“And Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  Mark 9:23

The difficulty of God’s people maintaining a working faith is a very real one. No question that we truly love the Lord, and we may have good devotional habits and lead disciplined prayer lives, but not all of us are sure of our faith at a time when prevailing faith is vital. The truth is, we all have the faith that it takes … even to move mountains … because the Word tells us that the measure of faith was placed in us at the moment of our salvation. The problem is, it does not always seem to rise up as triumphant faith; that is, we have it but at certain times we do not seem able to put it to work.

Beloved, there is an answer to this apparent dilemma, and I believe it is found in something the Bible speaks of more than anything else in the realm of God’s relationship to man: Praise! That’s right. The Word admonishes us to develop a lifestyle of praise to almighty God. The Scriptures reveal the entire universe, animate and inanimate, as one grand chorus of praise to the Creator. Walk out into your yard on a beautiful morning and what do you hear? The exciting chirping and singing of birds in every direction, offering up songs of praise to their Maker and Provider.

Psalm 145:10, “All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee.” (KJV). The Word also tells us that praise is the highest occupation of the angels. According to Revelation 4:8, praise is going forth in heaven unceasingly. Thus, praise must have some supreme and extraordinary value.

I am not referring to corporate praise that you enter into during worship services at church. That certainly has its place as the Holy Spirit directs, because it is praise with the fellowship of believers that raises the level of expectancy and causes your faith to reach out to receive.

But my reference here is to a personal life of praise. It certainly seems logical that if the highest function of the angels of God is to praise, then the highest duty of the human spirit should also be to praise. I am convinced it must be praise. The predominant goal of every believer is to come as close as possible to the beautiful character of Jesus. Praise and worship to almighty God causes us to move steadily in that direction. The Apostle Paul describes it perfectly when he speaks of our moving “from glory to glory,” and it is a continuing process all the way into eternity.

According to psychiatric medicine, the foundational cause of most nervous and mental disorders is pre-occupation with self; with personal ego and self-centeredness. When personality becomes ego-centered it disintegrates; the effect of that process is defensiveness; then hostility, followed by aggressive, anti-social behavior. The result is mental illness. In view of this, the words of Jesus in Luke 9:24 makes real sense; “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it – but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (KJV).

Herein lies the value of praise … it decentralizes self. The praise and worship of God demands a shift from self to God. And when praise becomes a way of life, God truly moves into the center of our life’s every moment; our personality integrates with Him. Stresses and strains disappear and the result is mental wholeness. Now your faith can rise and move into action, and you can believe for all things! Praise is not a religious form. It is a practical and rewarding occupation – invented by God, not just for His glory, but for our blessing and health.

Isn’t God smart?

What Do You Call Jesus?

photo courtesy of Sunpath @

“And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell        — Colossians 1:18-19

Where does Jesus fit into your life? All of us who profess the Christian faith like to say that He is first, but is He really? In our day-in, day-out living does He have “pre-eminence in all things” as the text scripture indicates is the will of the Father?

The scriptures reveal Jesus as a man with many titles. That is not really surprising when you consider the scope of His ministry. How do you describe someone who is a Lamb and Lion, Cloud and Sun, Shepherd and Lamb, Water and Fire, King and Servant? He is, of course, all of the above, plus Savior, Healer, and Provider. But the most repeated title in the New Testament, and the best loved by the disciples was “Lord.”

Lord means master, owner, and possessor – one who has maximum authority. In view of this definition, we ask the question another way. “Is Jesus the Lord of your life?” The Bible tells us that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. And through this gracious work that we call “salvation through the Blood of Jesus,” He has placed in us a state of holiness. In other words, He has given to us the capacity to reach and maintain exalted heights of holiness. You see, righteousness comes only from Jehovah God, through Jesus Christ. Holiness, on the other hand, is a matter of personal conduct. We make the choice to live and walk in holiness by and through His strength in us.

The primary motivation for maintaining a state of holiness in our lives is actually having Jesus as the Lord of our lives. If He is not pre-eminent, there is no desire to be holy, no motivation to die to self, no desire at all to “take up the cross and follow Him. The question has been asked, “Can Spirit-filled Christians get together in one place, sing and praise with uplifted hands, and still have Christ walking among them as a stranger, virtually unrecognized?”

