Four Phase of Faith – Phase One – Possession of Faith

Without faith, it is impossible to please God.  We really need the God kind of faith.

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Text for Today – Mark 11:22 – And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

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Today’s Second Miler is one of four on the issue of Biblical faith and its principles of operation.  The issue of faith  as taught by our Lord is easily and clearly seen in four phases.  Phase One is that YOU MUST HAVE FAITH.

When Jesus made this statement, he was offering cookies and milk to guests sitting around His coffee table in His home.  He was giving a command to His disciples.  If you are a disciple of Christ, then this commandment is for you, too.  I personally define a commandment as an order from God about which there is no choice, and from which there is no turning.  Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”  A more literal rendering of His command us this; “Have the God kind of faith.”  We know, according to Romans, that the God kind of faith “calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

Please note that the Romans passage does NOT say that faith calls things that be as though they were not.  Faith is a creative force, not a destructive one.  Malachi 3:6 tells us God never changes.  Therefore, if He is a Creator in Genesis 1:1, He is still a Creator today.  We have been given that same spirit of faith that resides in the Father, and therefore, because we believe, we speak.

If you will operate the faith of God, you must first possess the faith of God.  So, how can one possess the faith of God?  The answer is really quite simple.  Make Jesus Lord in your life.  If you have  accepted Jesus as your Lord, you already have the faith of God in your heart.  Romans 12:3 says you have been given “the measure of faith.”  Furthermore, the faith you have been given is not sloppy, broken, or incomplete.  Jesus authored (created and initialed) your faith, and He also finished (completed to perfection) your faith.  Having been given a perfect tool with which to work, don’t you think it wise to learn to use that tool to the very best of your ability with His help?

But what if you have not made Jesus your Lord?  How can you do that?  Once again, the answer is really quite simple: confess Jesus as Lord, believing in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, and you shall be saved.  That’s making Jesus your Lord.  If you haven’t done that already, do it now.  Go ahead. Confess Jesus as your Lord, believing in your heart God has raised Him from the dead, and thereby, be saved.

Manna for Today – Mark 11; Romans 4; Hebrews 11; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Romans 10:6-10

His Power

God’s Word IS God’s power.  Accept that truth and enjoy its benefits.

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Text for Today – Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth . . .

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The two words most commonly translated POWER in the New Testament are DUNAMIS (ability) and EXOUSIA (authority).   At the point of the new birth, we are given the power (authority) of a son of God.  when Holy Spirit is come, that is, when the believer is Spirit-filled, the believer receives power (ability) “after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you.”  Jesus said that power would come upon the Spirit-filled believer, and that it would enable us to be His witnesses in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world.”  To put it in the simplest of terms, that is from your front door to the farthest point you can travel.  You are to be a witness.

So, allow me to ask you at this point; have you received Holy Ghost since you believed?  If you have, you have received dunamis power.  If you have not, then you are lacking in that arena.  The joyous fact is, however, that you don’t have to remain that way.  You can be filled with Holy Ghost right where you are; right now.  All you have to do is ask, believe that you receive, and you will receive Holy Ghost, just as promised by Jesus.  Take a moment and read Luke 11:13.  Every child of God has the privilege to be filled with Holy Ghost by asking and believing.  He (Holy Ghost) is a free gift, and HE is ready and waiting to come into your heart, fill you, and empower you with supernatural ability that only He can bring.

John the Baptist called Jesus the baptizer in Holy Ghost.  He wants you to be filled.  If you have not received the infilling of Holy Ghost in your life, why don’t you stop right now and ask the Lord to fill you with Holy Ghost?  He will fill you, and He will do so right now.  Just take a moment and pray this prayer.  “Father, You said that if, as Your child, I would ask, You would give me Holy Ghost.  As Your child, I accept Your promise, and ask You now to fill me with Holy Ghost.  I believe Your Word, accept Your promise, and believe that I receive Him now!  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for filling me with Holy Ghost.”

Now, having prayed that prayer, listen to the voice of Holy Ghost inside you, and as He speaks words to your heart you do not understand, by faith, open your mouth and speak those words.  Don’t be fearful.  You have a promise from the Father that if you ask for Holy Ghost, that’s al you will receive.  As you follow those promptings or leadings of Holy Ghost and say the words He gives you, you will be speaking in tongues as Holy Spirit gives utterance.  That is the initial physical you have received Holy Ghost.  Remember, your initial spiritual evidence is in your faith. 

