Thursday, August 10, 2017

"If it be thy will" prayers

Religion has taught us that God decides whether or not He will answer our prayers. And because we believe that teaching we often end our prayers with “if it be thy will”. In other words, “God, I’m not really sure what your will is in this situation, but I’m going to pray and if my prayer is not answered, it’s because you chose not to answer it.”

Sadly, many Christians believe God picks and chooses the prayers He will or will not answer. Contrast this with what Jesus believed when he prayed just before raising Lazarus in John 11.

(41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me. (42) And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

When Jesus prayed, he expected his Father to hear his prayers and, not only that, he expected his Father to answer them. No doubting. No “what if.” No “if it be thy will.” Jesus had absolute and unwavering faith that God would answer his prayers. Always. Why? Jesus knew His Father’s heart for people. He had a relationship with the Father that went beyond the weekly and mid-week church services.

Do we truly know our Father’s heart for people?

Are we expecting our Father to answer our prayers the same way Jesus knew He would answer his?

Be honest. Be brutally honest.

The Bible says in I John 5:14, 15:

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Now look at 2 Corinthians 1:20.

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
When the promises of God manifest, He gets the glory. Wouldn’t the same be true of answered prayer? Why wouldn’t God want to answer our prayers? He wants the world to know His love, mercy and grace.
Do you see the words in green? God is establishing a very simple yet powerful truth: if we are not in him then His promises to us are not “yes” and “amen” (done).
What does it mean to be “in him”?
The word “in” paints the picture of someone being in a fixed, stable, or consistent position. It’s a relationship word. Remember when Jesus said “I and my father are one” (John 10:30) and “he that hath seen me hath seen the father” (John 14:9)? You see relationship. Jesus said what the Father would say. Jesus did what the Father would do.
Jesus agreed with the Father on everything.
We could read 2 Corinthians 1:20 this way and maintain the integrity of scripture: “When we have an intimate relationship with God (when we are in him) and pray for the things He would pray for if He were here (because we are in him), then we will know what Jesus knew (as we walk in him) – He always answers our prayers yea and amen.”
When we approach God with a prayer that is according to His will – a prayer that agrees with what He has said in the Bible – not only does He hear our prayer but He gives us what we ask for. Is that not how you read these verses?
Remember I John 5:15 says “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Are you seeing what I’m seeing in this verse? When we know, without any doubts, that our Father hears us, then we know that He will grant us our prayer request.
Now it’s time to ask the hard questions.
  • If this is true, why do we not receive what we “desire of him”? If we pray and our Father hears us, why isn’t our prayer answered?
  • Is it possible that God has already decided the outcome of the situation before we pray?
  • If so, was our prayers nothing more than something to make us feel better even though we did not receive the answer we desired?
Now here are the really hard questions.
§  If God has already predetermined the outcomes of our unanswered prayers, isn’t praying for a different outcome against His will?
§  Doesn’t that mean our unanswered prayers are already destined for failure? (There are Christians who truly believe God is in control and He will have His way. “Whatever happens,” they say, “is God’s will.”)
§  If our prayers have no impact – other than to make us feel like we’ve done something positive in the situation – then why pray at all? Why waste the time? Why not just pray “God, whatever you decide, I may not like it but I will learn to live with it?”
When I pray to the Father and my prayer goes unanswered, telling me that “the outcome was the one that God knew was best” provides no comfort. If First John 5:14-15 is true, then my prayers have a say in the outcome.
Say it with me: “The Bible says my prayers have a say in the outcome. My prayers are not just words to make me feel better. The Bible says they have a say in the outcome!”
This is nullified if you believe that God is in control.
When God created Adam, He form, made and created a being just like Himself (without deity) and gave him authority and dominion over His creation (Genesis 1:26).
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.
The authority and dominion Adam lost in Genesis 3, Christ regained for us through his death and resurrection.
For if by one man’s offense (Adam) death reigned (ruled) by one: much more they (people who have been born again) which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign (rule) in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)
Ladies and gentlemen...
...when you have dominion and authority – when you rule – you have a say in the place where you have dominion and authority!
If we have a say in what happens to us in this life, why do we blame God when our prayers are not answered? Yes, you heard me. We say “I prayed but God has the last word; He’s in control.” We blame God when our unanswered prayers. When you read the gospels, do you see this in the life of Jesus?
What does God control in our lives?
Absolutely nothing unless we submit our lives to Him.
Do we honestly believe our Father is okay with us not getting prayers answered, especially when we are praying for loved ones or for others?
Now I may make some of you angry, if I haven’t already.
When we say things like “God has the last word” or “God’s in control” we are making excuses for our lack of faith. There is nothing in scripture that says “having faith sometimes means you still don’t get what you are having faith for.”
I have admitted to coming face to face with having more unbelief working in me in some situations than faith (see my December teaching letter). I’m not proud of it but at least I know it’s my issue and not my Father’s. Faith pleases my Father (Hebrews 11:6).
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he prayed “Father, I thank thee that thou heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always...” (John 11:41, 42a) Sounds a lot like I John 5:14, 15 doesn’t it? “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Jesus was God’s son. We are God’s sons and daughters. Did our Father “hear” Jesus when he prayed but not us? He heard Jesus and He heard us. Let that sink in. Here’s the difference:
Jesus had the faith our Father needed in order to move on his prayers.
In the past, I didn’t have the faith God needed to move on my prayers. Could it be that, in the past, you also didn’t have the faith God needed to answer your prayers? (It’s okay to say “yes”.) It’s really that simple and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Increasing our faith is a process (Mark 4:28). Now we know that we have work to do!
The enemy of the soul wants us to believe our Father is behind everything that happens or does not happen in our prayer lives. This is what Satan doesn’t want us to know and believe: our Father has given us authority and dominion over our prayer lives and over him.
Every good gift and every perfect gift (for this teaching, Godly authority and dominion), is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
I want you to see something before we move on. The phrase “no variableness” is unchangeable. We will always get the same response from God. Always. In this case, we will always receive good and perfect gifts. Answered prayers are good and perfect gifts. Wouldn’t you agree?
Let’s end with I John 5:4.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world (That’s you! That’s me!): and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Now I want you to see something that’s very important. What is it that overcomes the world? Faith. Whose faith? Our faith!
What gives us victory in this life? Our faith!
What enables God to answer our prayers? Our faith!
It is our faith that makes the difference when we pray. Our faith!
We can clearly see that it is our faith that pleases our Father and that it is our faith that gives Him the authority to respond – in the affirmative – to our prayers. Let’s read I John 5:14-15 again but this time from the Amplified Bible.
And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), he listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that he listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of him.

