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Monday, October 15, 2018

You Can’t Water Down The Message Of Christ And Yet Expect To Quench The Thirst For Jesus In The Souls Of People! We Are Messengers With a Message Bigger Than Us. What Does Your Message Say?

1 Corinthians 1:10-17, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (NIV)

Witty, engaging Christian Preachers and Speakers and vibrant, charismatic Spiritual Leaders still have the power to mesmerize and motivate believers today! And there is nothing inherently wrong with such power. The danger comes when the speaker, preacher or leader, and not the Message, becomes the focus of attention! Christian Preachers, Speakers and Leaders are Merely Vessels Through Whom God’s Word is Communicated. Exalting Them for the Message They Proclaim is a Misunderstanding of Their Purpose. Put Simply, It’s the Message, NOT the Messenger That Matters Most! As believers today, we must guard ourselves against identifying too closely with Human Leaders or placing too much emphasis on them or chasing personalities. Our Loyalty and Identification Belong Only to Jesus Christ and His Unadulterated Gospel Message!

The sad truth is that today’s church has not changed much from the Corinthian church. And if we were to tell a deeper truth, today’s church just may be worse off! There is still dissension, discord and division. There is still the highlight on the Messenger and the dim light on the Message! This however, should not be! Which is why it’s so vital that we emulate John the Baptist! “He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so]” (John 3:30 AMP). Can you imagine what the church, and more important what the pulpit, would reflect if we took on such an attitude?

Sadly, Pride and Arrogance have become the “Norm” in today’s churches, and it’s simply masked as “Self-Confidence” or worse, “God- Confidence”. When the truth is, making Our name great, at the expense of using His is what’s actually being done! For some reason we’re under the sad impression that if your name is not heard, you aren’t accomplishing much! However, I beg to differ! 

We’re never told Naaman’s servant girls name, but could you imagine his story without her?
The woman caught in adultery, her name is never shared, and yet for all who have fallen short in this area, she is a reminder that God forgives and grants a fresh, new start without judgment and without punishment of your past!

It wasn’t a person with a grand name that impressed Jesus with his “Thank You”, nope, it was an Unnamed Leper that was simply Grateful!

We would never know the heart of kindness if we didn’t have the story of the Good Samaritan, who remained nameless, but deeds were unforgettable!

And dare we not mention the unnamed boy with a lunch that fed a multitude! Surely he should have had his name read in the credits! 

The woman with the issue of blood is still renown, and yet, No One But Jesus Knows Her Name!
There was the man with an unclean Spirit and a maniac in the tombs, both healed, and no one knows the name of these two powerfully delivered men!

The two thieves on the cross with Jesus, surely the one who Made It In, despite his past, would want everyone to know his name?

The wise men who brought wonderful gifts to Jesus (now of course they would want their names known, after all, they bought Him gifts, and you know we don’t know how to give a gift without telling the world we gave it; secondly, they saw Jesus as a baby and became a part of His early-days story – now you know folks will stand in line to make sure you include them in the book of your life, because they “knew you when”…)

And can we really leave out the wise virgins? Naturally they would want it known that they came prepared, with oil flowing!

Do you know how long this list can go on?! A Multitude of Nameless People In the Bible Made An Impact and Didn’t Need Their Names Mentioned To Do It! So, Leaders, Can You Handle Being Nameless?

What happens if God calls you to write tirelessly, encouragement that inspires and empowers daily, all over the world, and yet you never write a book of your own to put a price tag on? Can you handle it?

Can you handle preaching and watching multitudes be saved and yet your name isn’t even known in your own backyard? Can you handle it?

What if God calls you to lay hands on people in the hospital and they recover, but never say thank you and never mention you in the telling of their testimony…Can you handle it?

Never forget, that the purpose for us is simple: We Are Messengers With a Message Bigger Than Us! 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!” (MSG)

Listen: If we never live in the mansion; if we never own the yacht; if we never drive the latest car; if we never travel the world; if we’re never on TV or radio or never write the book…If We Share The Message, We’ve Done A Remarkable Work On Earth for the Kingdom of God!
People of God you don’t need a pat on the back; you don’t need accolades, applause and entourages! You don’t need a ring the size of your hand, a cross covering your chest and 12 different robes to change monthly! You don’t need a special seat in the church! You don’t need to hand out your business cards to every person you meet! Just Share The Message! God Himself Will Commend You, And Isn’t That More Important? 

