lightning strike on forest during night time

Gen. 4-10: Worship, Murder, and the Human Experience

Tear down the Tower of Babel and Vuild the Kingdom of Gid Walk Through the Word

Genesis 11:1-9 Bible study
  1. Tear down the Tower of Babel and Vuild the Kingdom of Gid
  2. Of Faith & Doubt
  3. Genesis 4-10: Worship, Murder, & the Human Experience
  4. From Spirit to Flesh: Study on Genesis 2 & 3
  5. Walk in the Word #1: From Chaos to Perfection

Thank you for listening to this episode of Walk Through the Word. This is Brother Joseph. As we dig into our study of Genesis 4-10, we want to focus on the theme of meeting God’s requirements. What does He require from us in worship? In the way we interact with others?

The Book of Genesis is the story of our human beginnings. It’s also a prophesy of the global conditions that will exist at the end of time according to Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26-30. So let’s examine our hearts as we approach this great text.

From worship to murder

Eve was pregnant. Normally, we get happy when we hear that a wife is expecting. But, in this case, the child she carried would be the bane of humanity. For his father wasn’t Adam. It was the serpent with whom she’d had a sexual relationship in Genesis 3. Our focus today isn’t the lineage of Cain (which is proven throughout the scripture). Today, let’s look at the approach to worship.

Both Cain and Abel (who was Adam’s son) grew to adulthood. Now there were physical differences between Adam, Eve and their children. For starters, these boys had a belly button whereas Adam and Eve did not. We know this because Adam and Eve came from the hand of God whereas the children came from Eve’s body. Now, this might seem funny but that physical mark reflected a terrible reality—that the boys would one day die. For God’s promise was that “the day you eat thereof, in that day (1,000 year period) you shall die” (Gen.2:17).

As they grew to adulthood, the boys knew that they had to get right with God because time was running out. So today is time running out for you, sinner who’s listening in. None of us know when God will call us from this world. So, let us learn from their example and come to the throne of God for mercy.

Note that both Cain and Abel had religious desires, even though Cain was of an evil seed (see 1 John 3:12). It goes to show that Satan hides himself in religion. And when Satan’s goals are thwarted, religion paves the way for murder. Let’s look at this more closely.

Abel approached God with a revelation that blood (his father’s semen) had made his mortal body. The Bible clearly calls a man’s semen, his blood (see John 1:13) and the link between adultery and murder runs throughout the Old Testament. Both could only be atoned for by the shedding of blood according to the law. But Adam and Eve would not have told their children the truth of their parentage. What parent would? Can you imagine a mother saying to her son that the man he thinks is his father really isn’t and, because of her wrong doing, he and all the rest of humanity will die?

Not at all.

Therefore, Abel’s approach to worship is based upon one thing alone—divine revelation of the will of God. Somehow, Abel heard from God and, according to Hebrews 11:4, he offered a sacrifice which pleased God by faith which is revelation. So, to answer our first question: how do we worship God?

It must be by a personal revelation of Jesus Christ—everything else will be rejected.

The Christian religion has lavished countless dollars upon gorgeous churches and invested heavily in all sorts of religious rites that fail to offer revelation and true consolation to the soul. Now, with a virus, our church buildings are just like our religious works—empty.

Jesus taught us that we must worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:12). What does the Spirit bring but divine revelation of who God is? For the Spirit is the Teacher as well as the Comforter (John 14:26). So, if your worship is not revealing God to you, if it is not making Him know to you as well as through you, then your worship is in vain (Matthew 15:9).

Notice that Abel’s worship brought him in contact with God but it also revealed God through his literal body. As he offered up his lamb, Abel was foreshadowing that one day God would offer His Lamb upon an alter. Worship, my friends, reveals God through your body and through your life. So we cannot truly worship the Lord if we look, act, think, or feed upon the sins of this age. Our worship is to last, like Abel’s until our death. Our entire lives are to be a “living sacrifice unto God” according to Romans 12:12.

Before we move on, ask yourself: is my life one of worship? If not, lay it on the altar of God today.

