And About That Withered Hand

A “withered hand” can be so well hidden, no one knows it’s there.

Text for Today – Luke 6:6-10 – . . . stretch forth thy hand.

Just what is it, if anything, that is keeping you from serving the Lord with all your might?  What is it that keeps you from being as fully effective in life, profession, and ministry as you could and should be?  It’s that “withered hand.”  “But I don’t have a withered hand,” you say.  Oh, but if you’re not serving the Lord to your fullest potential, you do.  It could be any sickness that prevents your full service to the Lord.  It could be a grief you have allowed to overtake you.  It could be loss of vision, lack of knowledge (both spiritual and natural), lack of skill (training), or it could be plain old lack of commitment.  Why, it could even be sin that you are hiding like you would a “withered hand.”

Dear friend, It’s time to hear the Word of the Lord and “stretch forth your hand.”  Not for public scrutiny, but so that it may be made whole.  Go ahead!  Put it out there for the Word to work on it.  Expose it to the light of the Word.  The glorious light of the Word doesn’t just push darkness back, but rather engulfs the darkness, consumes it, until only light remains.  God wants you whole, spirit, soul, and body, so He can use ALL of you.  So, go ahead!  Stretch forth your hand right now!  Keep it before the Word so your full strength can be yielded to Him.

A final thought: allow Holy Spirit to shine the light of the Word on every area of your life.  When you find those places I have called a “withered hand,” don’t wait for a single moment.  Remember, God wants you whole.  His power will change you.  Let it work mightily in your life today, and every day.  Jesus healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath.  I suppose He could have waited until the next day, but He didn’t.  Jesus wants the same thing for you today, right now, so don’t put it off a single moment.  Stretch forth your hand, and be made whole today!  It makes no difference that others may be watching.  It makes no difference what others may think or believe.  Jesus, our Lord and Savior Who NEVER changes, is calling for you to “stretch forth your hand.”  And as He calls, He awaits your response.  Choose obedience to the Word over the shame of being judged by the world.  Obedience is better than the sacrifice of shame.  So, once again, “stretch forth your hand,” and let the celebration begin.

Manna for Today – Psalm 107:20; 3 John 2; Proverbs 4:20-23; Matthew 8:17; Psalm 103:1-3;         Isaiah 55:11

The Purpose of Pentecost

The fullness of the Spirit is for so much more than being called a Pentecostal.

Text for Today – Galatians 3:13-14 – . . . that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

It does not have to be the season of Pentecost to talk, teach, and tread in the holy flow of Pentecost.  In fact, the mere fact that you arose for the day before you should make it the season of Pentecost, seeing we are to be “instant in season out of season.”  As a Spirit-filled believer, one carries the responsibility to flow in the Spirit from breath to breath in order to honor our Lord and bring glory to our Father.  Being a Pentecostal believer is NOT an occasional occurrence, but a full time calling.  It is a fact that Christ has redeemed us from the curse.  It is true that He did so that “the blessing of Abraham” might come on us through Him.  The “blessing of Abraham” is an automatic gift that became yours the moment you entered into covenant with Jesus.  But there is yet an additional “promise.”  That is the “promise of the Spirit.” 

That promise was first manifest to the church on the day of Pentecost.  On the birthday of the church, Holy Ghost was poured out upon His body, yielding to His body His power, His ability, His anointings, and His passions.  He also “filled” them with the fullness of God, and they “spoke in tongues as the Spirt gave utterance.”

In our church of this hour, we seem to have forgotten too much.  Mention “Pentecost” to most believers, and the common denominator in most minds is the manifestation of tongues.  Make no mistake, they (tongues) are real, they are for today, and they are important.  BUT, they are not ALL there is to Pentecost.  The key to your house in important, but you don’t live in the key.  The key to your car is important, but you don’t drive the key.  Proper use of the key is required to access all it secures for you.  Let us possess the deepest possible revelation of the Word: “the power of God unto salvation,” and “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”  Jesus has redeemed us to be Pentecostal in life and blessing, and not merely unknown utterance.

Sadly, it seems that many Spirit-filled believers are content that they can speak in tongues.  Some even thinks this makes them more special to God, or better than members of the body of Christ who are not yet Spirit-filled.  Such is in no way the case.  Being filled with Holy Ghost, while a deeply personal and extremely powerful gift from God, is in reality, a “key” to the kingdom.  This “promise of the Spirit,” or what some would call the role of Pentecost in one’s life, open so many doors to the believer.  It enables a deeper walk in the Spirit, putting the believer in position to be used by Holy Ghost in the gifts of the Spirit, and enduing them with the supernatural abilities of heaven to be the most effective possible witness for Jesus. 

