Archive for the ‘God’s Power’ Category

Radical Meth addict has change of heart

April 19, 2012

I have known this guy for about six years. He has battled Meth and pornography ever since I have known him. He shared with me how the last time he was high (approx. 90 days ago) it sent him over the brink. It was the one high that scared him enough to want to start to change and to continue.

Of course, one of the major effects of Meth is “paranoia”. And, it gets worse and worse with each use. His last time using, he was on one of the commuter trains in the city and saw this guy who he taught was staring at him. Then his mind (through the demonic spirit of the drug) told him that this guy was after him and was out to kill him. This night, my friend had taken a knife with him. Now, he was contemplating slitting this guys throat. He was just seconds away from going up to some innocent man and doing him in. It was all played out in his mind.


The next stop, the train security boarded to do their usual ride along. This of course took on a major turn in his paranoia. The next stop, out he bolted and took the back alleys home. He basically went back to his apartment and stayed inside the rest of his time while still high. God had him locked up inside until he came down.

A couple of days later we heard of this story.

He shared how this had never happen before. Never was there such deception and fear. This time he was truly fearful. He had never thought it would get to this point. So close to something that would change his life forever. And, the guilt that he would have to live with the rest of his life.

This brother has always had a heart for God. He would come around when we were preaching, passing out tracts, or just talking to someone about Jesus. On many occasions, he would ask for tracts to pass out himself. Most of the time when he wasn’t high, he would be seen walking or sitting around downtown. Many have prayed for him for a very long time.

And now, I am blessed to say that he is 90 days clean. He is coming to our Tuesday night mall gatherings and we are seeing great advancement spiritually. God is doing an incredible work in this mans life. He has had enough. He truly wants change. His last time was enough to scare him into change. That is God’s love in real action! Loving him enough to allow this to happen, to allow it to get to this point to where he would change. What a God!

Just to share a testimony of how his heart has been changed since. Last week, he was walking down the sidewalk, he heard this girl screaming. He looked across the street and this guy was beating this girl to a pulp. So, he ran over there and jumped in to help. He got between the car door and the girl when the driver punched the gas and it knocked him over the door on to the road. Later, all bruised up and bloody, he saved the girl. The police, the paramedics showed up, and they went to the hospital. A bystander was able to get the licence plate number, and by now, hopefully they are locked up.

Here is a guy that once used prostitutes. Now he was saving their lives at the risk of his own. Now that’s heart change!


Light in the city

April 12, 2012

I had heard from the Spirit in the morning hours that we were going to be sharing THE LIGHT today.

After getting into the city and walking around prayerfully, we honed in on a corner. At first, I had sensed to wait and pray on the corner, which I did. Then, I began to shout in a quick voice “LIGHT! Then, a few minutes later, again “LIGHT!” Then came “Jesus is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD!”

This was another opportunity and a reminder how powerful our words can be when in the SPIRIT. In the spiritual realm, our words have power. Not of course because of us, but the Spirit inside of us coming out.

This was all setting the pace in the Spirit for what would happen over the next couple of hours. Light was going forward in the Spirit to push back the darkness. This is what God wanted to accomplish at this time and moment. He wanted to clear the air, so to speak, and let light go forth and hit the people with His light.

After about 10 minutes of proclaiming THE LIGHT, I looked to the left and noticed a commuter train coming. My first look at it as it passed by, I noticed that it had a sign on the train that read “Got Light?” Wow! I thought. Now, I had seen this advertizing sign before on the train, but this time it jumped out at me as I was sharing LIGHT. How fitting and confirming it was to me.

So, the Spirit continued to flow as we shared Christ as the LIGHT. We shared a few scriptures regarding light also. The Spirit had a few from time to time on this corner who were caught in the cross-hairs as they stood there listening as they were waiting for the bus. Also, a couple of them came up and took tracts to take with them.

I would rotate to one side of the corner of the building that was there, to the other side. The Spirit had it all under control. Light was breaking forth. A few, as usual were interested in the light. We shared that many loved darkness, and that was why they did not come to the light.

Finishing the day and going home on the bus, a brother gets on and we share about the light and what happened that day. He downloaded some scriptures on his phone regarding light and I read them out loud at a normal tone of voice. A few stops later this guy gets on and sits down near us and begins to shake, twitch and move around as the scriptures are being heard. I sensed the demonic with one, and only one look at him as our eyes met. I turned and kept reading. Soon, a couple stops later, this guy jumps up and bolts for the rear door and departs out. I look out the window and he’s standing there on the sidewalk shaking and yelling out loud. Talk about getting hit with the light! Darkness was dispelled when light came! A pretty awesome example it was.

My friend didn’t understand what was taking place in the spiritual realm. He had gone over to him when he was on the bus and first started shaking and had asked him if he was alright. The guy replied with some vulgar words in which my friend left him alone and went back to sit down.

