Monday, November 16, 2015


We have probably all heard the phrase “United we stand, divided we fall.” It is the moral of one of Aesop’s fables, The Four Oxen and the Lion.  His story goes like this:  “A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.” 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” 
Jesus taught the same principle in Matthew 12:25.  He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”.  Matthew Henry said, “If we divide one from another, we become an easy prey to a common enemy…Churches and nations have known this by sad experience.”
The truth is we need one another.  God made us to be part of a whole – not to try to single-handedly be the whole.  We need the input of others into our thoughts to keep us balanced.  We need encouragement to keep us from falling into despair.  We need correction to keep us on the right path.
In the first letter Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, he was calling them to unity.  They had been privileged to have the teaching of many of the great apostles of that day and they had grown in spiritual gifts.  But their focus had turned from Jesus, to the ministers that brought them His message.  
Genesis 49:10 is a prophetic scripture about Jesus, the Messiah.  It says, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”  Rather than gathering to Jesus, the Corinthians were gathering to Paul or Peter or Apollos.  Paul asked, “is Jesus divided?” Of course that was a rhetorical question jarring them back into reality.  Certainly Christ is not divided. 
Finally, in 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul said, “But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments.”  (Amplified Bible)  Perfect harmony?  Perfectly united?  Full agreement?   How does that work?  A thousand different opinions, backgrounds, personality types, abilities, temperaments…and we are to live in full agreement?  How on this earth can that be possible?  It’s even hard to get two people to agree on everything.
My husband is a morning person – I am a night owl.  He thrives on competition – competition stresses me out!  He doesn’t particularly like to read – I am an avid reader.  And the list goes on.  So how have we made if for over 27 years?  We agree on the things that matter and give room in things that don’t.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste swim with the current.”  Some things matter.  Some things don’t.  The teachings of Jesus matter.  The Word of God matters.  Following the Spirit of God matters.  Preferences and personalities don’t.  We don’t all have to have the same favorite color.  Our ideas about music, cars, housekeeping and food may vary widely.  And that’s okay.
In Romans 14, Paul speaks of some things that don’t matter.  (vvs.1-3, 5-6)  “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” [That means not to criticize him for his weakness; not to split hairs over what doesn’t matter.] “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth: for God hath received him…One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
What is the important part here?  Doing it unto the Lord!  If you can’t do it unto the Lord, then don’t do it!  Satan delights in causing us to spend so much time fighting over what doesn’t matter that we fail to be and do what does matter.
Down through the years there has been much talk about unity.  And for all the talk, there is very little unity because we are trying to be alike and are uniting with the wrong things. Unity does not mean all being the same…being clones of one another.  We all have different gifts and abilities to offer.  Unity is combining what we have to become one. It is gathering unto Jesus and doing whatever you do unto Him.  Unity is using what we have and who we are for the same purpose within the parameters of God’s Kingdom.
If I said, “Let’s have a picnic”, some would be getting the picnic tables ready, putting on the tablecloths and getting the tents up for a little shade.  Others would be planning a trip to the mountains, hiking 15 miles through the wilderness and spreading out a cloth on the edge of a cliff so they could eat with the bears.  One is not right and the other wrong.  They are just different.  But they both accomplish the same purpose – A PICNIC!  That’s a very simplistic example, but it gives us a picture of what unity is and what it isn’t.  The pieces in a puzzle are not all alike, but they all belong there.  If they were all alike, there would be no picture.  It would just be blank. 
There is strength in unity, but we need to be cautious as to what or with whom we become united.  After all, if you put in pieces that are for a different puzzle, it will distort God’s picture.  Before we become united, we need to know what we are connecting to.  There are some purposes we cannot work toward because the purpose is wrong.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 says:  “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord [harmony] hath Christ with Belial [the devil]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [unbeliever]?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
