Posts Tagged ‘grace’

The Action of Faith

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Giving, including tithing, should first and foremost be an act of worship and thanksgiving, an acknowledgement that it is God who gives us power to get wealth (De 8:18). It also is an act of faith. If there was no God, and if His promises were not true, it would be foolish to give our money away. In fact, if you’re one of those people who says “When I give money, I don’t  expect anything  in return” I say you are foolish. There is just as much a manifestation of a blessing that was already purchased for us, as there is when we lay hands on people according to faith in His Word. If there were no monetary multiplication of our monetary gifts, our resources would diminish, not increase. However, because there is a God who honors faith in His Word, we can actually increase by giving.Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Also:(Pr 3:9-10 and 11:24)(Luke 6:38)(Mark 10:29-30)(Prov 19:17).

Everyone knows Eph 1:3 says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Now, do those blessings automatically show up in the natural physical realm by themselves? Or, is there a required response of faith on our part to access or cause to manifest these spiritual blessings into the physical realm (so that they can do us any good)? Faith is our positive response to what God has already done for us by grace. Examine the chart below, and notice the Action of Faith.

Scriptural Foundation                                     “Lay hands on sick, and they will recover” 

 Action done in Faith                                 Physically laying on hands

 Result                                                                      Manifestation of healing

  Scriptural Foundation                                    “He cast out the spirits with a word” 

 Action done in Faith                                 Commanding to “Come out! In Jesus’ name!”   

 Result                                                                     Manifestation of deliverance

Scriptural Foundation                                     “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead”   

 Action done in Faith                                  Commanding to “Arise! in Jesus’ name!’ 

 Result                                                                     The dead are raised

Scriptural Foundation                                      John 3:16

Action done in Faith                                  Confess w/mouth + believe w/ heart

Result                                                                       Salvation

Scriptural Foundation                                     “Life + death are in the power of the tongue” 

 Action done in Faith                                  Speaking life/blessings/Amening w/God

Result                                                                       Manifestation of life/blessings

Scriptural Foundation                                      “building yourself up in your most holy faith” 

 Action done in Faith                                  Praying in the Holy Spirit 

Result                                                                        spiritual edification

Scriptural Foundation                                      “if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask   of God”

 Action done in Faith                                   Asking God

Result                                                                         Wisdom

Scriptural Foundation                                       “Go into all the world…these signs will follow…” 

 Action done in Faith                                   Going and Preaching

Result                                                                         Sick healed, demons go, people saved

Scriptural Foundation                                       “whatever is lovely, pure ,good report..meditate on..”

 Action done in Faith                                    Meditating

Result                                                                         Manifestation of peace

Scriptural Foundation                                        “you shall receive power…shall be witnesses unto Me” 

 Action done in Faith                                    Actually talking to people 

Result                                                                         Connecting people to Jesus

Scriptural Foundation                                        “give and it will be given unto you…”  

Action done in Faith                                      Giving

Result                                                                         Multiplication of gift


I doubt anyone who has received the Gospel of Grace would actually believe it was the action of their giving that they were trusting in, instead of the promise of God. Do you say “it’s because I laid hands on so and so that they were healed?” No, you say “by the stripes of Jesus they were healed.” Do you say “I’m blessed because of my giving?” No you say “I have been given all things that pertain to life and Godliness. The act of giving and the act of laying on hands that are done in faith are what appropriates that spiritual blessing into the physical realm.

We are not a Blessed people because we give, but that does not mean there is no blessing attached to giving! We are not healed because we lay hands, but there is a blessing attached to doing so!

We received our salvation by grace through faith, and that’s how we are to walk, and receive all the promises of God: by grace through faith.

There are four things that take place as believers give: (1) the sincerity and proof of love is demonstrated (2 Cor. 8:8, 24); (2) we receive a blessing (Acts 20:35); (3) others’ needs are met (2 Cor. 8:14; 9:12); (4) giving results in thanksgiving and praise unto God (2 Cor. 9:12).

Giving unto the Lord (which involves giving to others-Mt. 25:40; Heb. 6:10) is a spiritual seed  that should not be looked at as throwing something away. It is a spiritual investment that produces in this life as well as the life to come (Mk. 10:30). We will reap if we do not faint (Gal. 6:9).