After I explained to him the spiritual side of what just took place, he got it. I believe it was an eye opener to all who saw and heard what went on. Maybe some people will wake up to the reality of the spiritual realm and how and what takes place as it manifests itself in the physical.

Jesus THE LIGHT! Darkness has to flee! It has no choice!

From rags to True Riches

February 9, 2012

“He would do things like, scream and yell at people. He would run as fast as he could down the sidewalk, screaming and yelling, pushing people out of his way. People who didn’t know him, or weren’t from this area, would freak out. Many would call the police. He was picked up and taken to jail so many times that Joe had lost track of the count. The police of course knew him all too well.”

I believe in the redemptive power of God to change a life. Testimonies prove it.

Today was a lot like a typical day going out on the streets, getting on the train after riding the bus to the train stop. As the train was getting ready to make its first stop into downtown, I looked out the window and noticed a corner, and a spot to stand hit my eye. I heard the Spirit say, “stand there”. So, as it stopped, I got off and walked back to that spot.

I stood there smiling and handing out the “Why do you need Jesus cards”. Had a couple of good contacts with a few people, and good reception in taking the cards. After about 20 minutes, I turned to my right and this guy almost knocked me over. It was Steve! (name changed to protect the redeemed).

Now, I will back up to approximately five years ago.

The Hawthorne area is an area that the Lord has led me to quite often over the years. Like a lot of towns, they have their part of town that cater to the younger generations and it’s “hippy” like culture. Such is this part of our city. Like a lot of cities, it has deep roots in the occult and witchcraft. But hey, the light shines brightest in the dark, right?

On many visits to this area, I would see this man who lived here and everybody knew him. Why did they know him? Well, it wasn’t exactly for his well dressed look or his very charming personally. He was known as the guy who everybody felt sorry for. He was a part of the town. He would bum food, money etc. from anybody at anytime of the day or night. You’re thinking right about now, that he was the “local town bum” right? Well, you could say that, but it ran a little deeper than that. Let me explain.

I have developed a friendship with one guy down there who has his corner where he hangs out everyday with his cardboard sign. His name is Joe (name changed to protect his popularity). Joe has known Steve ever since he came to this area. Many times when I landed here, I would go over to Joe’s corner and hang out for a while. We would always eventually bring up Steve and talk about how he was doing.

You see, Steve had some real mental things going on. And yes, a good deal of it was spiritual. He would do things like, scream and yell at people. He would run as fast as he could down the sidewalk, screaming and yelling, pushing people out of his way. People who didn’t know him, or weren’t from this area would freak out. Many would call the police. He was picked up and taken to jail so many times that Joe had lost track of the count. The police of course knew him all too well.

I remember on one occasion, I had just arrived there, and it was night-time. I looked down the street and saw the flashing lights. I walked by the police car, and there they were, putting Steve in the car again. After visiting with Joe, he shared with me as to what he was arrested for. It was “indecent exposure”. You see, Steve also had this problem where he would for no known reason, pull down his pants and began to take his clothes off. And yes, right in front of everybody as they passed by. And you can guess what would happen shortly afterwards. Yep, the flashing lights.

Two occasions stand out in my mind as a recall the times when I saw him there. One time, it was the middle of winter, and he had his usual dirty clothes, long matted hair, and dirty face. Because of his condition, you could not carry on an intelligent conversation with him. This always bothered me, however, I did not want to succumb to the thought of “oh well, that’s just the way he is”, and just let him be. I believed he was going to be delivered and healed. So, when ever I would see him, I would push through and try to speak with him. Well, this day he actually stopped long enough to hear me invite him to go with me to the Starbucks for coffee. He said he would! Wow! I was shocked, and quite frankly didn’t expect it. So, we walked down the sidewalk. I spoke to him about God’s love for him. I prayed for him and tried to get some feedback, but nothing.

We came to the coffee shop. I opened the door and he just stood there. I said, “let’s go in”. He just stood there. I closed the door, and we stood outside. After trying to find out why he didn’t want to go in, I finally figured it out. Here was a man who didn’t live inside of four walls. He had no house to stay in. All he knew was the outdoors. It was his home. I’m sure the enclosure frighten him, big time.

So, I asked him what kind of drink he wanted. Much to my surprise he said, “a latte”. I said, “what kind?” He said, “vanilla” Wow!, I thought. Praise God! I got an intelligent response out of him. I hugged him and said, “all right! that it will be”. So, he waited outside and I went in. I came out and smiled, gave him his drink and…….. off he went. What? He could not even stay for a minute? There went Steve, pushing aside people and hurrying down the sidewalk. Well, I was thankful that I had experienced a breakthrough with him anyways.

