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Living in the Light of Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV) “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
Are you living your life in light of eternity? Often our lives are so distracted with the temporal that we do not live for the eternal. When you get to the end of your life, will the things you are living for really matter? Will they matter to God? Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”. Looking back over my life I can see how I wasted time pursuing things, even good things, that had no eternal meaning and value. Are you wasting your life on temporal things at the expense of doing God’s will? Is your time being controlled by the tyranny of the temporal? Many people say they want to serve the Lord but they are just too busy. They say that they will serve the Lord when things slow down. Things never slow down unless God slows them down. I have performed many funerals and the haunting thing in the back of my mind is, “Did they do the will of God in their lifetime?” or “Will they hear Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ or ‘Depart from me, you worker of iniquity. You called me Lord, but you refused to obey Me.’”? God has put eternity in our hearts. Eternity beckons us to live for eternity. You and I have no time to waste. God does not give us enough time to do everything. He only gives us enough time to do His will. The Scripture says, “He who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17) This life is but for a moment and that moment will soon be gone. Eternity is forever. The only thing that will matter when this life ends is “Did I do the will of God?” Knowing this, let us live in light of eternity!                                   

Dry Bones Hear the Word of the LORD

Ezekiel 37:3–5 (NKJV) “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ So I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know.’ 4 Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.’ ” ’ ”
As we look across the valley of East Texas and across the landscape of America, we see the dry bones of a Church that was once alive and thriving, a Church that thundered God’s truth from its pulpits and laid the foundation of God’s word in the homes, businesses, schools, and government of our land. Where is that Church today? Many have given up on the Church. We are like this valley of dry bones. It seems there is no hope and that all is lost. But I am hearing the Lord say to me, “Prophesy to these dry bones!” What must be prophesied? “O dry bones, HEAR the word of the LORD!” The people’s ears have grown dull of hearing. They hear with the ears on their head but not with the ears of their heart. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let Him hear!” We must begin to target the hearing of God’s people in our prayers and in our prophetic declarations. It is time to prophesy HOPE to a hopeless generation: “Surely I will cause BREATH (Spirit) to enter into you, and you shall LIVE!” It is time to HEAR! It is time to BELIEVE! It is time to PRAY! It is time to PROPHESY! It is time to EXPECT! It is time to RISE! God is on the move. The ARMY of GOD is about to arise!  May we rise up and follow Jesus, our Lord of hosts!                      

Gathering and Releasing

Proverbs 11:24-26 “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.  The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.”  
Life is a process of inhaling and exhaling air, of the heart receiving and releasing blood, of sowing and reaping, and of gathering and releasing. Life begins with God as the Source.  In order to give life, we must first receive life.  We must be willing to receive ministry in order to give ministry. Gathering and releasing is the essence of life. 

For many of us, our Christian life has been a continual season of gathering. We have become hoarders. Our lives are crowded with “stuff” that we cannot possible use in several lifetimes. When we run out of room to keep it, we build more storehouses. We have also become spiritual storehouses of resources, information, and revelation. Many of us have been taught more in one year than others would hope to receive in a lifetime. And somehow, we keep gathering and storing!

Many of us sit on a wealth of “seed” that needs to be scattered in order to bring blessing and increase in the kingdom of God. It is time to transition from being storehouses to being distribution centers. It is time to release or “scatter” the seed that God has put in our hands. 

God has lavished on us His precious treasures.  Now it is time to pour out. The paradox is that the more we give, the more we will increase! That is why Jesus said it is “more blessed to give than to receive”. (Ac 20:35) As we scatter our seed, God will multiply it so that we gather more.  Sowing and reaping are spiritual principles of life. We cannot bring life to the seed, but we can scatter the seed and allow God to bring life. We are not the source of life, but He has given us seed to sow. As we sow what God has given to us, God will give it life and multiply it to our account. As we receive seed from the Father and then scatter it into the lives of those around us, we receive back a fruitful life, a life that has been increased and multiplied. 

Jesus said in John 12:24-25: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.  He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  Jesus came to give His life away on the Cross. In giving His life, He received back a harvest of souls to the glory of God. Jesus increased the fruitfulness of His life by giving it away.  He became the Seed that is still producing a mighty harvest of souls! 

