Gifts of Life Community Fellowship is a place to fellowship with like-minded believers in collective praise, collective thought and collective unity through the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus, the Christ.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Do What? Believe - Part 3

Copyright 2011 - Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones

Now, I mentioned in the last message that there were be 2 more messages coming, so today's topic is no surprise to me, but I didn't know how I was going to wrap an intriguing, informative message around "Belief".

But after yesterday and this morning, I can now say that today's message is inspired by 2 people: my son; and one comment by a girlfriend.  I hope my friend won't be mad, but you know what? I love her, and I BELIEVE enough in what I've learned to take the risk and say it, and hope she loves me enough to get over being mad at me!

I'm going to start with my son who is 6 3/4 years old.  On the way to school this morning, just rolling down the driveway, I heard him say from the backseat: "Turn with me to Matthew 21." Surprised, I chuckled and turned to look at him, and there he was with my big ole bible open on his lap.  Then he said, "No, I want to start with Genesis.  So he turned there and began to read...

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth..."  And, he read all the way down to the 11th verse.  I know because I had him repeat that he read "Genesis, one through eleven."

So then I asked, "what did those scriptures say? What did you learn from what you just read?"  And here's his phenomenal answer:

"I learned that whatever God says comes true."

Wow!  Amazing!  I asked what else he learned but be he insisted (in a deliberate and slow sentence), "I don't know what else I learned from what I just read."

But if we as adults and Believers could only learn ONE thing from the WHOLE bible, it should be that whatever God says comes true!  And that's what we need to believe about EVERYTHING we read in the word of God! God does NOT waste words!

Now I am NOT talking about "faith" - we, each one of us have been given a measure of faith.  We already have a faith that is pleasing to God.  And, we already have enough faith to walk on water, to move mountains, to heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse the lepers.  We are of little faith, and that's good enough.

When the disciples said, "Lord, increase our faith," Jesus didn't answer with "Ok." He answered by saying "If you have the faith of a mustard seed you can speak to this mountain and say be ye removed into the sea and it should obey you."  Meaning, you don't need your faith increased - a little bit of faith is as powerful as it needs to be.

Now let me interject here because a preacher named Bill Winston, just came on TV as I was typing the previous paragraph, and in introduction to his show he just stated that the reason many Christians are not receiving their inheritance is because they are not believing God's word.  And then he said, "Faith doesn't have anything to do with it."

Now that's God! 

And let me tell you what else is God... (I have got TOTAL goose bumps right now!)  I didn't ask my son why he said, "turn with me to Matthew 21" this morning.  But just now the Holy Ghost told me to turn to the book and see what it said.  I came into the chapter from the back of the book, so when I got to chapter 21, I started at the end.  I didn't look at the verse, I just started reading the first writing in red, here's what it said:

"Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

And when I looked at the chapter verse to write it here, guess what it is?? You can't guess, so don't try! It's Matthew 21:21!!

Wow, look at God working!  Do you believe God's word?

I'll ask again: Do you believe God's word?

No, do you really believe God's word?

No, you do not and I haven't either.  We think we do.  We assume we do. We say we do and even are ready to fight someone if they say we do not.  Ok, let's fight... because the things you have already received in life are proof of what you have believed - good AND bad.

Yesterday I heard Paula White say, "Your actions prove your belief."  I say, so do your words.

You have faith, I already told you that.  But you also have too much doubt to make your faith "substantial." Hebrews 11:1 says, "NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

Your faith has been made unsubstantial, if there is no evidence of the things you have been hoping for.

Bill Winston just said, "Nothing can stop you but you."  I say, "Nothing can stop you but you're own mouth, your own doubt and your own unbelief."   Doubt makes your faith unsubstantial.  Release doubt and you will release the manifestation of your blessings.  It's not up to God to make the things you're praying for manifest.  It's not up to God to make your blessings manifest. 

What are you waiting on God for!? HE's WAITING ON YOU!!! 

Scripture says, those who "wait on the Lord will renew their strength and rise up like the wings of eagles." But it doesn't say "those who wait on the Lord will receive what they are praying for, hoping for and believing for." Waiting on the Lord only makes you stronger through the wait!

Many Christians (me included) always say they are believing God "for" something, like, "I'm believing God for my healing."  Bill Winston just said as I was writing that sentence that, "You need to open your mouth and tell the devil, 'I believe God's word, and His word says, "By His stripes I am healed and so in Jesus name, I AM HEALED!'"

