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Important update re: resumed in-person services

Modified services

Our in-person services resume on July 5,2020 with precautions on SUNDAYS only. Thursday Bible study will continued to be live-streamed until further notice here and on our Facebook page.

Masks are required.

All attendees are required to wear a mask or face covering for the duration of their time on LWBC property.

Due to limited seating, we ask that visitors stream our services online here, on our homepage, or on at Facebook.com/TheLWBC.

Yours in Christ,

-The LWBC

Study on Adoption #2

Study on Spiritual Adoption Part 2 Pastor's Corner

This episode reinforces what adoption is and discusses how this placing reflects the spiritual Body of Jesus Christ
  1. Study on Spiritual Adoption Part 2
  2. Study on Spiritual Adoption Part 1

Our objective

In today’s message, I want to do two things. First, I’d like to reinforce your understanding of when a child of God is placed (or adopted) and second I’d like to show how this placing reflects the coming kingdom of our God. As we go through this lesson remember to pause, study, and write down any questions that come to your mind.

I’d like to take them in early December if the Lord tarries.

What we learned so far

Last week I focused on what adoption is and we showed that a son of God is adopted when the Holy Spirit places him into service within the body. Now, I’d like to drill that point home.

First, the spiritual is often like our natural relationships. We all at times wanted things from our parents. Maybe we couldn’t wait to drive their car or to do something independently. Well, most parents won’t hand you the keys to their car when you turn 10. If they’re thinking parents, they’ll wait until you reach legal age, then make you go through a driver’s Ed course or teach you how to drive themselves.

Then, when they’re convinced that you can handle the responsibility, and after you’ve passed your licensing test, your parents will probably let you drive their car or get you your own.

My point is that, while you were always their child, they will only give you the responsibility once you’ve demonstrated that you’re worthy of it.

God does the same thing.

After we are born of His Holy Spirit, He tests us to see if we’re responsible, zealous for His kingdom, and if we’ll live in a way that glorifies Him. When He sees that continuous faithfulness, He gives you responsibility within His body. It might be a gift of prophecy, placing you as a model single man or woman, using you to serve as a help within His church or moving you into the ministry etc.

The point is, that God has a place for everyone and, if the church pulls together in that great unity of the Spirit, letting Christ position us as He desires, we will have a spiritual Body that cannot be defeated.

Let me pause to say that God’s placing is not only spiritual. Your natural job can also be God’s positioning within the body—a farmer, a housewife etc. Do you understand? It’s not just preachers or those with spiritual gifts.

Alright, let’s move on.

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Galatians 4:5

Paul shows us that God’s purpose was to place us within Christ’s body. Compare this to Ephesians 1, where he tells us that God predestinated our purpose in Christ’s body from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1: 5). Then you can see that the adoption of a believer is when he or she is placed within the Body of Christ by the Spirit to do a certain work or hold a certain office.

Doesn’t every part of your natural body serve a function? Or is it there only to say, “I’m a part of the body?” We may be tempted to think that adoption’s purpose is to exercise God’s power but that would lead to pride. Adoption is not only to rule—it is also here to serve the entire spiritual Body of Jesus Christ.

Did not the Lord Jesus show us by His words and example that the one that truly rules is the one that serves?

Now, here is a good time to pause and think about how your natural body functions while keeping in mind what Paul taught the church at Corinth.

For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12

When you’re ready, pick back up here.

Okay, so now that you’ve thought on that, let’s look at this parallel of the natural body a little more closely.

Every part of the body has a specific place and a specific purpose. The kidney cannot move over to the lung’s grounds and say, “this is where I belong, I’ll do my job better here.”

No. Body parts that don’t function as they ought to—or leave their original position—lead to dysfunction and disease. The same is true in the spiritual body.

God has a place for each of His own and He leads us to it as we show our zeal, love, and faithfulness to His Word.

How does this work in our daily life?

When God places you in the Body, or gives you a spiritual gift, you are responsible for its use. You rule that spiritual territory. Now this might sound strange, but it shouldn’t. The Bible says “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” (1 Corinthians 14:32). You therefore, rule over the portion of the Holy Ghost that is given to you. Now by you I don’t mean the human element, I mean that aspect of God that’s on the inside of your soul.

Just like in biblical Israel, each Isaraelite inherited or ruled over a certain part of the possession that served to benefit the whole tribe (and ultimately the nation of Israel), so each member of Christ’s body rules a portion of God’s spiritual kingdom. Through good stewardship of what God has given to you, the entire body benefits.

Now this is true for pastors but it’s also true for the laity who have been gifted with various gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12) or have been called to serve. You are responsible to give God a good spiritual return on what He has given to you and use it as He would for He has given you authority because He trusts you.

How was our inheritance given to us, through what? Predestination. Predestination is foreknowledge. How did God know He could trust you to be a preacher? His foreknowledge. “Not he that willeth or he that runneth, or he…It’s God that sheweth mercy.” That’s right, predestination. He knew what was in you. He knowed what was in you before you even come on the earth. He knowed what was in you before there was an earth for you to come on. That’s—that’s Him. That’s the infinite God, the infinite.

Rev. William Marrion Branham, 60-0522E – Adoption #4

What authority is given to God’s adopted children?

Now this, to me, is where things really get rich. Just as God brings us individually to a place that He can use us and work through us, so He has been building His Bride for 2,000 years to get her to a place of adoption—a time where the Word that leaves Her lips is backed up by God Himself.