Ladies and gentlemen, our Heavenly Father always hears our prayers and it is His heart’s desire to always answer them. We have to be like Jesus. We have to give Him the faith He needs to answer those prayers.


Never forget – you are blessed and highly favored.

Barry O Johnson is a Teacher of the Gospel. He attends and ministers at Grace Christian Center in Beavercreek, OH. He and his wife, Doris, recently celebrated their 40th anniversary and have two grown sons. He can be reached at Barry101937@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We are the Watchman

By now I’m sure most of you have heard about the tragedy in Orlando where 53 homosexuals, lesbians and transgender individuals were killed. And, as you also know, some of the responses were pretty typical of what you would expect to hear. When it comes to this one issue – the gay and lesbian community – there is a divide in the body of Christ.

You have Christians who say and believe that everyone has a right to choose how he or she will live – even if how they live is not in agreement with the will of God. Then you have Christians who say and believe that if the Bible says something is wrong, then you don't have the right to live that way and will condemn you to hell unless you repent.

Neither one of these positions work for God.

After hearing about the shooting, I sent out a tweet from my twitter account, which is also linked to my Facebook page. I said “Orlando was not God's punishment” with the hashtag “heart aching for Orlando”. 

Later that day I tweeted “Orlando did not make God's day. It broke his heart.” Again my hashtag was “heart aching for Orlando.” 

My last tweet of the day was “You need to understand there was no joy in heaven early Sunday morning.” My hashtags were “heart aching for Orlando” and “Don't blame God”.

After my first tweet, my cousin from Tennessee posted on my Facebook feed “You will not believe the ridicule that I'm seeing on my page.” By the tone I knew he was referring to the things Christians were saying.

I also received a post from a young lady in Texas and what she said really broke my heart. Her Facebook feed disturbed her so much that she said “I'm almost finished with being a Christian. Shaking my head.” 