If we try to hold on to what we have, we will lose it.  But if we scatter the seed that God has given us, then we will increase more.  If we continue to gather and not release, we are destined to become like the Dead Sea that has no life.  Why is the Dead Sea dead?  It is dead because it has an inlet but no outlet.  One of the reasons we do not see fruit in our lives is because we have trained ourselves in receiving but not in giving. We must change. Let’s begin to scatter what we have been given. Let’s not be a reservoir.  Let’s be a RIVER! 

One of the greatest ways to release God’s blessing upon our lives is to give. It is hard be depressed when we are focused on giving rather than on what we receive. The principle of God is this:  we will reap what we sow—not what we hold. A farmer’s harvest produces both food to eat and seed for a future harvest.  Grain that is stored very long only ruins or is destroyed by pests.  The only way to keep the benefit of the grain is to use what we have been given. God has given each of us talents, gifts, abilities, knowledge, experience, money, wealth, and resources.  What a waste to see them sit in the storehouse and never be released to benefit others including God. Ask God to show you ways to release what you have in a way that blesses His kingdom and the people around you.  We have one life to live and one life to give.  Let’s take every opportunity to scatter the seed God has placed in our hand.  Only what we sow can grow. Don’t leave this life sitting on your bag of seed!
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank you for the resources you have placed in my life. Help me to increase the fruitfulness of my life by giving it away.  Help me to be a blessing to those around me. I believe as I scatter the seed you have placed in my life, You will cause me to increase for greater ability to give again.  Help me not to be a reservoir.  Let Your river of life flow through me. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

The Invasion of Christ

Isaiah 59:16-19 (NKJV) “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.  According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay.  So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against Him.”
The coming of Christ into this world was nothing less than an act of war against the kingdom of darkness. It is an invasion against the gates of hell. Its purpose is to redeem lost souls held behind enemy lines. 

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis has a chapter entitled “Invasion”. In it he says, “One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe---a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees . . . this universe is at war.”  The truth is that we cannot understand what is happening around us until we understand that we are at war.  Unless we understand that we have an enemy, we will misinterpret most circumstances in our life. It is very hard to believe that God has a good plan for our lives if we believe that He is the source of all that is bad, corrupt, and evil.[1]

If we fail to recognize that we are at war, then we begin to believe some very terrible things about God. What about that son or daughter who was killed by a drunk driver?  What about the four-year old girl who was sexually molested? What about the faithful wife who died of AIDS which she contracted through her unfaithful husband? What about victims of murder, rape, and terrorism?  What about the tragedy of divorce that devastates an entire family? What about the people who are killed in a violent plane crash? What about families killed in fires? What about destruction and death caused by violent acts of nature? What about the famine where thousands of people are starving?  What about the horrors of war?  Are all these things God’s will?  Is God the author of evil?

In the beginning of God’s creation all that God made was very good.[2] There was no death, sickness, crime, pain, hate, adverse weather patterns, sin, or curse.  All was good until the old Serpent, who is called the devil, Satan, and the dragon, came on the scene.[3]  Through his deception, the evil consequences of sin, death, and the curse came upon our world. The effects have touched our bodies, minds, emotions, marriages, children, society, and nature itself. All creation longs to be delivered from the bondage of this corruption.[4]

Jesus came into this world to destroy the works of the devil, the power of death, and our bondage to fear.[5] Our deliverance from the penalty of sin and death was secured through Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross. His sacrifice was validated through His resurrection from the dead. Our deliverance is enforced through His exaltation to the right hand of the Father where He reigns until all of His enemies are put under His feet.[6]

The Incarnation of Christ was a divine invasion into the enemy’s territory to deliver those held captive through deception, sin, and death. Let us remember that we are in a war.  The victory is already sure even though the battles of resistance are sometimes fierce. War is not pretty. The devil does not play fair. The fallout of sin and the curse have taken their toll. Do not be shaken by Satan’s tactics. Rise up, put on your armor, and fight for the sake of others who are still under his control.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for invading this earth to rescue my soul. Help me to see that I am in a war. Help me to see the lost and the deceived who are still held captive by the devil. Help me to be a faithful soldier and to fight to rescue others even as You fought to rescue me. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
[1] Jeremiah 29:11; John 10:10
[2] Genesis 1:31
[3] Revelation 12:9
[4] Genesis 3:14-19; Romans 8:20-23
[5] 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14-15
[6] 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

