Keep Your Inheritance

When God gives you something, He expects you to keep it and use it to bless others.

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Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

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What has God given you?  What is it that belongs to you through covenant?  Whatever it is, whatever may be on that wonderful list belongs to you.  And if it belongs to you, then you are responsible for it, to keep it, to treasure it, to guard it, and to use it for the glory of God to be a blessing to you and all those you serve.  When you were born again, when you asked for Holy Ghost, Father gave it to you as a gift.  Healing, deliverance, and full provision is yours as a part of the gift of salvation.  None of these remarkable gifts were given to you by Father to lose, but so you could live in victory and enjoy a life filled with all things that pertain to life and godliness, and live that life as a witness.

Our Text for Today in absolutely priceless in its revelation to any believer who will believe it and act on it.  Understand this truth.  Whatever God has given you, Satan desires to steal.  He has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy, and anyone with a gift from God becomes one of his prime targets.  Father knows this, and so should you.  Because of that, Father has provided you with tools that, when properly applied, will enable you to keep, enjoy, and utilize for His glory every gift Father has given you.

Now look closely at our Text for Today once again.  It is the Word of God, called here “the Word of His grace,” that is “able to build you up.”  When you join this to Jude 20, you have a combination of divine empowerments that cannot be defeated.  In Jude 20 we read that when you pray in the Spirit (pray in tongues), that you build yourself up on your most holy faith.  In both passages, it is your responsibility to build yourself up; to strengthen and fortify yourself.  God’s weapons are not carnal, fleshly, or weak in any way.  They are supernatural, and supernaturally powerful.  What the believer needs is the ability to use those weapons at the highest possible level.  Your faith is not your problem.  Jesus authored and finished it, and gave it to you.  And He did not give you anything less than the best.  Learn to use what He has given to you to the best.  There is where the victory waits.

Manna for Today – Acts 20:17-38; Joshua 1:6-9; 1 Kings 21:3; Proverbs 4:20-23; Isaiah 55:8-13;       Luke 11:13; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 20-21

 

 

 

 

Wolf Packs

When the Word is sown, Satan comes immediately to steal it (Mark 4:15).

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Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

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Take a moment and read our Text for Today again.  Let’s look closely at what Paul said, and in that look, determine what we should be seeing in churches and ministries today.  Note first that Paul said, “For I know this.”  He didn’t say, “I believe this,” or “I think this,” or “This could happen.”  This is something about which he had knowledge from Holy Ghost and by matching experience.  And what was it that he knew?

He knew that when he departed, “grievous wolves” would enter into the churches and ministries to destroy and devour the sheep.  If you would take a moment and look at Mark 4, you would see this dynamic truth set forth through the words of Jesus Himself.  Jesus said that when the Word of God is sown into a person’s life, Satan would come immediately to steal that Word that was sown.  The bottom line here is this.  If God said it, that settles it.  When we read the words of Paul in our Text for Today, we are reading a reiteration of Messiah’s words.

All that being stated, and truly so, a question arises.  Is the truth of God’s Word being spoken from the pulpits of our churches, and are those same words flowing through operating ministries today?  Why would I ask such a question?  The answer is simple, and should be startling.  If, note I said “If,” a man of God is truly delivering the Word of God to the people, we know that when he departs from that pulpit, wolves are coming to destroy and devour the sheep.  Whether it is after church service on Sunday morning where the pastor has spoken, or after a guest minister has spoken once or for a series of services, how often do we hear them give this warning that Paul gave?  I can tell you I’ve heard it very few times in my seventy years of living.

I am not writing today to judge the reason why such a warning is not regularly given by those who speak for the Lord.  I am writing to state plainly, especially to any minister or speaker for the Kingdom of God, it’s high time to state a clear warning to God’s people.  If you are speaking the truth of God’s Word, you should warn God’s people.  If you are speaking the truth of God’s Word, Satan will come to steal that Word by any means possible; (1) outright steal it, (2) bring persecutions and afflictions for the Word’s sake, or (3) bring in the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things.  If you’re speaking the truth of God’s Word, when you step away, wolf packs are waiting to attack God’s people.  Warn them!

Manna for Today – Acts 20:17-38; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 10:16; Luke 10:3

Pure from Men’s Blood

How little does it take to make the pure impure?

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Acts 20:26-27 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

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I urge you to take the time to read Acts 20:17-38 for a fuller view of what Paul was saying.  Then come back to our Text for Today.  In his own words, Paul said he was “pure from the blood of all men for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”  Do you see the words, “for I have?”  This statement of Paul could have been stated in this manner; “I am pure from the blood of all men because I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”  Look at it once more, for you need to see with clarity what Paul was saying.  He was clearly stating that the reason he could say he was “pure from the blood of all men,” was because he had been diligent to proclaim the whole counsel of God.