Cain shows the hypocrisy of religious orders. Once he failed to achieve his goal he went from being a worshipper of Jehovah to a murderer. Here we see clearly the pattern followed throughout history—if they disagree, kill them! If they have a trace of the Spirit about them—they are a threat! From the Jews throughout the ages to the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches, empty religion has always set the stage for murder. And the Bible predicts the emptiness of intellectual Christianity that does not have the Spirit, will soon unleash the greatest murder persecution the world has ever seen (see Rev. 12:17).

Cain crossed a line. For the first time, the earth drank the blood of a human. And nothing would be the same again.

The beginning of the end

Cain married his sister (perhaps a daughter of the serpent) who was in the land of wandering or Nod. God had condemned him to be a wanderer (see Gen. 4:14) but, instead of accepting his punishment, Cain decided to fight against the Lord’s judgment and build his own civilization. He could not live among Adam’s children, for he was now an outcast, so he decided to start his own race. Just like Lucifer, he rebelled against the divine plan and decided to create a city.

But the sins of the father come down to the children.

Lamech is a descendent of Cain and Lamech introduces the idea of polygamy. Prior to this time it was one man for one woman among the human race. But Cain’s tribe unleash a new idea that will soon spread across the world. Towards the end of Genesis 4, we see a remarkable statement that many overlook.

One day Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; listen to me, you wives of Lamech. I have killed a man who attacked me, a young man who wounded me. If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times, then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!”

Genesis 4:23-24

Right after polygamy is introduced we see the second human killing–a death caused in self-defense. .Lamech is more justified than Cain because Lamech killed to protect himself. And so we see the seeds of human war are sown. And now there’s no stopping what will lead up to the greatest destruction humanity has ever seen.

The power of genes

In a natural sense, the human story revolves around one basic principle—genetics. God gave Adam and Eve perfect genes that allowed them to live eternally with sickness unable to touch them–although it was present. Remember the Tree of Knowledge and Satan were in Eden all along. Genes are what allow the Son of God to enter the human race as redeemer. And in Genesis 5, God takes the time to list the genealogy of the righteous line from Adam to Noah’s sons.

Before I go further, let me say that I know believing that Eve was impregnated by the Serpent of Genesis 3 is difficult for many to swallow. But once you get over that hurdle, the Bible literally becomes a new Book. Genesis 5 again proves this to be the case. Note verse 3:

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

Genesis 5:3

Note that Adam was 130 when he fathered Seth. But the Bible says nothing about how old he was when he fathered Abel. Do you get it? Adam was an eternal being when Abel was fathered. Time wasn’t reckoned unto him. But by the time Eve conceives with Seth, Adam is now mortal. He is aging. Time is applicable to him. But the hand of time is also moving toward the promise of redemption.

The next seven generations span a timeframe of about 2,000 years. Humanity is reproducing but we can see that life stages, such as puberty, are happening a lot later than they do today. Most of the marriages occur when the adults are between 60-90 years old, which makes sense if the entire lifespan is almost a thousand years old as was the case with Methuselah. But as you look at the line of Adam, we see that in general the age before fathering the first child decreases which shows us that humanity is getting slowly weaker.

For example, Adam fathers Seth at 130. Seth’s first child, Enos, is born at 105 years old. But Enos fathers hi son at 90 and the process goes on. With a few exceptions, the genetic pool of Adam’s race is changing. What does this tell us about the ancient world?

Adam’s race is getting weaker. As the world was rushing toward its first destruction, something was happening that led to earlier puberty. We see the same in our world today. In 1860, the average age for puberty in girls was documented at—get ready— 16.6 years old. In 2010 that number had dropped to 10.5 years, globally according to a study reported by The Guardian. This varies across races but the general trend is clear. Humans are becoming physically capable of sexual acts at a younger age while marriage is being postponed or forgotten altogether. What does this produce?

A world primed for immoral living. Sexual promiscuity always leads to overpopulation which, in turn brings about competition for natural resources such as food and raw materials as societies become burdened by demand. In a limited sense, this same problem of limited resources and unlimited needs was behind the rise of the Nazi Germany and the United States’ genocide of the Native Americans. Looking at the conflicts in our planet now, we see that little has changed. Competition leads to war which ultimately brings about destruction.

