to and where to go. It will blow wherever it wants to. As we apply this to how the Holy Spirit works in our lives, a few things come to mind.

First, You can't Conjure up the Holy Spirit. Now, I will be the first to admit that we are ALL products of our upbringing in regards to what we believe and practice concerning the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in particular. Some are on the Extreme Right that says the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased with either the Apostles or the Canonization of Scripture. Now, there are some problems with this viewpoint in that the Gifts of the Spirit were promised and practiced, even in the first Century by more believers than just the Apostles. And the verse that many use to say they ceased with the Canonization of Scripture, [1 Corinthians 13:10 "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."] must be taken completely out of context in order to apply it to anything other than Love coming in perfection, which will happen when we are face to face in the presence of Him who is Love! However, there are others who are on the Extreme Left in regards to the Gifts of the Spirit, and basically anything, as long as you're feeling it, goes. As a good friend of mine likes to say, "There's a ditch on both sides of the road." We shouldn't go to either extreme. We should seek to be Biblical in regards to the Work of the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. So what does the Bible say? 

According to 1 Corinthians 12:11, "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." The Holy Spirit gives to each believer different gifts "AS HE WILL." In other words, you can't say enough Ba Ba La's and Ka Ka Ka's to work yourself up to speak in tongues. It is a Gift, and a gift must be First Given and then Second Received. It might not be God's will to give you the Gift of Tongues right now, but you can discover and operate in power and faith in whatever other gift He has given you. Furthermore, the Spirit works in harmony with our will. 1 Corinthians 14:32 tells us, "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." And we are told that we should always be looking out for the well-being of others in how we operate in our spiritual gift. In other words, the Spirit is not going to come on you and you start speaking in tongues, prophesying, etc. uncontrollably and causing confusion or worse fear in those that are weaker in the Faith. That's why God tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:40, "Let all things be done decently and in order." So don't feel that you have to work something up in order not to be inferior to someone else. In the Kingdom of God, there are not Big Shots and Little Shots, there are only different servants who are equipped and empowered in different ways to do different things to glorify God, evangelize the lost, and edify their brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Also, the Holy Spirit is not tied to a song or style of worship. While He may work through and use these things to get us into the Presence of God, he may not. And sometimes, if we aren't careful, we will confuse raw emotion for the Holy Spirit. While again, He works sometimes through our emotions, emotions can also be worked up in the flesh. So test the spirits if they are of God. And if you don't sense the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life, keep asking, seeking and knocking until the door opens and the veil is lifted so you can see what He is trying to do in your life.

Second, We cannot Control the Spirit. Sometimes, we try and control the work of the Spirit in our lives and churches to keep Him in our own theological and traditional boxes, because it makes us uncomfortable if He chooses to operate outside of what we've always known, seen or been taught. We essentially try and tell the Spirit of God that He can only do this or that, and we in essence keep Him from doing all that He wants in our lives. This is also dangerous, because we are told specifically not to GRIEVE or QUENCH the Holy Spirit. Again from our text in John 3:8, "The wind bloweth where it listeth," in other words it blows where it will or wants to.

Finally, We MUST Cooperate with the Spirit! If we want to see the Holy Spirit work powerfully in our lives, we must cooperate with Him as He seeks to fill us, gift us and empower us. We must pray through the discomfort where our traditions are being challenged and always seek to operate in love and understanding towards others, if He chooses to work in a different way in and through them. If we will properly discern the voice and actions of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will be able to walk and run with a tailwind getting further faster in our lives and seeing God use us to do more for His glory! So, today, let's resolve to not try and conjure up the Spirit or Control the Spirit but COOPERATE with Him as He seeks to work in our lives for God's glory!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Living in the Not Yet

