2016: Arise, Let us Build

The Importance of God's Blueprint
Earlier this year, God spoke to my heart, "Arise, let us build." Since that time I've pondered what He was saying and meaning. I'm convinced that this is what He's speaking to everyone one of us and if we will do our part, God will do what He said He would do in our lives.
With this subtle tug on my heart, I looked for a Scripture to support this as the Bible says the "Spirit and the Word are in agreement. What we get in the spirit, must be found in precept or principle in the Word of God. 
Nehemiah 2
17 Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.
18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me.
So they said, "Let us rise up and build. Then they set their hands to this good work.
The Scripture says here Nehemiah, "Let us rise up and build¦ THEN THEY set their hands to this good work.
The Message Bible translates verse 18, They said, "We're with you. Let's get started. They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.
  • The reality of life and Kingdom building is the fact that nothing gets done without giving it the proper effort.
  • To have a strong spiritual life you need an attitude that says, I will do what I must do to make it happen.
  • To have a strong educational life if you must expand your resources for learning
  • To have a better quality of life you must do something to make it better.
Just because you have a vision for your life, it does not mean that everyone will see you from the same perspective that God does. Some will laugh and mock you; others will try to stop you. But knowing that you stand in the light of the God of Heaven, it gives you the advantage if you will hold to His will, plan and purpose without wavering. Nehemiah 2
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?
20 So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.
The Message Bible
20 I shot back, "The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We're his servants and we're going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this”Jerusalem's none of your business!
What was impressed on my heart is the fact that when someone "rises it entails "moving from a passive position to a position that is assertive... or even at times aggressive.  You go from an inactive, lifeless lifestyle to one that's active and full of vitality. Energy is expended and you focus on a specific task or goal.
When you rise you cannot stay in the same state you were in as the vision of what your life and God's Kingdom is supposed to be like begins to take precedence. Here you realize that you've been living from the perspective of comfort and ease while leaving many things that you should have been doing undone.
When this becomes a revelation, you will change how you think, how you talk and what you do to the way God says you're to think, talk and how you're supposed to do it. You look for possibilities instead of excuses that cause a paralysis and negates what you have in your heart to do.
As our example in Nehemiah shows, first of all, they were serious with God¦ when they saw the walls of their city in ruin, they made up their mind to do something about it.
Knowing that God was on their side, they affirmed their faith in Him stating that "The God of heaven will make sure they succeeded.
In our generation, faith is often used to get something¦ Being a materialistic society, the focus of getting more and having a life of ease have permeated the Church of the Lord Jesus and supplanted the reason for our being saved.
In the Kingdom of God your faith is to be used to release something¦ not allow the getting of something to be the focus of your existence¦ big difference! "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul becomes the question that must be settled in each of our lives.
The children of Israel were desirous of releasing the vision of the prophet of God for the House of God and their faith moved them to act in agreement with the leader that God placed over them. This was faith in action as the Message Bible translated verse 18, "We're with you. Let's get started. They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.
I hear in my heart the fact that "IT IS TIME TO BUILD," and build on Christ as the Master Builder and the Cornerstone that every one of our plans have been submitted to.
Building in this manner takes a personal decision to "get the job done, no matter who gets the credit. It's been said, "You can accomplish anything if you don't care who gets the credit. President Harry S Truman.
To build properly it must begin in the spirit with prayer, Bible study and Kingdom focus; then taking authority over the things in our personal lives that are out of sync with God by dealing with the little foxes that spoil the vine, or the weights and sin that traps us.
You must also be certain to build the ministry God called you to as His Kingdom always has priority. This ensures that every promise God made is secured and established for our children and grandchildren for generations to come.
Like the people in Nehemiah, we must be able to build the Kingdom while we allow God to build our own lives.
The Blueprint
When you consider building something whether it's a house, car, air plane or computer; once the blue prints are developed, the most important thing is the foundation that you are building on. Yet, the foundation will be flawed if you build without following the blueprint to the "T. You cannot build a Mercedes Benz with a Volkswagen blue print.
This fact directs my attention to the blueprint that is given as our "Standard for Living and means to attain the Lord in all His glory.
The importance of the Bible can never be overemphasized. The Words contained within its pages are eternal and therefore unchanging no matter how much someone may disagree with what's written.
I find it ironic that some people spend their entire lives trying to prove the Word of God false without realizing that the time is going to come when they will be judged based on the very thing they tried to prove false.
The Apostle Peter commands us to live a lifestyle of love and reveals that the relationship we have with God that began in the form of a seed was actually the Word of God that is eternal in nature. God expects that "seed to grow and bring each of us to a place of spiritual maturity.
First Peter 1
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever,
24 because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the Word which by the Gospel was preached to you.
The New Living Translation
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
24 As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever. And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.
The eternal blueprint for building our lives in a manner that will please God, "The Word of God is given to abide in us, be alive in us as well as lead and guide us into all righteousness. This ultimately leads to eternal life or a life that will last forever which is something we think more about as we get older.
We must view the Bible as the reflection of the Lord Jesus; and the Lord Jesus as a reflection of the Father. They are referred to the "exact representation of the other with the Father being the goal.
Colossians 1:15
He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
John 1:14
And the Word [which was spoken] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Just as the Words on the pages of the Bible reflect the History, Person and Prophecy of Jesus, so Jesus the Person reflects the Glory of the Father. The key is to embrace the Words in the Bible as if you would embrace the Person of Jesus Christ as His ultimate purpose is to direct us to the Father in whom all of us place our hope and trust.
The Born Again experience that you have become part of is not something that God intended to be temporary or something that was revealed to you so you could give it a religious twist and become ineffective in your walk with and service to God.
Knowing the clichés of Christianity, the religious songs that are sung or even what the Bible says, will never bring you to the place where you actually reveal the Father to others. This takes an inner working by the Holy Spirit that manifests in outward righteous actions.
The Blueprint of the Word of God is given to "Change your life so that just as the Lord Jesus reflects the Father and the Word reflects Jesus, so you would be a reflection of the Bible while you live in the earth.
You are supposed to a "Living epistle known and read by all men, and this becomes more challenging when our actions reflect thoughts and attitudes that are based on carnal and worldly desires.
To overcome this, you have to place a priority on doing what God said in His blueprint. No longer making excuses for how you live, act or speak when you know it's not in agreement with God.
As the Blue print is established, if you are going to build your life and God's Kingdom properly, you must read the blue print as the details of what is needed is revealed in the drawing. Further, you must be careful as to how you will build your life. A blueprint is given to be followed to the "T.
If a contractor or manufacturer knows what a blueprint says and how they're supposed to do something, and they don't do it that way, they will not be given the certificate of occupancy or the right to mass produce something.
This qualifies what I say so many times that "You cannot obey God if you don't know what He is telling you to do. Here's another way to say it¦ "It's easier to disobey God when you don't know what He said
This lets you see that there are two major reasons why the Kingdom of God in the earth does not reflect the glory of the Kingdom of God in heaven¦
First, many people don't take time to read the Bible [blueprint] so it can influence their lives and decisions. They are content having just enough information about religion to appease their conscience and validate "how they are conducting their lives even when they know they are doing wrong.
Second, they ignore the fact that building according to God's plan is not optional. These people know what the blueprint says but chooses to ignore the way God tells them to build. You can allow your heart to become seared as with a hot iron and continue in open disobedience and it does not even bother you.
When either of these happen, you are not building properly¦ you're just going to church. You go in and coming out the same way. You don't go sit under the Word so it can change you thinking and life¦ You often look for things that will validate how you think things should be. This will never allow you to become the best that you can be.
Over the years, we've lost the reason for applying the principles of God to our lives.  Our Western culture has produced a mindset of God in the Church that is far from what the Bible says. Because of this many Christians are either accepting of a lukewarm walk or are so pharisaical and dogmatic that they condemn everyone else while making excuses for how they choose to live.
Remember we're supposed to be building in accordance with the way God wants us to build and building God's Kingdom corporately starts by building our lives personally first, the right way. We must know what the blueprint says, so we can enjoy the finished product.
Job understood the ways of God and because of that He did not falter during his season of adversity.
Job 23
10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
Because he didn't give in, give up, give out or waver between two opinions, Job 42:10 says
10 And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Building with the Proper Foundation
As we began, we looked at the importance of having the proper blueprint so we are able to build our lives right. If we build on anything other than the Word of God, our structure is flawed and we will ultimately risk even our eternal salvation.
"Rise, let us build is the call from the Spirit of God that I believe will give us an unswerving confidence for the coming days.
If you knew there were going to be troublesome times, how would you prepare differently? The fact is, no one knows what tomorrow holds in store and the only thing that will guarantee that you face each test and trial with confidence is applying what is written in the Blueprint for life to your daily decisions.
Nehemiah 2
17 Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.
18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me.
So they said, "Let us rise up and build. Then they set their hands to this good work.
The Scripture says here Nehemiah, "Let us rise up and build¦ THEN THEY set their hands to this good work.
The Message Bible translates verse 18, They said, "We're with you. Let's get started. They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.
What was said previously holds true throughout our lives and that is: "The reality of life and Kingdom building is the fact that nothing gets done without giving it the proper effort. You must give proper attention to what God says is important. If it's important to Him, it must become important to us as well.
With the Blueprint for building acknowledged, approved and applied we now begin the process of building. This process can be long and tedious and this is where some people stop the fulfillment of their dreams and visions as the time that it takes to pull everything together often separates those who are less enthusiastic about their new position.
The principle of time may never be understood by this generation because they expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. God operates through seasons and identifying the season you're in will help prepare you for the season that is approaching.
Because we often look at life through days, weeks, months and years, many of the people of God discount what God intended for them because they lack proper preparation which sometimes may take decades before they are actually ready to handle the level He wants to bring them to.
So God is saying, it's time to Arise and build¦ It's time to position yourself for the things God already said is supposed to be done in and through you.
"Arise, let us build means moving from a position that is passive to one that is assertive or even aggressive. You start to take control of your life and do things that pleases God and sets you in place where you go from merely existing to a place where you start fulfilling the purpose for which you have been born.
Building your life effectively takes "Knowing the reason why you're building. This begins with knowing and coming to understand the reason why you follow Christ.
  • Have you considered why you're a Christian?
  • Have you considered why you come to church?
  • Have you considered why you have chosen to obey the commands of God?
  • Have you considered why you worship, praise, pray and read the Bible?
  • Have you considered why you give your time, talent and resources to further a Kingdom that has no other physical expression other than the people you see¦ most of whom are flawed in one way or another?
To build effectively you will eventually find out that you need others that will help in areas that you have less experience in. They may be a plumber, carpenter, electrician or mason but their expertise will allow you to build with the best possible chance of staying on track and building according to the blueprint.
Therefore, because you are building on a spiritual foundation, the first person you need in your life is a pastor that will look out for your best interests. Hebrews 13 reveals a Truth that is often hard to share because the meaning can be taken the wrong way and people can say, all they want is to dictate what I'm supposed to do.
But this is not the case with Pastor Brenda and I as we are looking out for your good often at the expense of our own inconveniences. Then we still often have to deal with some people that do not appreciate what we sacrificed for them simply to obey the call that God placed on our lives.
Hebrews 13
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
The Message Bible says,
"Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?  
The Bible says your spiritual foundation is to be composed of "Apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors who are teachers given for your perfection. The irony of the mentality of many of the people who follow God is that they are fighting against leadership that is looking out for their personal good and the benefit of God's Kingdom even when decisions are made they don't agree with.
God in His wisdom knows that you will walk in the futility of our minds of you don't have leaders over you that will look out for His purposes being done in your lives and lead you where He has determined for you to go.
Although we "lead you, we cannot make you do anything. Therefore, the responsibility rests on the shoulders of each individual to do what the Bible says, especially after the Holy Ghost brings revelation to your life.
Ephesians 4 New Living Translation
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
What must be understood is that not everyone who calls themselves "pastor is God sent. A pastor being a "shepherd will not look out for his own interests, but the interests of the "sheep that God has entrusted to his care.
Therefore, the first thing they will consider is the spiritual temperature of the people. I'm reminded again of what Christ said when He asked the question, "What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?
  • we can speak of the prosperity of God and we believe it
  • we can speak of the healing virtue of God and we believe it
  • we can speak of the miracle working power of the Holy Ghost and we know there's nothing too difficult for God
  • we can speak of the fact that God is going to bring you out of every situation and you won't have a hair on your head singed with fire or the smell of smoke
  • we believe you can have a new home, apartment, car, job, peace in your heart and joy in your soul
  • and we believe that all things work together for the good of those who love God¦
¦Yet if the comforts that many people have come to expect from their relationship with God does not translate into a deeper awareness of and union with God, we have missed the purpose for you being saved.
Therefore, your foundation must consist of a relationship with the pastors that God set over your life who looks out for your good and will promote a healthy lifestyle while consistently focusing your attention on God.
Let be clear when we speak of this foundational Truth as the relationship with the Pastors in no way is to replace the Person Who died in your place and is the direct pathway to the Father when this life comes to its end.  
No¦ we preach Christ and Him crucified as the "ONLY way for eternal salvation and the only way your life is going to find any true fulfillment.
The apostle Paul gave us this example and even when it may make you a little uncomfortable, this message is still what will bring encouragement to your heart when you consider your eternal state.
First Corinthians 1
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The message [or the Bible] that the messengers [or the Pastors] bring, must have the component of God's wisdom or the message is false. This is why when we speak to un-believers about Jesus Christ being the only way to the Father, many question this as it's not rational and does not go along with the philosophy of the "masses.
As Paul says, this message is foolishness to them. But it is The Truth nonetheless and it's the only thing that God accepts as the substitute for the sins we committed before we received Christ. We therefore must be fully committed to God's message and His messengers that are over our lives.
We must discount the opinions of those who don't believe and stop allowing them to shape our system of belief and often cause us to doubt and question what God said to us through His Word.
Arise, let us build is the admonition of the hour. God's foundation is being laid in your heart even as I speak and if the foundation is solid, the rest of the structure will be better able to weather the storms of life and ensure that you remain strong and standing "¦when the enemy comes in like a flood.
Before we get into the building blocks of God's Kingdom in our lives, let's consider the material we are to be using. By way of confirmation, the Bible is clear in stating that there is only ˜One Way, Truth and Life which leads us to the Throne of the Father.'
First Corinthians 3
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
The Message Bible
10 Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! 11 Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. 12 Take particular care in picking out your building materials. 13 Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you'll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won't get by with a thing. 14 If your work passes inspection, fine; 15 if it doesn't, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won't be torn out; you'll survive”but just barely.
16 You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? 17 No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that. God's temple is sacred”and you, remember, are the temple.
18 Don't fool yourself. Don't think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. 19 Be God's fool”that's the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It's written in Scripture, He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
20 The Master sees through the smoke screens of the know-it-alls.
21 I don't want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift”
When looking at the word foundation as God uses it here, He's using a figure of speech applying the Person of Jesus Christ to the principle of building our lives in a proper fashion.
Being a metaphor, God is using it to express basic doctrine and instruction on which our hope and salvation will rest. God founded this, God is building it and God will finish it¦ in us as we partner with God.
Building on the Rock
With the blueprint and foundation in your life properly secure and applied, you are now to look at what material you are using. God's material is not necessarily "natural but will affect things that are natural in nature.
Are we building with love or has deceit and hate replaced it?
  • Are we building with faith or have we allowed doubt and negativity to forge our thoughts and what we speak?
  • Are we building our lives based on what God said in the Bible or are we building based on the philosophies of the age we live in?
  • Are we building being careful that we don't tear down another ministry or someone else so we can look better?
  • Are we building on prayer or are we building on speculation and gossip?
  • Are we building on obedience to God or have we allowed our own selfish desires to usurp the authority of God in our life?
Building on things other than these, you are actually using inferior building material and possibly setting yourself up for a big disappointment.
Sometimes you will not change or be motivated to do what you know you are supposed to do until you are upset with what you currently see that you know needs changing. This is true in the nation¦ you won't vote; in the city, you won't get involved, in the church, you won't fully support and in your own life, you won't let God change you.
This is what motivated Nehemiah to do something about the distress he saw even though there was opposition that not only put the project in jeopardy, but his life as well.
Nehemiah chapter 2
1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.
So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?
4 Then the king said to me, "What do you request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it
6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), "How long will your journey be? And when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
7 Furthermore I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy. And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.
9 Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.
11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode.
16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.
17 Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.
18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. So they said, "Let us rise up and build. Then they set their hands to this good work.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?
20 So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.
It's obvious that there's work to be done and without the help of the Lord and our moving from a position of comfort and ease to that of taking up our position in the Kingdom of God, we will not see the change that we really want to see.
To build effectively, you must learn to build in a three-fold manner.
The Kingdom of God encompasses the local and corporate church];
your natural life [how you live and act and interact with people] and your spiritual life which is strengthening your relationship with God.
You must become skilled at building each aspect simultaneously. Often we place much emphasis on being spiritual yet we neglect taking care of our moral and ethical responsibilities before God. Other times, we try to be perfect in the natural and forget that "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that builds it.
As you become balanced in your walk, you will see that God will direct your steps and give you what is needed to properly build. It's then that you will be able to confidently say, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build. It's here that your walk with Christ is not the struggle that it appears to be.
You have joined with Christ in building your natural life, the Kingdom and your spiritual life. This gives you confidence towards God and what He called you to.
Looking at First Corinthians 3 again, it's important to build each aspect of your life properly. As the Apostle Paul gives us the manner in which we are supposed to build, he also cautions us to build in the manner that God describes, and not a way that will necessarily appease how we envision our lives and God's Kingdom is supposed to look.
First Corinthians 3 Message Bible
9 Or, to put it another way, you are God's house. 10 Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation!
11 Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ.
12 Take particular care in picking out your building materials.
13 Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you'll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won't get by with a thing.
14 If your work passes inspection, fine; 15 if it doesn't, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won't be torn out; you'll survive”but just barely.
16 You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? 17 No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that. God's temple is sacred”and you, remember, are the temple.
According to verse 15, you have the opportunity to build your life in a manner that will last for eternity and you can start now. Or, you can "just barely get through and have to start all over again.
First Peter 2 NKJV
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, "cornerstone, the important stone for building a proper foundation
8 and "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
We now move into some of the principles that are vital for our sustained growth as Believers. We have come into a Kingdom that identifies each of us as Kings and priests and with these positions in life we have the ability to rule and reign within whatever sphere of authority that God has given us.
It's important to understand that your race, your education, your economic status or your heritage no longer defines who you are. The Word of God does.
Before you became a Christian, things such as your family heritage, your financial status, your education, the job or business you had, even the place where you lived may have defined you.
This societal pressure often set a standard and goals that you were not able to achieve. Because of that you may have struggled to live up to the expectations of man and having fallen short you became discouraged with your life.
But God is telling you to build your life on Christ, the chief Cornerstone so our lives can have greater meaning and so we will find our fulfillment in Christ and Christ alone.
Christ is the proper foundation and having a living relationship with Him is paramount to our living properly and having the greatest level of success that we can have. 
If we stumble in our walk with God, it's often because of our open disobedience to His Word. The fact is that you cannot be disobedient to something you had no prior knowledge of. You can be in ignorance to something having no knowledge of it; but being disobedient means that you know better.
We must build the way God intended. No excuses; No compromise; and No turning back!
To build properly, you must build knowing Who you are and What you've been appointed to. Do you see yourself as a king and priest, a queen and priestess?
First Peter 2
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
People chosen by God to occupy a specific place in the earth and to represent Him as His own holy people by offering spiritual sacrifices that affect the natural order of things?
To be released from the things that keep you in poverty, sickness, disease, lack, emotional distress and mental torment, you must come to grips with who you are and what you've been called to.
I'm not living according to the pattern of this world any longer. I'm not defined by people who belittle me because of the color of my skin or the place I chose to live; the job I work at or the type of food I eat.
I'm now living by the principles outlined in the Word of God and will adjust my thinking to agree with what God said about me. This is not often as easy as it sounds. You have a fight in your mind against the years of programming that you have gone through and the negatives that society has fed you to keep you living below the standard that God said.
It starts with the renewing of your mind and aligning your life to reflect what is revealed in the Word of God. Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Therefore, if there is going to be a change in your life, it begins with the perception you have in your heart of who you are.
God is specific in bringing you to the place where you will most glorify Him, but we must build¦ starting with the image we have of ourselves.
We must know that when we became Christians, we were chosen by God as John 15:16 says,
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
Each of us have a specific mission in life and knowing that Christ hand-picked us out from among many other choices becomes a motivating force for us to accomplish what He has appointed us to.
God's Building Blocks
In building your life on Christ or developing the fruit that will remain, as Christians it's no secret that there is a specific way we are to build. Often we have discounted the importance of doing what we're supposed to do without any real thought about the potential consequences that our actions could pose.
Just as we make choices to do what we want to do, we have the ability to make the choice to do what God wants us to do just as easily. We start by obeying what God said as Jesus makes it clear saying that "If we love Him, we will obey His Word and Keep His commandments.
Building with love we understand that love is the very nature of the God that we follow. The Scriptures have much to say about love and the importance of our following the way of love more than following faith or any other attribute of God.
John 3 states that "God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
In God loving us, our responsibility is to love God as Christ has loved us and the greatest display of this love is in our obeying the things that He told us to do.
To order our lives after the pattern that the Bible gives us is the beginning of our building as the world is waiting for the manifestation of the people of God.
As we build our lives, knowing that God is building a "spiritual house, we must look at ways to influence other people into the Kingdom of God. We have to be bold in asking others about their relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ and encourage them through our words and lifestyle. We must consider their eternal state as it is appointed unto man once to die and after this to face judgment.
If we love people we will be concerned about them and at some point pray for their well-being while considering ways to get them to hear the Gospel.
First John 4:7, 8 says:
"Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God, he that does not love does not know God because God is love.
The Message Bible in greater context states:
7 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. 8 The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love”so you can't know him if you don't love.
9 This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him.
10 This is the kind of love we are talking about”not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.
11 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other.
We must be people that understand what love is and live in the love of God continually. Love is never one sided where you want the other person to love you but you refuse to love them the way God commanded us to love. 
We have a habit of loving those that love us and will only do so as long as they are doing things the way we want them to. However, if we are going to love as God loves us, we are going to do so without any expectation of return.
God's love gives and has the best interest of the recipient in the forefront of the actions they demonstrate. Human, carnal and selfish love finds a way to satisfy the desires of the flesh and will do so at all costs.
Second Timothy 2 gives us a good analogy of how we are to conduct ourselves.
22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
The New Living Translation commands us to
22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
23 Again I say, don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
Love is manifested in your controlled response to the selfish and carnal actions of those that are operating outside the character of God. This is why verse 25 says to "Gently instruct those who oppose the Truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap.
If we're going to build properly we are going to allow the first building block to be walking in love. The wisdom needed to walk or live this way is not blind and neither does it allow people to walk all over you and treat you any way they want to.  But love will always look at the way to keep the attention of other on the God that saved, healed and delivered them.
To this love, we "add faith as the faith we have been apportioned by God is to be living and active on a continual basis. You're never too young or too old to live a life of faith.
In adding to the principle of love, we must understand that your faith will never negate the love that is your first building block.
Your faith is to enhance and make even more effective the love that has been shed abroad in your heart. Many people that walk with God come to the revelation that God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him and in searching out the things of God they replace the love they have with things that will never satisfy.
They reason that "If God loves me He will give me whatever I want and I will never be disappointed in life. This mentality sets them up for ultimate disappointment and the risk of turning their backs on God because God is not our "sugar daddy.
We must follow Him with the intent of combining or marrying the love we received in our hearts when we became Christians with "the measure of faith that we were dealt at that same moment. Romans 12:3
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
We therefore have what's necessary to first of all bring us to our desired eternal end which is living with God and in His Kingdom forever and ever.
It's this faith that caused you to ask Jesus Christ into your heart to become your Savior and Lord and as it grows, it has the ability to produce the promises of God in your life but not on its own¦ it works through the principle of love.
Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
First Corinthians chapter 12 ends speaking about how some Christians are pursuing title and position when there's a way that God is intending for us to walk that will ensure that what we do actually pleases Him¦ love.
To "marry your faith with God's love ensures that you accomplish what He wants you to do as some people will not go beyond a title they feel that God gave them. Therefore, they feel they are above doing certain things as it does not fit within the perceived "job description they have of themselves.
Even Old Testament prophets worked to build the Kingdom, but in today's Church many only want to prophecy and speak while abusing the people of God. Yet, Paul said there was a better way.
 First Corinthians 12 & 13      Message Bible
And yet some of you keep competing for so-called "important parts.
But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump, and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
4 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head,
5 Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first, Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
6 Doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
7 Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
8 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.
Being a "more excellent way does not negate the importance of faith. What I'm trying to get you to understand is the balance of your walk and the importance of adding the other Biblical principles to your life so you can be well rounded in your walk with God.
To do this you must move your faith to action which is the "Trust factor that Pastor Brenda shared a few weeks ago. It's the trust factor that brings your life to the place where you actually do what the Bible says as it's clear that we have a part to play in securing the promises of God.
This fact alone brings you from a point of "just believing to actually being the disciple that God wants you to be. Some people believe without doing and negates the promises that God made to them as James says demons believe and as we know they still disobey God and follow the commands of their master, satan.
James 2
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe”and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
This faith is so important to your walk that it requires obedience to what you know you're supposed to do.
The example we have here about Abraham is taken from the Book of Genesis where he was going to sacrifice his only son, Isaac on the altar. This account is also brought out in detail in Romans chapter 4.
God intervened and because of his faith he demonstrated unswerving trust in God, Abraham became the very person through whom the Gospel of Grace would be released in the earth as the Old Testament sacrifices and observances were fulfilled in Christ.
The three aspects of the Law were fulfilled through Abraham's Seed with the "Judicial [do's and don'ts of the Law] the "Ceremonial with its various washings and observances being fulfilled with the sacrifice of Christ.
But an empowerment for us to live the way God intends came with the Holy Ghost living inside us to demonstrate the on-going fulfillment of the "Moral aspect of the Law to those we come in contact with.
It takes faith to live the way God wants you to live and that means when presented with a choice to say or act a certain way and your flesh is screaming out for retaliation, you will choose¦ NOT the way of faith, but the way of love that your faith is to operating through.
Sharing the Gospel
As we continue considering the grace that God extended to us and our responsibility to do what He wants us to do rather than only serve Him because of what we can get, it becomes more imperative for us to build according to the pattern that God gave us.
The need to build has been identified; The Blueprint is established; the Foundation has also been laid and we have begun building on faith and love¦
Now our responsibility is to add to the love and faith that God so graciously gave us with other character traits that will allow His love, mercy and grace to be released through us in the earth.
To be the disciples that Christ desires, we must take the mandate to go into the world seriously enough to begin influencing those that are in our lives with the Gospel in word and deed. Matthew 28
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
We must understand what is referred to as conferred authority as this is what Jesus did when He told us as His disciples to go and share the Gospel with all peoples referred to here as nations. Here Christ gave is the same authority that the Father gave Him and therefore we are empowered to serve Him, but we must serve Him in the manner that He determined for us to serve.
I've mentioned many times that the most precious possession in the earth is people and this is what we must be cognizant of as we go through our daily affairs.
This spiritual component of our mission is to take precedent over everything else that we desire in the earth as that is what has eternal value attached to it.
But the enemy has had limited success in the earth by causing many of God's people to forfeit what the Father intends for them by placing greater importance on the things of the world rather than that which is eternal.
The salvation that we have come to experience is priceless and there's no earthly pleasure that can compare to it. However, what has happened is the enemy has whittled the God kind of faith of the people of God down to materialism and they cannot understand that their faith is to be used primarily for the establishment of Kingdom principles, commands and promises.
Also as mentioned, there's no specific earthly time for the manifestation of what someone hopes for if we are actually operating in biblical faith.
Hebrews 11 says, this faith we extend is to be "SUBSTANCE" even though you cannot see it. "Now faith is the substance of things hopes for, the evidence of things not seen. NKJV
New Living Translation
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
As you read the eleventh chapter, you see that many people were commended for extending their faith and although many were faced with death defying circumstances, we see that God delivered them and established their lives, legacy and family line for generations.
The reality is their faith transcended the time they lived in and they had confidence in God that what He said He was also going to perform. They were convinced unequivocally that what they hoped for was going to happen even though they could not see it and in many cases, did not see it in their life time.
In this generation, things are becoming less certain and Christ's mandate is more important for us to obey than any other time since Christ ascended to the Father.
Now that God has our attention through the unrest in the world; the racism that has become more evident; the violence that appears to be escalating; the uncertainty of our infrastructure when it comes to having clean water and food that may be contaminated¦ one thing that's certain is "The plan of God is going to be fulfilled.
Because of this, the responsibility of the people of God is to identify God's plan and do whatever they can to ensure that His plan is first and foremost in what we do. Our responsibility is to do whatever we can to affect the world around us given the sphere of influence that we have and allow the fragrance of Christ to be experienced by everyone that we come in contact with.
This places a responsibility on each of us to allow our faith and love to influence other people into the Kingdom of God; however, they are not going to come just because you live a good life¦ sooner or later you are going to have to tell them about Jesus!
Romans 10 says, "How will they know without a preacher and how will they preach unless they have been sent?
11 As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced. 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.
13 For "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news! 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed our message?
Christ gave each of us this mandate and sent us into the world to preach the Gospel to every creature. However, most Christians do not take this mandate seriously. I believe that the time is at hand for the people of God to allow the Holy Ghost to use them in a greater manner and grant unto them that with all boldness that they will be able to preach the Gospel to those they come in contact with.
Acts 4 NKJV
11 This is the ˜stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
The Word of God is clear that "His Word will not return unto Him void and we must be sowers of that Word as the parable of the sower reveals if we are going to experience the harvest that God has determined for us.
It's clear there that the seed is the Word of God and the various places it was sown are representative of the hearts of men. The Word of God must be released in the earth with boldness, love and faith if it is going to be released with power and authority. Matthew 13
18 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
As the End Time Church with a prophetic Word that states that we are going to experience a harvest of souls that is unprecedented and unmatched by any other time in the history of the world, we must be aligned properly if we are going to build effectively.
Yet you must understand that building the Kingdom of God is quite different than building a church ministry although they are parallel in construction.
You are being used to build the Church and the Kingdom at the same time. The Church is the visible or natural expression of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom is the invisible or spiritual expression of the natural Church.
The Kingdom of God is within us and that's what's released each time we influence someone into the Kingdom by our words of faith, our testimony, our lives and our love for God and people.
Luke 17
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
21 nor will they say, ˜See here!' or ˜See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.
Proverbs 11:30 states that "¦He that wins souls is wise and it's the wisdom of God that is going to prevail as we give our hearts and lives over to Him.
It's so easy to take the path of least resistance and become people who are satisfied with the status quo, but that's not the type of people that God saved us to be. He saved us to represent Him and I believe that He's requesting a return on His investment in us.
PRAYER, Our Connection with God
This brings us to a very important aspect of Kingdom living which is "Every one of us has someone in our lives that need a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Because of this as hopeless as we may feel, the most important thing we can do is pray for them in faith.
We all have different people in our lives and while one is planting the seed, someone else is watering that seed and if the seed is in there it will produce the salvation in their lives that God intends.
First Corinthians 3
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
This means that we must be people of prayer and not use the events of the day and things that someone you know maybe going through as an occasion to gossip instead of take care of Kingdom business.
Taking care of Kingdom business:
  • means that you will hit your knees before you hit the person
  • it means you will fall on your face in prayer before you fall on your face in life
  • it means you will pray without ceasing no matter what you go through and not cease to pray because of what you go through
Just as love, faith and having a heart of evangelism are specific parts of rising and building in this hour, prayer is the mortar that will hold the structure together.
Men ought always to pray and not faint and because prayer is often tedious, it's a ministry that very few people see; it's a ministry that cause's the ministry to have the results that they are hoping for.
Matthew 18:1
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
The example we have of Jesus Christ is that He was a man of prayer. His prayer did not consist of things that would make His life easier as He went through the earth, but was focused like a laser on the Father's will.  
His example of prayer was notice by His disciples as they realized that they were deficient in their own prayer life. The approached Christ and stated, "Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.
They were not afraid to acknowledge the fact that there were principles that they had yet to know, learn and understand which would allow them to not only pray more effectively, but live a more effective life.
Jesus proceeded to tell them, after this manner therefore pray, Our Father in heaven¦ in context Matthew 6 says:
5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Biblical prayer prepares you for when things are delayed¦ it prepares you for the time when things don't go as you intended them to go; it prepares you to see your faith through to the end.
We must be people of prayer and understanding that prayer is not sending requests into heaven just to request more and more things to make our lives as easy as possible. It is having dialogue with the Father that is unceasing and that considers His will, plan and purpose as you go through your daily affairs.
Many people have said they don't know how to pray; they say that they feel funny praying; or that they don't know what to say. The answer to this is always the same, "You must start where you are so you can progress where you feel you want to be
There are various components to prayer and how God speaks to us as we learn how to pray. God speaking to us will be in agreement with the Scriptures that He has given us. He will share with us His heart as we read the Word of God and allow the Holy Ghost to bring us revelation into the hidden meanings of what He has spoken.
First Kings 19
11 Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
God is preparing some of us to hear His voice. You may have been blow about by the wind; you may have been in an earthquake; or you may be coming through the fire. Yet after these things have gotten your attention, you are positioned to hear the voice of God giving you specific instructions.
These instructions can be referred to as revelation or God making know what was there all the time, yet hidden so what was hidden can benefit your life. And once revelation is received, the responsibility is placed on us to release through our words what God has said.
It's here that we learn to pray words that are more declarative and not passive; we pray knowing that what we are asking is the will of God and we will not ask God in the form of a question the thing that He already said is supposed to happen in our lives and in the earth.
This becomes bedrock [base or foundation] that we anchor our faith to as it will sustain us in battle as the enemy tries to discredit God and discourage us.
What is standing in the way of you moving forward? Prayer is the key that will remove the barrier.
What is keeping you from accomplishing the will of God and becoming the person you know He's requiring you to be? Prayer is the key.
What have you allowed as an excuse that keeps you from pressing your way to the end while you consistently take three steps forward and two steps back? Prayer is the key
The questions that must be once again answered before you will see the manifestation of God's promises remain evident:
  • Are we building with faith or have we allowed doubt and negativity to forge our thoughts and what we speak?
  • Are we building our lives based on what God said in the Bible or are we building based on the philosophies of the age we live in?
  • Are we building being careful that we don't tear down another ministry or someone else so we can look better?
  • Are we building on prayer or are we building on speculation and gossip?
  • Are we building on obedience to God or have we allowed our own selfish desires to usurp the authority of God in our life?
  • Most importantly, are we building through our own efforts or are we building through communion with the Father?
Let's face the things that are standing in opposition to the will of God being accomplished in and through us and become the strong Christian we were created to be. This takes breaking down every wall that stands in opposition to God's greater plan.
Arise and build your life in union and communion with the Father
Truth Expressed Through Worship

