Back to the Basics

by Rick
Back to the Basics

This series is entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Here we will discuss salvation and other ‘basic’ truths that should be the foundation of every believer’s faith.  My experience has taught me that being a member of a church for a certain amount of years does not guarantee that a person understands that ‘basic’ truths of Christianity.  Whenever I teach a ‘basics’ class I always encounter Christians who have been walking with God for many years who never received this type of teaching.  Although most of the messages that I send out are aimed at encouraging you to make it through your day, the purpose of this ministry is fourfold: to Encourage, Evangelize, Instruct, and Inspire.  Therefore my messages are always aimed at performing all four.  With that, I pray that this new series will be a blessing to you.

Back to the Basics
Man’s Composition
Enjoying God’s Location
Gods Desire and Our Decisions
God’s Consciousness vs. Self-Consciousness
Intelligence on the Enemy
Laying the Foundation
Receiving Your Change by Faith
God will provide Himself a Lamb
Redeemed back to Adam!
Access Behind the Veil
Operating in Kingdom Love
From Religion to Relationship
From Religion to Relationship (Part II)
The Kingdom is Coming!
The Kingdom is Here!
The Threat of the Kingdom
Promoting the Kingdom
The Enemy ‘In-a’ Me!
Sleeping with the Enemy
Mental Metamorphosis
A Prosperous Mind
A Prosperous Soul
A Prosperous Life
Changing Your Language – Faith Filled Words!
God is Love

Back to the Basics (top of page)

(Gen 1:26 KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Like we normally do, we will begin at the beginning.  I like to start off at the beginning of a topic because of the ‘Law of First Mention.’  The Law of First Mention is a rule for biblical interpretation that basically states that one should go to the portion of the scripture where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time and to study the first occurrence of the same in order to get the fundamental meaning of that doctrine.  Simply stated, since God never changes, if we understand what He meant when He first established something, we can understand what He still means today.  We are human beings (man).  Our text is the first mention of man in the bible.  As we look at it, we can understand what God originally intended for man in the earth.  Not only were we created in the image or likeness of God, but we were to actually act like Him as well.  What do I mean?  Well, God is a ruler and He rules the universe.  He created us to be rulers in the earth.  As a matter of fact, if we fast forward to the end of the book and read the very last words John wrote before he started the benediction, we will see that God never changed His mind about us ruling.  It says, “God’s curse will no longer be on the people of that city.  He and the Lamb will be seated there on their thrones, and its people will worship God and will see him face to face. God’s name will be written on the foreheads of the people.  Never again will night appear, and no one who lives there will ever need a lamp or the sun.  The Lord God will be their light, and they will rule forever” (Rev 22:3-5 CEV).  Both the first and last mention of man in the book have to do with ruling.  Both the Hebrew word used in Genesis and the Greek word used in the Revelation of Jesus Christ mean to rule, have dominion, and to reign as a king.  Now God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  Our text helps us understand that he originally intended for us to be just like Him and operate like kings in the earth.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, you are royalty.  God wants you to be blessed.  God wants you to prosper.  God wants you to be the best leader, worker, mother, father, wife, husband, son, and daughter that you can possibly be.  His original intent was for man to be in authority and that intent still remains today.  Do not enter this day with a low self-esteem and with your head held down.  You are a child of the Most High God.  You are part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a chosen people!  So don’t be afraid to seek to be the best and to ask God’s help in attaining it.  This is His desire for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are the King of Kings.  You rule and reign the heavens.  You created me to rule and reign in the earth.  I receive Your wisdom, strength, and power today to be the best person that I can possibly be.  I glorify You by doing everything today as a king in the earth!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Man’s Composition (top of page)

(Gen 2:7 KJV)  And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Yesterday we investigated the original intent for man in the earth – to rule with kingdom authority.  This morning we see the process evolving.  Genesis 2 open with the end of the creation account.  The earth was ready and the stage was set.  The garden was prepared for man, so much so that there was no need for rain, but rather streams came up from the ground and watered the earth.  And then, with the garden prepared for the arrival of the destined man, the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Let’s take a closer look at the text:

1.  Man’s Body:  Man’s body was formed out the dust of the ground and is therefore invariably and eternally connected to the earth.  Science has proven that the substance of the human body (flesh, sinews, and bones), consists of the same elements as the soil which forms the crust of the earth and the limestone which forms its shell.  As discussed yesterday, God created man to rule IN the earth and our body is our connection to this rulership.  Angels have legal authority in the heavenlies because they are bodiless beings and therefore connected to that realm.  Man’s body connects us to this realm and gives us legal authority to operate in the earth.

2.  Man’s Soul:  You soul is your mind, emotions, and will.  When God breathed into man the breath of life, he became a living soul, with the intelligence and personal will that would separate him from all other created beings.  Man’s soul gave him the ability to think, communicate, and carry out the commands of God in the earth.

3.  Man’s Spirit:  Man only became a living soul after the deposit of the breath of God in him.  This breath was a deposit of His Spirit.  This is very important and extends man beyond the limitations of mere humanity.  The Spirit of God was actually residing in the body of a man.  The Holy Spirit made the spiritual connection between the creator and His creation.  The creator Himself was outside of the man and not limited to the man, but He was also simultaneously inside of the man.  This indwelling of God in man caused man to have a complete and intimate relationship with God.  God could walk with man and man could walk with Him.  They were separate but united at the same time.  This was the original intent for humanity and this was how God intended for His Kingdom to operate in the earth.  Man’s body gave him the connection to the earth, man’s soul (mind, emotions, will) gave him the intelligence that would separate him from all other animals, and God’s spirit in the man gave him his connection to God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that – as taught yesterday – you were created in the image and likeness of God.  God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and we are Spirit, Soul, and Body.  Our body gives us the authority to operate in the earth, our soul gives us the intelligence to exercise the kingdom dominion that God originally intended, and God’s Spirit in us (we will discuss this further) is our only connection to Him.  We are simple, yet complex beings.  God has intricately equipped us with everything we need to be victorious in Him.  So face this day with confidence, assurance, and strength.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a Spirit, I posses a soul, and I live in a body.  My body gives me legal authority in the earth and I am not subject to bodiless spirits that may attack me.  My soul gives me the intelligence I need to carry out Your commands in the earth.  Your Spirit in me is my only true connection to You and I am in the same state that Adam was, in the garden, prior to the fall.  He had kingdom dominion and I declare that I operate in that same kingdom dominion today.  Everything I put my hands to do is blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Enjoying God’s Location (top of page)

(Gen 2:8 MSG)  Then GOD planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  So far we have discussed the original intent and the creation of man.  This morning we will investigate what happened with this newly created destined man.  Let’s walk through the text:

1.  The location (v.8) Then GOD planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it:  As we have understood from previous messages, God made man with a flesh-and-blood body.  This body was his connection to the earth and required food for sustainment.  This food posed a ‘need’ of man.  God already had a plan and placed the newly created man in a location designed specifically for him.  The garden (or park) was a place full of trees, abounding with fruit, and therefore providing and overflow of sustenance for man.  The garden was fed by four streams as its supply, ensuring that the provision and abundance would never be cut off.  As a side note, gold and onyx were also located in the garden.  Application:  God placed the first man in his place of abundance.  His every need was met and systems were in place to ensure that his provision was never cut off.  Likewise, God is a God of provision for us as well.  When we allow God to lead, guide, and direct us; He leads us towards our place of abundance, provision, and blessing!

2.  The Responsibility (v.15) GOD took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order:  God had already done His part and provided abundantly for the man, but He know gave man some responsibility.  Yesterday we discussed the intricate composition of man and this morning we see that God did not allow that intelligence and understanding to go unused.  God afforded man an opportunity to use what He had blessed him with (his own will and intelligence).  What was the assignment?  To work the ground.  Why?  Because the ground was the source for his provision – fruit.  As the man learned to honor God by being a good steward over the ground, the ground would continue to bring forth a harvest in his life and all his need would continue to be met.  Application:  God has also blessed us with intelligence, wisdom, and understanding.  We also have something that Adam did not have; and that is the written Word of God.  The Word of God is the will of God explained.  So our responsibility is to walk in the wisdom of God (the Word) concerning the ‘garden’ He has placed us in.  He wants our every need to be met, but we – like Adam – must be good stewards of everything God has entrusted to us; to include: our jobs, spouses, children, finances, faith, etc.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants us to enjoy His abundant life.  He wants every need met in our lives and has made provisions for us to walk in abundance.  We will learn in up coming messages, however, that we must obey His commandments if we are to stay in His place of abundance, provision, and favor!  And it also means that we must be good stewards over everything He has blessed us with.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank you for placing me in my Eden.  I am in Your presence and Your presence brings with it Your abundant supply.  All my needs are met and there are streams in place to make sure that the flow is not cut off.  I take heed to Your commandments and I walk in Your abundance.  My family is blessed, my career is blessed, my finances are blessed, my decisions are blessed, and everything I put my hands to do prospers; because I incline my ear to Your Word and seek to perform it every day of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Desire and Our Decisions (top of page)

(Gen 2:16,17 MSG)  GOD commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it.  The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We learned last message that God prepared a place of blessings and abundance (Eden) and placed the man in it.  God then established some parameters for man to remain in this place of abundance.  Our text teaches us that God told Adam that he could, “…eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil.”  He went a step further and explained what would happen if he disobeyed this command, “Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”  We will get into this “knowledge of good and evil” in upcoming messages, but for this morning, I feel led to focus our attention to the following:

1.  Promises:  God had already set up Adam for a life of prosperity and abundance.  He then promised him a continuous flow of His supply when He said, “You can eat…”  I can imagine thousands and thousands of trees, overflowing with vibrant and juicy fruit, and God offering this continuous source of blessing to Adam.  It is important for us to picture Adam in the midst of a vast garden of fruitful trees, because this picture of abundance and blessing was the original intent for man and is still God’s desire for us today.