Now this has happened as individuals. We see and know that when you are correctly placed by God in your ministry or role in life, God will honor your words to minister to those He has given to you.

If you’ll permit me to say so, that’s one of the secrets that I have held before God constantly as a pastor these may years. When I have a dire need or situation to face that involves the people (not myself), I am confident that I can use my status before God as a minister to intercede. You may have heard me in prayer say things like “I claim this one” etc. That is what I mean.

Because this is my office, or my place in the Body, by His Grace there are times when He will honor that faith that I hold over this spiritual ground. Now I do not often talk about this but, I believe it’s a time for things to be said plainly so we can understand. To quote Paul, “I magnify my office (Romans 11:13).”

Now, we are in a time where the Bride of Christ is pulling into shape to operate collectively as representatives of the Lord Jesus—what we call adopted sons of God.

Forgive me for what I am about to say. Adoption is not something to look to like a Hindu/Buddhist Nirvana. I do not mean to be disrespectful but that is the clearest way I can make my point.

It is not something that we can be “good enough” to attain. As the individuals within the spiritual Body of Jesus Christ take their place, the Body collectively will take its place. Israel as a nation settled Canaan land under Joshua as each individual family possessed the land.

In the days of Nehemiah, the entire land was resettled as each family group repaired their own inheritance.

We are now in the season of adoption, where the entire family of God moves under the Spirit’s anointing to speak creative Words, but that moves as individuals take their place in the Body.

You remember I taught that adoption means to stand in the place of Jesus Christ? Frankly that was the whole point of adoption in the ancient world. A son could represent his father in any business deal. His word was just as powerful as his father’s word.

That is what the Bride of Christ is to be doing today. Throughout the ages, we had portions of Christ representing Himself in the church but now we are here to speak and act on His behalf.

“Go right back to Genesis, to the original, what is it? Now the world and nature is groaning, crying, everything’s moving. What? For the manifestation of the sons of God, when true sons, born sons, filled sons speak and their word is backed. I believe we’re on the border of it right now. Yes, sir. Say to this mountain, let it be so.

81 “Brother, I—I desire so-and-so, a certain thing done. I’m a believer in Jesus Christ.”

82 “I give it to you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen. There’s a manifestation.

83 “Oh, brother, my crops are burning up out yonder. I haven’t had any rain.”

84 “I’ll send you a raining, in the Name of the Lord.” There she’ll come. Oh, waiting, groaning, all nature waiting for the manifestations of the sons of God. God ordained it at the beginning.”

    60-0522E – Adoption #4 Rev. William Marrion Branham

This couldn’t happen in any other day because now the End-Time Word has been revealed. Now, the Seals have been opened. Now, the antichrist is enthroning himself in the church and now Christ is enthroning Himself in His Bride.

Let’s pause here for today and next week, if the Lord tarries, I’d like to look at what this means for the Millennial rule. You’ll understand why our adoption as a Bride is necessary for the Millennium to take place, what adoption has to do with our change of body and why Satan will be bound for 1,000 years.

Main takeaways:

  • Adoption is being placed positionally in the Body
  • The entire Body must be placed correctly and carry out its functions
  • God demonstrates His trust in you by giving you a work to do
  • The adoption that happens as individuals is also happening in the Bride collective

Study on Spiritual Adoption #1

Study on Spiritual Adoption Part 2 Pastor's Corner

This episode reinforces what adoption is and discusses how this placing reflects the spiritual Body of Jesus Christ
  1. Study on Spiritual Adoption Part 2
  2. Study on Spiritual Adoption Part 1

Tonight I’d like to approach the subject of Spiritual Adoption. Let me say before I begin that the biblical principle of spiritual adoption is a deep topic that has many different perspectives. By no means do I want to discredit any minister.

For myself, I tend to be rather individualistic— I like to avoid other ministers thoughts when it comes to sounding out the deep things of God’s Word. I try to prove everything by the Scripture and line up my conclusions with the Message of the Hour. One thing is certain. None of us can honestly claim to know the full scope of God’s plan. Like so many things in the Word, adoption has many aspects to it.

But, seeing as God has given me the oversight of my flock, and that we are in a season of great spiritual trial, I believe every Christian must develop a clear understanding of his or her place in the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. To that end, I want to devote the next few podcasts to a close study on Adoption.

Each episode will not be long. I’m cutting them short so you can pause the recording, take your Bible out, and study. Write out any questions you may have and I’ll address them in church the first weekend in December, Lord willing.

First, what is adoption?

Spiritually, adoption means the placing of a son of God. It is a moment where God confers trust and power upon His children, giving them an authority that is equal to His own in that specific calling. Now, this is hard for a lot of western churches to accept so let’s dig back into the scripture (our absolute).

In the Garden of Eden, God gave His original seed children (Adam and Eve) an authority on Earth that was equal to His own in heaven. Genesis 1:28 reads,

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:28NIV

Just as the Father ruled over heaven and earth, He now had given dominion to His children. This was His original purpose. This is still His original purpose. Adam ruled with love over God’s creation, taking care of the planet and keeping it in perfect order.

I want you to notice that God gave this responsibility to His children after He recognized them as being in HIs image (Gen. 1:27). He could only trust them with such power after He recognized them as looking like Himself and knew that they would think like Him and remain true to His Word. Now Adam was not an adopted son—he was a created son—but I want to lay a basis here by showing you what God’s plan is for His family.

This is a good spot to pause for a few minutes, go through the Word, and make sure you get what I’m saying. When you’re ready, pick back up here.