As the temples of God, we cannot connect ourselves to unrighteousness, unbelief, darkness or idols.  They don’t mix with the righteousness, light, faith and the Spirit of God dwelling in the children of God.  If we are to be followers of Christ, we cannot be joined to those things.  They lead us away from “the way, the truth and the life”.  They lead us away from the right purpose.  Those puzzle pieces do not belong in God’s picture.
So, what are we to unite with?  What is the central element of true unity?  We already know the answer to that – it is gathering together unto Jesus.  Ephesians 4:1-4 tells us the way to do it. 
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The first step toward unity is to walk worthy of the divine calling of God in our lives.  If we are Christians, we are to be followers of Jesus, not just giving Him mental assent. Too many people want to live for Jesus their way. It doesn’t work.  If we are the same as we were before we were saved, we are not saved.  If we are still leading, we are not His follower.  We are called to live out our belief in Him, pursue after Him above everything else, follow the teachings of Jesus, stop doing things we cannot do unto Him and be filled with His Spirit.  That’s when we are walking worthy of Him. 
The second step is knowing how to interact with one another.  Our relationships with others should be marked by the heart of a loving servant.  We are to walk in humility and meekness. Not being a doormat, but giving value to others and serving one another.  We are to walk in love toward one another, realizing we all have weaknesses and making allowances as we help each other to grow and be strengthened in the faith.
Thirdly, we are not just to hope unity happens.  The word ‘endeavor’ means to put forth effort to preserve it.  We are to do everything we can within the boundaries of God’s Word to keep the unity of the Spirit, not the unity of this faction or that faction.  We are each to be in harmony with and at one with God.  The bond of peace with God is the key to our unity with one another.  Without it there can be no unity.  The bond of peace is each individual becoming one with God, being bound or connected to Jesus as one with Him.  When we are united with God individually, then we are automatically united with one another corporately.
In John 17:20-23 Jesus was praying for His disciples and for us, those who are followers of Him because of the word of His first disciples.  Jesus prayed, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Jesus is one with the Father and came to show us the Father.  Now we are to show the world Jesus!  Here again we see that when we are one with God, we are one with all those who are one with Him.  And this unity, this oneness, transcends time and place.  When we become one with Jesus, we become one with His first disciples.  We are building on what they started…working for the same purpose by the same power of the same Spirit and in keeping the same teachings of Jesus.  We are perpetuating the Kingdom of God. We also become one with those who will come after us as they build on what we leave for them.  We are one with those in our local fellowship and those on the other side of the globe.  How can we be one with those we have never met, who we have been separated from by time and space?  Because we are one with the One we have met and we are working toward His purpose wherever we are.  Those who came before us paved the way for us to be one with God.  Now we pave the way for those who follow after us.  We are part of a much bigger picture.  What an astounding thought!  We are all part of the body of Christ.  We will live eternally in union with Christ and His true Church – all those who have been born again throughout every era.  We are part of something much bigger than ourselves. 
Think of the way God has designed the family.  The siblings in that family all live under the oversight of the same mother and father.  They have the same rules, the same love, the same guidance, the same correction. They might not always agree with one another. They may not always see things the same way.  They all have different personalities and ideas, but they will lay all that down to defend one another because they love one another.  Why is that bond so strong?  Because they are all a part of the same unit.  And that’s exactly who we are as the body of Christ.
We are called into the family of God to protect, defend, encourage and watch over one another.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying [that means we pay attention, we look at them carefully] how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.” (Amplified Bible)
Unity is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “a harmonious, unified arrangement of parts in an artistic work; continuity of purpose.”  Only Jesus can accomplish that with billions of people down through time.  Only our oneness with Jesus can consolidate our unity with one another.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)  We are God’s workmanship.  He is the one that brings everything together as an “artistic work”, complete in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 12:18 says, But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