I am not making this stuff up!  Me, God and Bill Winston are trying to tell you the same thing, right now!  In fact, Bill is closing his message and saying goodbye by reminding us of what Mark 11:23-24 says.  You can buy his message and verify what I'm saying for yourself - it's entitled "Receiving Our Inheritance," It is the 3rd installment in a series called, "Possessing your Inheritance."  But his program is over now, so it's just up to me and the Lord to finish out my message to you.

I am trying to expose the doubt and unbelief that is eating up your blessings like a worm in a garden; like locusts in a field.  You MUST perceive what your blessings are, believe that God's blessings are for you and learn how to receive those blessings.

You can call it a formula, a 3-step plan, power points or whatever you like.  But if calling "Perceive, Believe, and Receive," a "formula", turns you off so much that you can't hear it, understand it or follow it, then it doesn't matter what you call it, you will still be struggling to get your prayers answer and you will still be wondering why.

When you read Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous and and you shall have good success."  You don't say, "Oh that's a formula - I can't do that, I don't believe those work."  But if you don't actually do all thost things in that scripture, then you are treating it like a formula that you don't believe will work.

You see, Joshua 1:8 IS a formula.  It's God's formula for success and prosperity.  And if you don't believe formulas work, then you will prove yourself right because your believe determines your prosperity and success.

Mark 11:23-24 is also a formula.  It's God's formula for having whatsoever you ask for.  And if you don't believe formulas work, then that very scripture will prove that you will have whatsoever you believe in your heart, and you won't receive what you're praying for.

Listen, I know that I only put this fully and wholly into practice between September 13th - September 16th. But just because I have only one testimony that this formula does work, doesn't mean that it doesn't really work or won't work every time!

On the 13th I prayed and asked God for a Ford Escape Hybrid (or what was most fuel efficient), and I made up my mind to believe that I would get it.  I didn't know when, where or how, but I refused to doubt.  On the 14th I confessed that belief to witnesses at church, and I refused to doubt.

On the 15th I decided to have a "crazy faith day."  But this time I not only had faith, but I specifically refused to doubt.  I squashed doubt and spoke my prosperity aloud all day - no matter how crazy I sounded.  I had exactly $0 in one account and $6 in another.  I transferred $4 over and yelled at the devil (laughing by the way) that I was walking in abundance and to leave me alone!  After the transfer I praised God (out loud) for His abundance and for the multiplication of my finances.

It was a battle, but I fought that doubt-infusing-devil with praise, worship and the word of God all day long.  Then on the 16th my mother called and said she'd told the Lord if she got a raise she'd use the extra money to by me a car. She then said she'd gotten the raise and for me to start looking for that "Ford, I'd talked about a year ago."  On the 19th I drove off the lot with a 2010 Ford Escape.

Now, you might say "Yeah but you had your mom buy your car - everybody don't have that."  No you're right.  But I didn't know I had that either when I decided to believe and not doubt.  My car came from my mother but my blessing came from God.  Her raise came from her job, but her blessing came from God.

She told the Lord what she wanted and whether she knew it or not, she had no reason to doubt it wouldn't be so.  I told the Lord what I wanted, and even with reason to doubt, I wouldn't let myself do it.

I don't care if your bank account says $0 - Get mad at the devil and yell at him, "Jesus, though being rich was made poor so that I could be rich and the blessings of the Lord makes me rich!"

I don't care if your credit score says 509 - Get mad at the devil and yell at him, "Jesus came that I can have life and have it more abundantly! I am walking in abundance!"

I don't care if you'd like to pay off your house but don't even know if you'll be able to make the next payment - Get made at the devil and yell at him, "God made me the head and not the tail, the lender, not the borrower! I will NOT lose my house and I WILL pay it off!"

I don't care if your body is wracked with pain and symptoms and the doctor's report is all printed out and official looking - Get mad at the devil and yell at your body, "Jesus is my healer and by His stripes I am healed! Pain, disease and sickness you must Go, right now in the name of Jesus!"

And I don't care what your emotions and feelings say! You CAN help your feelings, they do NOT have to control your reactions or your mouth! - Get mad at the devil and yell to your own soul (which is your mind, will and emotions), "I CAN do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me! And the joy of the Lord is my strength! I am walking in strength and joy in Jesus name!"

And then keep on yelling and reading God's truth until you believe it and do not doubt in your heart!

When Peter walked on water and then took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink, he yelled out, Lord save me.  Initially he'd told Jesus, if it's you, Lord, bid me come.  And Jesus said "come."  Obviously Peter believed that he could walk on the water if Jesus said to come, because he did it.  But when he began to sink it was because he'd looked around at his circumstances - the howling wind and whipping rain - and he began to believe what his eyes were telling him.  Both times Peter's actions proved what he believed.  When he believed he could walk on water, he did.  But when he believed he would sink, he did.  And when he called to Jesus for help, they two walked back to the boat.