The human experience: then & now

As we zoom into Genesis 6 & 7, we see two distinct groups of humans emerging: Seth’s line and Cain’s line. Each represent a spiritual reality: the righteous and the damned. Again, remember that before Christ came, your spiritual status depended a lot on genes. Hence the reason that Christ came “to His own (the Jews)”. Even the calling out of the remnant of Israel, the 144,000 will be linked back to the family groups or genes (see Zechariah 12:10-14, Rev. 7:1-8). Their inheritance in the land, even the physical locations where they will live in the Millennium are all dictated by their genes as shown in the book of Ezekiel.

Notice that when Israel came back from Babylon in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, they went straight back to the inheritance that was allotted to them by their genealogy. It was attached to them from the time that Joshua divided up the land and was never taken back. So, it’s not like the U.S. where anyone can buy another person’s property. Even if I liked to live by the sea, I couldn’t just pick up and buy land in Zebulun’s tribe if I was a Judahite for example. Each inheritance belonged to the individual family groups forever! And God still will remember the rights and privileges of that ownership even after the return of Jesus Christ.

Blessed be His Name!

What a great grace is shown then to us Gentiles in re-geneing us so that we too can have a part in God’s inheritance. It goes to show that we who are not of Israel but are Gentiles have so much to thank God for! We had no genetic promise to tie us back to God like Israel, through Abraham, did. But Jesus Christ brought us into the family of God by a new birth that changed our spiritual genes and gave us an inheritance.

giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Colossians 1:12 NKJV

Now I hope you can see the need for the New Birth. It is a spiritual transformation that literally changes our genes from the coding of our earthly parents to the spiritual faith of our heavenly Father. That is why you’re now able to rise above the emotional obstacles that your natural birth laid down on you. You will have to struggle against them all your life but you will have the power to overcome, thanks to this re-geneing of the Holy Spirit.

Truly, genes are important. I’m so thankful to have the genes of the Holy Spirit, aren’t you? We could take that a lot farther but you just meditate on that awhile on your own. Let’s turn our attention back to Great Flood.

The rise of race

But back in the antediluvian world, humanity was divided into two groups of people.

The Bible tells us that things changed as humanity multiplied. Instead of bearing predominantly sons (see the genealogies of the previous chapters), humanity began to bear daughters. Obviously girls had always been born or the human race would have ceased to exist. But now, there was an abundance of women born upon the earth. And, with the pattern established by Lamech of taking more than one wife, there was no longer a need for monogamy. Being faithful to one woman was no longer a requirement.

Sound familiar?

The truth is that Cain’s side had launched a sexual revolution.

But remember there was a race war going on at the time. Satan was the author of it then and he is the author of all racial tension now. His goal was to annihilate the sons of God (see Isaiah 14:13-14). But how could he? They were freshly descended from God through Adam. Adam, Seth—the patriarchs were living for almost a thousand years teaching the Word of God. How could he break through this hedge of preachers?

Through the woman.

Satan learned in the Garden of Eden that men have one major weakness. It doesn’t matter how holy they are, how much they pray, every man’s weakness is a woman. And still today every man must face the temptation. Even the Son of God Himself had to face it. Christ struggled but He overcame. And so will you brothers if you keep your eyes on where we’re going and not the temporary pleasures of this world.

So sisters, remember to be careful what you say to men and how you conduct yourselves around them. Dress in ways that will lead to holiness as the Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:9 remembering that you have the power to either keep his mind on things of God or to inflame his lust.

And, if you’re married, Sisters, remember to be patient and listen to him if he talks to you about his struggles. The Bible commands that you meet his needs (1 Cor. 7:5).Don’t drive him away or make him feel like he’s an abnormal creature. That’s his nature. He was made to propagate life.

And men, keep your conduct under the Word, striving to keep your thoughts and bodies sanctified to God. And if you’re married, keep yourself only for your wife. Meet her physical and emotional needs as the Scripture commands you to do. Listen to her struggles and pray with her.

The race war then wasn’t so much black versus white or any of the nonsense we see today. It was a spiritual war focusing on bringing down good and elevating evil.

Don’t we see the same today?

Behind the fog of racism and antisemitism, liberalism and conservatism, the real agenda is faith versus doubt.

Satan won that war.

The fall of the righteous and the end of the world

Adam’s line quicky forgot their religious principles when faced with the temptation of the gorgeous Canaanite women. Like today, the clergy failed to hold the people accountable to God. By the time of the Flood, only Noah and his family—out of a population of billions—had enough spirituality to hear from God.