As we continue building the unseen Kingdom of God that's revealed through His people, our greatest responsibility is that we would bring our lives to the place where they reflect the One that we represent here in the earth as His Church and as it is in heaven.

For many years the Body of Christ has substituted programs and clichés for the character and living lives of integrity that God has commanded us to live in. The programs and various Christian sayings are okay if they are not used as a replacement for the True character that God desires, but they should never replace them.

When we replace who God called us to be with religious philosophies, the walk we have with God is reduced to tradition and rules that are man-made which will never produce the righteousness that God requires of His people.
In Matthew 15:6-b, when asked why His followers did not keep the traditions of the elders, Jesus said they forsook the commands of God to keep the traditions of the elders, then said:
Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

Therefore, to be well rounded we must take the relationship we have with God "in getting things done for Him and work just as much on our character by walking in the integrity that God expects from us.

It's also vitally important for us to recognize that the Lord does not promote one Believer over another because of what they do "for Him but rather is looking for the building of His Kingdom through those that have learned what True worship is.
This can be likened to the Mary and Martha example whereas Martha worked trying to make everything perfect for Jesus, where Mary chose to sit at His feet.
Both are necessary but it's the timing of the work that could have made the worship of no effect. This is why Jesus said, "Mary chose the better thing, or the thing that will not be taken from her.
Luke 10 New Living Translation
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught.
40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.
41 But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.
Don't let "details derail your time of worship. Often when it's time to worship God, you can't do it because of the details of the house, the car, the money, the doctor's report, the family, the economy, the president and things that are used to "unfocus our focus.
What must be acknowledged is that details are necessary as the definition of a detail is "a minor, petty or single part that makes up a whole We must understand that as important as what we do for God is, it is still only a portion of the better part that God requires from us which is to be the worshippers we were born to be.
We must discover [or learn] what Mary did and make the time to sit at His feet without the distractions of life causing us to place more emphasis on what will perish.
When given the opportunity to do so, like Mary we must also choose to spend our time on what is eternal. To focus our hearts and minds on God when the time for corporate worship is called, you are discovering the ONE THING WORTH BEING CONCERNED ABOUT.
Therefore, building the Kingdom through worship becomes a "two-fold collective effort for us as we are all individuals that play a part in God's overall plan.
1] We build our lives by doing things the way God wants us to and through this lifestyle,
2] because of this, the Kingdom of God becomes evident because of the love and unity that is expressed through the time we spend focused as one on God in singing, clapping, lifting holy hands and bowing before our Great God.
This makes the expression of our public worship tangible to those that are outside the Kingdom because they see how we live and act, while making our worship more meaningful among each of us as Believer's who are worshipping the God of all creation in the midst of the sanctuary.
While many people fight and jockey for a position in a church or ministry, there are no "greater positions in the Kingdom of God; only higher levels of responsibility given to pastors and leaders to Govern "His Church which is the manifestation of His Kingdom in the earth.
To whom much is given, much is required. Because of this God will not give someone greater responsibility if He knows it will ultimately destroy them.
Most often when worship is spoken of the first thing that comes to mind is singing a song that is "solemn" in nature, bowing, lying down prostrate or any other variety of things.
These are all well and good as these are outward expressions of an inward work of God. However, they are to be reflective or a sign of an inward attitude of our hearts that should desire to submit to and please Him and Him alone.

The worship that God requires is first of all a broken spirit and contrite heart.
Psalm 51:17 
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Our worship is the reflection of hearts that have been broken and repentant. This is a sign of people who are truly sorry for their previous lifestyles that were lived in direct opposition to the laws and commands of God.
We can't come to God in a proud and unbelieving manner, having lived life our own way throughout the week as it causes our worship to be null and void.
Knowing our sins have been forgiven and that the punishment we actually deserved has been thrown into the sea of forgetfulness, "we reflect today on the forgiveness that God extended to us the moment we got saved no matter how long it has been. Our gratitude to God is expressed in a tangible fashion every day by what we do.
As much as we can try to avoid the issue, we cannot have true worship without settling the issue of sin in our lives first. Looking at sin from God's perspective, you must do so understanding that it is "disobedient thoughts that lead to disobedient actions.
This is what happened in the Garden of Eden when Adam sinned against or [disobeyed] God. The sin Adam committed was not in eating the fruit because "Fruit is a reflection of what is in the root. It was disobedience at the root that caused him to eat the fruit.
"Disobedience in the Hebrew language is the word is parakoÄ“. This is one of the nine words for sin in the New Testament. It describes the nature of Adam's first act of sin, the one act that plunged the entire human race into sin with its accompanying degradation and misery.
This compound Hebrew word means "to hear, and "alongside. It is in reference to a person who "fails to hear or is "hearing amiss
Because we are not paying attention to what God said, it leads to active disobedience [how be it, being done in ignorance] which is sin against God. It could also reference the fact that a sin is already committed because you failed to listen when God was speaking.
With the issue of sin properly understood and having a right perspective we are now positioned live in obedience to God and give Him True worship.
Ironically there is a lot of learned behavior that we must review when it comes to worship and the beginning of our being true worshipers is when we recognize it as both a inward lifestyle and outward actions expressed when we come together as a congregation.
Jesus said there would come a time in history when True worshippers would be revealed who would worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.
This did not mean that people will be singing songs that are any better than another generation; or have a beat or lyrics that move the soul better than another choir or church.

He was making reference to the lifestyle of the Believer who would be people that are "spiritual and walk in Truth. Often, when looking at the Body of Christ both are missing in many people who say they are Christians.
In response to the mentality that worship is a specific act, Jesus had dialogue with the woman at the well and expressed the Father's desire for worship that would be pleasing to Him.
After telling the woman of her previous relationships and that she was currently living outside the will of God by staying with a man she was not married to¦ in John 4
19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Keying in on verse 23, for many Believer's, instead of living a life in the spirit, they are fleshly, worldly and carnal. Instead of living the Truth, they are living a less than truthful life which is demonstrated by their actions of not allowing the Word of God to govern their daily actions.

This is why it says He's seeking "True worshippers as the reference of there being true worshippers leads us to believe that there must be false worshippers as well.

The desire of God is that we would go from a lifestyle of worship which is living in obedience to His righteous laws and commands to a posture of worship that includes singing, clapping, lifting our hands, bowing down and in essence, giving our entire being over to God.
As we go from "Lifestyle worship to THE PLACE where this worship is expressed in our outward physical actions of singing, dancing, bowing and lifting our hands, we are acknowledging that the Person we are expressing such adoration to has shifted from a physical tabernacle to a spiritual one.
THE PLACE of worship in the Old Testament was composed of the inner court, outer court and holy of holies. THE PLACE of worship has transitioned to the heart of every Believer which has become the Tabernacle or dwelling place of God in the New Testament.

This shift is only noticeable when we all come before God with a clear conscious that's not hindered by actions which are reflective of a lifestyle of unrepented sin. This releases what we refer to as a corporate anointing and the power of God becomes more evident.
It's difficult to worship when our consciences are bogged down with thoughts of our actions [past, present and future] that we know are against the principles of Scripture. So we try to enter into the Presence of God with a song, but our mind is a million miles away.
Our thoughts and heart having ulterior motives makes it difficult to stay focused for any length of time.
Because our consciences are not clear, while we sing, we are being convicted by the Holy Ghost and often at the same time, being condemned by the enemy of our souls. The demons are calling us hypocrites, liars, cheaters, fornicators, adulterers, and every other name but a child of God. While the holy Spirit is calling us to repent and come back into a right relationship with the Father.

It's at this point in corporate worship that we move past religious philosophies and embrace the Word of God so we can handle those convictions and possible condemning thoughts. We handle the conviction properly, not by ignoring it, but by repenting of it.
In the Book of First John, God lets us see the proper way to deal with thoughts and acts of sin that hinder our True worship. Once dealt with properly, we have the opportunity to enter a place with God that's only reserved for the pure in heart.
First John 1
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
First John 2
2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation [or the ATONING SACRIFICE] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

This brings us back into right relationship with God and with God seeing those that have truly repented will be the same people who will worship God in spirit.
We have now been reconnected to God by the Spirit and the Truth of God's Word lived out in righteousness is now restored.

With how we live towards God and our brothers and sisters and those in the world who are estranged from God settled in our lives, we position ourselves to not only acknowledge God by the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name, but by participating in worship service.
In this worship service the power of God is revealed; shackles fall off as in the example of Paul and Silas; burdens are removed because of an increased anointing and you begin to see possibilities instead of hopelessness; and come to the place where there is greater trust in whatever the outcome is because you have submitted your life and situation to the will, plan and purposes of God.

We are now brought to the place where we build the spiritual Kingdom through worship, joining with the angels in declaring, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, who is and who is to come.

Through our worship, we form a barrier that the enemy cannot penetrate which begins in our minds, and becomes a hedge around everything that we own and are concerned about.
This barrier being in place allows us the freedom to express ourselves in worship that's inspired by Truth. It becomes a platform for God to be exalted in our midst as we connect our hearts and minds being on one accord at the altar first, then on one accord in building the Kingdom of God outside the walls of the Church.

In this type of worship, the two aspects needed for true worship to take place are realized:
First, the Person or object of worship is placed on the Throne and then the people that are part of His Kingdom are in alignment with Him.
No longer do we worship what we do not know because we now KNOW by experience and know intimately the God of our worship.