The Power of a Godly Mentor

Mark 1:16-18 (NKJV) “And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”
God sees in us what we cannot see in ourselves. We are often too aware of the flaws and weaknesses in our life. God already knows them all and yet He is for us and not against us. When Jesus came into this world, He could have come with His sword swinging—cutting down sinners on His right and left.  But He didn’t.  Jesus said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”[1] God sent Jesus to redeem rather than to condemn. God didn’t wait for us to change before He sent Jesus.  Rather, “even when we were dead in trespasses, (He) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” [2]

Jesus mentored twelve disciples to carry on the work given to Him by His Father.  Jesus did not choose anyone that the world deemed qualified. There were no doctors, lawyers, philosophers, or princes among them.  They were just ordinary men living ordinary lives.  None of them were alike. Many of them struggled with issues of ambition and competitive jealousy. They were more like a rag tag team of misfits.  Yet Jesus saw in them something that neither they nor anyone else saw. He saw their potential—and what potential it turned out to be!  These ordinary men became the apostles of the Lamb who laid the Foundation upon which the entire church is built.

When Jesus approached Simon and Andrew, they were just ordinary fishermen.  No one would have believed that these very simple and unlearned men were destined for greatness in the kingdom of God.  Not even Simon and Andrew believed it about themselves.  It takes a godly mentor to see and believe in the potential that God can work in our lives.  It takes someone who can look beyond our character flaws, lack of training, and emotional baggage to see the precious treasure of Christ buried deep inside.  Like a gold miner, it takes someone who can look past a lot of “dirt” to mine the gold.

Jesus was a leader who saw the “gold” in these men. Jesus said to Simon and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Jesus declared the potential He saw in them and accepted personal responsibility to mine and develop that potential if they would meet His one condition—they must follow Him. These men responded immediately to Jesus because He believed in them.  They were willing to walk away from their secure, routine, and predictable life for the sake of what He saw in them. Ultimately, they believed in Jesus because He first believed in them.  Jesus saw what they could be rather than what they were. 

Successful leaders do not pressure people through intimidation, manipulation, condemnation, and domination. Instead, they lead through inspiration and vision. Sure, Jesus called men to repent of their sins, but He did not do it through condemnation. He called them to repentance because sin stood in the way of their relationship with the Destiny-Giver. Jesus demonstrated the power of godly mentoring. His disciples are the evidence.

God desires to bring forth His plan for our lives.  However, we need mentors to help us realize our potential.  We need people who will see beyond what we are and call us up to what we can be.  We need people who will walk with us through the issues in our lives and not give up on us when we stumble.  We need people who will be like Jesus.  If we really want to be mentored, we must respond like Jesus’ disciples. We must be willing to leave our comfort zone, to be led, and to follow.  When we find that type of relationship with a godly mentor, then we have been granted one of the greatest blessings and opportunities we could ever have in this life.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank You for not condemning me in my failure. Thank You for seeing potential in me and sending Jesus to redeem me back to You.  I submit myself now to Your mentoring process.  I ask You to send people into my life who can see what I cannot see in myself.  Help me to let go of what I am now so that I can become what I never imagined possible for.  I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
[1] John 3:17 NKJV
[2] Ephesians 2:5 NKJV (He) added

Rejoicing in Another Man's Light

John 5:35 (NKJV) “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.”
John the Baptist was sent by God. He was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah.  He was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’”   He came to cast down pride, lift up the oppressed, straighten crooked hearts, and remove what was offensive to God. He came to expose darkness by revealing the Light of the World. He foretold that One was coming after him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John was a man with a purpose and he was faithful to that purpose.