As the female population exploded, there simply weren’t enough men to pair with one woman. Society then became a world of women’s rights, with women leading homes, being worshipped, and leading nations. We see this by the lack of spiritual knowledge shown by Adam’s sons, and the prophecy of Jesus Christ that our world will be a reflection of what was in Noah’s time.

But on the heels of hedonism comes violence. Then as now, physical wars broke out across the planet. Wars fueled by the discovery of nuclear technology. We’ve often been taught that early civilizations were primitive but that simply isn’t born out by the Bible or archeological evidence.

Humanity is like a pendulum. It swung once toward a technological peak, was destroyed and swung backward, then now is swinging back toward another technological peak. Keep in mind the following:

  • Cain’s side was actively tapping into knowledge (shown by Tubal Cain’s inventions)
  • Each scientist lived for hundreds of years, passing down knowledge
  • There were no language barriers because everyone spoke the same language so knowledge could be easily shared
  • There were no geographic barriers because there was one landmass.

It is utterly illogical to think that the science and technology would not have continued to grow, especially when we look at our world. In just 250 years, we’ve gone from a primitive steam engine, which launched the Industrial Revolution, to space travel. And that’s with scientists living about 80-90 years!

What would happen if scientists were living for an average of 800 years and we had 2,000 years to experiment as was the case between Adam and Noah? Stone axes and animal skin clothes?

Not at all. We have Noah being able to build a boat that is over 500 feet long. God inspired him but he still had to build the physical structure. And a boat the size of the ark (the British SS Great Eastern which was 692 feet long) wasn’t built until 1858, according to the Visual Capitalist.

One of the reasons people question the Bible is because we present to them a very unscriptural view of what it says. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Noah and his family didn’t have access to the technology of their time, even though they weren’t scientists themselves. Think about it: I trust you all are Christians listening to my voice this morning or reading this online. Yet you’re using the technology developed by critics of God’s Word to listen to this podcast!

I was very pleased to recently read an article by Quartz Hill School of Theology in which they also recognize that the world of Noah was one with highly developed technology and nuclear technology.

Noah and his family survived the equivalent of a nuclear holocaust — in fact, for all we know there might have been one just before the flood. Radiation poisoning and the resultant genetic damage would go a long way in explaining why human life spans, which before the flood averaged over 900 years, declined rapidly to their current levels after the flood.

Quartz Hill School of Theology, Was there modern technology before the Flood?

Without reading this article, I’ve often stated that the lifespan of humans after the Flood is shorter because they were trying to grow crops in a world that had been contaminated by radiation. When we look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we see that humans were literally vaporized when atomic energy was used on a small-scale level. What would happen if the entire planet went to war? There would be little or no evidence left. And the survivors would be starting over, from scratch.

Just think about it: if you and your family were the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust, how much of our technology could you reproduce? Could you build a car? How about a spaceship? Or maybe you could reinvent the internet?

When the nuclear technology of that world was misused, it altered the entire balance of creation. Floodwaters covered the planet, unleashing the wrath of God. And so today the same will happen again. But this time it will be fire. The bombs of our world will trigger volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis like we’ve never seen. The Pacific Ring of Fire, the Phlegraean Fields near Naples, Italy, the Supervolcanoes right here in the United States, will belch forth and God’s wrath will again be unleashed.

Our only prayer is to be right with God. Then, it doesn’t matter what happens to this body, as long as our soul is ready to meet Him. For hell is right beneath us all. It is a physical place in the earth (where these volcanoes are active) as well as a spiritual dimension. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus descended into hell after He died to preach to the lost, does it not?

Oh, that might be a hard one for you. Let’s read it together.

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; (20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

1 Peter 3:19-20

Again Peter says,

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

1 Peter 4:6

Paul also brings this out clearly.

In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:9-10

Hell therefore is in the earth but, just as we cannot see the Holy Spirit and the angels of God until we leave this body of flesh, so can we not see the demon powers that inhabit the dark world. Let’s hear what Brother Branham had to say about this.