Secondly, our "Lifestyle of worship has brought us to the place of true worship and now the position of worship exalts us to the place where God is recognized by His people.
We are no longer worshipping based on rules taught by men and therefore worshipping in vain. Our worship is now pure and our words are the expression of the actions of our hearts.
Matthew 15:7
7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ˜These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
The reality that religion and people who are more influenced by a religious spirit than God's Spirit is more dangerous than any sin someone can commit will never be understood by the majority of the Church.
Giving God lip service will never bring you into the full grace that God has reserved for you. There are principles in the Word of God that will allow someone to gain an understanding of worship and the importance of following God's command, yet "True worship cannot be taught, it can only be "caught as our hearts are given over to God every moment of the day.
Sacrifice of Praise
With the attitude of our hearts fixed properly through worship as we are living "a life of worship and "have a posture that reflects this heart attitude, we must know that another aspect of our walk with God is that our praise gives us greater possibilities in the midst of adversity. When we have a lifestyle of praise, our problems are often swallowed up in the midst of those praises.
Our praise becomes a weapon against the enemy as the forces of darkness tries to take us out in our minds long before the thing that is attacking us manifests in our lives.
In other words, we are often fighting in our minds through thoughts that are not based on the Word of God long before the actual battle begins. The enemy always shows you the worst, gives you what the situation dictates and never lets you see a way out. Often you know what the Word of God says, but cannot get past those haunting voices.
Yet God gave you a weapon that is associated with your praise which places you in the winner's circle every time. Psalm 149
6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands” 7 to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains,
9 to execute the judgment written against them. This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones. Praise the Lord!
In verse 6 you have a two-fold offensive weapon that God gave you to use against the enemy and everything that stands in your way¦ praise and a sharp sword.
Without going into a lot of detail concerning the sharp sword, we have a reference of the sword in the New Testament Book of Ephesians chapter six where it deals with our weapons in spiritual warfare.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
As we've been talking about Rise and Build, we have already reviewed the importance of the Word of God as we construct our lives. We said knowing and practicing it consistently is our blueprint for building. The Bible in essence is our architectural drawing that allows us to build properly.
But now we have a subtle weapon given to us that causes us to have greater confidence in the Word that we are proclaiming over our lives and situations.
It's praise that positions us for victory.
Praise means to commend, to boast, to shine and to shout and in the Old Testament the Levites would praise God in the morning and in the evening. (1 Chronicles 23:30). BOAST: To speak of deeds, abilities, or characteristics in a manner showing pride or self-satisfaction. Commend: To praise or to present as worthy of confidence. When it come to praising God, you are telling of His greatness and declaring your confidence in Him¦
When we use the word "hallelujah it is not just a word that reflects how spiritual we are but is a "command to praise Yah (the Lord) as it is derived from the word hālal in Psalm 105:45; 146:1. Halle Praise lu the yah Lord!
Deuteronomy 10
20 You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.
When it comes to giving praise to God, Psalm 148 says let the instruments resound His praise that we use are to be used to praise God, and Psalm 150 declares, "Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord.
1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven!
2 Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
3 Praise him with a blast of the ram's horn; praise him with the lyre and harp!
4 Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!
5 Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Being part of God's creation, those who are Believer's in Jesus Christ should consider it a joy and privilege to lift up the Name of the Lord at all times.
The life we live is to be reflective of the love we have in our hearts for God. It is not to be lived in doubt, fear, bitterness, envy and strife, it's not to be lived murmuring and complaining about how bad it is. It's to be lived with a constant expectation that God is going to show up and remove everything that is trying to hinder Him from being exalted in your life.
When they mess with you, they mess with the "apple of God's eye as His child and if we can be people whose hearts are immersed in praise, we will see the Lord fight on our behalf and give us the victory.
As we investigate the principle of praise, we must settle the focus of our praise. You must always remember that God commands us to praise Him and not place whether we are going to offer Him imHpraise based on our feelings, circumstances or whether we sound as good as someone else. That's singing, and although praising God can include singing you don't have to be a professional singer to praise Him.
I believe we should always bring God our best no matter whether it's "our service, how we dress, our giving or our songs of praise and once the praise is offered you support what you say with how you act.
In this Christian walk, we are never going to get around our character or our integrity that is lived before the world. Because you know how you should talk and act, character is not what you say you have but what people see you doing. This is the place where they look at our lives and say that we are hypocrites because we become actors by saying one thing and living another way.
It's through our character that our lifestyle of worship intersects with the lifestyle of praise as the exaltation of the Lord is not based on feelings, circumstance or how well you can sing. It's based on whether we are going to obey the entire Gospel that God gave us.
It's been said that praise will open the door for greater blessings and I'm not trying to dispute a teaching that supports God's desire to feed you, clothe you and increase your life because He takes care of even the birds and animals.
However, I am saying that someone cannot live any way they want to and then sing a "Gospel song or share a post on face Book or Twitter and all of a sudden all their problems will cease.
Yet the reality of our walk with God allows us to see that from Genesis through Revelation, there are commands for the people of God to praise the Lord. In doing so, some examples of the praise of God's people reversing their fortunes and causing them to win many battles that were otherwise hopeless.
You cannot talk about the praises of God giving you victory in your battle for very long without eventually considering one of the greatest victories recorded in the Scriptures.
You have a King that endeavored to follow the Lord in word and deed and through no fault of his own, three nations or kingdoms stationed themselves to annihilate the people of God.
The king called a fast and in the midst of the Fast they are praying to the Lord of Hosts.
Second Chronicles 20
10 "And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. 11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, won't you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.
As the hearts of the people are focused and are submitted to whatever the Lord would tell them, the Lord speaks through one of the prophets in verse 13.
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, 14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph. [who was one of the writers of some of the psalms]
15 He said, "Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord's victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you
With the Word of the Lord declared, the people of God had one of two choices¦ obey the prophet and go out the next morning, or stay where they were and allow fear to grip their hearts¦ they chose to obey the Lord as simple as the instructions were.
20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, "Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.
21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
"Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!
22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.
The rewards of praise and obedience caused them to increase by God giving what once belonged to the enemy.
25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing,* and other valuables”more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing,* which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.
27 Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies. 28 They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the Lord.
29 When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. 30 So Jehoshaphat's kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
Hebrews 13
15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
16 And don't forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
There must be a release of praise in our House and in our individual lives if we are going to experience the "spoils that is in the hand of the sinners as the Bible declares that the "wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
This lets us know that there is no shortage of resources in the earth, it's just that we have not fully tapped into where the treasure is hidden.
Once we praise our way through, let's walk in Hebrews 13:16¦ "don't forget to do good and to share with those in need. This is what pleases God in our worship.
Arise and Build
The Importance of Mothers and Family
As we celebrate Mother's Day today as a nation we take a moment and reflect on the impact that those who brought us into the earth has had on us.
Ironically, as we look at the series that we have embarked on this year "Arise and Build, the principles of motherhood are imbedded within the Word of God as vital instructions that will ensure that our lives are lived with our greatest potential.
From the womb,
  • it's mothers that ensure that we are nourished, clothed, get our medical checkups
  • It's mothers that are there when we fall and cry or need some encouragement when we feel like the entire world is against us
  • It's mothers who see potential in us when we doubt our own abilities
  • It's mothers who always expect the best from us, when no one else sees it.
Our lives have been shaped and formed by various women, and often how we treat the girl who will become our wife is determined by the instruction of the mother and often the example of fatherhood that we also had.
To neglect the instruction and commands of a mother, we are forfeiting the knowledge, understanding, love and wisdom that God put in our lives to ensure that we excel in life and accomplish the purpose for which we have been born.
One thing I have found out about a mother is that is you are her child; she will never knowingly give you the wrong advice. It may not be what you want to hear, but it will be what would be of the most benefit to you.
Mothers [and I'll add grandmothers] are often the most important people in our lives no matter how intelligent, influential powerful or big someone may turn out to be. The greatest men who ever lived will often give honor to their mother when they are being honored themselves.
This is true for Presidents and kings of nations; star athletes, music legends; business owners of corporate 500 companies, doctors, lawyers, teachers and nurses; even gangsters and hardcore criminals will often acknowledge and take care of the woman that brought them into the earth.
Biblically, we have women being honored and the importance of their roles in the earth affirmed by God since the Garden of Eden.
When God told Adam that it was not good for man to be alone, and created a helper that was fit for him [helpmeet] the significant role of women was established. Genesis 2
18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him. 
19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The woman who was to be the example of a wife and example of motherhood was given to help [as a helpmeet to] the husband. Without this knowledge of the purpose for the wife and women in general, many men often take on a role that God never intended and instead of being blessed, they bring a curse into their lives.
The woman is given to a man to be his wife, not his mistress, old lady, chick on the side or piece of meat. Before many of us got saved, we didn't have the example of what the purpose for a girl was. We need to teach our young men that girls are going to be someone's wife some and they should respect them just as they would want someone to respect their future wife and mother they have now.
If a woman is married as a wife she is to know her role as helper, not provider; she is to come alongside her husband and give him aid or assistance. It's not her job to go and work four jobs while the man sits home taking the money she brings in.
Her role is to be there to help the husband fulfill his purpose in the earth. This is evident when God gave Adam and Eve the purpose for which they were created, which was to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. This was something that Adam would not be able to do without the assistance of the wife.
The children needed to ensure that Adam and Eve's purpose in life of bringing others into the earth so it would be re-populated would come through the womb of a woman.
It's often men that get recognized for the things that are happening in society and the awards and perks of life are presented to them in a fashion that would appear to insinuate that they did it on their own.
However, it's a mother somewhere that sacrificed for them; who gave her last penny so he would have a roof over his head and clothes on his back. It was often her sacrifice that allowed many men to see another day in this life so they could accomplish what in in their hearts to do.
In minimizing the importance of the role of women and mothers in the earth, the enemy has been quite successful in making them seem like they are not important and what they do is insignificant.
They have to fight harder, work longer and do more with less just to get the same acknowledgment that a man gets, let alone trying to do this as an African American woman.
Women, in this hour¦ especially those who are God's daughters¦ must not see themselves as a piece of meat to be passed around from one man to another or as a person that has no significant calling and therefore settle for a life of misuse and abuse by someone who has no idea of the value they have.
God has established your role as a helpmeet to one husband and if you are a single mother "you're a queen; and if the person that you are considering making your own husband will not acknowledge that you are royalty and treat you as such, it does not mean you have to accept it and reduce your expectations in life to meet theirs. You just have to find the courage to release Mr. Right Now so you have options when Mr. Right actually does come along.
Because someone does not see the potential you have, it does not mean that you have to discount the greatness that has been instilled in you.
Although woman was first formed from man [Adam], every man born in the earth from that time has come from a woman.
The greatest prophets, priests and kings recorded in Scripture came from women of noble character.
You could say that even when it appeared that a woman didn't quite live a life that displayed God's character and His desired moral lifestyle; that when they came to their senses, they did live right as "God never holds our past decisions against our future hope and purposes.
I'm reminded of Mary who was caught in adultery who Jesus saved from being stoned by people who also had their own sin issues, and forgave her sins; then He allowed her to follow Him to the cross and beyond.
Even one of the women in Jesus' lineage was referred to as a harlot, yet was still used by God and is listed in Matthew Chapter one as a matriarch of Jesus family. Joshua 2: 13, 18 Rahab the harlot. In chapter 6, they moved her and her family from Jericho to live by the people of Israel.
You see, if you will let Him, God will clean you up right where you are and give you renewed purpose and make your latter years much greater than your former years.
A couple of the men in Scripture who had mother's that were significant and without them, some would have died are:
  • Moses, whom God gave the Ten Commandments. His mother spared him by going against the decree of the king that said the sons were to be killed. God used him to deliver His people from 430 years of Egyptian bondage.
  • David, who had a mother that helped instill royalty in him, even though she is not mentioned much in the Bible. The ability he had to play instruments [worship] and fight [warfare] allowed him to defeat the giant that defied the armies of the Living God and release tormenting spirits from the king.
  • James and John, whose mother in Matthew 20 wanted her sons to sit on the Lord's right and left in the Kingdom of heaven
There are many others who had mothers that instructed them and gave them counsel so they could succeed in the earth. We could look at Isaac and Jacob or other prophets, priests and kings, however there's one person that was influenced more than you would ever realize and was not a "momma's boy but became a "man's man because of the influence of his mother¦ Solomon.
You must understand that Solomon was given to David after a series of life altering sins that David committed when he was king¦ having an affair with another man's wife, while having her husband who was one of his faithful servants killed [Uriah the Hittite] by putting him on the front line of battle so David could have his wife as his own¦ Bathsheba.
After the son that Bathsheba initially conceived through that adulterous affair died and the period of mourning was over, God graced their marriage union and gave them Solomon. Of this it is said in Second Samuel 12:
24 Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child 25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means "beloved of the Lord), as the Lord had commanded.
God did not hold the sins of the parents against the child that was born to them and as his name implies, Solomon or Jedidiah's name meant, "Beloved of the Lord.
As Solomon writes the Proverbs, it's interesting that he makes reference to two significant people in his life, his father AND his mother. These two parental figures were used by God to bring balance into Solomon's life through "instruction and commands. Proverbs 1
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive [notice and recognize] the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion”
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an "enigma [Something that is puzzling, unclear, vague or mysterious. It's a confusing speech or text]; a riddle, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;
9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.
Since the Garden of Eden, wisdom has been the thing that people have sought after by the greatest of men and women. Some have paid handsomely to try and attain it while others have even given their lives to be wise. Genesis 3
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
As we see in the serpent telling Eve that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge would "make her like God, therefore she would be wise, the enticement to be like God is insatiable and ironically most people have not gone to the Source of wisdom in order to live this life the way God intended.
Proverbs 23
19 My child, listen and be wise: keep your heart on the right course.
20 Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons,
21 for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don't despise your mother when she is old.
23 Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
24 The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
25 So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
Proverbs 30
11 Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother.
12 They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed.