2.  Parameters:  Adam did not have the Law.  Adam did not have the Word of God.  Adam did not have the traditions of men.  All Adam had was the promise of God that he could eat of every tree and the parameter set to refrain from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam had no clue of evil and God never intended for him to.  God’s clear and concise commandment was intended for Adam to remain in the presence and promises of God forever.

3.  Penalty:  Disobedience would not be disobedience without consequences.  Just as sure was God’s promise of prosperity would remain if Adam obeyed, His promise of death would swiftly come if he disobeyed.  God is not like us, He says what He means and He means what He says.  He established the parameters and was ready to carry out the consequences of any violation of His command.

So what does this mean to you today? A few quick nuggets:

a.       Adam is the picture of the original intent for man.

b.      God wants us to be like Adam was in the garden prior to the fall – he walked in the Spirit and not the flesh.

c.       God wants us to have what Adam had in the garden prior to the fall – he enjoyed prosperity and abundance.

d.      God establishes parameters for our operation in the earth.  Restrictions based upon God’s commands (God’s Word).

e.       God is so much a God of His Word that He cannot go against what He has established.  If we obey His Word, we will prosper.  If we violate it, we will pay the consequences.

f.        “You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself!  You will harvest what you plant” (Gal 6:7CEV)

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I stand upon Your Word.  I now see that you prospered Adam prior to his decision of disobedience.  I also understand that this picture of abundance is Your desire for me.  You Word says that You take pleasure in the prosperity of Your servants (Ps 35:27) and Your Word is clear that You will not lie (Num 23:19).  You have established parameters for blessings in Your Word and I obey those parameters.  My obedience unlocks Your provision.  I receive favor, long-life, health, prosperity, and increase this week!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Consciousness vs. Self-Consciousness (top of page)

(Gen 2:25 AMP)  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We left off yesterday at verse 17.  Verses 18-24 deal with the first mention of God saying that something was ‘not good’ (for man to be alone), an example of man exercising his authority in the earth (naming animals), the manifestation of woman, and the clear original intent for marriage (two to become one flesh).  I simply mention those verses because the focus of our message this morning is in verse 25.  Our text is very powerful when we look at it in the light of the original intent.  The text says, “the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.”  Why is this so powerful?  Let’s take a closer look:

1.       We have already learned that God breathed His Spirit into man (2:7), causing him to come alive.  The Spirit of God in the man was the first origin of life.

2.       We will later learn that sin would cause the Holy Spirit to be taken out of man.  This would create an incrossable gulf between a Holy God and fallen man.

3.       When Adam disobeyed God and sinned the original sin, the bible says, “Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked.  Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves” (3:7).

4.       Later on in the same text (v.10), they even attempted to hide from God.

Now that the stage is set, let’s tie it all together.  Adam and Eve were filled with the Spirit of God, walking the in authority of God, and enjoying the presence of God in the earth prior to the fall.  The text says that they were both naked, but they were not embarrassed or ashamed.  Why?  Because I do not believe that they were even aware of it.  They were not self-conscious, because they were Spirit-conscious.  They were walking in the Spirit and not even aware of carnal things.  It was not until they sinned and died spiritually, that they realized their carnal state.  The removal of the Holy Spirit would resign man to a life of self-consciousness and limit man to humanity without divinity.  Only the death of Jesus on the cross would give us access back to this original state.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that in this text we see a picture of the original intent and operation of man in the earth.  He was walking in the Spirit and not even conscious of carnal things.  This tells us that being Spirit-conscious or God-conscious and not merely self-conscious should be our goal.  Now, I understand that we have human things to do.  We have to work, take care of our families, answer emails, pay bills, change diapers, etc.; and that many of these tasks require human (carnal) concentration.  This is true and the realities of our present life do require much of our time, but we should never forget to spend time with God and seek to walk with Him daily.  Our present humanly duties do not negate the original picture (our aim) of the garden.  I will close with the words of Paul, (Gal 5:16 AMP) “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You originally intended for man to walk completely in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  Through the blood of Jesus I have been redeemed from sin and have also been redeemed back to the this original purpose.  I seek to walk in the Spirit daily and not fulfill the lusts and desires of the flesh.  I enjoy Your presence.  Your presence delivers me from embarrassment, shame, and guilt.  I am covered by the blood and anointed by the Spirit.  I have no need to be ashamed.  I walk into this day with the confidence of knowing that You walk with me and live IN me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Intelligence on the Enemy (top of page)

(Gen 3:1-7 NIV)  Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”  “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  In yesterday’s text Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed.  In today’s text there were ashamed and attempted to cover their nakedness.  What happened? The Fall of Man.  It is important for us to understand how the devil tricked them into disobeying God.  Military intelligence of enemy tactics is crucial in a war.  We are in a spiritual war until Jesus comes back and must therefore understand the tactics of the enemy if we are to be successful in daily battles.  Paul taught us that we should not be unaware of the devil’s tactics (2 Cor 2:11).  With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at his tactics:

1.  Twisting God’s Word:  The first thing that the enemy did was to cast doubt on what God said.  He attacked God’s command and attempted to twist God’s Words.  This is why it is so very important for us to know and understand the Word of God for ourselves.  The bible speaks of false prophets coming to lead many astray.  Most people are led astray, like Eve was, because they allow someone to come and confuse them about the Word of God.  God gets me up early every morning to share a Word with people all over the world, just to attempt to combat this tactic of the enemy.  We need to clearly understand the Word of God and how it applies to our daily lives.

2.  The Father or Lies:  John taught us (Jn 8:44) that satan is a liar and the father of it.  He uses lies to deceive people daily.  In the text, he told Eve that (1) she would not die and that (2) if she ate of the fruit, her eyes would be opened and she would be like God.  The problem here is that God was clear and she would die (spiritually).  Furthermore, she was already like God.  We have already learned that God created man in His image and likeness and gave man dominion in the earth.  Man was already like God and this act would actually cause the separation between God and man.

3.  The Big Three:  Towards the end of the book, John teaches us to stay away from what I call ‘The Big Three.’  He said, (1 Jn 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  We now go back to the beginning of the book and find the same three tactics.  The text says when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh) and pleasing to the eye (the lust of the eyes), and also desirable for gaining wisdom (the pride of life), she took some and ate it.  These are the same three tactics that He uses against us daily and the sad part is that we keep falling for them.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that (1) we need to know the Word of God and not allow anyone to twist God’s Word on us and lead us astray, (2) we must recognize that satan is the father of lies and realize that he will consistently attack us through lying, and (3) we must understand the ‘Big Three’ tactics of satan and make every attempt not to allow ourselves to be caught by them.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You said in Your Word that a young man could cleanse his way by taking heed to Your Word and hiding Your Word in his heart.  I do just that.  Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.  I realize that satan is the father of lies and I allow Your Word, which is the truth, to expose His lies in my life.  I bind the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, in my life!  I know the enemy’s tactics and I am better prepared to overcome them.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Laying the Foundation (top of page)

(Ro 5:19 NIV)  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Yesterday we saw how not knowing the tactics of the enemy can be catastrophic.  The enemy’s seductive tactics worked, both the woman and the man disobeyed God, and the dastardly dynamic-duo of sin and death were introduced to mankind.  For the last week or so we have been laying the foundation of what happened in the garden.  Although we fast-forward this Friday morning to the New Testament to give us the picture of hope and redemption from sin, we will still deal with the ‘Atonement’ of the Old Testament next week.  It is important for us to understand the basic tenets and foundation of our faith.  Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (4:6), and if we don’t equip ourselves with the life-giving information of the Word of God, destruction will also be our destination.  With that in mind, let’s recap what we have learned:

1.       God originally intended for man to rule and reign in the earth.

2.       God created man in His image and likeness.  He is Father, Son, Holy Spirit and we are Body, Soul, and Spirit.

3.       God placed man in Eden (his place of abundance) and wants us to have ‘every need met’ in our lives as well.

4.       Before sin, the man and the woman were both naked and not ashamed, because they were operating completely in the Spirit and that should be our goal.

5.       Our enemy (satan) is a liar and he will always attack us with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

6.       Man died spiritually (the Holy Spirit was removed from man) when Adam disobeyed God.  This would mean that every man born after Adam received his inheritance and would have to live a limited life.  We were all born devoid of the Holy Spirit of God.  We were all born resigned to a life of self and not God-consciousness.  This condition created a gaping hole in our beings that many tried to fill with sex, drugs, alcohol, money, women, men, etc.; but this hole can only be filled with the person that created it in the first place – the Holy Spirit.