In A Nutshell: It’s Time To Stop Wearing Crosses, And Start Carrying Them! It’s Time To Stop Perfecting Our Image and Mirror His Instead! The focal point of ministry is the Message, nothing else! That’s it in a nutshell! Preaching Jesus! It’s not about being in the church that pays you the best salary; it’s not about being the “favorite” in your circle of influence; it’s not about your name being called more than anyone else; it’s not about you receiving preferential treatment; it’s not about your cross, ring, robe, organization or fellowship, It’s About the Message of Salvation! The focus of the church should not be on anniversaries; birthday celebrations; conferences; convocations; gala’s, brunches or banquets! It’s about the Message of the Cross! 

You Can’t Water Down the Message of Christ And Yet Expect to Quench the Thirst for Jesus in the Souls of People! And You Can’t Persuade Them to Come to “Your Church”, Because That’s Irrelevant! It’s not important whether they receive Jesus through Paul or Peter, It’s Important That They Simply Receive Jesus! So This Coming Weekend Think Hard About the Message You’re Sending to the Multitude! Do the People You Preach to Know that it’s about the Message and NOT the Messenger? And to take it a step further, What Exactly is the Message You’re Proclaiming? Is Jesus In It? Is Salvation In It? Is Healing In It? Is Deliverance In It? Is Heaven and Hell in it? Is Holiness in it? Is Forgiveness in it? Is Growth, Maturity, and Development In It? Is it even Biblical? Does It Challenge? Does It Change? Does It Confront Issues? Does It Correct, Instruct, Reprove and Rebuke? What Does Your Message Say? 

Are People Coming to Your Church Because They Know They Will Hear an Impacting Message From God, or are They Simply Coming Because They’ll Hear an Inspirational Memo From You? 
One of the main problems facing the first-century Corinthian Church was Division!
When Paul wrote to Corinth, the church there was divided into at least four factions, each of them aligned with one of four Prominent Christian Leaders.

One group identified itself with the Apostle Paul. The members of this faction may have been attracted by Paul’s emphasis on his ministry to the Gentiles. Acts 9:15, “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel” (AMP); Acts 22:21, “And the Lord said to me, ‘Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” (AMP)

A second group identified itself with Apollos, one of Paul’s fellow missionaries. He may have attracted a following because of his eloquent speaking abilities (Acts 18:24-28, “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent and cultured man, and well versed in the [Hebrew] Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being spiritually impassioned, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things about Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John; and he began to speak boldly and fearlessly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained more accurately to him the way of God [and the full story of the life of Christ]. And when Apollos wanted to go across to Achaia (southern Greece), the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples, [urging them] to welcome him gladly. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who, through grace, had believed and had followed Jesus as Lord and Savior, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public discussions, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).” (AMP)

A third group identified itself with Cephas, another name for the Apostle Peter. This group may have been mostly of Jewish background. Galatians 2:8, “(for He who worked effectively for Peter and empowered him in his ministry to the Jews also worked effectively for me and empowered me in my ministry to the Gentiles).” (AMP)

A fourth group identified itself specifically with Christ. While on the surface, it might seem that this group was the “godly” contingent of the Corinthian Church, this may not have been the case at all. 

Paul does not commend any of the groups, not even the “I am of Christ” faction, suggesting that all of their professed allegiances were causing division and dissension in that church as well.
Paul then uses three rhetorical questions, each expecting a negative response, to show the absurdity of the Corinthian divisions: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” Paul pointed out that in the act of baptism, a person Identifies Himself or Herself With Christ, PERIOD! Baptism does not align the believer with any Human Leader or with any Faction of Christianitybut with the Lord Himself! The Corinthians, who prided themselves on their wisdom and understanding, had misconstrued this truth. They had begun to identify themselves with the men who had performed the baptisms rather than with Jesus Himself!

Now, we might be tempted to write off this problem, attributing it to “those silly, immature Corinthians,” if it were not for the Fact that the Tendency to Exalt Dynamic Leaders is Still Prevalent Today! 