Proverbs 31, which is the chapter we often refer to as the example of what a  "Virtuous Woman actually looks like, begins:
The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
Although this is not specifically referencing Solomon who actually wrote the majority of the Proverbs, the name Lemuel points to the character and disposition Solomon had that allowed him to be referred to as the wisest man aside from Christ to live in the earth.
The name Lemuel means "to be teachable, knowledgeable or well-trained by the Lord. Further, it means "to learn, to study, to teach, to be taught, to be learned and to learn the ways of God instead of the ways of the world
This is what his mother taught him and what is expected in his life. The Word of God is the Book of instruction that every mother wants their children to follow.
In Leviticus 19
The Lord also said to Moses, 2 "Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3 "Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father, and you must always observe my Sabbath days of rest. I am the Lord your God.
For all the women today, I affirm your role in the earth and you have no need for someone to whisper sweet nothings in your ear, so they can have their way with you. You are special and as the example we have in Luke 1 of the Message Bible shares, you are someone significant.
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth 27 to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin's name, Mary. 28 Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.
29 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that.
Arise and Build 12
The Fight is in the Spirit
As we have established a balanced Christian walk through this series of messages, I now come to a part that is very significant to our lives especially if we want to live victoriously.
The next piece of our series that is based on our lifestyle in "precept, principle and practice, is one that few Believers' are willing to pay the price to engage in and see through to its completed end.
This observation is mentioned because when we speak of spiritual warfare in any form, the concept is oftentimes not readily received. This could possibly be because:
  • Most Christians are ignorant about it. Because they do not know what it is, they don't stretch themselves to learn and apply the principles that will ensure that they have a life that displays the disposition of God in public and in private.
  • Some are not willing to change many of their own character traits and desires so the concept as a whole could be incorporated in their daily lives. In essence it takes work and most times we become settled in the life and lifestyle we have become accustomed to.
  • It is not popular when it comes to practicing it because as a "religious principle, not something that most churches as a whole focus on. Because of this the majority of churches do not promote or practice spiritual warfare even though they may make mention of it periodically.
  • They don't see the significance of it and therefore it is not important to them. They neglect to realize that whether they consciously engage in it or not, they are in a spiritual battle in one area or another.
Like most principles in the Scriptures, warfare in the spirit is not something you fill your brain with and say you are an accomplished warrior. It is practicing establishing God's Word every day until you are an expert at doing what God says.
Often when we consider something spiritual there is a tendency to have a pre-conceived idea of what it is and therefore miss the entire purpose for God revealing these Truths to us.
You must never forget that God gives us these things so we can live victoriously ourselves and then be used of God as an instrument that will free others from the clutches of the enemy.
  • Not every Christian is going to grasp what spiritual warfare is, let alone apply the principles to their lives.
  • Others don't see the importance of walking in the Spirit and therefore discount how deceptive satan is.
  • Some don't even care as they are engulfed in their own problems and issues and think they cannot add anything else to their life.
These reasons are why they need to know what it is, what it is not and how to apply it properly to their lives¦ God wants them free!
I think one of the biggest mistakes we make as Christians is to minimize how shrewd satan is as we think that we are above being tricked by his deceptive tactics.
Looking at the foundation of Spiritual Warfare, you must know that it is not something that is new in the earth or a New Testament principle that is being revealed to the Last Day Church. Because of that, this teaching can actually be entitled "Spiritual Warfare 101.
Spiritual encounters of war have been waging since the restoration of the earth in the first few chapters of Genesis. I believe that if Adam effectively dealt with the serpent in The Garden of Eden the earth would not have been thrown into the chaos that ensued.
Because we are often looking at things from a natural perspective, we miss the fact that "satan was not a real serpent or a snake, but he influenced the serpent and spoke through him. That was spiritual¦
You also don't realize that the dialogue Adam and Eve had with the serpent was the first recorded scriptural spiritual warfare example that we have.
The example that we are given in Genesis cannot be looked at as a story of a serpent and piece of fruit that many have reduced it to being. It is a outright challenge by satan of God's Authority as he Challenged God's Word that was given to one of God's created Beings.
The same is true for each of us as it's God's Word that satan is challenging and through some simple examples, my hope is that we will raise a standard against the enemy of our souls.
In your own life, each spiritual battle you face is based on the Word of God "being challenged by the world or our flesh both of which are the tools satan uses to gain access into our lives.
What determines your victory is "Whether you are going to abide by what God said instead of what your physical senses are telling you
This is where Adam and Eve missed it. Adam and Eve chose to give into their flesh, rather than hold onto what God told them. I wonder what their lives and the entire earth would look like if they had never turned the authority they had over to satan when they did?
The command was that they were to eat of any tree in the Garden of Eden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This became the challenge that Adam was now faced with and if he was going to fulfill God's purpose given to him through the command, then when he was confronted with the decision to obey or disobey what God said, he would have to do it God's way.
Like many of us, when you tell us we can't do something or we can't have something, we will do everything we can to do it or get it knowing that we're not supposed to¦ It's the nature of the human spirit that's not submitted to God.
This is what God was getting through to Paul as he was letting us know where sin gets its power. Most people do not know that the power of sin is not resident in doing wrong, but in the Law convicting us to do what is right. Therefore, the spiritual battle is intensified the more you know about God.
After the command came [or the Law was given to Moses], sin came alive and was given power by the choices people made against the very Law that was given to release life into the earth.
Being given the choice Adam and Eve were deceived and disobedient to the command of God.
Romans 7
         8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires          within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. 9 At     one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the          command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life,        10 and I died. So I discovered that the law's commands, which were         supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took      advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the          commands to kill me. 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its        commands are holy and right and good.
This is important for you to understand as although the command given here was "coveting, this principle governs every other act and action we do that is considered sin. You have the desire for something that you are commanded to not do our have and battle begins on the inside.
The entire account of Adam and Eve deals with obedience to the Command of God [which was a Law to them] and serves as our example to live in a manner that will always please God.
You wouldn't know what is right or wrong if God didn't tell you what was right or wrong; and you would not see the severity of sin if God gave these commands as options; not Laws to be abided by that has consequences for breaking them.
The command to not eat of only "one Tree in the Garden, became the very thing that Adam had to protect. He neglected to do so, and when he disobeyed God's command, he tried to cover his sin in two ways.
  • First by making a covering out of leaves which will never eradicate sin as it's only the blood of a sacrificed animal that would do so.
  • Secondly Adam tried to place the blame on the innocent party, Eve.
This lets us know that we are not responsible for the level of revelation and obedience of others. The woman you gave me, gave me some fruit and I ate.
The command in this spiritual battle was not given to Eve, therefore she was not the one who was going to be held responsible¦ although she would experience the consequences of her own actions.
First Timothy 2
         13 For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. 14 And it     was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was    deceived, and sin was the result.
Genesis 2:15
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of      Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man,     saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the        tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day         that you eat of it you shall surely die
According to Genesis 3 the dialogue between satan and Eve was one where he appealed to the lusts of her flesh in various ways. He understood the power that resided in the flesh [or our sinful nature] and he targeted what would cause her to consider his offer and act on it. Satan's goal is not to get you to agree with him by knowing that something is wrong, he is intent on getting you to do what is not supposed to be done.
The New Testament sheds light on how we are to conduct ourselves. It shows us that we are to rely on Christ and live according to God's Spirit.
Philippians 3 NLT
3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us.
We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.
The NKJV translates this as
"We are the circumcision we worship God in the spirit. We rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh
Having no Confidence as used here means "I will not be persuaded and will not be convinced by anything that my flesh or the sinful nature offers me
This lets us see that the battle we have is in our ability to be spiritual beings controlling our natural bodies by the Word of God; not natural people with a spirit that's given over to every desire of our old nature or our flesh.
We can now see that Eve was deceived and the responsibility of the man is to protect the woman from the influence of satan even as she has great influence over a man.
Man controls nations, builds trillion dollar organizations; and accomplishes great feats of strength but will succeed or fail often because of the woman he has chosen.
Because of the love we have for our mates, we will often do and say things that we would not generally do or say. In this relationship, we must also be certain that we are not being enticed to sin by going against the commands of God by even our greatest love in the earth.
We may not admit it, but a real man will let his wife have certain freedoms and liberties that no other person can and will have. She will know things no other person know. Consider Samson when he was deceived by Delilah?
If your wife really loves Jesus, she will never put you in a predicament that would cause you to disobey God's command to you.
Genesis 3
         2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the      trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst          of the garden, God has said, ˜You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch     it, lest you die.'
         4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and        you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
         6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was      pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took     of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.          7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that    they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made     themselves coverings.
Even in this, most people miss what happened because they are looking with carnal eyes. I've had people say, "If God's Word is True how come Adam didn't die after he ate the fruit from the Tree?
The answer is simple for those who are willing to utilize Biblical principles when making their decisions on it.
Understanding what death is, you see it had and immediate impact as Adam became "separated from God. Death is not annihilation, but a separation between two entities, objects or persons.
God separated Himself from Adam [caused Adam to not have fellowship with Him] therefore this death was immediate.
You also see in examining the Scriptures that after Adam was sent out of the Garden, you have no other mention of Adam having any dialogue with God¦
Therefore, the separation [death] was immediate¦ However, it was also progressive as Chapter 5 reveals the physical death of Adam.
After this, the only thing to be determined is the third type of death the Scriptures reveal, which is eternal death and that is in God's Hands to decide.
Genesis 5
         When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who      was just like him”in his very image. He named his son Seth. 4 After   the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and he had other    sons and daughters. 5 Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
With the foundation of spiritual battles settled and your knowing that this is real and nothing new, we are better able to grasp and embrace the fact that "If Adam and Eve were caught in a spiritual encounter, this means that we are not exempt and should be looking at ways to reduce the collateral damage caused by our own disobedience to God.
Staying with the examples of the spiritual battles that begin within each of our hearts, let's start by identifying what real warfare in the spirit looks like from a Biblical perspective.
Second Corinthians 10 is the foundation that I will be using to build our offence on in establishing God's authority in the spiritual areas of our lives.
First, understand that the responsibility to become spiritually mature does not rest on your mate's shoulders, the shoulders of the pastors or leaders, or even on the shoulders of the Holy Ghost.
They rest on your own shoulders and if you neglect to build as God has determined it only renders you less effective in this life. God has already given us the tools to build our lives spiritually with and again, it's the decisions we make in obedience to what we know that will determine whether we will ever become proficient at warfare in the spirit.
The Message Bible
1“2   And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I'm being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I'm with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters.
2 Please don't force me to take a hard line when I'm present with you. Don't think that I'll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I'm an unprincipled opportunist. Then they'll have to eat their words.
3 The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way”never have and never will.
4 The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.
5 We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
6 Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
The New Living Translation says:
3 We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do.
4 We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
Let's begin the fight by being first of all aware that there is more to life than meets the eye and secondly, by engaging in warfare by taking control of our thoughts which lead oftentimes to actions that will have long term consequences attached to them.
Establishing Spiritual Boundaries
First, understand that the responsibility to become spiritually mature does not rest on your mate's shoulders, the shoulders of the pastors or leaders, or even on the shoulders of the Holy Ghost. They rest on your own shoulders and if you neglect to build as God has determined it only renders you less effective in this life.
One of the first truths about spiritual warfare is that our spiritual battles begin in each of our hearts first and from there they manifest in our lives through either faith or fear.
Responding to the battle in faith causes you to fight with the Word of God and according to the principles outlined there. Responding in fear causes you to look at the situation as being hopeless, without a cure and you slowly drift away from God.
To faith and fear you can add "denial as when someone does not acknowledge the spiritual battle, they will often discount the fact that there is also a spiritual remedy for the attack. Because they deny it, they will try to fix a spiritual attack with natural remedies first which never last.
Therefore, we must identify what real warfare in the spirit looks like from a Biblical perspective. And once identified we must learn how to deal with it on our knees long before we try to deal with it on our feet.
God has given us the tools to build our lives spiritually with, and again it's the decisions we make in obedience to what we know that will determine whether we will ever become proficient at warfare in the spirit.
Second Corinthians 10 is a scriptural foundation that you can use to build your faith on and if you focus on dealing with thoughts and bringing your conduct into Christ's obedience, then it will be easier to fight the battle when it intensifies.
This is the key in your battle as this is starting your fight on the offensive and establishing God's authority in the spiritual areas of our lives. I believe that if we would concentrate on this part, "offense then we will be better prepared and our defensive strategies will already be in place.
Actually in our minds is where we set up spiritual boundaries that will serve as a defense against the lies of the enemy. This is what Paul deals with as he addresses the church that gathered in Corinth.
They were carnal people that could not see past what they saw with their five physical senses or in the flesh, and therefore would often fall victim to demonic attacks that were perceived as being stronger than they were.
These demons were not stronger, it's just that the people were trying to fight spiritual battles with carnal or natural weapons. This is also a trap that many of the people of God in today's Church falls into as well.
Second Corinthians 10
Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ”who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
As Paul was revealing here, there were some people who were challenging his authority and because of his manner of conduct or his demeanor, they took his meekness as a weakness. They did not understand that meekness was actually "strength that was under control and therefore had the wrong perception of who he actually was.
We must always understand that our authority is increased when we learn to submit to the governing authorities that God has placed over us.
This principle is revealed in Matthew 8 when the Roman officer had a servant that was sick and he asked Jesus to heal the servant.
5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer* came and pleaded with him, 6 "Lord, my young servant* lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain. 7 Jesus said, "I will come and heal him.
8 But the officer said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ˜Go,' and they go, or ˜Come,' and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ˜Do this,' they do it.
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, "I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in all Israel!
There are two things that are revealed here, one is being under authority, gives you authority of the person that you are under. Often we only want to acknowledge that we are under God's authority, but the Kingdom is set up so that there are also governing authorities in each local church that you are to be in submission to.
God set in the Body or the Church "Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors who are teachers to build the Body and bring you to a place of maturity. Most Believer's today do not understand the Biblical role of the pastors and because of that the respect and submission is not there unless we are operating in a religious or manipulative manner that has no Biblical bases at all.
Secondly, your authority is not in how loud or boisterous you are but in the policies, procedures and laws you speak that back the words you say.
The Roman officer understood the principle of confession and because of that "He knew that speaking the same thing as the One who gave him authority, will produce the results that the Person in authority desired.
Homologeo is the compound Greek word used when we make reference to this principle and it means "to speak the same as another. We must become proficient at speaking what God speaks on a consistent basis.
When the officer would tell one of the soldiers to do something, it was as if his commanding officers were telling the soldiers to do those things themselves. If they neglected to do it, they would have consequences to pay.
So, one of the first principles to effective warfare is being in proper spiritual alignment. This is why Paul didn't have to be a tyrant when he was with the people.
In verse 1 of Second Corinthians 10 again, he affirms that when he is present that he is easy going, and when he writes a letter, he wrote them with the weight of his authority.
This is why he said, "who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. The Message Bible
1“2   And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I'm being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I'm with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters.
2 Please don't force me to take a hard line when I'm present with you. Don't think that I'll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I'm an unprincipled opportunist. Then they'll have to eat their words.
He is actually telling them, "When I see you face to face, Don't make me be what you see me writing because it is who I am and not something that I am hiding behind.
He didn't hide behind his letters to them which has become "epistles to us; he actually allowed his written words to reveal the necessary changes to their lives that God wanted so they could line their character up with the way God intended.
He then lets them know that his character, his teachings and philosophies are not based on human wisdom or worldly things, but on the underlying spiritual forces that have the ability to demolish and defeat things that are vying for attention in the minds of the people of God.
This is why he is saying, "Don't think that because my nature and character is indicative of someone that will be pushed around that I lack the ability to confront and engage in battle.
He knew that in his transformation upon salvation, that an inward change occurred that was not based on things that promoted his flesh above the things of the spirit.
He said in verse 3, though I walk or "live in this flesh or this flesh and bone body with its carnal resources of the mind, will and emotions, "I do not fight or make war according to these natural armaments or weapons of war.
The way Paul fought using the authority of the spiritual Word of God is our example as well. However, we generally do just the opposite.
In doing this, there are times when we will allow for the Word of God to take root and "fix the problem. But when the Word takes too long, we often revert back to fighting in our own strength.
The enemy has been patient with you singing, dancing, reading, confessing and meditating on the Word of God when you initially are engaged in battle. He keeps just enough pressure on you to have your thoughts reverting to how you feel something should be.
You fight those thoughts by confessing the Word for days, weeks, months and even years, until one day you've had enough and instead of continuing the fight in the spirit you now try to bring to pass in the flesh, what was conceived in the spirit.
Beside love and hope, there is an intense need in the lives of the people of God for faith and patience to be "perfected or brought to a place of maturity as these are often the missing ingredients to living a sustained victorious life.
Hebrews 6:12, tells us to follow the faith of our forefathers "¦who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 
The New Testament gives a Truth and reveals a trap that many "matured Christians have fallen into over the years.
Because we allow the world [or even a spirit of religion] to paint a picture of how we are supposed to be living, we fall into the trap of "trusting God until it's no longer convenient to trust Him.
When the manifestation does not happen within a specified time placed on us by our own minds or the people [Christian and non-christian alike] that we have in our lives, we pursue other avenues to make our lives look the way that is appealing to our flesh or our colleagues and friends.
Galatians 3
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain”if indeed it was in vain?
The Message Bible brings out this principle in a manner that is easier to understand.
Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren't smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? 4 Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!
This same admonition that Paul gives to the Christians in Galatia, is just as important for us in the hour we live in.
God knows what is needed and necessary for us to mature to the place that He determined for us and after a certain amount of time we allow our flesh to take over and therefore stunt the spiritual growth that God determined for us.
He knew that this entire walk with Him is a "learning process and the only way we are going to learn more about Him and His ways is by submitting to the process and going all the way through in the way He has for us.
This is also what happened on numerous occasions with the people of God in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 3 gives the heart of God in our staying on course and refusing to build our own golden calves in the middle of our wilderness experiences. Moses was on the mountain getting instruction from God and the people were in the valley building their own idols.
Hebrews 3
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ˜They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.'
11 So in my anger I took an oath: ˜They will never enter my place of rest.'
For years we can see God meet our need, change our situations and  heal our bodies, and the moment we take our eyes off of God we miss His greatest desire for us which is to come to the place where we know His ways¦ how He operates, what His desires are for us.
Therefore, we must become proficient at fighting the way God wants us to fight. Second Corinthians 10 continues to reveal that fighting the way God says requires us to know and recognize spiritual weapons.
The New Living Translation
3 We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do.
4 We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
The weapons we fight with are not natural such as guns, knives, spears and swords. When dealing with people, we don't have to fight, argue, get mad or manipulate them.
In the natural, there are weapons that have the ability to do an untold amount of damage such as an explosive; bomb, grenade, rocket, or missile.
Referred to as "Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMD these are weapons designed with the intention of causing death or serious bodily injury. They include weapons designed to release radiation at levels that are dangerous to human life, which are chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive.
Although each of these sound like weapons that are great in power and has the ability to cause a lot of damage and destruction, the reality is that our spiritual weapons "are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
A stronghold is "a fortress; a place that is fortified or that can be easily defended. A concentrated area where a particular ground, activity or set of opinions is concentrated.
Your mind is defending the things that are contrary to God's Word and justifying why they have precedence over the Word of God.
Over the years, we have unknowingly built up a defense against anything that challenges what we may have learned through life experiences, education and the philosophies of this age.
These things have validity to them and are often times factual. However, we must combat worldly facts with the Truth of the Word of God.
This is why Jesus said, "If you ˜continue' in His Word [or hold to His teaching] then are we His disciples indeed, and we will know the Truth, and THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.
John 8 NIV
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Therefore, the stronghold mentioned in Second Corinthians 10 is used "symbolically of "any strong points or arguments in which someone trusts.
Like the WMD's of today, we have weapons of mass destruction that can resolve every argument, every strong point and every contradictory philosophy that we have learned over the years.
To defeat these and put our lives on the path to victory we must place the priority on doing what's right even when our mind is telling us to do what's contrary. Doing this is not natural in effect. Our weapons go to the heart of what really matters and what has eternal consequences
Second Corinthians 10:5 reveals the things we have a tendency to trust in as being "Whatever would detract from "the knowledge of God first.
Therefore, we must determine what the knowledge of God is, what it does and what it is not, because if you don't you're just beating the wind. We therefore must deal with arguments, contradictory thoughts, acts of disobedience and every high thing that is trying to exalt itself above the knowledge of God.
Message Bible
"We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
6 Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
As much as we want to, the reality is that it is very difficult to get our loved ones, family members, community and city out of the mess they find themselves in if we are still dealing with these things in our own lives first.
We can no longer exalt the philosophies of the world, educational, political and business system philosophies to usurp authority that they really don't have above the knowledge of God.
Once we get to the place where we truly believe the Word of God for what it actually is and live in accordance to it, we are on our way to overcoming the attacks of the enemy in our own minds first.
The concept of warfare from the perspective of pulling down strongholds has much more to do with you than it does devils and demons and even trying to manipulate other people into seeing your side of something.
Arise and Build 14
The Walls of our Mind

Each spiritual battle we face is because the Word of God 
"Is being challenged by the world, our flesh or the devil.

What determines our victory is "Whether we are going to abide by what God said or do what our physical senses are telling us. Doing what God says in His Word always ensures victory.
We must begin the fight by being first of all aware that there is more to life than meets the eye as there is a very real spiritual realm with forces set in place to kill, steal and destroy you as a child of God that has purpose and destiny running through your veins.
Secondly, we must engage in this war by taking control of our thoughts which lead to actions that will have long term blessings for obedience or long term consequences for neglecting to do what God said.
It's vital for us to walk in the Truth of the Word of God if we are ever going to build or lives, family and church in the manner that God said.
To pull down the "strongholds as we previously saw, means that we must be on guard for the things that we have learned over the years [no matter where that knowledge came from] that tries to remain more important than the Word of God when we are presented with what the Bible says.
This is where the battle rages and our thinking, knowledge and philosophies that we learned for decades now fight to remain a vital part of our earthly existence. These are the strongholds that we're after in our own lives first, once we overcome them we are able to effectively war against these same things that we see in the lives of others.
The worlds philosophies, the worlds knowledge and the worlds way of viewing God and Godly principles [referred to as religion] will always try to make these things seem better and more attractive than what God said in His Word.
Because the battle is in the mind first, we must be consciously aware of these things and on a daily basis fight to do what is right.
First Peter 1 New Living Translation
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then.
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy. 
Many times it's been said that the battle is in our minds long before the fight manifests in the natural.
IN living victoriously, verse 13 shows that we have a two-fold responsibility if we are going to live as God's obedient children and therefore attain God's holiness as He is holy.
We are to "prepare our minds for action and exercise self-control. The KJV translates the word prepare as "gird and says, "gird up the loins of your mind.
This is an Oriental term used as that culture generally wore "loose fitting garments and they would tighten the garments around their waist and loins when they were ready to exert any type of strength.
As God is telling us the same thing, in essence He is saying, where this girding up is to be applied to the mind as "being in constant preparation. Therefore "to have the loins girded, means "to be ready for anything that may come.
The awareness of this and living in the manner as the priests of the Old Testament did, which is a life of holiness, not as one to whom confession is made, allows God to expand His Spiritual Kingdom in the earth as Revelations 5: 10 says, speaking of Jesus Christ:
And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.
First Peter 2, shows that in building our minds and lives, and being part of the Body of Christ, makes these things spiritual components made up of spiritual individuals who live as a "kingdom of priests; and live as priests were expected to live, which is in holiness.
Many times Believers are not able to overcome sins and weights that keep them living below God's righteous standard because they are living by the standards of this world and not as the priests that God called them to be.
You have most Christians trying to get something from God instead of ministering to Him the way they are supposed to be. When this selfish approach to Kingdom living has the attention of the Christian, they find that they are never content with the life God has them living and therefore they are always looking for "more things to consume on their flesh.
First Peter 2:4
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say, "I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.
The reality of the position that we have been given is magnified as we consider what we have been entrusted with. As priests, we have been charged with ministering before the Altar of God in the Temple of God.
This is a spiritual function for us that needs people that recognize the importance of having their natural lives as much in alignment with how God intends as we can. These are men and women who will not make excuses for committing known acts of sin and rebelling against the commands of God. Most often Christians today are excited when it comes to getting something from God, but when they have a responsibility to perform, the excuses come.
Our offering spiritual sacrifices after the manner of the priests of the Old Testament is actually reflective of the Greek translation in the Old Testament of "the act of the priest bringing the sacrifice up to the brazen altar.
This act was in which it had to be done timely and methodically the way God intended. The sacrifice was to be killed and offered to God on the altar the way God had already told Moses and Aaron to do it.
As New Testament priests, we often want the easy way out. We don't want to put to death the things in our lives that dis-please God; we don't want to sacrifice tangible things so our spiritual influence can increase; and we often want to give God only enough to pacify our own conscience.
In essence, we're often more satisfied bringing a sacrifice of praise [or singing a song that touches our souls] instead of killing some of our sinful habits.
In the way the priest ministered before God thousands of years ago in the natural, we are to do the same thing as priests building the Kingdom of God. This makes God's spiritual Kingdom evident to other people's groups in the earth.
These things [our spiritual sacrifices and our natural lives] are to complement one another. Being living stones that are part of God's greater spiritual Kingdom, we must make certain that we are not so "heavenly minded that we are not effective in the earth. Neither are we to be so work oriented that we neglect the more important part which is ministering at the feet of Jesus as Mary did.
This balance in our walk becomes vital to our sustained victory in the earth. The first things that has to be re-enforced is our hearts and minds. Our job is to make certain that the walls and gates to our hearts are reinforced first and then find ways to help those who God places in our path.
This is what the people of Israel did when they met opposition when they were re-building the walls and gates to their city.
Just because you have God's mandate it does not mean that people will fall in line. Some will fervently and passionately oppose what you are trying to do as if they were doing it for God.
They are not looking out for the expansion of the Kingdom, but are opposing your God while promoting and anti-God and anti-Christ agenda.
Even with opposition we must hold to what is right as we build as Second Timothy 1 says,
"13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me”a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.
Pleasing Christ becomes the motivating force in our lives as we stay with what we were taught from the Holy Scriptures. Opposition should never distract us, neither detract us from the mission that we have been given.
Proverbs 24:10 says,
"If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. NLT
The Message Bible says:
If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn't much to you in the first place.
In building the Kingdom, there will always be someone who is going to oppose what you are determining to do. The prophet Nehemiah experienced this when he was impressed to rebuild the gates, walls and doors to the temple of God.
This is a natural example of what we could experience spiritually. We may not have each facet of this oppose us, but will certainly see something try to stop what God is trying to do through us.
Nehemiah 4 
1 Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, "What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they're doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap”and charred ones at that?
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, "That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!
We see here that while you are building, your mind and people will tell you that it's not right. The name Sanballat means, "The moon God gives life. This can be viewed as a force of darkness trying to penetrate the Light of Christ and render ineffective the work of the True and God.
His accusation was made to discourage them from resurrecting God's Holy place¦ giving it nobility, dignity and the prestige that it is deserving of.
The accusation of the enemy in our lives has the intent to do the same thing as living in contradiction to the way God intends, keeps us from taking our place in God's spiritual building.
Satans trying to get us to stop moving our lives forward and when we are building:
  • We will be encouraged to stop because this life is too hard
  • He will make you think that you don't measure up to God's holy Standard, getting your eyes on your perfection instead of Christ's Perfection
  • He'll remind you of the one thing you did wrong instead of the ten things you did right
 But verse 4 says:
4 Then I prayed, "Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! 5 Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.
Nehemiah understood that unless the Lord builds the house, you labor in vain, so he prays to the Lord asking for the plan of the enemy to be thwarted.
As he asked God to bring disaster on these, as New Testament Believer's we are to respond in the manner that Jesus told us to.
In His sermon on the Mount, in Luke 6 Jesus said:
27 "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.
So we ask for the salvation of those operating in ignorance against us. This is the greatest love we can share; greatest good we can do; greatest blessing we can give and greatest prayer we can make for them.
6 At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm.
7 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. 8 They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. 9 But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
10 Then the people of Judah began to complain, "The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.
11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, "Before they know what's happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.
12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, "They will come from all directions and attack us! 13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
Working with enthusiasm is one of the keys to effective Kingdom building. If you are not excited about the things of God, you will not portray this to those who are around you.
Instead of joining us in the vision we have for the church and city, we find ourselves struggling more and more as again, most religious people place the responsibility of building the church on the shoulders of the Pastors or shepherds.
I don't know any shepherd that ever gave birth to a "sheep or goat. The Bible refer to the people of God as the "Sheep of His Pasture and it's sheep that are enthusiastic and excited about the Kingdom of God that will go out and compel others to come and build with us.
But, there's also the reality of ministry and building our spiritual lives into God's spiritual Kingdom where there is a possibility of getting tired in building.
Many of us have put our hand to the plow and instead of resting from our own labor, we place greater importance on what brings us pleasure than what brings God pleasure.
Often it's the things of the world that our flesh gravitates towards that causes us to spend time on things that are temporal and they manipulate us to think that they are more important than God is.
When we give more attention to the things of the world, we are not as sharp as we should be and the decisions we make often leaves the work of God half done as verse 6 says. Yet, God's promise is "If we build His House, He will be sure to build ours. You must remember, this is both a spiritual and natural Kingdom.
In Second Chronicles 22, we have a principle that reflects this statement as God told David he was not going to build the Temple because he was a man of war; but his son who would be a man of peace, would build it AND God said He would establish the throne forever.
10 He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.'  
This becomes important for us as I often say, no matter how long it may seemingly take God to recompense us for working in His Kingdom, that "He will be a debtor to no man
You take care of what belongs to God and He will take care of what belongs to you. If it's not important to you, "How can we expect something we want to be important to God?
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, "Don't be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!
15 When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. 16 But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. 18 All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.
This brings us to the essence of our battle as we now are moving to actually building our lives and therefore God's Kingdom while we fight.
It's important for us to know that our lives consist of generally two strategic military positions, "fighting or peace. Often people say, fight or flight, but when someone flees in terror, they are seeking a position of peace.
You cannot have a battle without an opponent, and when the battle begins you are both seeking the peace through having your current territory enlarged.
You are fighting over who is going to be in control and in doing so, the control can be voluntary or in-voluntary. However, peace is always the end result no matter how long the battle lasts. 
In our fight, we must do so knowing that we are soldiers who are operating under the orders of our commanding officer. In doing so, the battle that He picks for us is rigged, as He knows that we have what it takes to overcome every obstacle and secure total and complete victory.
God put you in the middle of the battle that you are in because He knows you are going to come through victoriously as long as you keep your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
An example of this is in Second Chronicles 20 where God told His people that it was not their battle, but God's.
15 He said, "Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.
This is also what Nehemiah told the people of God as your job is to build and fight. In your fighting the Captain of the Host of Heaven is with you and has gone before you, ensuring that you win.
19 Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, "The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!
Arise and Build 15
The Fight is On
Each spiritual battle we face is because the Word of God "Is being challenged by the world, our flesh or the devil.