Jesus immediately saved him when Peter called out for help, but he said, "Oh, ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"  Peter already had a mustard seed of faith.  It was his faith AND his belief that held him atop of the water.  But it was his doubt and unbelief that caused him to sink.  Obviously Peter had faith because he did walk on the water.  And obviously Peter did have doubt because he started to sink. So you MUST know that you can have faith AND unbelief at the same time!

When I purposed in my heart to have faith and squash unbelief, my faith shot off like a rocket!  I promise you, September 16th was the day that I should have tried walking on water!

If you were drowning and I couldn't jump in the water to save you I would understand your panic.  But if you could hear me yelling, "Hold your breath, relax your body, and float to the edge!"  You would have to fight through your panic, fight through the feeling that you were going to die, believe me and try.

You wouldn't have time to yell back, "that's a formula, I don't believe in those!"  You wouldn't have a thought that that was too much to do and maybe you'd try just holding your breath.  And you wouldn't really yell back, "I'm already doing all of that, and it's not working!"

I'm not saying it would be easy.  I'm not saying you wouldn't feel scared, and still feel like you would die.  But if you had a tiny bit of faith that it might work, you might try.  But if you didn't believe it would work, your body would still succumb to those feelings and you still might panic and go right back to flailing and drowning.

I was drowning.  We were all drowning together.  I put the pieces of God's formula together and I tried. I held my breath, relaxed my body and I floated to the edge.  Maybe I'm still hanging on the edge and not out of the water yet, but the water is still rough out there! I'm not jumping back into the rapids of doubt to save you - I can't.  I won't co-sign and agree or commiserate with doubt because even though it was only one time, I have finally seen what faith and belief will do when there's no doubt holding faith back! 

And I'm yelling at you to try!

Get mad if you want to.  That's fine.  But if it still seems like I'm telling you way too much to do or I'm just spouting off a bunch of steps, acronyms and formulas, then ignore me and consider the words of a 6 year old boy: "WHATEVER GOD SAYS COMES TRUE."

If you believe that your health, your wealth, your house, or your spouse are true blessings from God then why would God be so cruel to take it away, or say you weren't ready for the blessing that he gave and let you lose it?  No, if you feel your blessing is dieing like a bad marriage, or stolen like poor health, or destroyed like bad credit then guess who is the culprit? Only the devil who only comes to steal, kill and destroy.

You are already BLESSED.  Now you need to know how.  Read His word and find out.
You are already BLESSED.  Now you need to believe it.  Read His word until you do.
You are already BLESSED.  Now you need to learn how to receive it.  Read the final message in this series.

Power, love and peace, ya'll -
~Min. Deidre

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do What? Part 2: Perceive

Copyright 2011 - Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones

In the last message: "Do What You Do" - I got feedback from one friend that it was a real "beat up" message.  And of course, that message was not intended to be a beating!

I mentioned that I've been hearing a lot of people saying they feel like they already are doing all that they're supposed to do.  And that's not meant to target any one person as if to say "You are doing something wrong." Absolutely not!

I am saying that in the last month alone I have heard 5 people say the same things.  That means people (myself included!) are feeling beat up already and at their wit's end as to what to do about it!

God feels our frustration! And, He's even more frustrated that our answers are here for us, but the "cares of this world" choke out the word like thorns choke out good seed in a harvest! (Matthew 13:19-23)  Verse 23 says: "But he that receives seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty."

Joyce Meyer always says she wishes she could unzip people and pour the word down in them.  Well, I suppose if I could "beat" my friends with the word, and maybe give them some kind of spiritual amnesia where they would only remember God's word, that'd be awesome. But it doesn't work that way.  And I really don't want it to work that way.  I want us all to really get it without any beat downs from the world (our the word of God!) and get our blessings!

I was going to blog-on today and try to soften the blow of the apparent beat down in the previous message. But then I heard two messages this morning that said exactly what I wrote yesterday in "Do What You Do". And as I began to write God told me, "Don't ever apologize for the Word I give you!"