Are You a Voice Crying Out In The Wilderness For Repentance, Or Has Popularity Tamed Your Tongue?

Remember: It’s About the Message NOT The Messenger; And the Message Should Always Be About Jesus!

“And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race].” (Mark 16:15 AMP)

 “Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP);

“But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” (2 Timothy 2:16 AMP);

 “From that time Jesus began to preach, crying out, Repent, (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 AMP)

“Behind most church fights and unresolved divisions is ugly human pride. And the worst kind of pride is religious pride, the Pharisaical pride of self-righteousness and superiority.” (Alexander Strauch)

“Preachers who should be fishing for men are now too often fishing for compliments from men.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

 “If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.” (Oliver Goldsmith)

“Modern Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak that if it were poison it would not hurt anyone, and if it were medicine it would not cure anyone!” (A.W. Tozer)

J.P. Olson

Monday, October 8, 2018

What Junk Do You Have On Your Family Tree? God Is Not Looking For Gold Vessels Or Silver Vessels. He Is Looking For Willing Vessels. Never Allow Where You Start to Dictate Where or How You’ll Finish.

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, READY TO BE USED] for good words, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (AMP)

When David first arrived at King Saul's palace he was a simple, unknown shepherd boy. But he had an impressive rèsumè nonetheless! God, in essence, said, 'I saw you kill the bear and the lion; I was watching your courage, leadership, fighting ability and strength when you didn't even realize I had my eye on you.' Solomon wrote, 'A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.' (Proverbs 18:16). David's ‘gift’ may have only been the ability to accurately swing a slingshot, but it opened the door to his future as Israel's king! So even though what you've got doesn't seem like much, give it to God and watch what He can do with it! You say, 'But I'm not formally trained.But All God requires is that you show up, say yes, and make yourself available

When you give God what you've got, He gives you what He's got; and that alone makes your odds unbeatable! 'But I don't have the right credentials,' you say. So what? Benjamin Franklin had less than two years of formal schooling yet at 25 he founded America's first library, at 31 he started its first fire department, at 36 he designed a heating stove that's still in use today, at 40 he harnessed the power of electricity, at 45 he founded the nation's first university, and at 79 he invented bifocalsHe was an economist, philosopher, diplomat, inventor, educator, publisher and linguist who spoke and wrote in five languagesChances are, you already have more education than he had when he was your age and yet look at all he was able to accomplishPeople of God, regardless of where you come from, your family structure, gender, ethnicity, age, education, employment, handicaps or even failures, you still have enough to accomplish great thingsNow, just in case Ben wasn’t enough and you need some ‘biblical’ examples instead, here’s a few you should always revert back to when you feel unqualified or unequipped:

1...Joseph becomes the Pharaoh’s right hand man. He can interpret dreams and he saves Egypt from a famine. But before that, Joseph was two things that weren’t all that great. He was a slave and a prisoner! Yet, look how God used him and blessed him! The Bible says, “So Pharaoh commissioned Joseph: “I’m putting you in charge of the entire country of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and slipped it on Joseph’s hand. He outfitted him in robes of the best linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He put the second-in-command chariot at his disposal, and as he rode people shouted “Bravo!” Joseph was in charge of the entire country of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:41-43 MSG). Not bad for a former slave and prisoner! Likewise friends, regardless of your past, you too can have a great future ahead of you. Even if you dropped out of high school; didn’t go to college; can’t find a job; battled with addictions and habits; lived in the projects; come from a broken home; and even have a criminal record! You are still a vessel that God can use!

What Junk Do You Have On Your Family Tree? All of us can relate to this question in one way or another because some of us have come from families that were just a mess. Aren’t you glad that God’s isn’t like people? People will find one flaw or one crack and discard you and your entire life. But not God! He doesn’t make any attempts to replace you or use something or someone else because of the junk on your family tree. No, He uses the SAME old you to make you a better you! God doesn’t throw us away when we mess up, after all Jesus was a carpenter! Why would He throw away what He possesses the ability to fix?! You are never so badly damaged that God can’t repair you! And no matter what ‘labels’ people put on you (even the ones that are true), cannot hinder you from still being a work-in-progress workmanship of God’s! No matter who you used to be; no matter what you used to do; God Still Wants to Use Even You! Will You Let Him?!