Isaiah 9:6-7 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
At this season of the year, we celebrate the First Advent of Jesus. We remember his birth and sing songs about a baby who was born in an obscure village in an obscure province of the Roman Empire during the time when Caesar Augustus reigned through the iron fist of militarism and burdensome taxation. The downtrodden masses resented it, yet the leaders of the Jews had compromised with it and were living quite well. There was a major disconnect between the ruling class and the working class. The masses longed for freedom, yet they didn't know that true freedom came by being set free from a different slave master than that of Rome. And it was in this environment that Jesus appeared in time the first time.
In 2,000 + years, it seems that not much has changed. The masses are still under the yoke of taxation and militarism. They long to be free, yet don't realize they are under a far worse task master than the government. They need hope, and cry out for peace. They need help, and don't know where to turn. As in Jesus' day, they are like sheep without a shepherd that he longs to come to him, yet the majority won't. And in this environment, much like the First Century, where the government is looked to, along with our leaders as gods, that we find ourselves celebrating His First Advent this year. 
But what was it about a baby born 2000 years ago that can offer us any hope today. For certainly in our day, we find little in our society today. Our politicians and celebrities are bogged down in lawsuits with innuendo and accusation of sexual harassment and other crimes. Most of our churches are empty, while the bars are full. Many leaders in our churches are involved in immorality hidden or open, and it's only a matter of time before their sin will find them out. Many turn to religion to only find it as empty as the bottle of pills they downed a week before. 
What if anything can offer us hope?
To this question we turn to Isaiah who gave us prophecy concerning Christ's First Coming but it also contains a foreshadowing of things to come when He returns at His 2nd Advent. He tells us that He was given to us as a "Wonderful, Counselor, an Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace." In this day when so many are turning to psychiatry and psychology for answers, going to many earthly counselors, can we be reminded that Jesus came to be a Wonderful Counselor!?! He is a friend that sticks closer and the well-spring of all wisdom! 
According to John 1, He is the Word [Logos], who was in the beginning with God and in the beginning was God! The Logos was the loftiest idea in Greek Philosophy, and the Word was often used by the Jewish Scribes as a Euphemism for the name of Jehovah God. John was saying, as was Isaiah that when Jesus came He was and is the Answer to all of life's questions and Solution to all of life's problems. 
Isaiah goes on to tell us that "The Government will be on His shoulder, and of the increase of His government there shall be no end." Ye we ask how can this be so? He was crucified and cut off. He didn't reestablish the throne of His Father David, and certainly the governments of this World today are as corrupt as the day is long, and our politicians compromised. The truth is, He came to set up a Kingdom that exists in this World, but is not of this World, yet one day it will take over this World and crush all the Kingdoms that we now see in this World. This is what Daniel saw in Daniel 2:44-45, which states, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." It's as if it has already taken place, for the interpretation is sure! 

Just as God announced in advance through the prophets that Jesus was coming to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21); they announce a 2nd Coming and a visible Kingdom that is coming to do away with the Earthly Kingdoms that have promised Utopia yet brought more oppression. 
But now we live in the not yet! The writer of Scripture describes this in Hebrews 2:7-9: "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
I believe this was Paul who wrote these words, and he describes Christ's First Advent when He who was God, was made a little lower than the angels, perfected through suffering and now highly exalted. He has had all things placed under His feet, but "Now we see NOT YET all things placed under Him." HOW CAN THIS BE? Either they have or they haven't. Truth be told, they have! We are just yet to see the fulfillment. It's what Solomon was saying in Ecclesiastes 1:9, where he states, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." In the mind and eternal purpose of God, IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED, yet we await its fulfillment in time. Just as with His First Coming, it was established in Eternity Past from the Foundation of the World, foretold of prophets for Centuries and Millennia, yet wasn't seen until Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem and effectively split time in half, with the Common Era beginning and continuing "In the Year of Our Lord!" 
The same is true of the time When the Government will be on His shoulder, all things, including the Kingdoms of this World will be under His feet. We wait! We Watch, and we wait, and we pray, eagerly anticipating "Our Blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ." And we try and prepare as many as we can for that Great Day! We fight the good fight of faith, and we tear down strongholds by claiming the Victory that was won on Calvary and declaring the name which is above every name, THE NAME OF JESUS! We tell them to Good News of His First Coming, which was to die for our sins. But we give them Hope that He will come again and make right the wrongs of this World! 
So this Christmas Season, may we celebrate His first Coming, but also look forward with anticipation to His 2nd. And may we redeem the time and win others to Him, claiming the victory of Calvary, as we live in the Not Yet! May God bless you!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Waiting on God