Alright, so now that we’ve established what God’s plan was, we realize that the Bible says He never changes (Malachi 3:6a). So He still wants to trust His children with responsibility. Paul expresses this clearly when he writes the following:

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

Galatians 4:4-7KJV

I encourage you to read the whole chapter as you study. Now, Paul shows us that although sin separated us from God, through Christ we are redeemed so that we can receive this placing (or adoption) of sons. This doesn’t mean that you are now coming into the family of God. As Paul said, because we are (already) sons, God gave us the Holy Spirit. We were already children of God, even when we were in sin. But God couldn’t recognize us as His children because we weren’t in His own image or likeness. We were in the image of sin, tarnished by evil…but we were still children of God.

Our second birth is simply a recognition that we are sons of God. Then our lives start to conform to God’s Word and we grow in the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 121-2). Now, when God looks at you, He can see His own image and likeness.

Sound familiar? I hope so. In other words, God can trust us with authority as He did Adam because we have grown into His image and likeness.

When is a child of God adopted?

This might be the most thorny part of my talk on adoption. Let me start off by quoting Ephesians.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Some put adoption off to a future time. There is a truth to that as we’ll discuss next week. But the adoption as a whole is not in the future. Part of it is to be fulfilled right now. The Scripture declares we are the sons of God right now (1 John 3:2) and are adopted, or placed into the Body of God after being filled with the Holy Ghost.

Your adoption is not your birth. Your adoption is your placing. When you were born again, I believe, when we are born of the Spirit of God, we are sons of God. But we were predestinated. Now here’s what I’m trying to get you to, for this sons of the last day, you see. To…See? We were predestinated to (unto) adoption.

60-0518 – Adoption #2 Rev. William Marrion Branham

The New Birth is not the adoption. As I said before, we’re born of the Spirit of God when we recognize our status as sons of God by divine revelation. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us and fills us with His power, and we are totally regenerated. However, God watches our life after that New Birth to see if we can be trusted with a position of authority or service. That is what the Holy Ghost came to do—to set us into service within the Body.

Now, you’re a Christian when you accept Jesus. And when the Blood of Jesus Christ was applied to you, your sins are (your habits and filth of this world that you wallowed in), is gone from you. Smoking, drinking, gambling: all these unclean habits leave you by sanctification. And then the Holy Spirit comes in, and anoints you, and puts you in service, to do something for Him.

 54-0516 – Questions And Answers (Law Having A Shadow)  Rev. William Marrion Branham

For example, Christ’s spiritual body is filled with all kinds of gifts and callings. Paul referenced this (1 Corinthians 12). God’s purpose is to give us all a part, a responsibility, within this great body. It is not all tongues—some are apostles, housewives, prophesiers, pastors etc. Our adoption comes when God places us into the role that He has called us to within the body.

Now, I know that might go against the grain a little but pause this podcast and search it through the Scripture. When was Joshua adopted? It wasn’t in Egypt nor in the wilderness journey. It was just after he entered the Promised Land.

You say, Joshua? Adopted?

Didn’t God recognize his word? God honored Joshua’s word as an earthly angel to save Rahab the prostitute. Because Joshua said that Rahab would be spared, God shook down the entire city but spared Rahab’s apartment. Because Joshua said “Sun, stand still!” God from heaven halted the entire process of nature. Was this at the end of his life?

No.

Was it when he began his service to God’s earthly body called Israel?

Yes.

After forty years of testing in the wilderness, God made Joshua’s word as good as His own in the role as leader of the army of the Lord, the Church, the Body of the Lord.

What is the Body of Christ? Some are apostles, some are prophets, some are teachers, some are evangelists, and some are pastors. Is that right? We’re called to. Others has gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongue, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, working of miracles, all these different gifts.

60-0518 – Adoption #2 Rev. William Marrion Branham

Let’s fast-forward to the Lord Jesus, the Head of this great Body. Jesus was really a begotten Son, for He was born in the womb of a woman as we are. Adam was a created son, Jesus was begotten, and we are adopted. But I want you to realize that regardless of how we came to earth, we all have the same opportunity, the same status before God as we show our faithfulness to Him and to His Word.

When was Christ adopted?

On Mount Transfiguration, God placed all authority in Christ’s hands (Matthew 17:1-8). He was born the Son of God. He had preached the Gospel and done miracles. God had already publicly declared that He was His Son. But now Christ was about to serve the Body and culminate His ministry by dying and rising again on the Third Day.

And a Voice came from Heaven, said, “This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him.” Amen. “I’ve placed Him positionally. That’s My Son. What He says, I’ll back up. He’s kept My Words. He’s fought through all these denominations and everything else and has kept the faith. He—He’s pulled no punches. He—He’s been true. He’s always about My work. When people look at Him, they see Me. This is My Son, hear ye Him.”

 61-0317 – Abraham’s Grace Covenant   Rev. William Marrion Branham

Is adoption just about ruling?

Spiritual adoption truly means that we stand in the place of God in a specific role. Part of that entails rulership and dominion, for God is the sovereign King of Kings. But it’s also carrying out His will. Doing the work that He wants done on Earth for we are His representatives. That’s what mature sonship is all about.

So often we disagree on petty things and act as spiritual children. So often we adopt the habits, dressing, and desires of the world which keep God from placing us as His sons and daughters. In short, the enemy has the victory in our lives. But adoption comes to change that.

Adoption means we enforce the rule of God and bind the enemy wherever he is. This is a beautiful study that goes into the millennium and Satan being bound for 1,000 years with a chain of circumstances. Next week, Lord willing, I’d like to dive into that part.