2...If you were a shepherd and your daily work consisted of leading a bunch of sheep around you’d probably be shocked if God not only talked to you directly and revealed Himself to you, but also told you that you were going to lead His people to the promised land! So just because you flip burgers for a living, don’t you underestimate what God can do even with that! The Bible says, “Naaman was general of the army under the king of Aram. He was important to his master, who held him in the highest esteem because it was by him that GOD had given victory to Aram: a truly great man, but afflicted with a grievous skin disease. It so happened that Aram, on one of its raiding expeditions against Israel, captured a young girl who became a maid to Naaman’s wife. One day she said to her mistress, “Oh, if only my master could meet the prophet of Samaria, he would be healed of his skin disease.” (2 Kings 5:1-3 MSG). Could you imagine if this no-named, imprisoned, slave girl never opened her mouth, how would the story of Naaman had ended? One thing’s for sure, Naaman would still be a Leprous Leader! In fact, she didn’t mumble under her breath either! She went straight to the Lady of the House and spoke! So if he can use Moses, with a stutter to still declare the 10 commandments, and a no-named servant girl to bless a highly named general, surely he can use you just the same, no matter what you do for a living! You don’t have to be a preacher to share the good news of the gospel, you can be a bus driver! Just imagine how many people a bus driver comes into contact with every day!? What about a janitor or teacher at a school? They come into contact with hundreds of people (young and old, and of every ethnicity) on a daily basis! Imagine if they talked about Jesus! Not to mention a cashier! And they don’t even have to turn into the early church evangelist on the job either.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what your occupation is (or lack thereof), God can use you as long as you are available to be used! He doesn’t ask for perfect vessels, just clean ones! 2 Timothy 2:20, “Now in a large house there are not only vessels and objects of gold and silver, but also vessels and objects of wood and of earthenware, and some are for honorable (noble, good) use and some for dishonorable (ignoble, common).” (AMP) God will use a gold or silver vessel just like He’ll use a wood or earthenware one. The importance is on the vessel being available and clean! So He’ll use you if you’re a dog walker or a police officer; a CEO or a chef; a firefighter or a mechanic; a senator or the fry cook at Applebee’s; a professor or a high school dropout; young or old; educated or uneducated; wealthy or poor; from the white house or the poor house! God has no favorites! He’ll use any clean vessel! 2 Timothy 2:21, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable – disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (AMP) No matter what you do for a living, as a clean vessel, you can still work for the Lord! God Can Use, Even You!

3...God used Gideon to deliver Israel from Midian, but before that Gideon was nothing more than a farmer! But when it comes to sowing or reaping a plenteous harvest, no one goes looking for the CEO, they go looking for a farmer! So, don’t undervalue your gifts, talents or skill-set! The Bible declares, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” (Proverbs 22:29 NASB). Whatever your gifts, talents, skill-set’s or abilities, God wants to use them. And that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of the five-fold ministry! People who are orderly God can use; people who are good thinkers and strategist, God can use; people who can sow; stitch; teach; bake; do laundry; work at the bank; restock the shelves at the supermarket, can all be used by God. All you have to do is know what your skill-set is, and then hone in on perfecting it through practicing it. Truth is, we spend so much time trying to get people into a black robe and into the pulpit, that we’re no longer preparing the next generation to put on a black robe and get into the government where they can change this world for the better! Yes the church has need of you; but so does this world. We are not citizens of it, but while we’re strangers passing through, let’s use our gifts and talents to leave it better than we found it. And that means telling God, ‘use me and my gifts and talents, wherever and however you see fit!’ Let everything you do reflect that you represent Jesus in everything you do! God Desires to Use, Even You!