My response: “one of the things I've said repeatedly over the past three or four years is that you can't judge Christianity by looking at Christians today. Jesus did not like the behavior of most of the people he dealt with but he dealt with them with love and compassion. Sadly missing in most of the body of Christ today.”

I added that instead of calling myself a Christian, I'm thinking about referring to myself as a “disciple of my master, Jesus”. She replied “anything is better. I'm ashamed to be named among many. So much hate. Christianity seems to be no different than any of any other religion. I’m out.”

Christianity is supposed to be a family.

It really bothered me to hear her say that because our father sees us as a family. He doesn't see a group of people who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. She’s not seeing what our Father sees and, in a way, I can understand her feelings. Truly I can. Sometimes our emotions can really get the best of us.

So I said “Sweetie, I understand but let us be the ones to show the world what it really means to be Christ-like. Let us be the ones who respond to the hatred and the judging by opening our arms wide to those who need to experience His love from people they thought didn't care.”

Ladies and gentlemen, if we don't reach out to those who are not part of the family they will never have an opportunity to be part of the family. That’s what we're supposed to do as sons and daughters.

Her last post: “I will not from this day forward be labeled as a Christian. I’m filled with love of God and I refuse to be named among those who hate.” I continue to pray for her because I know she's hurting.

Satan is dividing Christians.

Remember in Matthew where Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand? Right now, we are witnessing how Satan is causing schism in the body of Christ. One of the primary ways he's doing that is through politics. We, the body of Christ, have allowed ourselves to be given political labels in this country. You are either a liberal Democrat or a conservative Christian. Neither one of these labels are in the Bible.

Jesus never says He wants “Christians”.

Jesus says He wants “disciples”. He does not want Christians. He wants disciples. Anyone can attach to themselves the label of Christian. If you are a disciple people are going to know it. A disciple is one who tells the world that I am not above my master. What my master says is what I do. And people are not going to like it.

My prayer is that you are neither "far left" nor "far right" but that you are trying to walk the Word the way Jesus desires it to be walked. If you are, then we will have an opportunity to show the world who Jesus really is and His heart’s desire.

Most of the people who are living the homosexual, lesbian or transgender lifestyle don't think Christians love them. We have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing the enemy of the soul to get us to respond in certain ways when we hear about anything related to the homosexual community.

Recently I asked for prayer because sometimes when I hear things related to this behavior, I can feel a wall rising up in me. When I feel the wall rising up what it is doing is preventing me from showing the love of God. When you read the Gospels Jesus never criticized or marginalized those who were in sin. He always treated them with love and compassion. He saved his anger for the religious leaders who were leading the people astray.

It broke my heart when I heard that one pastor, after the Orlando tragedy, said that it was nothing more than what they had earned. It was God's judgment released upon them. Another pastor said the only thing that he regretted was that there were not more homosexuals in the night club. If they are saying these things, what do you think their congregations are saying?

These pastors told their people that the men and women deserved what happened to them in and that it was God’s judgment against them. And we wonder why the gay and lesbian community think Christians don't care about them.

Let’s be clear: "God and Son Corporation" has one mission: to seek and save the lost. I don't believe the body of Christ understands its mission. There doesn't seem to be enough love flowing out of us to override our emotions.

A life of faith is a life lived in love.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:6: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncirumcision; but faith which worketh (is activated) by love.”  If the reaction to Orlando is any indication, there is very little faith at work in the body of Christ and it goes back to those of us who are not walking in love toward those who need to experience it the most.

Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please him (God)...” Since faith is activated by love and faith is what pleases God, then what is the issue? Love is the issue. That’s lacking in the body of Christ today.

Let’s look at 2 Timothy 2:1. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” Notice the verse doesn’t say we should do these things for the body of Christ. It says we need to them for all men. In other words, the saved and the unsaved. All men (and women) are not just the people you like. All means all! If you cannot make intercession for the homosexual person, you are in sin.

Let’s continue reading with verses 2-4. “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour – and verse 4 tells us why we are to pray this way: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Our Heavenly Father's heart cries out for the lost.

After hearing of the shooting, I could see God on His throne weeping. His tears were for the men and women who died in that tragedy and had not repented of their sin or accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. God wept because they went to hell.