The other time was when I was standing on a corner in the area, passing out cards and noticed that he came by. I reached out and said “hey Steve, remember me? I bought you the latte? He looked at me as if he never met me or seen me before. I began to really pray for him. I didn’t like what the enemy was doing to this man. Frankly, I was getting real upset. Here was a wasted life that the enemy had no right to take and destroy. After about 20 minutes, I saw him coming back my way. I was not going to let this opportunity pass by. As he came by, I……..

immediately followed him rebuking the devil the whole way. It was a busy day and the sidewalks were full. We swerved in and out of the people passing by. I did not care what they thought of this “crazy man” following this guy and talking out loud, saying “I rebuke the unclean spirits in my brother! Come out of him, right now! In Jesus name! etc.etc.” Then……

He took off in a dead run. I followed a short distance, then stopped and gave him to the Lord. No doubt, many people have prayed for him over the years. I know many people have blessed him with untold blessings such as food, water, sleeping bags, money etc. Heaven will tell the story.

A year went by. No sight of him anywhere. I asked around and nobody knew. Of course, we hoped that he made his peace with God, if he had left us for good. Then one day……. I was downtown at a certain corner, and I looked to my left, and saw him. He was walking at a regular pace. He was dressed nicer. He was clean. I called out, “hey Steve!” He looked at me. I said, “do you remember me?” He shook his head up and down and said, “yes”. I smiled and said, “how are you doing?” He said, “really good”, I have my own place now”. I said, “really!” He said, “yeah!” Then he said, “hey I got to catch this bus”. We parted and I couldn’t believe what I had just heard and seen. I went home that night rejoicing in our Lord.

I couldn’t wait for the next time to go out to Hawthorne and tell Joe the good news. The next week came and I found myself led to go out there and tell him. He was so excited to hear that he was alive. I think he might have given up hope. It was an exciting time for sure.

Now fast forward six months, to today. As I turned to my right, this guy almost knocked me over. It was Steve!  I asked him how he was doing. He said great. He reminded me again that he had his own place, and that he had his own food. He looked really good. We reminisced a little about our times on Hawthorne. He remembered.

Now here is the best part………. I asked him, as I stood there holding one of my “why do you need Jesus” cards, “What about Jesus!” He looked at me and said, “Oh yeah! He’s my Lord and Savior!” Wow! To hear that come from his mouth, was like sweet dew coming from heaven! I hugged him and said, “God bless  you brother!” He smiled and said he needed to catch the bus. What a Redeeming God He is! Changed forever!

“Spirit Led Operation”, the need of the hour!

January 19, 2012

This life is supposed to be one of being Spirit led, and not one of being led by our carnal mind and will. What we want to do, should not even enter our priorities. Do we practice being Spirit led? Do we care what the Spirit might be saying? Do we even know what it’s like to hear from the Spirit, then go out and be led by His Spirit?

Of course, this takes lots of practice, patience and perseverance. Learning to operate in and of the Spirit is the great need of the day for all those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is the day of preparation before the real needs hit our land. If we wait, we will be like the majority who will have not taken the time to learn and prepare the ways of the Spirit in operation.

May the Spirit of God within us take precedence over our mind and body.

Quietness and alone time with God is the essential need of the hour. No real relationship, no real fellowship with God through His Spirit can be developed unless this time is being taken on a regular basis. You can’t learn of the Spirit unless time is taken with the Spirit. When the Spirit is ruling, leading and guiding our lives, then we go into and operate in the realm (the kingdom) of God. The realm of the Spirit is the kingdom of God. Remembering that, “God is Spirit”, His Kingdom is spiritual, and it’s takes a birth of the Spirit to understand this Kingdom, and to be able to operate in it.

If we don’t spend this “alone time with God“, no real foundation can be laid to operate in the Spirit. We will operate out of the intellect and the flesh. It will be easy to follow the ways of man and religion. We will fall into routine, familiarity and comfort. All three of these ways are ways that our flesh is well acquainted with.

We are reminded, that the biggest battle that the believer faces, is that of the “flesh versus the Spirit“, if indeed one is endeavoring to have the Spirit rule their life. If not, there will be no real battle taking place because the carnal mind will be ruling. Let us not forget that this kind of mind is “enmity with God”.

So, Spirit operation is the need of the hour. To be able to know where to go, what to say and what to do is going to be ever more so needed in the coming days. Let us not be left behind, because whither we want to believe it or not, God is busy assembling his “Army” of Spirit led believers that are going out into the world to do what the Spirit has ordained them to do. They are being equipped and trained while they are out and about practicing being Spirit led, and the power is being manifested in the fulfilment thereof.

“Rise up O Spirit of God!”

Transcending Love in action

August 6, 2011

What a God, that gives people countless opportunities to hear about His Son. And the awesome thing is….that it is all motivated by His love.

Even when one is not completely coherent, God can transcend the music, the drug ,the alcohol, and even if there is a mental problem going on. He certainly is all-powerful! Nothing can prevent Him from doing what he wants to do, or how he chooses to do it. And the awesome thing is….to be able to watch it in action. Really, indescribable when you come right down to it.