What determines our victory is "Whether we are going to abide by what God said or do what our physical senses are telling us. Doing what God says in His Word always ensures victory.
In First Peter 1, we're told to prepare our minds for action and exercise self-control. In the Greek this means we're to "be in constant preparation.
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
The fact that the battle we face begins in the mind is often hard to comprehend because over the years, we have become familiar with ourselves, our thoughts and our standard of life and living.
In essence, we are comfortable with the level of understanding of life that we have and therefore when we hear something in the Word of God that is different than what we have become accustomed to, we immediately resist it either "knowingly by openly disobeying it or "un-knowingly by ignoring it as a viewpoint of the world and not a command from God to be obeyed.
We have actually settled on certain realities of our life even though those things are invisible chains of bondage. And after "trying God, and things are seemingly no better, we say "It's better if I had stayed in Egypt [the world] as my life was better then.
Yet, we forget the leeks, onions and the garlic that was associated with our being slaves to satan and sin and going through life with no hope. We forgot the struggle we had when we served satan and think that going back to him is going to make our lives better.
You need someone like Moses who is going to remind you of the mighty Hand of God who delivered you out of bondage to sin, sickness, poverty and disease and has a Land of Promise that is inevitable it you will only follow Him.
Even if God does not deliver you from your fiery furnace, your mind must be made up to continue with Him as your relationship with God is not something you "try.
When threatened with being killed with fire, the three Hebrew boys understood that obeying God was not an option and they made up their minds that there were not going to bow to the ordinance of the king who was desirous of receiving worship that is due the True and Living God. We also must be conscious of the fact that your battle is often over your worship.
Eternity hangs in the balance and if you try something [God], you also have the choice to reject what you don't like.
To try something means you "make an attempt; make an effort; take a stab or take a crack at something. Therefore, we have not received Jesus Christ to attempt or take a crack at eternity, but to establish God as Sovereign and Jesus Christ as Lord over our lives¦ for eternity.
The moment you received Jesus Christ as Lord, you received an option to either live under His authority or try to make your life better by applying knowledge based on worldly principles.
If we choose to do things God's way, we're going to have opposition as the Word of God in your heart is going to be challenged. But the Word of God has been tested, tried and has been proven as being the Ultimate Authority.
But in order for us to experience everything that God said in the Bible we must learn what the Bible gives us as promises and start the process of establishing these things in our lives by not giving in, giving up or giving out when opposition comes to challenge the Word of the Lord we're putting in our hearts.
Therefore, the purpose for fighting in the spirit is to give God control of your thought processes and take back control of your mind by pulling down the strongholds and every high thing that is trying to set itself above the knowledge of God in your life.
Second Corinthians 10, The New Living Translation
3 We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do.
4 We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
Again this goes back to you being accustomed to certain facts and negative life experiences that you set up as Truth in your life, which makes it oftentimes difficult for God to establish His Word in your heart.
Because you "vacillate or consistently waver between two opinions, you render the power that God has entrusted in His Word ineffective. When you live like this, the moment you make up your mind to trust God and opposition against that Word is established you often revert back to what you are familiar with.
This is revealed in James 1 saying:
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
We have to be fixed on what God said and not waver or vacillate between two opinions, often the experiences of the world and the Word of God.
When we place more trust in our own abilities to fix our problems and to bring to pass the promises that God gave us, we set ourselves up for disappointment.
This life is not to be centered on the things we want and the things we can control. It is to be submitted to God and trust in His divine providence every day.
This keeps us grounded with an expectancy that no matter what may come that God knew about it and has already provided a way of escape for me¦ but it must be settled in our own hearts first as we will spend countless hours worrying about things that God has already provided a remedy for.
First Corinthians 10 Message Bible
13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed [analyzed and tested] beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
I know that spiritual warfare is a term that many people don't understand and some possibly have never even heard of it. But it is a reality of our existence and a Biblical concept whether we acknowledge it or not. It is something that you will be engaged in whether you choose to fight or not.
Therefore, we must make up our mind to fight instead of let things fall where they may. For many of us before we got saved, we would fight in a minute. Now that we're holy, we either don't engage or we fight the wrong enemy.
As I said, all warfare deals with thoughts and opinions that try to usurp the Authority of what God said. The example is satan in the Garden of Eden challenging God's Word that was given to Adam.
This has not changed and if we are not aware of this we are at a disadvantage in the battle because we will often forfeit things that God actually intended for us and for our children for generations to come. If you are a first generation Christian, you are setting a standard for your progenitors and if your come from a line of Christians, you are continuing on the foundation that your fore-parents have established.
There is a "test that God has allowed us to endure and we can say it's often the test of "life where we have the choice to do things God's way, our way or the way of the world.
Our responsibility is to be obedient in everything, not certain things or what we want to do. It's this principle of total obedience where satan takes advantage of the people of God because when we live contrary to God's decrees and commands, we often forfeit the full authority that we are supposed to have.
The King James Version says in Second Corinthians 2:13, we are "not ignorant of satans devices. Being ignorant of something means that you are "Unaware, uninformed, unfamiliar, unknowing and oblivious to something.
God is telling us that this is something that He has not orchestrated and if we are uninformed about how the enemy operates, it's our own fault.
We saw in Nehemiah that we must learn to build the Kingdom of God and at the same time, we must fight to establish God's rule and authority in our lives.
In chapter 4 we saw that we are to fight for our families, fight for our brothers and neighbors and to be effective fighting for others, we must fight for ourselves as well.
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, "Don't be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!
15 When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall.
In fighting, we often forget that satan comes "camouflaged or disguised as a person and our attention is taken off the real enemy while we fight against our brothers and sisters or someone that has no idea that they are being used by satan to cause conflict, division and hinder the building of the kingdom.
Ephesians 6 KJV
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
As Paul is closing out his letter written to the church here in Ephesus, he begins saying, one final thing¦ This does not mean one "last thing as it pertains to things they need to know about God and Kingdom living, as the Book of Ephesians is not complete without the remaining Books of the Bible.
He is saying that there is one thing that they must understand if they are going to be complete in their walk through this earth. He directs their attention to the fact that they must find their strength in God and God alone.
The power that resides in the Name of Jesus and the Word of God is resident in us and in the same manner people will fight and war against an enemy in the natural; we also must be cognizant or conscious of satan and how he operates.
We must never forget that no matter how powerful satan shows himself as being, Greater is He that's in you than he that's in the world. God's Word and the Name of Jesus will always prevail for the child of God who places their trust in God.
Philippians 2
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Psalm 138:2
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
What some Christians are not willing to accept is the fact that knowledge of war and knowledge of the enemy alone does not profit them unless they do their part. Remember, the fight is in our minds and over the Word of God.
There's a reality of combat that we cannot overlook and that is "We are to fight until we die. If there's still breath in your body, you must fight because your fight is not based on your physical strength; educational level; your economic status or any other earthly position.
Paul makes it clear here that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but before you get to the fight part, you must be settled on where your victory is going to come from no matter how intense the battle¦ Your victory will come from your position in God and "being strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
This is why verse 12 says "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. If your enemy is invisible, you must fight with weapons that are also invisible.
I like how the NLT translates this as instead of using spiritual forces of evil, it states "evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world.
This lets us know that although we cannot see it, there's another realm behind the realm we live in that is real and in that realm, the real battle is going on to determine who is going to rule over the hearts and minds [understand, not so much the earth] but over the people of God.
This is the reason for the "trumpet call of Nehemiah chapter 4 whereas we must learn to fight FOR our brothers and sisters and not fight AGAINST them. It's been said that it's only in the Kingdom of God where the soldiers are killing their own, and at times I believe this to be true.
However, I also believe that a generation is rising that will establish the parameters of God in the earth and instead of tearing each other down, we will find ways to come alongside and build each other up.
But the only way we're going to accomplish this is by putting on God's armor¦ The full armor of God¦ or as it's translated here, "Every piece of God's armor SO YOU WILL BE ABLE to resist the enemy in the time of evil.
If it's not on, the Scripture from Proverbs comes true, "If you faint in the day of adversity, there was not much to you in the first place. 
Proverbs 24:10
"If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. NLT
The Message Bible says:
If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn't much to you in the first place.
This is a hard saying and it's in your face, but understand, "God didn't save us as a bunch of wimps. He saved us because He knows we have what it takes to overcome the adversities of life and still establish God's kingdom.
God knows that you have what it takes to get through whatever is challenging the Word of God and build your life while you fight the enemy. He knows that in the midst of your trouble, you still have a praise; he knows that in the midst of your problem, you're not going to stop worshipping; He knows that while the creek rises, you're still going to declare that the Lord is good to you.
So God tells us to put on His complete armor¦ leaving nothing out.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God's ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
You must understand that Truth contained in the Word is central to all other armaments of war that is available to you.
You will not have peace in the midst of the storm if you do not live according to God's truth. The same is true when it comes to faith and deliverance or your salvation because Truth is what over-rides the "facts that the enemy is trying to make more powerful than the Word of God.
Therefore, we're told to put on the whole armor of God so you will be able to stand against the strategies of the devil.
Once we identify the enemy of our souls, we have the responsibility of fighting against him for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The main fight is the conflict over who is going to rule and reign.
Just as we go through this within our minds, there is also a battle going on in the spirit that is fighting for supremacy in the earth. This is something that satan cannot stop, but he is holding onto the authority he stole from Adam as long as he can.
Until God's people step into their God-given authority, there will always be an expansion of evil that brings fear upon the earth with the intent of carrying out satan plan to kill, steal and destroy everything that God stands for.
Expansion of the Kingdom
Each spiritual battle we face is because the Word of God 
"Is being challenged by the world, our flesh or the devil.
What determines our victory is "Whether we are going to abide by what God said or do what our physical senses are telling us. Doing what God says in His Word always ensures victory.
To this point we have been working on our Christian lives as the Temple of the Living God. With this realization we also have the fact that there are certain behaviors that God expects from us.
First Corinthians 6 gives us a Truth and command whereas, God dwells in us and because of that we MUST honor Him.
19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
It's no secret that there are certain character traits and behaviors that God expects from us, but if we only use these things as a base for knowledge and don't put into practice what we are learning, we will never fully demonstrate to the world the nature of Jesus Christ.
To accomplish this, [or so the world can see the nature of Christ in the earth] God gave us His Word, His Spirit, the power of Christ's Blood and the full armor of God. We must incorporate each of these aspects that are a result of our salvation into our lives on a daily basis if we are going to fully represent Him in the earth.
The Armor of God that we have been given is not to be viewed as literal fighting equipment that we go after another person or demon spirits with; they are things that God gave us to engage in warfare while building up our character so others will see God in action through us.
As mentioned, this battle starts in the mind [Helmet of salvation] and our response to the Word of God when confronted with the decision of how we are going to act or react in any given situation will determine the level of maturity that we have or we will grow to.
Ephesians 6:17 says, "Put on salvation as a helmet and take the sword of the Spirit or literally, "the sword that the Spirit wields; the sword that demonstrates the Spirit's power and authority¦ which is the Word of God.
The helmet of salvation contains the things God gave us so we would know and apply the principles and precepts that are outlined in the Word of God to our lives. When your helmet is in place¦
  • When tempted to hate, we will love
  • when tempted to fear, faith will rise
  • when hope is elusive, like Abraham, "when all hope is gone, in hope we will still believe
If we say that "With God ALL things are possible we must do this. This attitude is only possible if we have the helmet of God's salvation on in our lives. This is only possible if we have made Jesus Christ our Lord and have made following His commands the priority in our lives.
In order to live and act the way God expects, we must know how He expects us to live and act. He doesn't keep these behaviors a secret FROM us, but through His Word, He reserved these things FOR us so we would be able to tap into them at the proper time in our lives.
I've come to realize that there are some spiritual things we will not know until we come to the place of spiritual maturity in our lives. In maturity, we gain God's revelation into the principle and He directs us to fully apply them.
We have been looking at the conduct God expects from us through various principles over the past five months and we have established the fact that it is time to Arise and Build. This term takes on an even greater significance in the light of the national unrest we have been experiencing for decades and have become more visible in this age of modern technology.
If we are not conscious of specific behaviors that we are to display, we have a tendency to fall into having a spirit of judgment and condemnation of one party or another.
The fact is people who kill innocent people are wrong and we must stand for righteousness and do whatever we can to influence the laws of the land and ensure that the nation is a safe place for our children and grandchildren.
In building, we are to take the character revealed in the Fruit of the Spirit and let this govern our behavior during this time. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, kindness, and self-control must prevail during this time if we are going to obey the Lord's commands.
In building, we must also obey the Holy Ghost in praying, worshipping, praising and walking in love and unity with our brothers and sisters even when our flesh is telling us to not like someone or discount what they may be doing as being insignificant.
With these basics of Christianity settled in our hearts and lives we must move to the place where our thinking is expanded to see the building of God's spiritual Kingdom as a priority.
What I find troubling is Christians that know the vernacular or language of the Kingdom but their lives do not display what they know and understand.
They choose to hold onto the things of the world while using the "perks of the Kingdom to hopefully influence the outcome of their lives to the point where they can have the blessings of God while satisfying their fleshly desires.
They fail to recognize that they cannot serve two masters, they will love the one and despise the other¦ Luke 16:13
13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
This is something that God will not tolerate in this hour that we have embarked upon as a "Line has been drawn in the sand and there's no middle ground for someone to find solace in
We are going to see that it is going to be harder and harder for someone to fool themselves into thinking they are right when they are not. Like Ananias and Sapphira, we are going to see the judgment of God begin in the House of God. While people dance around the outer court of the Temple God will take care of business "in His people.
This is why there must be a true Kingdom focus and we must see the Kingdom in the way God intended.
In Mark chapter 8, Jesus deals with the heart of the matter when it comes to following Him. He makes a clear distinction between following Him and following the pattern of the world. New Living Translation,
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
The cross that we are to take up is the place of total surrender. It is the place where our will is surrendered to God's will; it's a place where we submit to doing what we were born in the earth to do; it's the place where finally declare, not as I will, but Your will be done; it is the p[lace where as verse 35 states, "¦YOU GIVE UP YOUR LIFE¦
To surrender means "to declare to an opponent that they won so that fighting and conflict can stop; to relinquish possession or control of something because of force or coercion; to abandon your rights. This is where you give up your rights and you give up what you have controlled over to another and in our case, we're giving up our rights to Christ.
When we do things God's way, our way of doing business with the world will change. This is because the Church as a whole has been conforming to the pattern of this world long enough and instead of "Being the Church, we have been having church without revelation of what God wants from us.
In Second Timothy 3 NLT we have the fact that the Last Days will become fiercer and more violent, but in the midst of this, we're not to pray that God will take us out, but that He will accomplish His purpose through us.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
We have become comfortable in having this form of Godliness, but by denying the power of God that He wants to display through us, we place more stock in the religious aspect of Christianity that we see on television and through social media.
Therefore, we are content in going to church or for some, having the media fill the need for fellowship that only keeps them longing for more.
God has set up the Kingdom so that we are "inter-dependent upon one another and commanded us to "¦ not forsake the assembling of ourselves with other Believer's as some are in the habit of doing.
The pattern of the religious system of the world says that "we're all right, as long as we are following God, and we can live any way we want to live as long as we acknowledge God.
This is dangerous as most people will not get the messages God wants them to get as long as have control of the remote to the television.
If they don't like what one preacher is saying, they'll go to another until they find someone preaching what their itching ears want to hear. If they don't like this social media post, they will scroll past it until they find something they agree with.
But when they are joined to a ministry and allow the pastors to speak into their lives, they will find that God has requirements of them that not negotiable.
This is why Jesus said in Mark 8, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me
The Bible says in Acts 3:19, "repent and be converted. Jesus died so that we would be converted into "His disciples, not just people that want to avoid hell. To be converted means that we "Turn from error or return from error; to turn to the service and worship of the True and Living God.
Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Avoiding hell is a "perk of the Kingdom and is never to be the main reason for being saved. The purpose for your salvation is to be a follower of the One who shed His blood and died for us so we can have eternal life.
So the first thing we must do in building the Kingdom is "Make the choice to follow Jesus, by not falling into a trap of being a "Sunday morning Christian.
We are to be open to what God wants every moment of every day. We must be open to doing what God wants when He wants us to do it.
This is more than what we are currently doing as a ministry and as people of God. It begins when we place just as much importance on corporate prayer and meeting with our brothers and sisters as much as we can to mutually build one another up.
To do this, as Jesus said, we "¦must turn from our selfish ways take up our cross and follow Him.
When we look at someone who is selfish, they have little or no regard for the desires of another person... even God. They will live as though their life is the only one that matters and will not give, they will not serve and they will hold onto attitudes and negative character traits as being the way God created them and therefore they have the right to live, act and talk any way they want to.
Defined, being selfish refers to someone who is their "own authority; to be one with yourself in mind and thought. In essence, when you are selfish you cannot get past what benefits you feel you can get and see the bigger picture.
Jesus said we must turn from our selfish ways, deny ourselves or deny what our flesh is trying to make us concentrate on and renew our minds with the Word of God.
In Romans 12 New Living Translation, Paul was inspired to say it this way:
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice”the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The KJV translates verse 2 as "Don't be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. If you search the Greek text, you will find that Paul was condemning actions that were already going on.
The Church that met in Rome was already conforming to the world's system and Paul was telling them to stop following the world. Literally, he said, "Don't be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, by making excuses for your worldly conduct.
The problem rested in the mind that was yet to be renewed and the only way the mind was going to be renewed is through the Word of God and giving it precedence over our carnal desires.
This is where true Kingdom building begins. We have replaced building a spiritual Kingdom with things and stuff that keeps the people of God occupied with worldly things that are insignificant and selfish. But God in this hour is commanding a different Spirit to prevail.
It's no secret that evil is increasing and the fact that "there is a fight over the very soul of the nation should come as no surprise. However, unless the Christians know this and show up to engage in the battle by fighting the way God tells us to fight, we will lose!
Joshua understood this as in chapter 5 he had an encounter with the Lord of the armies of heaven and understanding this he submitted his will to that of the Commander.
13 And then this, while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword. Joshua stepped up to him and said, "Whose side are you on”ours or our enemies'?
14 He said, "Neither. I'm commander of God's army. I've just arrived. Joshua fell, face to the ground, and worshiped. He asked, "What orders does my Master have for his servant?
The Building Blocks of the Kingdom
Kingdom Subjects
As we look at building blocks of God's spiritual Kingdom, we must remember that we are "living stones building a spiritual house for God. This means that although we are an individual, we are an integral part of God's whole and what we do affects the perception that people have of the Kingdom we represent.
Therefore, we must know what we are called to do and called to be if we are going to represent God properly.
Often when it comes to calling, we think that it is reserved only for those that endeavor to preach or fill a pulpit. But in reality, God set up His Kingdom with people who are called to various and some even very specific tasks.
Once those tasks are recognized, the individual is able to walk in a greater power and authority because they understand that they were born for such a time as this and this is the purpose for which they were born.
As we look at the principle of calling there are a few references that warrant our attention.
Galatians 5 NLT
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Matthew 22:14
"For many are called, but few are chosen
Second Peter 1 NLT
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our walk with God is not necessarily a "walk in the park but it is one of the most exciting experiences someone could ever have while they live in the earth.
There are three things that are obvious in these Scriptures and taking each to heart while going through your daily experiences will allow you to be focused and have an attitude that says, "Whatever life throws at you will work together for your good
The Bible says, "All things work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His purpose. So I have an expectancy that the end result of my test or trial is going to be favorable.
You have to put forth effort at being a Kingdom builder as verse 10 says you have to "work hard to prove that you really are among those that God has "called and chosen
To "work hard although two words in our language, actually comes from a compound Greek word that means "To make every effort [work] to do your best [hard]¦
This is something that only you know you're doing at any given time which means that you have to take an inventory of your life to see if you really are doing your best at all times. You can fool me and your friends and family, but you cannot fool God or yourself.
We then have the words called and chosen which are different in meaning and when we look at how they are applied to our lives; they are complimentary words.
We hear often of someone being "called and as mentioned, we think immediately of ministry, but this is a small part of the definition.
The bigger meaning of the word is "to live in freedom, and living free means that you "make choices along the way to live free of the sin that keeps you from becoming all you were meant to be.
When you live to satisfy your flesh, it's very difficult to serve someone else in love as we're commanded to do. As Galatians 5 says
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
In this calling there is the end result of "choosing that we are to strive for. The thing about choosing is we don't choose ourselves, but this is a time where God hand-picks us for greater service. John 15:16 says,
"You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and have ordained that you go and bring forth fruit, fruit that will last.
Many are called but few are chosen is the example Christ gives us in Matthew 22 and this is a parable of Kingdom living and expansion as the subjects of the Kingdom were risking their very lives.
But what is often not realized is that the way someone gets "chosen is through faithfulness to what they were called to.
We know that once we receive Jesus as our Savior that we must strive every day to live in obedience. As we're faithful to do this by putting the things and the work of the Kingdom first, "God acknowledges that faithfulness to the call and then separates you to do other things in the Kingdom
This is why in the Book of Acts chapter 13 we have the apostles and prophets fasting and praying for the will of God to be done and something happens around this calling.
2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them. 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.  
Here we have God "choosing Barnabas and Saul for a special work that He previously called them to. After their time of proving, they are now separated or dedicated to the work they were called to that was based on the anointing that was on their lives.
This is where many people in today's church miss it as they feel that God has called them to something and they immediately feel they must ascend into the fullness of that call. This mentality often leads to frustration as to walk in a divine call to ministry there must be a season of preparation. Yet if they try to walk in it before they are prepared, most do not last.
Unless someone is faithful where they are planted for sometimes, years and decades as in the case of Elisha when he served Elijah, they will not experience the joy of being chosen through this process of separation as faithfulness is the key.
The Timing of Your Purpose
Moving forward, both the time and timing of your birth is prophetic when you look at God's calendar and this means that the negative names and labels that people often place on you does not depict how God views you.
Esther made a statement that continues to resound throughout generations and this is to give us boldness that takes us past our own hang-ups and our own insecurities.
What we often do not recognize is that although she was the queen, her race was looked down upon by the nation she was living in. Although she was considered a very beautiful woman and was the wife of the king, she still was not overcome with pride because of her royal position.
She stayed humble, submitted to her husband. She remained in position and when her people were being threatened with annihilation, she rose to the occasion and risked her life so the lives of others would be spared.
There are times in the earth when we are required to speak up even though our lives and status in society is risked. Because God has a Master plan, we cannot think the earth revolves around us and the things that are in our heart.