Sadly, the answer is yes. Consider the Israelites. They gathered every Sabbath to speak His name as the prophets had spoken it so many times in their writings. They sang praises to Jehovah God, who, through the prophets, gave the promises; they spoke the Messiah’s name with awe, great reverence, and anticipation. Then when He came and walked among them, He was unrecognized and rejected as a stranger.

A recent media statistic reported that church attendance in America is on the increase. We look around us and see magnificent structures filled with multitudes that ostensibly claim the Christian faith. We rejoice that they are in church, yet the question will not go away. “How many of these precious souls really know Jesus as Lord, total Owner and Master?”

And although church attendance is increasing, we see no real increase in active faith and trust in the Lord during troubled times. Could it be that our ability to believe and trust His promises to bless and meet our every need is closely related to our willingness to make Jesus Lord of our life?

So, is He Lord of your life? Does He, in all things, have pre-eminence? Is He the ultimate King in your temple? It makes all the difference in the world. For to truly have the fullness of the Spirit and overcoming faith is to have the fullness of Christ. We make the choice!

Guest Post: ‘Healing Through Praying in Tongues


CROSS & DOVE - GOSPELGIFS 2012 darkerMany people do not realize that the ability to pray in tongues is also a very valuable tool when seeking healing from the Lord. Of course, this gift comes with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, because so many in the Body of Christ have been taught that the baptism in the Holy Spirit and tongues are not for today, those Christians do not have the opportunity to take advantage of this avenue to health.

It is not the purpose of this book to teach a lesson on tongues, so we will limit the explanation to the following: There are two different categories of tongues spoken of in the Word of God. One is the gift described in 1 Corinthians 12, which includes both tongues for personal prayer and for giving messages from the Lord in public meetings.

When used for giving public messages, the tongues must be accompanied by interpretation, and scripture explains that tongues used in that category are not necessarily available to everyone all the time. The gift of tongues for messages, along with the gift of interpretation are operated, like all the other nine gifts of the Spirit, and they are manifested only as the Spirit wills. The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 14 gives detailed explanations of how these gifts should be used in public meetings.

However, the second category – tongues for personal use – is given to all believers and, whether or not those believers make use of this gift is entirely up to each person. We must be careful to understand that even if we do not find ourselves used to give public messages in tongues, we have Jesus’ word of promise that we will have access to tongues for personal prayer equally with every other believer. Mark 16:15-17 tells us clearly,

Now, the word translated in English as “tongues” is actually the Greek word which means “languages not learned through natural means.” So, in other words, a totally supernatural gift from the Lord that bypasses our intellect.

The Lord explains, through the words of St. Paul, in Romans 8:2-27, that often “we do not know how to pray as we should.” And, of course, many people, when they are suffering physically, find it hard to pray as effectively as they need to pray. But God has a solution to this problem, and verse 26 tells us that His Holy Spirit helps us pray through utterances too deep for words. (The literal Greek here says “groanings or utterances too deep for articulate speech.”)

St. Paul, through the Holy Spirit, goes on to tell us in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that he wishes we would all pray much in tongues. And he makes clear in verse 14 of that chapter that when we pray in tongues, our minds are not involved – only our spirits. It is true that our minds must make the decision to allow our spirit to be in charge of our prayer, so that we release our tongue to speak the utterances the Holy Spirit gives us, but other than making that decision of the will, the mind has no part to play. As a result of that fact, our own mind, our own lack of understanding of medical conditions, and our own fears are shut out, and our spirit – helped by the Holy Spirit – takes over our prayers.

But possibly one of the most exciting truths in this passage of Scripture is what we learn in verses 2 and 4 of chapter 14. Verse 2 tells us that when we pray in tongues, we speak mysteries to God. He can also speak mysteries back to us because He’s in charge of the language. We must do the actual physical speaking, but He provides what’s being said in the sounds we make. But since we’re speaking mysteries, not only does our un-renewed mind stay out of the picture, but so does the enemy of our souls, because he can’t understand what we’re saying either.

But wait: It still gets better. Verse 4 tells us that the one who prays in tongues edifies himself. Now, most people consider that verse to mean that we build ourselves up spiritually. And, of course, we do, but that’s not the total benefit. The word translated “edify” means “to build or repair the house.” Now, let that sink in: your spirit is praying (with the language provided by the Holy Spirit), and that prayer is building/repairing your spirit’s house. And what is that house? That’s right – it’s your physical body. A number of Christians have learned that healing – especially for seriously troubling or obstinate maladies – can come successfully through praying in tongues. I know of situations where nothing else seemed to bring the desired manifestation, but praying at length in the language given by the Holy Spirit accomplished the work and brought forth the miracle.