Today again, was one of those experiences.

The Spirit showed me a corner that I haven’t been upon in over 6 months. So, I boarded the train and headed there. It wasn’t far from another corner that I had been that afternoon. It took all of maybe 10 minutes to get there by train.

I got there and had to use the restroom, so I walked a block and did that. I returned to the corner where I had believed that He wanted me to be. After about 20 minutes, with a few relatively light and small conversations, I looked to my right across the street, and noticed a guy doing a little jig to the music that he was listening to on his iPod. My eyes followed him for a bit, and noticed that he might not be all there, or possibly high on alcohol or drugs. This of course, is no big deal out on the streets. We see it all the time everywhere we go. It’s all too common, unfortunately.

So, about the time I’m thinking in my mind, “is he going to come over here?” As I do from time to time, I held out a tract towards him, as if to say, “here it is, come and get it”. Hoping that the Spirit would move on such an individual. He makes a one-eighty, and turns and crosses the street and heads straight towards me.

He is boppin along, and I reach out to him and say, “here, this is for you!”. He says, “what is it!” Before I could say what it was, he says, “read it!” I said, “do you know what it is?” He said, “I don’t care! I just want you to read it out loud to me. And it better be loud”, he said.

Now this was really cool. He stood a little off to the side, about 6 feet in front of me. And, as usual, there were people around listening and walking by. So, I began to read it line by line. “John 3:16” “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son,”……………

As I was reading, “he said louder!” He said, “are you sure that you are reading every word?” I smiled and said, “Oh yeah!” He said, “make sure you read every paragraph too”. So, I took full advantage of his request and read loud and slow.

Now, one might think here that he was just being comical, or messing around with me, right? One might think that also because he had his iPod on, that he wasn’t hearing a word I was saying, right? Also, do to the quite obvious, that he was high, he wasn’t paying attention, right?

But, as I read it to him, he begins to repeat some words of the Gospel. Now, we all know that in the natural, one can comprehend more of what they are hearing when they repeat it to themselves, right? This is just what God had him doing. Just as he was. There was no need to have him sobered up. The power of God can transcend all human barriers. Thus it was so.

After finishing one side of the card, I turned it over and said, “do you want me to read the other side?” He said, “sure! Keep it going!” I smiled and kept going. He would make comments like,”is that so? wow, really”

Take a moment out like I did afterwards, and try to comprehend what  actually took place here. Here is a man who I am sure had no idea that day that he was going to hear about Jesus that day, let alone have a guy on a street corner read to him, God’s plan of salvation for his soul. How about what ever he did that day to get high? Was he thinking that God through his Spirit would try to reach him that day?

I love to see God meet people right where they are. The old hymn, “Just as I am” was very fitting.

Well, I would like to tell you that man bowed his head there and received Christ into his life, but that did not happen at that moment. I did not get to see it. I am OK with that. Sure, I would have liked to see that more than anything, but that moment was not in tha plan for whatever reason. What I did get to see, was a man who God loved much, and that he gave him another opportunity to hear. That was His love in action.

How many times has he heard? How many times will he hear? Only God knows. But, I know that God is full of opportunities and that His love is relentless.

After reading 3/4 of the card, he said that he must be going. He didn’t take the card with him, but got to hear sufficiently, the Gospel. As he bopped down the sidewalk, I prayed for him. I looked all the way up to the next block, and could still see him. A young couple moved out of the way, as he passed by. Maybe a little staggering?

The Gospel story doesn’t stop there. The young couple walk by me, and I made a comment about the man who was staggering as he went by them. They stopped, and we engaged in a beautiful dialogue about Christ. After about 20 minutes, they took a tract and said that they needed to get to where they were going for the night. The man believed that God was in everyone, and everything. The girl however, was listening very intently, as I have seen before, usually in a group setting. It usually comes down to one in that group.

The streets. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or anything for that matter. Experiencing God while your living! That’s what it is all about! It involves people and telling them about the Christ, the life that you have.

What God is doing on the streets

June 30, 2011

Street ministry, like all ministry, involves people. What is really awesome to see, is lives being changed whether it appears small or big. Also, to see change in a relatively short amount of time. Like on many occasions, today we got to see two people being changed.

Just last week, James and I were on a corner downtown hanging out as usual. This nineteen year old guy came up and started talking. He was playing the “know it all” and did very little listening at first. He confessed that he was raised in a Christian home, but was now trying to find God his own way. He talked a lot about how he disagreed with the way the world was and gave his reasons as to why. As time went on, the Spirit was moving and he was beginning to do a little more listening. When it was all said and done, he agreed to have prayer with us, and we all finished with shaking hands and smiling.

Today, exactly one week later to the day, he came by again. This time, he was different. He was a little more laid back. He listened more. I asked him how he was doing. He began to tell me that now he was going to church, and he had a lot more to say about Christ this time.

