Follow me as I follow Christ

Esther's Petition

apostle-paulFollow me as I follow Christ, the apostle Paul said. (I Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17)

The word follow here is from the Greek mimetes, meaning mimic, imitate. Be like me. Do what I do.

Hmmm. Just how did Paul follow Christ? Reading the book of Acts (beginning at chapter 9) and Paul’s epistles, we find that he:

Was a citizen of Rome AND a faithful Jew, highly educated and well learned in the scriptures
Went on a zealous rampage to stomp out this “Way,” (the new religion,) imprisoning or killing believers and confiscating their property
Had a supernatural encounter with Jesus
Temporarily lost his vision
Obeyed Jesus’ instructions
Was saved, healed, baptized in the Holy Spirit
Accepted his assignment
Preached the gospel
Prophesied
Healed the sick
Raised the dead
Cast out demons
Was stoned, raised from the dead (or near death)
Mentored young believers
Recruited helpers, both men…

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Who killed… ?

SpeakTheWordOnlyThe idea that God uses Satan as his lap-dog – or hit man – is an old and persistent idea. But it ignores Jesus’s plain commands, his delegating his own creative authority to the disciples and his command for them to pass that message on. (Matthew 28:18-20)

That idea prevents people from praying in faith. More believers, faithful church-goers, are getting sick and staying sick. More will die. And more will leave their church, seeking a gospel of power that actually works. Do I have to become one of those? Some folks probably hope that I do, because what I say below doesn’t jive with their experience.

If you don’t know what God’s will is, you can’t pray specifically in accordance with I John 5:14-15.  Such as, healing is the children’s bread. The stripes on Jesus’ back were for our healing. Jehovah God named himself, I am the Lord that heals you. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy – Jesus came to give life – life to the full!

Jesus commanded the disciples to obey, and to teach us to obey (Matthew 28:18-20), whatever he had commanded them. He did it, and he showed them how to do it. And he commanded them – and us – to heal the sick.

When did he rescind that? Where did he add “except for John Doe, or Jane Doe” ? When did he add, “except in Florence, SC” ?

To obey His wishes, more is needed than just knowing what God’s will is – it requires speaking out, declaring, commanding God’s wishes just as Jesus would do.

Not wondering in doubt, not hoping in fear, because those prayers are double-minded (maybe he will, maybe he won’t) and they get nothing. They dishonor God.

Instead, it requires speaking in faith, knowing that the power that created the universe inhabits you. The Word of God inhabits you, your heart, your mind, and your mouth. Jesus needs your mouth, your tongue, to speak out his creative power today.

Sadly, Jesus himself couldn’t do miracles in his home town of Nazareth because of people’s unbelief. Today, ignorance or unbelief in what God’s wishes / will are, coupled with unbelief in the authority that was delegated from Him to us, will stop the power of God from accomplishing what He plainly desires –what he paid a very high price for.

How did Jesus combat that? By teaching, and teaching. And more teaching.

Many miracles are happening in the world today, people healed from deadly diseases, the dead raised, even missing eyes or limbs restored. Why? Because ignorance and/or unbelief aren’t putting up an automatic barricade.

Here’s a helpful teaching article from Andrew Wommack Ministries:

Our Authority Releases God’s Power

There are a number of keys to seeing the miraculous power of God manifest on a consistent basis. One of the least understood, and therefore seldom practiced, is the fact that healing is under the authority of the believer. God has already provided His healing power and placed it on the inside of every born-again believer. It is up to us to release it. Understanding and using our authority is the key to seeing miracles happen.

Look at how Peter and John ministered healing to the lame man in Acts 3:1-8:

“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

Notice that Peter didn’t pray for this man. He also didn’t ask God to heal him. He said, “Such as I have give I thee.” This didn’t mean that Peter was the source of this healing. Notice what Peter said in Acts 3:12,

“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”

It was God’s power that healed this man, but that power was under Peter’s authority. Peter went on to say in verse 16 that it was faith in the name of Jesus that had wrought this miracle. But Peter didn’t ask God to heal this man. He believed the Lord had already done His part and had placed that power within him. Now it was Peter’s responsibility to release that power, and that’s just what he did.

The Lord never told us to pray for the sick in the sense that we ask Him to heal them. He told us to heal the sick. There is a BIG difference between the two. It has to do with operating in the authority He has already given us. Look at these commands the Lord gave His disciples.

“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”(Luke 9:1-2)

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matt. 10:1)

“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:7-8)

Jesus told us to heal the sick not pray for the sick. What a radical statement! This will get you kicked out of most churches today, but these are the exact words of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is precisely why more people don’t see the miraculous results they’re praying for. They aren’t taking their authority and commanding God’s power; they’re passively asking God to do what He told them to do.

I know this goes contrary to popular Christian doctrine. We’re constantly told that it’s not us but God who is the Healer, and I agree with that totally. But, I also believe that God has placed His healing power under our authority, and it is up to us to release it. If we don’t take our authority and become commanders instead of beggars, God’s power will not be released. There needs to be a radical renewing of our thinking on this issue.