We are all different, but working toward the same purpose!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


            2 Timothy 3:1 says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  Those perilous times are escalating at an alarming rate.  Is there hope of making it through?  Is there hope in the darkness that envelops us?  Of course there is.  Our Hope is Jesus.
            Hope is simply defined as the confident expectation of good.  Hope that is sure and steadfast must be based on something or someone established, solid and secure, or our hope is in vain.  What is the basis of your hope today?
            Most people hope for specific things, but in general categories such as a dream to come to pass, a prosperous life, a promising future or for certain relationships to develop.  The foundation of their hope may be based on their ability to develop the right connections, hard work, being part of a wealthy family or manipulating conditions to make them favorable for their desired outcome.  But those foundations are only temporary at best and are vulnerable to the shifting of outward circumstances.  If we want a firm foundation that is unchanging and immoveable, we can place our hope in Jesus Christ.  
            Jesus is the hope that keeps our souls anchored securely no matter what comes our way.  He is the “hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 5:19) Our hope in Him surpasses anything our reasoning or emotions may tell us.
            During one of those times when I felt everything was falling apart (because I was listening to the message from my reasoning and emotions), the following hymn kept playing through my mind.  I looked it up and found the words to be stabilizing and comforting because they pointed to Jesus.  The hymn is “The Solid Rock.”
            It begins like this:  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.”  When we choose to base our hope on something less than Jesus, we set ourselves up for a fall.  Any other hope is inferior.  Only through Jesus’ blood can we be cleansed from our sins and reconciled to God.  The sacrifice Jesus made sealed our redemption.  We can overcome the enemy (Satan and every evil spirit) by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony.  (Revelation 12:11)  If we trust in another way, we will be disappointed in the end.  We need to make up our minds and establish our hearts to have Jesus and Him alone as the basis of our hope. 
            Verse 2:  “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.  In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”  It is easy to rest in Him when we feel His presence and His light is shining brightly on our paths.  However times will come when it seems He isn’t there and the light on our path is small, showing us only the step we are on.  It is then we must remind ourselves of His unchanging grace and be assured His Word is true. When darkness sets in on us and we cannot sense His presence or hear His voice, we can rest in the fact that He is there.  When the storms overwhelm us, we can be assured by His Word that our roots are still firmly planted in Him – the One Who seemingly has a veil between us and Him.  Although we feel we are outside the veil, our roots are still within the veil.  Our strength still has the same Source.  Reading the Bible during those times will reassure us of our place in Him and His place in us.
            Verse 3:  “His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood.  When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”  What God said He will do, He will do.  He never breaks covenant.  The covenant He made with us was with the blood of His own Son.  So, when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will raise up the banner that claims us as His territory and represents the power and authority of our God.  (See Isaiah 59:19.) He draws a line around us that the enemy cannot cross. If our souls (our mind, our will and our emotions) are being battered by spiritual warfare against us, we can remember God’s covenant with us and know He will come to our rescue.
            Verse 4:  “When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found; Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”  This is our ultimate goal.  But it doesn’t just automatically come to pass.  If we want to be faultless when we stand before the throne, we need to live on this earth in such a way that it will be natural for our next step to cross the boundary between earth and heaven to meet Him when the trumpet sounds.  Then we will be unencumbered by the pull of the world, the flesh and the devil.  If we are not walking according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and His Word in the earth, neither will we walk with Him in heaven.  We can do that only by losing our lives in this world to gain them in the Spirit.  Those who choose Jesus above every earthly charm have that blessed hope of salvation and eternal life.  “Whosoever” comes to Jesus will stand faultless before His throne.  The word ‘come’ means to move from ‘here’ to ‘there’ – from the natural to the spiritual realm.
            Are you facing temptations, confusion, storms or disappointments?  Stand firmly on Christ, the Solid Rock.  How do we stand on Him?  Learn the teachings of Jesus, cling to them and live by them.  His Word will stand when the whole earth crumbles, because Jesus is the Word. 
Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
            Although this is a well known passage of Scripture, it is not widely obeyed.  We read it and we like to envision ourselves as the wise person who chose to have the right foundation, but few actually build their lives on the foundation of Jesus teachings.  Do we even know His teachings?  Many of them are difficult and go against the grain of our ‘American Dream’ mentality.  We all want to believe the promises of God, but few want to base their lives on His teachings. 
             If we want to keep from sinking into the flood of evil around us, we must not only hear Jesus’ teachings, but put them into practice in our lives on a daily basis – the easy teachings and the difficult ones.  If you go through your Bible and read the words Jesus spoke while He was on this earth, you will be amazed how many of those teachings we are not following.  Go back, take a fresh look, and don’t allow his words to become twisted in your mind to conform to the viewpoint of our culture.  Jesus’ teachings are God’s words to us individually.  They were true when Jesus spoke them 2000 years ago, and they are just as true for you and me today.  Let’s make it our determination to build on the Solid Rock. 
            Jesus is the solid Rock.  Building our lives on this Rock ensures that we are daily in His presence, His protection, His guidance, His wisdom, His provision, and everything else we need.  It doesn’t guarantee we can have everything we want, but He gives us all we need and more. 