John made a powerful impact upon his generation in a short amount of time. His ministry was so influential that the Scripture says, “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him.”[1]   Many considered him to be a prophet, including Jesus. Jesus said of John, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.”[2]

One day Jesus came to be baptized by John. Upon His baptism, the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit like a dove descended upon Him, and the voice of His Father declared from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”[3] This baptism inaugurated the public ministry of Jesus. In time, more people followed Jesus rather than John. John’s enemies observed this and said, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”[4]  John was not insecure. He was not threatened by Jesus’ expanding ministry. He was not bothered by Jesus’ increasing influence. He was not worried about his shrinking crowds. He responded, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.[5]   He knew that no one could take from him what God had given. He rested in God’s sovereign control. He was secure in his role as a servant to prepare the way for Jesus. He had fulfilled his assignment and was ready to turn the spotlight on the One for whom the way had been prepared. John came into human history for an appointed season. His chapter in history was ending and a new chapter was beginning. It was time for the spotlight to shift to Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”[6]

There is no competition in God’s kingdom. We must learn to rejoice in the God who sent us as we also rejoice in the ministry of others that God is sending.  We must not be threatened by those whose ministry and influence exceeds our own. To do otherwise is to question and challenge the One who sends.

God wants us to be secure in the ministry and influence that He has given us. We must be willing to gracefully “bow out” when our season in the spotlight is ending. We must learn to rejoice in the ministries and influences that God has given others. We must thank God for allowing us to prepare the way for others that He is sending. There is no competition in God’s kingdom. Each receives only what he has been given. As we rejoice in the light that God has given to us, let us also learn to rejoice in the light that has been given to another.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for what You have given me. Help me to remember that I received it from You.  Help me to rejoice in what You have given to me and then to rejoice in what You are giving to others. I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
[1] Matthew 3:5 (NKJV)
[2] Matthew 11:11 (NKJV)
[3] Matthew 3:17 (NKJV)
[4] John 3:26 (NKJV)
[5] John 3:27 (NKJV)
[6] John 3:30 (NKJV)

The Secret of the LORD

The following scriptures refer to the secret of the Lord.  These passages speak for themselves.
Deuteronomy 29:29 (NKJV) “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Proverbs 3:32 (NKJV) “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”
Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV) “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:14 (NKJV) “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.  And He will show them His covenant.”
Song of Solomon 2:14 (NKJV) “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”
Isaiah 45:3 (NKJV) “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.”
Isaiah 45:15 (NKJV) “Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!”
Daniel 2:22 (NKJV) “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.”
Amos 3:7 (NKJV) “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
Matthew 6:3-4 (NKJV) “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
Matthew 6:6 (NKJV) “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV) “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Matthew 10:27 (NKJV) “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.”
Matthew 13:34-35 (NKJV) “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  'I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.'“
Mark 4:22-23 (NKJV) “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, for has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
1 Corinthians 2:7 (NKJV) “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages to our glory.”
Luke 11:33 (NKJV)  “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lamp stand, that those who come in may see the light.”
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, You are a God who hides Yourself. Yet You have chosen to reveal Yourself to those who fear You.  May I be among those who fear You and seek Your face.  Reveal to me the secrets and the riches of the mysteries that You have ordained for me to know.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Concerning Modesty

1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NKJV) “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” 
Does modesty matter?  Does God care about how we dress or what we wear?  The issue of modesty was first addressed in the Garden of Eden. In their innocence, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed.  As it is with small children, innocence stirred no evil or carnal desire.  However, when sin entered their hearts, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened. The knowledge of good and evil stole their innocence. The “flesh” was awakened and they discovered that they were naked.  To cover their nakedness, they made for themselves loin coverings made from fig leaves. Later, God made tunics of animal skin to cloth them more adequately.  Obviously, God took a personal interest in covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness. 

God covers nakedness.  The world uncovers it.  Clothing that was unnecessary in the age of innocence became necessary under their fallen condition. God did not immediately address the issue of clothing with Adam and Eve after they sinned. Why? Clothing and modesty are first a reflection of the condition of the heart. Modesty must first be addressed as an issue of the heart lest it lead to legalism. Since we no longer live in a state of innocence, sin and the “flesh” are now issues with which to contend. If we ignore or deny this battle, we will conform to the basest of worldly fashion and adopt the crudest displays of carnality.