4...Jephthah is used by God to deliver Israel from the Ammonites. Before that, Jephthah was only known as being the son of a prostitute! Listen: Don’t you dare let your past identify youDon’t let your families’ highs or lows give you your value, or diminish it! Look at this: Ruth was a Moabite, a pagan, and yet her genealogy changes drastically with a son from her own womb: “...they named him Obed He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. “ (Ruth 4:17 NASB). So, don’t let where you started dictate where you’ll finish! If you have to start broke, just get started; if you have to start living out of your car, just get started; if you have to start right after the divorce, just get started; if you have to start with no help or support, just get started; if you have to start with the odds against you, just get started; if you have to start as you get off the bus, just get started; if you have to start while having chemo, radiation, dialysis, just get started; if you have to start with cancer, heart disease, lupus, unemployed or homeless, just get started! Think about it, everyone knew Jephthah was born of a prostitute, and yet when the people had to go to war who did they come looking to lead them into battle? You guessed it, the prostitute’s son! So no matter what your lot in life has been (you don’t have to keep living there); no matter the cards you’ve been dealt (you can play well and turn it into a winning hand)!

Just Never Allow Where You Start to Dictate Where or How You’ll Finish! Philippians 3:12-14, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out to me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.” (MSG); Isaiah 43:18-19, “…Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?...” (MSG) Start from wherever you are, and keep moving forward! Remember, God Wants to Use, Even You!

5...Like Moses, David was also a shepherd, but David was also just a boyBut that same little boy would defeat Goliath and he would eventually become king! So, don’t you dare let anyone limit you because of your age! Be it youngster or senior! Truth is: Joash was king at 7! (2 Chronicles 24:1, “Joash was seven years old when he became king; he was king for forty years in Jerusalem…” MSG) and the priest Aaron died at 123 (Numbers 33:39, “…Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.” MSGSo don’t you dare let anyone limit you! Remember the Word of God Declares God Can Use You and Bless You At ANY Age! Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are YOUNG. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NLT). Church, use our young people in God’s service! They can do more than sing on the choir and usher. Train them how to handle the security of the building; how to count money with the trustees; teach them how to teach; how to clean the House of God; how to play an instrument; how the sound equipment functions; you can even use them to bring forth a sermonette or meditation on a youth Sunday. Don’t despise their youth! If they can learn trigonometry, they can learn theology! “Even in OLD AGE they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” (Psalm 92:14 NLT). Do not cast our seniors aside! Their wisdom; experience; knowledge; understanding; and guidance are all valuable to every generation! Don’t let them get to 65 and then try to retire them from the Lord’s Service! Joash served at 7 and Aaron served up until he turned 123 years of age! If God’s not putting time constraints on people, who are you to think you can? God Will Use Even You, at Any Age!

6...Like Joseph, Esther was a slave before God used her to save her people from being massacred! Women of God, who you were can’t stop who you’re destined to become! Eve had a hunger that cost her a garden; Potiphar’s wife had an unlawful sexual appetite; Lot lost his mate when she couldn’t get her eyes off the rearview mirror; Delilah should’ve left the hairstyles to the professionals; Sapphira needed a financial consultant; Jezebel should’ve remained single; Tamar never recovered from her brother’s rape; and Michal didn’t value the worth of her husband’s worship! These women didn’t get to redeem themselves, but you can! Take your past to the cemetery and start living life to the full! It’s time to fulfill your purpose! Esther 4:14, “For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]?” (AMP) You are still here on purpose, for a purpose, now fulfill it! God Wants to Use Even You, On Purpose!

7...Who did God choose to be the mother of Jesus? A famous actress? A celebrity? A great athlete? A famous politician? Nope, the mother of Jesus (Mary) was a peasant girl! Please understand greatness is not attached to Wealth, it’s attached to Willingness! “Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said…” (Luke 1:38 AMP). God is not looking for great achievements, just availability! Are you willing to let God use you? Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (AMP) Is that your declaration too? Or are you like Saul hiding behind stuff? 1 Samuel 10:22, “So they asked the Lord, “Where is he? Is he here among us?” And the Lord replied, “He is hiding in the baggage.” (TLB) Is that where you are today, hiding in the baggage? When God needs your gifts, talents, skill-set, know how, ability and availability, are you hiding in the baggage? Hiding in the baggage of your past; failures; bad choices; and the like? Well today is your day to come out of hiding and leave the baggage in the past! God has need of you, yes even YOU!      