Several scriptures speak of the harvest that giving brings. Here are just a few. Jesus said to a rich young ruler, “. . .give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. . .” (Mt. 19:21). “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Prov. 19:17). “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself” (Prov. 11:24-25).

Most people go through stages of giving similar to stages of growth in training our children. First there is the obedience stage where we train our children to do the right thing just because we told them to. They don’t have the capacity to understand completely, but they need to establish positive patterns even before their reasoning is mature. Likewise, when we first come to the Lord we need to establish this foundation of obedience.Next, a child begins to imitate his parents’ actions. This would be similar to being led by the Holy Spirit in our giving. The Holy Spirit becomes our guide and He wants us to emulate Him. There is great benefit to ourselves and others from being led by the Holy Spirit in our giving. Yet, there is still another level of giving to which Paul refers to in 2 Cor 9:7 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” The ultimate motivation for giving is to give as we purpose in our heart, as Paul is describing here. This is comparable to a son who is serving, not just out of obedience because he fears punishment, or because he is motivated by the example of his parent (what if the parent isn’t present), but because his heart has been affected to the point that it is his desire to do what’s right. That’s what every parent longs for and that’s what the Lord desires in our giving.

If the only time we give is when the Lord tells us to, that is comparable to a child who only says he loves his father when he is told to do so. Although there is a time when that is proper, it is not the ultimate. There needs to be those times when the child says he loves his father just because that is what is in his heart.It is true that God will tell us to give specific amounts of money at times to help meet the need of someone else or for our own personal benefit. However, it is also appropriate to give just because we want to. Those who only know how to respond to commands or specific leadings of the Holy Spirit in their giving will miss bringing joy to the Lord through their unsolicited, cheerful giving.

**Some content was borrowed/edited from Andrew Wommack


All is well between you and the Lord. That is the essence of the ministry of reconciliation. You have been forgiven – now, receive forgiveness by putting faith in your Savior, Jesus. Now, you are justified before God; blameless and above reproach. That’s good news. Because of Jesus and His finished work, we are heirs to all the promises and have actually already been blessed with all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3). Wow, it really is finished, which begs the question what is there left to do? Some would say “absolutely nothing! Just rest in the finished work!” ……..Well……. that brings me to this blog entry. I recently visited a church whose pastor told the congregation “It’s not our job to preach Grace to people. Only the Holy Spirit can give them that revelation.” I personally can not separate “grace” from the “gospel”  because it is the gospel. It puts the “good” in “good news.” I could have misunderstood what was being said, but to me he might as well have said, “It’s not our job to preach the gospel – It’s the Holy Spirit’s job.” I am writing this to address a “do little” attitude I am seeing develop in the crowd that’s receiving the True Gospel of Grace.

Pardon me pastor, but we have been commissioned to go into all the world. Hopefully, have received a second separate experience called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which empowers us to be effective (bold and powerful) witnesses of Jesus. It’s almost as if the Grace crowd is forgetting that we were saved by grace through faith. Faith is an action- it’s active. Faith, without corresponding works of faith, is dead/useless. Oh, if the body of Christ would just begin to do what it said it believed. Believing in healing or quoting healing scriptures is not the same as healing the sick. Hear that? I’ve just set off some people’s “works” alarm! Good, because there is work to be done – and those aren’t my words: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10). Some people do rightly to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest,” but never consider that perhaps they could be the laborer. Yes labor=work, I’ve done it again. Resting in the finished work does not mean literally resting and doing absolutely nothing. It means we stop trying to earn blessings/favor/right standing with God based on our works. It’s a motive changer. I understand that many have been burned out on ministry of any kind, and yes literal rest and doing nothing will be good for a while. But my question is: How much rest do you need? How long do we need to soak at the Master’s feet before we are compelled by the same force that compelled Him (God’s love) to spread the good news? You may say: “Well, I’m not going to do anything I don’t feel led to do.”