We eventually must begin to see the bigger picture and come out of our comfort zones and fight for the injustices that people face who are connected to both God's Kingdom and who are in this earth that we are part of.
Mordecai [Esther's uncle who was her care giver] understood that God cared for all people and especially as the people of God there was a protection that we enjoy that is often overlooked.
God will only allow the enemy to go so far in our lives before He takes offence and brings forth the undeniable deliverance that will put us on a level that will also affect the lives of people who are around us.
Esther 4:
14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?
Queen Esther lived beyond her own perception of what her title was supposed to be. She could have become comfortable and said, "I got mine, you get yours. But she knew her life consisted of more than what would benefit her.
She reasoned that quite possibly "Her position was tied to her purpose and not that her purpose was tied to her position. She was open to doing what was not normal for a queen or another subject of the kingdom and put her life on the line so God's greater purposes could be done through her.
In the same manner, when we realize that "where we are, who we are attached to and what we are doing in the church and God's Kingdom, may just be attached to your purpose, Like Esther, we also say while I'm performing my service¦; verse 16:
"If I perish, I perish, I may have come into God's Kingdom for such a time as this.
The NLT translates this:
"¦And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.
Understanding how serious the times are, allows you to see what should be done from God's perspective; once you do, you position yourself so you can have the greatest results.
Referring to the sons of Issachar, First Chronicles 12:32 says
"All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.
Ironically, when we pursue knowledge in our generation, we do so for the purpose of knowing "How what we learn can benefit our own lives. But a greater reality is revealed here as the "leaders of the tribe of Issachar took what they knew and charted a course for the entire nation.
Understanding the "times we live in pushes us past selfish thinking that causes us to focus on "What's in it for me and being embarrassed if we fail to a place where we put our lives in God's Hands once and for all without turning back... no matter what the results are.
This is when you realize the "time of your birth was prophetic. Yet there's a greater reality that you must also understand which is that there's a "timing of your birth as "timing is attached to your purpose in life and it's this purpose that is the reason for your birth.
Most people do not tap into purpose because they never view their birth as being significant and planned by God even though their parents had a part to play in bringing them into the earth.
Acts 17:26
"26 And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes),
God is wiser than the wise and set your life up so that you would have the greatest impact on the generation that He brought you into this earth to be part of.
You're living in the greatest time since the creation of man and understanding that your purpose is attached to the time in which you were born, gives you confidence that will not be shaken when you are faced with adversity.
This is what God did when it was time to fulfill His promise in the earth that through grace, Jesus would come and free His people from their sins and grant eternal life to all who would believe in Him.
Galatians 4 speaks of this season or a time of fulfillment that God had for Christ and when the time came, no one could stop it. 
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Jesus, although God in the flesh, came with purpose in His heart. Yet he knew that there was timing for Him to be revealed as He told His mother at the Wedding in Cana and she asked Him to help when they ran out of wine. He told her, "His time had not yet come. John 2:4
"Dear woman, that's not our problem, Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come
This is also what we wrestle with as we have something in our hearts that we try to live in today, but the timing of it is off.
The time is right¦ as you are in the earth to fulfill a certain call, but the timing of its fulfillment requires years of knowledge, understanding, wisdom and preparation before you step into it.
When you look at "The fullness of the time, principle there are two Greek words that are reflective of what God is doing in your life.
The first word is the word "time which in this reference is the Greek word "Chronos¦ not Kairos. It's important to understand the difference as Kairos, is a "season and speaks of a "period of time in which something is being done.
When you look at Chronos, you are looking at a "specific time in which something is being done.
I believe that God has moved His church from the place where we are in a season of expectation [kairos] to a time of manifestation [Chronos] that will be for a season.
The second Greek word is "pleroma and comes from the root Greek word, "Pleroo which is the word used here for "fullness which means "manifestation of that which was promised.
When you come to understand this part of your purpose, nothing can stop what God has ordained. This "pleroo season of fullness is released during a specific time of your life which is "after you have gained the knowledge and wisdom necessary to do things the way God ordained for them to be done.
All of us have this learning curve.
  • Abraham after he received the promise that he was going to be father of many nations;
  • Moses after he was told he was going to be the deliverer of God's people;
  • David, after he was anointed to be King over Israel;
  • Paul after he was given his commission on the Road to Damascus
  • Jesus as he sat in the temple as a young boy and still had eighteen more years until He endured the pain and shame of the cross. 
Meaning "to bring something to its completed end; to be full and complete; what I have often overlooked in this definition is the fact that it also means "to be supplied with what is necessary to accomplish, complete and fulfill the work or task that you have been given
This is what makes a person's life full and complete as you must gain the tools necessary to fulfill the purpose or as we're seeing this, to fulfill the "timing of the things for which you were born, or the "time you were placed on the earth.
There are things in your life that God promised you that have been held up and although it may have been months and years, God has a fullness of time just for you and when the time of your preparation and suffering is over, God steps in and cancels every assignment of the devil that has stood in your way.
This is where God looks at the injustice in your life and the injustices of the lives of His people in the Kingdom and the people in the earth, and manifests His promises to those who are His representatives of righteousness, justice and mercy. Jesus said; Matthew 23:23 
"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law”justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
As long as you have purpose, you will always have hope for tomorrow even if today does not look promising.
What is often not realized is that the talents you have, the resources you are blessed with and the ability to think through a matter are all gifts from God. He gave them to you and He expects a "return on His investment in you.
When He said, "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to do you good and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future; He was letting you know that at some point you are going to be confronted with the choice to use your life for the purposes of building His Kingdom or continue doing the things that bring your own life the greatest satisfaction.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
What I have come to realize is that the closer I get to God and the more my purpose is revealed, the greater pleasure I get out of doing God's will. This is why it's said to:
"Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
We must look past the things that I see, to the things that are in my heart knowing that whatever is trying to distract me, whatever is trying to challenge me and whatever is trying to discourage me is temporary and therefore subject to change. I have my eyes on things that are above and not things below.
This is what Abraham did and in the end he received what God promised even though it took about twenty years. Because God is not a man that He should lie, as Second Corinthians 4 states
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
This revelation should cause you to seek the Face of God to determine what you are here for. It should cause you to read the Bible more, study more, pray more, fellowship with God's saints more, come to church more because these things increase your faith and your faith moves your heart to see things from God's perspective.
I believe that far too many Christians give up far too soon. They never allowed the Word of the Lord to take root in their heart and therefore when persecutions, hardships or disappointments come, instead of pursuing God more fervently, they give up and forfeit what could have produced Kingdom purpose in their lives.
Paul said in verse 16, WE NEVER GIVE UP, and when we consider the word NEVER we must come to the conclusion that it means NEVER! This tenacity is to be more prevalent during times of struggle because we also see here that the trouble we may be facing won't last very long, especially when we look at them from the perspective of purpose and eternity.
Also, we must be careful to place our attention on the thing that matters as verse 18 tells us the focus of our hearts are to be on the "things we cannot see, or the things that have not yet manifested in our lives.
There are things that God promised us that we initially get excited about and rejoice over the possibilities that what God said, shall be so.
Yet, because of the timing of God, we can lose focus if we don't grow and mature in the things of God where we understand His ways, and not seek His work or another miracle to sustain us.
We often need a miracle on our way to our promised land, but we must never lose sight of the fact that the miracle is not the destination, it's a means to an end¦ as the promised land or the promise that God gave us is the thing we must always keep our eyes on.
This is the thing we cannot see that's eternal and when we become skilled at doing this, we will be better positioned to stand when the trials, storms and disappointments of life tries to usurp the Authority of God through his Word.
The key to longevity is to get busy in the Kingdom of God through the local church by doing some-thing and being committed there. The principle is "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it heartily as unto God and not man.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says it this way:
Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
This is having a spirit of excellence whether you are sitting in the Whitehouse or cleaning the outhouse. Whatever you do, do it well!
There are many Christians waiting for great doors of opportunity to open without realizing that they are not to "despise the time of small beginnings. We are to begin where we are and not discount any of the learning experiences or learning curves that life throws at us.
Zechariah 4:10
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel's hand.
The result of starting small is that God knows that as Ecclesiastes 7:8 says: "The end of a thing is better than the beginning thereof.
The Message Bible translates it:
8 Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out.
Knowing these things make you stronger and wiser.
Building Christ's Church
As I mentioned previously we are spiritual building blocks and are all individuals who are part of a significant whole. We are members of a spiritual Kingdom where Christ sits as Lord and King over and He set us in the earth as His representatives called the Church of the Living God.
I want to begin this topic with a reference to our positions as a part of spiritual Kingdom that is likened to a natural body. We are referred to as the Body of Christ and as a part of a body, we find that each of us belong and depend on one another First Corinthians 12:27 states, "All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
In context First Corinthians 12
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the Body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand, that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am not an eye, would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you. The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you.
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
This is one of the most significant Scriptures when it comes to each of us doing our part for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
All too often, people seek positions and titles that make them "feel as if they are important as some desire to sit in the important places in the city.
However, it's clear that the less visible parts of the body are often the most important. Case in point, I believe that nothing significant in any ministry gets done without first the prayers of the righteous going forward.
It's those who have taken upon themselves the burden of the ministry that allows the pastors to move in the calling of God with a spiritual protection that thwarts the attacks of the enemy before they have the opportunity to manifest.
It's those that are performing the peripheral duties of the church without being seen that allows us to come in on Tuesday's and Sunday's in a comfortable and clean manner. It allows the pastors to seek the Face of God throughout the week and get a Word from God that will cause us to flow in the anointing of the Spirit.
This benefits everyone and not just a select few or even the pastor that brings the Word with authority and power.
This is also a principle that breaks down the racial, ethnic and denominational barriers that often keeps the Body of Christ fighting amongst themselves while the enemy afflicts hurt and pain on the nation.
Verse 13 says, "Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
When we get our eyes off the fact that have all been Baptized into one Body by one Spirit and they are placed on someone being a different race, a different societal level, a different color, shape of size, we miss and forfeit the power that we could have.
The Greek word for "baptize" means, " to be baptized into the belief, profession or observance of anything; it means to baptize or be baptized into a profession of faith or into anyone, in sincere obedience to him.
Here the reference is to be joined in this manner to Jesus Christ and therefore become part of His Spiritual Body in the earth.
As God has joined you to our House, you have come with specific gifts and talents that are needed and necessary and you do not have to apologize for what you bring to the table.
For too long the Church of God has been in competition with itself and this is insanity as our "body does not compete with itself, you're just trying to make it the best Body that you can.
You bathe it; you lotion certain parts down; you feed it; you quench its thirst; you make certain that you bring it to the doctors when something is wrong and you make certain that you give it rest when needed.
You're not competing¦ you're completing what is needed to give it the greatest longevity. This is what we should be doing with the Church and the people that make up the Church.
If we don't do our part, Christ will make certain that He raises up people that will, as He has promised to build His Church.
It's His Church that He is building and this Church cannot be moved, cannot be stopped, and cannot be defeated. It cannot die; it cannot lie, it will not falter and it will not fail!
Matthew 16:18 NKJV
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Matthew 16 NLT:
18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ˜rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
Jesus meant what He said when He alluded to the fact that He will build His Church; the forces of darkness will not prevail against it; and that you would be given a specific authority that would release the power of God once you realize what He permits and forbids in heaven.
To be an effective part of the Church, we must know that there is a slight difference between the Church and the Kingdom as the Kingdom of God is the "Sphere or the Place that the King [Jesus] rules over and the Church is the "expression or manifestation of the Kingdom of God through his people.
This is why the Church is not a building, but as the Greek word "Ekklesia reveals a meeting place where those who have made Jesus Christ their Savior gather to publicly show His Lordship over their lives.
Literally the Church is "The called out assembly of Believer's or followers of Jesus Christ to a public display of the free state they are part of. This is why I challenge those that say they can get what God has for them at home.
If you're part of the Church and God gives you strength and health to make it to service, you must demonstrate it publicly by being part of God's local assembly of Believer's on a consistent basis.
After the benediction of a service is made, we have the responsibility to live a life that glorifies God every other day of the week. In doing so we must be sensitive to opportunities to share the Gospel which is our main objective as Christians.
It's not to be a life that forces the Gospel down the throats of those who have yet to receive the grace of God's concerning salvation that we have received; it's a Gospel that demonstrates the love of God to all people with hopes that we will win some of them along the way.
We are referred to as "Epistles being known and read by all men, and this mandate places a much greater responsibility on us to "Live the Gospel before the world which takes much more effort than telling someone that they need to get saved.
Second Corinthians 2:17 NLT reveals that the authority of the preacher is revealed in the "lives of those that are attached to them and the same is true for us at New Horizons. It says:
You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the Word of God with sincerity and with Christ's Authority, knowing that God is watching us.
Chapter 3
1 Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This "letter is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
I think one of the mistakes many of God's people make is, in their zeal to please God, they try to make places and people who are anti-God and anti-Christ conform to the ways of a Kingdom they know nothing about.
We can't MAKE the United States a Godly nation; we can only make our lives godly for the nation to see. Because many of the lives of professed Christians lack the character of the Kingdom, they become frustrated when the world rejects what they have to say.
This is why many of the people in the world have a bad or distorted view of God and His Kingdom. This also makes our witness for God ineffective because when we try to "force our belief system on other people it pushes them away instead of bringing them closer.
The walk we have with God is one that requires the conformity of our will to His Will and this is something that we cannot "make anyone do. They have to make up their own mind just as we do and should they choose to remain in a lifestyle of sin, that's their prerogative.
Our responsibility remains to continue loving them no matter how much we may disagree with them or even hate their lifestyle. We also must guard our hearts to not cross the line where we begin hating "the person instead of hating the sin they are committing.
It's love that is the defining factor as to whether we are actually exhibiting the character that God wants us to.
The entire Bible, especially the New Testament reveals the love God gave to us and the love He desires to express through us. Yet this love will not be received by others because we tell them about it, only when we live it.
  • This love is what caused God to send His Son and caused His Son to give His life.
  • This love is what brings us to repentance and into God's eternal Kingdom.
  • This love is unconditional and something that you can't earn, pay for or manipulate God to get¦ it's just available to whosoever the Lord calls.
Although the love is without strings attached to it, there is an expectation that God requires of His people and that is to live righteous and holy lives that demonstrate the character and nature of the One Who called them into His grace.
Behavior of the Kingdom 
One of the first things in understanding the Kingdom of God is to know the "Behavior of the Kingdom and then to understand "Kingdom order
When we look at the word behavior, it is defined as "The way you conduct yourself or the way you behave. I look at it as "A person's consistent actions displayed publicly or privately. This tells us that our behavior is being displayed at all times and the character of God is revealed as we live in agreement with what the Bible says.
The character of God in demonstration [or our behavior] draws people closer to God, even if they are not walking with Him at the moment. However, adverse behavior can push people further away if it is selfish and without control.
Consistently displaying The Father's character is what Christ did as He influenced more people in one encounter than the Pharisee's, Sadducees and Scribes [or the religious leaders of Christ's day] could in their lifetime.
Although He was God, Lord and King, Jesus did not set Himself up as judge, jury and executioner¦ He came as the One sent by God The Father to reconcile the world to Him.
In Hebrews chapter 10, we have the heart attitude of Jesus revealed and in doing so, this must become ours as well. Anything less, and we become people with religious motivation and not relational perspectives.
Religion will say, "I'm comfortable with myself and being such, I know that I read, study, give, pray, and I go to church, but it refuses to allow the will of God in changing how you behave to bring the necessary changes that will reveal the Father to the masses.
However, when deepening the relationship that you have come into with God is the perspective that we live from, you will do those things and more.
You will look for flawed behavior when you read, study and hear the Word of God; you will look for ways you are not consistently doing what God told you and do everything you can to change how you live, act, react and relate to God and other people. It's this behavioral attitude that allows the Father to gain the greatest glory through us.
This is what motivated Christ, and therefore when He entered the earth, he did not do so of His own authority or His own initiatives, but still had the Father's plan in mind.
Hebrews 10 NKJV
8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them (which are offered according to the law),
9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O GodHe takes away the first that He may establish the second.
10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The NLT translates verse 10:
For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
Here the will of the Father in our behaviors are revealed which is much different from that of the Old Covenant people of God.
Their motivations and behaviors were obscured [or hidden] by the outward sacrifices that they were ordered to give the Father so their sins could be forgiven and cleansed. There was not much emphasis on behavior, only to religiously offer sacrifices, give their offerings and "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Yet, when Christ came, He set up a new order for behavior that had holiness as its goal. This is revealed in verses 9 and 10 as Jesus gave His will over to the Father and then established holiness as the goal of every Believer, using His sacrifice as the example for our code of conduct and obedience to the Father's will. 
His declaration in verse 9 that He "¦ came to do the Father's will continues to resonate today and is our example if we are going to be fully compliant with the Father's will.
Through this heart attitude, there is the desire of the Father to be reconciled to the people in the world that He created.
It was never God's intent that hell would be the destiny of any person born in the earth, but in order to avoid an eternity there, it would take two things: Faith in the sacrifice of God's only Son as the way to the Father and a change in how we think, act and relate to others which is allowing our will to be changed by the authority of His Word.
When this happens, our motivation becomes that of being people who follow in Christ's steps of reconciliation. We have the desire for others to become as we are in following Christ and therefore we make it our mission to share the fact that "God didn't send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him may be saved
In context, the Scriptures around this verse in the Book of John reveals the judgment of those who sinned against God by murmuring and complaining against God and Moses in the Book of Numbers 21:4 “ 9 where God had Moses make a bronze serpent to take the place of healing for those who were bit by poisonous serpents.
The very thing that could have destroyed them, God used to bring life instead of death. So it is true with the Son of God because Jesus had the power to destroy us but because of His "and our obedience, He brought another chance at life.
John 3
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
This verse is a "promise to us personally and a mission for us to other people. God never intended for this message to stop with us and unless we are effectively and consistently influencing others into the Kingdom of God, we are only walking in half the authority that we have.
As Christ reconciled us to the Father through the Fathers love, and we are now citizens of heaven, we also are to be vessels that will do the same thing to other people. The way to be most effective is to allow the character of God to be constantly displayed through us.
When we do and we share the message of the Cross to those we come in contact with, we are fulfilling the same ministry of reconciliation that Christ had. This ministry is revealed in Second Corinthians 5 NLT
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
20 So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God! 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
To define reconciliation, it is not so much trying to make both parties believe as one, but to have a "change and exchange of ideas that govern the behavior of one or both parties. It is "The action of making one view or belief compatible with another.
Being a minister of reconciliation becomes more of a revelation as we learn what God's love actually is and make up our minds to love the inhabitants of the world just as God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son.
The "wonderful message that we have been entrusted with is that "God is no longer counting people's sins against them
This is different from the message many of the religious people today offer, as many will concentrate on the sin that a sinner commits, and use that to try and "scare someone into the Kingdom declaring that they are going to hell.
We are to be offering an alternative to hell which is heaven and present the simple Gospel that reflects the love of God, not the condemnation they feel because of their lifestyle of sin.
Our message is one of reconciliation, not excommunication which is "exclusion from fellowship in a group or community and in this case being excluded from the eternal Kingdom of God.
We are bringing people to God and as such we are the intermediaries that have within our grip the lifesaving message of God's love towards everyone no matter what they did or how they lived.
The Character Traits of a person that is living to expand the Kingdom of God is found in the Book of Galatians chapter 5.
In Scripture there are terms of that reflect "godly behaviors such as holiness, righteousness and sanctification but unless we are living as we should be and acting as we should be, these remain words that are void of the power to change us and others that God intends for these words to have.
We must know that God's desire for righteous people, living righteous lives; holy people being Holy as God is holy; and sanctified people being set apart from the sins of the world; is not reserved for a select few. This is for everyone that considers himself or herself a Christian.
We must know that there are behaviors that are diametrically opposed to the character of God which we are always going to be confronted with. These behaviors are totally opposite of how God wants us to act and to have "some of them conquered in your life, does not set you up for a gold medal. We must deal with them one at a time until we are living a perfected or matured life.
To honor God with how we act entails "putting to death our mortal flesh as Colossians 3:5 tells us and allowing the Fruit of the Spirit to have the ascendancy in our character.
Referred to as acts of the flesh or our sinful nature, we must never take for granted the grace God gives us in being people who have the capability to love, yet are also living in a body that is often quick to gravitate back to the life that we used to live.
These acts of the flesh are sins that most people readily acknowledge but often make excuses for so they can continue to live in them.
We have the ability to stop something at any given time, but we must rely on God to help us stop and keep us from falling back into those patterns.
Colossians 3:
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.
8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.
10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. New Living Translation
This is vital for us to know and understand and because our saved minds are often consumed with not "committing outward sins that everyone can see, we neglect to focus on the subtle sins "of the heart that we have become comfortable with.
The anger, greed, idolatry, rage, lying, malicious behavior and slander often operates under the radar in our lives. We often think that these are okay as long as we don't commit a sexual sin, do drugs or smoke.
This places greater responsibility on us as we now have to deal with how we are relating to people and how we behave before them¦ not only in church, but in our daily interaction with them.
We also neglect to realize that we are not in this walk by ourselves as God gave us His Holy Spirit and as we rely on Him every day, we can overcome the hidden sins of the flesh that is keeping us from reflecting the true character and nature of the Kingdom of God.
There are two things that bear our attention here as verse 5 says "put to death these sinful earthly things that are lurking within you, which tells us that you can do it and as you overcome them, you join the group of people that "Used to do these things as verse 7 states.
In putting these things to death, we have to look at it from the standpoint of our Biblical concept of death being "separation and not annihilation.
You must understand that if this was a principle that dealt with you getting rid of something and through this process of death [annihilation], you would never have to deal with it, because it would not try to come back.
The reality is that through the process of Biblical death [separation] you find that there are things that you will separate yourself from and you may still be surrounded or tempted and tested by them; but because you are separated from them you will not let it back in your life.
This is the principle of putting on the full armor of God "and keeping it on, as you will be on guard for things that come against you which have become your enemy.
At that point, verse 7 becomes a reality, as you are now one of the people who "used to do these things, meaning the thing you used to do you don't do any longer. The reason is because you are now separated from them.
The way to overcome these strong sinful desires is not by your own might or power, but by reliance on the Spirit of God as Zechariah 4:7 shows us.
This is also evident through what's revealed in Galatians 5 NLT
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Looking at these things that God views as being sin, you see that first of all there is a war going on inside you that pits your flesh [or your sinful nature] against the Spirit of God inside you. As verse 17 says, "These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