If you’re already Spirit-filled, pray for those who read this who are not presently Spirit-filled.

Manna for Today – John 1:12; Acts 1:8; Hebrews 1:3; 1 John 1:17; Luke 11:9-13; Hebrews 11:1

Encountering His Presence – Part Two

A yielded anointing is a manifest target for the manifestation of God’s power through His Spirit.

Text for Today – Exodus 3:14 – And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Yesterday I wrote to you that to encounter the presence of God, we need to accept His reality, accept His Lordship, accept His love, and practice His presence.  To bring our discussion to a current conclusion, I offer you one more key element that must be present to experience a true encounter of His presence in power.  It is the anointing. 

There is a lesson to be learned concerning the anointing of God in the life of the believer.  Untold numbers of Christians live their entire lives after being born again, and rarely, or perhaps even never, enjoy the manifest presence of God in their lives.  They love God, they may be faithful to their church, they may tithe, and they may love their neighbors, but seeing a manifestation of the power of God in their life is rare, or possibly non-existent.  I am convinced that the majority of Christians who experience the manifest power of God in their lives, do so infrequently.  My friend, I cannot be persuaded that this is the will of God for His people.

In Luke, Jesus said there was a reason that Holy Spirit was on Him, and that reason was that He (Jesus) had, at some time in His past, been anointed by God.  Yes, Jesus was the Son of God, but in His earthly ministry, He served as a man, having emptied Himself of all divine privilege.  If you will study the Scriptures in the light of that statement, understanding the God doesn’t change, you will see that with man, any time there was a manifestation of the Spirit and power of God, the anointing was always present.  You will likewise see that there were also manifestations of power that was often manifest in a dangerous way, when someone NOT anointed touched what God HAD anointed.  For instance . . .

  • Nadab and Abihu offering strange fire.  They touched that which was holy in a manner that God had not anointed.  It cost them their lives.
  • Phineas and Hophni looking into the Ark of the Covenant.  They attempted to look upon that which God had anointed to be confined within the Ark.  It cost them their lives.
  • Uzzah.  Here was a man who loved God, loved Israel, loved David, and loved the things of God.  But when David attempted to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, his mode of transportation was not the way God ordered.  When the oxen pulling the cart carrying the Ark stumbled, and it appeared the Ark would fall off, Uzzah touched it to protect it.  It cost him his life.

In each of these instances, touching that which was holy without the anointing to touch it cost people their lives.  By the same token, when one IS anointed, and yield that anointing to Holy Spirit, He WILL use it to manifest the very glory of God through that yielded vessel.  Be that vessel and encounter His presence.

Manna for Today – Psalm 139; Romans 10:6-17; Ephesians 3:14-19; Luke 4:16-21; 1 John 2:20-27

Encountering His Presence – Part One

The presence of God is real, always needed, and ever to be desired.

Text for Today – Exodus 3:14 – And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:  and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you

King David asked, “Whither shall I go from Your Spirit?”  David understood, at least to some degree, a truth you and I find promised in the Word.  Our Lord is with us always, never forsaking us.  He is indeed omnipresent; everywhere present at all times.  So, with this being the case, why are we not encountering His presence far more frequently?  I believe the answer lies in the following points.

We need to accept His reality.  There is more hard, written testimonial evidence of His existence and works that there is that Charles Darwin ever existed.  Consider His impact on the world.  An unreal, farcical entity could not possibly have had His impact on the world scene of today.  Consider the lives of the people you personally know, including yourself, on whom His existence has had a markedly powerful impact.

We need to accept His Lordship.  He is, as one man of God has spoken, “either Lord OF all, or He is not  Lord AT all.”  Once again, all we need to do is examine the evidence.  Consider for a moment your own life.  in how many ways has Jesus shown Himself Lord in your behalf, and sometimes even despite you?  Space would not permit me the opportunity to even begin to tell of His demonstrations of Lordship in my life; healing, deliverance, divine provision, and the miraculous, even to the raising of the dead.

We need to accept His love.  It is a REALITY.  Once again, His impact on the world is undeniable.  He is the only person ever to leave a last will and testament, die in order to put it into effect, and then be raised from the dead to be the executor of that will, thus assuring the accuracy of its execution to those who will receive it.