Ok, that’s fine, assuming you are in perfect tune with that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Never missing even His most gentle nudging. The only problem with that is there are a lot of Christians who are quite carnal (ruled by their senses or emotions) and could easily mistake “feelings” for “not being led.” I’m not trying to pass judgment on anyone, or even motivate anyone. I’m just trying to remind us Gracer’s that you do – yes I said do, have to balance grace with faith. “Yes we know, it’s faith in the finished work.” That’s fine, but that doesn’t exclude us from acting on what we say we believe. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12). I’m all for sitting at the feet of Jesus, and always will, but lets interrupt those receiving sessions with some “such as I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus, rise up and walk” sessions. I know we don’t “have” to do anything. For example, we don’t “have” to give a certain percentage of our income to our church or else face a curse, but how can a person who has received the fullness of the gospel of God’s unconditional love and radical grace not become a partaker of the divine nature and share in what Paul called “the grace of giving”?

Paul bragged of the grace of giving that was bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. They were freely willing to give what they were able and beyond what they were able(sacrificial giving) and all this while in the mist of deep poverty(due to persecution). That doesn’t line up well with the “give because you’re blessed” slogan, unless of course we’re not talking about monetary blessings. Paul then tells the Corinthians to “see that they abound in this grace also” (2 Cor8:7). He then commends them for their desire to give, but he’s also stressing that there needs to be actions to accompany that desire. James gives the same principle :What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save(rescue) him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  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?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Paul says in 2 Cor 10 that it is “to their advantage ” that they give. In Phil 4:17 he said “not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Mathematically speaking, in order for it to be “more blessed to give than to receive”(acts 20:35) there would have to be a multiplicative property to giving. I guess I’m one of the few Gracer’s who doesn’t have a problem telling people to expect a multiplied return on properly motivated giving.

This could open up many questions on stewardship, or sewing and reaping, but I’m out of time today. Now I will come clean as to one of the reason’s I’m writing this. I’m tired of seeing good churches go under because people are not giving any money at all. I hate seeing full-time pastors having to work secular jobs just to make ends meet. Paul was very clear on this whole matter in 1 Cor chapter 9. He uses words like “stewardship” and “sowing and reaping” which are becoming unpopular today. But in summary Pastors have a Biblical right to refrain from working. Paul chose not to exercise that right( unmarried – no kids), but concludes with “Even so the Lord commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” I understand many pastors have abused this and hurt many people, but that doesn’t change the scripture. Yes, give as you purpose in your heart, but know this the Spirit of Christ on the inside of you is the biggest giver of all, and you, by your new nature are a giver as well. We are already blessed with all spiritual blessings, but that doesn’t do you any good in this life, on this earth until they are accessed by faith. And faith will always be an action – not a thought, belief, formula, or theory.

Here is the link to my response. In it, the mystery of 1 John 1:9 is revealed

Here is the second part of the video

Here is a link to my You Tube video: Grace Manifesto

You might be thinking: “Don’t worry, we cry out to God all the time at our church pleading for Him to pour out revival or at least be with us/show up at our next service.” The cry of the old Testament prophets were sincere, heart-felt and God inspired. They would get “burdens” on their hearts to intercede for groups of people in order to stay the wrath of the Lord. They could effectually “buy more time” for the people to stop their wicked ways to avoid judgment. The prophets were also used by God to convey a variety of messages or warnings to the people. You see, these people didn’t have a “main line” to the Father the way that we do, and needed a person that heard from Him to effectively communicate. The problem is that people still try to use Old Testament models to bring about change in the New Testament church.

The silliest thing to do, is to try to “pray in revival” as if it has been God who has been withholding anything from His children. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Rom 8:32) Knowing the heart and will of the Father will cut short a lot of these “all – night storm the gates of heaven” prayer sessions that people feel compelled to hold. The truth is that God has put all of heaven’s resources at our disposal. If only one single person in any prayer group would take the time to discover who they are in Christ, what they have, and be bold enough to use it, entire churches and cities would be transformed. There is so much untapped “revival” within every believer.

