How do we live a life of worship? First thing that we must do is look into God’s Word for the answer. Turn to Matthew 20:20-23, “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, [a]and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” God wants us to understand certain principles, that the essence of our giving is our relationship with Him, it is not for the benefits that come from Him. Let’s look at the word “essence,” it is the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character. (Dictionary.Com) The meaning or the motivation for our giving is not for the benefits, our motivation or the meaning of our giving is for the relationship, or should I say the essence of the relationship with God. The reason God wants us to understand this is because for years we have been given a false teaching, that we have to give to get. Under the Old Covenant, this was the case. We would have to obey the law in order to get blessed. Under this covenant we were taught that we have to give to get. The Scripture in Luke chapter six, verses thirty-seven through thirty-eight shows this: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” This Scripture was given based upon the law, not based upon grace. As we can see, if we give we should expect something in return. The giving is based upon the benefits and not based upon the relationship. Under the Old Covenant, we are to love in order to love, but under the New Covenant, He first loved us. Under the New Covenant of grace, we are not doing something to get God to do something, but under this covenant, He has already done everything that we will ever need. It has already been done. We are not giving to get blessed, we give because we are already blessed. We don’t love God because we want to love others, we love God because He first loved us and this enables us to love others.
The essence of our giving is the relationship we have with God. Our giving is the result of our wanting to know God. We aren’t giving to get something from God, we are giving as our worship to God. We are going to give Him thanks for what He has already done for us. We are going to Him, to give Him our worship. We are not going to Him to get something from Him, we are going there to give Him praise. We are there to give to Him, because He has already given us so much. We are giving, because He keeps giving to us. It is non-stop with Him, because He loves to give to us. His desire is to keep blessing us. We give because it is our worship, the gift that we have for our God, who we love. Ours is a gift, nothing more and we shouldn’t expect anything in return, but that is not the God that we serve, because He continues giving to us, even if we don’t give to Him. We don’t give to get blessed, we give because we are already blessed. When we give, it causes us to remember what God has already given to us.
Our giving is to thank God for all that He has already done. It is our gift to Him. Thanking Jesus for saving us, providing for us, healing us, delivering us, and most of all for loving us. True worship is giving a gift to the One we love. The Bible shows us this in Matthew 2:11, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” They presented their gifts as they worshipped the young child. They worshipped Him for coming to save all mankind. They worshipped Him for coming to end the war between God and man’s sin. They fell down and they worshipped Him because of what He was about to do. They did not enter His presence to get blessed by Him, they came to adore and worship Him.
We have been taught wrong. We have been taught that we have to give in order to get something. We have been taught, if we give, we will be blessed. It has always been about receiving the benefits instead of having the relationship. Oh how we need to repent for our misunderstanding. We have not pursued our relationship with God, we have been pursuing the benefits that God can give. When we pursue the relationship with Him, then the blessing just naturally come to us. The relationship has to be sought first, not the benefits. God has to be first, then our motivation moves on from there, because nothing needs to be before the Lord. If God isn’t first, then we will never see the blessings.
What motivates you? What moves you? Why do you want to be labeled a “Christian?” Why do you want to go to church? What are your goals? What motivated you to allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Were you motivated, so that you were saved from hell and damnation? Why did you want Jesus? Was it for the blessings or was it for the relationship? What was the driving force behind your decision?
Are we Christians because we want the relationship with God the Father, or are we Christians because we want what He can give us? What benefits do we desire, and what is it that we truly want from God? When will it become that we just want to Him personally? Philippians 3:10 says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Paul said this in his letter to the Philippians, he said that above everything in this world, he wanted just one thing, and that was to know God intimately and personally. That should make us ask this question, “Where is my relationship with God?”
Say this: ” Father, I want to know You, I need to know You. Father I desire You above everything else.”
We shouldn’t be searching for what God can give to us, because He has given so much already. We must make it our priority to search for the intimacy that we can have with Him in a personal relationship. When are we going to just want Him? When are we going to stop coming to God with our wants, and go to Him with our gifts of worship? When we are in the relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not have to come to Him wanting, because we will already know that it is a part of the relationship. If we will just seek an intimate relationship with Him, then everything else will be added unto us, we need to be in it for the relationship.
Say this: ” Jesus I want a relationship because I want to know You, I want You only.”
We must tell God daily that we love Him and that we want Him. Tell Him that we desire know all about Him. Tell Him that we want Him to live His life through us. Tell Him that we are not in this relationship for the benefits, we are in the relationship to know Him intimately. If everything in the world was taken from us, I want you to know that God will always be there for us. He said that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Why? He considers us the apple of His eye, His beloved, and His children. This means that we are always welcome in His presence. Wen we seek a relationship with God, only blessing come to us. Success is one of those blessings. We must seek to be in the presence. When we begin seeking the things over God, we are stepping into “Idolatry.” We are replacing God with the things that we want. We take God from first place in our lives, and place Him second place, making our wants take the first place. When we replace God with our desires, we put our desires up as “Idols.” We put God second and we don’t want to know Him, and we don’t get the blessings.
What motivates us? What is meant by the word “Motive?” It is a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious (Dictionary.com). Our motive tells our story, it tells everything about us to God. Let me show you what I mean, turn to Matthew 20:20, “Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.” The mother of the sons of Zebedees came to Jesus to worship Him, but her motive was to go into Jesus’ presence and not to give Him worship by giving to Him, she went there to ask something from Him. Real worship is when we come into God’s presence giving of ourselves, not asking for favors. Genuine worship is the giving of a gift, asking for nothing in return, just desiring to be in God’s presence. Let’s read verse twenty-one, “And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” The sons of Zebedees mother wanted her sons to have a place on the right and the left of Jesus when He came into His kingdom. As can be seen here, her motive was to see that her sons receive high honor in the kingdom of God. She did not come to Jesus for the relationship, she came to Him for the benefits. Worship is not when we hear Christian music played or even when we pray, worship is going into God’s presence with the gift of ourselves and surrendering everything that we are to Him. When this mother came into Jesus’ presence, to worship Him, this wasn’t true worship, she did not come with giving as her motivation. She came there with a desire, she didn’t come to give anything, she came to ask for something. Abraham he knew true worship, he went to God with all that was dear to him, his own son and he ready and willing to sacrifice his own son to God. Why would he do this? He did this because he was in love with God. The mother of the sons of Zebedee’s came to Jesus to receive something and not give anything. When we come into a relationship with Jesus expecting the benefits and none of the relationship, we leave His presence with nothing. Let’s read on, verse twenty-two and twenty-three, “But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” As we worship it has to be all about the relationship, not about the benefits, as we want more of the relationship, giving all that we have and not asking for anything in return, we will receive both the relationship and the benefits.
What is your motive and why do you want to know Jesus? Is it for the relationship and not the benefits? You see, we confuse benefits with the essence. We pursue the relationship with the benefits of the relationship. If we would pursue the relationship with Jesus the right way, then both the relationship and the benfits will come together. If we pursue the relationship with the wrong motive, then we will even enjoy the gifts. You see, when we pursue the benefits first, they never seem to satisfy us. If we would just pursue the intimate relationship with God first, then the benefits will follow close behind, and we will enjoy them. If we pursue the benefits first, then we will lose both the benefits and the relationship. The more we pursue the benefits over the relationship, we are in danger of slipping into idolatry. Our relationship with God should always be our ultimate goal in life. God is always giving, that is what He loves to do, but even though He keeps giving, we should desire to know Him more and more.
Why do we want to know Him? Let’s look at what the Bible says, turn to 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” Now let’s take a look at this verse in the New Living Translation, “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” Jesus died for our sins once and for all, He died for the just and the unjust. Why did He do this? He did it so that we could have a relationship with the Father. Jesus did not die so that we could receive benefits, He suffered and died so that we could have an intimate, personal relationship with the Father. He suffered to make us righteous, so that we could enter into the Holy of holies, but in order for us to have all of this we have to seek God first, and all the benefits will be added onto us. We must stop seeking the benefits and we must continuously seek the presence.
What is worship? It is choosing the essence of the relationship of knowing God personally over the benefits, this is worship. Every time we choose to know God over the benefits, we will be drawn into a life od worship. We will be drawn into an intimate relationship of worship. Why? Because we will choose God first!
How do we give the gift of ourselves in worship? Let’s look at Romans 12:1-2 in the New Living Translation, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Notice what this Scripture says, we are to give our bodies to God, because of all He has done for us. Our bodies are to be a “Living Sacrifice.” What is a sacrifice? It is a gift! We are to present ourselves to God as worship. The least that we can do for God is give of ourselves, because He has given so very much to us. We must give all of ourselves to God in worship. Our bodies should be the gift and we should worship Him with it. Let’s take a look at this Scripture in the Message Bible, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” The Bible clearly states, how we are to worship, by giving our lives back to God, He gave us life, we should be willing to give it all back to Him. Our gift to Him should be our lives.
How do we make ourselves an offering? We do it by saying to the Father, that we are presenting our lives to Him as our gift to Him in thanksgiving for all He has done for us. Not that we want more from Him, but that we give this gift as worship to Him. We give ourselves to God the Father to adore Him, to praise Him, and to thank Him, for all that He has already done. We present our bodies to show Him that we are in love with Him. When we present our bodies as an offering, then any addictions that we have will fall away from us. God becomes first and we are giving completely of ourselves, we give Him all we are, all we have, and all we give all of us. It is our gift to Him as worship. Alcohol that has enslaved us will no longer be first, He is. The drugs that were binding us, they will go because God is first. The lust of the flesh will not not hold onto us, because God is first. The pain from the disease or sickness will depart from us, because God is first. This all possible when we surrender ourselves to the Father, body, souls and spirit.