There was absolutely nothing but sadness in Heaven early Sunday morning. We know people who are living this lifestyle. We grew up with them. They were, and in many instances, are our friends. If we don’t show them the love of God, they might not see it from anyone else and be lost for all eternity.

It’s really about how much we love our Heavenly Father.

In First Thessalonians 3:12 the Apostle Paul writes “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.” What does the Lord want us to do? He wants us to show love to those who are not yet part of the family.

In chapter 5, verse 14 we read: “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” We are to be patient, not just with those who are in the family, but all men – including those who are not in the family. We are to treat them with love and compassion. If we don’t, there may not be anyone else who will.

Let’s look at an example from the Gospels. In Matthew 9:10 we read “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eatest your Master with publicans and sinners?” The religious leaders couldn’t understand why Jesus would break bread with tax collectors and sinners.

Let’s bring this passage to 2016.

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat down at meat in the house, behold, many homosexuals and lesbians came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when some of the pastors and leaders saw it, they said unto his disciples, “Why does your master eat with homosexuals and lesbians? Doesn’t he know that they are sinners of the worst kind?”

Jesus’ response would have been the same today as it was 2000 years ago. Look at verses 12 and 13: “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them (the Pharisees), They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: (notice what He says next) for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

In John 14:12 Jesus tells us that He wants us to duplicate the works He did when He was here on Earth. One of those “works” was reaching out to people to get them to repent. If we don’t do it ladies and gentlemen it is not going to happen.

We are the watchman.

We’re going to finish up in Ezekiel 33 where the prophet is talking about the house of Israel. There is a spiritual application for us today. In verses one and two we read: “Again the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:”

The “sword” represents the judgment that is to come. What “sword” – judgment – has been released upon the land today? Jesus tells us in John 12:46-48: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejected me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Ezekiel 33:3 says “If when he (the watchman) seeth the sword (judgment) come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people...” The watchman is to warn the people that the judgment is coming. Why? The Lord wants those sin to have an opportunity to repent.

Verses 4 and 5: “Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.” The watchman’s job is to warn the people, not judge them and not be condescending. The word “warning” means “to teach and caution.” The watchman is to help the people understand what will happen if they continue to live in sin and don’t repent.

The problem with the body of Christ

We haven’t learned how to deliver the warning with love and compassion. We have not done a good job of helping those who need to repent understand why they need to do so and why they need to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If you want someone to change, you have to help them see what needs to change and then show them how to change.

But look at what happens if the watchman does not sound the warning. “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” Let that sink in ladies and gentlemen.

Now verse 7: “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel (unto your community); therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me (What I tell you to say, say it with love and compassion because it’s coming from my heart.). Do you see this? You are the watchman! If we are not the ones teaching those living the homosexual lifestyle why they need to change, God is going to hold us responsible.

Ezekiel’s job as watchman was to the house of Israel. At that time everyone was spiritually lost. Today, there are some pastors and leaders who need a watchman in their lives to show them that what they are teaching people about how to view and respond to the homosexual community is not right according to the Word of God.

God wants the wicked to repent and live, not perish.

Jump down to verse 11. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live...” Do you see this ladies and gentlemen? When the wicked repents – that brings our Heavenly Father pleasure.

Jump again. This time to verse 16. “None of his sins (the wicked, in this case the homosexual, lesbian or transgender person) that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right (heard the warning and repented); he shall surely live.” I think this is so neat. Once a person repents, the Lord never mention their sins again!

The body of Christ needs watchmen – men and women who allow the love of God to develop in them to the point they see things the way God sees them, hears things the way God hears them and loves the way God loves. This is what the world needs and God has given us the honor and the privilege and the grace to do it. The decision point is ours.

How much do we love the lost?

Do we love the lost enough that we want to be watchmen? Do we want to have the responsibility of teaching the homosexuals, lesbians and transgenders that there is another life to be lived – either with our Heavenly Father or without Him? Do we love them enough not to scream at them or condemn them but simply tell them what will happen if they continue to live the way they’re living?

The watchman’s job is to sound the warning.

There will be some who will not want to hear what we have to say, and that's okay. You see, the watchman’s job is to sound the warning. That’s our job. Three words: sound the warning. We are not responsible for the person’s response. Our responsibility is very simple: deliver the warning – deliver the teaching – as to why they need to make a change.