He did not say he was pure from the blood of all men because he had done everything perfectly, or because he had not angered or offended certain people.  It was not because he was a flawless human being, already having achieved outward perfection in Christ.  It was not because he was a flawless grammarian, or such an eloquent speaker.  The reason he made such a statement is completely singular in substance and cause.  Paul said it was because he had not failed, or shunned to declare unto those to whom he preached, “all the counsel of God.”  And the “counsel of God” about which Paul spoke came from the revelation God had given him.  He did not preach the revelation of someone else.

It is from that understanding that I now write.  Paul was not sharing the revelation of Peter, James, John, Luke, or Jude.  We know he was aware of at least some of what they wrote, but his preaching came from his own revelation.  I don’t know of any minister today that KNOWS IT ALL.  All those I DO know will tell you they know SOME things.  Many of us may say some, or many, of the same things.  That is because the revelation each of us possesses, though coming THROUGH the teaching and ministry of others, came FROM Holy Ghost.  But there are some things against which we must guard.  When we speak, we should speak from that revelation WE HAVE TRULY RECEIVED from God, regardless of the channel.  It simply is not fruitful to declare another man’s revelation.  It may sound good.  It may have received a great response from those who heard it.  But that does not license one to preach it.  Before you preach it, make sure it has truly been revealed to you by Holy Spirit.

Manna for Today – Acts 20:17-38; Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; Matthew 12:34-37; Romans 3:4

Strategic Meetings

You’ve heard it said, “Sometimes, it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

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Acts 20:14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.

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If you want to travel fast, go alone.  If you want to travel far, go with a team.  I know that’s probably not an exact quote,  but it clearly makes the point.  We need one another.  Paul wrote that one part of the body cannot say to another part of the body, “I don’t need you.”  He also said that the head cannot say to the foot, “I don’t need you.”  From those words, think on this; Jesus is the Head of the body.  If Jesus cannot say to any part of the body, “I don’t need you,” then surely, we need one another.  Let that sink into your thinking.  We need one another.

The people you know are important elements of your life.  Don’ you think it to be wise that one would seek to have people in his life that strengthen him, protect him, speak truth to him, instruct him in right things, lead him in the right directions, and encourage him in the right matters?  I encourage you to pay close attention to the people around you.  As a human being living in this world, you will have all kinds of people around you, perhaps daily.  You can’t stop that.  But you can monitor the kind of people you allow to get close to you, and if they do not meet certain standards, you do not allow them into your inner circles of influence.

Stop and think about it for a moment.  Jesus was that way about His ministry.  As it regards eternal life, His love for us is so great that He has offered it to “whosoever will.”  And while He is not looking for perfection in those He calls to certain roles of ministry, He does have certain levels of expectation.  He does not accept novices into certain arenas of ministry.  And there were times when those who had been anointed, lost that anointing.  Consider King Saul, who according to the Scriptures, was rejected from being king for disobedience.

Whom you know is important to you, for they area those with whom you meet most often.  No, it may not be a scheduled office meeting, but when you connect with them, those meetings are strategic for your life.  Guard yourself.  Be selective about whom you allow into your life, especially about those whom you allow to get close to you.  Yes, you are the light of the world.  But remember, lights can be put out by the mis-handling of their source or intended purpose.  Choose your acquaintances, and especially your friends, wisely.  As much as possible, make every one of them strategic; important; meaningful.  Live a strategic life.

Manna for Today – Acts 20:7-16; Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 18:19-20; Proverbs 11:14; Acts 15:25-28

Some Lessons to Learn

Sleep can be so wonderful.  It can also be costly.  Through it all, there is God.

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Acts 20:9-10 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.  And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

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From the very beginning today, I urge you to read the complete passage of Acts 20:7-16 so that you might see a full picture of what we are discussing.  At the center of the story we see, someone fell asleep.  Ah, sweet sleep.  In his speaking to a particular gathering of people, Paul had become (what we call) long-winded.  He began speaking at mealtime (probably around 6 PM), and preached until midnight.  That was probably five hours of preaching at that point.  Lesson to learn – if God has given you something to say, say it, and don’t stop until you’re finished.

Around midnight, Eutychus, having fallen asleep, fell from a lofty window to his death.  Lesson to learn – it makes no difference how powerful or important a message from the Lord is, people are people, and they can go to sleep, even at important times.

When it was discovered that the fall had killed Eutychus, Paul was not dismayed, but rather went into action.  He was available to Holy Ghost.  He went down to the body and embraced it.  Then he made a powerful statement of faith.  He said, “His life is in him.”  Lesson to learn – even at the most tragic of moments, when what has happened, be it human error or demonic attack, let nothing distract you from the mission you are on for the Lord.  This is a hard statement, but when we refuse to be distracted, keeping the Lord as our primary focus, that exaltation of Him will provoke Him to move supernaturally.