“Embracing what God does for us is the best thing that we can do for Him.” Think about this for a moment! Think to yourselves what God has done for you? Remember what He has done and remember how He has provided for you when nothing was there for you. Remember how He healed your body. Remember how He got you a job. The Scripture says for us to embrace what God has done, this is the best thing that we can do. Not doing it for ourselves but doing it for God. Turn to Deuteronomy 6:10-11 and let’s read this out of the New Living Translation, “The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land,” God promises us this and even more, but He wants us to do only one thing, turn to verse twelve, “be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.” The one thing that God wants us to remember is to “Not Forget Him.” Look at what God told Joshua, “I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them. So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.” We must never forget God! The best thing that we can do is embrace what God has done for us, to God be the glory.
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it, without thinking. Fix your attention on God.” Where is your attention most of the time? Most of the time our attention is upon us! Our attention is upon who we want to be with, what we want to do, where we want to go, and when we want to do it. Isn’t this the truth? We don’t think about God. We don’t acknowledge Him. We must stop looking at ourselves and we must not forget God who made us. We must fix our attention totally upon God.
Say this: ” Father I repent of my selfishness and from now on I will put my attention upon You.”
“We must fix all our attention upon God.” Look at this now, this is what happens when we fix our attention upon God. We will be changed from the “inside out.” A change that only God can do. How do we get this change? We get it by fixing our attention on God. Not only does God change us, but He changes us from the inside out. What does this mean you ask? He changes us from our hurts, our pains, our sufferings, and our sorrows, and He makes us be at peace within ourselves.
“Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-informed maturity in you.” What does God do to change us? He takes a look into our hearts and He sees who we really are, then He pulls the best out of us. The world always is out to drag us down to their level, but God brings the best out of us and He matures us into the image of Christ Jesus. He takes the best and makes it better, so that He can use it for His glory.
All these verses that we have read points us to a life of worship. What we do with our lips, will be worship. What we do with our hands and feet, will be worship. What we think about, will be worship. Our entire bodies are a gift to the Father. it is our worship to God. So, are you ready to give yourself as a gift of worship?
Most Christian relationships today are about what they can get from God. Christians are confusing the essence of the relationship with God, with the benefits of the relationship. They are not longing for the fellowship with God, but they are seeking Him for what He can give to them. Christianity is based completely upon a relationship with God, it is not based upon the benefits that we can obtain from God. A relationship is something that should be cherished. When we fall in love with that special man or woman of our dreams, we want to be with that person for a lifetime. If we are truly in love with them, then our hearts skip a beat whenever we see them. We are excited just to be with them, no matter what they may doing. Our breath stops, when they are near us and even though there are benefits in being with them, the relationship should outweigh the benefits. We want to touch them and hear their heartbeat and share ours with them emotionally, physically and intimately. We want to always have them near us. We don’t want them just for the benefits that they can give to us, we want to be with them for the essence of the relationship. Even when years takes a toll on us and we are unable to perform physically, the relationship will always outweigh the benefits. Why you ask? It is because we are in love with them. Our motivation is in the essence of the relationship and not in what we can get from them.
What is your motivation for knowing God? Is it for Him to bless you the abundance of things? It is for Him to give you a job? Is it for you to get a car, a home, health, money or a husband or a wife? What is your motivation for becoming a Christian? I want you to think on this for a moment.
You know what, it should not be for anything at all, except to be in a personal relationship with Jesus. It should be a relationship of knowing Jesus and knowing that He has made you righteous. It is knowing that you have right standing with God, because of what Jesus has done. It is knowing that He has saved you and delivered you our of your debt of sin. It is knowing that because of what Jesus has done, you are able to go into the presence of God. It is because of Jesus, you can know true love. No more do you have to be alone, now you will always have someone with you, that loves and cherishes you and wants to be with you.
Sad as it may be, most Christian people are completely benefit driven, not relationship driven. You can take a look around and see it for yourself. Most people who join the church, are there for what the church can do for them. How can this church help them achieve their goals in life. Business people look at the church to help them expand their businesses, instead of being their for the fellowship. Many people, look at Christianity as a religion based upon benefits, not on it being a relationship based upon love. Many people have the wrong motivation. let’s look at what the Bible says about this, turn to Matthew 20: 20, “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.” Even in the time of the early church, people are benefit driven. The mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus to for something. She didn’t come to Jesus with adoration and praise, she needed Jesus to give her something. Her motivation wasn’t for just being in fellowship with Jesus, she came to Jesus for the benefits that He could give to her. The motivation wasn’t for the essence of the relationship, it was for what benefits were from the relationship. Let’s read on verse twenty-one, “And He said to her, “What do you wish? She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” What was this woman’s motivation? She wanted Jesus to give her a promise that when He came into His kingdom, that He would place one of her sons on the right and left side of Him. This woman didn’t come to Jesus to be in a relationship with Him, she came to assure a promise that her sons would be great and highly favored. This in itself is a selfish act. The motivation was what can she get out of the relationship. Let’s read on with verse twenty-two, “But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Jesus well understood what this woman was doing, by asking for her sons to have a place of honor such as this. He asks her and the sons are you willing to love Me to the end of all time? Can you love Me with all of your heart? Can you suffer for Me, even unto death? Are you willing to give up everything for Me? Of course the sons said that they would. Lets read on, verse twenty-three, “So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” Jesus of course rejects the mother’s request, but He does it lovingly, so that she could understand. You see when we go to God with the wrong motivation, rejection may be given, but God in his unlimited love lets us down easily so that we can understand. Ask yourself this question, “Do you give because you want to be blessed, or do you give because you know you are already blessed? What is your motivation?”
What is your motivation for having a relationship with Jesus? What is your motivation for praying? What is your motivation to read and study the Bible? What is your motivation for having a relationship? I personally pray that your relationship is not based upon the benefits, but that it is based upon knowing God. I hope and I pray that your relationship is motivated by you having a personal experience with Jesus. I pray that it is not benefit driven. I pray that it is motivated by love, the love for Jesus. My friends, if your motivation is all about knowing God, then you don’t have to worry about receiving the benefits, because they will come. They come because of the relationship, you don’t have to fret about it, because God always blesses His children. God will only do this because He loves to give to those that He loves. Favor and blessing come because of the relationship. It is a done deal!
I want you to know that there is no relationship without giving. True worship is about giving. Let me show you what the Bible says in Matthew 2:11, “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” These kings were from the east, who had seen the star and they sought to find the Messiah. Now notice one important piece of information that is shown to us here. When they came into the house where Jesus was at, they fell down and worshipped Him. When did they worship Him? They worshipped Him, when they had come into the house, when they were in His presence, then they opened their gifts to Him. Their motivation wasn’t what they could receive from Jesus, it was what they could give to Him. They came to Jesus to give what was treasures to them. They took gold, frankincense and myrrh and they gave these treasures to Jesus. They gave these gifts as they worshipped Him. True worship is in giving, if the kings of the east knew this, isn’t it time for us to understand this? Isn’t it time to give from our treasures to Jesus? I want you to know this, treasures don’t always mean money, it can be other things, such as; food, shelter, or whatever is a treasure to you, this is true worship.
Why do some people receive blessings from God when they give, and others do not? It is all because of their motivation that is behind the giving. If it was all about giving something to get something, then there wouldn’t be any problems, but our giving has to be based entirely upon our faith. How many of you give and give, but you don’t see anything for your giving? Our giving has to be based upon our motivation. Why did we give in the first place? Was it only to receive something in return, or was it to give worship to God with our treasures? Our motivation is more valuable to God then the gift that we are giving. Look at this now, turn to Genesis 22:1. This is what happened to Abraham. Let’s read, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” God wanted to give Abraham a test. He did this because He wanted to see where Abraham’s heart was at. God gives us a lot of things, all day long, some we see and some we don’t, but He is always giving to us. Let me show you what I mean, turn to Deuteronomy 6:11-12, “Houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” The only thing that God requires from us is that we don’t forget Him. Go back to Genesis 22:2, “Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” I want you to see this, God gave Isaac to Abraham. It is God’s gift to Abraham that he had been waiting for patiently for many years. His wife Sarah gave birth to this, his son, Issac while she was past a woman’s birthing years. The gift from Abraham to God is the treasure of his heart, the son he has waited patiently for, from the woman he deeply loves. God made all this possible. Now, God wants Abraham to give his only son, the treasure of his life, from the woman who he loves dearly to God as a sacrifice, just to show God that Abraham loves Him more than anything. God wants to see if Abraham’s love outweighs the benefits. Let me ask you a question, “How can you give back to God what He gave to you in the first place?” Let’s read on with verses three through five, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the [a]lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” What was Abraham going to do? He was going to worship God with the giving of his treasure, his only begotten son, Isaac. He was going to this place to sacrifice his own son to God. Abraham called this worship, giving what had been given to him by God, he was only more than willing to give his only son to God. He was willing to give his treasure as worship. We call worship many things, we dance onto the Lord and call it worship, we sing songs and we raise our hands and we call this worship, we play musical instruments and we call this worship, but we have to remember that true worship is giving. Abraham had faith that if he gave God his treasure as worship, God would bless him. He had faith in what God had already done. How do we know this? We know, because of what Abraham said to the other young men that were with him, “And we will come again to you.” Abraham’s motivation was to worship God, not just to get something from God. He knew if his motivation was right in the relationship, then the benefits would come.