“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.”


     Moses asked to see God’s glory, but God told him no flesh could see His face and live.  However, God said He would reveal Himself in part. “And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand upon the rock, And while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.  Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”  (Exodus 33:21-23)
Jesus Christ is that Rock.  When we stand on Him, we can see the manifest presence of God; not in the fullness with which we will see Him in heaven, but we can stand in His presence even in the earth.  Unless we build our lives on Jesus, we will never see the glory of God. 
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom, opening the Holy of holies, the place of God’s presence, to those who would receive cleansing through Jesus’ blood.  Only through His sacrifice can we enter into the presence of God beyond the veil.
[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it—a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil.”  Hebrews 6:19 (Amplified)

Have you asked to see God’s glory?  Stand upon the Rock.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Revival has been on my heart, and I believe revival is what the church in America needs desperately.  Not only do we need revival, but the world needs to see us come alive and be the Church…to be salt and light.
When is the last time our presence, speech and behavior made someone thirsty for more of Jesus Christ?  That’s what it means to be salt.  Can they see Jesus more clearly by being with us?  That is being light.  Our commission is to share the gospel with the world and show them it has made a difference in us.  They need to see real Christianity in action!  Where is our passion for Christ?  Not for programs, personalities or activities, but for the Person of Jesus?  Where is our compassion for lost souls?  Where is our sense of awe and wonder of God’s majesty? 
We need revival!  When you think ‘revival’, don’t think of a series of meetings with a dynamic evangelist.  Instead, picture a cold, dead body suddenly having warmth flow back into it and life returning to every part, causing it to rise up and live again!  That’s what the word ‘revive’ means - to return to life; to be renewed or refreshed; to reawaken.  We need a fresh wind of God’s Spirit to blow through us and cause us to return to life. 
Most churchgoers are content to carry out the routine performances expected of them on a weekly basis. But the expectations of God are MUCH, MUCH more than that.   If the Bible is not our guide for living, we are following another gospel.  If we are not following the leading of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, we are not a follower of Jesus Christ.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us and enable us, just as He had done for His disciples while He was on earth.  To follow His Spirit is to follow Jesus.
The book of Nehemiah provides numerous insights on revival that bring about a permanent change, not just for a season.  God used Nehemiah to lead the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.  It didn’t just automatically happen.  Before the people of God rose up to do it, some things had to change.  Jerusalem had no walls, and a city without walls was vulnerable to their enemies, wild animals and the ridicule of those around them.  When we are not actively walking in the Spirit, we are vulnerable to the wiles of the devil.  We won’t have the power to stand against him.
The first thing this group in Jerusalem needed was to acknowledge how critical and urgent their situation actually was.  They were existing, but not really living.  They weren’t looking or acting like God’s people.
Meanwhile, back in Babylon, Nehemiah was carrying out his duties as the cupbearer to the king, but being a Jew from Jerusalem, his heart remained in Jerusalem.  So when his relative Hanani and some other men came from Jerusalem to visit him, he asked how the Jews in Jerusalem were doing. 
He didn’t get the old standard: “We’re fine” or “We’re doing alright.”   Nehemiah got the unvarnished truth from them.  In Nehemiah 1:3, they told him, “The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” 
They explained the situation just like it was. They could have covered up what was wrong by bringing up only the things that were right, but they didn’t.  A city’s wall was its symbol of strength…or, in this case, its weakness.   Jerusalem was not the glorious city she had been even though the Temple had been rebuilt.  That’s just how it was.  We have to face things as they are before we can correct them.  We can’t make excuses or polish it up.
When we admit our need for change it’s like taking the first step in a series of steps leading to freedom…ours and others’.  Step #1 is to see things as they are and admit we are far from God’s design.  We may be living in God’s design in some areas, but we need to face the areas where we are lacking and set ourselves up for change.
Charles Grandison Finney was the leader of the Second Great Awakening in the United States in the 1800’s.  He knew what it took to bring about true revival and lasting change.  Not just a stirring of emotions, but a deep inner change bringing spiritual maturity.  He said, “A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.” 
Obedience.  That first requires knowing what is expected.  It requires reading the Word of God and accepting it just as it is written, not the way we have rewritten it over the years to accommodate our culture. As we read God’s Word, we should compare it to our personal beliefs and behavior to see any changes we need to make.  We can ask, “Does that describe me?”  If not, we need to change…Because God’s Word will never change!!  If we have fallen away in any area, we need to be honest enough to admit it, repent and return to what God says about it.  When we do that, we have taken the first step.  As long as we believe what we have is enough, that it’s okay, we will not have a new beginning. 
Sometimes it seems the American church is so far from the teachings of Jesus and the example of the early church that it’s discouraging, and we can feel there is nothing we can do about it.  But we can begin to change it by experiencing revival one heart at a time, beginning with our own.  After all, the church is made up of individual members.  When one member sees the need for change and acts on it, one fire begins to burn.  That fire can light another, then another, until there are fires everywhere.  That’s how revival is.  It spreads from one person to another.
So now Nehemiah knew the truth about Jerusalem and the people he loved.  What was his response to the sad news?    He didn’t say, “It can’t be THAT bad!” or “Well, I‘m just one man and I live too far away to make any difference.”?  He would never have accomplished anything that way.  Neither do we.  As long as we excuse ourselves and wait for somebody else to do it, we will not see revival.  Why wait for someone else when we can start now?