And then man,sitting a pot of hell, hits hisself in the chest and defies God’s Word, and says, “There’s no such a place as hell.” (I got that down here in a little bit, and we’re going to get to that, see.) You’re sitting on a big pot of it every day. And while you’re here you’re sitting right on it, and hell’s just beneath you.

53-0729 – Questions And Answers On Genesis

Coping with the stress

The Bible doesn’t just tell us the good that God’s servants do. It also reveals their weaknesses. This encourages us as well as provides instruction, telling us what we should not do when faced with similar situations. After the flood, Noah is traumatized. I’m sure you can understand that. Imagine, all your friends, your family, they’re all wiped out.

You are the only survivor. And all the comforts that you’ve known are now non-existent.

Even though God has blessed Noah and his family, it still doesn’t take away the heartache. What a good lesson here for us to remember. God may bless and use you but He expects you to be willing to sacrifice everything to serve Him.

Sometimes this is our stand for Christ. You might be facing ridicule or pressure from a coworker. Maybe you feel like you’re missing out while others are living in pleasure and sin. Or maybe you’re fighting to break free of a habit. You see, every action that we do for God brings a blessing but it also comes at a price. And, at times, that load can be heavy to bear. Don’t be alarmed if your cross gets heavy at times. It doesn’t mean that you’re not a Christian. It simply means that you’re human.

The Bible encourages us to keep on doing the work of God for we will be rewarded (see Gal. 6:9). Simply lean back on the arms of Jehovah and seek His strength.

Noah didn’t do this. His escape was the one thing he still understood in this world—making wine. Now, is that the kind of example that a prophet of God should be showing? It brought reproach upon his testimony and a curse upon his grandson that we’ve seen carried out through the ages.

Here’s the lesson that I’d like to point out.

Be sure that your ways of coping with stress and pressure glorify God and don’t hinder your Christian testimony.

I think every Christian should have a hobby. Especially in this age of pressure, we need natural things to relax our natural bodies. God didn’t command us to pray all the time. After all, a huge part of Adam’s day was spent in physical work, not just prayer. Be it a sport, outdoor activity, or some kind of art, it’s good to get our bodies and minds out of the routine. But don’t let your stress outlet lead you to acting out of a Christlike character (isolating yourself, or using foul language or violence for example).

The consequences of our decisions

I want to close out this podcast with a stern reminder that everyone of our decisions will always bring a consequence—sometimes well after we’re gone. Noah’s decision to live as a drunk would impact the entire world more than four thousand years after his death. Ham disrespected his father when he saw him lying naked in the tent. As a result, in anger Noah cursed Canaan, Ham’s son.

Keep in mind that Ham himself could not be cursed for God had already blessed him (Gen. 9:1). But Canaan was a different story. Although Canaan himself had done no wrong, the judgment fell on him. The prophecy of his angered grandfather condemned him to slavery and subordination to his brothers.

Now I want to clarify something here. This scripture has often been used to justify the enslavement and racial inferiority of the black race. I recently read a text that was popular in America during the 1860s which claimed that God instantly changed Canaan’s skin color from a white to black and his features from European to “thick lips” and other “negroid” characteristics!

The ability of humans to twist God’s word to their own evil intentions is nothing short of amazing. That being said, I want to clarify this subject as it is so important in our modern world, especially in America, and many criticize the Bible without understanding that there is God’s will and then human choice.

God’s intention was never to have slavery, however slavery did come. And Noah, the angered prophet, unknowingly set this chain of events in motion. Much like Elisha who cursed the children (2 Kings 2:24) the word of a prophet must be honored. This was not God’s intention. But He had to honor the prophet’s position because Noah was His mouthpiece.

Looking at the genealogies in Gen. 10-11, we see that Shem fathered the groups that we know as the Semites (including but not limited to the people of Israel), Japheth began many of the groups in eastern Europe and Asia (such as the Greeks, the Celts and Russians) whereas Ham settled in Africa (see Psalm 78:51 and others).

And, as we know from history, his descendants did end up in servitude to the other races of the world. For centuries, slave traders and other evil minded people used this text to justify their actions. To make things worse, Ham’s name in Hebrew, Arabic and Egyptian, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, is associated with heat, blackness, and servitude while Japheth (meaning enlarged) has been linked back to the Hebrew yaphah (which is to be beautiful or white). I want to really emphasize that the will of God (who came to set the captives free) was never slavery or racial discrimination.