He had a tripod and a video camera, and asked if he could interview me with some questions. He said that he was going to make a video to show to people. His questions where very good. He asked if I believed in Hell and who all would go there. He asked that if I could go back and do some things over, would I. And if so, what would they be. He asked me do I believe that Jesus is the only way to God. He also had some more questions in which I answered the best that the Spirit gave me.

Then he began to share some deep spiritual things about the Devil and his fall. He shared about light and darkness. This had once again confirmed what the Lord had showed me a few years ago about the younger generation coming up. They would advance more quickly and receive deep revelation faster than those previously (see my post on “God’s Army”).

Here was a guy that in one week had scaled a mountain on the spiritual level. This is what God wants to do and is doing.

We encouraged each other and he said to remember him in prayer as he walked off looking for other people to interview. Bless the Lord for what He is doing!

The other guy is an addict that I have known for about three months now. The first time I met him was when I had been sharing at this corner a short distance east out of downtown. He had been strung out and was begging for money like most. He at that time, was very opposed to hearing the Gospel. However, I prayed for him and believed that I would see him again.

For a couple of weeks after, I would see him and he would smile and say hi. One time, the three of us were heading to the local mall for our weekly gathering and they noticed him, not knowing that I had met him before. One of the brother’s laid it pretty straight with him. I sensed that it was from the Lord, so I just stood back and prayed. So did our other brother James. (Ps. This is important if you go out with some other brothers or sisters and find yourselves talking to one person. Usually, if you gang up on one person, it won’t last very long, and they will have to leave. Seen it more than once).

We would see him a few more times before today. Each time, he was becoming more aware of God and not being so rejecting of Christ.

Today, he came around the corner where we were at. He appeared to be sober and had a lady friend with him for the first time that I had noticed. As he was passing, he turned back and leaned towards me and smiled and said, “OK, I will take one”. He for the first time took a tract. He had refused them before. This was a big step. When one reaches out of their own free-will and takes a tract, it is BIG in God’s economy. It is a blessing to see the Spirit move on one to reach out and take. The results are up to God.

So, we today, bless God for what He is doing. He is moving on hearts, trying to get them to turn. It is truly awesome to see him move and change people. He is in the “changing people business” for sure!

A direct shot of God’s love!

February 24, 2011

I was so thankful that I choose to not follow into routine today. I boarded a bus that I don’t usually take into town. When I started, it was just me and one other person on the bus. I sat in my usual back of the bus location. This was good routine as far as location goes. After a few stops, this guy gets on and sits in the very last seat in the corner. I was sitting next to him in the last row at the end. I struck up conversation with him about the weather. After a little while, I asked him if he was with Jesus.

Little did I know, that for the next 20 minutes he would share one of the most awesome testimonies that I have heard in a long time. This one really gripped my heart for sure.

He started with sharing how when he was little boy, his dad was very abusive to him and the family. So his life at a very early age was very abusive. This is very common, and I have heard lots of abusive stories about how people were raised. But this man, now probably in his forties, begins to share how God kept him through the years. His mother dies while he was around seven. His dad takes it out on him. He becomes more abusive towards him. His dad, like his mom, had health issues. This led to more confusion, frustration and anger. Finally, after a few more years, his dad passes away. There is no regret because he was never shown what a father was, let alone what love was. Hate and bitterness was all that he knew. This is what his life consisted of. So, he was relieved that his dad was taken out of his life. Little did he know what was lurking around the bend though…..

He immediately is placed in a foster home. Surprize! This turns out to be more abuse than what he had known before. His live before was just a primer for what he would now experience as “living hell”. Soon, his new parents beat him severally over and over again, as if there was nothing wrong with it. He told me that they would lock him up for a couple of days at a time with no food or water. He would have to go to the bathroom in the same corner like a dog. This would happen on numerous occasions. He was treated just like an animal.

So, at the age of fourteen, he packs his bag and takes off. Never to look back again.

Now, in my mind I am thinking how in the world would one such guy as this, ever come to God. All he has ever known was abuse, hate, bitterness etc. And it all came from humans. Would he ever listen to another human? Would he ever trust another human? Could a human ever tell him about God’s love? Could he even grasp what love was? He absolutely didn’t know what love was, or is.

One night, shortly after he left home and out on the streets, God in his love and faithfulness, came to him in a dream. Just like God, he alone knows how to reach people. He loved this guy so much, and knew that he was not going to respond to another human being. So it’s like God saying, “it’s OK, I am God, and I will do whatever is necessary to reach him”. So in his dream, he experiences God and his love. God knows that he needs love, and that he needs the real deal, His love sent directly from God.

So, in the morning, he wakes up crying profusely and gives his life to God. It’s just that simple and awesome. No human involved, because God knew what he had experienced with humans, no love. A direct shot of God’s love was necessary for him to find out what love was.

Now the brother is living for God and has no bitterness, no hatred towards people whatsoever. He gives God all the credit. He said that if it wasn’t for Him, he would have easily turned out to be one of the most vial people on the earth today.