Nehemiah began to pray.  In Nehemiah 1:4, it says And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven”.  You may want to read his prayer.  It is recorded in the first chapter of Nehemiah, verses 5-11.  It is filled with repentance, sorrow, reminders to God of His covenant with His people, confessions of their failure to keep covenant with God, and asking for forgiveness, for renewal, for revival…for a new beginning of obedience to God.
Step #2 is prevailing in prayer. The recorded revivals in history began with and were sustained by prayer.  Often they started with just two or three people praying…usually in obscurity at first.  But once the fire begins to fall, it cannot be hidden!  Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20 – Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Here is Charles Finney’s perspective of the connection between prayer and revival:  “A revival may be expected when Christians have a spirit of prayer for a revival. That is, when they pray as if their hearts were set upon it. When Christians have the spirit of prayer for a revival. When they go about groaning out their hearts desire. When they have real travail of soul.”
We spend ourselves, our time, our money, our thoughts and our energy on whatever is important to us. My question is this:  Do we want revival?  Is that the desire of our hearts?  Some may pay the price and pray, but few will follow that course because prayer requires more than a little time and a few words.  It requires our hearts.  It requires our persistence, our energy.  It requires laying aside the things of this world to lay hold on the purpose of God. 
We say we want to see a revival.  If we really want to see it, we will act on it.  We can be the catalyst if we are serious about taking these first steps.
James 5:16-18 mentions steps 1 and 2 and the results.  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Prevailing, effectual, fervent prayer brings results.  Prevailing prayer is prayer that won’t let go until we hear from God, until He blesses us.  Remember when Jacob wrestled with God and said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”?  God blessed him.  He gave him the same promise He had given to Abraham and Isaac.  He changed his name from Jacob (supplanter, schemer, trickster) to Israel (Prince with God, Contender with God).  That was through prevailing prayer…prayer that overcomes!  Jacob overcame who he had been and rose to a new live and a new covenant with God. 
Effectual prayer is prayer that has power to get results…there are effects from it.  It’s active and sees the answer come to pass.
Fervent prayer –is “white hot prayer”, a prayer that is zealous for God and for His will to be done in this earth as it is in heaven.  It removes ‘self’ from the equation and comes into conformity to the mind of God.
In those hours of prayer, God will change our hearts and desires.  He will change who we are and our priorities.  AND He will direct us.  He will give us a vision – His vision. Then we simply obey Him. 
When Nehemiah prayed, God obviously gave him a plan to approach the king, because he came through those days of prayer with a plan in his mind.  Once he had the plan, Nehemiah obeyed God.  When he saw results, he didn’t say, “look what I have accomplished!”  He declared that it came about because “The good hand of my God was upon me.”
Prevailing, effective, fervent praying leaves no room for pride, because when we enter into God presence, we see how weak we are and how strong God is.  So we pray until we conform to God’s will, He shows us His plan, and we see the next step.  Then we take it. 
Step #3 is to obey Him.  We must believe from the first moment of prayer, God is working, but we are not to step out until we have heard from God.  Long before we see the breakthrough with our physical eyes, God may show it to us in the Spirit.
Mark Batterson likens the Old Testament watchmen to those who prevail in prayer.  Those watchmen had a place on the wall where they could see farther than others and they could see people approaching (whether friend or foe) before others could.  Those who pray often have this same insight from the Holy Spirit.  Never doubt that God is doing the work.  Our prayers can even change the heart of kings! 
As Nehemiah prayed and stepped out, there was an amazing turn of events, a miraculous turn of events.  Not only was the king allowing Nehemiah to leave his position in Babylon for an extended period of time, he was sending him to Jerusalem with an entourage and providing the materials to rebuild the walls! 
Step #4 is to expect the provision of God, then accept it when it comes, and operate in it.  Only through continued prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit can we do that.  Accomplishing what God calls us to do can overwhelm us if we try to do it in our own strength.  We need to stay closely connected to Jesus, listening to the voice of His Spirit every step of the way and following through the power He gives.
Nehemiah continued to be a man of prayer, not only when he first heard the news, but through every step of building the wall.  We never stop doing any of the steps as we go along, we just keep adding on.  To awareness and confession, add prayer, obedience and operating in the Holy Spirit. 
Step #5 is a rather unpleasant part of revival, but it is necessary to recognize it.  We must be aware of adversaries.  Any time the church rises up and returns to life, there will be adversaries just as Nehemiah had adversaries who came against him.  We have to be aware of them and guard against them, but never stop “building on the wall”! 
Can you imagine the apostles calling a meeting and saying “This persecution is getting out of hand.  We are going to have to stop the work of the Kingdom of God long enough to get rid of this persecution, then we can start back with God’s work.”  Not hardly!  They never even let it slow them down.  When they were put in prison, they had a worship service in there!  We don’t need to stop working in God’s kingdom so we can march against a cause.  We need to be aware of the enemy’s devices, but we need to keep our focus on Jesus, not the propaganda of man or the enemy.
Revival…real revival….is within our grasp, but we have to reach out for it with a firm hand.  It takes the whole body of Christ raising the torch of the gospel for the world to see.  Remember, even Hanani played a part in the whole when he brought the bad news to Nehemiah.  If he had covered up the bad news, Nehemiah would probably have never gone to Jerusalem to raise the walls.  Hanani’s part was the catalyst for revival in Jerusalem!
God wants His people to rise up above mediocrity and seek Him.  He wants us to care about the lost and those in need.  He is waiting to hear from us.  If your heart burns with a desire for God’s Spirit and you see the great need for revival, begin to pray.
I challenge you to join yourself with a few people who have a vision for revival and begin to pray together…really pray!  Pray those prevailing, effectual, fervent prayers.  The ones that bring results and overcome.  It’s time to stop talking about it and do something.  Can you imagine reaching the end of our lives and seeing all the things we could have had and could have accomplished if we had only prayed…but we didn’t?
Are we ready to do what it takes to see revival in the Church in America? It can begin with us today and spread to our community, our state, our nation, the world.