It seems like we live in a nation and culture that is out of control because of all the protesting, anger and rage being spewed by everyone from the NFL, to Hollywood, to Washington DC and sadly even to some churches and church folks. Players are disrespecting the flag and nation; fans are boycotting their teams; politicians and media types are on a witch hunt to try and discredit their opponents and even drum up charges to try and remove them from office. Everyone is taking sides and no one is willing to listen to other side. And before you think I'm being holier than thou or even hypocritical, I will be the first to admit that I'm as guilty as anyone else of taking a side and running with it; and yes sometimes allowing my righteous indignation to become unholy anger and sin.

The truth is, our society and nation do have deep and complex problems, and there is no quick solution or easy answers to these problems. There IS a problem with police brutality and racial profiling in many of our inner cities across America. There are still racist people who give privileges and perks to white people over African-Americans who do the same job for the same company. And there are problems on both sides with White Americans and Black Americans who stereotype one another and just want to shout at one another. There is a problem with Black on Black Crime and Domestic Violence that sometimes well meaning Police Officers get called to break up, only to have the perpetrator and victim turn on them; and they are forced to defend themselves and families are left broken with a dead loved one lying on the street. There is a problem with people who break the law in order to migrate to this nation, some with the best of intentions, trying to make a better life for themselves, and others with the worst intentions of doing harm to this nation and its citizens. Then there is the problem of what to do with the children of these individuals who may or may not have been born on American soil. The answers to these complex problems are not always clear cut black and white, and there are real people with real feelings and eternal souls who are often caught in the cross-hairs of this struggle. SO WHAT IF ANYTHING DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

Now, I like to read a Chapter in Psalms and a Chapter in Proverbs every day in my quiet time. Today, I was in Psalm 27, and I came to verse 14, which states: "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." One Commentary on this verse said this: "Waiting for the Lord is an abbreviated way to express waiting for an answer to prayer. Rather than taking matters into their own hands, the people of God should wait patiently for Yahweh's response!"

This especially rang true with me, because I have a bad habit of rushing to judgment, getting sucked into arguments, and then having to passionately defend that argument at the risk of hurting others. Sometimes things are better left unsaid and opinions kept to oneself.

I was convicted this morning that I need to talk to God about problems in my life, culture, nation and society more than talking to others or expressing said views on Social Media. And may we WAIT on God's response instead of taking matters into our own hands! It's okay to express an opinion and bring truth to light in a discussion, but we must be careful to do it in a right way that honors God, and respects the other person who also was created in the image of God. We have a responsibility to honor those in authority over us (Romans 13:1-7) and pray for our political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

What am I saying? As the people of God, let's try and heed the words of Scripture. James 1:19 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow tospeakslow to wrath:"
And 1 Thessalonians 4:11 "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;"

May we not just be hearers or even people who quote the Word to prove our point. But let us be doers of the Word and show the world by our actions, our love for God and love for others, that we are indeed His disciples! Have a blessed day!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The People Wanted Wallace but God Wanted Truman

As many of you know, I am an avid History buff and love studying everything I can about it. I love studying History, because it is Ultimately, His Story! You see the Sovereignty of God and God's Intervention into the affairs of man everywhere you turn. Such was the case recently when I happened to turn on a History Program on Netflix concerning the Democratic Convention of 1944.