I know that some of those who died in that tragedy, if they had had a watchmen, there’s a possibility they would have repented. A watchmen cares enough to treat people right and with respect. You can’t be a watchman for someone you’re judging and condemning. Ladies and gentlemen, never forget about all the things you have laid at the Lord’s feet and received forgiveness. Never forget.

Love people. Respect people.

You are the watchmen and some of you have children that you can train up to be watchmen. Trained them to love people first. Train them to respect people first. Train them to always treat people with love.

When I get to heaven I want my father to say “Barry, you didn’t do everything and you made a few mistakes but I'm proud of you son.” That's what I want to hear ladies and gentlemen. Please be watchmen for the body of Christ and for those who are not yet part of the family. Be watchmen. Don’t let people die on your watch!








 [BJ1]

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Satan's only hope

Sometimes sporting events are good analogies of spiritual principles. The Cincinnati Bengals’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the NFL playoffs is an example.

You had two teams that some believed were evenly matched. But in reality, Cincinnati was the superior team, except at the quarterback position. If you looked at their rosters, position by position and then the depth in those positions, Cincinnati – on paper – was the more talented team hands down.

When you listened to the analysts and play-by-play announcers, there was no doubt in their minds who was the better team. They talked about Cincinnati’s skilled positions (receivers, tight ends, running backs, etc.) and the speed at those positions and the overall team depth. Cincinnati would win this game even with a backup quarterback.

Pittsburgh also knew Cincinnati was the better team.

Don’t believe me? Then let’s look at Pittsburgh’s strategy.

Cincinnati had two players on defense who played with a great deal of “passion and aggressiveness.” Translation: their emotions would cause them to become reckless and make poor decisions at some point in the game.

One player was a young linebacker with a “fuse so short” he could burst into flames if, for example, he felt an opponent’s blocking was illegal and no flag is thrown.

Pittsburgh knew that.

The other player was a seasoned veteran whose life, before joining the team, was spiraling out of control because of poor off the field decisions.

Pittsburgh knew that too.

Throughout the game Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen and receivers blocked and pushed these two players – just a little past the whistle.

You could see them “jawing” (raising their voices and probably cursing) at these players – just a little past the whistle.

Everyone knows that talking is part of the game and I’m sure Pittsburgh “jawed” at all of the Cincinnati players and vice versa. But you could tell by their reactions that, at some point, the two Cincinnati players took what was being said personally.

Pittsburgh had identified their emotional buttons.

Whatever those buttons were Pittsburgh pushed them over and over again throughout the game. Why? They needed one of these players to become so focused on what was happening that he would forget about his job and the team’s game plan.

Pittsburgh used a strategy that, when executed properly, has predictable results: get into the opponent’s head and cause him to become so emotionally involved in what is happening to him that he self-destructs and hurts the team.

And it worked.

With less than 90 seconds to play and trailing 16-15, Pittsburgh starts deep in its own territory. After getting a first down, the culmination of all the “jawing” throughout the game pays off and changes the outcome of the contest.

Both the young linebacker and seasoned veteran commit 15 yard personal fouls on the same play. The 30 yards in penalties moved Pittsburgh, with seconds to play, from Cincinnati’s 47 to their 17. Pittsburgh kicked a field goal and won the game 18-16 as time expired.

The less talented team had overcome, not defeated, the more talented team.

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Cincinnati Bengals lost because two players had self-destruct.

Satan, the enemy of the soul, works on the body of Christ in much the same way.

He knows that “on paper” he has no shot at victory. He knows that the life that lives in us is capable of, listen to me, never experiencing defeat. He has to convince us to ignore that life and defeat ourselves – to self-destruct – and too many of us are obliged to do so.

Some of you may remember “The Flip Wilson Show.” One of the characters he played was Geraldine. When she got caught doing something wrong her response was “The devil made me do it.” The audience would howl!

But the reality is this: Satan cannot make you do anything if you are a born again child of God. He needs your cooperation in order to make the reality he desires for you a reality in your life. And he does this by “jawing” at you every day, all day until he finds an open door into your life.

Satan wants you to do what the Cincinnati players did.

Because the referee had not addressed “their issues” during the game, the constant “jawing” and resulting frustration led to the young linebacker and the seasoned veteran acting independently and outside the rules of the game and handling things themselves. The result: 30 yards in penalties.