A good friend of mine, Dave Duell, held a meeting in Africa many years ago. It was one of his first times he saw miracles such as the blind and deaf healed. The people were so excited that they were mobbing him as he walked through the streets, trying to touch him so they could be healed. His first thought was influenced by this religious thinking I’m trying to change. He thought, They shouldn’t be looking to me. I’m not the healer; it is Jesus.

He was about to stop them when the Lord spoke to him. The Lord said, “Dave, do you remember when I rode that donkey into Jerusalem, and all the people put their garments and palm branches in the way and cried, ‘Hosanna’? What would you have thought if the donkey had spoken up and said, ‘It’s not me! It’s not me’? That would only have revealed the donkey’s arrogance. No one was praising the donkey; they were praising the One that was riding the donkey.”

When Dave recognized the people weren’t trying to touch him but the One he was carrying, he let them touch him all they wanted and people were healed. This is exactly what happened with the first-century disciples. Peter had people line the streets so that if only his shadow would touch them, they would be healed (Acts. 5:15).

Look at an amazing passage of Scripture in Isaiah 45:11.

“Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

What a powerful scripture! What does the Lord mean when He tells us to command Him? Well, He certainly doesn’t mean we are mightier and more powerful than Him and can order Him around. He means, concerning the things He has already done, He wants us to take our authority and command His power.

It’s like electricity. The power company generates the power and delivers it to your house. It’s not your power, but it’s under your control. You don’t call the power company and ask them to turn the lights on. No! They won’t do that. They generate the power, but it’s under your command. You simply flip the switch on the wall and command the power to work.

Does this mean you are the power source? Certainly not! You can put a light bulb in your mouth, and it will never come on. You aren’t the power source, but you are the one in control of what that power does. You can plead with the power company all you want, but they won’t flip the switch for you. You have to assume your authority and acknowledge the power is under your command.

That’s what the Lord was speaking of. He has already healed everyone who will ever be healed. He did it two thousand years ago when He bore our stripes on His back. Then He deposited His resurrection power inside every believer (Eph. 1:19-20). He’s done His part, and now it is up to us to do ours.

We need to take the authority He has given us and become commanders instead of beggars. This is a powerful truth that works, and it’s the reason we see so many miraculous healings. We aren’t just praying for the sick; we are healing them in Jesus’ name.

http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/authority_releases/
Also see:
Killing Sacred Cows
http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/sacred_cows/
How to Receive a Miracle – Part 2
http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/receive_miracle2/

I’m whistling up my sheep

16 Jan 2016

“I’m whistling up my sheep,” the Lord said to me this morning.

Lying in bed about 5:00 AM, not quite ready to get up, I asked the Lord to talk to me. (Last night I had gone to sleep so quickly that I didn’t even pray much.)

That was his answer. “I’m whistling up my sheep from all over the world.”

Then he showed me, scene by scene, masses of people being born again. In Iceland. Greenland. Lapland. The Gobi desert. Afghanistan. The Russian Steppes. China. South Africa. Indonesia. Kuwait. The continents, the island nations, small and large.

And on, and on, and on. Lost people responding to the prayers of found people, their hearts are waking up to desire God, to hunger for the true God. They are seeking Him and they are finding.

“If they have never heard the gospel, a way will be made for them to know it. They are entering the kingdom by twos, and threes, by two thousands, and three thousands. My sheep are coming in.”

I suddenly began to see faces, nations – black, white, red, yellow, brown, every shade of every skin color. Oriental. Pacific Islanders. Asians. European. Scandinavian. Native Americans. South American. First People.

Then I heard the whistle, like a boy calling his dog, or a coach calling his team, or a shepherd calling his sheep. The Shepherd is calling His sheep, and they are coming.

I realized – those who he is calling were not yet born again when he began whistling. The whistling is in response to the intercessions of his obedient born-again ones. As they pray and decree what the Shepherd wishes, he carries out those wishes.

And so he is whistling up his sheep. Whew. I can see those faces, hear those whistles. Multitudes are coming into the kingdom.

(See Zechariah 10:8)

Build up, not tear down

Recently several recent Christian blog posts left me more sad than happy. They contain fault-finding of other believers who they think are wrong in one way or another: individuals, groups, whole churches. How is that edifying to the body of Christ? Here’s something to think about:

“The Wise Old Man” (originally received in a FWD email, anonymous sender)
Date: 10-18-07
Subject: FW: The Wise Old Man

The Wise Old Man

A man of 92 years, short, very well-presented, who takes great care in his appearance, is moving into an old people’s home today. His wife of 90 has recently died, and he is obliged to leave his home. After waiting several hours in the retirement home lobby, he gently smiles as he is told that his room is ready.

As he slowly walks to the elevator, using his cane, I describe his small room to him, including the sheet hung at the window which serves as a curtain. “I like it very much,” he says, with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old boy who has just been given a new puppy.