Manna for Today – Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Ephesians 5:18-20

Dress for the Occasion – 2

Your wardrobe should speak clearly of the dignity of your calling.

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Text for Today – 2 Timothy 4:2 – . . . instant in season out of season . . .

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When I write of dressing for the occasion, my focus in toward one’s attire as it relates to place in Christ, the anointing(s) one carries, and the God-established purpose for one’s life.  I believe it imperative for the believer that our appearance, especially as it relates to our behavior, attitude,  I wish to emphasize at this point that there are many godly men and women who do not have great fineries of life in their daily apparel.  I have known many who labored at difficult jobs throughout their lives, jobs that required them to sweat from their intensity, and as many have put it, get dirt under their fingernails.  Yet in all their labors, in all their sweat, and with all the dirt beneath their nails, even when at their lowest moments, they were people of dignity, people of honor, people of integrity, who loved the Lord supremely, and loved their neighbors as themselves.  There were times that the circumstances of life certainly prevented them from presenting themselves in their finest garb, but never, at no point, were they ever found without their Christian dignity, their testimony and witness, and their honor as sons and daughters of our great God, Jehovah. 

Their dress was always the whole armor of God.  They were girt about the loins with truth, always standing of the Word of God for their life and provision.  Their feet were continually shod with the gospel of peace.  They were peacemakers indeed, their hearts being filled with the manifest peace of God that passes understanding.  They wore the breastplate of righteousness, unstained by the world and continually cleansed by the washing of the water by the Word.  The helmet of salvation was always an element of their crowning glory, and they wore it with honor.  Above all they carried their shield of faith, and in battle after battle in life, regardless of circumstances, walked in God-pleasing faith, always holding fast to their profession.  And I can attest to the keenness of the blade we know as the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  On many occasions, I have witnessed them as they marched fearlessly into battle, clad in God’s armor, fighting the good fight of faith, and emerging in victory, their honor, faith, and Christian dignity untarnished by any of the enemy’s devices.

Such saints were, and continue to be great models of what I write here.  They live their lives in a constant state of readiness to give an answer of the hope that lies within them.  When the season in right, when things bode well for them, they rejoice in Christ and glorify God.  And when all things of the season seem to be going wrong, in the most difficult of trials or tribulations, they rejoice in Christ and glorify.  When the garden of life is in full bloom, they are faithful.  And when the furnace is heated seven times hotter, they remain faithful, for their Lord walks with them in the flames.  Clad well in their garments of righteousness, they honor God.

Manna for Today – Ephesians  6:10-18; Isaiah 59:15-21

Dress for the Occasion – 1

Your manner of dress is more crucial that most people ever imagine.

Text for Today – 2 Timothy 4:2 – . . . instant in season out of season . .

Praise be to God for those marvelous occasions, especially the seasons when the believer experiences what might be called the felt presence of God’s power and Spirit upon the anointings in his life.  Those times are truly awesome.  And at those times the believer seems capable of almost any feat of ministry, and that with holy boldness.  But what of those times when there is NO felt presence?

The astronaut is a good analogy of the need to dress for the occasion.  While on earth, he is surrounded by his natural atmosphere, and is unimpeded to go about being himself with great joy and freedom.  But in space, things are different.  there the astronaut must wear a space suit.  He cannot live in that environment on his own.  In space, his surroundings are unfamiliar, very inhospitable to human life, and froth with dangers.  In the space suit, he has a safe, but constricted environment.  His senses deal with the unfamiliar.  His actions and abilities are impeded.  Yet, with training and practice, he can do his work, even in the rugged and dangerous arena of space.

So, it is with the believer.  “In season” work always seems much easier and safer than “out of season” work.  But with proper training and practice, dressed properly in “the whole armor” of God, and with proper equipping, he can still do his work in excellence, honoring the Lord.  Here is  a closing thought.  The Scriptures command us to “put on the whole armor of God.”  At no time do the Scriptures tell us to remove that armor.  So, get dressed, and stay dressed.  As a child of God and ambassador of Christ, you are on-call twenty-four hours a day.  That does not mean that you never rest.  What it does mean is that you make yourself fully available to the Lord .  He knows them that are His.  He knows your rising up and your laying down.  He knows what you are anointed to do.  And when He needs you and your anointing for the work of His kingdom, to be a blessing, He knows He can call on you, His faithful servant, to carry out that which needs to be done.  So, stay dressed for that occasion, any occasion, in which the Lord needs you.  The pay is great, and the rewards are out of this world.  Represent Him well by being well dressed for service at all times.