Well, I'd rather withstand getting beat up by my friends and loved ones than God, so I'm foraging on with part two of these messages: "Do What? Part II: Perceive"

Our blessings are no accident.  But yet, we have some unspoken list of possibilities and reasons why we haven't received the answers to our prayers.  They are ALL false!
  • We do not skip through life on a wing and a prayer, hoping that we'll please God enough that He'll choose to bless us. 
  • There is no formula for life, or prayer or the repentance of sin that acts like a combination lock, opening our blessings from heaven. 
  • There is no check list of rights and wrongs that we must complete before God will approve of us and release our blessings. 
  • We do not have to figure out how to increase our faith before God will manifest our blessings. 
  • And finally, God is NOT waiting for us to learn how not to squander our blessings before He gives them.  He is NOT waiting and holding out on us because He knows we're not ready.
The meaning of "repentance" is to "turn away from."  And the mental picture you would have if you were a Jew and spoke Hebrew would be to "change your thinking."

We must repent and turn away from this list of thinking regarding our blessings and we must turn towards Kingdom thinking.  That's why Jesus constantly said, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."  Translated into today's understanding this would say:

"Don't think like the world, think like God because His Kingdom is in your control!"

Or... Romans 12:2 "Be not conformed to the ways of this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."  We are born into this world and from our first breath as infants we are trained and raised into the ways of the world.  It's all we know and understand.

But our understanding, and our perception of our blessings has to turn away from the world and turn towards the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

Recently I was blessed with a new car.  I have been praying, asking and hoping for that particular car for a long, long time.  But getting blessed with the car was not an accident of timing.  I know my friends and especially my family are thrilled that this blessing has finally come through for me.  But that's just it, it didn't just "finally come through."  God didn't suddenly say, "today is the day, your lucky number was pulled in the blessing lottery!"  No, the truth is, I KNOW I have figured out some things, and I purposefully manifested the blessing of that car through what I've figured out.  And that is what I want to share with you in these next few messages.

I know it sounds basic, academic and too good to be true, but I have figured out what to "do."  Now, I'm not saying God has a check list of "do's and don'ts", before He'll  bless us, but there are do's and don'ts in the spirit realm just as there are in the natural.

We know in the natural we don't embezzle money because it's illegal.  We don't cheat people because it's immoral.  We do save because it's safe.  We do invest because it's smart.  These are the types of do's and don'ts I've figured out in the spirit realm. 

In the previous message I said the 3 main things we must do are to perceive, believe and receive. And, to "perceive" means to "understand". 

So, here's what we must "perceive" regarding God's blessings:
(I have scriptures for each item in this list so if you want them, let me know)
  1. Understand that God has already provided everything we need for life and godliness.
  2. Understand that we walked under the window of Heaven's blessings when we accepted Jesus by faith.
  3. Understand that we release our own blessings from the treasures we store up in heaven
  4. Understand that everyone has already been given a measure of faith and we are already pleasing to God; already forgiven and already called and chosen for a great and powerful purpose.
  5. Understand that we are the seed of Abraham with the promise of receiving land, health, long life, riches, wealth, healing, prosperity, protection, wisdom and abundance in THIS life.
  6. Understand that your needs are automatically provided and your wants and desires are to God's good pleasure to give you.
  7. Understand that your blessings don't just go to you, they go through you. You are not blessed just so you can be made fat, but so that you can make others fat also. That you are not intended to just be great but to do great things for others.  It ain't about you (period). It's about you (and...)
God said he would supply all our need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.  This means that His riches for us already exist, and that by believing in Jesus we have automatic access to God's supply for our needs.  And there is no qualifier on what those needs are.  Whatever we need is what God will supply. 

When we focus on our needs through (ineffectual) prayer, and in striving to accomplish them in life under our own power, efforts and understanding we become "needful" like Martha regarding her sister Mary.  When we are needful, we are full of need.  When we strive for our need, we cancel out God's grace to supply our need.  It is the same counterproductive activity as when we strive for increased faith. Striving to increase our faith implies that we do not have enough faith.  Then when faith is required, we are burdened with a deep-seeded doubt as to whether or not we have enough faith to manifest what we are hoping for.  Doubt counteracts our faith. But when we have faith with no doubt pulling against it, we have no weight to keep our faith from accomplishing what we intend it to.  That is why Philippians says, "Laying aside every weight that so easily besets us..."

Imagine this for me:  Proverbs says our blessings are in Heaven.  Imagine a heavenly realm with all our blessings stored up in there.  Just for imagination sake, let's say there's a spouse, a house, kids, cars, land, property, job, career, a fat 401k, investments, businesses, jewels, good friends, travel and most of all - the greatest treasures of all - opportunities to save souls and deliver lives.