But tonight, I’d like to close tonight with a Scripture found in the Old Testament that speaks of the End Times.

And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Malachi 3:17

Sonship is equated with service or ministry. The same truth is shown in the last book of the New Testament where John shows the Bride as the one who “serve Him day and night in His temple” (Rev. 7:15).

Main takeaways:

  • Spiritual adoption means God places you as His child in His Body
  • God’s plan has always been for His children to have dominion (Think Adam and Eve before they sinned)
  • We were always God’s children but were recognized as such when we were born again.
  • Your adoption happens when God places you for service in His body (Think Joshua)
  • Adoption truly means representing God in the role He’s called us to fill.

Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed

Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed Pastors Corner

This episode identifies two ways that Christians can reduce stress and live joyfully
  1. Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed
  2. Overcoming stagnancy
  3. How to overcome insecurity
  4. The Power of a Seed
  5. What is the Holy Ghost Post Sermon

A few weeks ago, I made a very important decision. I disconnected from my cell phone, shut down everything, and disappeared into God’s office which most people call simply… the woods.

I was there for a meeting with our most wonderful Lord Jesus and He did not disappoint.

Even before I showed up, that still small Voice in my heart began to point out some things that I needed to change. I believe now that these “life pointers” are not just for my benefit but for yours as well.

So, let me share two strategies that can help you go from being an overwhelmed Christian to an overjoyed one.

The challenge

Each of us has a million things screaming at us each day. Tasks that need to be done, homework deadlines etc. And—sinner or saint—we all struggle with the constant daily grind. But God’s Word shows us that Jesus came so the Christian can have “life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).

So how do we get rid of the anxiety and despair that sometimes stems from simply having a “to-do” list that’s just too much?

The Solution

First, remember that, while God will never give us more than we can bear, we can take on more than He meant for us to carry.

Simply put, ask yourself if the responsibilities on your shoulders are all part of God’s plan…or yours? This is where many of us make a critical mistake.

If we take too much upon ourselves—or allow others to push us into a situation where we’re trying to do God’s will PLUS their will—we run the risk of burning ourselves out and increasing our anxiety levels.

Remember, God is all about peace. Simplicity. Focusing on one major task that He has given us to accomplish.

This can be quite challenging, especially if you are a gifted person. Realize that every gift of God is also a burden. As the Scripture writes,

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.

Proverbs 18:16

In other words, your talents and gifts will manifest themselves in ways that will connect you to others. Depending upon your gifts, this can easily translate into a spiritual or mental burden.

For example, Moses was gifted with leadership abilities and faith. While God had a purpose for these talents, they quickly became bogged in day-to-day decisions, and Moses became overwhelmed. Jethro wisely advised Moses not let his gifts control him and to let others shoulder that responsibility.

The point is, Moses was quickly becoming overwhelmed because he didn’t step back and focus his talents on the calling of God in his life. Like many of us, he had a heart for people and this streak in his nature would drive him to ruin if left unchecked.

The same is true for you. Control your gifts; don’t let them control you.

You might be gifted with a nature of compassion. If you’re not careful, you can take responsibilities onto your shoulders that God did not direct you to take. If that’s the case you will become overwhelmed.

Even though your desire is good and your motive may be pure, as Christians we must be wise stewards of our time and stress loads—especially now.

So, what do we do?

Warren Buffett is a billionaire and, one of the top ten wealthiest people in the world in 2020. He made a statement that I believe is a sound lesson for Christians to apply to their lives.

 “The difference between successful people and really successful people, is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Warren Buffett

Why do I believe we can learn something here? Because, although I don’t equate success with money, the truth is, that effective Christians live very focused lives. They live in ways that are centered around the calling God has placed within them.

Now, this doesn’t just mean the ministry. Your calling might be your career, it might be your role as a housewife, or a work in society, such as an orphanage etc. Whatever God has called you to do will bring its own share of burdens—burdens that God has promised will not overwhelm you.

Don’t go beyond the scope of that calling unless the Spirit specifically directs you to do so.

We sometimes feel guilty for turning down requests for help, especially from fellow believers. I’m not advocating for selfish living. I think we need to be willing to help one another even if it’s a sacrifice. But that has to be kept in balance.

If your sacrifice to help someone will hinder you from fulfilling other roles for which God has placed you on earth, then you need to say no.

The Lord Jesus lived an extremely focused life. And He did say “no.” Critics might consider Him myopic but not once did He go beyond the scope of the ministry that He had been given, although He had the power, the wisdom, and the talents necessary to do so.

For example, the zealots knew He was the perfect man for their cause. Jesus had the people in the palm of His hand. Just one word from Him and every Israelite who believed in Him would rally against the power of Rome. The Sadducees and Pharisees also recognized the potential political influence that Jesus could wield.

But the Scripture is clear:

But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men,

John 2:24

Focusing exclusively on the calling of His life caused Jesus to turn down many opportunities–including opportunities to serve. But in doing so, He was able to successfully accomplish the mission that had been entrusted to His care. As a result, the world would never be the same.

Final thoughts

God does not want you to be overwelmed. He does not want you to be stressed. His plan is that you rejoice continuously throughout this life, realizing His power and His presence more with each day. So don’t complicate you life by falling into the trap of equating success with productivity.

Don’t fill up each moment. Leave many empty spots in your day so that Christ can fill them with His goodness. In so doing, you will find that life is richer. Sweeter.