It can begin today…with you!

Saturday, August 29, 2015


            One evening I had done laundry and had some clothes folded that needed to go upstairs, so I laid them on the bottom step to take up with me on my next trip.  It was dark when I started up, but I didn’t bother to turn on a light because I was familiar with the steps. I should have turned on the light!  Those clothes became a stumblingblock and caused me to fall. We need to consistently walk in God’s light…even when we are in the familiar, normal places.  We are not capable of navigating this world alone.  When we try, we will fall.
Ezekiel 14:1-3 warns us about stumblingblocks that keep us from God.  It says, “Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.  And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?”
            These elders were men who had authority in Israel.  They had probably come to the prophet Ezekiel many times before wanting to hear what God had to say about whatever situation they were in at the time. The Scripture tells us they came before Ezekiel. It would be like us walking into someone’s office and sitting across the desk from them.  But when they came before Ezekiel, God spoke to him so he would know what the situation really was beneath the surface.  He did not give him the answer to whatever they came seeking.  The Bible doesn’t tell us if the elders even had a chance to tell Ezekiel why they came.  It just says God spoke to him about their spiritual condition.
            God told Ezekiel that these men had set up idols in their hearts.  Yet these rulers of Israel would know better than to serve idols.  They had been taught the law of God and that serving idols was an abomination, because God commanded them and their fathers before them concerning idol worship.  He said in Exodus 20:3-5, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” And yet they had chosen to worship the idols of the nations around them.
Idol worship is still prevalent, but it doesn’t always involve statues of stone or wood.  An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our hearts.  It could be the love of money, entertainment, our goals, our children, our spouse, or our accomplishments.  Yet 1 John 5:21 tells us "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."  In other words, stay away from them.  Don’t invite them in. 
These elders had ‘set up’ these idols.  That means they raised them up above the worship of God.  They allowed these idols to take the place of God, and they bowed down before them. 
It’s possible to bow to the demands of certain things in our lives…our routines, our traditions, our jobs, our preferences…and we allow them to take first place.  But we know we are to bow only to Jesus and nothing else.  We are to yield to the Spirit of God, not man or idols.
They had given these idols a place of prominence ‘in their hearts’.  Our hearts are our mind, will and emotions.  Our hearts were made to have God on the throne...not the attractions of this world, the will of our flesh or the will of the devil.  We are to yield our thoughts, our feelings and our will to God’s authority.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
To love is to desire, to long for.  Being totally honest, what do you long for?  What is your passion?  What captures your thoughts during the day more than anything else?  As Christians, we are to love the Lord God with all our heart and soul, and with all the strength we have.
This idol worship all started in the hearts of these elders before they ever bowed down to the first piece of wood or offered the first sacrifice to some god that was no God at all.  Somewhere along the way they set aside the commandments of God and their relationship with Him.  Something in their hearts began to turn from God.  I believe idol worship can begin when we exchange what God said for the voice of the world and the enemy.  Then we begin to doubt Him and will be deceived into believing a lie just like Eve did in the Garden of Eden.  It can happen when we become disappointed in God because He didn’t do what we thought He should.  If we meditate on those lies, we become depressed and begin to feel hopeless.  But God has never given us reason to be hopeless.  He Himself is our hope, and to become hopeless is to turn from Him.  Notice the progression through our feelings, thoughts and then the decision to change gods. And we don’t even recognize when it happened. 
But that’s not the only way Satan tries to turn us to idols.  Idol worship can also begin by looking around at the pleasures of the world and envying those who seem so happy and carefree.  That leads to letting go of God’s hand to grasp the pleasures of this world.  Looks are very deceiving and many find out too late that life without God is not happy or carefree.  It is far from fulfilling.  It leaves a void crying out to be filled, and that need will either draw us farther from God or turn us back to Him. 
We have been told what to love.  Now, in 1 John 2:15-17, we are told what not to love.  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Remember, love means to desire or long after.  The world is the whole circle of earthly riches, advantages, pleasures, etc.  It is temporary and empty.  It turns us from God and is an obstacle to the cause of Christ.
Lust is a craving, a longing, but it is not a good longing.  It is a desire for what is forbidden (the exact opposite of our love and desire for God).  Verse 16 defines those things that are in the world. 
The flesh is our earthy nature apart from God, our unregenerate nature that is opposed to God, therefore it leads us away from Him. 
The eyes refer to vision in this passage, but not in a healthy way. The lust of the eyes is the instrument luring us toward evil desires.  It is the principal avenue of temptation causing us to fall into sin.
The pride of life is boasting or arrogance. It is that part of us that says “I can trust in my own power and resources; I can handle it.”  Pride trusts in the stability of earthly things…the things that will not last.  We need to recognize our need to be sustained by God’s resources, wealth and goods, not that of the world.  When we follow after the things of this world, we exchange the temporary for the eternal, and it will cause us to stumble and fall. 
Ezekiel had before him men who had put a stumblingblock before them by their own iniquity.  They had set up idols in their heart, and that became the obstacle that caused them to stumble.  The sad part is that they gave permission for this stumblingblock to lead them into iniquity.
Iniquity is willfully determining to go against what is expected or desired; to turn away from or reject what is right and choose what is wicked or corrupt instead.  It is exchanging what is good for what is evil.  It is choosing to love the world instead of God.
I find it interesting that they put this iniquity before their face.  They put it in front of them.  They erected a wall that hid the face (or presence) of God from their face.  God had not put up a wall between Himself and His people.  They had put up the wall. It was their wall of iniquity that cut them off from God.
Isaiah 59:1-3 tells us, “Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.”
God said, “Should I be enquired of at all by them?”  Should God allow them to come and consult with Him?  Should He let them sit face to face with Him or His prophet to hear the word of the Lord?  They had been consulting their idols and worshipping them – why come to God now?  He knew they had not come in repentance.  He knew they had not given up their idols.  Therefore they did not hear from God.
We are all capable of allowing iniquity to come between us and God.  When that happens, we put up a wall between our face and God’s face.  We ban ourselves from His presence, His protection, His wisdom.  Psalm 66:18 says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."  To regard means to be aware of the iniquity, but permit it to stay.  It is a willful act of sin.  Yet we try to yell over the wall, “God, please help me…get a promotion, get out of this trouble, pass the test, get well from this sickness….”  And God says, “I want a relationship with you.  Take down the wall so we can have fellowship.”
If we want a relationship with God, we will make certain there is not a stumblingblock of iniquity separating us from Him.  Remember, iniquity is something we know shouldn't be there, yet we give it permission to stay.  Real repentance will remove the wall.  It will open up the presence of God in our lives.
            Psalm 139:23-24 is a prayer that will invite God into our lives to cleanse, renew and restore our hearts if we pray it with a sincere heart.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

I believe very soon we will be facing extremely difficult days.  I don’t know how to prepare physically or financially, but I do know our hearts need to have God securely on the throne.  Nothing is worth the risk of losing our souls.