And underneath this heavenly realm is each one of us.  We each have a heavenly realm above us like a upstairs floor in the unseen sky above our heads.  And our lives are this linear path underneath.  Now above us, let's say in every year, there are periodic windows, or portals in which if opened the treasures above will pour out from the heavenlies into the natural.  And every year there are windows of opportunities for us to receive the blessings we desire.  If we do not walk IN GOD'S WILL, then we are not walking under these windows.  And if we are walking in God's will, then we can have access to the treasures He has laid up for us there.  Also, we are able to add to and store up those treasures in our heavenly realms through our prayers, words, tithes, offerings, gifts, seeds, and giving - all 7.

Each one of these activities: prayers, words, tithing, offerings, gifts, seeds, and giving, is like a key that will open the portal when we need it.  Faith turns the key and receives what is desired from that heavenly realm.  In the natural we follow Mark 11:23-24 and by faith it opens the windows of heaven and pours out what we are hoping for according to Malachi, chapter 3.

And if we follow these things - all these things - with no doubt, fear, strife or unforgiveness to counteract our faith, then it doesn't matter whether we are ready to receive our blessings or not.

Remember the prodigal son? He received his blessing before he was ready - before its time - simply by asking for it. And then he squandered it in sin and riotous living. But he came back to his father and still was given more! He wasn't punished by his father for squandering it! And the son who stayed home; doing what was "right" and what he "thought" was required of him was ticked off, demanding why he didn't get the same treatment as well. And the father told him, you too could have had it at any time.  But you didn't ask like your brother did.

It is in our relationship with God - our mutual prayer and communication, study in the word, wisdom and understanding - that we become ready.  But whether we're ready or not, our blessings will always follow the laws of prosperity just like our feet must follow the laws of gravity.

To perceive we must see something with the revelation of it's meaning and application. I can tell you what you must perceive, but you really have to read the bible, spend time in the word, spend time with God and be fed by a pastor in order to receive your own revelation and understanding.

I am not an ordained pastor.  But according to scripture a pastor is a person - given by God - to feed you with knowledge and understanding.  As your friend and loved one - that's really all I want to do - is to share with you the benefits of the knowledge and understanding I have received from God Himself.

Jesus said there are those who have ears, but do not hear.  I pray you "hear" this message because faith comes by hearing (not increases, but "comes", in order that your hopes would manifest!)  And Jesus said there are those who have eyes, but do not see.  I pray you "see" what I'm trying to convey in this message because God's word says to stand and "see" the salvation of the Lord.  And when you've done all that you can do, just stand.

So, what should you do? Do ALL that you can - no matter how much, no matter how hard - and then stand on the true, living and powerful word of God.

Power, love & peace, ya'll -
~Min. Dez

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do What You Do

Copyright 2011 - Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones

What are you doing?

What are you praying and hoping will happen to you and for you in your life?

What you are doing and what you are praying for are directly related and connected.  If you are NOT getting what you are praying for, what is it you are NOT doing?

Luke 6:47-49 says: "Whosoever comes to me and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which builds a house, and digs deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that hears and does not is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."

Are you doing or not doing?

And if you are doing, what are you doing?

Do you feel like you are standing on a firm foundation, but then when "it" gets too hard, do you falter and shake, whither or fall - going right back to your old thinking, old decisions or old ways in which to run away from or "escape" the storm?  A firm foundation doesn't even shake the house - it goes through the beating of the stream!

See, I'm writing this message today because lately I have heard so many people (at church, friends and Christian associates), saying that they feel like they are doing what "they're supposed to," or doing "what God wants them to," or are "trying to do what's right," but they just are not getting the results they know God has for them.

And you know what?  I wasn't getting the results in my life that I knew God had for me either.

But I did know that I wasn't doing everything I could do, or all that I was supposed to do or all that God wanted me to do or all that God considered to be right.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was sinning or doing anything unrighteously - nothing like that at all.

But I knew something was missing.  I knew that if something wasn't working the way God said it should, then I wasn't doing something that God said I should.  I didn't say, "I feel like I'm doing that already."  Instead, I dug back into the word to figure out what I should or shouldn't be doing according to God's word.

See, Jesus is the Rock of our Foundation.  John 1:1 & 14 says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory as in the glory of the only begotten of the Father).  Jesus is the Word, and reading the Word of God (the Bible) is how we build our foundation firmly upon The Rock.

Let's think about dirt a moment.  Dirt (or earth) surrounds rocks.  It is made up of fine particles of soil, pebbles, gravel, sand and small rocks.  But it is not a rock.  If we equate the rock as the Word/word, then the dirt may be made up of small portions of the word, mixed in with other stuff, and therefore not as solid or firm as a rock.

Are you hearing and reading and believing the word of God for yourself, or are you basing the foundation of your belief with a shaky and shifty, second-hand, hearsay mix of a little bit of God's truth and a whole lot of worldly, natural facts?