As Christians, we must learn to order our lives according to purity.  We must avoid the confusion and distortion between what is holy and what is unholy and between what is pure and what is impure. We must remember that we are in this world, but we are not of it.

The Greek word for modesty means, “order.” As believers, we should seek to reflect God’s Kingdom order.  If we profess godliness, then we should reflect godliness in how we “order” our outward appearance and behavior. We are neither to be extravagant nor seductive.

Modesty begins as an attitude of the heart that, lovingly and without compromise, seeks to reflect godliness in a world that has lost its innocence and uncovers its shame. If we profess godliness on the inside, then we should reflect godliness in how we order our lives on the outside.

As we consider issues of modesty, we need to ask ourselves:  Where am I going? What is the cultural standard? What is fitting for the occasion? Will I encounter those of the opposite sex? Who are the people whose conscience I should consider? What does God require of me as His representative? What reputation will I foster by how I dress?  What is my motive for wearing what I wear?  Am I exposing too much skin or drawing attention to private areas of my body? Could the way I dress cause others to stumble?  Are my clothes too tight?  Are they too short?  Are they too revealing?  Am I reflecting godliness?  Will I discredit the name of Jesus? Will my extravagance or gaudiness draw unnecessary attention to myself rather than to Christ?  When in doubt, always defer to conservatism. 

Ask Jesus to take a tour of your closet. Get rid of immodest and ungodly clothing. Make godly choices when purchasing clothes. Take up sewing if necessary. Establish and teach principles of modesty to your children.  Train your children in how to evaluate and determine modesty in clothing.  Allow husbands and fathers to evaluate the clothing of the wives and daughters. Allow the wives and daughters to evaluate the clothing of the husbands and sons. The testimony of godliness must be our motivation and standard.  Believers should especially reflect godliness through modesty within the church and its gatherings.  The gathering of the saints should reflect the highest example of godliness and modesty after which the new believers can pattern their lives.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I want to be a godly example to others in how I dress.  I realize that modesty is first an issue of the heart.  Search my heart and see if there is any wicked motive in me that would defend impurity. Evaluate my current wardrobe and show me anything that I need to remove. Help me to cloth myself modestly so that I may be pleasing to You, that I may not cause others to stumble, and that I may be an example of godliness to others.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Are You Legitimate?

Hebrews 12:5-8 (NKJV) “‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord; nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” 
This passage addresses the issue of legitimacy.  Are you a legitimate child of God? In the natural, an illegitimate child is a child born outside of wedlock, i.e. outside of a legal marriage. “Illegitimate” means “unlawful.” Illegitimate children are born contrary to God’s moral law.  Unfortunately, the response of society toward illegitimate children has often been one of emotional rejection, resentment, and abuse.  Illegitimate children are sometimes considered unworthy to carry their own biological father’s name or to share in the inheritance with legitimate children. Illegitimacy bore great consequences in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 23:2 attached the stigma of illegitimacy upon a person until the tenth generation. The child is often neglected, unloved, and abused. According to our passage in Hebrews 12, if a child does not receive loving correction and chastening from a father, then it is evidence that the child is illegitimate. Whom a father loves, he disciplines.

The writer of Hebrews says that our Father God loves His children. In love He will correct and chasten them. Rather than be disheartened or discouraged by this, we should rejoice that He cares enough to correct us. It is evidence that we are legitimate, born of the Father by the Spirit.

Can a genuine child of God resist the Father’s discipline? Yes. However, if they are truly His child, He will not relinquish correction until the child’s heart is turned back. If a child of God resists the Father’s correction and discipline, everything else that do they will be regarded as illegitimate in the eyes of their Father. Only that which is done in obedience is pleasing to and approved by Him.