Praise God for His power and faithfulness. What an awesome testimony of God’s love. Thank you God!

( Now I want to add this as a reminder to all those who might think that we are not in a spiritual battle for souls. And, that the demonic realm is not real. If you are filled with the Spirit of God, and you are walking/living in the Spirit, you will experience the demonic as you go out. Not to be afraid though, because greater is He, then he who is in the world (Satan). Now, if you’re not active in the kingdom of God, you will not experience any real demonic presents. A little yes, but not to the point where it is powerful and working through people. If all we do is talk about “God”, the demon’s don’t shutter. Why? Because they believe also. But, the minute we bring up Jesus, or the testimony of Jesus, look out! The Demons rise up!  Half way through this guys testimony, a guy gets on and sits across from us. He listens, then he begins to talk out loud. I immediately sence the demonic. He talks, He laughs. All the time he’s looking at us. I give him no attention, like he wants. I plead the blood quietly to myself, as to not stir him up. When it’s all over and we get off, I stand up and this man begins to talk louder as I walk passed him. I say out loud, “The blood of Jesus!, The blood of Jesus!” and we depart.)

In the process of Repentance…..

January 13, 2011

Our free-will (the ability to choose) plays into it.

Repentance (the act of turning away from sin) is the door one must go through to receive salvation. It also is the door that one must go through to receive the power of God. It is also the door one must go through to receive the blessings of God. I could go on and on with many things that we get only through the door of repentance.

As far as free-will goes, I liken it to the door knob on the door of repentance. By using my free-will, I reach out and grab hold of the door knob. Herein, lies my desire to turn from sin. I come to the point where I have had enough of sin, so I reach out for help. I choose help. I want help. I want to turn from sin.

Now that I have my hand on the door knob, it can’t be turned or unlocked, unless God grants me the grace of repentance to follow through with turning the knob and opening the door. It’s the power of God that grants the ability to turn. It’s a gift of God. Shear “will-power” will not produce true repentance.

These thoughts were downloaded to me today after I did some repenting myself. Then I was able to share in the Spirit. I was able to receive from the Spirit. Why? Because unless everything in our lives that needs to be given up (as shown to us personally, by the Holy Spirit) if not repented of (forsaken), then the ability to be in the Spirit is not there. This is the main reason why the power of God (the Holy Spirit) is not moving individually and collectively in our midst on a regular basis.

It’s like conduit with water running through it. If there is blockage (sin) in it, than there is NO flow until the blockage is removed. It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. If we want it to flow, then there can be no blockage (un-confessed, un-forsaken sin). P.S. Don’t worry about the sins that you’re not aware of. Be concerned about the ones that you do know, or that He (the Holy Spirit) shows you. Don’t worry, if He wants you to know about them, you will.

“sons of God” evidence

June 19, 2010

If you read my posts, you know that I am very big on being Spirit led. It is particularly important in the day and time in which we live. We should all be enrolled in the school of learning how to be Spirit led. This will involve application on a regular basis. It will involve trial and error also. We learn by doing, by applying what we learn. If all we have is “head knowledge” with no practical experience, then what good is it?

Now, I won’t get into foundational teaching of “dieing to the flesh”, but this must be understood before one can go anywhere in the Spirit. Romans 8 and Galatians 5:16-26 are good places to start. I will save this for another time.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Rom.8:14)  “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal.5:25)

Again, surrounded by these scriptures are teachings about “the flesh”. As I have said on many occasions, the biggest battle we believers face while here on the earth, is the battle against this flesh. Yes, the battle with the devil is huge, but there is a bigger battle, and that is of the flesh. We cannot fulfil God’s plan and purpose while here on this earth, if we are walking according to the flesh. The devil knows this. It’s a “no brainer” that he always uses our flesh, especially in temptation.

I will share another testimony of being Spirit led. My only motive here is that it will inspire you also to be out there and being Spirit led as you go. I know many are in this school, like myself. But, many more are also needed to fulfil the “Great Commission”.

Today, as I got off the train, I headed west. Once again, not knowing where I was headed, I just started walking. (Many times this is the case. However, He can also give you specific details as to where to go and what to do, ahead of time). I looked up at the local town square to see if anybody that I knew was out there. I saw these two brothers who are regulars at the square. I stopped, and we had an awesome time of fellowship in the Spirit. I call it, church out on the streets. Many “church goers” can’t fathom this, but hey, that’s OK. There will come a day when this will be experienced more and more. Why? Well, what happens to our church buildings when our economy is tanked out? When there is no longer fiances to keep the doors open? No longer fiances for the payroll? Will we again meet in groves? (open land with some trees for shade). Meet in parks? On the street corners?