But, sadly, it did happen as Noah said. Many races have been enslaved throughout human history, including Europeans and Anglo-Saxons. But the African slave trade was especially noteworthy both in terms of its brutality and its global impact.

Again, there is God’s will and then there is the consequences of human decisions. I don’t say this all happened because of Ham. But there’s no denying that unfortunately humans used this story to do what was in their heart all along as a quick read of pro-slavery literature shows.

So here is the lesson:

Don’t leave a mixed record of your life as Noah did. Remember that your actions, for good or for bad, will have consequences that outlive you. So, live in such a way that others can only be inspired by your life. Believe with a faith that will leave a testimony for others to follow. Because, in the end, all that matters is the record we leave for Christ.

Well, this has been a long and in-depth study of Genesis Chapters 4-10 on Walk through the Word. I truly hope it’s been as much of a blessing to you as it has been to me.

Here’s a quick summary of what we covered:

  • Our worship of Jesus Christ must be based on revelation
  • When we are born again we are spiritually regened by God and are brought into fellowship with Him
  • Be on guard! Satan infiltrated God’s line through unlawful sex and tries to sabotage us still today by the same trap.
  • Live in a way that you are right with God at all times
  • Be sure that your means of coping with stress please the Lord
  • Don’t be dismayed if your burdens get heavy at times. Lean on Christ for strength.
  • Your actions/decisions will have long lasting consequences.
  • Live in a way that inspires others to serve the Lord.

If you’re part of the global audience and have questions, just write them as a comments on our website: thelwbc.com.

Until we meet again, walk in the Spirit.

Study on Adoption #2

Tear down the Tower of Babel and Vuild the Kingdom of Gid Walk Through the Word

Genesis 11:1-9 Bible study
  1. Tear down the Tower of Babel and Vuild the Kingdom of Gid
  2. Of Faith & Doubt
  3. Genesis 4-10: Worship, Murder, & the Human Experience
  4. From Spirit to Flesh: Study on Genesis 2 & 3
  5. Walk in the Word #1: From Chaos to Perfection

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

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.

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.

The Mind War Part 2

Castle Hochosterwitz

Hochosterwitz castle is a fortress that rises over 2,000 feet above sea level in Austria. It’s first historical mention is in the year 860 AD. While there are, in my opinion, plenty of other castles in Europe that are grander and older, Burg Hochosterwitz is famous for the simple reason that, according to local tradition, NO ONE has ever captured this castle.
If you’re familiar with Europe’s history, you’ll understand why this is so remarkable. Paris was beseiged at least 5 times and our own city of Philadelphia was captured by the British in 1777.


Built on a limestone rock that rises about 500 feet above ground, this fortress is considered impregnable because of its design. It has 14 gates that an enemy must conquer one at a time to get to the heart of the castle compound. But the gates weren’t designed just to slow down the enemy—they were built with a second set of steps that allowed the castle’s defenders to attack the enemy on all sides.
With this kind of setup, after almost 1,200 years the castle’s reputation remains intact.


Our Tower


The Bible tells us that Christ’s Name is our Tower. I want you to think for a moment. If natural men could build a tower (or a fortress) so defensible how much stronger is the Tower of the Word?
Our Tower has been carefully crafted, word by word, just like Hochosterwitz castle was constructed stone by stone. Our fortress is impregnable. Untouchable. And no enemy is capable of reaching us, as long as we remain IN the Tower.


Our Choice


We Christians are in a unique position. We can either build up our Tower or tear it down. Now, I know we might resist that thought–after all, it’s hard to imagine deliberately tearing down the tower of Christ’s name. But remember, in order to sin, we must first deliberately lay aside the Word like Adam and Eve did when they tore down the fortress that was given them in the Garden of Eden.


You see, in order for our castle, or fortress to do its job, we need to build up its influence in our life. We must remind ourselves daily that it is more than sufficient to protect us from the fears and assaults of our enemy that confront on every side. Spend time building up the impact of the Word in your life. Do not let the enemy put the thought in your mind that it is insufficient.


If Satan can cause you to doubt the power of your Tower, you automatically tear a block out of your own defences. With enough blocks removed, he will invade and take over your mind. Once your mind is conquered, your emotions will be easy to manipulate.