As we’ve said each time we’ve discussed one of the means of healing that God prescribes in His Word, these means and these practices are not formulas. They do not work because we follow a list of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s. They are each an avenue that God has provided to get His healing power into us, and they work successfully when we dig into the Word and prayer and let God lead us to the specific means that is right for each of our situations at that particular time.

* Excerpt from Healing Is For You! by Sandra Pavloff Conner

Graphic: © Jim Sutton @


Intercession: Our Nation’s Security

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”     — I Timothy 2:1-2


As a nation that operates under the banner of a democracy, its citizens have a fundamental right to discuss, and even peaceably argue, the pros and cons of how the government is being directed. There are those who support and even love the president, while others are convinced his election was a monumental mistake. Members of the legislative branch — the U.S. Congress — likewise have their cheerleaders and booing sections.

In this entire flurry of disagreement and unsettling politics, just what is the responsibility of the born again Christian? What is he to do in the midst of all the political chaos? In our text Scripture, the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, answers that question with specific instructions: we are to make it a priority to Pray for our nation and all who are in authority!

But you can hear someone from the back row: “Why should I pray for this president? I didn’t vote for him; if I prayed anything, it would be to get him out, etc.” Why should we pray for our leaders? Verse two of our text answers, “So we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.”  Pretty good reason, don’t you think?

Living a quiet and peaceable life means that a nation as a whole is headed in the right direction, filled with a contented and prosperous people walking in the light and love of God. And living in that environment is a divine signal that God’s plan for the land is moving forward.

So what would that plan be? Verse four of 1 Timothy, chapter 2 says God would “have all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.” So here is the crowning reason God wants His people to pray — so the Gospel can be preached and the lost brought into the Kingdom of God.

Satan has pulled out all the stops, and as far as the United States is concerned, he has made some startling headway. I believe that the assignment has been handed to us, the Christians in the land, to determine if the enemy will continue to succeed. There is no question that if we obey the Biblical admonition to pray for our nation and those in authority, a holy standard will rise up against him.

There is a classic example in the Old Testament where God demonstrates His willingness to respond to intercessory prayer. In Genesis 18, the Lord announced that He was ready to destroy the city of Sodom because of its wickedness. Abraham had family interests there, and the Scriptures say he immediately humbled himself before the Lord and began to intercede. He could have easily “minded his own business”, but instead, he prayed and interceded — for others!

“Lord, if 50 righteous are found in the city, will you destroy them along with the wicked?” The Lord replied, “If I find 50 righteous within the city, I will spare the whole place on their account.”

“How about, Lord, if there are 45?”

“If I find 45, I will spare it.”

“Will you spare it for 40?’

“Yes I will!”

“I know I’m pressing you, Lord, but how about if there are 30 — will you spare it?”

“Yes I will,” answered the Lord. “Please don’t get angry with me, Lord, but what if there are only 20?”

“I will not destroy them if there are 20 righteous in the city.”

“One more time, Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Will you spare the city for the sake of only 10 righteous?”

“Yes”, the Lord replied, “I will spare the entire city if only 10 righteous are found.”

And here Abraham stopped — and I wish he hadn’t. I believe if Abraham had pursued the matter all the way to just one righteous, he would have heard the Lord say, “Yes, I will spare the city for just one righteous person.” But Abraham stopped at 10, and herein lies a lesson for us.

Often when interceding, we stop too quickly — never reaching that point where we know in our spirits that we have asked for God’s best, in full confidence that He will keep His promises. Think about it. He promised to change things for just 10 people; and Jesus told us that under the new covenant “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them.”  (Matthew 18:19).

The great John Wesley once wrote, “I am convinced that God does nothing in the realm of man except in answer to believing prayer!” I believe that God is looking for those who will humble themselves and seek Him with all their hearts on behalf of our nation and its leaders. Any time you feel like criticizing — Stop — and Pray instead. God will move as His people obey His admonition: “Pray … that you may lead a quiet and peacable life.”



Be Not Afraid!

“For God has not given us the spirit of  fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”                                                                                                      2 Tim. 1:7.