We now transition over to the New Testament.  Just as sin and death entered the world through the acts of Adam (read Rom 5:12-19) and we were all consequently born in sin because of it, grace and redemption entered the world through the acts of Jesus and through Him we all have the right to be Born-Again.  Adam left an inheritance of condemnation to all men who were born and Jesus left an inheritance of righteousness and liberty to all men who were Born-Again.  Adam brought us sin and death, Jesus brought us deliverance and life.  Our text says that Adam made us sinners, but Jesus made us righteous!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as you seek to understand the foundation of your faith and the original intent for man, you realize that God’s desire for you is to be blessed and successful in the earth.  You also realize that Adam gave you an inheritance of condemnation, but Jesus gave you an inheritance of righteousness.  So don’t allow yourself to be hung-up by your hang-ups.  Confess your sin to God and move forward.  Forward Ever, Backward Never!  Jesus came to give you life.  Make a decision to enjoy that life today!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am not ignorant of Your Word.  I know that Your Son died that I might live.  Adam condemned me to sin and death.  Jesus redeemed me to life and godliness.  Jesus paid the price that I could not pay for a debt that He did not owe.  I am redeemed from both Sin and Death and I walk in the newness of life.  I can face this day with confidence and boldness.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I am covered by Your blood, anointed by Your Spirit, and destined according to Your purpose!  The Best is Yet to Come!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Receiving Your Change by Faith (top of page)

(Gen 17:5 KJV)  “Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.”

I am glad to be back in Georgia this morning.  I was unable to send out a message last Friday because I left Boston on Thursday morning and did not make it back to Augusta until Friday afternoon, due to several delays and reroutes of flights.  I will also be traveling this week to Arizona and I ask that you keep us in prayer.  So far in this series entitled “Back to the Basics” we have learned the original intent for man and also man’s fall.  We saw how God’s Spirit was in man and how through disobedience, it was removed.  This meant that every person born in the earth is now born without God’s Spirit and we will learn later how this requires us to be Born-Again.  This morning we look at whom many call “The Father of Faith,” Abraham.

Although Adam and Eve sinned and God judged the sin, His desire to dwell with and in man had not changed.  God visited a man named Abram when he was about 75 yrs. old and told him to depart his country (Gen 12:1) and to go to a land that He would show him.  God also promised to make out of Abram a great nation, that He would bless him, make his name great, and that he would be a blessing to all the earth (12:2,3).  So Abram left (12:4), as the Lord told him to, and he began his journey of faith.  Many things happened between chapters 12-16, too many to mention here.  Suffice is to say that Abram had established a relationship with God.  By chapter 17 Abram had turned 90 yrs. old.  The Lord appeared to him and again and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.  I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”  Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.”  This is where we pick up our text.  God went on to say, “Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.”  Later on (v.15,16) God said, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.  I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.  I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”  We will talk more about Abraham tomorrow, but for this morning I fell led to mention the ‘name change.”  In biblical times, your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  When you introduced yourself by your name, people immediately judged whom they were speaking with according to their name.  Their announcement of their name was taken as an announcement of their character.  When God made Abram’s name Abraham He transformed him (by faith) into the “father of many nations” and likewise transformed Sarai into a “princess” by making her name Sarah.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when you came in contact with God and were Born-Again into His Kingdom, you received a change.  Your name may not have changed, but your character, attributes, and nature should have.  Abraham and Sarah accepted their new names without ever having one child together.  They introduced themselves by their new names for years before Isaac (their first son) was even born.  They received their change by faith! Likewise, the Bible says that you are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) in Christ.  You may not look different and you may not even feel different, but God will bless you, like He blessed Abraham and Sarah, if you would receive your change by Faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am not the same person that I used to be.  Your Word says that I am a new creation.  Your Word says that You made Jesus to be sin for me that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  I receive that righteousness and I receive that change.  My mind is renewed through the Word of God.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I enter this day with the Your love in me and permeating through me.  I am an example of Your love in the earth.  I receive my change by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God will provide Himself a Lamb (top of page)

(Gen 22:8 KJV))  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  After with their name change (yesterday’s message), Abraham and Sarah also received a promise from God to have a son together.  It would take several more years, but Abraham and Sarah had a son named “Isaac.”.  We now move to the 22nd chapter.  This chapter opens with God testing Abraham.  God told Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”  Early the next morning Abraham got up, saddled his donkey and took off with his son Isaac and two of their servants.  They gathered the wood for the burnt offering and then set out for the mountain as God had instructed.  After three days Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  He told his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”  It is interesting to note that Abraham believed that they would both come back from the mountain, even though he was heading up there to sacrifice his son.  And so Abraham gave Isaac the wood and he carried the materials to make the fire and the knife to kill the offering.  As they went off together, Isaac saw the materials for the fire and the wood, but he did not see the offering.  He asked his Dad about it.  This is where we pick up our text.  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. So the ‘Father of Faith’ and his promised son continued up the mountain.  When they reached the place, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.  He then did what most parents would call the unthinkable.  He took his own son – the promise son from God, the one that he waited so many years for, the one that he loved – and strapped him to the altar on top of the wood.  He then lifted up the knife to sacrifice his own son to God, but the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  “Here I am,” he replied.  “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”  Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a near by thicket.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  Abraham named that place “The Lord Provides” or “Jehovah-Jireh.”

Now you may be thinking, ‘great story, but how does this tie in with a series on the basics and what does this mean to me?’  It has been said, and I agree, that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.  This act of faith that would separate Abraham from all others was simply a foreshadow of what God would do in the New Testament.  Our says, “God will provide himself a lamb” and He did provide the ram in the text, but He also provided Jesus.  When Jesus walked up to be baptized John said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we must realize that God did not allow Abraham to kill his own son, the son that he loved, because He would reserve that right for Himself.  God literally gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sin.  This shows us how much God loves us and we should never question it.  This singular event – the sacrifice of Jesus (God’s only Son) on the cross – should settle in our heart God’s love for us.  So face this day with His love in your heart and a smile on your face.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You did provide Yourself a lamb for the offering.  You took Your only begotten son and offered Him for my sin.  Thank you for loving me enough to make the ultimate sacrifice.  Your love abounds in my heart as I enter this day.  I accomplish every task in Your love.  I let no corrupt communication proceed out of my mouth.  I am submitted unto You and Your love is shown to others through me today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Redeemed back to Adam! (top of page)

(Ex 25:22 KJV)  And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Yesterday we left off with Abraham.  We now fast forward to the establishment of the Tabernacle – the place where God would dwell.  I may do a separate series on the Tabernacle later on because of its significance, but this morning we are going to take a quick look.  Some of the information I share this morning, I received from Pastor Manson B. Johnson.  There were seven articles of furniture in the tabernacle: two in the court of the Gentiles, three in the Holy place, and two in the Holy of Holies.  Seen from the door westward, they were the altar, the laver, the table of shewbread, the golden candlestick, the altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, and over it the bloodstained mercy seat.  The presence of God actually lived above the mercy seat as our text teaches us.  He used to live in Adam, but this would be His new, but temporary house.  Let’s take a closer look at these furnishings:

1.       The altar:  The altar is a place of death and a picture of the cross.

2.       The laver of separation:  This represents both separation from the world, sin, and the flesh and our need for the washing of the water by the Word.

3.       The table of shewbread:  This is a place of fellowship.  After we encounter the cross and are washed by the Word, we fellowship with other believer and partake of the bread of life.

4.       The golden candlestick:  This lamp stand was fed by oil.  Oil is symbol of the Holy Spirit.  Once we have been saved by the blood at the altar, cleansed by the word of the Laver, drawn into fellowship at the table, and fed by the Word of God; we are ready to allow the Light of the Holy Spirit to shine through us into a dying and decaying world.

5.       The altar of incense:  The smoke from the incense was representative of prayer.  After passing all the other steps, this was the last step before entering the presence of God.  Prayer is the vehicle that ushers us from natural to spiritual, from human to divine.

6.       The Ark of the Covenant:  This was located behind the veil and was designated as the vehicle of transport for the presence of God.  Today, our body is the temple of God and the vehicle of transport of the Holy Spirit.  Just as God’s presence moved with the Ark, He moves with us everywhere we go.  He lived in man (Adam), then lived in the tabernacle, but Jesus came that He might live in man (us) again.