This war is relentless and will not cease until you go home to be with the Lord, however, it's also a war that God has every intention of you winning while you go through the earth.
God also wants you to know what sin is as without the revealing of God's plan for living, you are left up to your personal concept of sin.
With God being gracious to us and telling us what to do and what not do, we are able to do what He wants, and not do what He does not want us to do.
These are those negative behaviors of the Kingdom that if left unchecked, will deceive you into thinking you're okay, when you're not. Left unchecked, they will cause you to be less effective than God intended you to be. If left unchecked, they have the deceitful power to cause you to back-slide, risking the salvation you have been walking in.
It's not someone that weakens and falls into an act of sin that is considered a sinner and disqualified from Kingdom rights and privileges, but those who "live or consistently practice this type of behavior that is disqualified from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
As I say, "committing an act of sin may be something I do, but it is not who I am or is not a lifestyle that I practice.
There's a remedy for those of us who commit an act of sin revealed in First John 1, "If any man sin, he has an advocate with the Father, the Man, Jesus Christ the Righteous One, who is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. [Para-phrase]
Once these negative character traits are dealt with by "not focusing on them, but focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit, you will see that you are on your way to living a fulfilled life that brings God pleasure and expands the Kingdom of God.
What is often overlooked when it comes to any type of fruit coming to the place of maturity is that it takes time to become mature. This tells us that although we are all "maturing, we are not at the same place in our growth and neither necessarily at a place of complete maturity.
When we're first saved, we have the Word of the Lord inside us as a "seed. Through study, fellowship, prayer and obedience, we begin to mature. The more we obey [not the more we know], the quicker we mature.
However, it's unlikely that any seed is going to come to maturity without some adverse weather. We must know that it's the same God that gives sun, who also gives us rain and snow.
While you're growing you will have a storm, there will be rain, there may be a drought, there may be times when the sun will be scorching, but the tree does not uproot itself and move to a more favorable location; it becomes stronger because of adversity and this is God's intention for each of us.
In order to do so, fruit development must be a priority for us. We're to be on guard for the acts of the sinful nature coming in, but by the same token, our FOCUS in not to be on sin, but the righteous acts associated with the Fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5 NLT
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
As we are being converted, we see that it's the Holy Spirit Who is producing in us a certain kind of fruit.
The development of this fruit is something that we must be patient in as we are a work in progress and it takes fruit time to ripen. This is where the grace of God comes in and love is the greatest of Kingdom vices.
Love can be viewed as the unselfish nature that God IS and has been placed in us as a seed. It always views the needs of other people as being important and as God so loved the world that He gave, giving is one of the highest demonstrations of love in the earth.
Joy is defined as the ability to remain joyous in the face of adverse circumstances. It is not based on being happy and therefore based on our circumstances being favorable. It is based on the Word of God that always leads us in triumph.
Therefore, there's a hope inside us that sees the goal line as favoring us and because of that I don't have to wait until the battle is over, I can give God praise in the midst of the fight.
Peace is having a calm disposition during times of conflict. When going through a battle, our hearts remain steadfast because our hope and trust is in God and I will fight to maintain my position of peace.
Patience is the ability to be steadfast while awaiting the manifestation of what God promised either in His Word or what He has placed in your heart. It's this principle that has caused many Believer's to become deceived and tripped up as many do not want to wait for the proper timing of God and because of that bring hardship and heartache into their lives.
This is the ability to persevere doing what you know to do, while awaiting your promotion to the next level God intends. It's the ability to bear up under pressure and not stop doing what you know you're supposed to be doing where you are.
Kindness and goodness is where we treat people in a kind manner while doing good things in the earth. Just because someone does not treat you well, it's no excuse to treat them unfairly. Sometimes we just have to put some distance between us and them so we don't lose our peace and joy.
If our boss does not respect us, find another job¦ while you have a job; if our neighbor talks about us, cut ourselves off from our neighbor and those gossipers who are telling you what the neighbor said, instead of defending you to them.
Faithfulness is being consistent in what you have been called to do. We often want God to be faithful to us but don't want to be faithful to God. For the most part, we know what we should be doing, but we have to be reminded every so often. We have to be reminded to pray, read, come to church, give, treat people right and share the Gospel of Christ.
Doing these things consistently, shows your faithfulness, but not necessarily your loyalty. Your loyalty deals with the attitude that you consistently do these things in. You can do the right thing with the wrong attitude, but God wants both as He wants our obedience to be from the perspective of a pure and unbiased heart.
Then there's gentleness, which is a character trait that is not intimidating. It is a character trait that is inviting and in which people are not threatened to be around.
It's a disposition that is warm and embracing and that others may take as a weakness, as meekness is strength under control.
Gentleness is a similar characteristic as our strength does not come from our ability to exercise a specific natural authority or strength, but one that's spiritual and based on the principles in the Word of God. Therefore, I don't have to hide behind a "tough persona, but display the character of Christ.
Self-Control is the ability to control yourself. We don't have to give into the temptations that other people place before us. As such, we are not responsible for how people treat and talk to us, only how we treat and talk to others.
If your disposition is so out of control that it flirts with the boundaries of the law of the land, it's only a matter of time before you wind up in jail, facing the court system for your actions, even as a Christian.
When we live like this, we are actually fulfilling the "Law as you will find yourself living out the second commandment that Jesus revealed with the first being, "Loving the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and the second being like it, "Loving your neighbor as yourself.
This is why verse 23 ends, "There is no law against these things!
Kingdom Order
What must now be embraced is the fact that this character or "Behavior of the Kingdom must be submitted to the Government of the King in order for it to be effective. Therefore, there is a Kingdom Order that is established in the Scriptures that the subjects of the Kingdom must adhere to.
The Bible says, "Let everything be done in a decent and orderly fashion, which allows us to see that there is a structure in the Kingdom of God that God wants His people to follow and adhere to. I Cor. 14:40
Defined, order is: "a proper, orderly, or functioning condition This means that if you are going to have the greatest results then there must be systematic and consistent adherence to the task you have been assigned and therefore the instructions that your superior has given.
Often, because of the "personality of the leaders when given a directive, we can have a tendency to either do well or do something half-heartedly according to how much we like or dislike someone. This is never to be the case as we are always working unto the Lord and our true reward comes from Him.
Ephesians 6
6 Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. 7 And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. 8 Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.
Both, how we act and bringing things into order will not just happen without the subjects of the Kingdom being willing to submit to the plan of God in these. They also will not come into agreement with God without knowing how He wants us to operate and relate to those that are set in position of spiritual authority by God.
Often the things we do are based more on the perception of what should be done rather than through an understanding of what has already been established in the Scriptures.
One of the first things we need to understand is that everyone needs someone that they relate to. The assumption that we can grow, mature and accomplish everything God wants us to without spiritual oversight is erroneous. God set your kingdom growth up by establishing submission to authority in word and deed.
Matthew 8, Message Bible
5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, 6 "Lord, my young servant* lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.
7 Jesus said, "I will come and heal him.
8 But the officer said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.
9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ˜Go,' and they go, or ˜Come,' and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ˜Do this,' they do it.
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, "I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in all Israel!
This Roman officer understood what was needed to get the greatest results. Having his life in proper position, he knew that the authority he was given was backed up by the authority of the persons [and in this case the government] that gave him his authority. This gave him confidence when he instructed those who were in submission to him.
In the same way, he knew that Jesus was under the Authority of the Father and because of that, he knew that what Jesus said would actually happen.
As verse 9 says, there's a corresponding authority that is given when we remain under proper authority. This is important because many Believers are trying to exercise authority over demons and people when they have not fully submitted to the authority that has been placed over them.
Even in this, God never gave us "authority over people. Circumstances and situations and demons must submit to the Authority of the Word, but we have not been given over people as they are God's responsibility.
This example is also not referencing people that are trying to make themselves great without having paid the price in submitting to the leaders paced over them. It is revealing what it takes to have order and structure in your life that allows you to have spiritual authority as you live in this earth.
Defined, authority is "the power to give orders or make decisions: the power or right to direct someone or something.
This becomes the focus of our minds as when we know what we are supposed to do and how we are supposed to act, we are also able to direct someone else along this same path.
If someone does not obey your directives, you are not to be concerned with making them do what you ask, the enforcement of the "law is up to the governing authority. Therefore, you report the breach in the command to your commanding officer and let him handle the discipline.
Where do we get our authority from which brings us into proper Kingdom alignment?
In John chapter 5 you see that there is an Authority that God the Father has given to Jesus Christ that cannot be denied. This Authority carries with it a corresponding responsibility to do things in the way the Father would also do it.
In this case, Jesus is set up as "Judge over all people and in doing so has been given the responsibility to bring "eternal life to those He knows will honor Him and the Father.
21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. 22 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, He has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
The word honor means, "Respect that is given to someone who is admired; good reputation; bestowing favor on someone with good quality or character as judged by other people
This honor that we give to Christ is also given to the Father as we move our lives where He has already said we're supposed to go.
The fact that Christ is the Ultimate Authority can be mistaken by some people that would try to side-step the spiritual authority that Christ gave us in the earth. This is dangerous as without lining your life up the way Christ set it up, will leave you vulnerable to greater attacks from the enemy.
This means that "the power we have ˜will only be the authority we have' when we are in proper alignment with the authority that Christ gave us when He left the earth.
In the same way The Father gave the Son His Authority, Christ when He ascended on High empowered a certain facet of His Body to carry out His Authority in the earth. Likewise, they have been given the responsibility to do things the same way Jesus would do them.
This empowerment was not given to His entire Body; it was given to those Christ chose. In turn, when we are properly aligned with those that Christ gave His power to, we find that no matter where we are functioning, we are now able to exercise a similar authority in our own lives.
Who this authority has been given to and the purpose for giving it is revealed in Ephesians chapter 4.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men
9 (Now this, "He ascended”what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head”Christ”16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
As verse 7 says, we have all been given grace to operate within specific areas. The more you mature, the more grace you will be given to sustain your life on the new level. This is why the Bible says, "He gives more grace.
James 4:6 shows us that in our maturity, there is a corresponding humility as the Word of God changes us and brings us to the place where we can make the greatest impact on those around us.
But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
This humility also gives you the ability to submit to the leaders that God placed over you. This is true even if you were not a person that dealt with authority well before you got saved. The reason is you have now submitted to the Word of God and the entrance of the Word brings the necessary revelation and brings the changes needed to come alongside the leadership that God placed over you.
As verse 8 says, "When Christ ascended, He gave gifts unto men. And then in verse 11 it is revealed what these gifts are:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
In Eph. 4:8, the Greek word for gift "dómata means "the actual gifts proving Christ's generous character at the time His spirit left His God“Man personality
This means that through what we refer to as "ministerial or ministry gifts, Christ actually "dissected or divided His Kingdom Establishing and Building qualities and placed specific anointing's on these groups that would operate in the earth in a pre-determined manner.
With these gifts came special authority to operate in specific areas so that Christ's will, plan and purpose could be done.
Although the most recognized gift is that of pastor, there are also other gifts that are needed and necessary for us to be exposed to if we are going to be well rounded in our life. This does not mean that each of these have to be a daily part of our lives, only that we need the voice, anointing and work of the others in order for us to be healthy.
These are gifts of:
Apostle who has the ability to start and plant churches and inspire works of the Kingdom. The apostle has those leaders that he or she planted in submission to their authority and will never build on another's foundation by ripping apart what they did not establish.
This is why the apostle Paul said "I may not be apostle to them, but I am to you. All too often through ignorance, competition or pride, when someone ascends to this place, they feel that the entire world must acknowledge their title or position. The title never identifies the person, it's the works they do.
The Prophet is the voice of God that comes in to reveal, uncover, and build up. Jeremiah 1:
10 Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.
Here in Jeremiah 1, we have an example of a man that was given a specific responsibility from God do a specific work that was for the people of his time and the region in which he lived.
The mandate of uprooting and tearing down was specific to him and it dealt with "earthly kings, kingdoms or nations and not God's Kingdom.
God will not uproot His Own Kingdom as it goes against the very thing that Jesus said when He declared that, "He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail. And in building His Church, He said that "A house divided against itself cannot stand.
So the reality of tearing down is not a prophet's main motivation unless he or she is called to the nations and kings of this earth. They are to build up and establish God's rule and authority where it is lacking in the Church.
In reference to how God deals with His people, Jeremiah 24:6 says,
6 I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.
This is also the mandate for the New Testament Ministerial gifts that are listed in our text. We build you up no matter the content of the message.
In Second Corinthians 10:8 we have where Paul says:
I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn't tear you down. So I will not be ashamed of using my authority.
The gift of Evangelist is also often misapplied in modern Christian-dom. Many have relegated this office as one that gives special privilege and perks that are only reserved for those with the greatest charisma.
This office is not based on the charisma of a person or their ability to move the people of God to a place where they "get something more from God, but motivate them to become soul winners right where they are.
The person with the gift of evangelism has an intense desire to see people saved and then turn those people over to the shepherds that they are associated with so they can get the nurturing and instruction needed to function at their highest level.
The Evangelist will also be part of a local assembly and will do everything they can to grow that ministry and motivate the people in their home church to also focus on soul winning.
Their main motivation is not waiting until doors of opportunity open for them to "preach in someone's church for profit, but strengthen the people who are in their path so the church can grow in a healthy manner.
The evangelist also works in conjunction with the local pastor and will not go against the message that is shared in their house, but find ways to come along-side them to be a support to them.
The next gift listed is Pastor and it is closely followed by the gift of teacher.
Often we refer to this inclusive list as "Five-fold because there are five gifts listed, however in the Greek text, the gift of Pastor and Teacher is not separate gifts but are complimentary gifts that helps you identify one of the areas of the pastor, which is having the ability to teach.
The Pastors ministry is one that is complicated and will almost never be fully understood by the general church population. This is in part because of religious perceptions and lack of knowledge concerning us.
A true pastor will first of all have the concern for "God's sheep in the forefront of their minds and will never lose focus of this simple fact. They know that the people they are entrusted with do not belong to them and will treat them accordingly. They will not use or abuse them, but will do what they can to give them a peaceful life which in turn strengthens them and causes maturity as they persist in their walk with God
In a similar way that God leads His sheep besides still waters, the earthly shepherd will do the same thing as he will instruct the sheep in the way of the Owner.
This is where the "teaching gift is imperative for the pastor. They must be able to teach the Bible and being a teacher of the Bible they are lovers of the Author of the Book they are sharing about.
This does not mean that there is not a gift of teacher as this is reflected in the "Administrative gifts given to the Body in First Corinthians 12, but it does mean that you can be a teacher in a church without being a pastor, but you really can't be an effective pastor without the ability to teach others.
Teaching in this way is more than having the ability to "share what someone else wrote on a specific subject, although it can be included. It is having a strong enough relation with God to receive instruction from the Source and then having the ability to make plain the Scriptures they have become stewards over in "word and deed.
How the pastor lives is of utmost importance to the purity of the Word they have been entrusted with as they cannot say one thing and live in a way that's opposed to what they say. It robs the Word of it's full power.
In addition to God revealing the gifts to us in Ephesians 4, we also have what their "collective function is. Message Bible
10 ¦He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts,
11 filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher
12 to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, 13 until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. 
We are first and foremost "trainers not only teachers of the Bible. This allows you to see that information that is not used as inspiration only produces stagnation and cannot bring a person to full maturity.
You must have the balance of spiritual maturity with a natural working ability within the church in order for you to be the unified Body that God wants us to be.
This is what we are endeavoring to do as your pastors.
Kingdom Maturity
The Growth Process
The reality of walking with the Lord is that He never intends for any of us to stay the way we are. Because this is an on-going process, many Believers don't follow the things of God to their completed end.
Many people place a time frame for certain things to happen in their walk and when they don't happen by then, discouragement sets in and they often revert back to a life and lifestyle they were accustomed to¦ even while still attending church.
The Word of the Lord is clear in stating that the "End of something is better than the beginning thereof. Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
This is especially true when we look at our life from the perspective of eternity. The reward of heaven far outweighs the tests and trials of this life and we must realize that we have already entered into an eternal state based on our confession of faith in Christ.
This is why it's important to see our existence in the earth as physical, soulish and spiritual as we are three-part beings. The most important death you will have to avoid is eternal death as it is appointed unto man once to die a physical death but after that to face judgment.
Spiritual death swallowed up in the victory of Christ's cross and being those who place faith in His atoning work, we have been ushered directly into the path of eternal life. Yet unless Christ returns in what we refer to as the Rapture, we will all face physical separation from this earth.
What we must be constantly aware of is the fact that God's Word is True and shall produce, yet we must learn that "the timing for patience is not in our hands, but God's.
Therefore, to become mature we must be patient with the process God has us in and confident that God is still in the situation with us as each of our processes are uniquely different based on our various upbringings, cultural biases and learning experiences we had before we got saved.
God set it up so that through our dedication to Christ and equally the local assembly that we would "grow and become mature until we find that perfected state of existence that is only found in the Presence of the Lord.
In the last chapter, we saw that one of the responsibilities of the Ministerial Gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist and pastor/teacher that Christ gave to the Church is to bring the Body of Christ that are entrusted to us to the place of maturity. Ephesians 4
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.  
To become mature there are some natural things that we can and must do or we will "only grow, but not become mature.
The Greek word for mature is teleios and means, "Finished, that which has reached its end, term, limit; hence, complete, full, wanting in nothing.
This matured state is different from a "perfect state that some translations of the Bible uses. When we think of that which is perfect, it's easy to assume that the reference is to never making any errors. This is almost an impossibility as long as we are walking in this flesh and bone body.
However, each of us are on the path to maturity and as long as we remain teachable, and move our lives forward we are being matured.
In a Biblical example, the fig tree that Jesus cursed grew, but never matured as when you mature, you will produce fruit with ability to ripen.
The thing that I find is that when a tree grows and fruit appears, "the tree does not eat what it produces itself.  The fruit of a tree is given over to the nourishment and enjoyment of others. Often we hang onto bad habits, attitudes and negative character traits that make us feel good, but these are not the traits of Kingdom fruit that God wants in our lives.
This principle is the same in our lives as when we produce, the love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, meekness, kindness and self-control we develop it so others would have the pleasure of our company and so they would be more compelled to join you in serving the Christ.
What I love about having the opportunity to mature in the Kingdom of God is that every one of us begin on the same level as the Word of the Lord comes in as a seed. This seed is "the measure of faith necessary to produce every type of Kingdom benefit the Bible makes reference to.
Once that seed is planted and exposed to the elements around it, there is a "natural growing process.
One of the things that stunts a person's growth more than anything is constantly picking up the seed and moving it to new ground. It's not necessarily a new church or ministry in the church that will ensure that you reach a place of maturity, but what you do where you are that will.
Because there are adverse weather conditions around the seed, it does not look at ways to find another place to produce its fruit. The "ROOTS go deeper into the ground where its planted and when the storm is over, the tree is stronger and the fruit is better.
Storms are going to come; our lives are going to be challenged; there are times when we may even want to give up, but hell is not a viable alternative for us.
Often because of the trials of life, deceitfulness of wealth and lust for things other than the things of God entering in, the Word of the Lord is choked and lacks the ability "in that person's life to produce the fruit necessary to move them where God wants them to be.
This is true especially from the standpoint where we think that our fight is unique and no one else goes through any battles or challenges.
We think that our seed is the only one exposed to extreme heat from the Sun; oversaturated where we think we are going to drown because we got watered so much; or we go through a period of time where we have to face a storm of an unprecedented magnitude.
Jesus dealt with this principle of maturity when he shared the Kingdom of God principle of growth using the seed a farmer plants as an example.
In the beginning of Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus was teaching His disciples and began speaking in parables to them. These parable's are "Known Truth's that contain hidden meanings or messages
Here, the known truth is that there's a farmer with seed and various elements that the seed was exposed to.
The unknown truth is that he was not talking about natural seeds, but the Seed of the Word of the Lord and these were not natural elements, but the hearts of people.
After sharing about the natural aspect of the seed in the beginning of Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus then interprets what He was talking about.
18 "Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.
20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word.
22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! NLT
As you consider the maturation process, almost every one of us as Christians have had the opportunity to turn away from God using one of more of the first three examples.
The first example is that the person who didn't apply themselves to get understanding, which is the cornerstone of wisdom had the Word of God taken from them by the enemy.
Proverbs 4 Amplified Bible states:
7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).
The Message Bible translates this as:
7 Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
8 Throw your arms around her”believe me, you won't regret it;
never let her go”she'll make your life glorious.
The understanding of the things of God comes as we spend more time with God; when we prize above all things the Words that the Lord has given us and when we make the Word of God our life by applying the principles every day, no matter how strenuous or painstaking for us that it may be.
The second person is the one who has no root. These are those who don't have a firm hold on the things of God; they have not become established in the faith and doctrine of God.
They may have a limited understanding of the things God has for them and that He wants them to do, but because they are easily distracted, they don't grow because of a lack of consistency in the practical matters of the Kingdom of God.
They don't see the importance of bringing people into their lives that are also Believers' and as Proverbs 27:17 says, will sharpen each other saying "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend
The person without root stays by and with themselves. They don't see the importance of having another brother they can connect with or for the women, having another female they can connect with.  
Not realizing that the tactic of the wolf is to divide and separate you from others so you can get picked off, they set themselves up for ultimate failure.
The importance of church services cannot be over-emphasized. In speaking of it this time, I will add that it's not enough to just come to church as if we're doing God a favor.
When we come to church, we come with purpose in our hearts to Meet with God; give back to God; get instructions from God and go out of here to be examples to those we come in contact with of Jesus Christ Himself. In essence, we come into God's Presence to change.
In order for that change to be lasting, we must allow our lives to be submitted to Christ and set our hearts firmly in the church and not allow anyone to get us off track.
The third person is the one who allows the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches and lusts for other things to come in and choke the Word.
Verse 22 says, "but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
This type of person cannot mature because of "distractions.
A distraction is defined as "Something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention; something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about what is most important.
What must be understood is that every one of us can fit into this category if we would allow our hearts and minds to dwell on things associated with the world more than we do things that pertain to the Kingdom of God.
God's desire is for us to consider our state and determine where we really stand with God. Second Corinthians 13
5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 6 As you test yourselves, I hope you will recognize that we have not failed the test of apostolic authority.