Perhaps you have heard the humorous description of the lady who could never come to grips with her fears. She confessed that she always felt her worst at the times she felt best, because she knew and dreaded how awful she was going to feel when she felt bad again. Have you ever known that kind of person?

I had a friend many years ago who could never enjoy a beautiful spring day because of the stormy weather he “knew” was just around the corner and would surely strike any day. To the greeting, “Isn’t this a beautiful day, Chuck?” He would invariably respond, “Yeah, but when we get it we’re really going to get it.” Wherever this dear soul was, the aspirin bottle was always within reach, and I don’t recall that he ever had a truly happy day. And he was a professing Christian. Unusual? Not at all. Many Christians today are dominated or noticeably influenced by fears.

To some degree, every person reading these words has been to that barren wasteland called “fear.” And that is exactly what it is: a wasteland. Fear never builds, it never enhances, and it never blooms into anything beautiful. And when fear makes an appearance, it goes about systematically turning everything good into a wasteland. All over the land, day and night, we are fed a super dose of things to be fearful about: fear for our country, fear for our schools, fear for our children, fear of disease, fear of losing a job, fear of not getting a job — fear everywhere and about everything imaginable.

But for the Christian, there is an answer for fear in every phase of our lives. The Bible tells us explicitly that fear does not come from God. The Word calls fear a spirit, and considering its destructive force, it is easy to recognize it as an evil spirit. And since Jesus passed on his authority over evil spirits to the disciples and the believers after them (that’s us!), that translates into our ability to cast fear out and keep it out by exercising that authority. The text Scripture supports this truth by telling us we have been given the spirit of power and love and a mind that is anything but shy. And all of these attributes are part of Jesus! Hallelujah!

One night in the midst of a vicious storm on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were on the edge of death and screamed out in terror. At His altar of prayer on the mountain, Jesus saw their plight through the all Seeing Eye of God and came to the rescue. God had already made provision for the safety of the disciples, just as He has, through Jesus, made provision for our total salvation; which includes healing, deliverance, provision, and safety. We must set our minds on Him as our total source. We must believe and act on His words that tell us, “Speak to this mountain (of fear) … and as you believe, you will receive.”

Go to work on the fears you are carrying with you. Hear those same words Jesus spoke on the sea as they ring from His throne of intercession, “Be of good cheer. It is I … be not afraid!”

And may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. In the Name of Jesus our Messiah, Amen!

Plumbing the Depths of Christmas

Exif JPEGDo we really know the depth of the meaning of Christmas? For many, it’s the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, but that birth was just the beginning of a massive plan prepared by God the Father before the foundation of the world. (1 Peter 1;19-20). Yes, God had a plan from the beginning to deliver man from sin and all of sin’s cousins. Then down through the centuries, from the day of Adam and Eve, God continually spoke to His prophets, telling them that a Messiah was coming, and to advise all of God’s people to look for Him.

And, finally, Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” So Christmas is really just the beginning of the culmination of the master plan of God begun before He even created us.

Actually, 337 times in the Old Testament, He foretold of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, and here is just a short sample of what He told His covenant people to look for:

1 – He who is to come will be a prophet like Moses. Deuteronomy 18: 15,18

2 – He will be the Son of God. Psalm 2:7

3 – He will be of the tribe of Judah (A Jew) Genesis 49:10

4 – He will be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14

5 – He will be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2

6 – He will be rejected, despised and forsaken. Isaiah 53:3

7 – He would be silent. Isaiah 53:7

8 – He would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9

9 – He would be tried and condemned. Isaiah 53:8

10 – He would be crucified with his hands and feet pierced. Psalm 22:16,18

11 – He will be our sacrifice. Isaiah 53:5-6

12 – He will be raised from the dead. Psalm 16:10

Why did He speak all of these words and over two hundred more to His people? Because He cared for them. He did not create man to be lost and separated from Him. Here is a glaring example of the goodness and love of God.

He wanted to redeem fallen man. And for Jesus to be the Word made flesh, that Word had to be spoken by the prophets into this world. As God spoke through these prophets, He was giving people hope so that they would have something wonderful to look forward to. What was to come was no more animal sacrifices, no more living in doubt and fear.

The Messiah Jesus would be the once and for all sacrifice for the whole world.

Christmas is more important than all of the outside glimmer we are used to. Christmas is the culmination of all that God said about the Savior to come. We celebrate with glimmer and lights – nothing wrong with that. But we also celebrate Christmas because we recognize that Jesus actually “came down” for us.