And one more thing today.  We must learn to practice His presence.   If you are going to compete as a swimmer in the next summer Olympics, what would you currently be doing?  You would be in training for your event.  If you were invited to a Presidential ball where you would be required to dance with one of the dignitaries, what would you do before the ball?  You would learn to dance, and you would practice what you learned.  Well, my friend, you have been invited to come into the presence of the Great God Jehovah at a time of your choosing.  Knowing that He is ever with you, what then should you be doing?  Practicing His presence.

Manna for Today – Psalm 139; Matthew 28:20; Romans 10:6-17; Ephesians 3:14-19

It’s All About the Word

Take all I have but the Word, and I’ll lose nothing,ive well, and will prosper in all I set my hand to do.

Text for Today – John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1 is really a great summation of what I can write today.  The WORD…..

  • was in the beginning    
  • was with God   
  • was (and still is) God   
  • made all things   
  • is life  
  • is light   
  • gives power to become the sons of God   
  • is full of grace and truth   
  • is that of Whom we have receive all His fullness

You see, it’s all about the WORD.

We were born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God.  Our loins are to be girt with the Word of God.  Our breastplate is comprised of the Word of God.  Our feet are shod with the Word of God.  The Word of God is our helmet.  Our shield of faith arises from the Word of God.  The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit.  Without faith it is impossible to please God, and since faith comes by hearing the Word of God, then I’m staying with the Word of God.  You see, it’s all about the WORD.

God sent His Word and healed me and delivered me from all my destructions.  The entrance of the Word brings light and revelation to me, lights my path, and is a lamp unto my feet.  The Word of God makes me wiser than all my teachers and gives me more understanding than the ancients.  The Word of God is my daily bread, my water of life, the spiritual milk that produces growth in my life, and my spiritual meat that makes me grow strong in the Lord.  You see, it’s all about the WORD.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but never the Word of God.  The Word of God will never fail.  My God is upholding all things by the Word of His Power (Word of God).  I cannot live without every Word (of God) that proceeds out of God’s mouth.  His Word (Word of God) shall not return to Him void, but shall accomplish  that which He pleases, and prosper in the thing He sent it (Word of God) to do.  And finally, Jesus said it was the wise man who heard the Word of God and did it, whose house will stand the test of any storm that comes.  You see, it’s all about the WORD.

Manna for Today – Romans 1:16; Ephesians 6:10-18; John 1; Hebrews 1:3; Romans 10:17; Psalm 119

No Time to Be Silent

Let your battle cry be God’s Word flowing like a mighty river from your lips.

Text for Today – John 14:14 – If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it.

The 21st century Christian is facing at least as much adversity as any previous generation of believers, if not more.  The Scriptures tell us that in the last days, evil men shall become more and more evil.  However, thanks be to God, where sin abounds, the grace of God abounds much more.  Still, adversity rises into the face of believers every day, but this is no time to be silent.

When adversity arises, take action, and be vocal about it.  The Scriptures tell us that our own words are our justifiers or our condemners.  We know according to the Word of God that our own tongues hold the power of death and life.  In short, the words of our mouths are quite probably the most powerful force any of us will ever control in our own lives.  In fact, James, the half-brother of Jesus, had quite a bit to say about words.  That book of five chapters is a powerful commentary on how we should speak, the words we say, and the benefit of right speaking.

Once again, when adversity arises against you, take action; fast action, determined action, decisive action.  Start by drawing closer to the Father; then He draws closer to you.  Then resist the devil and he will flee.  Just keep in mind that you are the initiator  of the action, and that in obedience to the Word of God.  That’s  walking in the love of God, and that’s where you must walk if you expect your faith to work.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to be vocal; Biblically vocal; speaking the Word of God at all times about all things.  if you don’t know what the Word says about a particular issue, at least start praising the Lord for what you do know.  Praise has the power to silence the enemy of your soul.  In the meantime, get into the Word and find the weapons you need to win that particular battle.  It helps to be in a good church where the Word of God is delivered in an uncompromising manner.  If you are a part of such a church, when you face battles, there will be strong Christians , leaders in the church who can come along side you, joining their agreement with your faith for your need to be met, and for the attack of the enemy to be overcome.  But whatever you do, make sure your vocalizing is according to the Word of God.  Don’t allow your vocalizing to become complaining about the situation, but make it confrontational to the situation.  Use the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit, and attack!  Go on the offensive in your walk in Jesus.  Go to the enemy’s camp and take back what he has stolen from you.  The Lord has promised to restore it to you.  And when you go, go shouting!