The Scriptures teach that when the Word is sown, Satan will come immediately to steal that Word from your heart.  While the fall of Eutychus likely had nothing to do with demonic influence (he simply fell asleep while sitting in a comfortable place after a great meal), his death could certainly be used by Satan as a great distraction to steal the Word from all the hearers.  But Paul’s action kept focus on the Lord and the Word, which according to Romans 1:16, is the power of God unto salvation.  Lesson to learn – let nothing take your attention from the Word of God.  It is your life, your health, your provision, your faith deliverer and builder, and your armor.  Hold fast to it at all times.  It is life to you, and health to all your flesh.  Distractions come only to get your focus on problems and away from the solution – the Word.

Manna for Today – Acts 20:7-16; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1-6; Mark 4; Proverbs 4:20-23; Luke 1:37

Never Travel Alone

It is not good to travel alone, especially in the work of the ministry.

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Acts 20:4-5 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.  These going before tarried for us at Troas.

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It has been said that if you want to travel fast, go alone, but if you want to enjoy the journey, take someone with you.  With more than 48 years of ministry behind me, I can tell you that statement is accurate.  It is a simple truth.  Not only is the journey more enjoyable with companionship, especially if your companions are loyal members of your team, but the potential outcome is multiplied in its measure and effectiveness.  That it defined primarily by two terms; agreement and synergy.

Agreement arises from the Greek word for symphony.  Consider a symphony for a moment; many players, many different instruments, a conductor, different notes, different sounds, different tones, and yet when played properly, it might be said that everyone involved, form the conductor to the least frequently used percussionist is on the same page.

The other word is synergy.  A synergy might be more clearly understood when we say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Allow me two examples.  First, consider a great ship like the aircraft carrier U.S.S Ronald Reagan.  How many tens of thousands of parts does it take to make up that gigantic ship?  I have no idea of the number.  But the truth is, none of the parts, or even all the parts in a pile achieve the status or importance of the collective of the parts when all of them are assembled in their proper relationship to one another.  Second, consider the effectiveness of a team.  Studies have shown that a flock of geese flying together can fly seventy percent farther in one flight that one goose can fly alone.

Now put the terms together.  Imagine the quality and quantity of work that can be accomplished when synergy (all the respective parts filling their respective roles in a quality a manner as possible), and agreement (each member of the team playing his part according to the task assigned to him, all the while being in the same tuning and tempo as every other part) come together.  The potential of that is impressive indeed.  Paul understood this principle, though he may not have used the same terms.  Not only did he understand it, he put it into practice and taught it to those who shared in his ministry.  In our Text for Today, he was accompanied by seven brethren at the beginning of his journey.  And when his ministry is examined, we see these principles carried out, and having their impact on the success of his work.  There may be times when you need to be alone, but try to make sure travel is not one of them.  Enjoy the journey, and make your travel companions a witness of your character.

Manna for Today – Acts 20:1-6; Amos 3:3; Matthew 18:19-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Mark 6:7

Where is Our Conviction in Praise?

When did it become improper to sing the same praise song more than two or three times?

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Acts 19:34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

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Something I have witnessed in our modern church troubles me.  We seem to have moved from under-standing the need to truly praise our God into an arena where entertainment of the congregation is the objective.  I must say that this phenomenon troubles me greatly.  I tell you deliberately and boldly, this ought not be in the church of the Lord Jesus.

Take a moment to re-read our Text for Today.  Consider the actions of a city, largely populated with a polytheistic group of unbelievers.  They considered Diana as the principle goddess of Ephesus.  In their darkness, worshipping a false god who had never made any sacrifice for them, they were willing to stand in defense of her, and shout with one voice, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” for a space of two hours.  And yet in our churches today, where we say that we worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and living first begotten Son of God who paid with the sacrifice of His Own body and blood, for our complete redemption, but find it difficult to have a praise service more than 30-minutes long, and in that we must sing four or five well-accompanied songs.  I know this speaks to some level of indictment towards the church, but as an old adage states, if the shoe fits, wear it.

I ask you to consider the following questions.  What is wrong with honoring, praising, and worshipping our God for hours, perhaps singing only one, or perhaps two songs?  Are we so focused on ourselves that we dare not risk boring the people who largely come to watch and listen to the music in our churches?  Have we come to a state of existence in which the congregation has become an audience, and the praise leaders have become entertainers?