Some of us have the wrong motivation, we are so afraid to give God something, because we feel that God is going to take it away from us. My friends, we can be assured of one thing, that is that God gave it to us and all He desires is that we worship Him with it. Won’t you take the time and give God your treasures? Get this in your head, “God doesn’t need your stuff!” Psalms 50:10-12 says, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” God doesn’t need anything at all from us, we need Him! We need God for everything, we need Him! Look at this, turn to Acts 17:24-25, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” God doesn’t need anything from us, He just wants us to love Him. Turn to Romans 11:35-36, “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Everything that we are is all because of God’s love for us. It isn’t the gift that we give, it is all because of the motivation behind the essence of the relationship that we have with God. Let’s read these verses out of the Message Bible, “Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.”
Let’s go back to the story of Abraham and him being tested by God, turn to Genesis 22:6-8, “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” What was Abraham’s motivation? Abraham was going to give to God his gift, his treasure, his son in order to worship Him. Let’s read on , verse 9-13, “Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Worship is giving! God required Abraham to take his only son, and sacrifice him to God. God was in a covenant with Abraham. The covenant provided that when God asked for Abraham’s son, God would also have to give of His son. This was how the covenant worked. When God required Isaac to be sacrificed, so did God have to do the same for Abraham one day. This is another reason that Jesus had to be sacrificed for us. True worship is giving with the right motivation.
What is worship? To some of us, we relate worship to a song and to the lifting of our hands. We call this “Worship.” Worship may be this, but it is not complete without giving. We need to give of ourselves to God. We must come into God’s presence and surrender ourselves to Him, laying down everything at His feet and having only one desire…to be in an intimate relationship with Him.
Let’s open this study of God’s Word with prayer: “Father, thank You for allowing me to minister Your Word with people reading this, Your message. I ask that Your revelation knowledge will flow freely, uninterrupted by any of Satan’s forces. Father please speak through me and think through me, so that Your message will cause people to see so much clearer Your Word and that through Your Word people’s lives will be changed. I ask You to meet everyone’s needs with more than enough. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus…Amen!”
Let’s start by establishing a foundation. Everything that we have in life needs to have a solid foundation and so does God’s Word. Look at Galatians 3:13, I am reading from the New King James Version of the Bible. I am letting you know this, so you are with me in this study, I will read from this version unless I have something to show you in another version. This is only to keep everyone on the same page. Let’s read, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),” as we can see, it is important for us to understand what Paul is saying. “Christ has redeemed us….” In order for a person to be redeemed, it meant that a “Ransom,” had to be paid. You see we were in bondage, or to put it another way, we were held captive to the law. The law had certain conditions that had to be followed. We had to keep “All the law” in order for God to bless us, but if we didn’t keep “All the law” then we were subject to the curse. The law that I am talking about is “The Mosaic Law.” This law wasn’t only the “Ten Commandments,” that we are familiar with, but it is a law consisting of (613) laws, all of which had to be kept. That in itself sounds impossible doesn’t it? Never-the-less, it was the conditions set up for all of mankind, according to the Old Testament. This is what Christ redeemed us from, He redeemed us from the curse of the law. You see, Jesus became the “Ransom” for us!
Now you probably asking yourselves, “How did Jesus take care of the curse?” He became the curse for us, by hanging on the cross. If we can take a look further into this verse, we can then see the whole picture. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'” Jesus who is the Christ, put Himself upon the cross, so that all the curses of the law were put upon Him. He took our place! He paid the ransom!
Why did Jesus do this? To get this answer, we have to look at verse fourteen, “That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Jesus did this, so that we could receive the blessing of Abraham and that we could also receive the promise from God. I want you to notice what the scripture says, “That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles….” As you are aware, a Gentile was a “Non-Jewish” person. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, only Jews were allowed to receive the blessing, but after Jesus became the ransom, Jews and Gentiles could receive the blessing.
How did we receive the blessing? It was through Jesus Christ! You need to see this, under the Old Testament, the only way that mankind (Jewish) people could receive the blessing of Abraham was by them doing something to get something. Let me show you, turn to Deuteronomy 28:1-2, “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:” This is no longer the case in the New Testament. Jesus became the curse for us, because He was fulfilling the Old Testament law and the now the New Testament was established, because the Old Testament was fulfilled, all mankind can now have the blessing by just believing in Jesus and His finished works. Mankind (Jews and Non-Jews) alike don’t have to do something to get something, all that they have to do is believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
We all have the blessing of Abraham, because we believe in Jesus and we believe in His finished works. In all of this, because Jesus went to the cross in our place, we also have the promise of the Spirit through our faith. What does this mean? It means that we have the promise of the Spirit, and we also have the blessing of Abraham, all because we believe in Jesus Christ. With our faith, we receive the blessing and we also receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. What else does God give us? Let’s look at Galatians 3: 29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If we believe in Jesus Christ, then we are His property (much like a person who enlists in the military becomes the property of his country), we are in Christ. It is because we are Christ’s, we are also Abraham’s seed. According to the Bible, if we are Abraham’s seed, then we are heirs according to the promise. What is this promise? To find out what the promise is, we need to jump over to Romans 4:13, “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” The promise that God made to Abraham and his seed was that God would give him the whole world. This means that because we are in Christ, we are the seed of Abraham and we have the promise to be heirs of the world. This tells us that we have everything in the world, which means that we have all the riches of the world, all the properties of the world, all the animals in the world and we have everything that is on , around and within the earth. This also tells us that we are to be successful in the world. Notice that the Bible says, “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law…” therefore, if we continue to try to do something in order to deserve the promise, then it will never work for us. The only way for us to receive the promise is through faith. Faith activates the promise! Faith manifests the blessing! Faith is what causes us to have every finished work of Christ. It is so simple, yet there are many people who have the mind-set that they have to do something to get something. This s why many people are not receiving the blessing or the promise. The blessing and the promise are gifts and the only way to get them is by receiving them, not by trying to earn them. Now this brings us to the next verse, verse fourteen, “For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,” If people continue in the mind-set of being under the law, (doing something to deserve something) the Bible is clear, “That faith is made void and the promise made no effect.” We must renew our minds with faith and we must believe in Jesus and His finished works.
Why then is faith voided when we try to do something to get something? That answer is found in verse fifteen, “because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” The law bring us wrath, where there is no law, the Bible says that there is no sin or transgression. Now look at verse sixteen, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” God gave us the gift of the blessing. This is available to those who are the seed of Abraham. We are in Christ, therefore, we are Abraham’s seed. If we are Abraham’s seed, then we are given the blessing. Since we are Abraham’s seed, then we are also given the promise of being heirs of the world, is this not correct? If so why then aren’t there many Christian men and women experiencing the blessing and the promise? Let me tell you that it is because they are still stuck with the mind-set that they have to something to get something from God. Sad as it is, God has already given it all to us, but we aren’t receiving it because we won’t receive it with faith. Remember, that a gift can never be earned. If we earn it is no longer a gift, it is a wage.
I can remember that when I was a young man that I was taught that in order for me to get something in life I had to give something. My pastor of the church I attended taught this, and I became very rebellious about giving money to the church. I began to equate money with always giving. My rebellion wasn’t based upon money in the offering plate, it was based upon how I perceived my thought in giving in general. I felt that I had to give something in order to get blessed. If I didn’t give, then I felt I would be cursed. This became imbedded inside my brain, so my rebellious nature grew from it.
Let me ask you something, “What is the purpose of giving? Why do we pass the collection plate in church?” God certainly doesn’t need our money. He already has more than enough, so why then do we give? Are we giving to get something? If that is the case, then that would mean that the law is right. We have to give in order for God to bless us, but that can’t be true because the Bible said the blessing is a gift. We don’t have to give when we already have the gift. Why, then should we give? What is God’s purpose for giving? Is God saying that seedtime and harvest are wrong? No, I don’t believe that for a moment. What is wrong is that our mind-set is not right. Our giving has always been motivated by our desires to get something and we think that we are to give to get blessed, but we shouldn’t be thinking this way, instead, we should desire to give because God has already blessed us.
When my wife was sick, we prayed and God healed her of cancer. The healing was the result of her already being blessed. When I had no job, no income, God still provided me the money to pay the bills so that I had more than enough. This miracle was the fact that I was already blessed. I give God praise. I give God my worship. My money that I put in the offering plate is given as a form of worship. I don’t put it in the plate because I want to receive something, but I place it in the plate to show God how much I love Him and to thank Him for all He has already done.
Why do we give? We give of ourselves as a worship to the God who loves us. We surrender everything that is us, to the One, that we love. Giving is an act of worship. It is not done in order for us to receive something, it is an act of worship. Don’t take my word for it, let’s see what God Word says, turn Psalms 96:6-9, “Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.” Many of us say this, “Why does God need our money?” First and foremost, God doesn’t need our money, but He does desire our worship. He has already given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. He has given us the money to buy and sell with. It was given to us by the Lord, so are we willing to give it back to Him as a token of our worship? We are supposed to give our worship to the Lord. We have been taught the opposite and we have been taught that we are to give in order to receive. We are to give in order to be blessed, but this can’t be true, because the Bible says, “Bring an offering, and come into His courts. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness….” This says to us that we are to bring an offering and come into His courts and do what? We are to worship God!