Satan wants you to:

  • Act independently of your Heavenly Father’s plan for you.
  • Live outside the rules of the kingdom of God, where you are always the victor.
  • Handle your business rather than trust your Heavenly Father to be your father.
Let’s look at the one area where he influences Christians the most – finances.

Let’s say that each month when the bills (monthly living expenses) are due you seem to fall short of money. You find yourself paying your bills with credit cards or even skipping some payments. You know that the Bible says “For my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) and you want to believe it.

But Satan whispers “what the Bible says really isn’t true. After all, it hasn’t worked for you so far, has it?” “What you really need to do,” he says, “is pick up more overtime or, when push comes to shove, go out and find a second job. You have to take care of this because no one is going to help you and you don’t have time to wait on God” – you don’t have time to wait for the referee to call a penalty on the illegal block.

It’s a strategy that is as old as the Garden of Eden.

And like Eve, most of us listen to the enemy of the soul when we think “What can I do to take care of this [whatever “this” is]?” What you are really doing is following Eve’s example of unbelief: “God didn’t really mean what He said.”

Your Heavenly Father is asking you to believe that “the rules of the kingdom” will come to pass in your life if you simply trust Him. (I just heard in my spirit “Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.”)

Make this your confession

“I am fully persuaded – living in boundless faith – that what My Father says My Father will do.” (Acts 27:25, Romans 4:21)

One final thing.

Remember when you were growing up and another child said something you didn’t want to hear? You took your hands and covered your ears and said something like “la-la-la-la-la-la-la” until you drowned out the sound of the child’s voice.

In Matthew 21:16 Jesus asks “... Yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” He had just healed the blind and the lame in the temple. What He said is more striking when you read the verse in Psalm He’s referring to.

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings has thou ordained strength [“perfected praise” in Matthew] because of thine enemies, that thou mightiest still the enemy and the avenger.”

The word “still” means “cause to cease or rest.” When the enemy and the avenger are “jawing” in your ears, the Bible says that our Heavenly Father has given us the strength to shut them up and drown them out if we open our mouths and raise our voices and praise and worship our Lord and Savior!

When the enemy comes, stop and take a moment to praise and worship Jesus. When you do this, the enemy will be unable to cause you to self-destruct because you are no longer focused on the situation and what he’s doing. You have your eyes squarely on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). You have your eyes on your deliverer, your salvation!

Amen!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I would be rejected today

My pastor, Jim Martin, has given me the honor and privilege of editing the prophecies we receive in our church services during the year. I'm almost finished with 2015. The following prophecy, "I would be rejected today", was delivered on June 28 and as I read through it I felt the Lord impress upon me to share it with you. It's sobering yet encouraging. 

One of my favorite passages of scripture is 2 Timothy 2:1-2: "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."


I believe each of you are faithful to the call God has on your life. When you read the prophecy, if "other faithful men and women" come to mind, pray about sharing this prophecy with them. 


All of you have my respect and my love.


Barry



I would be rejected today 
2015-06-28

There are many of you, you look around in this world and you wonder what is it coming to? And I would say to you have you not read My Word? For if you’ve read My Word you [would] know what it’s coming to. Just read the book of Revelation. You know what it’s coming to.

So many of you feel great disappointment in things that are done within the governments of nations. But I would have you know that if you feel great disappointment, how much do you think I feel? You truly do not know how bad things are.

I want you to think about what happened when I came to earth.

  • I was born there.
  • I grew up there.
  • Then I began to minister.
  • I healed many, many, many people.
  • Miraculously I fed thousands of people.
  • I calmed storms.
  • I cast out devils.
  • Healings took place that people said could not take place.
  • Miracles happened.

I did all of these things in public, not in private. People saw what happened and yet, as you read, you see I was rejected.

I would ask you, what do you think would happen if I were to come back to earth now in My body? How do you think I would be received in your nation? If they rejected Me 2000 years ago, do you not understand I would be rejected today?

There are some who believe “Oh, if only Jesus were here to where people could see Him, they would believe.” Do you honestly think that is true? Oh there are some who would believe. But I want you to know, listen closely to Me, if I were to manifest in your nation, in My body, and if I were to do more good works as I did the first time that I was on earth – I would not be elected your president.