Is your strong, unshakable faith in God mixed with (weakened by) what the world says, what your senses says, what your education says, what your intellect says, what your feelings say, what your eyes say, and what the people, doctors and news reports around you say?

What does God say?  You have to find out for yourself before you can actually do what God says.

Remember, the scripture in Luke says that there are those who hear the word and do it, and those who hear the word and do not do it.

If indeed you are getting your healthy dose of "daily bread", then are you eating that bread? Are you chewing and swallowing the Bread of Life everyday?

So often people get overwhelmed by God's "commandments."  They think, or even assume that it's all too much to do.  And preachers and teachers can inadvertently add to those feelings when we constantly say, "God wants you to..." or "You need to..." or "Scripture says you should..."

And you know, that may be true.  But I say, life is FAR more overwhelming than any list a preacher/teacher will give you to do from the word of God!

Yeah, there may be "a lot" to "do"such as: read, study, give, believe, love, forgive, meditate, pray, say, tithe, praise, worship and repent. (Breathe!)  But, all those things are encompassed in one overall commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself."

Do you love yourself?  Do you love your neighbor? Do you really love God with ALL your heart, mind and soul? Do you really even know what that means or is it now just an empty phrase the same as saying you love your dog or your favorite food?

I know I may not be making many friends or keeping any friends when I say this, but if the itemized (and condensed) list of things to "do" is overwhelming to you, then you are essentially breaking the cardinal rule; the first and greatest commandment given by Jesus Himself.

Think about it this way: What if you developed a relationship with your spouse or significant other in the same exact manner as your relationship with Jesus?
  • What if you learned about your spouse or potential spouse's background, life and interests with the same interest and dedication as you have in reading the bible? Same difference...
  • What if you listened to (and followed) what your spouse wants from the relationship and how much they care about you the same way you listen to God when you pray?  Same difference...
  • What if you only asked, took, demanded or even spoke to your spouse when you needed something or where in trouble the same way you pray to the Lord?  Same difference...
  • What if you spent time with and enjoyed your spouse's company in the same way you attend church or even with the same frequency?  Same difference...
  • What if you spent only one hour a week (maybe) in the company of your spouse and while you were there you were distracted, bored and in a hurry to be done the way you are in church? Same difference...
  • What if you hated your spouses family and friends and didn't want to ever hang out with them - or even get to know them the same way you feel about fellowshipping with the body of Christ? Same difference...
  • And what if you were truly intimate with the Lord the same way you were intimate with your spouse!? What!? Same difference...
Do you know how to be intimate with the Lord?

Do you even know what gifts God has for you and what promises he's made to you? Do you know what you have inherited as a child of God? Do you know that your inheritance is for this life and not just for the afterlife - eternal life?

Do you even know if what you want for your life is what God wants for your life?

We want, want, want so much from God; but give, give, give Him so little in comparison.

What are you doing (or not doing) to get the life you want?

God wants to give you what you want.  God says He will give you the desires of your heart.  He places the desire upon your heart and then He desires to fulfil that desire. God wants to give you what He's promised  to you, and in fact, He already has. 

Your blessings have already been given to you!

But God has also already established a way for you to get everything you need and the desires of your heart also.  The problem is, we either don't perceive; don't believe or don't receive them.

To "perceive" means to understand.  But how can you understand if you don't know?  And how can you know if you don't learn?  And how can you learn if you don't study? And how can you study if you aren't taught?  Scripture says it this way: faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. But how can they hear without a preacher and how can they preach unless they are sent?  It all boils down to hearing and doing - just like Luke 6:28 says. There is a missing link however. Believing must be mixed with the hearing and doing, hence: perceive, believe and receive.

1. If you want to perceive, or understand God's calling, purpose, promises, blessings, prosperity, abundance and health for your life then you have to read, study and be taught by a pastor and other believers.  It truly seems like such a small sacrifice to me, with the guaranteed promise of huge benefits!  Psalm 103:2 "Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all of His benefits."

2. If you truly believe God's word for your life, you must speak it and never doubt it.  Faith mixed with unbelief only negates your faith and renders it powerless! Doubt is the counter-weight to the power of your faith. They are oil and water and will never mix!  Mark 11:23 "For verily I (Jesus) say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says." Don't doubt; and do believe!

3. If you want to receive God's blessings for your life you have to accept them with praise and thanksgiving! Any time someone blesses you with a gift that you really want, don't you say "thank you!?" Once you believe what God has for you then receive it like you would someone handing you a gift - say that you receive God's promises out loud! When you speak God's word from your own mouth, your own ears hear and your heart believes and your thoughts act upon those beliefs. Scripture says, "Out of the heart a man speaks."  You must speak the word of God that your heart believes.  Mark 11:24 "There for I (Jesus) say unto you, what things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them."