And, instead of being overwhelmed, you will be overjoyed at what God is doing in and through you.

This week, enrich your time with God by listening to:

Letting off the Pressure, 05.18.1962

Meditate on Psalm 103 (the whole chapter).

Overcoming stagnancy

Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed Pastors Corner

This episode identifies two ways that Christians can reduce stress and live joyfully
  1. Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed
  2. Overcoming stagnancy
  3. How to overcome insecurity
  4. The Power of a Seed

The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it rich in breathtaking imagery, but the wisdom that fills each verse is beyond human comprehension. Inspired by the Spirit of God, Solomon presents us with very realistic insights into life, death, and God’s plan for each of us between those two points.

In today’s post-sermon, I want to draw on Ecclesiastes 1 to focus on how to overcome stagnancy in our natural and spiritual lives.

The problem

Many times we find ourselves in spiritual/mental “ruts”. These are places where we can’t move forward. We feel stuck. Confused. Sometimes even like a prisoner.

We may pray or seek spiritual guidance, but we don’t always see the results that we want right away. Sometimes we need to cling to things or people too much and that hinders us from being able to move on. Our memories of the past can stop us from embracing what God has planned for our future.

No matter what the reason, we need to overcome stagnancy to grow into the men and women that Christ envisions.

The solution

One generation passes away and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

To overcome stagnancy, we need to recognize that our time on this earth is too precious to stand still.

Change is all around us. Sometimes it is good and sometimes not. We can only live a full and complete life when we align ourselves with the opportunities for positive change that God brings to us.

On my way up to church this morning, I almost missed my exit off the highway because I saw a brilliant maple tree that lit up the road with its gorgeous leaves that were painted in shades of red.

What allowed that tree to change?

It accepted the fact that the season had turned. Somehow, unbeknownst to you and me, a message was sent to all creation in our area that the fall season is here.

Ecclesiastes 1 shows us that life is filled with great cycles. Distinct seasons of change happen—spring and summer, birth and death. They are all part a great circle that keeps our world turning.

If we hold onto one stage we will never be able to embrace the next. This is why the Christian must always look forward. That is why we must always be willing to let go of what we have now to accept what God has in store.

For that tree to stay in tune with God’s program, it had to change.

So do you and I. Stagnancy, or the refusal to let go of the past and move on, can keep us from fulfilling our part in God’s plan.

Sometimes we get a certain thought in our minds—a desire that we have or a goal that is un-reached. Stagnancy will keep us focused on that desire or goal while God may have another path to which He is trying to attract our attention.

Many of us have heard of Fanny Crosby, the author of more than 9,000 hymns. One of the first things that comes to mind about Fanny is that she was blind. She wasn’t born blind— her affliction came from the wrongful treatment of a pretended doctor. You can imagine the disappointment this produced, especially when it was followed by the death of her father a few months later.

A stagnant approach would be to focus on her blindness. But Fanny once made the following remark.

Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Fanny Crosby

Her refusal to remain stagnant—or to focus her attention on her condition instead of what she could do for the Lord—led Fanny Crosby to become one of the most influential songwriters of of all time. By age 23, she had addressed Congress and wrote hymns for several U.S. presidents.

Why? What allowed this woman to move forward instead of remaining stagnant?

When we understand that we only have this brief span of life to be all that God wants us to be, we become driven to accomplish God’s purpose. We embrace the challenges His Word offers us and grow by them. We accept the difficult situations of life, no matter how unpleasant, because we know that through them He is molding us into His image.

Yes, the earth endures but you and I only have a few heartbeats. So make every moment count.

What if a tree could talk? Imagine if it could say, “well I’m comfortable where I am. I don’t want to push forth the effort to grow or to change.” It would die. But all of nature portrays that change is life and life is change. Likewise, to be stagnant is to die on the inside. We must push forth the effort to grow in Christ and as human beings.

How do we deal with the past?

The past may comfort us. The past may be filled with things we’d rather forget. It can inspire us, or make us laugh. But the past should never rule over us. It should never dictate how we live in the present. Because today is a new day—a day that brings us closer to the Eternal Day which will never end.

Fanny Crosby died about a month before she turned 95. Her last verse of poetry read, “You will reach the river brink, some sweet day, bye and bye.” I’m confident that she got her wish and that the first face she saw was the Lord Jesus.

As our world and our lives change in ways most of us never imagined, let’s focus on our attitude.

Look inside. Do you recognize the opportunity that this new season brings to you? Or do you focus so much on the negative that you can’t see the beauty of what’s right ahead?

Recognize that we only have today. And, with that mindset, embrace God’s plan for this season in your life.

Brother Joseph

Recommended reading:

Ecclesiastes 1 (whole chapter)

1 John 2 (whole chapter)

How to overcome insecurity

Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed Pastors Corner

This episode identifies two ways that Christians can reduce stress and live joyfully
  1. Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed
  2. Overcoming stagnancy
  3. How to overcome insecurity
  4. The Power of a Seed
  5. What is the Holy Ghost Post Sermon

Since our church is currently doing a few weeks of Questions and Answers, I thought this would be a good time to fortify the saints by scripturally addressing areas in our daily life that our enemy often targets.
My goal in these next few “post-sermon” messages is to help you live the good life that God intends for each of us.
This week, I would like to focus on overcoming insecurity. I’ll approach this great topic by addressing three questions. What is it?


What is it?