Let us once again turn our hearts the Lord in true worship; worship that is in spirit and in truth.  Let us once again shout to the Lord in triumph, give honor to His Name.  No, it’s not about how many songs we sing or do not sing, nor is it about the time spent in the act.  It is about sincerity of purpose and intent of heart.  And when our thinking is right, and sincerity of purpose and intent of heart is right, we won’t care how many, or few, songs we sing, or the amount of time we invest in that glorious act.  It will all be about honoring Him.  Let us enter in to honor Him.  He is worthy of all praise, and He has made us worthy to be called the children of God.  So, praise the Lord, all ye people.  Shout unto God with the voice of triumph!

Manna for Today – Acts 19:21-41; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 150:6; John 4:23

Something to Do With Money

What role does money play in your life?

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Acts 19:24-25 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

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The Scriptures tell us that the love of money is the root of all evil.  Money is not evil.  The desire to have money for the right purposes is not evil.  But when we love money, we have become a self-centered, self-absorbed, self-serving people.  In this present world, money is needed.  It is the currency of our land, and in some form or another, the currency of the world.  Whether dollars, or pesos, or cidis, or shillings, or solis, or marks, or francs, or pounds.  It is currency, money, that we use to purchase what we need, pay for services, or anything else that needs to be done in the economic arena.  We need money.

In our Text for Today, we can see that Demetrius, a silversmith, and many other craftsmen of his particular metal, silver, had become quite wealthy in their work.  They worked the silver, but it was the money that it provided that they held.  It was the currency they held, regardless of the nation from which it came, that determined their wealth.  So, when someone came along, and in their words, actions, and ministry, appeared to be attacking their means to the wealth they had accrued, they were perceived as threats to their business, income, and future.   With regards to human beings, nothing has changed, even in our modern word.  Think of this.  Many thugs on our streets have had Christian influence in their lives.  Many secular singers, including rap and some of the most vulgar music imaginable, have had Christian influence in their lives.  Many actors, athletes, and other famous people have had Christian influence in their lives.  It’s not so much that they hate God or Christianity, but that they love money more.  And when true Christianity is preached, when the truth of faith is set forth, they sense their industries being threatened, and because of that, they believe their wealth and livelihood is likewise threatened.

And when those who hold the love of money in high regard feel their wealth threatened, their reaction to the things of God can be drastic, very negative, and even hostile.  Wake up, church; we cannot allow our-selves to be put off in our attempts to reach the world because of our perceived reasons for rejection.  We need to operate from a position of true knowledge.  I know of only three things that can reach a darkness-entrapped world; the love of God, the absolute truth of God, and the manifest power of God.  Love is obedience to the Word, truth bring light, and the manifest power of God gets attention.  Let’s get busy.

Manna for Today – Acts 19:21-41; 1 Timothy 6:10; Mark 4:19; Mark 10:24; Luke 4:18; Luke 16:11

 

We Need It Today!

Prevailing Word is growing Word. 

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Acts 19:18-20 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

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If ever there was a time, a season, an age, when we needed to see the Word of God grow and prevail, it is this present hour.  And we need desperately to see that growth and prevailing power to the end of this age.  I know it is the will of God, but the question is, are we, the church, willing to pay the price to see it come to pass in our individual lives?  Take another look at our Text for Today to determine the things we must do to see it happen.

It is speaking about believers.  The text did not say that many unbelievers came, but rather that “many that believed came.”  One of the great things that was needed in the early church is surely needed today.  So much sloppiness, laxity, and even infidelity exists in the church today.  It existed in the early church, and believers who were caught up in those things had to come, confess, reveal themselves openly to the Lord.  It’s not that He doesn’t know what is happening.  He knows all.  But unless the Christian who is caught up in such things openly confesses his sin to the Lord Jesus, there is no cleansing.  This is more than repentance.  If the sin is not confessed, the seed of it still remains and will produce fruit long after one believes himself to be safe from falling prey to it.

Not, too, that there were things that had people caught up in what the Scriptures says were “curious arts.”  That, too, is rampant in today’s church.  There are many new age concepts, traditions of men that make the Word of God of none effect, and many things thought harmless that are in truth, devices of the enemy to steal you away from the things of God, and then steal the things of God away from you.  My friend, what Father gives you in His kingdom to serve and work for Him, He does not simply take from you.  Consider Samson.  God did not take Samson’s great strength from him.  Samson gave it up himself when he told Delilah his secret.  Then when he gave up his secret, the enemy cut his hair, stealing his strength.  But even then, when his hair grew back, his strength returned to him.

So it is today.  A weakened church needs to repent of its failures and confess its powerlessness and sin.  And believers must cast away the “curious devices” in their lives, allowing the fire of Holy Spirit to consume it.  Then, once again we will see the Word of God grow again in the church and prevail.  Remember, the church overcomes the enemy by the blood of the Lamb (repentance & confession), and the word of their testimony (prevailing through the Word).

Manna for Today – Acts 19:11-20; Mark 4; Isaiah 55:11; Joshua 1:6-9; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13; Revelation 12:11