Manna for Today – John 14:12-14; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 12:37; Romans 3:4; James 1:5; 1 John 5:3

He Will Return

Whenever Satan comes against you, meet him with the full force of the Word of God.

Text for Today – Luke 11:24-26 – When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.  And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.  The goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Yes, Jesus will return for His church, just as He said.  But in today’s Second Miler, I’m not talking about the return of Jesus for His church.  When Jesus comes for us, we will likely never again have to consider my thoughts for today’s Second Miler.

Today, I am talking about the devil.  Yes, he will flee when we draw closer to the Lord and He draws closer to us, and as we actively resist the devil.   However, when that happens, too many folks drop their guard, not realizing the truth of our Text for Today.  Though Satan will run from you in stark terror, he will look for a time when he can sneak back into your life, or a situation from which he has  been removed.  Sadly, here, the end will be worse than it was before he was removed in the beginning.

Look closely at our Text for Today.  It is NOT enough to just remove your spiritual enemy.  He WILL return.  It is not enough to just clean up your act.  He WILL return.  And if he comes back to find your life, or that arena of your life clean, but not filled with something that can adequately resist him, he WILL enter that arena again.  Only, his entry will not be alone.  He will bring with him, according to our Text for Today, “seven other spirits more wicked than himself.”  Keep in mind, these are the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  He did not lie when He spoke them.  On the contrary, He was issuing to us a timely and wise warning.  Now, if we will be wise, we must hear and heed that warning.

Let me make it as simple as possible.  when you run the devil out of an area of your life, don’t leave that area of your life empty.  Fill it IMMEDIATELY with what will keep your enemy from coming back into and taking over that area of your life, and making it worse.  Fill that area of your life with the Word of God.  Go to the Word, study the Word, and fill that area with the Word of God that builds faith in your heart that will enable you to actively and effectively resist the enemy of your soul.  In other words, fill your life, heart, and mind with the Word of God, and put on the whole armor of God, all of which is built on the Word of God.  Having done this, you can stand against the wiles of the devil.

Manna for Today – Luke 11:21-26; Matthew 12; Ephesians 6:10-18

Whosoever

Which are you?  WHOSOEVER or CHRISTIAN?  You are one or the other.  There is no middle ground.

Text for Today – Revelation 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say . . . whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

What a wonderful invitation!  It is in NO way exclusionary; that is to say, anyone who accepts the invitation is free to enjoy the benefits of it.  This invitation is an open invitation.  One does not need special skills, a certain level of education, a special list of references, or a certain socio-economic status.  It makes no difference what one’s ethnic background, work history, or even criminal record indicates.  This is truly an open invitation to WHOSOEVER will.  Every time I read this, or any related passages, , my heart rejoices.  Jesus has extended an absolutely personal invitation to me to join Him and drink of the water of life freely.  And the reason is that I am a WHOSOEVER, and Jesus loves WHOSOEVER.

The great news for you and everyone else on the face of this planet is that you, too, are a WHOSOEVER.  What a wonderful thought to grasp and understand.  We all came from one family name, WHOSOEVER, and every one of us can be born again into a different family Name, and that Name is Jesus.  Paul said he bowed his knee unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.  That meant I have come from being a WHOSEVER to being a child of the living God, name CHRISTIAN (little Christ; little Anointed One), with a personal relationship with Jehovah God, having access to Him as though I were the only child He had.  Think of that!  Though there are millions who rightfully and legitimately call God their Father, He looks upon you and me, accepts you and me, and treats you and me as thought you and I were the only children He has.  Now that’s AWESOME!

My dear friend, this is the message of salvation that everyone in the earth needs to hear.  This is the cry of the heart of God to the lost and dying of our day.  Let us carry it forth, fruitfully and diligently, proclaiming its truth in every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation.  Let us proclaim it in the high places and the low, to the rich and the poor, to the sick and the well, to the learned and the illiterate.  They are the WHOSOEVERS that desperately need to accept Jesus as Lord, and become CHRISTIAN.  The work is before us.  Let us not shirk our responsibility.  God will help us, and we will be victorious in winning our age to Jesus.