First, it’s important to know that insecurity affects all of us in one way or another. By definition, insecurity is self-doubt, where we’re not sure of our ability to handle a certain situation or we question whether or not we measure up to the competion (real or imagined). For many women, it starts with second-guessing their appearance. For some men, it’s about whether or not they can handle a particular emotional challenge.

No matter what face insecurity takes, it’s all about doubt. Doubting ourselves and, ultimately ,doubting God.
Not everyone shows that they battle with insecurity. It depends on our nature, our gender, and a host of other factors that make us all unique.


But, no matter how strong we all appear to be, every human since Adam has had to deal with the question Am I good enough? in one way or another. Even Jesus Christ showed us this aspect of humanity when He asked His closest disciples to “watch with him” or to protect him while He prayed (Matthew 26:36). He was God incarnate! He was, and always will be, the most powerful one of all! And yet He needed someone to be with Him when He faced a really difficult challenge.


Now that ought to give us all some hope!
But how do we deal with insecurity? Before we answer that question, let’s understand where it comes from and what effects it can have.


Where does it come from?


First, let me say that insecurity is a natural issue. It is not a sin. It is a complex that normally finds it beginnings in hurtful acts/deeds that are said or done earlier on in life, most often in the early childhood to late teenage years. Sometimes it’s not always actions–insecurity can stem from comparing our own abilities to people that we’re exposed to, either in-person or through media like billboards, the internet or magazines.
Whatever the source, one thing is clear: unless it is kept under control, insecurity can hinder your spiritual growth…and even destroy your natural life.


How can it hurt us?


Insecurity is what I call a “negative faith.” Satan uses it to convince Christians that they simply do not have what it takes to achieve a certain goal in their natural or spiritual lives. By believing this, Christians lock themselves inside a mental prison of their own making. Like a negative complex, they become convinced that they’re not (fill in the blank)——-enough. More often than not, Satan will point them to someone who IS ——-(fill in the blank) enough, then show his victims all the reasons why they can never measure up. Comparison is a dangerous game—–one that we should never play.


How do we overcome it?


I want to give you three steps to constantly keep before you that characters in the Bible used in their own struggles.

  1. Get angry with the situation. Now, I know that sounds strange but, let me explain. I don’t mean get angry with people but get to the point that you refuse to let insecurity dictate your life. Like Shamgar, you have to come to the point that you say “enough is enough.” Until we Christians refuse to let the devil bully us into his emotional, spiritual, and psychological corners, we will continue to act like spiritual victims INSTEAD of spiritual victors.
  2. Think spiritually not naturally. Every Christian has the choice to look at his or her life through natural or spiritual eyes. God’s Word comes to lift our thinking about ourselves from a carnal viewpoint (which is full of limitations) to a spiritual outlook that is limitless.

    Mary shows us this in her own life. Although she was from a royal lineage, she lived in a place that was simply pathetic. Nazareth was a small, backwater town with a big crime rate. The region was so bad that, when the Roman armory was robbed in Sephoris (4 miles from Nazareth), the Romans retaliated by crucifying 2,000 Jews.

    Yet, this girl who had every reason to think of herself as inferior to women from Jerusalem or Bethel, shifted her thinking to focus on God’s unique purpose for her life. She believed she was able to carry that child. And, as she said to Elizabeth “From this time on all women will call ME blessed!”
  3. Remember your past successes: Joshua commanded Israel to make visible markers of their victories. This was critical to remind both themselves, and future generations who could share in a collective “insecurity” that they had already done great things by the power of God. You see, Israel itself had to believe that they were strong enough to conquer. They had to know that they could triumph over walled cities, trained armies, and experienced commanders who knew the terrain while they themseves did not.

    The first generation did not move past that self-doubt. It spilled over into doubting God and kept them from actually seeing His Word of promise come to pass in their own lives.

    I’d like to drop a warning right here. Do not let Satan make you question your ability to accomplish God’s will for your life.

    We are all gifted in different ways. You may not have the faith of a certain brother or sister. But don’t let that stop you from using whatever faith God has given you.
  4. You may feel someone else has greater talents or question your usefulness in light of someone else. But remember that, the God who used you once, will continue to use you in whatever way He desires, if you’ll stop doubting yourself …. and doubting Him.

    These three approaches all point to one thing— replacing insecurity or “negative faith” with “positive faith”. Our mindset about ourselves will affect our mindset about God’s Word.
    You cannot believe that God can do anything in and through your life unless you’re first willing to belive that you can do anything through the power of God.

    In the end, Jesus broke through the insecurity caused by His humanity. He faced it down alone…and won that night in Gethsemane. And, because He did, nothing would ever be the same again.

The Power of a Seed

Follow-up to this morning’s live-stream, Why was the Holy Ghost sent?

About two months ago I stopped in a local Lowe’s to see if they had any squash plants available in seedling form. It was late in the season, I was told, and they didn’t have any left. I knew this was true, but I wasn’t prepared to accept the fact that I wouldn’t have my squash.

So I found a few seeds and, when my lettuce growing season was over, I planted them. This week I went to my garden and harvested the first round of bright, yellow squash. As I stood, admiring the vibrant green leaves, I found myself lost in amazement at the power of a seed.

Stop and think for a moment about the miracle that’s actually happening. Underground. Away from all human observation.

Those seeds were stored in a package for months, maybe even years. But all it took for new life to take hold were the right conditions. A little moisture. Some sunlight. Warmth. But the real marvel lies here. Despite the fact that the seed itself falls apart and rots, the life within it moves on.