7.       The bloodstained mercy seat:  This is where the Holy Spirit actually lived.  Above the Ark, on the mercy seat.  This mercy seat was covered with the blood of the sacrifices of animals and was a temporary solution; until the blood of Jesus was shed.  Once Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, the veil of the temple torn, the Holy Spirit departed, and later – on the Day of Pentecost – the Holy Spirit was restored into His original dwelling place – mankind!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we ought to thank God for the simplicity of the gospel.  Adam did not have to go through all the rite and ritual required to enter the presence of God in the Tabernacle.  God’s Spirit was IN him and he fellowshipped with God intimately.  Although it is good to understand the symbology of the Old Testament and the Tabernacle, it is also very important for us to understand that Jesus redeemed us back to the original state of Adam in the garden.  When we are Born-Again, the Holy Spirit lives in us just like He did with Adam in the garden.  When we realize that God Himself is living IN us, it changes our perspective on ourselves and what we can do!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I understand the symbology of the Tabernacle and I realize my present condition today.  Your Holy Spirit lives IN me like He did in the Tabernacle.  I am now the temple of God.  I take Your presence with me to every meeting, every phone call, every conversation, and every single act that I perform this day.  My body transports Your divine presence and I seek to never defile this temple and always to allow Your glory and light to shine!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Access Behind the Veil (top of page)

(Mat 27:51 AMP) And at once the curtain of the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth shook and the rocks were split.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  This series is designed to give you an overall picture of the progression of the gospel from Adam to Jesus.  We dealt with Adam in the garden in detail last week and yesterday gave an overview of the furnishings of the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle of Moses was taken to another level by Solomon.  Solomon took the same notion and built a very big and intricate Temple.  The concept still being that God’s presence dwelled behind the veil in the Holy of Holies, above the mercy seat.  This temple was destroyed by Babylon, but rebuilt again.  In Jesus’ time the temple stood.  The size of the veil grew with the size of the temple.  The veil used in the Tabernacle was only about 4.5 meters high, but the veil in the Temple was 25 meters high.

Imagine this enormous and elaborate building used to house the presence of God.  The people could come and worship, but they could never enter God’s presence.  God’s Spirit was behind the massive veil.  Entry was forbidden to all except one, the high priest, and his access was restricted to an annual entry on the Day of Atonement.  This is when he brought the blood of the sacrificed animal and sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat, above the Ark of the Covenant.  This veil reminds us of the sin of Adam and the separation from God.  Adam had the Holy Spirit in him, but the veil reminds us that – through Adam – we lost that privilege and that power.  It also reminds us that we were excluded, because only the designated ‘high priest’ had the privilege of entering in to the presence of God; and then only once a year.

Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with God.  Jesus came to allow us access back to the Holy Spirit.  We know that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was persecuted, suffered, bled, died, and was risen from the dead on the third day.  This morning we focus on a very important event that happened at the moment of His death.  As soon as Jesus died, our text says, “And at once the curtain of the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth shook and the rocks were split.”  This signified that the Holy Spirit no longer dwelled there and that He would later be returned to His rightful place – IN us!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you are a Born-Again believer you are never alone.  The presence, power, and anointing that the high priest had to go through so much ritual to access is actually living IN YOU!  Sure, you may be dealing with issues.  Sure, you may have to overcome obstacles.  Sometimes there may be more month than money, or your kids may not act right, or your marriage may not be where you want it to be, or etc.  Whatever the issue, whatever the concern, whatever the struggle – you have the privilege attacking it through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He no longer lives behind the rite and ritual of the temple, but He lives IN YOU!  That’s good news!  You are not alone in this thing.  God Himself lives in you!  You + God = Victory!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You no longer reside behind the restricted access of the temple.  I am Born-Again of the Spirit and have become the temple of the living God.  You live in me and lead me in the way that I should go.  I cast my cares on You and allow You to remove my burdens and to destroy every yoke.  Your presence brings with it Your power, protection, and might.  I can do everything I need to do today because You live in me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Operating in Kingdom Love (top of page)

(John 21:15-17KJV)  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  The foundation has been laid thus far in this series.  We know that Adam was operating in Kingdom Dominion in the earth, because God’s Spirit was in him.  Sin caused the separation and Jesus came to restore the breech.  John records a very interesting and important conversation between Jesus and Peter in the last chapter of his gospel.  When you read the text, Jesus seems to ask Peter the same question three times.  Upon further investigation, however, we can see that it was not the same question.  Our English language limits us in this passage because we only have one (general) word for love.  The Greek language has four words for love: brotherly love (phileo), family love (starge), physical love (eros) and God’s love (agape).  The first two times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with God’s love (agape).  Peter’s response was, “Lord you know that I love you with brotherly love (phileo).”  The third question, however, was different.  Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with brother love (phileo).  This is where our text says that Peter was grieved.  He was hurt and he answered, “Lord you know that I love you with brotherly love (phileo).”

Why was Peter hurt and upset the third time? I believe it was because he then realized his limitations.  He had walked with Jesus for three years.  He saw Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the blind to see, lame to walk, and deaf to hear.  Jesus never performed one miracle, however, until the Holy Spirit came upon Him at his baptism.  Jesus did everything that He did for the Kingdom after the Holy Spirit – what Adam had in the garden – was restored to Him.  Peter could not love Jesus would God’s love (agape), because this love is a by product of God’s Spirit (Gal 5:22).  So in essence, when Jesus asked Peter the third time, “Do you love me (phileo)?” or otherwise stated, “Do you realize that you can only love me with your limited love?”  The text says that Peter was grieved.  The Holy Spirit had not yet been restored and Peter realized the limitations of humanity and the need for divinity to operate in God’s best.  It is interesting to note that on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was finally poured out and the New Testament church was birthed, it was Peter that preached the first sermon and 3,000 souls were saved that day (Acts 2).

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:  (1) We were all born without the Holy Spirit because of Adam’s act in the garden and therefore limited humanly and powerless spiritually, (2) Jesus came to restore the breech between fallen man and a Holy God, (3) the underlying purpose of Jesus coming to the earth was to pay the penalty for sin and to allow the Holy Spirit to be restored to man, (4) when we are Born-Again by the Holy Spirit, we are restored to the Kingdom of God, we can operate in Kingdom dominion, Kingdom power, Kingdom authority, and Kingdom love, (5) and finally, Peter used the power of the Holy Spirit to lead 3,000 souls to Christ the same day He received the power of the Holy Spirit.  What you have done with what God has given you?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a Born-Again believer.  The limitless and all-powerful God of the Universe lives in me and I can do all things through Him.  I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  I have all the rights inherent to citizens.  I stake a claim on those rights and declare that I am anointed, protected, healed, healthy, blessed, destined, delivered, and prosperous in everything I put my hands to do.  I operate in Kingdom dominion, authority, power, and love!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

From Religion to Relationship (top of page)

(Mat 22:36-40 KJV)Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Our journey has taken us from the garden, through the Tabernacle, and we are currently at the life of Jesus.  We know that Adam and Eve had God’s Spirit in them in the garden and that sin caused a separation between God and man.  We also know that Jesus came to restore that breech.  In the last message we saw how our English language can sometimes limit us in understanding the original meanings of some biblical words.  We see another example of this in this message.

In Matthew 22 the Sadducees got together and asked Jesus a question about heaven and marriage.  His answer blew away their theology.  When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they got together.  In their attempt to stump Jesus in the Word, one of their experts in the law came and tested Him with the question found in our text.  He asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus replied with what sounds like Deuteronomy 6:5.  He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  He went on to explain that this is the first and great commandment.  He then added a second one – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  He then said something that is very important, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Let’s take a closer look:

1.  Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, but the word used for love in Deuteronomy is the Hebrew word ‘aheb.’  This word means: to love, the human love for another, or the human love for or to God.

2.  The word Jesus used in Matthew 22:37 is ‘agapao.’  This is the active form of the word ‘agape,’ which is God’s love, a love that can only be accessed through the Holy Spirit.

3.  Jesus summarized all the law and the prophets into two things: (1) operating in God’s love – through the Holy Spirit – towards God and (2) operating in this same love towards man.

4.  This statement takes us all the way back to the garden.  The garden is our picture of the original intent for man.  In the garden we find Adam operating in God’s love – through the Holy Spirit – towards God and towards man (his wife).  Adam did not have the law, nor the prophets.  All Adam had was the Spirit of God and the ability to love with God’s love.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:  (1) When we are Born-Again we receive the Holy Spirit and hence have the ability to love God’s way, (2) we are therefore commanded to operate in this love towards God and man, (3) when we are operating in God’s love in the earth, we are living a life that is pleasing to Him, (4) everything that we could ever learn from religion (the law and the prophets) is swallowed up by the relationship God intends for us to have with Him through His Spirit.  The Pharisees and the Sadducees knew everything from Abraham to Malachi, but they were not willing to go any further.  They had religion, but not relationship.  Don’t make the same mistake!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your Spirit lives in me.  I am filled with Your love and operate in it daily.  I love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; and I love my neighbors as my self.  I operate in Your love in the earth and I enjoy the relationship that I have with you daily.  I will never allow religion to distort, nor dilute my relationship with You!  Use me this day as an instrument and example of Your love in the earth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

From Religion to Relationship (Part II) (top of page)

(Mat 17:8 NIV) When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Yesterday we dealt with God’s desire for us to move past religion and back into a personal and intimate relationship with Him.  We know that Adam did not have religion, but he did have the Holy Spirit and a personal relationship with God.  I also emphasized yesterday how Jesus said that all the law and the prophets are basically swallowed up in the fact that we should operate in His love, through His Spirit.  This morning’s message flows in that same vein.

