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, July 3, 2013

whose got the POWER?

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Be honest... are you living life by your own effort? When things aren't flowing our way we cry out to God: help me, show me, answer my prayer! That's when we try faith, try to read and try to pray even more. But the instant things start looking up, we STOP looking up to the hills from whence our help came. And we rub our hands together with glee as if it were our own hands that made the change. Deut. 8:17-18: And you say my power and my hands got me this. But remember it is the Lord that gives you power to get all that you have. (DCJ translation! :D)

Get honest! Stop living by YOUR effort! If you pray for change, then don't think its you who made the change when it comes!

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 specifically says, "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."

If we believe that we are the seed of Abraham by out faith in Jesus Christ - then the father of the Israelites is our father too - Abraham is the father of faith.  But even more so - Jesus came to give us the spirit of adoption that we might cry, "Abba, Father!"

You have to believe that God is your Father and that He wants the best for you - better than anything you want for yourself!

In Deuteronomy 8:16, God is telling the Israelites it was He who brought them into the wilderness to humble them, and that he might prove them, to do them good at their latter end.

When we experience our own wildernesses of life, we get there in 1 of two ways: 1st and most frequently - our own stupidity (or fault...); 2nd - the enemy sets us up in order to steal something, kill something or destroy something in us.  But in either case, God ALWAYS uses that circumstance to bring humility to our lives, prove out our character or faith and move us towards some kind of good in the end of it.

Yes, Romans 8:28 is really true - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose"

That's ALL things.  The good things.  The not so good things.  And the bad things too.  It's not just the things we work out for ourselves.  Uh, hello!? Haven't you figured out what you work out for yourself generally ends up like filthy rags?

The problem is, we are so caught up, intertwined, trained and shaped into the pattern of our life as we know it, that we truly do not know how to let God lead it.  And when we do try, we don't fully trust that He will come through.  And unfortunately, we think we've got enough past circumstances and experiences to prove that maybe be won't.

I mean, look at the Israelites... they really were hungry, thirsty, scared and tired of packing that stuff, hauling it around and then setting everything up again every time the cloud of God's glory moved or stopped.  I'm sure it was EASY to forget they were FOLLOWING THE CLOUD OF GOD'S GLORY when their stomachs were grumbling and their throats were so parched they could no longer sweat!

And so maybe it's easy to forget that you believed enough to pray to a God that lives inside of you, ordering your steps towards the desires He's given you, when creditors are calling, or the grace period is about as short as the money is for your mortgage, or another night has gone by and you don't know where your child, or husband or hope for the future is.

This is how we are proven by God.  Are we really, really, really going to trust and believe - even when it hurts - and not grumble or complain? Because it was the grumbling and the complaining that got the Israelites sentenced to keep wandering until that generation of grumblers and complainers died out!

It is at the very time when we are weary, scared, confused and hurting that we need to dig into our faith, open our mouths and speak whatever shred of faith in God we can muster - like the 2 Israelite spies who said, "Ok, maybe there are giants in the land, but with God we are well able to take the land He's promised us!"

The problem is we don't know his promises.  Or, we don't really believe his promises apply to us.  I Corinthians 1:20 says, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."  And if you are only reading this verse of text here, and you don't pick up your own bible and study it and meditate and pray over it yourself, you won't get the revelation of God's promises any more than those Israelites did!

But once you get it - really get it - that God's promises are for you, and that He has nothing but good planned for you, and that those good things WILL come to pass when you pray and believe and do not doubt (Mark 11:23-24), then you will recognize that God's promises are coming to pass when they do.

In other words - when you struggle, cry and pray to God for help, don't get so caught up in the grief, complaints and struggles of the problem that you miss the answer through His promise!  If you do, you will continue to wander in your struggle until the next time God can prove you out.

Here's the scenario: Your life is frighteningly tough and difficult in this economy, so you pray for a new job. You finally get the interview.  You do very, very well at the interview.  You impress the people, say all the right things, looked awesome in your best suit and you know that job is yours. Then when you don't get the job, you go back to God reminding Him how frightening and tough your life is, and you ask Him why didn't you get that job?  Inside you have stepped a little further away from believing God's got your best for you and that He's going come through and answer your prayers.