If you recall your study of History, or perhaps you were even alive at the time, you know that FDR was running for an unprecedented 3rd Term. His Vice President had been Henry Wallace, an ardent supporter of the New Deal Programs and "Man of the People." Many though in the Party, being still somewhat Conservative at the time, saw Wallace as unhinged and a drag on the Ticket. It was unclear if Roosevelt, whose health was declining and with war fatigue setting in, could defeat the Republicans in the Fall with Wallace still on the Ticket. So, the Party Convened that Summer unsure of who its Vice Presidential Nominee would be.

Wallace was a favorite of the People and held a commanding lead in the polls when the delegates convened that Summer. But in an attempt to unify the Party and hold together the Coalition that had put Roosevelt in office and reelected him, a little known Senator from Missouri's name was placed in nomination, Harry S. Truman.  Truman was seen as one who could unify the Party having supported many of the New Deal Programs of FDR, yet being close to the isolationists in the Party who were suffering from War Fatigue along with the rest of the nation.  At the end of the Day, while only polling at 2% among Democrats going into the Convention, Truman carried over 90% of the Convention Delegates to become the Vice Presidential nominee.

As fate, or Providence, would have it. The Roosevelt/Truman Ticket won in the Fall, yet the President became more ill and passed away on April 12, 1945 making Harry S. Truman the 33rd President of the United States. Truman would go on to become one of the most consequential Presidents in our Nation's history from a Prophetic Standpoint. He authorized the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, ushering in the Atomic Age and effectively ending the War in the Pacific. In 1948, against the advice of many in his own cabinet, he officially recognized the Nation of Israel after they declared independence on May 14th, seeing himself to be "a Modern Day Cyrus," and prophecy was fulfilled with America becoming Israel's strongest Ally.  All of this could have happened differently, had the Party listened to the People and nominated Wallace instead.


Daniel 2:21 states, "And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings."

The Psalmist had stated in Psalm 2:1-2 state: "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The Kings set themselves, and the rulers of the Earth take counsel against the Lord." Yet verse 4 says that the Lord in sitting in Heaven laughing.

You see God ALWAYS gets the last laugh. His plan is coming about just as He sees fit. He knows what is best and will glorify Him. It's no accident that President Trump defied the odds and won in spite of the Establishments of both parties being against him, because God sets up kings not man! So the people can rage, protest, riot and carry on all they want, BUT GOD IS LAUGHING! His Ultimate Will, will be accomplished.

SO REST IN HIM CHILD OF GOD! Let His peace flood your heart today, and may the fragrance of His Knowledge spice up your life today!

As Proverbs 3:5-6 states, "TRUST IN THE LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL THY WAYS acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths!" TRUST HIM, HE'S GOT THIS AND HE'S GOT YOU!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Desperation causes people to do some crazy things. It can cause people to start stalking other human beings at work, in their homes, and around town all because they are desperate for love and attention and affirmation. It can cause people to throw caution to the wind and attempt things that otherwise they would not think of doing. It can even cause people to become suicidal and even take their own lives. In sports we are familiar with the last second desperation heave into the end zone, hoping against hope that our team will somehow come down with the ball and end up winning the game against all odds. In life we go through periods of great desperation and different things drive us to that point. God wants to use these times of desperation in our lives to drive us to diligently seek Him, as Jeremiah 29:13 exhorts us. He uses dry seasons in our lives to cause us to thirst after Him.

The Psalmist was at this point in Psalm 42:1, "As thehart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." 

God would no doubt love for us as His children to seek after Him and pray and thirst on our own without any coercion, however, as human beings we seldom do. We often have to have some cataclysmic event, such as a 9/11, or a late-night Emergency Room trip to wake us up and cause us to thirst after Him. We often only pray during times of desperation, yet it is times of desperation that God has orchestrated to get us to pray.

Dr. David Jeremiah once said, "I learned to pray out of desperation. For most of us, this is how the adventure usually begins. When we finally get serious about prayer, the trigger is usually desperation, not duty…. We don’t pray because we ought, we pray because we are without any other recourse."