To examine means "to tempt, prove and put to the test in order to determine the character, views or feelings
We must do this with our entire life so we can please the Lord and know where we really stand in our walk with God.
All too often we settle for the way we were and have no real desire to change and because of that we remain in an immature state and as Paul said, whereby reason of time, we should be teaching others, we still need someone else to teach us the basics of the Christian faith.
Hebrews 5 says
12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.  
In becoming mature, it is the process of refining and purifying the old motives and ways you lived and becoming more and more Christ-like in your daily affairs.
In Numbers 31, we have an example of warriors that returned from battle who killed some of the enemy. They had to be purified before they could be let back into the camp.
The more mature we become, the more its necessary for us to be pure before God, however not every Christian can withstand fire, so God says, if you can't with stand fire and will burn up because of the intensity of the test or trial, you still must be washed by the water of the Word as you go through the process.
However, those who have the ability to withstand the onslaught of the enemy at a greater level, will have to go through fire to have their lives refined so they can bring God greater glory.
Look at the mandate God gave Eleazar the priest for the soldiers redemption.
Numbers 31
21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men who were in the battle, "The Lord has given Moses this legal requirement: 22 Anything made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead”23 that is, all metals that do not burn”must be passed through fire in order to be made ceremonially pure. These metal objects must then be further purified with the water of purification. But everything that burns must be purified by the water alone.
As mentioned, Fire and Water in Scripture represent the Spirit and the Word and in the Old Testament both was needed to purify the priests and people. but not all materials were able to with stand the fire, so God said I will allow them to only be cleansed with water.
Not everyone can withstand the fire we often find ourselves in, but God is gracious and will not allow to come on us more than we are able to bear.
If you have what it takes to withstand the Fire and then the Water, God will allow various trials that are unique to other people purify you for an even greater work.
To become mature, we must be washed by the water of the Word and when that happens, we are like the seed planted in good soil and we will produce a harvest in our lives, 30, 60 and 100 times what we sowed.
The Three "D's That Hinder Maturity
Distractions, Disappointments and Discouragement
Understanding that our process of maturity entails practical life experiences, it does not take a long time for us to realize that because we're Christians it does not mean we are exempt when it comes to the challenges of life.
What I've come to know is you cannot avoid all of life's challenges, but you can control your attitude in how you handle or deal with them.
As much as we like the Fruit of the Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit and the Ministerial Gifts given so we can mature, the fact is without our cooperation God will have a difficult time getting us into a position where we can be most effective for him. God works with us and not apart from us.
When we look at something that hinders us you must see that it is not there to assist you in your maturation process.
Galatians 5
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
The word hindered means "to delay and rendered fruitless? As it pertains to our scripture, you have where someone has come in and delayed your growth and the fruit that should be evident in your life is really non-existent.
Whenever you are not progressing in the things of God, you must look inwardly and see what you let in that caused you to digress from the purposes of God.
         Staying Focused
When we look at the Three D's that hinders maturity, I am convinced that almost all of us "have dealt or will deal with one or more of these at one point or another in our walk with God. Distractions, Disappointments and Discouragement
The common denominator of them is that their objective is to "Get you to forfeit what God placed in your heart and render your walk ineffective
By the enemy hindering what God intends for your life to produce allows unbelief and doubt to creep in and without seeing evidence of your growth you become discouraged and disappointed while allowing the things of this earth to distract you. 
The final hope of satan is that you would blame God for this and turn your back on Him. You reason in your mind that God didn't do what you felt He should do¦ when you wanted Him to do it.
This brings me to a statement that I often say, "God's not in this to do our will, but we're in this to do God's will. The prophecy about the coming of the Messiah is our example as we live our lives for Him is in Hebrews 10:7 and says "Then I said, ˜Look, I have come to do your will, O God” as is written about me in the Scriptures.'
Because we are not here to get as much pleasure out of the earth that we can, we focus on the things that really matter which is pleasing the One who called us into His service.
Therefore, we cannot allow what we go through to detract us from the goal of becoming like Christ and doing the basics of what God expects from us.
Many times the distractions, disappointments and discouragement we face are a result of people that we let influence us into thinking that:
  • we deserve something because we're so special
  • are privileged and should have things that God never promised us
  • or that we have positioned ourselves through obedience to the principles He gave us in His Word and now we "must have what God says
When God gives a promise to us, there are often contingencies attached where we have a part to play. If we don't fulfill our obligation, we have no "legitimate right to expect God to do what He said.
In the Book of Philippians chapter 3, we have Paul sharing the importance of staying focused on what really matters. Without this type of focus, we are open to discouragement, disappointment and distractions.
The New King James version reveals the focus of his heart. This type of focus brings us to a place where we reach the ultimate goal of attaining Christ and the eternal life that He promised us. Philippians 3
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
This is a very significant example of being focused because when we have a goal to focus on, it's more difficult for the devil to get us off track.
In a bit more context, reading from the Message Bible, look at how Paul deals with things that could potentially get him off course.
10 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. 11 If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
12 I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
13 Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward”to Jesus. 14 I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
[Paul's mind is made up and has determined to let nothing stop him from attaining the eternal life that Christ purchased for him with His own blood.]
15 So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision”you'll see it yet!
16 Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.
17 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. 18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross.
For Paul, it was not enough to know what he was supposed to do, but he warns us to watch out for those we let in our lives and influence us to do what is contrary to what God expects from us. He knew that if we were going to remain focused that we would have to:
  • Reach out to Christ, verse 12;
  • Put your eye on the goal, verse 13;
  • Don't give in to the thought of turning back, verse 14;
  • Keep your eye on the goal, verse 15
  • Stay on track, verse 16
  • Surround yourself with people that are going the same way you're going verse 17¦
¦so you can strengthen and encourage each other. Iron sharpens iron.
With the proper focus, we have a greater chance of going through this life with less distractions; handle disappointments properly; and without losing hope when confronted with discouragement.
Not staying focused opens the door for a fourth "D, which is deception. When deception comes, it steals what was rightfully yours.
This is a walk with God that allows you to stay focused on the Truth contained in the Word of God. Your spiritual senses will be heightened and you will be better able to recognize that which comes from God and that which comes from satan, the deceiver.
First Timothy 4
Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
As verse 1 ends, these deceptive teachings are actually, "inspired by demons and shared through people as verse two refers to those who share the teachings as "people who are hypocrites and liars with dead consciences.
When we are deceived, it's hard to remain focused on the Truth and we justify every negative action making excuses for why we don't fully obey the Word and even give into the voice of the enemy while lying to justify the failings of our hearts.
Revelation 3 has one of the biggest examples of loss that a distracted person will experience in life.
Revelation 3 NLT
7 Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True”David's key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open”speaks:
8 "I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough.
9 "And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan”watch as I strip off their pretensions and they're forced to acknowledge it's you that I've loved.
10 "Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.
11 "I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown.
The irony of being distracted is that you can still be working in the church; have the greatest character; give as God commanded; and love as you are supposed to, yet because you were distracted you risk losing the very thing that you have worked so hard to get.
Here the Lord tells John to write to one of the seven churches concerning the last days in the earth.
Verse 11 says, "Keep a tight grip on what you have [or pay attention to what is in front of you] so no one "distracts you and steals your crown.
Notice that the crown was not stolen because someone was smarter or stronger, but because they had the nature of the devil [the deceiver] and was good at distracting you. Therefore, your crown was stolen from you.
You neglected to pay attention and remain diligent to keep what was yours. Ultimately you forfeited what God intended to give you.
To be distracted means "to be mentally confused¦ This means that you are "not settled on what you know to be fact and in our case, what you know to be The Truth.
When your heart is settled and focused, it becomes difficult for you to lose your focus. This does not mean that what distracts you is negative or bad¦ You can be distracted with good things, but not God things.
When the things associated with this world becomes your passion, God is no longer number one and you are setting yourself up to lose the crown spoken of in Revelation 3.
Hebrews 12:2 gives us what is supposed to be the focus of our hearts and faith. When Jesus is the focus and all things that could distract us is shunned, we have the opportunity to bring our faith to maturity.
The Amplified Bible:
"Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].
By an act of exercising your  God given will, you must make up your mind to "look away from all that will distract you and focus your attention on Jesus Who is the One that will bring our faith to maturity.
When you allow disappointment to fester and take control of your heart and mind, the consequences can be almost irreversible.
There are times when we become disappointed with God and because you can't see Him, the tendency is to disobey what He says or leave Him altogether even while you have a "form of godliness that governs your life.
The consequences of disappointment are heightened when you become disappointed with people.
Often we are disappointed with people over things that have no bearing on our own lives. Things that we have no control over and things that will add no value to us. We are looking for faults and things to complain about.
Second Corinthians 12:20 Message Bible:
I do admit that I have fears that when I come you'll disappoint me and I'll disappoint you, and in frustration with each other everything will fall to pieces”quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled heads, and general bedlam.
What we must not neglect to realize is that Paul is not writing to people who have no relationship with God, but to those who are followers of Christ and therefore God's people
God's people here have allowed these unmet expectations to dominate their thinking and that leads to negative actions that will always damage their character and integrity.
Once your character and integrity is damaged, it will be almost impossible to repair. This brings a reproach upon your life and the God that you say you are serving.
To be disappointed means someone has "Failed to meet the expectation or hope of something; it is sadness or displeasure because expectations have not been met
Instead of learning how to keep the negative reactions from dominating their lives, what some people find themselves doing is lowering their expectations where they don't have to deal with potential disappointment. They reason, "If I don't expect anything good to happen, I won't be disappointed.
These are also the people that never impact the world around them, but complain about everything that they feel is wrong. They have no answers, they have no plan and they find it impossible to encourage those who are trying to do something because all they can see are the impossibilities because of past disappointments.
Among many others:
  • their parents disappointed them and possibly didn't want anything to do with them. They are now mad when they see other people enjoying the company of their own parents;
  • they were disappointed in relationships and now all men or women are bad;
  • they were disappointed because a credit application was turned down and now they don't try to get a car, house or any other expensive item that in today's society has become a necessity.
  • they were disappointed because they didn't get a promotion and they turn against the company they work for and allow their quality of work to diminish
  • they are disappointed because their sports team didn't win and now they're mad at all other sports teams being affected so much that they can't even have a decent conversation. 
  • they are disappointed with God because they liked a post on social media that said they would be blessed by the end of the week and it didn't happen.
As Paul said in our Scripture, if not properly dealt with, when you are disappointed there is a tendency for frustration with each other and you will expect everything will fall to pieces”quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled heads, and general bedlam, which is a "very noisy and confused state of a person or scene.
Christians must have a proper understanding of God if they are going to deal with disappointment properly. They must ask for things according to His will; they must not be impatient and they must know what the promises of God are and that they are inherited through faith and patience.
Christians must always strive for maturity and to keep the unity of the spirit in a bond of peace, while allowing room for others to make mistakes while not meeting our expectations of them.
I've come to the place where I know that I may be disappointed because the outcome of a situation may not be what I wanted, or someone may not do what I expected them to do. But I pick myself up and allow the hope I have in Christ¦ the Lord that I serve and Who cannot fail¦ to give me inspiration to start again.
With so many things in our society that are wrong, if you want to see change in the world, you must do something about it. This means you may be disappointed along the way, but you won't stop trying.
Then as you go through this life, you will have the opportunity to become discouraged. This is not unlike every other human being, it's how you respond to it and how you handle it.
I've found that I can try to do everything right, obey God in all things and sacrifice things that I hold dear to my heart and yet will still have the opportunity to become discouraged at some point.
This attitude of service and doing things "for God does not give you special rights and privilege; it allows His grace to increase so you can go through whatever will try to discourage you.
When faced with discouragement, the first thing you need is someone to encourage you.
David understood this as he reveals in Psalm 119. He had the opportunity to be discouraged but instead found the Source of encouragement and focused his attention on what the Lord said.
We must learn to do the same thing as we receive our hope from God and God alone.
Men will fail you, but God never will and the times when we think He does, we have lost sight of the fact that God IS God and does not have to answer to anyone¦ including us.
Therefore, we go to His Word and allow what He said to comfort our hearts and renew our hope. David said: Psalm 119
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
29 Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30 I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
31 I cling to your laws. Lord, don't let me be put to shame!
32 I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
When faced with discouragement, when is the last time you went to the Word of God to receive encouragement?
We know the scriptures that deal with healing and prosperity, but do we know what to do when our hearts are overwhelmed? David said, when my heart is overwhelmed, "Lead me to the Rock, that is higher than I.
The Roc that David referred to in Psalm 61 is a "Towering Rock of safety. The Rock is not a thing, but a Person and God cannot lie, He cannot lose and He cannot fail!
Discouragement means "to be less determined, less hopeful or less confident; it tries to make you not want to do something; it makes you think that something is less likely to happen. It means to deprive of courage or confidence.
The thing that distraction, disappointment and discouragement have in common is they try are trying to get you un-focused and lose hope in the God you serve.
They try to get you to look at the impossibilities that you face and make you think that what you have in your heart will never happen. But we're told in Hebrews 10:35
"Do not throw away our confidence, for it will be richly rewarded, you have the need of steadfast patience where after you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. paraphrase
  • We must have the heart of a conqueror and know that God has ordained our steps.
  • We must know that through distraction, disappointment and discouragement, we still win because God cannot lose.
  • We must know that every setback is not final, but an opportunity to learn, mature and become more like Christ in this life
This mentality keeps us focused on the prize and the same encouragement that Joshua received will propel us into destiny and our God ordained purpose for being in the earth.
Joshua chapter 1
6 "Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.
8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command”be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
To overcome the Three D's, we must conquer their symptoms in our minds first. We must not look at them as being our final state, but as an opportunity that allows God to work on us and work in the situation as He wants to.
We become more stable, focused and we become an example for others to follow so they too can overcome these things.
In the maturation process of those that follow Christ, it is only a matter of time before we realize that God wants us to be "spiritual beings that function in this natural realm just as easily as we function to meet our daily needs of food, water, shelter and clothing. For most Believers, they live carnal lives with a touch of spirituality. That is not how God intends for Christians to live.
This has been one of the things that has kept God's Kingdom and people from advancing as God wants them to. Having an emphasis only on natural things, the servants of the Kingdom become rigid in how they think and live and they judge things based on what is seen. Although, you can judge based on what is evident to the eyes [or senses] this is not to be the only way we are to live our lives.  
When we look at what is spiritual, you must identify it as something that cannot be seen. Although not seen or not perceived by your five physical senses, it is there and just as real as what you see with our physical eyes.
Most times we go through life without giving a thought to the importance of the spirit realm. We take for granted that what we see in the natural is all there is and we don't think that we have the ability to change what we see, overcoming the negative situations with what is revealed in the Scriptures.
To do this you first have to know that there is a spirit realm; that it is real; and that you have been given the authority to utilize the Word of God to line your life and family up with what He determined.
To better understand this as a principle for change, we have in the Book of Genesis where God created the Heavens and the earth that we currently see¦ out of nothing and by the Word He spoke.
Genesis 1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Many times our own lives appear to be dark and without purpose [or without form, empty and void]. Because you feel like your situation is hopeless, you settle your heart on the fact that things will never change and you're doomed to live this way until you die.
Some of the things that run through your mind are:
  • I'm fighting this sickness; I'll always be sick;
  • I'm broke and I'll always be broke;
  • I'm in this dead end job and have no place to go;
  • I'm in this house or apartment with no hope of ever getting out;
  • my husband, wife, children or family are not following Christ and they're living worse now than they did when I became a Christian.
This last statement may appear to be true, but often it's not that someone is living worse than they used to live before you gave your life to Christ as much as you have grown in the Word of the Lord and their sinful actions become more evident. You have less tolerance for sin, but are to develop more tolerance for the sinner.
Living a dark, empty and void lifestyle will always rob you of the faith needed to reverse the situation you may be in. That mindset must be reversed.
You must realize that your life may appear to be empty, dark and "without purpose or without form, but God gave us an example of how you can change it. Your life and situation is changed by having a different vision of the situation and then exercising your faith and confessing what God said.
To change the vision, you must look at your life and situation from the perspective of the Word of the Lord. By allowing the "Entrance of God's Word to give you light [or illuminate your situation], you begin to "live by faith and not by sight, changing not only your perspective and situation, but your very life as well.
Genesis 1 continues with the account of Creation showing us that God said; He saw; and it was good¦
3 Then God said, "Let there be light; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 Then God said, "Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear. And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground "land and the waters "seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land sprout with vegetation”every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came. And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation”all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
13 And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.
14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth; and it was so.
16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens. 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Chapter 2
Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
This becomes important to us because it serves as an example as to how we can change what we see in the natural by saying what God says, believing God based on what we place in our hearts and exercising the patience necessary to ride out every storm the enemy sends.
On each Day of Creation, God begins by saying or making something and then whether it was immediate or a period of time passed, "He saw that what He spoke was good or it was so.
Many people's lives are a by-product of what they have said over and over for many years. Unknowingly they have prophesied lack, sickness, poverty, doom and gloom time and again until the fear of success became the dominate factor in their life.
Your responsibility is changing your situation by making up your mind that you are going to change the words you speak from negative to positive and not let this be only a principle that you practice, but a lifestyle you live.
Being a lifestyle means that you will do this habitually and won't go back to speaking negative or speaking contrary to what God said when no one is around.
You also won't have to think about whether you are speaking positive or negative as those thoughts and confession of your faith will produce the change you want in its proper time.
To further support the fact that the spiritual realm is real and actually has a greater impact on the natural realm than you may believe, you have Hebrews 11 revealing what God did when He Created the universe.
Hebrews 11 NLT
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
This statement of fact in verse 3 becomes the very foundation that supports the principle of faith where the things of the spirit are built upon.
Yet before you recognize that things are formed out of nothing at God's command and what we NOW SEE is a result of what we speak, you must have at least a limited understanding of faith.
Faith being the substance of things hoped for [or things you cannot readily see with the natural eye], you must paint a picture in your heart of the change you want to see. From here you pray, believe, confess and exercise patience and wisdom until the situation is changed.
This mentality and utilizing the Word of the Lord properly will move you into the reality of spiritual things and you will begin operating as a person who is a new creation.
Second Corinthians 5 NLT
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
The reality of the person who is this New Creation and what sets you apart from all other created beings is the fact that as Born Again Christian, you have the ability to operate in two realms [the natural and the spiritual] with the same authority.
It's authority in earth and heaven that you received when you gave your life to Christ. This allows you to be both, "born of flesh and bone and of the spirit.
Jesus Himself said in John 3
5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ˜You must be born again.
To function without the constant thought of am I spiritual or am I doing what is spiritual, we must recognize that we first must feed our spirit with the things that come from the Spirit. Secondly, we must not use the level of spirituality of someone else as our standard.
The Bible is clear in stating that you can follow your leaders as they follow Christ, but to compare your life with another person that may have a few more years in the Kingdom of God than you, you set yourself up for hurt and disappointment. First Corinthians states, "When you compare yourself by yourselves you are not wise.
Second Corinthians 10 says: NKJV
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Most often we compare ourselves to others because we have lost our focus of our own call and looking to see how we can be better than someone else in one area or another.
When we pay attention to the job we have in our own lives, we won't need to compare ourselves to others, as the natural response will be to make ourselves the best "me that I can be.
Galatians 6
4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else.
5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.
When we compare ourselves, the Greek definition of this compound word reveals what we are doing.
The compound word "sun [pronounced soon] which means ˜together ˜and krino meaning ˜judge.' This means to "join two or more things together for the purpose of judging. 
Therefore, the comparison being made is between two things that often are valid and have similarities, however, generally one has more prominence than the other and will produce the results that will be of long term benefit. In this case, the thing with greater prominence is that which you have been called to.
To operate in this authority, you must identify God's spiritual Kingdom and position yourself to live every day from that perspective. When you do, there are things that come against you in the natural that will not last forever.
Paul told the Church at Corinth that, "These light and momentary afflictions which are but for a moment are working for us a far greater weight of glory.
Second Corinthians 4 NLT
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are* being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
God's Word being eternal will produce what it says and when it does, it carries a glory that will last throughout eternity.
This is why the saints of old were not moved by what they saw or because of the situation they were in.
  • Moses could face Pharaoh and the Red Sea
  • Daniel could face the lion's den
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could be thrown in the fire
  • David could fight Goliath
  • Jesus could endure the cross because He saw from afar the Kingdom that He was soon to possess
Someone may ask:
  • Why are you still holding on after 27 years?
  • Why are you still confessing the same thing you were thirty-four years ago?
  • Why do you still say by His stripes you are healed and still have pain?
I have come to realize that my current situation [light, momentary and subject to change] does not dictate who I am going to be throughout eternity. The Word of God does and as long as I keep living as God told me and extending my faith in what I have become convinced of, I must inevitably come to the point where I enjoy what He said I was supposed to have.
One last look in the spirit realm is found in the Book of Second Kings where the King of Aram was wondering how his enemies knew every move he was making. His servants told him that it was the prophet Elisha who was speaking things the king was doing in secret.
The king locates Elisha and his servant and when they were awakened one morning, troops horses and chariots were everywhere. This caused fear to grip the heart of the servant as it appeared that death was inevitable.
However, Elisha had a revelation of the spirit realm and let him know about the spiritual army that as surrounding the natural army.
Second Kings 6
14 So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. "Oh, sir, what will we do now? the young man cried to Elisha.
16 "Don't be afraid! Elisha told him. "For there are more on our side than on theirs! 17 Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see! The Lord opened the young man's eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
Often this is where the people of God is as they go through life. Having a focus on only what they see naturally, they don't see God's provision behind the attack of the enemy.
Obviously, the servant's eyes were open as he saw that the valley was filled with soldiers, horses and chariots from the natural army in verse 15.
But like Elisha, we are people who have authority in two realms because of our Born Again experience, therefore we can confidently say, open the eyes of my heart so I can see things from Your perspective.
Elisha revealed what was there all along and he used that as a teaching point to get his servant to calm down and trust that the God who called them was not going to leave or forsake them.
We are the same¦ God is in control and it's only a matter of time before He brings us all the way out. Just don't throw away your confession [profession] as it will be richly rewarded.
Hebrews 10:35He brings us all the way out.    
35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.