Now, you could choose to be like King Naaman (II Kings 5:1-14) who had leprosy and didn't want to do what the prophet told him to do to get healed.  Naaman thought he'd change the prophet's directions to make it more acceptable to him.  He figured the Jordan river was too nasty and it would be the same difference - or better even - to go either to the Abana or Pharpar rivers in Demascus.

I suppose you could modify what I've suggested you do, just as King Naaman attempted to do.  Or I suppose you could decide not to do all the steps above, just as Naaman could have decided to dip 5 times in the river instead of 7 like the prophet said.  But you know, I am not accountable for what you decide to do.  As a maidservant of the Most High God; ordained; consecrated and taught by Him, I am only held accountable for what I tell you according to the word of God.  And let me tell you, I wouldn't tell you anything if I didn't know it was of God Himself.

And I'll tell you this also, like I said before - I was guilty of thinking God's word wasn't working in my life the way the word said it should.  But instead of saying I was doing all that I thought I was supposed to do, I dug in, studied for myself, learned more, believed more, did more and doubted less.  And I stayed in it, prayed in it and praised my way through it.

And now I am receiving in the natural that which I perceived and believed in the spirit.

If you are continually confessing, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me," and "The joy of the Lord is my strength,"  then, get happy in Christ and get busy actually doing ALL those things Jesus says to do!

And don't tell me "it's all too much to do!" What if Jesus, said to you (regarding answering your long list of wants, desires and prayers), "it's all too much to do!" 

But the truth of the matter is, it's not up to Jesus anymore.  He's done all He's needed to do... He did it ALL on the cross over 2000 years ago! That's why He announced, "it is finished" BEFORE He hung His head and gave up the ghost! 

ALL the "doing" is now entirely up to us!

Personally, I don't care how long the list is. I'm doing all that Jesus says to do, and I'm going to receive all that my heavenly Father has for me in this life and in the next.

So, what about you? What are you doing?

Power, love & peace, ya'll -
~Min. Dez

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Real" Life vs. Kingdom Life

What is important to your life?  What aspects of existence make up most people's lives?

Well, there are basics such as:
  • Housing
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Income
  • Transportation
And then there are certain "luxuries" that may or may not be considered a luxury to you, like:
  • communication
  • education
  • entertainment
  • travel
And then there are certain needs attached to emotions, desires and aspirations that might be central to status, geography and or age, like:
  • Marriage
  • Safety
  • Health
  • Retirement
  • Children
  • Charity
  • Spirituality
  • Government
  • Career
  • Family
  • Economics
All of these things are important to us in one aspect or another.  And from the very time we are born - how we feel and think about these matters begins to be taught and ingrained ingrained into our psyche - even the very fundamentals of our personalities.

How we then think about these matters shape what we do about them.  And what we do influences who we do them with and all other surrounding circumstances of our lives.  And then, these circumstances and the people involved in them, shape all of our emotions, thoughts and feelings.

This is the "real" world.  This is "real" life.  It's life as we know it.  And Christian life addresses each and every one of the items in the lists above - individually.

But scripture also deals with these very same topics collectively too. When scripture says "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand," the Word of God is telling us to turn away from what we know and what we think.  We need to repent from this so-called "real" life and exchange it for a Kingdom life.

See part of the problem with us understanding this concept is that we automatically hear that people need repentance from sin or wickedness when we hear this scripture.  However, to "repent" means to turn away or to turn from.  In the Hebrew, the concept of repentance is to change your thinking.

And what we are to turn away from is inherent in what we're supposed to turn towards:  If we turn towards the Kingdom of God, it stands to reason that we are turning away from the kingdom of man - or the kingdom of this world.  And if we're turning away from our thoughts, then we're turning away from what we feel, think and know in the physical and in our souls.

So, what's left?

In truth, we generally live our lives in 2 dimensions: the physical and the soul - which is the compilation of our mind (our intellect), our will and our emotions.

But scripture describes us as 3 dimensional beings.  After all, we were created in the image of God the creator who is God the Father; God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.  And when that God created us in their image, He breathed the spirit of life into mankind.

That's right - we are body, soul and spirit.  And, it stands to reason that since God is a spirit we can only operate in the Kingdom of God through our spirits.  Our spirit is our connection to God, through our soul that can affect the natural.