In Matthew 16 Simon, the son of Jonah, received a revelation from God about Jesus – how He was the Messiah, the anointed Christ.  Jesus said that he would build His church upon this confession and changed Simon’s name to Peter.  The bible says, “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Mat 16:21).  Matthew 17 opens with Jesus taking his inner circle (Peter, James, and John) up to a high mountain by themselves.  He was transfigured before them there.  His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Then something miraculous happened.  Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain, talking with Jesus.  Peter got excited – like he always did – and said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up altars, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”  When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground.  Jesus came, touched them, and told them to get up.  This is where we pick up our text.  When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

Let’s take a closer look:

1.  Jesus’ message and purpose had already been revealed to the disciples (Mat 16:16).

2.  Jesus had already started telling His disciples how He would have to die (Mat 16:21).

3.  Jesus then took his inner circle and revealed the greater truth behind His coming.  Not only was He going to die for our sin, but He would actually redeem us back to the original state of Adam in the garden.

4.  In yesterday’s message we saw Jesus summarize everything from Abraham to Malachi into two categories: the Law and the Prophets.

5.  In this morning’s message we see Jesus shining as light between two people: Moses and Elijah.  It is interesting to note that Moses wrote the Law and Elijah is considered by many to be the greatest prophet, because he never died (God took him to heaven on a chariot).

6.  God spoke from the cloud and clearly said, “Listen to him!”  Him, being Jesus and not Moses or Elijah and when they looked up the other two (Law and Prophets) were gone, but Jesus was still there.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that in Jesus, we see the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.  In Jesus, we receive redemption back passed the ritual and religion of the Old Testament and access – through the Holy Spirit – the relationship that Adam had in the garden.  It means that you can face this day and everything you seemingly ‘must’ get done in it, with the confidence of knowing that God lives in You and He will never leave you, nor forsake you.  You may not ever wear a robe, a priest’s collar, nor a Bishop’s cross; but you can enter into this day wearing the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have been redeemed from ritual, rite, and mundane routines.  I will never allow routine to distort my relationship with You.  You are a living God and You live in me for ever.  I am never alone because You are In me and walk with me.  I face this day with a smile on my face, a spring in my step, and a song in my heart.  I am the righteousness of God by faith and I can do all things through Your power.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Kingdom is Coming! (top of page)

(Acts 1:3 KJV)  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Thus far our journey has taken us from the fall of man in the garden and the subsequent removal of the Holy Spirit from man; to the temporary placement of the Holy Spirit in the Tabernacle and the Temple, where only a selected few could come into the presence of God; to the restoration of the Holy Spirit in Jesus; and now we are finally getting to the point where we will see the restoration of the Holy Spirit (The Kingdom of God) in all believers.  We know that Jesus’ death paid the price for the actions of Adam in the garden and allowed us access back to God through the Holy Spirit.  It would be some 50 days, however, between His death and the restoration of the Holy Spirit upon believers.  Jesus walked with His disciples for forty of those days.  What did He talk about during his last day with His disciples?  Our text says that He spoke to them about “The Kingdom of God.”  This Kingdom Message is very important.

Let’s take a closer look:

1.  Adam lost Kingdom Dominion in the earth for all mankind when his sin caused the removal of the Holy Spirit and the separation between a Holy God and fallen man.

2.  Jesus came to restore this Kingdom in the earth.

3.  John the Baptist blazed the trail for Jesus.  He came on the scene preaching “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat 3:2).  The Contemporary English Version of the Bible translates this same text this way: “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.”  John was basically saying, “The Kingdom is coming!”

4.  Jesus never performed one miracle until after the Holy Spirit (The Kingdom) came upon Him at His baptism.  After His baptism, He went into the wilderness to be tempted.  As soon as He came out of the wilderness, He started preaching “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 4:17).  Jesus was also basically saying, “The Kingdom is coming!”

5.  The word kingdom appears 119 times in the gospels, while the word church only appears 3 times.

6.  All through the gospels Jesus preached the message of the Kingdom and now, after His death and right before He was taken up to heaven, He took the time to share more about the Kingdom of God with his disciples.

That’s all that I can get in this morning and we will pick this up tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus actually came to restore what Adam lost in the garden.  Jesus came to give us back our direct access to God, by paying the penalty for sin and allowing us access back to the Holy Spirit, thereby re-connecting us with God.  Church is great and we should come to church to learn about the Kingdom, but we must live like citizens of the Kingdom daily.  You may attend church once or twice a week, but God wants you to realize your Kingdom power every second of every day!  So no matter what you have to do today, know that you can face every obstacle, every hurdle, and every challenge; with the Power of the Holy Spirit and the confidence of knowing that you are not merely a church member, but actually a citizen in the Kingdom of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your Spirit lives in me.  Your Spirit is my everlasting connection to You.  I have been restored to the authority, right, and position that Adam had prior to the fall.  I walk in this authority daily.  I can do all things through Christ, who gave me the access back to the Holy Spirit.  I am more than a conqueror.  I am an overcomer.  I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God in the earth!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Kingdom is Here! (top of page)

(Acts 2:38,39 NIV)  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We have discussed how the Tabernacle in the wilderness was built to house the Holy Spirit of God and how the subsequent, and very elaborate, Temple took its place.  In both instances the Holy Spirit resided behind the veil, in the Holy of Holies, and access to Him was restricted to the High Priest, and even then only once a year.  This form of ritual and separation was not part of the original intent for man.  Adam and Eve had the Holy Spirit living inside of them prior to the fall.  From the time of Moses to the coming of Jesus, the Holy Spirit resided above the Ark of the Covenant, with restricted access.  God’s Spirit would also come upon people, from time to time, as He used them for His service.  This was not, however, the permanent indwelling that Adam had in the garden.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming was to restore the breech and provide us access back to the Holy Spirit.  By our text, He had already done that.  He had already died, been raised, and then taken back to heaven.  Acts 2 opens with something that had not happened in about 4,000 years – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers.  The bible says that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Now, at this time, there were God-fearing Jews from every nation staying in Jerusalem.  They all had different languages.  While the believers began to speak with other tongues, they all heard them speaking in their own language.  They were utterly amazed and asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”  They were declaring the wonders of God in foreign tongues! (v.11)

Right then and there, in the midst of this supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the life of those that were waiting on Him, Peter stood up and began to preach the first New Testament sermon.  Peter closed his sermon with the words of our text.  He offered them something that had not been offered since the garden – the Holy Spirit of God!  He went on to say that this promise would be for them, their children, and for all who are afar off, which also includes us.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus died to give you access back to God’s precious Holy Spirit.  You may never declare the wonders of God in foreign tongues like the people in our text.  You may never hear someone speak to you in your language without them ever studying it.  But if you have repented of your sin and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are Born-Again and have received the Holy Spirit of God.  You are restored back to the original state of Adam in the garden.  You are complete in every way.  The void that you tried to fill with sex, drugs, alcohol, money, etc.; is filled with the person that created the void in the first place, with His departure – the Holy Spirit.  You have what Jesus had.  You have what Peter had.  You have what Paul had.  You have the Holy Spirit, you are complete in Christ, and you are made whole through His presence!  Jesus preached that the Kingdom was coming, but when the Holy Spirit came, the Kingdom came with Him!  We are restored to the Kingdom and that is Good News!  The Kingdom is Here!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your Son died that Your Spirit and Your Kingdom might be restored to man.  I have received Your Spirit and have therefore received Your Kingdom.  I am made whole by Your Spirit and complete in every way.  There is nothing missing and nothing broken in my life.  I am made the righteousness of God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I take the message of the Kingdom everywhere I go!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Threat of the Kingdom (top of page)

(Mat 13:18 MSG)  The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  For the last couple of days we dealt with the message of the ‘Kingdom of God.’  I have talked a lot about the Kingdom in several series and I believe the Lord will allow me to do a series on the Kingdom soon.  Last night I came home from work and began to wind down and prepare for the next day.  I wanted to get some things done prior to the Presidential debate.  I was really looking forward to seeing both candidates discuss the issues that face our nation.  I turned the television on and tuned in to TV 49, a Christian station in North Augusta, SC.  I heard that Bishop Earl Paulk and Dr. Myles Munroe were at the TV station and would be ministering last night.  I got really excited, immediately got dressed, and drove to the station.  Dr. Myles Munroe and his message on the Kingdom of God has impacted my life and my ministry tremendously.  I wanted to meet the man face-to-face and thank him for being used of God mightily in my life.  I met his wife and we talked for a long time and I also got to meet him.  My heart was made glad.

Last night he shared several things, many of which I was very familiar with, because I have been listening to him teach for a while.  He did say something from this text, however, that was a fresh revelation for me.  Matthew 13 opens with the parable of the sower.  As ministers and bible students, we must seek God concerning the message and interpretation of Jesus’ parables.  It is interesting to note, however, that Jesus interpreted this one for us.  After telling the parable, Jesus said, “Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer…” (v.18).  This is where we pick up our text.  He went on to say, “The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts.”  And then Jesus further explains the other soils.  I will limit my commentary to this verse this morning.