I understand the hearts of these misguided prayer warriors. They truly want to see a mighty move of God in their churches, but are mistaken as to how to bring it about. They will cry out to God from a position of an orphan instead of a son/daughter. An orphan has no sense of belonging within a family. When you have doubts and insecurities about the willingness of a father figure to bless you or just “be there” for you, you will timidly beg requests. You will feel quite blessed just to have the occasional visit from the father, but not expect a tangible healthy relationship. A son/daughter, however, is secure in their place in the family, and doesn’t doubt the willingness of the father to provide for them or “be there” for them. They have no problem running up and into the lap of their father and making demands on his love, goodness, or time(through fellowship). The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom8:15). The Greek word for adoption to sonship is a term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture. Gal 4:7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.  And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.(NLT)

We’ve been adopted! We are children of God- and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ(see Rom 8:17). The great mystery of the ages has been revealed in us- which is: Christ in you! the hope of glory. We don’t have to beg God to revive the life-less parts of His body(the church). Don’t you think He wants see us walk in the fullness of our redemption that was purchased for such a high price at Calvary? Do you want to see a mighty move of God in your congregation? then MOVE! Our Father has equipped us and commissioned us with all the tools and anointing to do the exact same works as Jesus, and even greater works than those! Won’t someone believe that! That is the cry of the New Testament Prophet. We’ve been waiting on God, and all the while He’s been waiting on us. Nothing will build your confidence more than knowing that when you minister to people, you are acting in agreement with the Father’s heart, and manifesting His will, with His power. My cry is for the body of Christ to regain it’s identity as Sons of God. Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Phillips translation: The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.

When you speak the Word by following  the Bible- which is the Father’s plan, you can rest assured that the Holy Spirit will back you up with His power flowing through you. Establish your heart with God’s righteousness- which is righteousness by faith, and rest in the finished work of Jesus so that you can have confidence before God and man. Recognise and embrace your sonship with the God of Love, and stir yourself up knowing that every time you move, God moves. Become the “move of God” that everyone has been trying to pray in. Read John 14:12, believe it, and act on it- Sons and Daughters of God!

The church in America is often refered to as the “sleeping giant.” I’d have to agree, but bashing the church and pointing out flaws will by no means empower the church to rise to the level Christ intended. Our country is hooked on anti-depressants, our hospitals are full, and people are living in poverty. The preaching and teaching of the True Gospel with power is the answer to all our problems. If the church could get to the place where we absolutely expected signs and wonders to follow the preaching the Word, then our Gospel would rapidly spread to the ends of the earth. False gods and man-made religion would be ignored due to the undeniable contrast of a Living God flowing mightily through His people. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).  People have yet to see the Church fully represent Jesus the way He walked on this earth. We have done a decent job modeling the good works that can be done in natural strength, but the time is at hand where we will walk as He did in His supernatural strength. How do I know? Because the Gospel of God’s unconditional love and Radical Grace is finally working its way into mainstream Christianity. It is only on a firm platform of faith-based righteousness that we can confidently expect to see consistent results. I believe the Church will get there, but until it does, thank God for the Rogue Disciples.

Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.”  For he who is not against us is on our side (Mk 9:38-40). This gives us the picture of the Rogue Disciple. He’s a bit of a rebel- in that he operates just outside of the mainstream. Surely he was within earshot of Jesus as he expounded on the Kingdom of God. Surely he was close enough to watch Jesus perform the many mighty works. He had to have faith in that mighty Name to see demons cast out. However, he chose not to put his name on the “church roll.” Today’s Rogue Disciple could be described as someone who is doing the works of Jesus – fulfilling the Great Commission, but not plugged into the popular and accepted religious systems. He/she’d be a person that chooses not to follow in line with the “do-nothings” or “do-littles” who are always talking and forever waiting on God to do something. This Mark 9:38 man didn’t need acceptance or approval from any religious group. He didn’t wait to be commissioned from man, but rather put faith in the name of Jesus. Paul asks in 2Cor 3:1: “Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? He goes on to say, “Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant…” I’m not saying this man was right not to follow Jesus with the rest of the Disciples, but I can sure make a valid case for the modern-day Rogue Disciple.