Monday, July 13, 2015


There’s an old song called How About Your Heart?  It asks how we would feel if there was a window on our hearts allowing people to see what was really in there.  Then it asks this crucial question. “How about your heart, is it right with God?  That’s the thing that counts today.” 
Others see what we do, hear the words we say, watch our responses to people and circumstances; and from this they form an opinion of who we are, all according to the outside.  We would probably be surprised to hear what others would say if they were asked to describe us, because the basis of their opinion would not include the intent of our heart.
            Our heart is our innermost being.  It’s who we really are. It’s where we think, we reason, we dream, we plan, we make decisions and we feel sad or happy.  No one else can experience what is in our hearts.  Proverbs 14:10 says:  “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” (Amplified Bible)  Yet 1 John 3:20 tells us God “is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him].”  God knows who we really are, whether our heart is spiritually healthy or diseased.  He sees it, understands it and wants to bring health to any diseased areas.
There have been times when I was tired…all the way through to my soul.  I have sat through church services like a wilted flower on the inside.  My ears were dull of hearing and my heart felt empty.  There was nothing weighing on my mind, no life-altering decision to be made or problem to be worked through.  I simply felt surrounded by a thick cloud that had desensitized every part of me.  I think we have all been there before – probably more than once.  When that happens, it could be an attack from the enemy, or it could be because we are spiritually dehydrated.  And that is a dangerous place to be.
            We can be doing all kinds of things for the Lord and studying His Word, but still have all the symptoms of dehydration – tired, weak, confused, and our hearts unsettled and agitated.   Our souls can feel like a desert, even though spiritual things are going on all around us. 
Early one morning I dreamed about a little bird in a cage.  When I saw him, I realized I had not fed him in a long time, and a severe pain went through my heart.  I had been so busy I had forgotten the bird was even there.  My heart broke to see the faded yellow feathers that had been so bright before.  As I put my hand into the cage, its weak little body leaned against my hand.  I can still almost feel it there.  I gave it bread and water, and then woke up.  I was still grieving when I awoke.
            Sometimes we treat our hearts like that little bird, and where they used to be vibrant and alive, they become empty and dull.  Our work for God can become sterile business transactions rather than acts of love, when we are not feeding our spirits.  Our minds are full of Scripture and our wills are still set on following God, but something is missing.  The problem is our heart is hungry and thirsty for lack of a relationship with Jesus.  Don’t put off spending time lingering in His presence.  Just think how it grieves the heart of God when we ignore Him when He has invited us to come boldly into His presence.
            In John 4 we are told that Jesus stopped to rest by a well in Samaria one day.  He encountered a woman there who needed much more than the water she came to draw from the well.  His words to her are relevant to us today. 
            “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  (John 4:13-14)  The water springing up is available, but if we don’t drink it, we will dehydrate spiritually.
            Another time Jesus cried out to the whole crowd during the feast of the Passover.  “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)  (John 7:37-39)
            As you reread that passage, hear Jesus’ voice just like it was the first time you have heard Him make that invitation, then respond to His call to ‘come unto Me, and drink’. 
            Our hearts can be full of living water if we will come and drink!  We can have in our innermost being an endless supply of living water.  But we have to surrender our heart before that water will flow there.  We are meant to have the Spirit of God in us without measure, but we can’t have Him and everything else in there, too.  We have so many things vying for our attention.  We need to be careful not to choose the urgent over what is really important.
In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer explains how God prepared the earth for Adam and Eve before He ever placed them in it. His creation was for them to enjoy, but the throne of their heart was to be for God alone.  All the outward “things” were meant to be exactly that, outward.  Tozer wrote, “Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.”  But we all know it didn’t stay that way, and that’s where we have a problem.  We allow “things” in our hearts and leave God on the outside.
We are the only ones who can make the decision of who gets first place in our hearts.  We have to uproot the usurpers if we are going to keep our heart for God alone.  When we get so busy with ‘things’, we block our hearts from the flow of God’s Spirit because we have blocked off our Source.   That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts. 
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”  That is the well springing up and the rivers of living water Jesus talked about.  We have to be careful what we allow to enter our hearts – thoughts, dreams, decisions, priorities, plans, affections.  We have to be careful what we “set our hearts” on.  We are told to set our affections, our hearts, on the things that are above.  Hold the things of this life loosely and cling to God with all we have.  We are in this world, but we are to be of the Kingdom of God.  There’s not room for Jesus and “things” in our hearts.
David, the shepherd/king wrote often how he longed for the presence of God in his life, and he would seek after Him with his whole heart.  David made a lot of mistakes, but he was a man after God’s own heart, always returning to His God.  Nothing was important enough to keep Him away.
            The Apostle Paul said he gave up all the positions and accolades of the world “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may win Christ.”  (See Philippians 3:7-11.)  He recognized that all those “things” were supposed to stay on the outside, not allowed to sit on the throne of our heart on the inside. 
Few people these days seek God with such passion and self abandon as these great men of God.  And so we have very few great men and women of God. 
When is the last time we have sought after God with all our heart because we longed for His presence?  Not for something we desired from Him, but because we desired Him.  We can know the eternal God through personal experience, not just what we read about Him or hear about Him.   But we cannot know Him like that if our hearts are divided into two areas.  We cannot live our secular lives as we always have and move into our sacred mode when we are at church or Bible study or prayer meeting.  We cannot be completely surrendered to Christ Jesus and surrendered to this world at the same time.  It’s impossible.  We need to be constantly aware of Him beside us, open to hear His voice when He speaks, and quick to obey. 
            How can we hear His voice?  We hear His voice when we allow the Holy Spirit to cause the written Word of God to come alive in us.  Then it is no longer words on a page that we try to live up to, but the voice of God speaking directly to us, enlightening us to see what we could never see on our own.  I’m not talking about an audible voice, but I am talking about a living voice!  And sometimes, His Spirit will speak to our spirit, and we know it is the voice of God. 
When we walk side by side with someone, we generally share conversation as we walk.  We stay in step with them, and even in silence we are aware of them beside us.  We learn more and more about one another as we spend time together.  The more we learn, the safer we feel to share the deeper things.  It’s that simple to walk with God.  God wants who we really are, not the person on the outside, but the real person on the inside.  We have made knowing God and walking with Him so hard that we can never quite grasp it, but it’s not hard.  We don’t have to beg God to fellowship with us.  He is waiting for us to come and drink.
            The bottom line is that God wants us to know Him.  He wants our hearts to be one with His, completely undivided.  He wants us to love Him as simply and passionately as He loves us.