Let’s take this time and dive a little bit deeper into the Scriptures, turn to 2 Corinthians 9:7, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” How is it that we are supposed to give? We are to give as we purpose in our hearts. We are to give from our hearts as we worship God. We are not to give grudgingly (reluctantly or regrettably). We are not supposed to give out of necessity (the fact of being required or indispensable), so how does God want us to give? He wants us to give “cheerfully.” He wants us to give joyfully! He wants us to give lovingly and we are to give in a state of worship.
Giving is a form of our worship, it is not for us to do something to get something. We are to give from our hearts to God, whom we love. We have already been given the blessing, Jesus gave it to us. Our giving is to give thanks to God for what He has already done. Sad as it may be, many Christian men and women still believe that in order for God to bless them they are required to give of something to earn it. They still have the mind-set that in order to receive anything from God, they have to give their money. This is a lie, because we can’t buy God. Our desire should be to surrender all to Jesus. We are to surrender our houses, cars, wealth, money, body, souls and spirits. We need to tell God, “Take all that I have, because I worship You.”
Turn to Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.” The Bible doesn’t say that this is spiritual in nature, but what it is saying, is that it is physical in nature. We are to honor the Lord, which means that we are to give Him high respect; great esteem for what He has already done. How can we do this? The verse tells us that we are to honor Him with our possessions and the first fruits of our labor.
What then is worship? It is the feeling or expression of our reverence and adoration to the Father, our Creator, from His creation. It is the giving of ourselves to the Father and not expecting anything in return. It is our gift to God.
I was sitting here today and as I sat in my chair on my back deck, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “You must practice the love of Jesus.” I thought about what He was saying. We have to acknowledge Jesus. We need to admit that He is here with us. This makes acknowledging Him so much easier. We need to thank Him for what He has already done. We have to thank Him for what He is doing today, and we have to thank Him for what He is going to do in the future. What needs to happen, is that we must practice His presence. After all we are in a relationship with Him, so we need to fuel our relationship with Him, through our thanksgiving.
Let us start this time in God’s Word with what the blessing of Abraham is. Turn in your Bibles to Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Let me ask you a question, “What is success?” Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. The true definition of success is a person. Success is a relationship with a person. In the world view, success is about people who have possessions, money and luxuries. God doesn’t measure success that way. Look at these verses again, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.” What does this mean? Its meaning is found in what Jesus did for us. He took the curse for us and He went to the cross. You see, Jesus was the “peace offering” to God. He was the payment for our redemption from the curse of the law of Moses. This curse was placed upon mankind if they didn’t or couldn’t keep the law. Jesus fulfilled the law and therefore He could receive the blessing. He chose instead to receive the curse, so that we didn’t have to. He became the peace offering to God for us, so that the debt was paid in full. Not only did Jesus take all the sins of the world upon Himself, but He also to the curse of the law upon Himself. With Him doing this, and by Him willingly going to the cross, He saved us from the curse. Now we can say with confidence that we are no longer under the curse of the law.
Look at the next part of this Scripture, “That the blessings of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles.” This means that we who are not of Jewish descent are given the blessings of Abraham through Jesus Christ. Paul is saying, that we are blessed because of what Jesus has already done. We are blessed because of Jesus and now we also are given the promise of the Spirit through our faith. There are some important things found in this Scripture that needs to be clarified. First, we are redeemed from the curse through Jesus, and second, we are given the blessing of Abraham through Jesus, and finally, we are given the promise of the Holy Spirit. Listen to me! We redeemed, blessed, and given the promise all through Jesus Christ, then it is only fitting to honor Jesus for what He has already done. Is this available for everyone? Yes, but we have to accept Jesus into our hearts. It is not available for those who reject Him. If you reject Jesus, then you are rejecting the payment for your sins and you are rejecting the peace offering to God.
The Bible says, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-3) Under the Old Covenant, people had to do something in order for them to be blessed. Under the New Covenant, we are blessed because of our faith in Jesus Christ. it is because of our faith in Jesus that we are able to receive the promise of the Spirit. Under the law, we had to do something to get blessed, but under grace, we received the blessing because of our faith in Jesus and His finished works.
God wants us to experience the blessings of Abraham. Let me clear up what I mean. God wants all those who are “Born Again” to experience the blessings of Abraham. What is this blessing? Who can receive it? Let’s go to the Bible for the answer. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) This is saying to us that the promise was made to Abraham and to the Christ. Let’s dive further into this, turn to Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Now the promise was made to Abraham, Jesus, and everyone who is “In Jesus.” This means that the promise is for Abraham’s seed, which now includes us. This tells me, that we are now heirs to Abraham and we are included in the blessing because we are in Christ.
What does it mean to be an heir? It means that we have an inheritance. We have an inheritance that we haven’t yet tapped into.
What was the promise? God made a promise with Abraham, and now that we are heirs, we are therefore able to receive the promise. We know that there are many promises that God makes in His Word, but what was the exact promise God made with Abraham and his heirs? Again let’s look in the Bible, turn to Romans 4:13, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Did you see what it said, the promise was for Abraham and his heirs to inherit the world. read it in the New Living Translation, “Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.” The promise was for us to inherit the world. God didn’t give this promise through the law, because if He had done this, there would have been conditions set. This promise was given to us, through the righteousness of faith. It is because we have faith in Jesus Christ and His finished works.
How do we define our inheritance? In Christ, we are an heir of the world, which means that we inherit all of the world. We inherit all the world’s endowments (funding). We inherit all the world’s riches. We inherit the world’s advantages. We inherit the world’s pleasures. This is the promise that God made to Abraham and his seed.
Sadly though, we keep believing the opposite of what God had promised. We fell like someone took our inheritance and left us with nothing. We need to standup for what we believe and receive our inheritance. We need to take the best part of the world, which is already ours anyway, and we say to the devil to back off because this is our inheritance and as owner you need to leave our property. There is no reason for us to live in lack. God never wanted that for us. He didn’t want us to have some of the things of the world, but all of it. He never wanted us to just get by, He wanted us to have more than enough. He wants us to have more than enought money, properties, and riches that the world has. he wants us to be overly successful in our businesses. He wants us to have the best.
Look at the blessings of Abraham. “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3, NLT)
“So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) (Genesis 13:1-2)
“From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again. Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents.” (Genesis 13:3-5)
As you can see God wants us to know what are worth is to Him. He asks for only one thing from us and that is Share the love of Christ, so that others can become heirs of the promise.
The blessing is a finished work of Jesus Christ. We should get up every morning declaring His finished works. We should say, that we are blessed.
Many people try to equate the blessing with money, but the blessing is so much more. When people think this way they actually stop receiving the blessing. The blessing is a finished work of Jesus, which means that we don’t have to do anything to get it. In order to receive the blessing all we have to do, is receive it by faith. Faith is the positive response to what grace has already made available to us. Many times we try to make things happen, when it has already been given to us, instead of using the positive energy to activate our faith and call it into existence. The blessing is a finished work.
The Bible shows us how the blessing works. Let’s look at Genesis 39:1-2, this is the story of Joseph and how God blessed him. “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Joseph had just been betrayed by his own brothers and they had sold him as a slave. Joseph didn’t have anything. He was a slave, therefore he had nothing except what his master gave to him. The Bible says that Joseph was a prosperous man, how can he be prosperous if he doesn’t own anything? What does being prosperous mean? Prosperous means that a person is successful in material terms; flourishing financially.
This is going to challenge our definition of success, if we measure success by what we have and what we have accumulated, then are missing what the Bible says success is. We have aloud religion and the world to define prosperity (success), which is under the law instead of what it is under grace. Grace operates not only in the New Testament, but it also operated in the Old Testament. We can see it operating in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the way up to Moses. It operated until the law came. What am I saying? When Adam needed anything, God graced him with it. When Noah needed something, God graced him with it. Even when Israel was in need, God graced them with whatever they needed. Grace kept operating until the law was introduced.
Let’s go back to our story of Joseph, so here we have Joseph as a slave, but the Bible says that he was successful and prosperous. We asked the question, “How can this be?” We find our answer in the Scripture, he was prosperous because the “Lord was with him.” What does this say to us? It says we too are prosperous because the Lord is with us. The Lord was with Joseph and he was successful. Joseph wasn’t successful because he had money, luxuries, property and businesses. He was successful because the Lord was with him. The world measures success different then God does. Success is not what we have, it is Who we have. We need to stop pursuing things and start pursuing Jesus.
God sees our success in life when we continue to pursue after Him. Our relationship with Jesus is the only thing that we need in order to have a successful life. It is the relationship with Jesus Christ that makes us successful.
Say this: “I am successful because I have Jesus.”
Remember, success in not spelled M.O.N.E.Y! It is spelled J.E.S.U.S!!!
How can a man who has nothing, and is a slave, be so successful, that even a whole nation can see it? “And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.” (Genesis 39:3-4) The Egyptian master saw that the Lord was with Joseph. When we are walking with Jesus, they don’t see us but they see Jesus with us. The presence of God was upon Joseph, and everywhere that Joseph went, the presence of God was manifested. The rooms that Joseph walked into, the atmosphere changed. Wherever Joseph went, people were being blessed. It wasn’t because Joseph the slave walked into the room, it was because the man of God walked into the room. Joseph carried the presence of the Lord with him.