Rom 3:4 says Let God be true but every man a liar. That scripture is supposed to be applied regardless of the size of the man’s church or reach of his ministry. Jer 17:5 Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. How many dead people have you heard about being raised back to life in America? Smith Wigglesworth from England was said to have raised over 20 people from the dead. Matt 10:17 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Could you see why a young person would find it unwise to go to the same school, follow the same instructors, and operate under the authority of a church/organization that has failed to produce the same results that Jesus produced and certainly hasn’t tapped into the even greater works? I know we shouldn’t forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and how important unity is among believers, but if the Church isn’t getting the job done….. Ideally, we can surround ourselves with like-minded believers or co-laborers, but this is not always the case in every town/city. My point is, we shouldn’t judge the small store-front churches with humble beginnings, because there’s a good chance some Rogue Disciple has stepped up and decided to boldly dare to believe the Word of God. These will be the ones that turn the religious community on its head, and allow God to flow through them with His truth, love, and mighty power. These “outcast”, “rag- tag” groups are growing with an understanding of who they are in Christ, what they have, and how to use it. This is the “Radical Grace ” crowd, folks. We’re not going away, and God is confirming the Word of His Grace with signs and wonders following. Judge us by our fruit.

Have you ever had the desire to stop a person, hold a large mirror in front of them and say, “Seriously, you saw this before leaving your house?” I know, that’s mean, but I truly believe this needs to be done to the entire body of Christ – now more than ever. No, I’m not attacking the dress code of Christians (although personally not a huge fan of large, ornate hats and headdresses), but rather a serious identity crisis. One of the biggest obstacles we need to overcome, is seeing ourselves accurately when we look in the mirror. 1 Cor 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”  The mirror has always been our “go-to” to see who we are. Some people avoid mirrors, others spend hours trying to do whatever it takes to improve what’s staring back at them. However, the truth is, you can’t look into a mirror and see an accurate image of who you really are with your natural eyes. It’s time for you to look at the real you.

The above scripture says that we do see dimly, but we will eventually see perfectly. So why learn how to see more clearly when you could just wait it out, and eventually see perfectly? This is the age-old dilemma of the church. Why should we concern ourselves with walking in divine health when we will eventually receive glorified bodies? Couldn’t we just wait it out? Why should we live a life of victory over all the works of the enemy if we’re eventually going to look at him and say “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms” (Isaiah 14;16)  I have branded the “wait it out crowd” as saved but stuck. I won’t condemn them, we’ll fellowship in heaven, but I believe we should embrace the totality of our salvation in the here and now. Jesus came that we might have life(new birth) and have it more abundantly(a victorious life). By receiving abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, we will reign in life!(Rom 5:17) “…who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father”(Gal 1:4). It doesn’t glorify God to live a life of “wait it out,” but rather believe His Word and receive by faith everything Jesus died to give us. So, lets look into that mirror and see a better and better image of the real you.

The Word of God is what shines the light that we may see more clearly. The more you renew your mind with the Word, the more light gets shown – the better you can see. Your Bible is a revealer it reveals the real you; the born-again you. Think of this as if your bathroom had a dimmer switch. To the degree you renew your mind, the more you turn the light up, so you can view a better reflection. What are we straining to see- what is the end result? Who is it we will come face to face with? It’s Jesus! Our reflection is simply a clearer and clearer reflection of the Christ inside of us. We ought to look in a mirror and shout Glory! He’s in me! The second part of our verse reads “then I shall know fully even as I am known.” How are we known? – this is a key. “And you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Col 1:21-22). =That is how we are known by God! He doesn’t see you in the flesh. He sees you in Christ – hidden in Him. That is your true identity – that is the revelation that will bring the church out of this identity crisis. That is the revealing of the Great Mystery – the riches of the glory of this mystery is: Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

Now it gets good: Rom 8:29 says we were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born of many brethren. How are we conformed to His image? The church might tell you to act like Him. Just be like Jesus- be like Him – live like Him- WWJD?.  I say good luck with that. Being born-again doesn’t just produce a changed life, but an exchanged life. The Lord doesn’t make our flesh wise, righteous, sanctified, or redeemed. Instead He becomes our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. You can not – on your own power -live like Jesus. That would effectively be “shining your light before men” instead of “letting your light shine before men.” I don’t live for Jesus, I let Jesus live through me. The more I yield to Him, the more He flows through me, the more others see the Christ in me, the more I see Jesus in the mirror. The Bible says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. I think you could also say: what a man sees in the mirror so is he. Here’s a quote from Dr TL Osborn, “As long as you think you are a nobody and see a nobody in your mirror, you will walk, talk, and act like a nobody.” It is not arrogant to believe you are who God says you are.