In thinking about what we heard this morning, I want to highlight a few things about God’s Word Seed children.

We are equipped

First, the Second Adam, Christ, is the Quickener who came to make alive the seed of God that were lying in the dust. By His Spirit we are equipped to let the Divine Life within burst through the limitations of this flesh.

 That is why we rise above ourselves. We now push forth aspects of His glory. We speak in tongues. We do miracles. We raise the dead and see visions. By His Spirit we discern the secrets of the heart and manifest God’s glory through kind words and loving deeds.

We are being transformed

But our journey doesn’t end when we are quickened to life by the Holy Spirit. God wants to transform us into His own image. This is a process that continues throughout this life and ends when we stand glorified in His presence. Now here’s the good part.

The same God that quickened us, is with us throughout the journey to ensure that we arrive safely at our destination. Just look back at that squash seed again. Everything it needed to bring forth bright yellow fruit was inside it from the time it germinated. All it had to do was remain in the right atmosphere (the soil) and use the nutrients it ingested to bring forth more of its own life.

So it is with us my brothers and sisters. As we remain in the atmosphere of the Holy Ghost (who is in the Word) and use the spiritual nutrients we take within ourselves, we will find that we actually have what it takes to express more of God’s life.

We are prepared

I’ve often seen Christians praying for more power. More faith. More understanding. I think that’s fine. But do we realize that we already have what we need to overcome this age and be raptured into the presence of God?

In Luke 17:5, the disciples asked the Lord “Increase our faith.” But I want you to notice Jesus’s reply in verse 6. “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” He never told them more faith was on the road. He simply showed them that what they had was enough to do what Adam did before the Fall!

So what stands in your way? What Goliath boasts, hurling his fetid breath in your face? Stand like the prophet Zechariah and declare “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain.”

We are confident

This is why the Bride can face tomorrow with confidence. That’s why we can still smile in the face of tight deadlines, stress, hurricanes, wildfires, pandemics, job insecurity, crooked politics and whatever else the devil has in store.  

We know that, no matter what happens, the Life within us cannot be stopped. Let the critics say that the “season of Christian squash” is over.  Let the mutter that miracles no longer happen and doubt the prophecies of God’s Word. Perhaps they don’t carry the Holy Ghost in their denominational shops.

 But God doesn’t take shortcuts anyway—He is in the business of producing things from seed.

We are that seed. And, by His grace, we will produce a full harvest—the Millennium and the eternal rule of Jesus Christ.

What is the Holy Ghost? Follow-up

This morning I shared two main things that describe the Holy Spirit—the life of God and a Seal. This afternoon, I’d like to drill down on that first aspect a little more and identify how God’s life becomes infused with your life today.

Adam’s life

To begin, let’s look once more at the life of Adam, God’s first child. Adam was a perfect combination of faith and what we would call biology. His life-force was God’s spirit, or ruach in Hebrew which means “wind”, “breath,” or “spirit.” Adam’s unconscious faith allowed him to rule over nature, travel faster than the light, and have every animal in creation love him. Just look at what Jesus did after sin struck the world and you’ll get a good picture of what Adam could do before sin touched the planet.

Biologically, Adam’s gene-sequence—or DNA—was perfect. On a spiritual level, there was no sin so there was no sickness. On a natural level, his DNA came from God so there was no chance that diseases like COVID-19, HIV etc. could infiltrate his body.

Adam’s commission

Adam’s task was clear—make other people like himself. If Adam and Eve had waited on God, eventually, faith and biology would have come together to produce another perfect child. But with the onset of sin, we find that Adam was still able to reproduce biologically—but NOT in faith.

Let me emphasize that again. Adam reproduced but it was not as God intended.

The job was only half-way complete. God’s commission to reproduce and replenish was done through pure science (biology) and not faith because sin had spoiled the picture.

Quite clearly here we can see the same in our world. Spiritually, many churches are bringing forth children (members) but not through the faith covenant of a new birth. Many lay emphasis on works instead of faith for there is no supernatural change in their life.

Naturally, we see the same. Without morals or the Word of God to guide them, humans reproduce in the realm of sin, outside of marriage, and not in the faith of God’s covenant. The sheer number of single moms that we have in society proves this.

Adam’s life was not carried on. Abel came to the world without the power that his father once knew. Abel came into this world with a death sentence hanging over his head from the moment he drew his first breath.

How did this affect humanity?

Instead of health, there was sickness. Instead of fellowship, there was a spiritual disconnect from God that now required the blood of a lamb to bridge. The family structure was fractured with the husband against his wife and one brother killing another.

Now, remember that the life of God is a spiritual thing. It is unseen, like the wind (read John 3:8). Yet this unseen breath has the power to transform dead flesh into a living reproduction of God—just like it did in Adam. When Jesus breathed upon His disciples in John 20:22, He was fulfilling God’s pattern. Here again was God breathing upon the dust that He had chosen for His own divine purpose. On the Day of Pentecost we see that life moved into them (not just upon them) like a mighty rushing wind.

What really happened?

God had fulfilled His own commission to Adam. He did what Adam failed to do. God had reproduced His own life in human flesh. And the 120 believers were now ready to spiritually bring forth even more children unto God through what we call the Great Commission.

As Paul wrote,

For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 4:15 ESV

God’s life in 2020 and beyond

As we look at ourselves, we must understand that we are holders of the same precious life that God intended for us to have all along, when we receive the Holy Spirit. Whereas the first Adam failed, the Second Adam (Christ) transmitted His own life to us when the Spirit left His side that day on Calvary.