8...Matthew was one of the 12 disciples and wrote one of the Gospels that told about the life of Jesus. But before Jesus asked Matthew to join Him, he was a tax collector! Don’t under-value what you do from day-to-day, God is still watching, and He’ll call you and use you even while you’re doing your little day-to-day (seemingly unnoticed) job! Nothing you do is irrelevant, no matter how little! His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.” (Matthew 25:23 AMP). Furthermore, there are some jobs that people hate, just like that of the tax-collector. Dog walkers, they stop every few minutes so dogs can poop and they can clean it up, who wants to do that? Janitors and sanitation workers have to clean up and pick up some gross stuff, who wants to do that? But when you’re faithful to do even menial, not so glamorous jobs, God blesses you even in that. So never think that God is checking your employment status to bless you or to use you. God has proven time and again that He can use anybody, anywhere! And yes, that includes you!

9...Luke traveled with Paul giving him a companion to journey with and Luke would also write one of the four Gospels. But Luke was a simple physician! But what God uses your hands to heal in the natural, can’t compare to what He’s going to use your hands to heal in the spiritual! You see, Paul was known for killing folks in the natural, but that wouldn’t compare to the resurrection power he would possess in the spiritual! “...Paul talked on, way past midnight...A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus fell sound asleep and toppled out the third-story window. When they picked him up, he was dead. Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard. “No more crying,” he said. “There’s life in him yet.”...Paul going one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive…” (Acts 20:9-11 MSG) Whether your hands cut people in the prison yard; sold drugs in the backyard; was rebellious in the schoolyard, God can still clean those hands and use them for His work and His glory! God doesn’t hold you to your past, so release yourself too! Your hands are the hands God will use to transform this world; yes even your hands!

10...Many of the disciples were just common fisherman and would go on to do God’s work. Peter is the best example as he would be an Apostle, a leader of the early church and he would write two letters in the Bible! “...Peter stood up and...spoke out with bold urgency…That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles!...Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.” (Acts 2 MSG).

The very next time you doubt whether you have enough to do a work for God or dare to under-estimate yourself, your worth and value, just remember this: Jacob was a Master of Deception; Gideon was a Self-Doubter; David was a Premeditated Sinner; Solomon was an Unwise Lover; Paul Was an Adversary; Elijah was Suicidal; Noah was Drunk; Abraham was Old; Jeremiah was Young; Timothy had Ulcers; Job Went Bankrupt With Boils; The Disciples Fell Asleep During Intercession; Isaiah Preached Naked; Leah wasn’t exactly a Beauty Queen; Naomi Lost All the Men in Her Life; John the Baptist was Beheaded at a Birthday Party; The Samaritan Woman Had Too Many of Other Folks Men; Saul was Tall; Zacchaeus was small; Samson was a Womanizer; Rahab was a Prostitute; Jonah was a Prejudiced Prophet; and Lazarus was Dead and yet God used each of them greatly! So why can’t He use even you?!

 “I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say ‘Yes.’” (Bob Goff)

“There are times when God wants to use you in someone else’s life; it may not be pretty or comfortable, but they need to see Jesus.”

“The more you’re willing to risk, the more God can use you. And if you’re willing to risk everything, then there is nothing God can’t do in you and through you.” (Mark Batterson)

“God Is Not Looking For Gold Vessels Or Silver Vessels. He Is Looking For Willing Vessels.” (Kathryn Kulman)

J.P. Olson

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I See This All The Time On Facebook When People Post A Sickness Or Have Lost A Love One, Why Do People Say I'm Praying For You, Prayers Going Up. For Many It Stops Right There, They Don't Pray. Why?

I see this all the time on Facebook when people post a sickness or post that they have lost a love one. Why do people say "I'm Praying For You, Prayers Going Up." For many it stops right there, they don't pray. Why? Because it is just a figure of speech for them, people just get in the habit of saying that, just like people throw around the saying "I love you too" when they are just saying something, because it is common to respond like that. But what if we really meant it. To really pray for someone and pray fervently, do you know some of the positive results we would see because of our prayers. many people don't have a personal relationship with God so they just follow the other comments of "I'm praying for you.". Prayer is serious business. It's the same attitude some people take when they attend Sunday service. To some people, it's just another given Sunday, so that's what we do we go to church. They don't go expecting anything, to receive anything from God, it's just another given Sunday. Are we Awake? Do you know that praying with fervency make change in people lives and in a nation.