He “came down” so that one day we might “go up”.

He “came down” to a lowly stable so we can one day have a mansion.

Simple shepherds welcomed Him to earth, so that one day angels will welcome us into His presence.

He “came down” to put the devil completely out of business.

God has not changed. He wants us to reap and enjoy the benefit of Christmas, and to rejoice in our Savior who came to deliver us from sin, sickness, and everything the devil tries to throw at us.

Because of Christmas, we are overcomers.  KAVOD! GLORY!


Advent Attitudes

ADVENT WREATH - SHARON BAPTIST“For the coming of the Son of man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. And they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away. So shall the coming of the Son of man be. Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:37-42

The four week period before Christmas in the Christian church calendar is known as Advent. The purpose is to underscore and celebrate the Advent-or soon arrival- of the Christ child at Bethlehem. Denominational churches throughout the world, particularly liturgical churches, will recognize this season with special services and programs.

This is certainly a fitting recognition of a great historical event. But our purpose here is to center your attention upon an Advent period not restricted to four specific weeks out of the year, but unrestricted and constant in these last days. It is the Advent of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to claim His Bride; and then, after a short season, the return to earth with that Bride to establish His great Millennial Kingdom.

What a day that will be! This time He will not arrive as a baby; He will not be despised, accused, beaten, spit upon and finally brutally murdered. He will be in full regalia as a conqueror, His royal insignia shouting, “Behold, the King of kings and Lord of Lords –before whom every knee will bow!” We are now in the Advent season of His soon return. Do you believe that? If we accept the reality of that statement, it is incumbent upon us to develop and maintain a spiritual attitude that points in that direction. Remember, the scriptures tell us that He is coming for those who are expecting Him. That translates to believing that He is coming, and will appear at any moment!

To help us develop that high level of expectancy and preparation, we are listing thirteen “Advent Attitudes” with applicable scripture references. Read them, study them, absorb them, until they become an integral part of your walk of faith.

1 – Believe His coming: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 This is not a fad or a theory, but a reality and vital part of our faith. This is not a simple statement, it is a promise. All of the promises of God are yes and Amen in Christ Jesus!

2 – Pray for His coming: Matthew 6:10, Revelation 22:20 Intercession for His coming motivates us to a deeper commitment to holiness and service.

3 – Love His coming: 2Timothy 4:8 “…to all those who have loved and longed for His coming.” Are you caught up in the madness of this world, or does the Advent of His coming cause you to fall deeper in love with Him?

4 – Preach His coming: 2 Timothy 4:2,1 The soon return of our Lord for His Bride is a vital part of the message we must declare.

5 – Watch for His coming: 1Thessalonians 5:6 Part of our faith walk includes being awake, sober and full of expectancy.

6- Expect His coming: Romans 6:19,23 Here the Apostle Paul urges us to eagerly anticipate His soon coming, and to welcome the first indication of it.

7-: Mark 13:35; Titus 2:13 The word “looking” as used in this text carries the double meaning of separation and expectation. Re: Hebrews 12:2

8- Wait for His coming: 1Thessalonians 3:5 The margin here reads “…the patience of Christ.” Patiently our Lord awaits the Father’s signal to come after His Bride. We are to manifest that same patience here on earth.

9 – Do not despise His coming: 2Peter 3:3,4 This may sound like a strange statement, but scoffers abound today. Many who professed belief in His coming are cynically asking, “Where is He?” Some do not believe in the Rapture and reject any approach to prophecy. That is “despising” His coming.

10 – Hasten His coming: 2Peter 3:12 Literally translated this reads “expecting and hastening”.

11 – Live in the power of His coming: 2Peter 1:16 The confidence in the soon return of our Lord is not just a spiritual luxury, but a source of real power for daily living and life.

12 – Live His coming: Philippians 3:20 It is not sufficient for us to grasp this truth – it must grasp us!

13 – Be unashamed at His coming: 1John 2:28 We saints must never be ashamed of this truth, or be a shame to it. On that day, many Christians will meet Christ with a saved soul, but so ashamed of their non-works of “wood, hay, and stubble” that they will feel like shrinking away in shame.  We would rather hear, “WELL DONE, MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. ENTER IN TO YOUR REWARD!”

Happy Advent!
A Merry and Blessed Christmas!