Manna for Today – Ephesians  6:10-18; Isaiah 59:15-21

I Have a Friend – 21

Can you imagine having a friend with whom NOTHING is impossible?

He Talks to Trees

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

My Friend is most unusual; not strange or weird, but most unusual.  While there are many, and I am one of them, who strive to be like Him, He is, without doubt, the most unusual of all human beings.  He was with Jehovah God in the beginning.  He was, and remains, one with Jehovah God.  He worked along side the great God Jehovah when man was made from the dust of the earth.  All things were made by Him, and without Him, nothing that exists was made.  He was the fourth man in the fire with the Hebrew children.  He closed the mouths of lions to save Daniel.  He walked on water, turned water to wine, multiplied loaves and fish to feed multitudes, healed all manner of sickness and disease, cast our devils, and became the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of man.  And becoming so, no further sacrifice is needed.  He did all that was necessary to save all once and for all.  No one else is like Him. 

When He spoke, the worlds were created.  When He spoke, demons trembled.  When He spoke, swarms of quail flew into the snares of Israel in the wilderness.  When He spoke, ravens fed the prophets.  When He spoke, mulberry tree trembled.  When He spoke, walls of cities crumbled.  When He spoke, the earth shook.  When He spoke, fish swam into waiting nets in daylight.  When He spoke, water became wine.  When He spoke winds blew, and at other times, they ceased.  When He spoke, it rained, and when He spoke again, rains ceased.  When He speaks, the sun and moon stand still in the heavens.  When He speaks, the wildest elements of nature get into line to obey His will.  When He speaks, all heaven comes into full agreement.

But now, in this age, in the time of the Church, He has delegated His authority to us to exercise His Name and live with full power of attorney, doing the works He did, and according to His Own words, “greater works” than He did.  My dear fellow believer, they church, as a whole, is no where near having a clear vision of who the believer is in Christ.  We are to be imitators of Him now in this life, for it is as we imitate Him that we fulfill our role as the light of the world, illuminating those struggling and dying in darkness.  He is more awesome, by far, than any thing of this natural world will ever perceive.  Oh, and did I tell you, I have a Friend, and He talks to trees . . . fig trees, mulberry trees, but especially to you and me, the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Mark 11; John 14:12-14; Luke 1:37; Hebrews 1:3; Isaiah 55:8-13; Isaiah 61:1-3; Psalm 91; Revelation 22:2

I Have a Friend – 20

There is something so special about fellowship with a dear friend over a delicious and nourishing meal.

He Dines with Me

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

One of the great joys I have found in life is to sit with a good friend, dine with him, fellowship with him, share with him, and listen to him.  I have learned that when I provide the meal, whether in my home or in a restaurant, as the host, I take upon myself great responsibility for the food, the flavor, the service, and the comfort, and the atmosphere.  Did I tell you that I have a Friend Who dines with me?  in fact, I have a number of friends with whom I dine whenever possible.  Sometimes I am the host, and sometimes my friend is the host.  I enjoy it either way.  But there is one friend in particular with Whom I dine daily, and regardless of where I am, He is always the host.  And I can assure you that He takes His responsibility as Host very seriously.  He ALWAYS takes care of all the cost.  Let me tell you about Him.

When we dine together, He ALWAYS provides the place, for He owns it all.  He ALWAYS provides the fire for cooking, for He is never present without the consuming presence of Holy Ghost.  He ALWAYS provides every element of the meal, cooked and seasoned to perfection.  He ALWAYS provides the meat; that is the meat of the Word.  He ALWAYS provides the bread, His body; the bread of life.  He ALWAYS provides the water; the water of life.  He ALWAYS provides the wine, His blood; the wine of the Spirit.  He ALWAYS provides the oil, His anointing; the oil of His Spirit.  He ALWAYS provides the seasoning; the salt of the earth.  He ALWAYS provides the light for the occasion; the light of the world.  He ALWAYS provides the seating; raising us up to sit with Him in heavenly places.  He leaves nothing out, and every occasion is supernaturally blessed.