I often times say that the seed is the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23) and I know that it is.  This scripture, however, gets a bit more specific and details the seed to be the “message about the kingdom.”  Jesus went on to explain that when someone receives this message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one (satan) himself comes to snatch the message from their hearts.  Dr. Munroe explained that this message of empowerment and restoration to Kingdom Authority in the earth is so dangerous to satan and the kingdom of darkness that he gets personally involved in attempting to stop people from fully understanding and appropriating this kingdom message in the earth!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God’s desire for you is to operate in His Kingdom.  As a Christian we can be religious, but never have any power against satan.  As a Citizen of the Kingdom, however, we can stake claims on our rights, in accordance with the Constitution (Bible), and know that we have legal access to receive what is rightfully ours.  The enemy does not want you to know that you have a legal right, in the kingdom of God, to peace, love, joy, healing, increase, etc.  The message of the Kingdom is a threat to him, but Good News to us!  So realize your rights as a citizen of the Kingdom of God in the earth and stake claim to those rights this morning!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am Your child.  I have been Born-Again into Your Kingdom.  I am a citizen and am not ignorant to the benefits of my citizenship.  I stake claim to those benefits today.  I walk in Your peace, power, protection, and prosperity this day and for the rest of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Promoting the Kingdom (top of page)

(Acts 19:8 MSG)  Paul then went straight to the meeting place. He had the run of the place for three months, doing his best to make the things of the kingdom of God real and convincing to them.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We have seen that John the Baptist and Jesus both hit the scene preaching “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” or in other words, “The Kingdom is Coming!”  We also know that at the Day of Pentecost, the Kingdom came when the Holy Spirit was poured out and Born-Again believers were restored to the authority and power experienced by Adam in the garden.  In the book of Acts and there following, we see Christians preaching and teaching the Kingdom of God.  Not that it is coming, but rather how to operate in what had already arrived.

Acts 19 opens with Paul arriving at Ephesus.  There he met a group of followers of John the Baptist.  They knew that John had preached that the Kingdom was coming, but they did not know that the Kingdom had arrived.  Paul told them the Good News and they were Born-Again.  This is where we pick up our text.  After ministering salvation to John’s followers, Paul then went straight to the meeting place.  He had the run of the place for three months, doing his best to make the things of the kingdom of God real and convincing to them.  But many of these people refused to believe this new message.  So Paul and his disciples moved their ministry to Tyrannus and ministered the Kingdom there for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks of the area heard the Word of the Lord and the gospel of the Kingdom.  God did extraordinary miracles through Paul while he was there.  Some even took handkerchiefs that had touched Paul and taken them to the sick and demon possessed.  People were healed of illnesses and evil spirits were cast out by the power of the Kingdom transferred through the handkerchiefs.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Know the message – the Kingdom of God:  Jesus came to restore His Kingdom in the earth.  We can join a church, but we must be born into this Kingdom!  Some people are like the disciples of John in the text and are operating in church off of old information.  They do not realize the realness and the power of the Kingdom.

2.       Share the message:  Like Paul, part of our responsibility is to do our best “to make the things of the kingdom of God real and convincing to them.”

3.       Stay consistent:  Like the people in the text, not everyone is going to receive the message, but we must not get frustrated.  Paul left Ephesus and setup shop in Tyrannus and ministered there.

4.       Allow God’s power to shine:  God’s power should be evident in your life.  You may not ever send out handkerchiefs to heal the sick, nor cast our evil spirits, but people should be able to “see” the power of God in your life by the change in your living!  If people cannot “see” Jesus in you, then it is time to make some changes.

5.       Realize your position:  The Kingdom of God is in you!  You are Born-Again in Christ!  You have the same access to the same power that the Paul, Peter, and Jesus had.  You can face this day with the confidence of knowing that God’s immeasurable and inexhaustible resources are available to you.  Through God’s power you can face every task, overcome every obstacle, conquer every issue, and be successful in every area of your life!  Enjoy this day and this week in the Kingdom!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I understand the message of the Kingdom.  You reign and rule in heaven and I am to reign and rule in the earth.  I share this message of the Kingdom with a dying and decaying world.  I let others know that, through You, we are more than conquerors and can overcome everything that comes up against us.  I will not allow frustration to keep me from sharing this message with others.  I promote Your Kingdom and Your ways.  I am successful in every area of my life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Enemy ‘In-a’ Me! (top of page)

(Rom 7:19 NIV)  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Thus far we have covered a lot of ground.  We have gone from the dominion of Adam in garden, the fall of man and the departure of the Holy Spirit, the ritual of coming into the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Tabernacle, the fact that Jesus came to pay the penalty for the original sin, the restoration of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers at Pentecost, and the preaching of the Kingdom in the book of Acts.  So by now we understand that we are, like God, tri-faceted beings.  We are a spirit, we possess a soul, and we live in a body (1 Thes 5:23).  When we are Born-Again our spirit is saved and we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit.  So our spirit is saved instantly, but now our soul (mind, emotions, will) must be saved progressively, and our body will be saved eventually.  Since our spirit is saved and our body ‘will-be’ saved, our current emphasis needs to be our soul (mind).

Just because you came to Christ yesterday does not mean that you will ‘think’ differently today.  Your spirit is saved, yes, but your mind may still want to do the same things that it previously did in your lifestyle of sin.  Bishop Noel Jones preached a message from our text about the struggle between the Spirit and the soul and entitled it “The Enemy ‘In-a’ Me!”  This is good way to explain this struggle.  Paul documents it clearly.  He says, “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Rom 7:15,17-20 NIV).  There is more to this passage, but I will stop here today.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       We come to Christ, repent of our sin, acknowledge Christ as Lord, and are Born-Again.

2.       Immediately the Holy Spirit comes into us and we are restored to the original condition of Adam in the garden (Eph 1:13).

3.       Our Spirit is saved, but our mind is not yet renewed (Rom 12:1,2).

4.       We may still have most of the unrighteous desires and habits that we previously had.

5.       Our Spirit then wants to do right, but our soul wants to do wrong.  We then begin to wage a war within our own members.  Our un-renewed mind becomes the enemy of our Spirit, hence “The Enemy ‘In-a’ Me!

6.       Our mind must be renewed through receiving and applying the Word of God by faith (Ro 10:17).  That is why it is important to study the Word of God for ourselves.

7.       The more we live what we learn, the more becomes emulates the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a Spirit, I possess a soul, and I live in a body.  My Spirit is saved by indwelling of the Holy Spirit in me.  My body will be saved at your coming.  My focus from this day forward is the saving of my soul.  I dedicate myself to receive and apply Your Word.  Your Word renews my mind.  I am delivered from my old way of thinking and submit myself to thinking as Your Word teaches me to think.  I let this mind be in me which was also in Christ Jesus and walk in the same liberty, power, dominion, and authority that He walked in – this day and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Sleeping with the Enemy (top of page)

(Rom 7:21-25 MSG)  It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.  I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.  I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?  The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.  He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics” and we pick where we left off yesterday.  We know that our spirit is saved instantly (salvation) when we accept Christ, our body will be saved eventually (glorification) at the coming of Christ, but our soul must be saved progressively (sanctification), and that should be our current focus.  Yesterday I entitled the message “The Enemy ‘In-a’ Me,” because of message I heard Bishop Noel Jones preach from this next.  Another message he preached from this next was entitled “Sleeping with the Enemy.”  The premise being that when I go to sleep by myself, with no one else in the bed, nor the house for that matter, I am still sleeping with the enemy.  The enemy being myself – or my unregenerate self to be more specific.  The part of me that does not want to receive, nor walk in the things of God.  The part of me that wants to hold on to my old nature.  The part of me that wants to hate my enemies and not love them.  The part of me that wants to reject authority and not submit to it.  The part of me that wants to go skip prayer, bible study, and worship.  The part of me that would rather sin than surrender.  In our text, Paul talks about a part of him that covertly wanted to rebel and take charge.  The moment, he says, that he would decide to do good, sin was right there to trip him up.  The answer – Praise God – he says, is Jesus Christ; who came and already gave us an avenue of victory.  We will see in Romans 8 that the victory comes through the Holy Spirit.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Reprogramming is a Process:  Understand the process that you went through to train your mind to think the way that it did prior to salvation and then take into account that you will have to re-train your mind to receive and walk in the things of God.  This is not an overnight process.  I gave my life to Christ at age 23.  It took 23 years for me to learn to think the way that I did and it has also taken years to re-program my thought life to the things of God.

2.       You are not alone:  The Apostle Paul wrote half the New Testament.  Handkerchiefs that touched his body were used to heal the sick and cast out devils.  He was a mighty man of God, but he still admitted to having the same inward struggles with sin that we do.

3.       Everything is not satan:  I run into many people that want to blame everything on satan.  If we would be honest, some things that we struggle with are simply matters of our old nature.  If our mind has yet to be renewed over a thing, then we are going to struggle with wanting to do right in that area.  A lot of the struggle is brought on by ourselves and our old desires and not necessarily satan.