Manna for Today – John 3:16; John 4:1-15; Ephesians 3:14

Conception and Birth

Conception and birth are inextricably connected, both pointing to the same conclusion.

Text for Today – Isaiah 66:8 – Who has heard such a thing?  Who hath seen such things?  Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day?  O shall a nation be born at once?  For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Our topic today will be two of the most important elements of prayer we can consider.  I use the terms conception and birth to paint a picture.  Without conception, birth will never occur.  Without birth, conception is an exercise in futility.

For us, the sons and daughters of God, made in His image, conception and birth may almost seem to be diametrically opposed.  Conception takes place in the beauty and ecstasy of the intimacy between a loving husband and wife, while birth is the culmination of the agony of travail in the pangs of delivery.  To make a brief statement of it, conception requires intimacy, and birth requires travail.

Herein is a deep understanding of the result of a fruitful, joyful, and robust prayer life.  When you go to the Word, and there you find a promise of God, a desire of the Father, and you share that with Him in the closed communion of prayer, there in that place of intimacy, in that place of mutual love, conception takes place in your spirit.  Ah, but that is only the beginning.  Just like in the natural world, it is not likely that at the ecstatic moment of conception, you were considering the agony of travailing birth.

But once again, as in the natural world, the joy of ecstasy of conception will only be truly known when the labor of travail ends in birth.  Over a period of time, what was conceived grows in the womb (spiritual or natural).  At a point in time, when it is fully formed and viable for life, labor begins.  There, in labor, with its contractions, and the work of forcing a living thing into a world where it can grow, through a passage that may seem too small, the travail of birth takes place.  But, oh the joy of the finished work!

This is a description of prayer: intimacy with God that produces conception, carrying to maturity, and the travail of birth.  If you’ve conceived from the heart of God, dear saint, don’t abort the birth through unbelief while waiting for its manifestation.  If you’re in travail, expect birth.  Travailing with birth is self-deception.  Remember, conception only comes through intimacy.  Are you intimate with the Lord?  If you are, expect to travail.

Manna for Today – Luke 1-2

Thank God for the Mucking

Even a doctor’s office needs to be cleaned regularly, especially if patients are being seen.

Text for Today – Proverbs 14:4 – Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

I was a horseman (of sorts, at least).  I truly enjoyed riding.  I liked the smell and feel of good leather in my riding gear (tack).  I enjoyed the sensation of 1,000+ pounds of powerful animal under my saddle, with me in control, causing a well-trained horse to walk, jog, canter, trot, or gallop at my command.  However, I live inside the city limits, and in order to enjoy my own horse, I had to pay to stable my horse at a safe location.  Part of the fees I paid went to pay someone who came daily to MUCK my horse’s stall.  The mucker is the person who comes into the stall, removes all the manure from the previous day, removes the wet sawdust and straw, and replaces it with fresh sawdust and straw.  It is not a job everyone desires, but if you’re going to enjoy a horse and ride when you like, somebody must do it.

Clean stalls (cribs) make life easy on a day-to-day basis, but in the long run, starvation is likely.  In the 19th century, if you expected to have well-plowed, well-planted, well-cultivated fields that produced abundance of food for your eating and economy, you had to plan to keep the stalls clean, because the animals that were used (horses, mules, or oxen) would leave daily deposits of manure in their stalls.  For the health and well-being of your work animals, as well as for your personal sanitary and odor issues, stalls had to be kept clean.

The same principle applies to your life now in the 21st century.  If you expect to prosper, if you expect to be healthy and well, and if you expect to enjoy many of the better things in life, then you must also expect that you will have to do some cleaning on a regular basis.  Just like horses and mules, working people can make real messes that need to be cleaned up, and that on a regular basis.  It is sound advice and Biblical counsel to remember the need to keep your life as free as possible of waste product and debris.  Keep you heart clean by continually filling it with the Word of God, hiding the Word there to keep you from sin.  Keep your soulish man clean by the continual application of the Word of God, renewing your mind, and being made clean by the washing of the water by the Word.

Just remember to thank God for the necessary mucking.  That means you are still alive and growing in Him.  That means change is taking place in your life, and without change, you can’t grow in Him.  If at the end of your day, your stall needs mucking, it means you’ve been well-fed and watered, that you have a place to live, and you have a work to do for Him.

Manna for Today – Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians  4:23; Psalm 119:11