Say this, not only today but everyday from now on: “Jesus is with me, therefore, I am successful.”
All of our struggles, all of our willpower, and all of our self-effort cannot do what the presence of God can do for us instantly. We strive to compete with God by becoming successful, but the true test is what we actually believe. We are transformed by believing that Jesus loves us and He cares about us. Behold, Him and know that He loves us and He wants to save us. This my friends, is relationship, knowing that Jesus lives and He wants to save us from everything. This is relationship. When God is with us, only good things will happen around us and only good things will happen through us. Now my friends, it is the time to declare that good success is only possible because the Lord is with us.
When we walk into a store, people stand up and take notice, because the atmosphere changes. The atmosphere didn’t change because we walked into the store by ourselves, it is because we walked in the store carrying the presence of the Father. Wherever we go, the Lord is with us. When we are in His presence, only good things manifest.
Let’s go back to Joseph’s situation, he was falsely accused of something he had never done, simply because he refused to violate the trust of his master and for not embarrassing the Lord. Joseph is thrown into prison, not a particular nice place to be. “But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.” (Genesis 39:21-23) The Lord was with Joseph and wherever Joseph was at, even the prison, God showed Joseph favor and mercy. When God is with us, people start showing us favor and they don’t even know why they are doing it. Listen to me! Joseph was in prison, and the circumstances weren’t the best for him, but God was with him. The circumstances and the location could not stop the presence of the Lord.
Money can’t buy us everything. Money can buy us our health care, but it can’t buy our healing. Money can buy us a house to live in, but it can’t buy us a home. Money can buy us a man or woman for the night, but it can’t buy us a partner for a lifetime of love. If we are in the presence of God, He will give us favor that money cannot buy.
The presence of God made Joseph the head of a prison. Whatever success that happened in that prison, was because God was with Joseph. What does this tell us? It says to us that the presence of God will make us successful. What does this mean? We are to pursue God’s presence every waking minute. We must walk in His favor and watch as success comes our way. “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” (Psalms 75:6-7)
As we are in the presence of God, promotion will come. Look at what God did with Joseph, “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:38-41) Promotion came to Joseph, a slave, a prisoner, and now the second man in charge of Egypt. God is setting us up for success. We may be at the lowest point in life, but get ready, God is getting ready to light the fire underneath us so that he can rocket us into success.
Practice the presence of God. Strive not for material things, but strive for a closer relationship with Him. Thank Him for what He has already done. Success isn’t money, it is Jesus.
If you accept this message shout Amen!
One of the finished works of Jesus Christ is that the battle against Satan has been won. The battle against our accuser has been won. You see whether we want to admit it or not, we have an adversary, and that is the devil. More than anything, he wants us to deny that he exists, because he wants us to doubt that the victory over him has already been won. Jesus stripped the devil of his power. He is now nothing more than a shadow. You know that a shadow can’t hurt us right? The devil is like a bull dog with no bark. His teeth have been pulled, and he has no power. When we realize this then we will be able to celebrate the victory.
As God’s child, we have to learn a very important thing. The battle we are having with Satan daily is a false battle, because he has already been defeated and now we have to stand in the victory. Let me be clear about this, we don’t need to be trying to the get the victory, because we are fighting from the place of victory. We do not fight from the place of defeat anymore. No matter what we may be going through, we are not fighting from the place of defeat. We aren’t fighting from our hurts. We are not fighting from the place of brokenness. We don’t fight from a place of defeat, because our fight is from the place of victory which Jesus Christ had already won for us.
Let me show you what the Bible says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) First we need to learn how to fight! We have to understand that this battle is not for us to receive healing, deliverance, or prosperity, because these things have already been given to youus by Jesus. This fight is different.
“The thief comes to steal….” Who is the thief? The thief is Satan. The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. The thief comes to steal from us, what has he stolen from us? The thief’s purpose is to kill, what has he killed in us? The thief comes to destroy, what has he destroyed in us?
The thief has his purpose, but so does God. He also has a purpose, and what is that? He comes to bring you life and life more abundantly. His purpose is to give you us a life that is rich and satisfying. In order for us to have this life, we need to step out in faith and take what has already been given to us. With faith we must receive the finished works of Jesus Christ. If we don’t accept what Jesus has already done, we are saying to Him that His blood was for nothing. If we don’t reach out and take what He has given us then we will never possess all that He has made available to us. Take for instance this Scripture, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19) What is power? Power is translated to mean authority. God is saying to us, “I give you authority, the right to command the serpents and scorpions.” This is the meaning of power in the first part of this verse. The word power in the second part of this verse means, “ability.” If we were to re-read this verse, God is telling us, that He giving us authority [the right to command], the serpents and the scorpions, and over all the “abilities” of the enemy, therefore, nothing shall by any means hurt us. What does mean for us? This means that the enemy cannot use his abilities against us.
What abilities does the enemy have? One of Satan’s abilities, is that he has the ability to use “suggestion.” He says something to us or he shows something to us, in order to get us to tune into him. He tries to inflict fear into our lives. He tries to get us to panic. We become fearful over something that has not yet happened. Satan uses the power of suggestion to make us think, “What if?” Satan uses the power of suggestion, so that he can influence what we see and what we hear.
The Bible says, that we have the authority over those strategies. Please understand this, we have an enemy that develops strategies against us. These strategies are designed to stop us from reaching or achieving the call that God has placed on our lives. Know this though, that God will use what the devil throws at us to exercise our spiritual muscles in order to achieve the calling He has placed upon us. The strategy of the enemy is to stop us from moving forward with our calling. If he can hold us down, then he can paralyze us with fear and keep us from taking what God has planned for us. The devil wants to keep us paralyzed with fear, so that we will remain where we’re at. Many times God gives people a calling to minister for Him, but they become fearful and paralyzed and they don’t want to move forward in their calling. They fear the unknown. God has not given us a spirit of fear…but what He did give us was His love, power over the enemy and a sound mind to discern the tactics of the accuser. Understand this, we have authority over the devil. We have authority over every negative thought. We have authority over what we see and hear. We have authority over our hurts. We have authority over any attack that comes our way. We need to start reminding ourselves that when we are attacked, that we have authority over it.
If we experience emotional pain, because someone close to us betrayed us, we have authority over it. If the doctor tells us that we are sick with a disease or the “Caronavirus,” we have authority over it. When our finances are bottoming out, no money, no job and the bills are piling up, we have authority over it. There is nothing in our lives that God hasn’t foreseen, that He hasn’t provided for, but He wants us to use the authority He has already given us.
When the devil brings those negative thoughts, emotions, desires, and circumstances; God wants us to remember that He has given us authority over them. We need to command what we need to happen in Jesus’ name.
The Bible also says, that we do not only have the authority over the enemy, but that nothing will hurt us. Nothing means zero. This means that we are protected from the enemy. Let me share with you how I saw this power of God unfold before me while I was in Afghanistan. The enemy and at this time they were known as the “Taliban,’ would attack camps next to the ones I was stationed at. Whenever my team and I went out on mission, we would pray, or I should say I would pray all through the mission. Never once, did my team encounter and IED. When I flew around the country in a helicopter, my team were never fired upon. You can call this luck, but I believe in Jesus and His finished works. I know that He protected me and the men I was stationed with. Like I said, the enemy cannot hurt us. I believe that when the enemy comes against us, that we have the power to stop him. My time in Afghanistan was where my faith grew. I believe that when we stand in faith against the enemy he can only do one thing, and that is run from us. We have to exercise authority!
I am recently retired as a police officer, but during my time on the job, I was given authority. What gave me this authority? The government did. How did people where I served know that I had the authority? By the uniform I wore and the badge that I carried. The people in the city where I worked knew my authority because of how I appeared, the car that I drove, and the weapons I carried. But in the long run, the job of enforcing the law was given to me, because I represented the city where I worked. I was their representative. If I was directing traffic in the city and I raised my hand out and blew a whistle ordering the traffic to stop. People would stop! What made them stop? It was the authority that I possessed because of the the power I was given. What power? The power to arrest. But lets say I stood in the middle of the intersection, with just everyday clothes on, no badge of authority, no fancy vehicle with blue lights, and no weapons and I held my hand up to stop traffic. I would be called a fool, people wouldn’t listen to me. Why? Because I was not given the authority, nor was I given power.
We need to exercise our authority. The Bible says, “Let the redeemed say so.” (See Psalms 107:2) We can’t let the devil keep beating us up. Look at what God says, turn to Colossians 2:13-15, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Satan has been defeated. Look at these verses in the Amplified Bible, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (worldliness, manner of life), God made you alive together with Christ, having [freely] forgiven us all our sins, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of legal demands [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through the cross.”
When God took away the law, He also took away the power that demonic spirits can use against us. The devil was stripped of his powers. All demonic spirits were disarmed. This means that they cannot be used against us. The only way they can hurt us, is if we allow them to. Otherwise, they can’t. Why? It was because they were disarmed, they were stripped of all their powers. What does mean? It means that we have victory over every demonic spirit.
Some of us don’t believe in the devil or demons. Do demons exist today? Yes they exist to try to torment us. They try to get us to submit to their influence or their suggestions. They still try to go into our addictions. They still try try to influence us to run back to our sex practices, the parties, and the alcohol and drugs. But we have to be like the policeman and put up our hands and say, “Stop.” We have the authority to change things.