In a similar way, God has placed spiritual fathers in our lives as an extension of His Fatherly  work in our lives. A spiritual father’s role is to lovingly protect, encourage, develop, train, and hold the person accountable in their spiritual health and progress. Spiritual fathers in the faith may be pastors, elders, or mature men of God. Sadly, many believers have refused the input and correction of genuine spiritual fathers. This is tragic. Many spiritual fathers have grieved over those who have resisted, rejected, and rebelled against them. Some, in their rebellion, launch out to begin a new ministry in competition to the one they left. Those who seek to “birth” their own ministry in such a state are birthing an illegitimate work that will bear that stigma.  It may take years for that stigma to be overcome, and only as they repent of their pride and submit to legitimate spiritual fathers in the Lord. It is important to gain the blessing of “legitimacy” that comes from God through spiritual fathers. It is time for God’s people to prove that they are legitimate sons and daughters of God. It is time to see loving correction and discipline as confirmation of God’s love. It is important to birth “legitimate” ministries that bring honor to the Lord.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I thank You that I am Your child.  Forgive me for despising Your correction and discipline.  Help me to embrace Your correction and discipline with joy knowing that it is for my own good.  Help me to receive the correction and training I need through Your legitimately appointed leadership in my life.  I know that as I do, I will obtain the blessing and favor of legitimacy in Your eyes.  I thank You for this  in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Called to Be a Witness

John 1:7 (NKJV) “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.” 
God sent John the Baptist to be a witness. The reality is, God intends all of us to be His witness. That is one reason He saved us. If salvation alone is the goal, then why doesn’t God just carry us on to heaven once we are saved?  Wouldn’t this spare us a lot of trouble, pain, and encounters with temptation? The reason God has placed us here on this earth is to be a witness for Him.  The word “witness” comes from the Greek word martus from which we get the word “martyr.”  The word was used for a material witness in a judicial case.  John the Baptist came to this earth to be a material witness to Jesus Christ being the Messiah Son of God.  Through his witness many believed on the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

A Christian witness is not necessarily a theologian or an expert in the Scriptures. A witness is one who can testify of what they have seen, heard, and experienced.  Every believer is called to be a witness of what the Lord has done in their life. Ananias told Paul at his conversion: “For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15)

Jesus chose twelve disciples so that they might be with Him and witness firsthand what He said and what He did.  He said to them in John 15:27, “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”  The basis of the disciple’s ability to be witnesses was found in their walk with Jesus.  They testified to others of what they had both seen and heard. After He ascended into heaven, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to enable them to be effective witnesses: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) All but one of Jesus’ disciples was martyred for their witness of Jesus and for their witness of God’s truth. In the same way we are called to be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus and to His truth to every person—family member, work mate, friend, stranger, and even to our enemies. 

As witnesses we are to bear record of the reality of Jesus because we have the testimony that He is alive in us. We are to bear record of the truth, because we have the testimony of His truth working in our hearts.  We are to bear witness of His Spirit, because we have the testimony of His Spirit dwelling in and empowering us to do His work.  We are to bear record of His power to deliver, because we carry the testimony of His deliverance in our lives. We are to bear record that He heals, because we carry the testimony of His healing power in our bodies, minds, and emotions.  We are to bear record that He loves sinners, because we carry the testimony that He demonstrated His love for us.  
We are here to be a witness unto others of what Jesus has done in our lives in hope that they might believe in Him. Will all receive our witness? No. Some may reject our witness while others may actually attempt to silence our witness.  Some may try to argue about religion, beliefs, and theology, however it is hard to refute our testimony as a material witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is why we are called to be witnesses rather than theologians. Anyone who has been saved and changed by faith in Jesus Christ is qualified to be a witness.

Since God has called us to be His witnesses, it is important that we not keep silent about what the Lord has done in our lives. Our witness is not only in our words but also in the way we live. We are Christ’s witness before our friends, family members, schoolmates, and work mates who have not yet believed. We bear the testimony of Christ’s power to save, heal, deliver, and restore. Without our witness, Satan, the prosecutor of sinners, will rest His case in the lives of those around us.  We cannot allow the devil to intimidate us into silence. We must approach the witness stand and declare what we have seen, heard, and experienced. We must bear witness to Christ’s Light and to His Truth. God has called you to be His witness. Determine today to be Christ’s witness so that others might believe upon Him and be saved.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I answer Your call to be a witness. I will testify of what I have seen, heard, and experienced. I will bear witness of Christ’s Light and Your Truth so that others might see, hear, and believe. Lord Jesus, anoint me as Your witness with the power of Your Holy Spirit. May You be glorified through me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
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