When dining with my Friend, He always reveals more of Himself in our fellowship.  He never fails to increase the depths of my revelation, understanding, and knowledge.  He ceaselessly challenges me to grow, to stand taller, to do those things that please our Father, and to be a man filled with courage and faithfulness.  He is never short on edification, always building me up in Him, bringing me ever closer to living in the unity of the Spirit, and attaining to the fullness of His stature.  Oh, what a Friend He is.  There is no other like Him.  He is the greatest friend I have, and He has already laid down His life for me, and given me ultimate victory by taking His life up again, and raising me up with Him.  I have a Friend Who dines with me.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; John 21:12; Revelation 3:20;               Luke 10:38-42; Luke 11:37; Luke 14:12-24; Luke 19:1-10

I Have a Friend – 19

Is it not wonderfully delightful when those who love you most rejoice over you?

He Rejoice Over Me

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

In my 51st year of ministry, I am delighted to say that I am having the time of my life in ministry.  I love to teach and preach the Word of God.  I love to expound on the truths of God’s Word, especially when I can witness the results of those truths being fruitful in the lives of those who  hear it.  I am also fulfilling one of the greatest dreams of my ministry in having the joyous opportunity to train and teach Christians in the art of Christian leadership.  I am so honored to be serving my God and His Kingdom.  I am fully convinced that the blessings in my life come from the Lord Jesus Christ, my Friend, my Brother, my Savior, my Redeemer, Who loves me supremely, gave Himself for me, and now honors me with the privilege and responsibility to carry His Word to lift up, encourage, edify, and train leaders in His kingdom work.  And while I truly rejoice in that work, I believe that He, too, rejoices with me in that work.

I constantly remind myself of Father’s Word concerning me in Zephaniah 3:17.  There He states that He “joys over me with singing.”  It has become a driving compulsion in my life to live, grow, learn, and shine in a manner that causes Him to do so daily.  And all the while, in my heart, I look for the day when I may hear the voice of the Lord singing over me with joy.  One of the proven truths of leadership is that people will generally rise to the level of success that those who love them most believe of them.  The basic core of this principle lies in the concept that the one who loves them has the opportunity to demonstrate that love, and that such love is received.  Sadly, there are far too many people who have not been taught of that love, whose faith is developed in that love, and who will allow that love to be manifest in their lives. 

That, my dear friend, is the great work that is set before us.  We are to demonstrate His love and faith to everyone we encounter, regardless of our place in the body of Christ.  Whether in the five-fold ministry or not, whether talented in some artistic manner or not, wherever we find ourselves in the body of Christ, and whatever we find ourselves doing, we must remember that we are always and in all places ambassadors of Christ.  And it is when we shine in that role that He rejoices over us with singing.  May we all serve Him so well in that role that we may hear Him singing over us with great joy.  He is our Friend, you know.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 51:11 & 55:12; Luke 15:4-10

I Have a Friend – 18


What is the purpose of light?

He Makes Me Shine

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

More than six decades past now, a comedian of note jokingly asked, “Why is there air?”  He responded to his own query saying that air “is for blowing up footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls.”  While he was only joking, I am not.  Why is there light?  First of all, humankind cannot live without it.  Green plants require it to grow.  We need light for our work, learning, and play.  We need light to illuminate our paths.  We need light to enjoy our lives.  All these are clear and very evident reasons for light in our world. 

Now for my second question.  Are you a child of God?  If so, then you are light.  According to the Word of God, Jesus has declared that you are the light of the world.  He has made you that for a purpose, and as a result has commanded you to, “Rise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.”  We have been further commanded to “let your light so shine that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  The bottom line of our discussion to this point is this.  You ARE light.  God made you light.  Light is to shine, and it is absolutely necessary for life.  You have a divine purpose in this world.  You are to shine, bring light wherever you go, pierce the darkness so the oppressed may go free, and to clearly illuminate the path everyone should follow to come to, and ultimately walk with the Lord in this life.  That, my dear friend, is a true divine purpose for your life.  Never, NEVER question whether you have a worthy cause for your life.  If you belong to Him, you most definitely have divine purpose.  You may have to study, pray, and learn by Holy Spirit the specifics of that purpose, but know this, right here, right now, YOU HAVE DIVINE PURPOSE

Knowing that, shine, my friend, shine.  Study, meditate upon, memorize, read, and obey the Scriptures so that the washing of the water of the Word keeps you clean from this world, and always shining with the glory of God that has risen upon you.  Jesus was that light while He was in this earth.  Now, as His body, you are that light.  As Father sent Jesus, Jesus has sent you.  And as Jesus is at this moment, so are you in this world.  You have no need to hang your head.  Lift it up, for your redemption draws near.  You have no reason for your hands to hang down.  Lift them up in honor to the King of kings, and insert your hands into the glory with which you have been crowned.  Shine through and with your Friend.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Isaiah 60:1-3; Matthew 5:14-16;        John 8:12 & 9:5; 2 Peter 1:19; Numbers 6:25; John 1:5, 17:18 & 20:21; 2 Corinthians 4:6;          Philippians 2:15; 2 Samuel 22:10

I Have a Friend – 17

There is much that needs to be taught about wisdom, and Who it is.