This life is our ticket to overcoming this world. It holds within itself the power to break the chains that bind us, to heal our sicknesses, and to change our negative circumstances. Never underestimate the power of this divine life.

Remember, God always chooses to hide His life behind fragile dust. But it is DIVINE life just the same.

When you feel you can’t go on, remember the life within your heart created the world. When struggles and situations seem overpowering, remember the life inside cannot be defeated. The Holy Spirit is now here to correct the errors in your natural birth, to change you from a creature of time into a creature of eternity.

That is where spiritual growth happens.

To look at it another way, God’s plan never changed. From the Old Testament to the New, it just became more tangible. So is it in your life. You, the sealed product of God, don’t become more of a Christian—you just demonstrate more of that Divine Life that’s already on the inside as you grow in Him.

And that is what our Father wants. Let Him unleash the power of His own life in you today.

Suggested readings:

John 15 (whole chapter)
What is the Holy Ghost?

Surviving Laodicea Follow -up

This morning we identified 5 ways to survive the final church age called Laodicea. Using the early church as a model, it is clear that the Bride must:

  1. Stay connected to the Holy Spirit
  2. Remain connected/committed to each other
  3. Constantly expect the supernatural moving of the Spirit
  4. Be vigilant and on guard against the enemy’s attacks
  5. Live for Christ’s return.

This evening I thought it would be helpful to showcase what each of these things look like in your life. Now, it’s important to remember that these principles will express themselves differently for each of us because we all face unique circumstances.

But our lives will all have a common thread that proves the Spirit’s presence within us.

Connected to the Holy Spirit

If we are connected to the Holy Spirit, we will hear His voice. We will know His will. We will be guided by Him and seek to minister to one another. John 16:13 reads,

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

— John 16:13

As you seek to protect an atmosphere of worship and praise, you will find Christ to be all the more present. For truly our God desires to dwell richly within His people!

Connected to each other

I have often emphasized the need for believers to communicate with one another but this connection goes deeper than phone calls or texts—this is a spiritual empathy, a spiritual connection that cannot be expressed in any human language. And this empathy, or feeling for one another, must be nurtured. The Bible stresses the need for Christians to “let brotherly love continue (Heb.13:1)” and to have “fervent love (1 Peter 1:22)”. We must seek opportunities to deepen our spiritual bonds. In part, this means checking in with one another and encouraging each other throughout life’s journey.

But it also translates to bearing with one another when it’s hard to do so. Trying to understand where the other person is coming from and looking out for each other’s best interests. It’s praying deeply for each other and building each other up with compliments and praise.

In short, this connection lets those around you know that you are interested in them. And Paul expresses this truth when he writes, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (Philippians 2:4 NLT).”

Expecting the Supernatural

The supernatural is all around us. Each breath we take, each step we make, every time a bird flies—it’s all part of God’s glorious hand. And yet our Father has a more intimate, personal desire to express His power to us and through us. To expect the supernatural means to live in a state of constant readiness. Spirit-filled souls must be charged with anticipation, knowing that each second may be the moment of their expected deliverance. We must be positive, creating an atmosphere of faith that draws the Holy Spirit’s miracle-working power.

We are not doubters. We believe. Therefore we must receive.

I have seen God work in the most unexpected places and at the most unusual of times. There is no predicting His timetable. After all, God sent His Son at the most inopportune time for Israel. Caesar Augustus was a new kind of ruler—the first Caesar ever in fact—and he demanded a global census that cemented his hold on the known world and drove Israel further into the mud.

But that was the moment God called “the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4).” That was when He chose to send His Son into the world.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the litany of problems in our age, the Bride should have her head up, and her eyes looking toward the skies. We have a promise of a Rapture. What could be more supernatural than that?

Watch out for the enemy

Being watchful means that we take the time to consider if our actions are giving the enemy a chance to take over our life.

Humans are in the habit of acting and then praying. We would be better served by praying, waiting on God, then acting when we have His leadership.

We must also be conscious of our weaknesses and keep them under the blood. We all have areas that Satan targets more than others. See my previous post on the Castle Hochosterwitz.

For example, today I had to stop to pick up a burrito on the way home from church. In the restaurant they were playing a song from a movie that I saw as a kid. Its rhythm is catchy and the words drew me back to my childhood.

But it wasn’t a song that would please the Holy Spirit.

In those few seconds, I had to make a choice—give in to the temptation of listening and enjoying it or get my mind off of it and get on with my affairs.

To my flesh’s dismay, I chose the latter.

Our enemy will strike at any time so be on guard!

Live for Christ’s return

When the Lord’s return is our everything, we are building our life around that single event. We choose to live holy or unholy BECAUSE we believe in His return.

We choose careers that will glorify Him because we believe He’s coming soon.

We don’t emphasize gaining worldly goods because we expect to leave them all behind. We try to please Him in everything we say because we love Him and are looking to be when He comes.

But what about the natural side of life?

Are we settling grudges? Mending fences and rebuilding bridges—metaphorically speaking? We must pay the debts that we can pay and live honorably in the sight of those around us.

Let us live above the temptation and pleasures of this life. Give your time to the King and deepen your relationship with Him. Refuse to compromise on your beliefs in an intolerant world. Let the Word rule your mind as It will one day rule the world.

The first church did. And with that attitude, they turned the world upside down.

And so will you.

Suggested reading:

Keep an emphasis on serving one another this week, focusing on Philippians 2.

Have a question?

Post it in the comments.