And once Satan controls your emotions, you will do and say things that you never would have thought you could. You become Satan’s tool and will destroy the faith of many until Satan destroys you.
The choice is yours. Build up your Tower. Don’t tear it down.


Our conflict


I want you for a moment to imagine your mind as being the courtyard of Castle Hochosterwitz. Castle Hochosterwitz has 14 entrance points that ultimately lead to its courtyard but your mind only has five.
Satan will hammer at each gate: conscience (sense of right and wrong), reasoning (what seems logical), affections (your emotions/feelings), imagination, and memories. Now, as I said this morning, each gate must be guarded by the Word for that is the only thing strong enough to defeat him. Frankly, that is the very thing that the Tower itself (the Name of Jesus Christ) is made of.


But we all know that in daily life our defenses get battered. We get tired mentally and spiritually from the enemy’s onslaughts. And in those moments…he strikes his hardest!


That is why we must constantly reinforce the defence around our gates with prayer and the presence of the Holy Ghost.
Because Satan knows that the Christian’s Tower is indestructible, his greatest success comes by causing us to question its ability to protect us.

To make this plainer, if Satan can make you wonder if your inner man has the faith to rise above a circumstance, then your outer, carnal man (the flesh) will automatically win.


When you focus your attention on a negative situation—an emotional crisis or a temptation you face, for example—you are inadvertantly helping your enemy gain access to your mind (the courtyard).


Instead, cripple Satan’s assault by replacing your thoughts about the situation with God’s Word on the issue. Literally take a block of God’s Word and put it between you and the enemy. Do you understand?

An example


For example, Ruth in the Bible had to deal with the sudden loss of her husband and a spontaneous decision she made to go to a new land. Now, she’s grieving and, instead of getting a warm welcoming committe and the support of other believers in Naomi’s homeland, she faces a lot of suspicion and negativity. Remember, she’s a Moabite and–although they were related–Israel and Moab had a history of conflict.
Have you ever felt alone or that other people (believers or not) couldn’t understand what you were going through?

I’m sure Ruth experienced that. But, despite the trauma of losing her husband, leaving her family (because the Bible tells us her dad and mom were still alive) and getting the cold shoulder when she comes to this new land of supposed Christian charity, Ruth shifts her thoughts to the future, to whatever little she knows about God’s plan for her life.


I’m sure there were many nights when she questioned her decision. Times where her mind struggled to understand just why she had chosen this path. Remember, these people in the Bible were human and struggled like we do.
But she guarded her mind against the influx of reasoning and bitterness that would have destoryed her if left unchecked. And she showed us this when Naomi gave her some rather awkward advice.


Our action


“Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man (Boaz) until he has finished eating and drinking.”

Ruth 3:3


Now, remember that God has a great plan he’s working out—Ruth will bear David who will bring forth, ultimately, Christ. But Ruth doesn’t know this. All she knows is that she trusts Naomi.


So she listens to what Naomi says (think of yourself listening to God’s Word) and blocks her mind from everything that she knows which would keep her from the threshing floor (think everything that seems to be reasonable).
Ruth goes forth and bears the reproach, because, it was a really shameful thing for a woman to be out in the night on a threshing floor. I’m sure you understand.


While, under normal circumstances, it would have been right to avoid a “threshing floor” situation, here Ruth steps beyond the confines of social propriety and the result (1,000 years later) is the birth of the Messiah.


Now don’t misunderstand—I’m not advocating for people to act irresponsibly or immorally, God forbid.

My point is that we have to literally choose to put the Word in front of every gate of our life, no matter how strange it may seem to us. For Ruth, guarding her mind, even against what she might think to be right, was what let the plan of God roll forward.


Our victory


I told you that Castle Hochosterwitz has 14 gates through which an enemy must pass before gaining access to the courtyard. THe furthest an enemy has ever gotten is Gate 4.

Takeaway


The Name of Jesus Christ is your tower. But you must still defend the gates. Daily build up your Tower’s protective ability by reminding yourself of its power and by placing the Word at every gate in your life.

  • Suggested Reading:
  • Romans 7 (whole chapter)
  • Questions and Answers #4 08.30.1964
  • Here’s a quick video showing aerial footage of Hochosteriwtz castle.