He Is My Wisdom

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

If ever there was a time in the history of mankind that wisdom for life is paramount, it is today.  Of course, if we acknowledge the truth, it has been every day that man has lived.  But I am not speaking of wisdom as mankind has come to define it.  You see, in this present age, mankind has turned so many things around until much of the world is completely backward in its approach to the most important of issues.  For instance, in our 21st century world, most people, including Christians, put feelings before faith.  According to the example give us by our “father of faith,” Abraham, faith, true faith, always trumps feelings.  Remember, Abraham was a man who did not consider his 100-year-old body as an obstacle to his becoming the “father of nations.”  Instead, he chose to believe God, and his faith was accounted to him as righteousness.

Once again, so much of the thinking of our 21st century world is backward.  In the world’s system of thinking, one begins with (natural) knowledge, advances to (natural) understanding, and finally arrives at (natural) wisdom.  I suppose that might be acceptable for painting the doghouse, but regarding the human life, and our body being the temple of Holy Ghost, that is by no means acceptable.  In God’s kingdom, which is all backwards.  Consider what I say by examining the Biblical definition of wisdom.  According to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7 and Matthew 25, wisdom is defined as simple obedience to the Word of God.  It has nothing to do with understanding all the Word says, or even a commandment given, but to obedience to the Word (commandment).  It has nothing to do with revelation knowledge of the Word of God which, in truth, follows understanding of God’s Word.  Wisdom, in God’s eyes, is obedience to His Word. 

Add to the definition of wisdom as presented by Jesus the truth that walking in obedience to the Word of God is walking in the love of God (as defined in 1 John 5:3).  It’s truly not complicated.  If the gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are blinded by Satan.  God’s intent for His people is very simple.  By obeying His commands, one walks in wisdom and love, and so assures the successful operation of their faith by which they please Father.  And if one pleases Father, victory in life is assured.  OH, what a joy is mine in believing and knowing that Jesus has been made unto me “wisdom.”  Yes, I have a Friend, and He is my Wisdom.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Matthew 7:24-27; Matthew 25:1-13;        1 John 5:3; Acts 6:3; James 3:17; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10; Romans 4:13-25

I Have a Friend – 16

The Word commands us to sing to ourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Not all are written.

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He Gives Me Songs to Sing

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

_______________________

I’ll just come right out and say it.  I have a Friend Who gives me songs to sing.  Over my 73 years of life and 51 current years of ministry, numerous are the songs my Lord had given me.  Songs in the morning, songs in the midday, songs in the afternoon, and yes, songs in the night.  I have had the joy of writing many of them down, and the added joy of sharing them with others in times of music ministry.  And there are songs too numerous to count that came at times when I was praying and worshipping in the Spirit, singing in the Spirit, and glorifying God in the Spirit.  I have received, by the same Spirit, an interpretation of many of those songs, and my soul was edified.  And there have been many for which no interpretation came, but my spirit man was greatly edified, and I knew it was by singing in the Spirit.

I had songs come to me as a child, and as a teenager.  I will admit that I did not know what to do with them in those very formative years, but I still found myself being edified, drawn closer to the Lord, and on some occasions, kept from falling prey to some device of the enemy.  And in my earliest days of walking in my ministry, I learned how that worked, and that it was a tool the Lord used for the very things I have mentioned.  I am so thankful that the Lord knew how to get to me, help me, even save me, when I had no idea of what was going on.  Oh, did I tell you that my Friend loves me. 

I have written songs of exhortation, saying to those who needed to hear, “Get ready, for the Lord is coming your way.  Whatever you need, be it silver or gold, or Holy Ghost fire to make you bold, get ready, for the Lord is coming your way.”  I have written songs of testimony extoling that truth that “King Jesus Is His Name.”  I wrote of that King Who “I adore, how He changed my life completely, and so much more.  He cleansed and sanctified me, and then He filled me with His love, and baptized me in His Spirit, that He sent from above.”  I have written songs of Jubilee about the temptations of Jesus and His anointing He has shared with us to preach the year of Jubilee (the acceptable year of the Lord).  And of all that song said, we can see it the Scriptures that “It is written.”  I have a Friend Who gives me songs to sing.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16;  Job 35:10; Psalms 33:3, 40:3; 98:1, 144:9, & 149:1