Well, back to my “being led of the Spirit”. After our visit, this one brother asked me where I was headed. I looked to the south and said, “up there”. So we said our goodbyes, and off I went. I headed south, walking slowly. (I usually get called out for a “slow walker”, if someone is walking with me. My wife used to do this all the time. I know that I used to frustrate her big time). I walked about six to eight blocks, then I thought to myself that I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast and a small snack bar a few hours ago. So I turned west and headed towards the local downtown grocery store that I frequently visit. I walked another ten blocks to the store, and went in.

After going to the produce area and grabbing a banana, I proceeded around to the back of the store. (I must add some very important advice regarding fulfilling a task that you might have to do. A responsibility might fit in here also, such as “grocery shopping”. It’s very important as you go about your responsibility, that you keep aware of people around you. Your not just there to shop for you and yours. As I have said on many occasions, “God is all about people”. And at the store, there is usually plenty around. Be aware when you get close to people. i.e. someone reaches close to you to grab something. This would be a good time to smile and say, “hello”. God can use that!)

So, as I am headed down the back isle, I looked ahead of me, and coming on my left was a man that I haven’t seen for about 6 month’s. Long story short, he used to be a customer of mine appoxmently 8 years ago. I had known that he had an alcohol problem and that he lost his wife and family because of it. Over the past five years, I have spotted him in different locations. Sometimes, 15 miles south of the downtown area. I would always smile and say hi and silently pray for him as he went by. For the most part he would just keep going. There was a few times that I had noticed him as I was preaching.      UNTIL TODAY!

Today he stopped and shared his testimony. We visited for 30 minutes. He shared how, with God’s help, he was now 18 months sober. He is a regular member of AA and goes faithfully to their meetings. He has a sponsor, and for the first time in 30 years, he said that his confidence is coming back. His self esteem is coming back. He also said that he now can look people in the eye when he is talking to them, or when he sees them. (this is something that I noticed before). And most importantly, his relationship with God is back on track.

Isn’t it awesome how God places people in our path for a purpose! I was blessed big time, and so was he. There is nothing like hearing ones testimony of how they returned to God. A homecoming, if you will. Awesome and powerful is He! To God be the glory! Great things he is doing! He alone is Lord! He alone has the power to change!

In closing, as I shared with this brother today, there is nothing like being Spirit led and experiencing the awesomeness of His power. There is NO happen chances with God! Everything He does is exact and right on!

This is what I love to share with non-believers. How they too can get ahold of the Spirit of God, and begin to live life in the Spirit while here on earth. Heaven will be out of this world, and certainly something to look forward to, but living life in the Spirit makes this life worth living here below. Anything short of this is not real life. And it’s no wonder many are giving up, even believers. This life is futile without being Spirit led.

God bless you as you go out and be led of His Spirit!

P.S. Can you see how I don’t want stuffy religion? I had that for 10 years, no thank you! I am not interested! If you have that and come around me, the big red flag goes up big time, for which I am thankful.

How do we “present ourselves?”

May 12, 2010

Because we are not under law, but under grace, “What shall we say then?”

The Apostle Paul was addressing the Roman church regarding this question. It takes place in Romans the sixth chapter.

To all believers everywhere this is a very good question. This is not only for the “Roman church” back then, but this is for us in the 21st century as well.

The Question?

“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

I hear believers say all the time, things like, “we are all just sinners”. “I sin all the time”. “I am just a sinner saved by grace”

Paul continues on…….. “God forbid!” Does this sound like sin is the rule, or could it be the exception? How is it taught where you attend church? Sad to say, but if it is taught as the rule, then there is no power operating.

He states, “we who died to sin”, “how shall we live any longer in it?” (vs 2). In verse 3, he reminds us that, weren’t we “baptized into Christ Jesus?” and doesn’t that mean that we “were baptized into His death?” (vs 3).

In verse 4, it states, that if this is indeed the case, shouldn’t “we also walk in newness of life?” What is this “newness of life?” A life continuing to live in sin?

We continue on and he explains what it is.

Now we must stop here and notice that there are once again many “If’s”. So, just like in many places found in God’s word, it puts forth the conditional “if”. This is a very little word, but it must not be overlooked.

“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His (Christ’s) death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,”. Now for those who think that he might be possibly talking about the final resurrection here, you must continue on through the chapter to understand this “resurrection”.

Now in verse 6, he begins to get into the “meat” of this understanding, or teaching. “knowing this,” (Do we?) “that our old man was crucified with Him,”. This is the very foundation that we must get, we must understand, before we go any further.

I must jump over to the book of Galatians for a minute. Because Paul, in addressing the Galatian church with all it’s problems, has a very important issue that he is addressing here that goes along with the Roman church. Just out of pure curiosity, how much of this type of teaching should be addressed in today’s churches?

The Galatian church was wanting to return to the law. I won’t get into that subject here, but it is note worthy.