God will not impose His will on anyone. This means that He gave us the authority to choose. Do you remember the phrase, “The devil made me do it!” You need to know one major thing, that the devil can’t make us do anything, and God won’t make us do anything. So, who does that leave? I t leaves us. We have to decide! James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Resist what does this mean? It means to fight back! It means to withhold and to withstand. To resist the devil means that we are to fight back. How do we do this? It is by standing in the victory. It is by holding onto what Jesus has already done. Fight back against the influences that try to get us to return to our old life, without Jesus. We need to stand and tell the devil, “No!” We are to declare it today that we are delivered, set free and that we are healed.
Have you ever looked at the attitude’s of Christian men and woman, when they are faced with catastrophic event? Christian people along with people in the world seem to blame God for the things that are happening. For instance, when the Twin Towers fell in 2011, people said God was punishing people for their homosexual freedom. In 2019 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the United States, striking the Louisiana coast line, people said God was punishing New Orleans, because of their sexual misconduct. An earthquake devastated Haiti, in 2010, people said that God was punishing them because of the pact they had made with the devil. When a man or woman gets sick, people say that God is trying to teach them a lesson. Every time something comes against us, God is usually to blame. Why do we want to always blame God for the bad things that happen? Do we understand that this paints the picture of God as a punisher, and not as a God of love?When we label God as a punisher, we cause men and women to want to be as far from God as possible. They want to stay away from the church and anything that has to do with God, because in their minds, God only wants to punish people. Let me be clear on this, “God is not out to punish us, He is here to love us.”
Many of us equate our negative circumstances with punishment from God. Some people say, that this is God’s way to get our attention, so He uses sicknesses and diseases to break us down, so that we can suffer before he uses us. Let me assure you, that God doesn’t want to break us down, but instead He wants too build us up. With people talking like this, we essentially will begin to believe that our sicknesses, diseases, and negative circumstances are from a God that punishes, and the reason God is hurting people, is that He wants to punish people for the sins they committed. Even now, you are probably saying to yourself, God has to be responsible. He has to be responsible for cancer, HIV, AIDS, and all the natural disasters that we experience. He has to be responsible for the killing of people by terrorists, and car accidents with fatalities. He has to be responsible for the school shootings, the gang violence and all the hate in this world. I tell you now, that God is not like this.
My friends, we have to tune ourselves to the true God frequency. God is not responsible. God loved us so very much that He gave us His only Son. God’s Son left heaven to come to the earth. He gave up His heavenly home and His deity, to become just like us. He came to earth in the form of a human being. He came to die in our place for the sins of the world. What Jesus did forever changed how God dealt with us. God is in the business of saving people not punishing us. Many people want to believe this, but if we aren’t able to blame God, who are we to blame?
“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (John 12:47)
God is not punishing people. God didn’t take our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, animals or our friends. When God takes people it is different. Let me ask you a question, “Who was the first person that was taken by God?” The Bible tells us, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Who was the second person that God took? “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Last question, “Who was the next person that God took?” We all should know this, it was Jesus of Nazareth. “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11) All of these men had one thing in common, they didn’t die when they were taken. Soon we to will be taken, and we will be alive as well. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
If we don’t renew our minds, then anything that is bad, we will blame God for it. Do you remember John 12:47, anyone who hears the Word of the Lord and they don’t believe, God says that He doesn’t judge them. He said that he came to the world to save mankind from their sins, He didn’t come here to judge them. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) God is not saying that people should die and go to hell. He is saying that people need to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and to believe Him for their redemption of sin. God wants people to become “born again,” so that they can spend eternity with Him. It is not His will for people to perish, but He will not invade our will to choose. He cannot change our thoughts or invade our minds, we have to want to change.
God cannot change our wills. He gave us the ability to choose. We have the right to make decisions. So, if we decide not to receive Jesus, there is nothing that He can do about it. If we decide to live in sin, there is nothing that God can do about it. If we make that decision, “Don’t Blame God.”
If a doctor tells someone that you have an aggressive type of cancer or another disease, and to live longer they have to change their ways or else they will die. Well, it is a no brainier, either they are going to change and live longer, or they are not going to change and die. In the long run, we have the ultimate decision. Some people pin it all upon the doctor. They say that they are the way they are, because the doctor was responsible for their health. No, we are responsible for our own health. Nobody likes to hear that, but we are responsible for the decisions that we make. It is easy for us to blame the doctor when something bad happens to us. We also blame God because it is easy to blame the Creator, because He created everything. It is also easy to blame the devil, because because everything about him is bad. This is why we blame others for our own mistakes. The one that should be blamed is us, but isn’t ironic, that we are the last to blame.
There will be a time that God will judge people. But for now God is not judging people. We are no longer under the law, but now we are under the dispensation of grace. The Son of Man (Jesus) had all of mankind’s sin placed upon Him. When Jesus was lifted up upon the cross, He drew all man’s sin, all God’s wrath and anger, all the sicknesses and diseases and all the hate of the world upon Himself. Therefore, now can we understand that God is not here to punish us, but to save us. God is not killing people, instead He is letting everyone know that the payment for their sins has been paid in full. Jesus is the payment. “That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:19) God Himself paid the payment for our sins.
Let me clarify one thing, under the Old Covenant, God was the judge. If we sinned back then, we had to be punished for our sins. At this time, God was at war with man’s sin. All this changed when Jesus came. When he came as the Savior and died upon the cross, His blood didn’t cover our sins, like the blood of a lamb would. His blood wiped the sin away. His sacrifice was the peace offering, the payment, and the ransom for our sins.
Your probably thinking to yourselves, “What does this mean Jesus was the payment for our sins?” Let me explain this to you. God gave you an out. In other words, God made the payment for our sins. If we don’t accept the payment, then we have to make the payment, by suffering in hell. No matter what our sins have to be answered for. We don’t have to go to hell, if we only will accept Jesus as the payment. We are all going to die one day. We are going to be in another place, be that heaven or hell. The only question that God is going to want to hear from us then will be, “Did you accept the payment, My Son Jesus?”
The Lord has said that everything is available to us through the “Finished Works of Jesus Christ” Healing is made available for us. Deliverance has been made available. Prosperity has been made available, but my question is, “How do we access it?’
If I was to walk into a church to hear God’s Word, the seats in the church building are made available to me. Each seat has already been constructed and they each are there for me to sit in. The seats are there for me to take and sit in them, but it is up to me to choose which seat that I would like to take.
All of the finished works of Jesus has already been made available for us, but we have to go and take possession of them. Everything that Jesus has done requires us to respond with an action to take it. Salvation is made available to the whole world, but the ones who get salvation, respond to take hold of it as for them.
The problem that I see, is that we are living in our Christian lives where we are always trying to make something happen, instead of just receiving what has already been given to us. “Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” (Galatians 2:16, NLT) I don’t know about you, but I had been taught just the opposite in my religious up-bringing. I was told that in order for me to be right with God, I would have to obey the law of Moses, but this is not what Paul is saying in this Scripture, he is saying that I can never be right with God by obeying just the law, I can only be right by having faith. Paul said, ” NO ONE will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” We must have faith in Jesus Christ in order to be right with God.
Under the Old Covenant, we were made right with God by obeying the law, but this is not so under the New Covenant. When Jesus came to us, this all changed and now we are made right with God by believing in Jesus Christ and His finished works. So, what Paul is teaching, is that we can never be in right standing with God if we are obeying the law, but we are to have faith and believe in Jesus Christ and then we know that we are in right standing with God.
For years we have been taught to always obey the Ten Commandments, but that is not all of what the Word of God says, it tells us that we are to obey the whole law. That 613 of them, and if we miss one we cursed. God says, that “No one will ever be made right with God by just obeying the law.” Only Jesus can make us right with God. We can have righteousness only through Him and that righteousness is one of the finished works that Jesus gives to us.
How do we get these finished works to work for us?
What if someone sent you a letter, informing that you have been given one million dollars. The letter said that it has been put into a bank in your name. How would you respond? Would you just sit around waiting for it or would you go and get it? In order for us to have something that has been given to us, we have to respond to obtain it. Sitting around thinking about it won’t get it for us. After all it is already ours, but we can’t take possession of it until we faithfully go and get it. The million dollars has been made available for us, but in order for us to have it, we have to go get it. We have to go to the bank where it is at. We have to withdraw it using the banks withdrawal process. We know the money is ours, but we have to get it the proper procedures.
Healing has been given to us. But it requires our response to get it. Deliverance is made available, but it has to require our response to obtain it. Change is available, but it too requires our response to get it. Christian people are very hard headed, they keep working to make things happen. They still believe that they have to do something to get something. Jesus has already give us everything that we need, but they still can’t believe that their faith is enough and by using God’s withdrawal process they can have what has already been made available.
Jesus has made everything available, the deposit has been made. All that we have to do is respond to it. We can enter into a rest because half the battle has been completed. The money is in the bank. Do you remember when you were in unrest because you had been worried about a bill that needs to be paid, but when you know the money is in the bank, you rest easier.
How do we respond to the finished works of Jesus Christ? The first response is to believe in the love that God has for us. We will not believe what He says about us and what He has given to us, if we don’t know Him. If we think that God hates us, or that He is angry with us, we will only reject Him and rebel. We set our minds to NOT BELIEVE. The second response is that we have to make a decision to believe in Jesus Christ and His finished works. We have to decide, because decision is the open door to reality. We have to make it a reality and we have to decide to believe that Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law. He has delivered us and set us free from captivity, by becoming the ransom for us. We have to believe that we made righteous because of what Jesus has done, giving us access to the Father for intimate fellowship. We have to believe that we have been changed by Jesus. We have to believe that healing, and all the other finished works of Jesus has already been done. We also have to make everything real and we have to accept that Jesus is our Savior and Lord.