4.       Jesus gave us the Victory:  We will learn tomorrow that Jesus gave us access to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of God.  The Word of God renews our mind.  Once our mind is renewed concerning a thing, we are free in that area!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I acknowledge that my mind does not always line up with the Holy Spirit living in me.  I dedicate myself to the study and application of Your Word.  Your Word brings about a mind-renewal process in my life.  Through the process of time and study, my mind is continually renewed and I lean more and more on Your Spirit.  When I walk in the Spirit, I do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  I declare that I will seek to walk in the Spirit all the days of my life.  Your Spirit leads and feeds me this day and walk in Victory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Mental Metamorphosis (top of page)

(Ro 12:2 AMP)  Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Remember that we were created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:26) and with the intent to rule and reign in the earth.  Our God is one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We too are one, but also three.  We are a spirit, we have a soul (mind, intellect, emotions, will) and we live in a body.  When we come to God our spirit is saved instantly, our soul (mind) must be saved progressively and our body will be saved eventually.  For the last couple of days we have dealt with the internal struggle between the progressively saved mind (soul) and the already saved Spirit.  So we can clearly see that our focus, after salvation and before Jesus comes back, should be the renewing of the mind.  We must change our ‘Stinking Thinking!’  Now that we have laid the foundation, let’s see what this means to you today:

1.  Do not be conformed:  I lived in accordance with the world for 23yrs. of my life.  For 23yrs. I was taught, formed and fashioned to be like the world.  When I came to God, I realized that I was part of a New Kingdom and subject to a New King.  God gave me a new citizenship and I was under a new set of laws.  It would be foolish for me to say and believe that I am a citizen of heaven, but never change my conduct to reflect the same, nor ever learn about the benefits of my new citizenship.  The text tells us not to remain fashioned and adapted to the world’s external and superficial customs.  We should not remain the same.  Simply put, if we say we have moved, people should not keep finding us at our old address!

2.  But be transformed:  This is key.  The Greek word “transformed” in our text is the word (metamorphoo), which is our English word metamorphosis.  Webster defines metamorphosis as: a change in the form and often habits of an animal during normal development after the embryonic stage; this includes, in insects, the transformation of a maggot into an adult fly and a caterpillar into a butterfly and, in amphibians, the changing of a tadpole into a frog.  This is not a small change, neither does it happen overnight.  This is a complete and biological transformation into another creature.  This is the picture that Paul paints as our focus, our goal.  God wants us to be totally and completely transformed into another person in Him!  How are we supposed to bring about this change?  The text says that this is accomplished by the entire renewal of your mind (new ideals and a new attitude).  That is why this series – that has taken the journey from Genesis to Jesus – is culminating with the mind!  Remember, our Spirit has already been changed and our body will eventually be changed – our focus right now should be our mind!  The more we read, study, and apply the Word of God to our lives, the more we are changed into His image and His likeness.  We become more and more like Christ!  Through the process of receiving and applying the Word of God, we will find out that our ideals, morals, ethics, values, attitude, and perspective all progressively change into those of God.

You can have an emotional experience in church and be changed for a week, but if you experience a mental metamorphosis through the Word of God, you will be changed forever!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am not conformed to this world.  I do not live under its principles, nor morals.  I am a citizen of heaven and I represent Your Kingdom daily.  I live under Your righteous rules.  I obey Your laws, Your commandments, and Your way!  My mind is renewed daily and continually through Your Word.  I have a new perspective on life and a new attitude.  I am a new creature and will act like it everywhere I go!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A Prosperous Mind (top of page)

(Ps 1:1-3 KJV)  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  Yesterday we learned how important it was to go through a mental metamorphosis after receiving Christ and how this change can only come through the Word of God.  This morning we learn from David some of the benefits of training our mind to meditate on the Word day and night.  He starts off (v.1) by telling us that we will be blessed (happy) if we reject the way of the wicked (the world’s advice, their sinful ways, and their scornful attitude).  I will not focus too much on what to reject.  Suffice is to say that this rejection must occur in our minds.  The world is quick to try to get us to go back to looking and living like them, but we must be mindful to stay focused on God.  David then transitions from what to Reject to what toReceive (the Word of God).  He tells us to Delight and Meditate on the Word of God day and night.  The promise being that if we Delight and Meditate on God’s Word – in our minds – we will Rejoice by being able to live:

1.  A Stable Life (a tree planted by the rivers of water):  A tree needs water for both sustainment and growth.  A tree planted by the rivers of water has roots that grow down and towards the river.  This tree has a constant supply of what it needs to grow and remain strong.  Likewise, when we delight and meditate on the Word of God and experience a mental metamorphosis, we have the stability of an unmovable tree.  Storms may rage, floods may flow, and winds may blow; but this tree is able to withstand the environment and remain strong.  The tree might sway, but it will not break.  It remains strong and stable.  Why?  Because its roots run deep and are being fed by the river.  Are you connected to God’s river (the Water of the Word)?

2.  A Fruitful Life (that bringeth forth his fruit in his season):  A tree that is close to the water source cannot help but bring forth fruit.  Some fruit trees are weak and unfruitful, but the one described in the text is setup to be blessed.  Why?  The text says that it was “planted by the rivers of water.”  When we meditate on the Word of God and Master our Minds, we cannot help but bring forth fruit.  A tree cannot enjoy the fruit that it bears.  Fruit is not for the tree, but rather for others to enjoy.  God wants us to Master our Minds so that we can be a blessing to others (our family, friends, workplace, community, etc.) and lead them to Him!  Are you being fruitful?

3.  A Full Life (his leaf also shall not wither):  How foolish would it be to encounter a tree with fruit, but no leaves.  Fruit is for others, but leaves are for us!  Not only does God want to bless others through us, but He also wants us to be blessed.  How can we experience this Fullness?  Through delighting and meditating in the Word of God!

4.  A Prosperous Life (whatsoever he doeth shall prosper):  This is the kicker.  This promise gets my blood pumping!  The text promises that if we take delight and meditate in the Word of God constantly, everything we do will prosper!  God wants us to be prosperous in EVERY area of our lives.  He wants us to be blessed (happy).  He wants us to be Stable.  He wants us to be Fruitful.  He wants us to be Full.  We cannot have any of these results, however, if we do not first fulfill the requirement.  What is the requirement?  Mastering our Minds through the Word of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I reject the counsel of the ungodly and the way of the wicked.  I receive the way of the Word.  I take delight and meditate on Your Word day and night.  Your Word is the ruler by which I judge my decisions.  Your Word is the compass by which I navigate my life.  Your Word is truth and I receive that truth daily.  I am Stable.  I am Fruitful.  I am Full.  Everything I do Prospers.  I walk in accordance with Your Word, therefore, I make my way prosperous and I have good success!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A Prosperous Soul (top of page)

(3 John 1:2 KJV)  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We have discussed a lot in this series thus far and are currently discussing the importance of renewing our mind.  When we are Born-Again, our spirit is saved instantly, our body will be saved eventually, but our mind must be saved progressively.  Our last message was entitled “A Prosperous Mind.”  Our mind is a part of our soul.  This morning we will investigate the benefits of having a prosperous soul, by seeking to answer the following question:  What do most people want in life? If you ask that question, you normally get answers like:

  • I want to be successful.”  Most people are striving for success, but most cannot define what it is.  Success can be different things to different people.  I like Dr. Miles Munroe’s definition.  He says that success is “Finding your life’s purpose and fulfilling it before you die.”
  • I want to be accepted.”  What good is success if you cannot enjoy it with anyone?  There are many ‘so-called’ successful people that are miserable, frustrated, disillusioned, hard to get along with, and lonely.  That is definitely not the will of God for our lives.
  • I want to live a long and healthy life.”  What good is success if you are not healthy?  Most people that are wealthy and sick would easily trade their riches for good health.

We could go on, but it is safe to say that most people would categorize their goals in life as being successful (whatever their definition), accepted (having friends and family), and healthy.

John opens his third letter with a power salutation.  The Holy Spirit through John says that He wishes above all things that we may prosper (have success in every area of our lives) and be in health (mentally, physically, emotionally); but he then does something quite interesting.  He ties this prosperity and health to the status of our soul.  We will prosper and be in health as our soul prospers.  The key here is a prosperous soul.  Remember that your soul is your mind, emotions and will.  The sixty four thousand dollar question then becomes: what does a prosperous soul look like?  Well, a soul that prospers is a soul that is transformed into the image and the likeness of God (Phil 2:5).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the more we walk with God, study His Word and are transformed into His image in our soul (mind, emotions, will); the more we will prosper and enjoy health.  This does not mean that life in Christ exonerates us from problems, but it does mean that it is His desire to bless His children and he blesses us when we please Him.  As our soul is transformed into His image through fellowship with God and obedience to His Word, we will enjoy His prosperity, His favor, and His blessings in every area of our lives.

What do you want in life?  How do you plan on achieving it?  How long will it take you?  Many people answer these questions with their desire for “things.”

If you stop chasing things and chase God, then things will chase you – As your soul prospers!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I submit and surrender my thoughts to Your thoughts for me, my opinions to Your opinions of me, and my desires to Your desires in me.  My mind, emotions and will are surrendered to You and are continually transformed into Your image.  I allow Your mind to be in me.  I pursue You and allow things to pursue me.  I have a prosperous soul.  My mind is at rest in You.  My emotions are stable and secure.  My will is bent towards Your will for my life.  I prosper and enjoy health because my soul prospers in You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A Prosperous Life (top of page)

(Pro 3:1,2 CEV)  My child, remember my teachings and instructions and obey them completely.  They will help you live a long and prosperous life.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We have discussed having a prosperous mind, a prosperous soul, and this morning we complete the thought with understanding – through the Word of God – how to live a prosperous life.  All the messages of the past week or so have really dealt with the mind.  I often times say that the Battle is in the Mind.  If the devil can get your attention for 5 seconds, he will have your mind for 5 minutes.  Let’s see what the wisest man in the bible (Solomon) has to say about the link between our thought and our prosperity:

1.  The Requirement:

a.  Remember:  Solomon instructs us to remember God’s Word.  Now, we will most likely not remember what we have not memorized.  It is important to memorize and meditate upon the Word of God.  Why?  Because most actions are premeditated.  We will, most often, DO what we THINK.  We will never do nor say what we cannot remember.  I often times say that what is in us abundantly will come out of us eventually.  When we memorize God’s Word and hide it in our heart (Ps 119:11), we are preparing for success.  It is easy to see then how remembering God’s Word is the first step living a prosperous life in Christ.

b.  Obey:  Remembering the Word of God is one thing, but it will not benefit us if we do not couple our memory with Obedience.  Learning the Word and remembering the Word prepare us for the blessed benefits of DOING what it says.  Once we know better, we ought to DO better.  Many know the Word, but the blessings of God are reserved for those who allow their learning to turn in to living (Jos 1:8, Jn 14:21).

2.  The Reward:

a.  Long Life:  Gymnasiums are packed every day.  Billions of vitamins are sold every year.  The drug industry is booming.  Why?  Because most people want to live long lives.  They buy the vitamins and religiously follow the workouts because they believe the promises on the labels or on the workout tapes.  If we would believe the promises of clever and conniving marketing executives, why would we fail to believe the promises of God.  God, in our text, promises a long life to those who remember and obey His Word.  You have tried everything else, are you ready to try God?

b.  Prosperous Life:  This is the key.  This is what most of us are looking for.  Evidence of this is the barrage of late-night infomercials on television about all sorts of Money Making Systems.  Most people are seeking prosperity, but they are seeking it from the wrong source – money.  God wants to prosper us and yes, it does include money; but prosperity is not limited to finances.  God will bless those who remember and obey his Word with health, wealth, peace, and long life  —  the total package! Do you want to be prosperous?  Read God’s Word, remember what is says, and then Do it every day!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that it all starts in your mind.  You will not DO what you cannot remember.  Take the time to read God’s Word and memorize it in your heart.  If you remember and obey His teachings and instructions, you will live a long and prosperous life!  The battle is in the mind!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I enjoy reading and studying Your Word.  The Holy Spirit empowers me to remember Your Word and brings it back to my remembrance when I need it.  I declare that I will obey what I know.  The more I learn, the more I know.  The more I know, the more I do.  My learning is turned into living today and every day.  I have an attitude of obedience.  My obedience brings to me a long and prosperous life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Changing Your Language – Faith Filled Words! (top of page)

(Mat 8:10 KJV)  When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

This morning we continue our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We have discussed many topics in this series.  I pray that you now understand the power of being Born-Again by the Spirit of God and the requirement for having your mind renewed through the Word.  Part of the evidence of the mental transformation is changing your language from negative words of doubt to words of faith.  Jesus was approached by a centurion one day while He is entering Capernaum.  A centurion was a Roman officer who was in charge of 100 soldiers.  He would be equivalent to today’s Company Commander.  The centurion said, “Lord, my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”  Jesus immediately said, “I will go and heal him.”  The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes.  I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  This is where we pick up our text.  When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  He went on to tell the Centurion, “Go!  It will be done just as you believed it would.”  His servant was healed at that very hour.

Every word that proceeded out of Jesus’ mouth was full of intent and power.  Solomon taught us that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov 18:21).  We can see then why the words of this Gentile impressed Jesus.  Jesus had been teaching, ministering, and healing a great deal by this point and He had yet to come in contact with someone who was tapped into the faith that He operated in.  This man tapped into that vein, but he did not do it by laying hands on the sick, nor speaking in tongues, nor performing miracles; this man tapped into the realm of God through his understanding of order and his declaration of faith! He was in authority over 100 men, but he understood that Jesus had authority over the thing that was troubling his servant.  He went to the man of authority and asked Him to “just say the word” and he knew that his servant would be healed.  Jesus, the Commander of the World, spoke to the Commander of the hundred and the servant received the exact thing that He declared.  The centurion came to Jesus speaking Faith Filled Words, causing Jesus to speak Faith Filled Words over his servant.  The faith of both men loosed the manifestation of God!

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  The power of death and life are in our tongue (Prov 18:21).

2.  Our words are containers that can either loose fear (death) or loose faith (life).  Fear moves satan, faith moves God.

3.  Our words are evidence of our mental transformation or lack thereof.  If our mind is renewed through the Word of God, our conversation should change.

4.  The choice to speak fear or faith is up to us.  Either way, we will receive what we declare.

5.  When we speak Faith Filled Words, we tap into the vein that Jesus flowed in and we loose the power of God over our situation.

What situation are you currently in?  What has you frustrated and disillusioned this morning?  Whatever it is, know that Your God is bigger than your problem.  Speak Faith Filled Words and watch God move on your behalf.  Your words to Him, spoken in faith, will loose His Word back to you.  One word from God can change your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  The power of death and life are in my tongue.  I do not allow any corrupt communication to proceed out of my mouth, but only that which is good, that it may minister grace.  I have world-overcoming faith and I speak faith filled words.  Every attack of the enemy is overturned, every obstacle is overcome, every fiery dart is quenched.  I walk in health, wealth, protection, power, and peace.  Your Word has the power to change weaklings into warriors.  I enter into this day as a blood bought, Spirit-filled, God ordained, anointed warrior in the Kingdom of God.  I will never be the same.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God is Love (top of page)

(1 Jn 4:7,8 CEV)  My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him.  God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him.

This morning we wrap up our series entitled “Back to the Basics.”  We have covered a lot of ground and I pray that it has been a blessing to you.  There is much more that I could cover, but I feel led to stop here.  I believe that a new convert can go to this series online, study through it, and have a good foundational understanding of the basics of our faith.

The reason I am sending the message out a bit late this morning is because I got back very late last night from a conference.  I was in Atlanta this week for the International Covenant Ministries Ministers Conference and it was a revolutionary experience for my life and ministry.  The Holy Spirit moved mightily through people like Dr. Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Bishop Wellington Boone, Dr. I.V. Hilliard, and many more.  One of the underlying truths that echoed through every message was “The Love of God.”  I was truly blessed by God’s love for me, on me, in me, and I pray that it would permeate through me.  I believe I will do a series on love soon, but for this morning, I find it fitting to finish this series with a message on the Love of God.

The Holy Spirit through John is speaking to us this morning.  He is speaking of Himself (God) and makes it clear that love is not one of His attributes, possessions, or traits; but rather WHO He is.  He does not ‘have’ love, He is love. Love to God is being, not doing.  Love to God is essence, not character.  Love to God is reality, not pursuit. God is love.  Jesus was love embodied and personified.

One of the cruxes of this series has been to teach you the reality that if you are a Born-Again believer, God Himself lives in you, you are restored to the original state of Adam in the garden, and should therefore carry out kingdom dominion in the earth through the presence and power of God – through the Holy Spirit.  Bigger, however, than any emphasis on promotion, prosperity, health, wealth, etc.; should be the emphasis of the love of God permeating through our being.  Our text says that when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life.  In other words, God’s love permeating through us is evidence of our conversion.  Jesus clearly told His disciples that people would know that they were followers of Him, if they had love one for another (Jn 13:35).  We come back to John and he says, “God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means a great deal.  It means that you should first of all receive the revelation that God is love and that He loves you beyond anything that you have done.  His love is immeasurable, indispensable, and immutable.  When you receive His love you receive the assurance you need to enter into every day in victory.  But is also means that if God (who is love), lives in us, then He (who is love) should come out from us towards others.  Don’t go around with WWJD bracelets, fish on the back of your car, crosses around your neck, and scripture quotes at the bottom of your emails; but then cause strife in your office, talk about your boss, and despitefully use others.  I am not saying that we have to be passive and submissive, but I am saying that the Love of God (who is love) should proceed out of our mouths and our hearts when we say we are His children.  What a better way to end a series on the basics?  This is a basic and foundational truth – God is Love!  Will you let His love permeate through you today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a Born-Again believer and I understand that You, who are love, live in me.  I receive Your love and declare that my mind is at rest and my heart is at peace.  I will not allow my heart to be troubled because You, who are love, live in me.  I also declare that I will allow You, who are love, to permeate through my being onto and into others.  I walk peaceably with all men and do not allow any corrupt communication to proceed out of my mouth; because You, who are love, live in me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!