Finally: Why did Jesus refer to Himself so often as the Son of Man? I believe he understood that He was to be the first born of many brethren. He wanted to remind us that all of the great works he accomplished were done as a man by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have that same power available to us. John 3:34 says that God does not give the Spirit by measure. When we lay hands on the sick, it’s actually the Christ in us- Jesus’ hands being laid on the person. But how do you see yourself? Where do you draw your identity – from the flesh or from the Spirit? Stare into the mirror after you “turn the light up” with the Word of God, and you will see Jesus more clearly. It is by revelation of “Christ in us” that we get a more accurate reflection.

Quit Drinking the Poison

Posted: March 17, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Fear is like a poison, and once ingested, it affects your whole body. It can be found everywhere, and there are plenty of people who will try to make you drink the poison. The Bible says that fear is the opposite of faith; however, many of the tools the church uses to reach the world are based in fear. Therefore, I am not surprised that the results the modern-day church is getting, pales in comparison to the early church described in the New Testament. There is only one way to stop the destructive poisonous works of fear, and that is to receive the antidote. The love of God is the antidote to fear. 1 Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” I’m sure we have all experienced the torment that comes from being fearful. Stress is just fear’s ugly sister, and certainly produces destructive forces in our physical bodies. Fear is the opposite of faith – the opposite of believing and trusting God. Jesus was an eye-witness to the effects of fear and was constantly saying, “Fear not,” or “Do not worry.” People can literally die early from the effects of fear, worry, doubt, or unbelief. God hates to see us living this way. Even David the Psalmist wrote: “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps 34:4). The good news is we can and should go through this life FEARLESS!

We should no longer let fear hold us back  from: witnessing, giving, stepping out in faith, or surrendering every area of our lives to God. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). I believe people withhold areas of their life from complete surrender to God because of a lack of close personal relationship with God. Why this lack of relationship? Because the church has been telling them God gets mad at them every time they mess up, and its up to them to recognize all their failures, sins, and shortcomings so that they can confess and beg forgiveness from each and every one – cue condemnation. How can a person have a real relationship with someone who they’ve been told is angry with them? We’ve got pastors telling people to: Fear the Lord! In Matt 4:10 Jesus was quoting OT scripture(Deut 10:20) and replaced “fear” with “worship.”  However, if you desire to manipulate people, it is advantageous to keep them in fear because fear and bondage go hand-in-hand. Rom 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father.” For example, a pastor that tells his congregation, “If you don’t tithe, you’re cursed with a curse,” is using fear to keep people tithing – because he is afraid they would stop giving once fear of punishment is removed. These same pastors will say we have to “do good” to “get good,” and basically have to earn all of God’s blessings.

Man-made religion is bondage! It will hold you back and press you down. Shake off the chains of religion and get yourself free! Whom the Son sets free- is free indeed. Find yourself a place where the Spirit of the Lord has free reign, knowing that where the Spirit of the Lord is – There is Freedom!!! Life is to short to be forced/dread going to a dead, dried up church. There must be a basic understanding of the two Covenants, and of the fact that we are living in the New Covenant of God’s Grace. It is then, and only then that the Word of God can be rightly divided. My post: Does Your Church Make God Vomit explains this in detail. Remember we get rid of fear by receiving the antidote which is God’s love. Once you get a revelation of the true character and nature of God, you will never question His love for you. You will never question His promises to prosper you, or that He has healed you, forgiven you, and will never leave you or forsake you. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

God’s love for us is Agape – unconditional. Here is the best way I can explain this: When your spouse or friend is everything you think they should be – when they perform well- exceed all your expectations, we love them. In other words, we have no problem loving the lovely. That is how God sees us all the time! He sees us as perfect, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight (Col 1:22). He sees you covered in the  blood of Jesus; hidden in Him – seated in Heavenly places. As He is in Heaven, so are we in this world. His love for us doesn’t fluctuate with our performance. We don’t get what we deserve – we get what Jesus deserves.

We need to get this attitude: God, the Alpha and Omega; creator of the Heavens and the earth; the Almighty, all-knowing, all -powerful, One True God – loves me. He is well pleased with me because of my faith in His Son. So, who cares what anyone else thinks or says about me? If God be for you, who can be against you? There is no place for fear when you are full of God’s love for you. His Word never fails. He alone is worthy of praise. You can put all of your trust in Him- in His Word. Fear not! And don’t ever let fear keep you from stepping out in faith and doing what God has called you to do. He that called you is faithful and true. Fear not!