In chapter 2 of Galatians, Paul states, “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God”. Now here is what I was wanting to get into from our study in Romans. Here is the Key. “I have been (past tense) crucified with Christ;” He goes on to explain what that means. “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”. This here is crucifixion. Dieing to self. Being dead. Having died with Christ on that cross. That old man of sin was supposed to have died there. Did it? Good question isn’t it?

Continuing on….. “and the life which I now live (currently) in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This is Key. Living by faith in Christ. Taking by faith that He took that old man of sin upon his shoulders and there it died with Him. That old man died, point blank.

And to quickly finish here in Galatians, he said, “I do not set aside the grace of God;” All this is only made possible by God’s unmeasurable “Grace”, period. Righteousness comes only through faith in Christ, and thus only possible through God’s grace. Period.

Returning to Roman’s the 6th chapter, verse 6, he finishes that verse by saying what was supposed to have died on that cross with Christ? The “body of sin”. “that the body of sin might be done away with,” or “rendered inoperative”. Wow did we get that? The body of sin rendered inoperative? Wait a minute! How is that possible!

By the finished work of Christ on the cross! The only problem is, do we believe it? Do we by faith take hold of it for ourselves? If not, it is no wonder that we continue in sin and live accordingly to the flesh. Period.

Paul finishes this verse to explain what it is that this “crucifixion” is for. “that we should no longer be slaves of sin”. See, we believers should not be slaves of sin. Period.

In verse 7  he says basically, if you have been truly crucified with Christ (died), then you are freed from sin. Does this mean that we are free to live presumptuously upon the grace of God? We shall see……. “God forbid!”

“Now if (there is that “if” again) we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him”(vs. 8). If we died with Christ on that cross, then because of His resurrection power we can live a life not having to be a slave to sin.

So, if I believe by faith in my dieing on that cross with Him, I have the power to resist sin. Why? Because of Christ conquering “death, sin” on that cross. We shall see more here in Romans. 

Check this out for reassurance. Verse 9, “knowing”. This is faith! I know! Why or how? Because He has revealed it by His Holy Spirit! Point blank!

“knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.” No need for Christ to keep dieing for us. He died once for all! “Death no longer has dominion over Him”.

Now in verse 10, he explains this death and this resurrection. “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but (now lets not forget this) the life that He lives, He lives to God.”

Now we must get these next verses. They are key to understanding and being able to live as we ought.

Paul now says, “Likewise you also”. Now he is talking to us. Not only the Roman church, but the church of today. Do we sometimes wonder why we don’t see the power of God individually and collectively? Here is the answer.

Verse 11, “Likewise you also, reckon (sounds like he might have been back east) (it means, “consider or render”) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin,” Do we? Do I wake up each morning, and by faith, take hold of this? Do I consider myself dead to sin today? Do I want to?

Here is the power again. “but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. By His power of His resurrection, it is possible!

Now Paul states in verse 12, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it’s lusts”. Oh, did we forget that this “body of sin” was supposed to have “died” on the cross?

Now to the question, “HOW DO WE PRESENT OURSELVES?”. The Apostle Paul has the answer.

Verse 13, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” Did we get that? Present ourselves as “being alive from the dead”. I am alive from the dead man of sin! I am alive because of Christ! I am not dead in sin! What is the very essence of sin? We shall see……

This is the rule, not the exception. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace”(vs.14). There is no power in law! It is only through grace!

So Paul says, “What then? (here comes the question) Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? God forbid! (Certainly not!)” (vs.15)

Come on, don’t you know this? “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (vs.16) We have two choices as to which we are going to present ourselves. Slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness. That is it.

He goes on to say, “you were slaves to sin” (past tense) (vs.17). But what has happened? You have obeyed this teaching that I (Paul) am giving to you again. And thus, “having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (vs.18). I can hear the Apostle John saying, “He who sins is of the devil,” (Read 1John 3:4-9)

Now Paul, knowing our weakness of the flesh, gives us more sound teaching. “For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness (you once walked or lived in this), and of lawlessness,” So now here is what to do……. “so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (for the ongoing process of sanctification)(vs.19). We are to be made unto sanctification. Ongoing progression of being set apart from sin, for God.

Here he goes again, “For when you were” (past tense) “slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” (vs.20) What fruit did you have in all these formal ways of living in sin? “For the end of those things is death.” (vs.21) Even with us believers, if there is known sin in our lives, there is a measure of death in us. And then we wonder, as to why we are powerless to overcome? There is no power in death!

Here comes another key. “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness (sanctification), and the end, everlasting life.” (vs.22)

Now this is the bottom line. “For the wages of sin is death,” This being so, if I have unconfessed and unforsaken sin in my life, I am abiding in death, not life. How can there be life in sin if it is death?

We must receive and live in the “free gift of God” which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vs.23) We must abide in Him. It’s not a one time deal, this abiding in Him, is moment by moment.

“Likewise you also, consider yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (6:11)

The body of sin should be rendered inoperative. Sin renders us powerless.