I have found in my own life, the Holy Spirit has done His deepest and most powerful work in and through me when I was desperate for Him to do so! 

There have been a number of situations in my life that have driven me to a point of desperation to where a change became inevitable, if I was to go on and not be completely overrun with depression and despair. Usually, it is a number of things that happen at once that lead me to this point. In 2013, I was at a point of desperation.

     The Comedian Jerry Clower used to tell a story about a man who got stuck in a tree with a skunk, when a hunter walked by. The man said to the hunter, "Shoot up in here amongst us. ONE OF US HAS TO HAVE SOME RELIEF!"

We've all been there at one point or another, and for me 2013 was that time. In 2010-2011, our family had an unusually trying time regarding the declining health of my youngest son Aaron. He was in the ER 7 times in 8 months, and during the middle of that time I somehow got in a trip to the Holy Land that the Church had paid for. But He was sick and having a partial proximal shunt malfunction that led to a desperation trip to Memphis where he underwent a life-saving procedure on August 1st of 2010. Over the next year he ended up having 3 more surgeries to revise His shunt. This left us wore out as a family and myself wore out as a husband, father and pastor. [BTW, Aaron is doing well and living a normal life as a 2nd grader, praise God!] Toward the end of 2011, God spoke to me about making a change regarding one of the ministries of our church, and while it was discussed ad nauseum among our deacons and the idea presented to our church months before, when the change was actually made there were upset feelings, and the smooth transition we had hoped for and been assured of was anything but that. After the change was made the first part of 2012, there was a backlash and many people left the church upset, and the ones who remained were devastated.

To make a long story short, I became bitter and upset. I was no fun to live with at home. I was angry and not sure where to turn. I wanted to run and hide. I BECAME DESPERATE, and by the first part of 2013, I knew if God did not move in my life I wouldn't survive in ministry. Out of that desperation and devastation, I began to hunger and thirst after God and long for a fresh and powerful move of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I started reading the Bible and to the best of my ability tried to not read my own traditions or ideas into it. I just read it for what it said. When I got to Isaiah, God's Spirit broke in in a powerful way.

He led me to Isaiah 44:3, where God promises, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:"
And then to Isaiah 55:1, where He states, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

Needless to say, He was preparing me. At the end of 2013, God took me to a conference where His Spirit broke through. God showed me His power and filled me to overflowing with the Living Water of His Holy Spirit. God shocked me and surprised me as he tore down walls and barriers that I had built up for years.  Over the next year and a half, God did some amazing things in our church. We started new ministries, and saw over 120 people saved and follow through with baptism. We started Journey to Freedom and saw many people whose lives were in desperation set free. We had a service in 2013, where there were 8 confirmed miracles of healing in that one service. By the end of 2014, the Church was flying high and sailing with the tailwind of the Holy Spirit.

But then 2015 came. I have heard from many church leaders at other places as well as in our own church that have underwent major changes in their families, health, and just life in general this year. Many have been under attack from spirits of heaviness and infirmities. Many have been disappointed to see their loved ones who were serving the Lord, quit on God altogether. Many have become tired and grown weary in well doing, and some have just sat down. It has left me to ask God, "What are you doing? Where is this leading? What should be done to see you move again in power?" AND THE WORD THAT KEEPS COMING BACK: "DESPERATION! HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU FOR ME TO MOVE?" And that is a question for all of us to ponder! How desperate are you to see God's Spirit move in your life, in your family, in your Church and in your Community? How long has it been since you prayed for God's Spirit to fill you and move in your life and Church? It could be that God is bringing us again to a point of desperation to force our hand whether we will diligently seek Him and believe Him to pour out His Spirit again! GOD WILL MOVE WHEN WE GET DESPERATE ENOUGH FOR HIM TO MOVE! So my question is this, "ARE YOU DESPERATE!?!"