Because the enemy does not want us to pray we are often under attack.  The enemy loves to isolate believers and try to weaken their effectiveness.  This is especially true for Prayer Leaders and ministries that are set up to stand in the gap.  

Thankfully, according to Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they will run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  This is not the time to give up but to press in and press on!

Throughout the Bible, believers are called to pray. But what is prayer? What does it mean to "pray without ceasing?" And does prayer really make a difference? 
In order to develop a clear idea of prayer, we must first have a clear idea of God. 

Biblically speaking, God is a personal being. This is critical to prayer because it means that God is a person we can interact with, that He has a will and that we are able to relate to Him on a meaningful level. If He were impersonal, then prayer would not be meaningful. If He were personal, but uncaring and distant, prayer wouldn't serve a purpose.

Not only is God personal; He is also loving (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16). This is also important in relation to prayer. If God were personal, but uncaring or unkind, then prayer might do us more harm than good! God is not only loving He is all loving (omnibenevolent). In relation to prayer, this means that God always desires the best for us because He loves us.

God is also all-powerful (omnipotent), meaning that no prayer is beyond His ability to answer, "For nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). If God were less than all-powerful, then we would have no assurance that He could answer or even hear our prayers.

The fact that God is all-knowing (omniscient) is also significant to the concept of prayer. If God were limited, then He would not know all that is happening in His creation. If this were the case, He might overlook our prayers because they might be beyond His knowledge. Fortunately, the Bible is clear that God knows everything (see, for instance, Psalm 139:2-4; 147: 4-5; Isaiah 46:10). In relation to God's omniscience, Jesus said, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:8).

God is also wise and holy. He knows what is best for us, as well as what will lead us to holiness rather than sin. He is also immanent, meaning that God is active in His creation in a personal way, not only directing greater matters of history, but also involved in the life of everyone. This means that no prayer is too great for Him, but also that no prayer is too small for Him.

What Prayer Is Not
Prayer is not magic. We cannot summon God as though He were a genie, waiting to grant our wishes without regard for our circumstances or the consequences. 

Prayer does not make demands. While we can make requests of God in prayer, we dare not make demands. God is the Creator of the universe and does not take orders from us. 

Prayer is for our benefit, not God's. We need a relationship with God, available to us through Jesus Christ and engaged primarily through prayer, because we were made to function best when we are in a proper relationship with our Creator. 

Prayer is not a guarantee against suffering. "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33); "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:12-13). 

Prayer is not an opportunity for us to show off. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men" (Matthew 6:5).

What Is Prayer?
So what is prayer? Prayer is a relationship, wherein we humbly communicate, worship, and sincerely seek God's face, knowing that He hears us, loves us and will respond, though not always in a manner we may expect or desire. Prayer can encompass confession, praise, adoration, supplication, intercession and more.

Generally speaking, why is prayer so important? Prayer is how God’s people respond to him in thankfulness and praise. Prayer is how God’s people cry out to Him for mercy and deliverance. Prayer is how God’s people call upon Him to accomplish the work of His kingdom. In short, prayer is how we actively demonstrate our utter dependence on Him. It honors Him as the source of all blessing.

In addition, our attitude in prayer is important. We must not be haughty, but humble (Ephesians 4:2; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6, etc.). Seen in this light, to "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) means, in one sense, that we must always strive to have a prayerful attitude. Our prayers must come often and regularly, not from legalistic duty, but from a humble heart, realizing our dependence on God in every aspect of our lives.

Now, I haven't got this whole praying without ceasing thing mastered yet, but I'm certainly getting it more and more! I’m learning the benefit of "Praying in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests."

And truth is with all that’s going on in the world, do we really need anyone to encourage us to pray more? The loss of life, attacks, cruelty and the likes. Do we really need someone to say never stop praying? Our children are dying more frequently, younger and more violently, do we really need someone to call us and remind us to pray?

We Are Indeed Living In Some Of The Scariest Of Times, YET, We Have The Advantage Of Constant Communication With Our Creator Who Is In Control Of All Things. So, Who Wouldn’t Talk To Him More Often?!

Let’s Determine Today To Make Prayer Our Lifestyle, Not Just Our Lifeline!

J.P. Olson