And there are those in the Church who would not even vote for Me. Some of them would say “But Christians have no business being involved in politics.” And yet there I would be, the king of kings, rejected again.

You are in a very bad situation. You cannot see the depth of the corruption, but I can. And I want you to know that one by one I’ve watched as those who are a part of My body are falling away. They’re turning on Me, departing and they’ll never be recovered. The number of those who are standing strong in Me is dwindling.

But I want you to think about what I said. Did not I say as it was in the days of Noah it would be the same at the end? What happened in the days of Noah? One by one those who yielded to Me, cried unto Me, [and] lived for Me died until Noah was the only one left. The same is happening today.

You’ve heard much preached about a remnant in the last days. You have no idea how true that is.

I need you to be strong in Me.

I need you to be strong in Me.

I need you to lay down your own agendas, to lay down religious traditions [and] completely sell out to who I am and to My Word.

I need you fully committed to Me so that I can work through you and together we will reach those who can still be reached, for there are millions, millions on earth who can still be harvested into My kingdom.

Let not your heart be troubled. I warned you that in this world you would have tribulation. And things are going to get worse. But did I not say that I have left My peace with you? My peace will sustain you through anything that happens. My peace will strengthen you to face whatever comes up. And so I want you to know My hand is upon you. My hand is upon this place.

Yes like you I would like to see more people here but I cannot force anyone to do anything. But I will work with those who are committed. And I will work with those who are dedicated. And I will bring things to pass that you have not yet seen.


My glory will rise among you. I will be known in your midst and you will glow with My glory in the realm of the spirit in this region. And even the devils will take note and tremble at the potential that you represent. So continue to press into Me and know you are not alone for I am there with you, says the Lord. 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Noah and the Flood (Part 3) – The Family's Promise


It's been nearly three years since I first began reading the Genesis account of the flood. I can't tell you the number of times I've read Genesis 6-9. Each time the Lord has pulled back a little more of the curtain to help me see and understand the account in a way I never imagined. 

He is developing an image in me of the story that I'm still praying out. I hesitate to use the word "story" because this is not fiction. It is a spiritually-inspired retelling of the Scriptural account. 

What you are about to read is what the Lord is birthing in me. I have no idea how long the process will take. I'm not in charge. I'm simply the vessel that is blessed to be used and I am looking forward to the journey. 


Noah sits and now his family sits. He looks at his sons. “How long has it been now Shem? A hundred years?” He looks at them and says, “Time passes and you forget a lot of things, and sometimes that’s a good thing.” They are nodding their heads in agreement. “But what the Lord did 100 years ago, I will never forget. How about you boys?” You could hear them say “No sir,” almost in unison.

Noah looks at his family. His face is stern. He slowly rises from his seat. He takes his staff in his right hand and slowly points to his family. It’s almost as if he’s following an invisible line from on one side of the meadow to the other. 

“And I don’t want you to forget either.” His voice is firm and commanding and increases with each admonition. “I tell this story year after year because when I’m gone, I want you to tell this story to your children and to your grandchildren and to their grandchildren!” 

He’s now pounding his staff, up and down, on the stone slab and it startles some of the little ones. They're crying as they rush into their mother's arms. The older children, who have heard the story many times before were talking and laughing. They are quiet now and looking at grandpa. He has their full attention.

“And when you’re gone I want your children to tell this story to their children and to their grandchildren,” he says, as he continues to pound his staff on the stone slab. He looks at the staff as he’s about to pound it again and stops. The tears are starting to flow freely again. He closes his eyes and breathes slowly to let the emotions pass. 

“This story,” he says slowly, deliberately and slightly above a whisper, “will not die with me. Do you hear me? It – will – not – die – with – me!" He looks at Shem, then Ham and then Japheth and says, "Promise me this! Promise me!” 

His family is silent. The seriousness of the occasion is sinking in – again. In the silence, Shem stands. All eyes are now focused on him. He looks at Ham and Japheth and nods and they slowly stand. “You have our word father,” he says. The eldest son has spoken for the family.

Noah takes a moment to look at his family and then he sits. He closes his eyes just for a moment and then looks up toward heaven and sighs. "The story must be told again Lord," he says in a soft whisper as he wipes away the last of the tears. He will tell it again because, for Noah, it’s a story of necessity.


To be continued