Before confessing Jesus as Lord by faith, our natural or physical mind controls our souls and our spirit is essentially dead in Christ.  But through faith in Jesus Christ and growth in the knowledge of Truth, our spirit is born again and we can learn to have our spirit control our soul and gain power over what happens in the physical.  This is Kingdom living.

Kingdom living is thoroughly and completely different from modern day Christianity of any denomination.

A Kingdom life is one of power, authority, dominion and the fullness of Christ and His spirit poured out upon all flesh so that the sons and daughters of God (the co-heirs - brothers and sisters to Christ) prophesy, walk in the Spirit, and do greater things that of Jesus. 

A Kingdom life is a supernatural life and for the Christian, it begins by repenting from worldly thinking.  Or in other words it means not conforming to the ways of the world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

And remember that initial list of all the various aspects of life? By living a Kingdom life, we can affect supernatural change in every one of those areas that goes far beyond what the world thinks about them, and even what the average Christian or even Pastor says about them.

When you repent from a thought or action, you don't necessarily just "turn around".  If you simply turn around, you might end up facing in the same direction - doing the same things and thinking the same things as before.  True repentance means to turn away - to face the opposite direction and do something (and think something) entirely different.

Do you dare think that differently?

Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand - it's close; it's nearby; it's very nearly in your grasp... Which do you choose?

The "real" life of a Christian or the Kingdom life of a Believer?  What do you believe?

Power, love & peace, ya'll -
~Min. Dez

Monday, June 27, 2011

SEED Series: Fertile Ground

So, I decided to plant a garden.
It wasn't a last minute decision - I've been  contemplating this since we moved to the  house 4 years ago. 

I researched where and what and how, and decided I wanted a "raised planter box" because we sometimes have issues with gophers.  But when I found out that a raised box is not actually raised enough to deter gophers I looked up just "planter boxes" and found a few directions for planter boxes made out of pallets.

The instructions really were for using scrap wood and starting a planter box from scratch - so, I scratched that idea and scratched my head for another year about what to do.

Then on my morning walk one day, I noticed a neighbor must have gotten a new fence and had piled up his old fence by the gate out front.  I walked past it for months until I got the nerve to ask them for some pieces. Once I got them, the ideas and plans for a truly raised planter box took off...

And so did the correlation between gardening and God's word.

FIRST STEP: Get the ground ready.
Where I wanted to place my garden is up a little slope, so, I knew I needed to up-root the current grass and level the earth flat. I then had to dig down deep before raising up my garden.

Isaiah 51:16: "And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people."

God is the divine and original Horticulturalist.  And He will plant the heavens with His children.  There are so many parables in the word of God regarding seeds, plants, growth, harvest and everything associated with the planting process.

In Matthew 13:18-23 Jesus explains his own "parable of the sower" in which He likens the "seed" to the word of God, and the ground in which is sown as how we hear and receive that word.

So many of us today cannot receive the word of God - which is synonymous to receiving the promises of God.  Yes, the bible says some of the reasons are because we have rocky ground in which seeds cannot take root; or thorny ground that choke out the seed.  But preparing your life to be fertile ground is the same process as preparing the ground to receive a garden.

1 = Up-root the current. We have got to up-root the current ways of thinking, understanding and most especially our current belief system.  In our backyard we had grass.  It was grown from seed, firmly established, rooted, grounded and healthy.  So too are our ways of thinking.

We grow up with them as infants and grow into them until they are firmly established, rooted, grounded and healthy.  And just like our grass, which grew into a beautiful lawn - most of those ways of thinking are just fine and there's nothing wrong with them.

But when God is ready to plant us into our purpose as sons and daughters of the most high, He's got to re-work our ground to receive His word.  That means up-rooting the current ways of thinking, then...

2 = Level the ground to be even with His.  That means lining up our ways of thinking to His ways - for He says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, My ways are Not your ways," and "lean not unto your own understanding."  We need to come in line with God's understanding.  Proverbs 4:7 says, "Wisdom is the principal thing so get wisdom. But in all your getting, get understanding." That understanding is of the Lord.

3 = Dig down deep before raising up a new "you". Sometimes this is a painful process.  I know it was for me when I was digging up that dirt! It was back-breaking, and several times I just wanted to STOP!  And when God is digging up old issues, old circumstances and old pains in which you need to forgive, give and live up to His standards, it is just about as painful, if not more.  But the process is more than worth it.  It is satisfying, gratifying and even, at times, enjoyable.  The joy of the Lord is our strength that helps us get through the tougher times.

God says He will raise us up - like His own raised planter box creation - a new creature in Him.

Power, love & peace - ya'll,
~Min. Dez