How about your heart?
Is it right with God?
Whatever it costs, put Jesus on the throne.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


            If you had a large sum of money in a safe inside your house and you guarded it carefully but never used it or invested it, what good would it be?  If it stayed tucked away and was never spent to meet your needs or the needs of others, it would be useless.  And if you didn’t deposit it in an interest-bearing account, it would stay the same throughout the years, never increasing.
            Our lives are the same way.  They are given to us to be used and invested during our time in this world in a way that will make a difference for eternity.  The Apostle Paul said, “for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”  The word ‘keep’ means to guard or preserve.  The word ‘commit’ means to deposit.  When we deposit our lives into God’s hands, He will guard it and see that it is put to the very best use with nothing wasted.  But first we have to commit it to Him.  The most difficult obstacle we face in making that deposit from our hands to His is prying our fingers open so we can surrender it all.  Once we take that step, He can accomplish great things through us. 
            Have you made that deposit yet, or are you still struggling to maintain control of your life?  We may feel safer when we are “in control”, but the fact is there is no way we can truly be “in control”.  Just when I think I have everything going in the right direction, something unforeseen happens to prove me wrong.  When we realize that fact will never change and we lay all our efforts at His feet, we are the safest we can possibly be…and the most useful.  Since nothing takes God by surprise, He can keep everything going in the right direction without anything disturbing His schedule…even our reluctance to surrender.
            As we deposit our lives into God’s hands in full surrender, He deposits His Word and His Holy Spirit in us to allow us to gain the optimum increase.  His dividends are “out of this world”!  It works like this.  We deposit our lives into God’s hands so He can deposit His Spirit and Word in us.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Because from that deposit in us we are to make a deposit into the lives of someone else so they can start the chain over, depositing their lives into God’s hands, receiving His deposit and passing it on.  It’s like the seeds that produce trees that produce fruit that produces seeds that produce more trees…and on and on it goes!  That’s how trees are perpetuated in the earth.  And, spiritually speaking, that is how we perpetuate the Kingdom of God in the earth!
Just think about it for a moment.  Jesus came to earth and chose twelve men whom He took under His wing and deposited into them the Word of God by teaching them and by example.  They left their past behind, deposited their lives into His hands and followed Him.  Eleven of those twelve continued with Him and received His deposit as He poured out His Spirit on them.  From that moment on, they were swept into another life, into another dimension, and they began to deposit the Gospel into the hearts of those around them.  That is why you and I can have this holy deposit today.  It began with their testimony of Jesus and has continued to be passed on all the way down to us.
            From the moment we surrender our lives to Jesus, we no longer continue as we were, because we have entered the Kingdom of God and He is always urging us forward.  He is always teaching us and leading us to the next season in our lives.  And He equips us for whatever work He calls us to, because Jehovah-jireh always provides what we need for the journey. 
            God gave Moses complexly specific instructions on every little detail of building the Tabernacle and all its furnishings, even down to the fringe on the priests’ robes. It must have seemed completely overwhelming.  But God also gave specific men the gifts and abilities to be able to accomplish His plan perfectly.  We read in Exodus 31:1-6, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.  And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee”.
God supplied the men to do the work, but it wasn’t through their own abilities and wisdom.  God had specifically placed the wisdom, ability and understanding in them they would need for the task…by His Spirit.
That is a beautiful example of how God equips us to do His work today.  God gave them abilities by filling these men with His Spirit.  When He calls us, He equips us, and He has called every born-again believer to ministry – to spread the Gospel throughout the earth.  When we say with a sincere heart, “Here I am, Lord; Send me”, He will begin to show us the specifics He has for us.  He will show us our part in fulfilling His great purpose on a day to day basis – sometimes on a minute to minute basis.  And He gives us all we need to accomplish it just when we need it.
So God equips us by depositing in us His Holy Spirit and His living Word -  the same Holy Spirit and the same living Word Who empowered the disciples and the men who worked on the Tabernacle.  When we speak God’s Word, there is power in what we say. 
Even our natural words have a certain power to them.  We can influence a person’s life with encouraging words or discouraging words, with lies or truth.  Just imagine how powerful our words can be when we speak God’s Word with the force of His Spirit in them!  The Word of God is alive!  We need to realize what we have and use it for the glory of God and the perpetuation of His kingdom.  The Spirit and the Word work together in us to help us have understanding into spiritual things.  The Spirit gives us insight into the Word that we would never possess otherwise.  We have wisdom, power and ability by that same Spirit.  We will be called into account for what we have done with that deposit in us.
Jesus told the parable of a nobleman who went on a journey and gave several of his servants money before he left, saying, “Occupy till I come”.  The word ‘occupy’ means to carry on business.  When he returned, the servants showed him the profit they had made from what he had given them, except for one servant who was so afraid he would lose his master’s money, that he wrapped it in a napkin and hid it, then he presented it back to him on his return.
Each servant was given the same amount of money.  Each was expected to invest it while the master was away.  Those who wisely used what they were given had a healthy increase to show and were rewarded with even more.  The servant who didn’t invest what he was given had even that taken from him.
Jesus has given each of us the same amount of His Spirit and His Word to invest in the lives of others.  What are we doing with the Word of God and the deposit of His Spirit within us?  It is up to us to develop it and invest it.  We can’t do anything with what we have on our own, but we can do miracles with what God has given us.
He is saying through this parable that we need to invest what He has given us so it can multiply.  Remember the five loaves and two fish that Jesus used to feed about 5000 men plus women and children?  Remember the oil and meal that was only enough for two little cakes for a widow and her son, but lasted “for many days” for them and the prophet Elijah?  They didn’t have much to give, but God increased it!  God doesn’t ask us to provide what we don’t have.  He wants what we do have so He can work through it.
God doesn’t call just a few to do the Father’s business.  Jesus tells each of us to occupy till He comes, to carry on His business while He is away.  And He expects a return on the deposit He has placed in us.  The more we give, the more we will receive from Him.  If we hide what He gave us, we will lose it.  Are we about our Father's business?  Or have we fallen into the pattern of this world so completely that we have nothing to give?  If so, it’s not too late.  With full surrender we receive His deposit.
None of this information is new.  We know all of these things, but knowledge is not enough.  Jesus expects us to put it into practice and live out what we know.

What are we doing with this holy deposit?