Now, here's the spiritual truth about that scenario: Life is frightening, but you don't remind yourself that God says, "fear not." You speak about the fear rather than the perfect love of God that cast out all fear.  (1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.")  And when you pray for the job, you pray out of fear, not faith.  But God loves you and so He sets up the interview for you.  Jesus lives within you so He ignites the mind of Christ in you and all you say during the interview.  And the Holy Ghost surrounds you with His favor like a shield so that interviewer can't help but respond to you.  But when you get home, you pat yourself on the back.  You tell your friends and family how good you did and you never recognize the cloud of God's Glory that surrounded you.  And you never go back like the leper and thank your Father for blessing you and giving you the power to do so well in that interview.  And so the favor fades from the Interviewer's sight. And then as the days go by, you continue to remind yourself that you rocked that interview and when the job comes through all your fears and struggles will be over.  Instead, what you should be doing is opening your mouth and reminding the devil out loud everyday that "no weapon formed against you shall prosper."  And so your prosperity steps further away, and the company calls and says they've chosen someone else.  The promise of an answered prayer slips away simply because we did not walk and talk in the faith-fueled power of God's promises to us.  Let me remind you once again what that power is:

Deuteronomy 8:2-19:
"And you shall remember all the ways which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, (for YOU) to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or no.  And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live. (speak the word!) 

Your raiment waxed not old upon you, neither did your foot swell, (provision and health were maintained) these forty years.  You shall also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the LORD thy God chastens you.  Therefore you shall keep the commandments (Christians: keep the faith!)of the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear (reverence) him.  For the LORD your God brings (this is a promise coming:) you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;  A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;  A land wherein you shall eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig brass. (to "a place" of blessing, provision and abundance in all things!) When you have eaten and art full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which he has given you. (We only thank, praise and rejoice when we've gotten what we wanted.)

Beware that you forget not the LORD your God, in not keeping his commandments (His faith!), and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command you this day: (the very day you are reading this!) Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;  And when your herds (investments) and your flocks (livelihood) multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied (money), and all that you have is multiplied;  Then your heart be lifted up, (you are excited and happy) and you forget the LORD your God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; (bound to your bills, job, responsibilities, etc.) Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, (attacks from the enemy) and drought, (lack) where there was no water (no spiritual anointing); who brought you forth water out of the rock of flint; (into praise when you didn't feel it)  Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers knew not, (sustained you when you didn't know how) that he might humble thee, (bring you to prayer) and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end; (In the end it will be all good!)

And (or but) you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.  But you shall (WILL!) remember the LORD your God: for it is he that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto your fathers, as it is this day.  And it shall be, if you do at all forget the LORD your God, and walk after other gods,(the beliefs of the world, the economy, need for degrees; the unemployment rate; Obamacare, etc.) and serve them, and worship them, (or trust them more than God Himself) I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish (or the things you're hoping for will die out, not pan out or come to pass)."

If you don't see the truth in the word of God - you will wander in the wilderness of your own struggles even longer!  Read His word! Speak His word! Have un-wavering faith in His word! Praise Him with His word and thank Him for His word! And do it because YOU LOVE HIM and not to prove whether He loves you!

Then His love will push out the fear and bring all you're hoping for to pass. The POWER is in your relationship with Him!!

Power, love & peace, ya'll! (II Timothy 1:7)
~Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones


Monday, June 10, 2013

The Tithe Belongs to God!

Today's church has much controversy over the tithe.  Some say it's an Old Testament truth and not applicable to the "New Testament" church.  Others say if you follow the New Testament accurately, today's Christians should actually be giving more than the tithe.

I say, if the tithe were not still pertinent and important to a successful and abundant, 21st Century Christian lifestyle, then there wouldn't be so much controversy - it would be a non-issue that the enemy wouldn't fight so hard!