“Sir, you haven’t even seen the room yet, hang on a moment, we are almost there.”

“That has nothing to do with it,” he replies. “Happiness is something I choose in advance.

“Whether or not I like the room does not depend on the furniture, or the decor – rather it depends on how I decide to see it. It is already decided in my mind that I like my room. It is a decision I take every morning when I wake up.

“I can choose. I can spend my day in bed enumerating all the difficulties that I have with the parts of my body that no longer work very well, or I can get up and give thanks to heaven for those parts that are still in working order.

Every day is a gift, and as long as I can open my eyes, I will focus on the new day, and all the happy memories that I have built up during my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw in later life what you have deposited along the way.”

So, my advice to you is to deposit all the happiness you can in your bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my account with happy memories, which I am still continuing to fill.

Remember these simple guidelines for happiness:
1. Free your heart from hate.
2. Free your mind from worry.
3. Live simple.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

If you have been blessed by this message, send it to your loved ones and your friends. It is the way we touch each other with simple truths that spread goodness in the world. Who knows, a miracle may happen as a result…

Have a blessed day!!

Another wave is coming

Esther's Petition

July 9, 2013

The other day the Lord told me something I have had to think about a bit more.

Another wave is coming, He said.

A wave of what? I asked. A wave of disaster, He said. In the United States. In the world.

I thought about all the disasters that have been happening in the last couple of years, fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, strange storms. Like the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Like Superstorm Sandy that hit the northeastern United States causing so much destruction. More fires and floods are still happening in America, even right now today.

More disaster?! Why? I couldn’t NOT ask. Was God himself sending these disasters?

People and nations reap what they sow, He said. Sin has a dreadful harvest.

People are earning — and receiving — wages of death. Voluntarily earning.

I have called, and called, and called, and warned, and…

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Minor prophets; not minor

AmosA few weeks ago I started reading the minor prophets. (Minor in this case indicates short, not of lesser importance.) I was reading Mark’s gospel one morning when the Lord interrupted my reading to ask a question.

“Have you considered Amos lately?” Of course he already knew I hadn’t. So, I flipped over to that Old Testament book and started reading. It didn’t take long to finish but it was serious reading.

When I had finished it, he spoke again. “Habakkuk?” And so I read that next. Over the next few weeks came Joel, Jonah, Obadiah, Hosea, Nahum, Micah, Zephaniah and Haggai, reading them online via Biblica with the NIV and Amplified versions side by side on the computer screen. I’m now in the middle of Zechariah. I also keep a map of ancient Israel open so I can follow along with the places mentioned, and now and then do an online search for additional information on timelines, people and places.

It’s been a sobering process. There is an obvious and alarming similarity between the behavior patterns that led to the downfall of the northern kingdom (Israel) and southern kingdom (Judah) and the behavior patterns – cultural, social and political – that exist in the United States today.

Prophet after prophet warned the people to turn back to God, to repent, to get rid of false idols, to return to worshiping the only true God. If they didn’t, well God’s patience was running out and disaster was going to happen when it did.

Foreign powers would invade, conquer and carry off the people of God into far-away lands. They would be enslaved. He would punish those invaders as well, but first he would use them to turn back the hearts of the people to God.

But the people didn’t listen. And so Israel and Judah were invaded, were conquered, and the people of God were carried off into far-away lands. Enslaved.

Here’s a passage from Amos Chapter 5 about The Day of the Lord:

  • Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.
  • It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.
  • Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
  • “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.
  • Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.
  • Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
  • But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

(Amos 5:18-24)

Resolved

happy-new-year-2016-christianimagesResolved:  Today, I will pay better attention to the Holy Spirit. Today is the day of salvation. This is the day the Lord has made.

Those verses are present tense…

It’s not bad to plan ahead. We all make plans for the future. We jot down appointments, make note of birthdays or anniversaries coming up, save up for vacations, etc. We make shopping lists for later in the week. Keep up with what’s happening around town, what’s coming up with family and friends in the near future.

But some things tend to get lost in thinking ahead all the time.

Redeem the time, we’re told. What does that mean? It means, to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good.

It means, while thinking about everything I need to do tomorrow, I must not miss doing what I’m supposed to be doing TODAY. Not miss hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice NOW. Like, rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. Go to the store NOW, not later. Make that phone call NOW, not later. Read that chapter TODAY, not tomorrow. Pray for that friend NOW, this morning, this day.

Advice for us all: Take notice of what we’re hearing from the Lord this moment, today. He brings to mind lots of things, if we’re paying attention. It may come through prayer, scripture reading, newspapers, books, magazines, music, television, radio, internet, chats with friends – or just noticing something outside the window at home or in the car.

Today is the day for being thankful. For rejoicing! For interceding.

Because today is the day of salvation (Greek soteria; sozo). For rescue. Deliverance. Provision. Protection. Healing. For me myself, and for someone else I can help or intercede for.

(II Cor. 6:2, Ps. 118:24, Eph. 5:16, Phil 4:4 KJV)