What are the finished works of Jesus Christ? First, that all of our sins have been paid for. We know that most people want this. So, now we can check it off the list of things that we need to do. Jesus has already done this for us. Second, our redemption has already been paid for, we have been redeemed. Jesus has already done this for us as well, so now we can check this off of the list. Three, our healing has already been paid for. Look at 1 Peter 2:24, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” Jesus has already done it for us. So, we need to stop trying to be healed, we need to take the healing that has already been done. We need to take it because it is already ours. Four, our judgment has been paid for. The Bible says, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12-31-32). Guess what this comes off the list as well. Jesus has made it a done deal. We need to stop trying to do things to get things. Five, reconciliation is finished! What is reconciliation? The meaning common to this word is change or exchange. Reconciliation involves a change in the relationship between God and man or man and man.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:8-14)
Where have we heard these Scriptures before? We hear them during Christmas. During the Christmas season, we hear this message being preached by many ministers. We have a tendency to take some verses out of the Bible and use the distinctly for holidays.These Scriptures aren’t only for holidays, because they tell us so much more if we would read it through the guidance of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will open up the Word for us, so that we can understand the revelation that is inside them. For instance, “For there is born today a Savior,” What does this mean, “A savior is being born?” What is He being born to do? He is being born to save us. What are we being saved from? The angel stood before the shepherds and he told them that a Savior is born. He is born to save them. Then the angel is joined by other angels and they all say, “Glory to God in the highest, And peace, good will toward men.” Therefore, the Savior is being born to bring peace and goodwill toward men, is this right?
Matthew 1:21 says, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name, Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” From this we can see that the angels were right, a Savior was to be born, His name is Jesus and He is to save mankind from their sins. But during this time in history, mankind didn’t know that they needed to be saved from sin. The angels were singing about bringing peace on earth, but Jesus didn’t come to bring peace to the earth. Look at what Matthew 10:34-36 says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ OK, I am confused, the angels were praising God and singing about peace on earth, but Jesus is saying that He didn’t come to bring peace. matter-a-fact, He says in Matthew 10:34, that He came to bring in sword. Not at all very peace like is it? If Jesus was born to bring peace then why are we having wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, hurricanes etc? It is because our finite minds couldn’t comprehend what Jesus came to do. But, I like you, still don’t understand why the angels were singing, “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men?”
For a long time, there had been a war going on between God and sin. God was just, and since sin entered into the world, God had to become the judge. Before God was in love with man, but when sin came into the Garden of Eden, man had to face the consequences of their sin. Since God was just, He had to become the judge and therefore He had to imposes sanctions for man’s sin. Don’t get me wrong, He was angry at the sin, not against man. He actually loves man, but because He is a just God, He had to impose punishment for sin. It would have been unjust for God not to impose punishment. Therefore, He had to punish mankind for their sins. throughout the Old Testament, God had to remain the judge. There were consequences for sinning.
Jesus was born as the Savior to take away our sins. He was the One who took all of our sins, all of God’s wrath, judgment, and anger. He took all of these things upon Himself, so that God didn’t have to be judge anymore, instead He could return to being our loving Father. There was a war between God and man’s sin. This is why we saw the God of wrath and judgment in the Old Testament. Jesus was born to take all of this away, and let God return to being the loving Father, our Creator. In the New Testament, God cannot be wrathful or judging, nor can He even be angry with us, because He placed all of this upon Jesus. It would be an in-justice for God to be like that today. In the Old Testament, it was justified but not so in the New Testament. This is why the angels were singing, “peace on earth and goodwill towards men.” Because when Jesus was born, He brought peace to the war between God and sin, and He let the Father stop being the judge and return to loving us intimately.
“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) What does propitiation mean? It is an action meant to gain someone’s favor or to make up for something one has done wrong. In other words, Jesus became the payment or the peace offering to God for our sins.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) What the angels were singing about, was that they were praising God in the highest because the payment, the compensation, and the peace offering has been made by Jesus. Mankind sin has been paid in full by Jesus.
God isn’t mad with us, He is not going to punish us. No disease will God put on us. We will not die. The war between God and sin has been reconciled. Jesus has done all of this for us. This is available to anyone who wants to accept it.
Everyone of us that have been born in the natural, are put into the Book of Life. Our names are only blotted out of it, when we don’t accept the payment that has been made by Jesus. If we don’t accept the payment, then we are bound for hell. Why? It is because if we don’t accept the payment for sins, then we have to make the payment. Therefore we have to suffer for our sins. God gave us a way out through Jesus, but we have to believe.
What is the mission of every born again believer? It is tell the world that Jesus is the compensation, payment and peace offering for their sins. All of their sins have been paid in full, and Jesus Christ has done it all. All that they have to do is believe by accepting the payment.
The angels are singing, the war is over, no longer is man under God the judge, because the peace offering is here. Everyone who receives the payment will have the Father that loves them. Jesus being born, forever changed the way God dealt with man. This is why I accepted the payment, I pray that you do as well. Until next time, may God bless you.
I live in North Carolina and yes I have seen my share of disasters. The last being Hurricane Dorian which recently came close to our shores and actually made landfall in the Outer Banks. I lived through Hurricane Florence which devastated my home. I am not saying this to ask for pity for what I have been through, but to make a very important point. Each one of us put a lot into what we own, when in fact we really don’t own anything. We believe that we worked hard for our possessions, but we were only given the things as gifts from God. I thought the same thing for many years, I would go to work, meander throughout the day so that I can earn money to buy more stuff, but you know what it isn’t really about the stuff that we get, it is about the love we have for each other. This is what makes us individuals.
I can sympathize with most of you, because when Hurricane Florence damaged me, it took everything to try to rebuild. I am not only talking about rebuilding my home and replacing possessions, that was only part of it, but it took time for me to rebuild my heart. A lot of what I had been building was taken away from me within minutes. But I picked up the pieces and began building. Do you know how I did this, it was because my love for God outweighed my love for anything. I know what you may be thinking is He going to try to make us feel better by telling of God’s love. You may be right because there is so much of it to go around. It is there to help us along life’s path.
Every morning after the Hurricane Florence’s catastrophic event, this bird or one much like him would come to the bedroom window and he would wake me up by tapping on the window. At first I thought that he was doing it to tease the cat, but even when the cat wasn’t in the bedroom, without fail this bird would tap on the window. After he knew we were up, he would sit on the branch and sing. While he was singing, so were all the other birds. They would sing from the time the sun came up until it’s setting. It was always such a lovely song that was sang and it would go on for long periods of the day.
From my dining room window I would always see the birds gather together to eat from off the ground. I am not a avid bird watcher by any means. But to see this daily, made me truly take a look at God’s provisions for me. The Scripture is found in Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” God began to show me that I am more valuable to Him because He loves me and with that love comes favor in abundance. He didn’t bring the storm against me, the devil did that, but when the devil does something to hurt me, don’t you know God always has my back. When storms come go He always makes a way for me to survive.
Why does God use the sparrow in His scriptures to make us understand? “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Matthew 6:25-34) Why does God use the sparrow in His scriptures to make us understand? He specifically says to look at the birds of the air, they don’t put seed into the ground and they don’t reap the harvest and still God feeds them daily. I guess that is great thing, imagine never having to sow and reap in order to get things that we need, but even so God keeps shedding His love upon us. Lets look at some more scriptures on the sparrow. .
” Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.” (Psalms 84:3) If we are more loved and more in God’s favor don’t you believe that we always will have a home, a place to lay our head, a place to grow a family. The enemy may bring the storm, but that can only last for so long.
With the approach of Hurricane Dorian, a lot of North and South Carolinian’s had to hunker down. As my wife and I were sitting at the dining room table just before the storm approached, my wife asked me, “Where do the birds go when the storm comes?” I sat there for a moment and then replied, “I don’t know, but they must hunker down like we do.” The day the storm approached, I was fearful about the the destruction that this storm could do. I believed that God would hold me tight and that was to protect the house that He was rebuilding. We weathered storm with very little damage, but the next morning the song of the birds was heard as usual. I now call it their song of praise. That where I missed it. For over a year God sent the cardinal to the window to wake me up for the new day. Yes the devastation I suffered was terrible, but the most difficult thing was that in all the turmoil I had endured, God was still saying that I still have the song in my heart. Everyday I should be singing that heart’s song to God for all that He has done.
I did’t mean for this to be a sermon, but a message to everyone who reads these words, don’t look at the destruction around you, but open your heart to the song that is deep within and sing. Sing just as the birds sing their song of praise everyday. The devil only wants to steal from you, to cause devastation, and to try to kill you. The material things they can be replaced, but the song in your heart should never be stifled. So today I challenge you to get up and let the hearts song sing.
Do you like to play games? I think that everyone has played some sort of game in their lifetime. One of mine, that I loved to play was “Hide and Seek.” The object of this game was a person was picked out from the group to be the “seeker.” This seeker would have to go and find everyone else. When the seeker found another person, he or she would tag the person and they were then caught.