So, in a nutshell, here is a biblical teaching on tithe for the "New Testament" church:
  1. There is no "New Testament Church" biblically.
  2. The concept of the tithe was initiated by God in the Garden of Eden
  3. The first true "tithe" was given by Abraham, prior to the Law of Moses
  4. Initially, the tithe was RECEIVED by the priests for their livelihood
  5. The tithe was, and still is, GIVEN by the individual for their blessing and protection
Here's a shock to the "New Testament Church" - Jesus wasn't a Christian.  Jesus was Jewish, born into the Hebrew tribe of Judah - Judah being one of the twelve sons of Jacob (who was later renamed to Israel).  Jesus was raised according to all the Jewish customs and followed all of the Jewish practices - including the tithe.  Most all of the early church and the disciples were also Jewish.  There was no discrepancy about the practices the early church followed until Paul was converted and called the Gentiles.  Those Gentiles were (and thereby "we" are) grafted into the faith.  There is no "Christianity" without Judaism.  There is no New Testament without the Old Testament, and there is no New Covenant that is written upon our hearts and placed in our minds (Hebrews 8:10) without a an Old Covenant that was fulfilled by Jesus.  There is no New Testament church - there is only The Church, the body of Christ, the Messiah and fulfillment of Old Covenant Law.

Prior to Old Covenant Law - or the Mosaic Covenant that was given by God to Moses - there was the Abrahamic Covenant.  And, prior to the Abrahamic Covenant there was the Adamic Covenant with Adam.  That covenant was immediately "broken" by Adam and his wife Eve.  You know the story: God said of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat, the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden also.  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.  For in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:9, 16-17)  This was the covenant given by God that Adam and his wife couldn't keep.  But guess what? This covenant was the first ever concept of the tithe.  Essentially God was saying then the same thing He says to us now regarding the tithe: if you leave the 1 or one tenth alone, consecrating it unto Me; I will bless the rest and you will have an abundant and everlasting life.  But Adam and Eve couldn't do it. No wonder Christians balk at paying the tithe! It's embedded into our nature to reject the tithe through the original disobedience of our forefathers!

By the time Abraham came along - and in fact, while he was still Abram - He had discovered the benefits of giving the tithe.  His troublesome nephew Lot had gotten himself taken by several kings and Abram went to deliver him - slaying the kings and taking all the spoils of his efforts.  After having done so, Abram paid tithes of all he had to Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the most high God (Genesis 14:14-20).  When Abram gave the tithe, Melchizedek blessed him - and Abram's wealth was started by the 90% left from the king's spoil. There was no Mosaic Law commanding Abram to give a tithe; there were no 10 Commandments and in fact, this act of tithe was given very nearly in response to the covenant God gave Abram - that Old Covenant of blessing that we as Christians are part and parcel to today simply because we believe on Jesus by faith.  Galatians 3:29 "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Once Jacob had become Israel, and his twelve sons had become tribes in the nation of Israel, God had instituted the Law through Moses so that the Israelites would have a structure to live by and a guideline to know what was sin and what was righteous.  The concept of the tithe was now commanded by the Lord, instead of simply expected as in the past.  That tithe was to go to the priestly tribe of Levi since they had no other inheritance, land or livelihood amongst the other tribes. Numbers 18:24 "But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance."  Knowing that the Levites had no other provision, the Israelites did not begrudge the priests the tenth that was given to the temple.  Matthew 10:10 reveals this concept in the New Testament when Jesus tells the disciples as he sends them from city to city to preach the gospel that the "workman is worthy of his hire."

From the old covenant to the new, Jews knew their command to tithe and give offerings unto the Lord.  But even they had strayed away from it.  The famous scriptures on tithing in Malachi were God's answer to their disobedience to the law.  Malachi 3:7 asks, "Will a man rob God?"  The tithe always belongs to God.  The first of the firstfruits, the first of our offering - it all belongs to God.  He is the God that never changes.  From now until we meet Him face to face the tithe belongs to Him.  And when we spend it, we spend what doesn't belong to us.  This is why the scripture says asks if we would dare rob God by taking the tithe that belongs to Him.  If we do, we make our own selves subject to a curse.  God doesn't do it - we do through our ignorance and disobedience.  And we open ourselves up to attacks from the enemy when we are disobedient to God.  That's why Malachi 3:10 goes on to say, that when we bring all the tithes into the storehouse (the congregation), then the Lord will open us up the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And, God also promises to rebuke the devourer (the devil who comes not but for to steal, kill and destroy - John 10:10), for our sakes.  God says to prove Him at this and see that it is true, and when we do, He is faithful to prove to us that Jesus has come to give us life and life more abundantly.