Be positive, you’re a winner! Ok, just kidding. I was once given the opportunity to speak in front of a large group of kids that had been the victims of tragic accidents. The speaker that spoke right before me poured his heart out telling them that he sympathized with their pain and how important it was for them to spend the rest of their lives with a positive attitude, positive thinking, and using positive speech. It was ok, from a worldly viewpoint. However, when I took the stage, I basically said, “What you just heard might get you limited results, but if you want to see real results and live a life of fulfillment, joy, and peace, you need to meet Jesus.” I shot a quick glance at the guy who just spoke, and he just glared at me. I figured, what’s he gonna do? I weigh 230 pounds, and I came here to break bricks and snap baseball bats!  Ha ha it was funny. You could say I had confidence on two fronts: confidence in who I was in the flesh, and confidence in who I was in the spirit. I understand that placing confidence in who you are in the flesh is not a good thing, but let’s face it- we’ve all done it. We can see a very good example of these two kinds of “confidences” in the life of Peter.

The way I see it, Peter was a man’s man- a man of action. He was bold, outspoken, and a natural leader- although a little rough around the edges. He was a fisherman, tough, and not highly or formally educated. I love it how God uses the simple to confound the wise. If people ever feel disqualified for ministry they should read 1 Cor 1:26-29: “For you see our calling , brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I love that passage of scripture – it is the great qualifier. Simply put, the simple don’t have a lot going on for them(in the natural), and confidence in self is not going to get in the way of God’s plan! The more we decrease and let Him increase; the more we yield, the more He can use us. Now let’s get back to Peter. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He said to His disciples, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:” (He then quotes Zech. to verify). But Peter exclaimed, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matt 26:33). Jesus replied, “Assuredly…before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

So what did Peter do? He puffed up- he manned up, and boldly declared, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”  So, was he all talk, or was he serious? You better believe he was serious – a man of action. In fact, he tried to lop off the High Priest’s servant’s head, but luckily he ducked, losing only an ear. He had confidence, but it was misplaced, it was a confidence in the flesh – not the spirit. I believe that either Peter was ready to go out in a blaze of glory, or he was expecting the mighty right hand of the God to save them against all odds- much like all the stories in the Old Testament. Or perhaps, he believed that now was the time for Jesus to restore the Kingdom of Israel, and he was going to help move things along! It must have been confusing and embarrassing to watch as Jesus reattached his handiwork. “For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God”(James 1:20). That killed his confidence, and he went on to deny Him three times. The problem was that Peter’s confidence in the flesh was greater than his confidence in the spirit or Word. He couldn’t/didn’t know how to stand with Jesus spiritually partly because he wasn’t praying with Jesus in the garden as he was instructed. How many times do we automatically look to a natural solution instead allowing the Holy Spirit lead us into the spiritual solution? In Peter’s defense, his “bible” only contained Old Covenant: eye for an eye- tooth for a tooth- ear for a Messiah -principals. However, he should have taken Jesus at his words- which are Spirit and Life. Plus Peter had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, but had not yet been baptized, or endued with that power. He did not yet have that still small voice that would bring to remembrance the words Jesus spoke to him.

In Conclusion: Peter was reminded of the power of God’s spoken word. Jesus said it; it came to pass. Later Peter learned of a new kind of confidence. After receiving the baptism of the HS, he boldly stood up and preached to the very people he was so afraid of. He went from totally denying jesus to: “nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”(Acts 4:12). When we decide to lay all of our gifts and talent at the feet of Jesus, and realize that it’s not by might, or by power, but by His Spirit working through us, we will get awesome results. We should place all of our confidence in who we are in our born-again spirits. We should identify completely with who we are in Christ. Let’s quit talking about our shortcomings and failures, and start seeing ourselves the way God sees us – in the spirit.  Are we not holy, righteous, justified, blameless, and above reproach in God’s eyes? Are we not joint-heirs with Christ? Do we not have the same Spirit inside of us that raised Jesus from the dead? If that doesn’t inspire confidence, nothing will. Now go out and be a believing believer!