Everyone of us has played this game for real in our lifetimes. One way or another, we have been seekers looking for something that had true meaning to us. This could be a person looking for “true love” or it could be a person looking to have their “dreams fulfilled,” there are many reasons that we become seekers.
Jesus said, ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”(Matthew 7:7) For years I have looked at this Scripture out of the Bible, and thought to myself, “This must mean something more then what I am reading.” I said this because God’s Word is not to be taken at face value. Every time I read this Scripture I would see something different.
I remember the day I first read this passage out of my Bible. I was sixteen years old, still in high school, and I was a newly “born again” Christian. The Bible was new to me and I was reading it for the first time. This Scripture seemed to come off the page at me. It was amazing how these words could have such an influence upon my life. Throughout the years that followed, this Scripture would impact me in many new ways. Each time I read it, it caused me to think about its true meaning.
I remember one of the first songs I wrote after receiving my first guitar and this Scripture was what I would sing at prayer meetings and other events. This Scripture had so much effect on my life, that I would recite it many times over. I found myself chewing on it, digesting it and then pulling it back up from within me and chewing on it again.
As I grew in my new life as a Christian, the Bible became more real to me. My life became more centered around the Scriptures and I wanted to learn more.
I was raised in a household, who believed in religious beliefs. My grandmother was a devout Catholic and because of her strong beliefs, her influence in our family made us all have to become Catholic. Even at the young age of five years old, I new that God had chosen me for something, I just didn’t know what. The desire to know more about God began in my early childhood. Maybe that is why king Solomon said this about finding God, “I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.” (Proverbs 8:17) The hunger inside of me became stronger, and I sought out to know more about God. I went from being a Catholic to being a Protestant. This was a true “culture shock ” for me and I went from a lifetime of having everything about God being formally introduced to me from a priest who was hearing my inner thoughts and confessions, to a pastor of a flock and people who praised God openly and who believed in water baptism as an answer to salvation by immersion.
I kept reading the Bible and as I grew up I still thought in my heart that there has to be more to knowing God then just reading the Bible, and getting baptized into water and just being in church.
Then it happened, I went to a movie and there the Holy Spirit drew me to ask Jesus to come into my heart. It was the first time that I truly experienced love. It was a love that I can’t explain to you. All I know is that while I knelt in this movie theater, every part of me was experiencing a sensation of liquid love being poured all over me. No expression of words can tell you how I felt.
I wanted to know more about Jesus. I wanted to know more about the Bible. I wanted to know more about prayer. I wanted to know more about heaven. My seeking took a new turn and I went to the church who had sponsored this movie. It was here, I began to find out about who God really is. I came to know Jesus as my friend and I received the Holy Spirit as my friend also. I went from being a Protestant to becoming a Pentecostal. This place of worship would teach me many things about God and it would teach me one important thing, it would teach me how to worship Him.
Many people in this church became my mentors. I could tell you of what was instilled into my heart through these people, but there is not enough room in this blog to write it all down so that you can understand. Although many people in this church had a lot to do with me learning about God, I will tell you of two people who meant the most, these were the most influential in my becoming a seeker. They were Pastor Anthony Testasecca and David Ledger, these two people helped me to grow up in seeking God. Pastor Testasecca had such a love for the Lord that he would weep f.or hours upon hours at the alter. Never was there such a man who was not afraid to seek Christ as he did daily, he inspired me to seek God in prayer. David Ledger was like the father I never had, he used to take me hiking up the “Appellation Trail” it was there in the woods away from civilization that I learned to behold the glory of the Lord and I learned that everything had a purpose. This would cause me to seek Him even more. I believe that God placed these men in my path to help keep me to seek the meaning of Matthew 7:7, “…seek and you shall find….”
My hunger and thirst increased. I would find myself wanting to have more. The more I sought out to know God, the more I would meet people who had the same unsatisfied hunger. I found myself searching through books and publications to find out more. I began to see that I wasn’t just satisfied with being in church, going to Bible Studies on Wednesday evening, I still wanted more.
I went to Afghanistan for one year, returned to the United States because of an injury. Upon my return home, God began opening up His Word to me. I studied the Bible for the seven months that I at home. I became hungrier for more of the Word and I would spend hours upon hours in my prayer closet searching the Bible. Things began to take shape for me, I understood the meaning of what our words do. I learned about the law of confession and about faith. I was miraculously healed and within a year I returned to Afghanistan for another mission. The Word went with me and many men and women who I served with were taught God’s Word, even Afghanistan citizens.
I returned home in 2010, and began teaching people God’s Word. During these times of teaching, people were healed of cancer, my wife being one of them. People were healed of arthritis, a three time stroke victim was healed and allowed to walk. People who were addicted to drugs were set free of their addictions and people began to thrive in their businesses because God’s Word was a part of their lives. You can call it whatever you want, fate, faith or anything else, but I call it God.
The first part of Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you…” was being fulfilled. The more people asked God for His blessings and believing in their hearts for them, they received. Many people were being taught the power of the Word. Lives were being transformed! People were finding who Jesus really is and He was changing their lives.
Still I believed that there was more to knowing God then just being saved, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and having God’s favor. I began seeking deeper. I wasn’t satisfied and my hunger intensified even more. I wasn’t content just knowing about God. I wanted to know Him! I began diving deeper into the Scriptures and I read this, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) I began inquiring about “soaking.” I wanted to know God personally. I prayed and I soaked in His presence and although I felt good, I needed to know Him even more. I wanted Him above anything else. I wanted to know Him. I wanted to know His heart. I wanted to hear His voice, smell His fragrance, experience His touch, feel His breath and see His face.
I knew that this was possible because Moses had wanted the same thing. Moses asked to see God’s face. When Moses was in God’s presence, the Bible says that his face shown with the glory. I wanted that! I continued studying God’s Word and the more I asked Him to reveal it to me, He opened the pages for me to understand. The Word became alive within me!
Recently He has opened the meaning of the book “Song of Solomon.” For years I didn’t read it, matter-a-fact, I avoided reading it, because I thought it was a love story between king Solomon and the “Shulamite woman,” but I found out that this was not the case. This book, is about the bridegroom (Christ Jesus) and His bride (The Church, those who only have an eye for God). I began to understand it’s pages and their meaning. It gave me what I have been seeking for most of my life. It revealed who God is and about His love for me. I also saw how it revealed His heart toward me. I saw how He searches for me. How He wants to woo me like a bridegroom woos his bride.
As I opened up the pages I saw how the bridegroom looked for His bride. Notice one important detail, the bridegroom sought His bride. She was chosen! This is why I believe Jesus said this, ““For many are called, but few are chosen.”” (Matthew 22:14) The bride had to be first chosen then He started wooing her. Giving her gifts. I found that just receiving God’s favor wasn’t enough for me. I needed more! The hunger got greater and greater within me and nothing was satisfying me unless I was in deep prayer. I wanted to know God! I wanted Him more than anything in life.
I began reading more and more; the Holy Spirit brought me revelation about how Jesus even will go to the doors of our hearts. He taught me that the Lord beckons for us to come away with Him. “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice.” (Song of Solomon 2:9) He is such a gentleman…never imposes His will upon us. He looks to see where our hearts are! Do we desire what He does for us or do we want Him? He courts us and He comes to the door and He knocks to let Him come in, but many people don’t want to open the door. They tell him it is late, and I have already laid down to rest for the night. They are content with just salvation and the gifts.
“I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.”” (Song of Solomon 5:2)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Jesus, the bridegroom knocks on our door and He is asking us, do we want to have fellowship with Him? I found out that during Jesus’ ministry on the earth, that the doors in Israel had the handle on the inside. When a person was in their home they had to let people into their homes. The bride in this story was home in bed asleep. She was content and when the bridegroom knocked she didn’t open the door. Some people are this way. I on the other hand had this hunger that couldn’t be satisfied with just God’s gifts, so I became like the “Shulamite woman,” I wanted to be with my love so I searched for Him. God was my everything! I searched for years to be in His presence.
Being in His presence was what satisfies my hunger and thirst. I am sure that is why Moses was always in the presence. I am sure that is why Jesus always was in the presence. It is satisfying to my spirit and my soul.
God will test us! He will test us to see are we wanting His presence or do we want His gifts?
There will be times when you will feel like He isn’t there with you, but remember what His Word says, “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Why was this done? This is done so that the Lord knows where our hearts are! I know it seems forever but this is God’s way of saying, “Do you love Me?” I have been in this place many times since becoming a seeker. At first I didn’t understand it, but now it makes perfect sense. I am thankful daily for being in the wilderness. It is in the wilderness where I am only dependent upon God, so now I understand more about seeking then I did when I first read the Scripture 45 years ago.
I am not there yet, what I mean I still have not achieved my goal and that is to be invited into God’s chambers and experience the full relationship that He wants to have with me. I have steps to still climb to get there, but I know that the last part of Matthew 7:7, “…knock, and it will be opened unto to you,” this will be when I enter into His courts with thanksgiving and praise and true pure worship will be come forth out of me and then once I know that I am one with the Father I will become the ” fisher of men” and together we will do the Father’s will “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is toward me. Come, my beloved, Let us go forth to the field; Let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded, Whether the grape blossoms are open, And the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.” (Song of Solomon 7:10-12)
I have found that ministry has to be in cooperation with Jesus. After He has called me to come up to His chambers and we have an inseparable fellowship with one another, then when we have become one, will ministry work.
There are many of you reading this and you too have been seeking the presence of God. Continue seeking because you will find Him.