The tithe may belong to God, but giving it is for our own good.  Everything God has for us is for our blessing.  Giving the tithe is not punishment, hardship or burdensome - in fact, it is the first gateway for abundance, blessing and protection.

The tithe belongs to God but it is not for God.  The tithe is for YOU!

Power, Love & Peace, ya'll!
(II Timothy 1:7)

Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Condemnation "Know-No"!

John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Gone are the days of the "fire and brimstone" messages from the pulpit.  Gone are the days when the preacher bellows to the congregation that "it's time to get your house in order, because Jesus is coming soon!"  Gone are the days when Pastors line up the members of His church and spanks them all for their sins with the word of God...

Oh, wait... those days are not gone.

But they should be.

It is the Holy Ghost's job to convict the world of sin and chastise His sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit has never needed the help of His pastors or their parishioners to do His job for him.  On the contrary, it is all of us who need the help of the Holy Ghost to do our jobs for Him as Christians.

With the Holy Ghost our preachers and pastors should be empowered to teach the word of God; to preach and proclaim the Gospel - that-too-good-to-be-true GOOD NEWS of God, and not authorized to beat his flock with it!

A 30 minute harangue about the sins of the church is not too-good-to-be-true Good News to anyone - saints and sinners a like!  They claim that to be Christ-like we must be sin-free, but if they were more Christ-like they would not spend their sermons telling us how and why we must be sin free, they would preach and teach like Christ!

Even when Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery in John 8:10-12, Jesus first dealt with those who were busy accusing her of her sin; then He said He did not condemn her.  Finally, Jesus simply told her (and others as well), "Go and sin no more."

His sermons were not about how to stop being wrong; but how to start being right, or rather righteous.  But still and again, the righteousness that Jesus and Paul taught about was not a righteousness of the law - rules, regulations and the efforts of man.  Righteousness is only achieved through the FREE GIFT of Jesus Christ!

If you believe in Him then you ARE the righteousness of God in Christ!

You already are righteous! You can't DO anything more to become any more righteous than your belief in Jesus and confession in Him as Lord has already made you!  You can't work for it; you can't earn it; you can't pray for it; ask for it; beg for it; or make it up yourself.

If you believe, then you already are made righteous, and asking for it or striving for it is like asking for a chair you are already sitting in! The truth of the matter is, you cannot do acts of righteousness in order to BE righteous.  We should do acts of righteousness because we ARE righteous!

Ok, you might be saying, "What about Matthew 6:33?"
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

How do we seek righteousness then, if we already are righteous?  Today more than ever, we have to seek our own gift of righteousness and remind ourselves, or even (like King David) encourage ourselves in our own right to be righteous in Christ.  We have to seek the truth of our God-given righteousness when the world around us (saved and unsaved) try to tell us otherwise.

  • When preachers preach "be righteous" - remind yourself: "I am the righteousness of God in Christ!"
  • When preachers preach "don't sin" - remind yourself: "I am dead to sin!"
  • When preachers preach "forgive or you will not be forgiven" - remind yourself: "I will forgive because I am already forgiven!"
  • When preachers preach, "you're a sinner saved by grace" - remind yourself: "I am a Believer, empowered by Grace!"
  • When preachers preach "sin and you're condemned to hell" - remind yourself: "there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!"
And when preachers tell you to "get your life right" you remind yourself that if any of us could do that, then there would be no need for Jesus! He is the One who came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

When preachers preach "obedience" - remind yourself: "By one man's obedience (Jesus) all have  been saved from the sin of one man's disobedience (Adam)" - Romans 5:19 

Love is our only access to righteousness.  Because Jesus loves us so, He was obedient to the cross so that through Him (and Him alone) we could finally be obedient enough to receive the promises and righteousness that no one could achieve through the law!

Know Grace: no law
Know Righteousness: no obedience
Know Love: no condemnation
Know Spirit: no flesh
Know Jesus: KNOW YOU!


Power, love & peace - ya'll!
(II Timothy 1:7)

~Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones