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FOUNTAIN OF MY SOUL By Pst. Victor Okereke (De Edifier)

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I AM LIFE-STREAM

“A fountain of joy alive in you”: How Music Tunes the Soul

I recorded this collection during the month of October 2018. Having a clear calendar for the month, I felt the Lord telling me that there was a reason I had no ministry obligations for the entire month. As I asked the Lord ‘why?’ I felt led to record this project, coupling some of my favorite songs. Worship with me and find rest for your soul as you walk intimately with Jesus through these song. I AM LIFE-STREAM

A fountain that flows from above;
I have passed from the waters of strife
And come to the Elim of love;
I have drunk of the heavenly well,
In the depths of my being it springs.
No mortal can measure or tell
The gladness the Comforter brings.

Fountain of my soul


Oh, come to the Fountain of Life,
The fountain that never runs dry;
Oh, drink of the boundless supply,
For Christ is the Fountain of Life.

I have come to the Fountain of Blood
That for guilt and uncleanness doth flow;
I have washed in its sin-cleansing flood
And my garments are whiter than snow.
I count not my righteousness mine—
’Tis Jesus that lives in my soul.
I partake of His nature divine,
And in Him I am perfectly whole.

I have come to the Fountain of Health,
A boundless and endless supply;
’Tis a secret man’s wisdom or wealth
Can never discover or buy.
But the secret my Lord hath revealed
In the fountain that flows from His side,
In the stripes by whose pain we are healed,
In Himself as He comes to abide.

I have come to the Fountain of Joy;
His joy is the strength of my heart.
My delight is unmixed with alloy,
My sunshine can never depart.

From my spirit within flows a fountain of life—
The Triune God flowing in me;
God the Father’s the source, Christ the Son is the course,
And the Spirit imparts life to me.

And my soul-life at last I lay down;
O Lord, deepen the pure flow of life;
At Your coming may life be my crown.

In the fresh, tender grass Jesus makes me lie down;
He leads me by waters of rest;
No more struggle and strain; all self-effort is vain;
In the flow I am perfectly blessed.

Jesus called me one day to the Holiest Place,
To live in His presence divine;
Hallelujah, I’ve heard an encouraging word:
“Abide—you’re a branch in the vine.”

Who can satisfy my soul, like You
Who on earth can comfort me and love me like You do
Who could ever be more faithful and true
I will trust in You, I will trust in You, my God

Who can satisfy my soul, like You
Who on earth can comfort me and love me like You do
Who could ever be more faithful and true
I will trust in You, I will trust in You, my God

There is, who is a King
(There is a fountain, who is a King)
Victorious warrior
(Victorious warrior and Lord of everything)
My rock, my very own
(My rock, my shelter, my very own)
Blessed Redeemer, who reigns upon the throne, oh yes

There is a fountain, who is a King
(Who is a King)
Victorious warrior and Lord of everything
(Victorious warrior)
My rock, my shelter, my very own
(My rock, yes He is, He is, my very own)
Blessed Redeemer, who reigns upon the throne
(Blessed Redeemer, who reigns)

Who could ever be more faithful and true
I will trust in You, I will trust in You, I will trust in You, my God

I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.

I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.
I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.

I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul.
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul.

I see a new city called OYIGBO

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I see a new city called OYIGBO

IF I WERE ASKED TO GIVE WHAT I CONSIDER THE SINGLE MOST USEFUL BIT OF ADVICE FOR ALL HUMANITY IN OYIGBO, IT WOULD BE THIS: EXPECT TROUBLE AS AN INEVITABLE PART OF LIFE, AND WHEN IT COMES, HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH. LOOK IT SQUARELY IN THE EYE, AND SAY, “I WILL BE BIGGER THAN YOU. YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME.” IF PEOPLE KNEW HOW HARD I WORKED AT MY ART, THEY WOULD NOT CONSIDER ME A GENIUS. –

JUST AS THERE ARE THREE R’S THERE ARE ALSO THREE A’S OF BUSINESS LIFE. THEY ARE: ABILITY, AMBITION, AND ATTITUDE. ABILITY ESTABLISHES WHAT A WORKER DOES AND WILL BRING HIM A PAYCHECK. AMBITION DETERMINES HOW MUCH HE DOES AND WILL GET HIM A RAISE. ATTITUDE GUARANTEES HOW WELL HE DOES.

JEREMIAH 30

18 “Thus says the Lord:

‘Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Oyigbo’s tents,
And have mercy on her dwelling places;
The city shall be built upon its own mound,
And the palace shall remain according to its own plan.


19 Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving
And the voice of those who make merry;
I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish;
I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO BE “HAPPY.” I THINK THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO BE USEFUL, TO BE RESPONSIBLE, TO BE HONORABLE, AND TO BE COMPASSIONATE. IT IS, ABOVE ALL, TO MATTER, TO COUNT, TO STAND FOR SOMETHING, TO HAVE MADE SOME DIFFERENCE THAT YOU LIVED AT ALL.

Oyigbo (also Obigbo) (IgboObi Igbo) is a town 30 kilometers from the port city of Port Harcourt and a local government area of Rivers StateNigeria. It is a satellite of Port Harcourt

Sir Precious Oforji was elected Chairman of the Oyigbo LGA in 2008. EZE Mike Nwaji was installed the traditional of Obigbo in 1998.

A DIVINE CREED FOR THE CITY CLLED OYIGBO

. IF WE TRUST, RELY ON AND ACKNOWLEDGE GOD, HE WILL DIRECT OUR LIVES.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE THAT HE IS COMPLETE IN GOD AND COMPLETE  IN MAN
  • GO AFTER THE THINGS GOD TALKS ABOUT, AND GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF OUR NEEDS.
  • GOD HAS CREATED WONDEROUS PLACE IN HEAVEN FOR ME IF I CAN BELIEVE IN HIM.
  • GOD CREATED US WITH A PURPOSE­­­­­­-WE CAN DISCOVER IT.
  • GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS, BUT HE STEPS INTO PRAISE TO ESTABLISH MY DESTINY.
  • “IN THY PRESENCE IS FULNESS OF JOY; AT THY RIGTHHAND THERE ARE PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE (PSALMS 16:11).
  • GOD LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY!
  •  IF WE MAKE MISTAKE, WE CAN START OVER.
  •  JESUS SAID HE WOULD NEVER LEAVE OR ABANDON US.
  •  WE ARE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO FILL OUR DAYS WITH MEANING AND PURPOSE.
  •  WE ARE RUNNING A PROGRAMME OF DESTINY WHOSE TERMINATION IS IN GLORY.
  •  EACH DAY IS NEW AND FRESH. WE CAN MAKE THE MOST OF EACH ONE.
  •  IF WE ARE SPIRIT FILLED, WE WILL MAKE WELL. HUMILITY AND SIMPLICITY SHOULD BE OUR WATCH WORD.
  •  GOD HAS PROMISED TO KEEP ON WORKING IN US AND WITH US.
  •   WE MUST DISTINGUISH BETWEEN A DEFEAT AND A FAILURE.
  •   THERE IS PROVISION THAT WE CAN BECOME SUCCESSFUL.
  •   OUR GIFTS AND CALLING ARE PERMANENT AND ENDURING. (ROM 11:29)
  •   GOD CONTROLS OUR WILL AND DESTINY.
  •   BEING DESTINED FOR GREATNESS REQUIRES US TO TAKE AND CONFRONT GREAT HAZARDS.
  •   TEACH US TO NUMBER OUR DAYS THAT WE MAY APPLY OUR HEARTS UNTO WISDOM. (PSALM 90:12)
  •   THERE IS NO VARIABLENESS WITH GOD, NEITHER SHADOW OF TURNING.
  •   SEARCH US O GOD, AND KNOW OUR HEARTS, TEST OUR                   THOUGHTS.POINT OUT ANYTHING IN US THAT MAKES YOU SAD, AND LEAD US ALONG THE PATH OF EVERLASTING LIFE  (PSALM 139 : 23,24)
  •   WE WILL WAIT TILL MY CHANGE COMES.
  •   WHEN OUR TIME COMES, GOD WANTS TO BE GLORIFIED.
  •   ASSIGN US GODLINESS AND INTEGRITY AS OUR BODYGUARDS.

I WILL PERSIST UNTIL I SUCCEED. ALWAYS WILL I TAKE ANOTHER STEP. IF THAT IS OF NO AVAIL I WILL TAKE ANOTHER, AND YET ANOTHER. IN TRUTH, ONE STEP AT A TIME IS NOT TOO DIFFICULT. . . . I KNOW THAT SMALL ATTEMPTS, REPEATED, WILL COMPLETE ANY UNDERTAKING.

Killing of SARS officer: Oyigbo area of Port Harcourt deserted following mass arrests, alleged killings

Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives

Distress calls continue to come from Obigbo in Oyigbo local council of Rivers State alleging mass arrests and killing of persons. The police only confirmed arrest of 22 persons following killing of a Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operative on the eve of Independence anniversary.

Information coming from Oyigbo indicates that most residents have moved out of the area following mass arrests. A source in area told newsmen Saturday that there seemed to be a show of strength since the alleged killing in cold blood of the officer during the week by unidentified persons.

The sources claimed that the ancient town was taken unaware by a combined team of SARS, Anti-Cultism, and other tactical squads that invaded the community shooting and arresting anybody at sight.

By Saturday evening, most residents of the area were yet to come out of their houses since the previous day while many others were said to have fled to neigbouring towns. An eye witness who gave his name as John Okoh, a resident of the area, said the area was completely taken over by different squad officials who came in their thousands ostensibly to maintain the law. The residents however believed the security operatives were there to kill them.

The police spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, told newsmen the men had stabilized Oyigbo areas, saying rampaging youths had not only killed an officer but sacked the Oyigbo police station and also burnt patrol vehicle, unprovoked.

Residents however said they were being harassed and terrorized by the security teams. The source said; “We were all relaxing outside when we suddenly heard gun shots; people were crying just like a war zone”.

The source said those who may have killed the SARS personnel would have fled the area for fear of possible attacks from the police authorities. In situations such as this, he stated, most victims of the crossfire are the innocent ones. The source called on relevant authorities to come to their aid so as to stop the killings ongoing in Oyigbo.

LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS. YOU CAN’T LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO MAKE THEM ALL YOURSELF.

MANY OF LIFE’S FAILURES ARE PEOPLE WHO DID NOT REALIZE HOW CLOSE THEY WERE TO SUCCESS WHEN THEY GAVE UP.

MANY RISKS FAIL BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT TAKEN IN TIME. TOO MANY RISKS ARE POSTPONED UNTIL UNNECESSARILY ELABORATE PREPARATIONS ARE MADE. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT ONE SHOULD SAY, “DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL SPEED AHEAD!” THAT IS FOOLISH AND SELF-DESTRUCTIVE. . . . BUT DON’T SIT BACK WAITING FOR THE PERFECT MOMENT. IT ALMOST NEVER COMES.

MAY YOU LIVE ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.

NEVER THINK THAT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH YOURSELF. A MAN SHOULD NEVER THINK THAT. PEOPLE WILL TAKE YOU VERY MUCH AT YOUR OWN RECKONING.

There is a voice behind the written the word (BIBLE)

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There is a voice behind the written the word (WORD)

THE POTENCY OF THE WORD

“For The Word Of God Is Quick, And Powerful, And Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword, Piercing Even To The Dividing Asunder Of Soul And Spirit, And Of The Joints And Marrow, And Is A Discerner Of The Thoughts And Intents Of The Heart.” Hebrews 4 :12.

The Word Of God Is So Powerful, The Word Of God Is God (Jn. 1 :1). Anywhere The Word Is, God Is, And Whatever God Can Do, His Word Can Do. God’s Word Is God’s Messenger, Wherever He Sends It, It Delivers What God Can Do Which He Sent It To Do. “He Sent His Word, And Healed Them, And Delivered Them From Their Destructions.” (Psalms 107 :20).

God Says, “So Shall My Word Be That Goeth Forth Out Of My Mouth: It Shall Not Return Unto Me Void, But It Shall Accomplish That Which I Please, And It Shall Prosper In The Thing Whereto I Sent It.” Isa 55 :11.

Child Of God, You Have Not Been Seeing The Potency Of The Word Of God Manifest Gloriously As Expected In Your Life Because You Lack The Understanding Of How Powerful And Important God’s Word Is. The Centurion Said To Jesus, “Lord, I Am Not Worthy That Thou Shouldest Come Under My Roof: But Speak The Word Only, And My Servant Shall Be Healed.” (Matt. 8 :8). “And Jesus Said Unto The Centurion, Go Thy Way; And As Thou Hast Believed, So Be It Done Unto Thee.

And His Servant Was Healed In The Selfsame Hour.” (Vs 13). The Centurion Understood The Authority Of The Word Of A Man Which Is Inseparable From His Person. He Knew The Word Of Jesus Is As Powerful As His Person Or Physical Presence Hence He Believed And Activated This Power.

You Too Can Enjoy The Potency Of The Word Of God.

The Word of God is so powerful. God magnified His Word above all His name (Psa.138 :2). That is why what gives potency to the name of God is the Word of God. God is His Word, anywhere His word is present, He is present, and what He can do, His word can do.Never take God’s word casually; Never esteem it lightly. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6 :63). No wonder Ezekiel said, “And the Spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet…. (Ezekiel.2 :2).In Luke chapter 5, Peter a professional fisherman, with his colleagues had toiled all night without any catch and were washing their nets to call it a day, when he encountered Jesus, who when he was done using his ship, said to him, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Peter told him how they had toiled all night fruitlessly but he said, “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” He did and they had a great catch and their net brake. Luke 5 :1 – 7.

You can have that encounter you desire, via His Word, for all you need is a word from God to turn that situation around.

The Kind of Prayer That Changes Everything

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The Kind of Prayer That Changes Everything

Four tips that will help you get results.

Prayer is as simple as talking to God.

Yet, effective prayer is what gets results (James 5:16). Most Christians pray, ask God for what they want, then wait for the answer. The problem is that, while prayer itself is simple, the preparation of the heart beforehand is often left by the wayside.

God isn’t trying to withhold anything from anyone. He has laid out the roadmap to answered prayer throughout His Word, but piecing it all together has eluded many believers, leaving them wondering why they don’t have what they ask for.

God’s desire for His people to know and utilize the kind of prayer that changes everything is so great.

1. Pray With the Kind of Faith That Excites Go

“But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ And He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once.” –Matthew 15:25-28 (NASB)

Jesus marveled at the kind of faith the Syrophoenician woman displayed in Matthew 15:25-28. It was the kind of faith that excites God because it was a faith that wouldn’t give up and wouldn’t take no for an answer. It’s the kind of faith that knows God is good and His faithfulness endures forever.

Bartimaeus displayed that same kind of faith that excites God. He cried out to Jesus and wouldn’t stop, even when everyone around him told him to stop and be quiet (Mark 10:46-52). That’s the kind of faith that excites God. It’s the kind of prayer that changes everything.

Think about it. Everything Barnabas had known up until that point—total darkness, helplessness, poverty—was changed in that one moment of calling out to the Lord with the kind of faith that gets His attention. EVERYTHING changed and he received EVERYTHING he asked of God.

If your prayers have become lackluster, doubt-filled, or more grumbling than anything else, it’s time to switch on your faith again. It’s time to build your faith by spending time in God’s Word to the point that it will reach out and grab His attention—just like the faith of the Syrophoenician woman and Barnabas did.

They were believing for the impossible—something they could never accomplish on their own and something no other human could do for them. That’s why Mary Colbert says, “Exciting faith believes for the outrageous.”

It’s time you do the same, and pray with the kind of faith that excites God. You’ll see that it is one of the keys to prayer that changes everything!

2. Pray Backed by Faith in Constant Motion

“If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.”—Colossians 1:23 (NASB)

Faith that excites God is going to come from faith that is in constant motion.

What does that mean?

When something isn’t in constant motion, it becomes stagnant—complacent. As you know, stagnant water becomes putrid—a breeding ground for bacteria. It no longer offers life, but instead, becomes a hazard.

When you talk to God in prayer backed by faith in constant motion, you’re not complacent in your believing. You are not moved away from the hope of the gospel and the promise of answered prayer. You are flowing and moving with His power, confidently partnering with Him to bring about His perfect will in your life.

God is a forward-moving God, and He wants you to be the same. The kind of prayer that changes everything is prayer backed by faith in constant motion

If your faith has become dormant, it’s time to put it in motion again! How can you do that? Feed regularly on God’s Word, fight the good fight of faith, and apply faith to every situation.

3. Pray Early in the Morning

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
–Genesis 3:8 (NKJV)

We know that we can pray to God anytime, anywhere. But different types of prayer unlock different types of power. Corporate prayer, the prayer of agreement and the prayer of intercession are each powerful in their own way. The same can be said of prayer during different times of the day.

In her book, Mary Colbert shares about her personal experience with early morning prayer. She and her husband, Dr. Don Colbert, live in Florida and often drive to the ocean in the early morning hours to take in God’s creation and connect with the Father.

She believes there is a special presence of the Lord in the cool of the day that is unlike any other. “It opens the door to amazing moments with Him,” she says.

If you’re in a place where your prayer life needs refreshing, try rising before the sun and praying either in your home or in a place where you can take in His creation. Speak with Him in the cool of the day, and let prayer in the early morning connect you with your Father in a fresh, new way.

4. Pray on the Victory Side 

“But thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph.”—2 Corinthians 2:14 (EHV)

The goal in any prayer is to take victory on the other side, right? There should be no other option on the table.

If you’re approaching God with a “maybe He will, maybe He won’t” mentality, you’re off to a bad start. Your prayers are answered when you BELIEVE you will have what you ask (Mark 11:24James 1:6-7). You have to pray on the victory side because that’s the kind of prayer that leads to triumph. On approaching the throne with confidence, “I’ve never had God call me into a battle He didn’t intend for me to win.”

If you need to stir yourself up to pray the kind of prayer that changes everything, start to see yourself victorious in your situation. Pray from a posture of triumph—not defeat. God ALWAYS causes you to triumph. You just have to get on board!

When you make these simple changes in your prayer routine and begin praying the kind of prayer that changes everything, EXPECT to see breakthrough—EXPECT to receive what you ask! God’s not holding anything back from you. He’s waiting for you to break through those things that have hindered you for far too long. It’s about time for VICTORY!

THE REVEALING OF HIS GLORY

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THE REVEALING OF HIS GLORY

4 Ways to Tap Into the Glory of God

The glory of God isn’t just a feeling, an event or an Old Testament experience—it’s a spiritual tsunami of everything contained in the character of God. The word glory is literally translated “heavy weight,” meaning the heaviest, biggest, grandest thing about someone.

It has been called the manifested presence of God, but more than just a presence, it’s power. The kind of power that resurrects, delivers, overcomes and transforms. It is greater and stronger than any other power in existence. And it belongs to us.

Yet, maybe you feel like the glory of God is untouchable, unreachable. Maybe you think of the manifestation of the glory of God as something reserved for special church services or an extraordinary circumstance. All the while, though, you long to see the power of God manifest in your life, your church and your country.

But did you know that the glory of God is available to you 24/7? It’s built-in. That’s how God designed it—it’s how He designed you. Because you were born of God (John 1:13), that glory is inside you right now! All things that the Father has—including His glory—belong to you. This means His glory isn’t too far out of reach. It’s right within your grasp!

Below are four ways you can tap into the glory of God by faith.

  1. Look for the Glory

“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God.” –Acts 7:55, NKJV

If we aren’t expecting to see the glory of God, we probably won’t. Just like anything in the kingdom of God, it takes faith to see a manifestation. The glory of God is a visible power. In the Old Testament, the glory appeared as a cloud, smoke or fire. This visible power is also known as Shekinah glory, which is the Hebrew name given to the presence of God dwelling on the earth.
The nation of Israel saw the glory when God came down to meet them on Mount Sinai. Exodus 24:17 (KJV) says, “The sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount.”

The prophet Habakkuk got a glimpse of that fiery glory, too. He described it as like the sun, blazing in the sky: “His brightness was as the light; he had horns [or shafts] coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power” (Habakkuk 3:4, KJV).

The same glory that raised Jesus from the dead was manifested as fire by night and a cloud by day in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21). This same glory separated Israel and the land of Goshen from the rest of Egypt when there was light in the land of Goshen, but not in Egypt (Exodus 10:23). What was that light? The glory. The glory of God’s presence.

Can we see those same physical manifestations of God’s glory today? Yes!

There are countless testimonies of individuals and groups of believers having seen visible evidence of God’s glory. During his preaching days, Brother Kenneth E. Hagin compiled a list of every scripture in the Bible about the glory. When he would read them aloud in a service, the glory would appear like a cloud or a wave, and people would fall on the floor under that power, or rush to the altar to get saved. It is tangible and it is powerful! So, start expecting to see the glory of the Lord!

  1. Pray for the Glory

“For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” –Romans 8:18, NKJV

How do you pray for the glory of God? First, pray that the glory will be revealed to you and in you. You can see and experience the glory of God, but you must diligently ask and seek for it to be revealed. When we pray the glory into the earth, miracles, signs and wonders will occur in the Church and in our own personal lives.

When Moses saw the glory of God, he asked, saying, “Please, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18, NKJV). When believers gathered together in a spirit of unity, seeking the Lord, the glory appeared in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, and sat on the head of each person there (Acts 2:1-4).

Each born-again believer has the ability to manifest God’s glory here on earth, but we must believe when we pray. That’s why Jesus told Martha that if she would believe, she would see the glory of God (John 11:40).

Finally, pray Ephesians 1:17-18—that you would know the hope of His calling, which is the hope of His glory. Pray that you will understand the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. When we inherited Him, glory was deposited in us, but we have to receive revelation of what it means to walk in that glory.

  1. Prepare for the Glory

“…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” –Romans 5:5, NKJV

Did you know there are degrees of the glory? If you want to experience the fullness of God’s glory, you must prepare your spirit.

How? By walking in love. It takes faith to receive and operate in the glory—and faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). That means the glory of God will increase in you in direct proportion to how you walk in love.

So, to increase the amount of the glory in your life, you must walk in love. Put simply—more love, more glory. The spirit of strife and division is always there, lurking and looking for an opening and a way into your life. Never, ever let your love guard down! Then you are on your way to being filled with the glory!

  1. Walk in the Glory

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” –2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV

The glory of God looks for a dwelling place. The original house for the glory of God was the tabernacle. But under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit builds a temple in every believer. First Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (NKJV).  We are God’s house—His temple. Only, this temple is no longer in a fixed location. This house can walk and talk and preach the gospel!

Now, it’s one thing to have the glory, but it’s another to know how to walk in it. The good news? You have everything you need inside you to do so.

When the believers experienced the glory of God at Pentecost, they didn’t just go back to living normal lives. They emerged from that place as separate from the rest of the world and as light in the midst of darkness. They went out and started turning the world upside down for Jesus. They preached the gospel; and worked miracles, signs and wonders; and the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). That’s the glory we need to be operating in!

The early Christians were no different than Christians today. But here’s the key: Those first believers received the same Spirit you did when you got saved and baptized with the Holy Ghost. Christians today are carriers of God’s glory just as surely as they were!

When you walk in the glory of God, you have a fire in you that the devil cannot withstand. We are told to put on the armor of God, which includes the shoes of the glorious gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). There’s glory in your feet! That’s what gives you the power to walk on Satan. That’s why the only thing the devil is to the Church is a footstool.

Start practicing these four ways to tap into God’s glory by looking, praying, preparing and walking, and watch the glory of God be revealed in you! Don’t live without understanding God’s glory and what it means to your life. Start saying by faith right now: “The glory is in me! I receive it! I’m walking in it!” Get more God-inside minded, and start acting like a temple of the Lord of glory today!

READY FOR MASTER’S USE

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READY FOR MASTER'S USE

Throughout the writings of the Apostle Paul, we read of the struggle [a war at times] between the flesh and the spirit of a born again believer. In Romans 7:15-25 we read of Paul’s personal struggle – for which all born again believers can relate to. Likewise, in the Book of 1 Corinthians we read of the struggle that occurred between the spiritual and the carnal within the body of Christ [that is, the Corinthian assembly].

Then, in 2 Timothy we read Paul’s letter to young Timothy. Drawing our attention to 2 Timothy 2:21-22 we read,

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity [love], peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Paul began verse 21 with, “If a man purge himself from these.” This implies that though we have an assault from Satan’s temptations to our flesh [such as dishonorable behavior, misconduct, not keeping our body under subjection (or in control)], we can choose to follow the leadership of the Spirit. Herein lies the qualifier. We must choose to purge ourselves from the “works of the flesh” as recorded in Galatians 5:19-21,

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Paul continues by stating that one who has “purged himself from these” shall be “a vessel to honor the Lord”, sanctified [set apart] unto the Lord’s call to service, available for the Master’s use, ready to serve in the Lord’s ministry.

Paul then concluded by telling Timothy that living a life for Christ must be a “daily experience”. To “flee youthful lusts” can be restated as, “conscientiously choose to run away from the works of the flesh [sinful desires, lustful passions, material things, one’s own way – all things that characterize a youth – especially one who is spiritually immature] – and choose to run after [diligently seek/pursue] the things of Christ [that is, righteousness, faith, charity, peace] – along side those who call upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart.

To further illustrate this teaching, I recently read the following article. “Every time a particular young boy went to his playmate’s house, he noticed his friend’s grandmother studying her Bible. Finally one day he asked, “Why is your grandmother always reading that Bible?” His friend answered, “I don’t know, but I think she is cramming for her finals.” In reality, that grandmother was doing exactly what we, as Christians, should all do: preparing for whatever task God had for her by studying His Word. More often than not, it is the journey rather than the destination that matters most in life; for it is the lessons learned, the trials endured, and the truths discovered that mold our character and prepare us for that destination. If we desire more than a mediocre life, we must prepare in more than a mediocre way. “Winging it” doesn’t bring about the best results, so we would do well to use the time God has given us along the way to prepare for what’s ahead.” And this is the choice we make: learn and do those things that honor the Lord in our lives and reject those things that bring dishonor unto the Lord. Abraham Lincoln stated the following, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first hour sharpening the axe.

The question must now be asked, “Who are you allowing to control your life: your flesh or your spirit?” Why not choose to allow the Lord to have control so that you can be an honorable vessel unto the Lord.

3 ADVOCATES OF YOUR TIME

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3 ADVOCATES OF YOUR TIME

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11a

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.Ecclesiastes 9:11

NO ONE ADVOCATE OF YOUR TIME IS

MERCY (Forgiveness) : In Proverbs 3:3-4 it says,

Let not mercy and truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and men.

This is an interesting verse that blends truth and mercy. And God says, “Make sure they are always with you and never forsake them.” Truth needs to be spoken and we need to be right; but mercy needs to be combined with truth. They go together. Truth without mercy becomes callused, hard, and cold. It is often legalistic. And mercy without truth becomes sentimental and wishy-washy and does not really take a stand. And mercy alone is not courageous and has no holiness to it. It must be mercy and truth.

What Is Mercy and Why Do We Need It?

  • Mercy shifts your judgement
  • When mercy appears, whatsoever that represents sin disappears
  • When mercy shows up, your location does not matter
  • When mercy shows up, your deficiency does not matter

Mercy is compassion that forbears punishment even when justice demands it. In the judicial system, granting clemency, which is another word for mercy, depends entirely on the will of the grantor, who doesn’t have to give a reason for granting it.

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what we do deserve.

Mercy and grace are similar but not the same. Putting it simply, grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do deserve. In the parable, the son doesn’t get the rejection he deserves. In Christ, neither do we. 

Mercy fuels compassion, providing promising glints of light in a darkened world. It’s kindness, forward forgiveness, and empathy. Mercy chooses not to be offended, and compassionately sees a hurting heart behind hurtful words. God’s mercy is reflected in the cross of Christ, a direct reflection of His love for us. Mercy is an extension of and expression of love, “an act of kindness, compassion, or favor.”Mercy is a characteristic of the One True God.

What is God’s Mercy?

The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy.” (James 3:17 NLT)

God’s mercy is closely akin with forgiveness. What we do in response to God’s mercy sends an important message to the people in our lives. James is very clear in his letter that though deeds are not required to earn God’s favor, or to be a Christian, a repentant heart that loves God will surely be evident by the lives we live. In his article “Have Mercy on Me,” David Mathis says “When God shows his mercy, he does so with utter intentionality and strength, and we as his creatures get our deepest glimpse of who he is not just in his sovereignty but his goodness.”

God has chosen to be merciful to His people. Mercy is an expression of who He is, and His love for us. (Exodus 34:6-7)

ANOTHER ADVOCATE OF YOUR TIME IS

Favour: Grace makes a man function without struggle while favour makes a man receive without asking. But one of the ways God shows His goodness to people is through divine favour.

  • An act of kindness beyond what is due or usual
  • Divine Partiality
  • Divine savour that flavours your effort

This is exactly what Israelites experienced in Egypt according to our texts.“And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall come to pass but, when ye go, ye shall not go empty” Exodus 3 : 21 “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians Jewels of silver, and jewels of gold and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians” Exodus 12 : 35 – 36

HOW DO I PROVOKE GOD’S FAVOUR As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth but of God that sheweth mercy”. Romans 9 : 13 – 16.

Though God says he will show mercy or favour upon whom he will show mercy, it is possible to provoke God’s favour.

1. BY YOUR PRAYER There is a type of prayer that provokes divine favour. This is the prayer that avails much. The Amplified Bible describes it as:…..The earnest (heart felt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working) James 5 : 16Hezekiah was sick unto death and God sent prophet Isaiah to inform him that he would surely die. Hezekiah’s prayer in Isiah 38 provoked God’s favour and He added 15 years to his life.

2. TRUSTING GOD “Jesus said unto him, if thou can’t believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” Mark 9 : 23 We can provoke the favour of God by our faith and trust in Him. In Luke 8 : 43 – 48, The woman with the issue of blood experienced the favour of God because of her level of faith.

3. THE POWER OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING Praise is a powerful tool in provoking God’s divine favour. “But thou art holy, thou that inhabitatest the praises of Israel” Psalm 22 : 3 A person of praise will steer clear of murmuring. When you murmur, you limit God and favour will be far from you. “And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord and the Lord heard it and his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp”. Numbers 11:1 Paul and Silas experienced the favour of God in prison in the process of praising God. Acts 16: 25 – 26. In Marks 6 : 21 – 23. Herod’s daughter had danced before Herod. He was so pleased with her dance that he told her to ask him for anything she desired, even to the half of his kingdom. Favour was released as a result of her dance. “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his counts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name’ Psalm 100 : 44.

4. SHOWING FAVOUR “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy” Mathew 5 : 7 Brethren, the level of favour you enjoy is a function of the level to which you favour others. The law of seedtime and harvest controls the issue of favour. Do you want to walk in favour? Then be a person of favour. In the book, Esther (2 : 21 – 22) Mordeci got wind of a plan to kill king Ashasuerus and leaked it, thereby spairing the king’s life. A time came when Mordecai was also to be killed, but his earlier seed of favour will not allow it. See Esther 6 : 1 – 3.5.

5.YOUR CONFESSION Your mouth is a weapon of authority ordained by God to keep you in perfect dominion. If you say positive things based on the word of God in your heart, you will get positive results. Favour moves in the direction of those that say favourable things.“Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” Proverbs 18 : 216.

6. YOUR GIFTS “ A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men” Proverb 18 : 16 There are three areas your gift can provoke the favour of God. (a) Prophet Offering The widow of Zarephath and the Shunamite woman enjoyed divine favour by reason of what they gave to the prophet. (1Kings: 17 : 10 – 24 and 2Kings 4 : 1 – 37). (b) Giving To The Poor When you give to the needy, you can provoke the favour of God. “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” Proverbs 19 : 17. (c) Giving To Your Parents “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Eph. 6 : 2 – 3 Your gift to your parents irrespective of their wealth or wickedness will provoke the favour of God.

7. BEING KINGDOM FOCUS “But seek yee first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” Mathew 6 : 33There are two ways:1. Soul wining: Mathew 28 : 19 – 20Your pratical involvement with God in His purpose for reeping the over-ripe harvest of souls guarantees His divine favour.2. Sacrifices: Sacrificial giving towards God’s kingdom or business is trigger for divine favour.In second Chronicles Chapter 1 verses 6 – 7; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offering and God gave him a blank cheque which signifies unusual favour.

HOW TO SUSTAIN DIVINE FAVOUR?

1. FAITHFULNESS: 1 Corth 4 : 2, Proverb 28 : 20“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful”. 1 Corth 4 : 2“A faithful man shall abound with blessings; but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” Proverbs 28 : 20. Joseph faithfulness ensures his continuous favour. He said “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? Gen 39 : 9A faithful man, after God has blessed him will not miss his tithes. He will not forget about his service in the House of God.

2. REMAIN CONNECTED: Hosea 12 : 13“And by a prophet the Lord brought Isreal out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved”. Hosea 12 : 13After God has blessed Joseph in a strange land, He did not forget his root. A branch that is cut off from a tree will die a natural death. When God blesses you don’t forget your root.

3. LIVE IN FORGIVENESS. Gen. 45 : 7“And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” Gen 45 : 7Joseph despite all that his brethren did to him, even when he had opportunity to revenge, he did not”David had several opportunities to avenge the wickedness of Saul to him but he refused. No wonder David also enjoyed continuous favour from God. 4. LIVE IN OBEDIENCE: Gen 2 : 22Abraham enjoyed constant favour from God because; he lived a life of total obedience. Even after God has blessed him with a child after waiting many years, he obeyed God and offered the child for sacrifice.Saul lost the throne despite God’s promise to his generation to sit on the throne forever due to disobedience.

5. BE JOYFUL Isaiah 12 : 3Joseph did not complain for one day even despite the experiences he went through. He was so charming even as a slave that the madam of the house wanted to sleep with him. Even in prison, because he was full of joy he was made the head of other prisoners.One way to enjoy constant favour from God is to always display Joy irrespective of what you are passing through.“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water our of the wells of salvation” Isaiah 12 : 3

6. LIVE A LIFE OF THANKSGIVING “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto him with Psalms” Psalm 95 : 2“Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God’ Philippians 4 : 6Brethren, it takes thanksgiving to provoke favour of God and it also takes thanksgiving to enoy continuous favour.An adage says “When a child thanks an elder for yesterday’s blessing, he will definitely get another one.Most Israelites died in the wilderness because they forgot the God that delivered them from Egypt and began to complain.“And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; and the Lord heard it and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. Numbers 11 : 1Brethren, continuous favour from God requires a life of daily thanksgiving. A person of thanksgiving will not have any cause to complain or grumble. Anyone that complains will never experience God’s blessings.

7 Keys To Supernatural Favor

# 1  By believing in and expecting continual supernatural moves of God in your daily life.

# 2  By doing what you say you’re going to do. . .when you say you’re going to do it.

# 3  Being a person of integrity even when no one else is around.

# 4  Being a person of character instead of being a character.

# 5  Live an Ephesians 6:8 lifestyle.

# 6  Treat people the way you want to be treated.

# 7  Position yourself for His favor to flow through you to others.

THE ADVOCATE OF YOUR TIME IS

YOUR SET-TIME: The appointed time

When your time comes, men will adjust their time to suit their time

When it is not your time, you waste your time

Just as there is a due date for a pregnant woman to give birth, there is a set time for your promise, but don’t expect to give birth without any pain.

Every promise, for every prophecy, and for every dream there is a set time.

That is to say that there is an appointed time for that word or that promise or that dream to be manifested.

It is no different than the natural: When a seed is sown, there is a process that the seed goes through before there can be a harvest.

But as surely as the seed is planted, if it is kept in the ground and properly cared for there will be a due season and harvest will come.

This is probably one of the most difficult lessons there is to learn as a believer. How to wait on God,

We get a prophecy and we think it should happen the next day, and when it doesn’t happen in a week we get concerned, three months we get really concerned, a year and we get worried, 5 years and we think God forgot all about us, or it was just wishful thinking.

I’m here to tell you today that this is part of the process.

Every dream, every seed, every promise must go through this process.

Psalms 105:19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

This tells us that Joseph had a word from God, (a dream) and that word from God tested him,

In other words, he was tested by time to see if he would hold to that word (dream) or if he would forsake it.

Time is the great sifter through which all of our dreams must pass.

You see time tests our faith, it challenges us to prove whether we believe God or not.

It is critical what we do during our waiting season.

There is a set time for your word, your dream, your promise to come to pass.

God has established a time for that word to be manifested.

Just as Hannah carried the Prophet Samuel in her womb for 9 months before there was a birth, You and I must also carry the word of the Lord, the dream in our spiritual womb until due season.

You see there are a lot of people that are wanting a birth, but they haven’t really gotten pregnant yet.

You have first got to get pregnant with the promise.

You can have a word for a long time before you get pregnant.

You see you don’t get pregnant just by hearing the word once, that word has to get down into your spirit, it has to affect the way you think, the way you talk, the way you walk.

See when a woman gets pregnant, you can tell it, changes start taking place,

She thinks pregnant, everything she looks at tells you she’s expecting, she talks pregnant, and in a little while she walks pregnant.

And once she gets pregnant, there is a due season for manifestation.

You notice that as she gets closer to due date she becomes uncomfortable, She doesn’t fit in the clothes she used to wear, she doesn’t sit where she used to sit.

See when you are really pregnant with the promise, you start out growing some things.

In other words You are not satisfied with things the way they’ve always been, there is a divine discontent and divine dissatisfaction that begins to grow in you.

You have an expectation of something greater, and that expectation of something greater is making you uncomfortable where you are.

A pregnant woman has a tendency to experience extreme mood swings, For no reason at all she may just burst out crying.

That is true spiritually too, when you are near delivery or manifestation there are strong emotions that begin to stir in your spirit.

It may be crying one minute, and shouting the next,

Just as in the natural there is a struggle before the birth, so it is in the spiritual (There is usually a great warfare just before manifestation)

We need to realize that just before manifestation satan will do everything he can to get you to cast away your confidence and to abort your promise.

God gave a word of promise concerning a turn around, God established a set time and said (tomorrow about this time where there has been famine there will be plenty, where there has been lack there will be abundance).

For those who believed God this brought great joy to their hearts, but the truth is that from a natural perspective nothing changed for the better when the word was spoken (in fact before the breakthrough came it actually got worse than ever) even to the point of cannibalism, they were eating their own children.

Just as there is a due date for a pregnant woman to give birth, there is a set time for your promise, but don’t expect to give birth without any pain.

When every natural evidence disputed the word of God, and when from all visible circumstantial evidence it looked as if it was getting worse instead of better.

All of a sudden the report came from 4 lepers outside the city gate, that there was food in abundance, and in an instant the famine was broken and the word of God was manifested at the set time according to the word of the prophet.

But what I want you to see is that while everything inside the city was getting worse, and every natural evidence was disputing and defying the word of God.

Outside the city gate God was working.Strong sermons during fear & uncertaintyNow,

He inspired 4 lepers to get up from where they were and go to the syrian camp

As they walked God caused the syrian army to hear a sound as a great army marching toward them, and they fled in fear leaving an abundant supply of food and other things behind them.

The point I am making is: Just before your breakthrough you are likely to experience the greatest contradiction to your promise.

This is where like the Pregnant woman in labor, It is time to push.

It is time to praise like you have never praised, it’s time to bless the Lord, It’s time to pray like you have never prayed, and confess the promise, and stand on the word, and declare the faithfulness of God.

This is a most critical time, because it is during this time that many abort their promise.

They have come to due season, but everything looks worse than ever, and many begin to believe what they see hear and feel in the natural and they abort the promise of God.

Listen to how the bible says it:

Gal 6:9 let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap (if) we faint not.

That word faint means: to loosen, dissolve, to crack, to break down,

What this word is saying is; You can actually come to your set time, be in your due season for manifestation and because you faint =, crack, dissolve, loosen, break down (you can abort your promise).

This is what happened to the first generation children of Israel (they came to the border of their inheritance, the promise land) They had come to due season.

But instead of pushing through to the birth of their promise

They aborted it.

I came with a word to encourage you: If it seems that all hell is broken loose against you, you ought to praise the Lord, because that is the greatest evidence there is that you are on the verge of manifestation, (You are in your due season) your set time is come, and this is no time for fainting (This is time for pushing)

push through till you break through.

I’m no longer a slave to fear – I am a child of God

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I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

TEXT: 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

All of us have experienced fear. “From the cradle to the grave, fear casts its baleful shadow.” Let’s talk about fear today and how God wants us to be free from it.

I. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FEAR?

Examining every verse in the Bible that mentioned fear, I discovered that the Bible speaks of fear in three different ways:

1. First, there is a HOLY fear.

We read in Deuteronomy 6:13, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve Him.”

We’re commanded to fear God and serve Him. We’re to fear his wrath on sin if we do not accept His free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but if we’ve been saved, we have a natural fear of disappointing our wonderful, loving Lord. That is, we’re no longer afraid OF Him, but we fear hurting our loving Father.

Illus. – A young girl was out with some friends and they were tempting her to go to a bar and get drunk; but she wisely refused to give in to the temptation.

One of her friends taunted her, “What’s the matter? Are you afraid your parents will find out and hurt you?”

She said, “No, I’m afraid my parents will find out and I will hurt THEM.”

And so it is with believers and God.

2. There are also HEALTHY fears.

During the Great Depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That’s sounds good, but there’s one thing wrong with it: IT’S NOT TRUE! Jesus taught us that there are some things we OUGHT to fear. He said in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In addition, there are always certain normal fears we need to survive in life. As long as there are rattlesnakes, poisonous spiders, scorpions, electricity, politicians, and other things that can hurt us, fear can be a HEALTHY matter.

• A SMART ELECTRICIAN had better have a healthy fear of electricity if he’s going to make it home for supper.

• An EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE TECHNICIAN had better have a fear of explosives if he wants to see another birthday.

• As PARENTS, we teach our children to have a fear of certain things that can burn, that can shock, and that can cut, that can break bones.

3. Besides healthy fears, and holy fear, the Bible also speaks of HURTFUL fears.

Paul told Timothy in our text in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

There’s the FEAR OF THE LORD and there are NATURAL FEARS. What is hurtful is a “SPIRIT of fear”…when fear controls us instead of us controlling our fears. The spirit of fear is when we allow ourselves not to trust in God as we face the future and the cousin of fear is worry.

WHY do we worry?—Because of FEAR of something in the future that we’re not sure of the outcome. If we allow ourselves to be beset with a SPIRIT of fear, our fears will victimize us, neutralize us, and immobilize us. We will be enslaved by our fears.

Can Anything Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth? (John 1:46) – Part 1

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Can Anything Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth? (John 1:46)

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? I want to jump to the end of the sermon and proclaim: Yes! Jesus the Christ! Our savior! The ground of hope! My rock and foundation. The word made flesh and God incarnate.

But, wait, why does Nathanael ask? What does he mean, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” My whole life I’ve known that not only can good come from Nazareth, but the very source of all that is good came from Nazareth. What is this question?

We know from the gospels of Luke and Matthew that Jesus was born in a dirty stall, laid in a trough. He was born to poor, unwed parents who had been forced to travel, very late in the pregnancy, to a town that was not their own. They either had no family there or their family was too poor to take them in. And now, on top of that, the Gospel of John tells us people would be really surprised if anything good came from Jesus’s hometown. No good can come from Nazareth, is the answer to Nathanael’s rhetorical question.

We can’t always hear it today, because we know the end of the sermon. We know indeed that Jesus our Christ is from Nazareth. And we know that our lives are transformed by this. But we too often read the Gospel through the lens of the conclusion. And when we read too quickly for the conclusion, we miss something important that the Gospel writers want us to understand. Jesus comes from the least of these. Jesus doesn’t come from the centers of religious, political or economic power. Jesus came from the poor, from those who are not expected to bring forward what is good. We know today that the best news comes from Nazareth, but we know that because we read knowing the end.

We do the same with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We become accustomed to the national holiday. But the day to celebrate him was not easy or automatic. People fought against it. We forget that the Montgomery Bus Boycott began with the demand that black people in the South can keep their seat only if the back of the bus is full; and that at the time meaningful desegregation was a vision only a few believed could be immanent. We know the conclusion and so take for granted that good came out of Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis. Good came from a people who were oppressed, pushed to the margins, terrorized with violence and humiliated with second-class citizenship.

What good can come from places of marginalization and oppression? A people who are willing to fight for the dignity with which God has endowed them. Leaders who see the liberation in the Bible and know God wants it to be real for them. Organizers who go out from places that are seen as nowhere and change not only those places but the whole nation. The end of segregation, the insurance of voting rights, non-discrimination in employment and housing — these were not coming from Washington, D.C. They only became a reality when people from the margins insisted that they be so.  

We hear Nathanael’s question about the poor and outcast today. If anything good was to come from the poor, they wouldn’t be poor to begin with. We think that good news comes from those with power, from the center. We think good news comes from those who knew how to bring good news to themselves first. We tend to think that only bad news comes from the poor, the outcast, the dispossessed. But we didn’t get that idea from God.

Fifty years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said good news was coming from the poor. He and other leaders began planning a Poor People’s Campaign where the poor from across the nation and across racial and ethnic lines would come together in Washington, D.C. to proclaim to the nation that our lives were not in order. Our economy is not God’s economy. Racism persisted despite the civil rights legislation. And the war in Vietnam was ravaging poor people at home and abroad.

King had come to see that it was the poor themselves who would be called to be the leadership of this movement, and he began pulling together leaders from poor communities across the country — poor whites, poor blacks, poor Native Americans and poor Mexican Americans and poor Puerto Rican Americans. They were already working to change the conditions of their lives — housing rights, living wage rights, land rights, treaty rights, welfare rights, voting rights and education rights — but they were all doing so in their own silos. They were just beginning to see that if they could come together they could be more than the sum of their parts. They would be good news not only for themselves but for the whole nation and world. In a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Rev. Dr. King preached,

I must be a neighbor to my neighbor because I can never be what I ought to be until my neighbor is what he ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be … So long as people are poverty stricken, nobody can be totally secure … we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny … America will never be totally secure so long as she has forty or fifty million people poverty stricken, even though she has a national gross product of eight hundred billion dollars. No, we are tied together. We are neighbors whether we want to be or not … Jesus is telling us … to be good neighbors. And if we will do that, we will build, right here, a nation which hath foundation, whose builder and maker is God.1

We don’t often hear about this Poor People’s Campaign. Rev. Dr. King was killed in the middle of planning it. The poor did come to Washington in the spring of 1968, fifty years ago this spring, but they were reeling from the loss of their leader, demoralized by poor planning and set back by resistance to their attempt to do something totally new.

But perhaps we also don’t hear about the Poor People’s Campaign because it’s too hard to imagine that good would come from the poor when we are told day in and day out that it can’t. But King knew God. And King knew that in God’s time, in God’s kingdom, good news comes from the margins. Describing who would come together for the Poor People’s Campaign, King said,

By the thousands we will move. Many will wonder where we are coming from. Our only answer will be that we are coming up out of great trials and tribulation. Some of us will come from Mississippi, some of us will come from Cleveland. But we will all be coming from the same conditions. We will be seeking a city whose Builder and Maker is God and if we will do this we will be able to turn this nation upside down and right side up. We may just be able to speed up the day when man everywhere will respect the dignity and worth of human personality and all will cry out that we are children of God.2

King is describing that through God good news still comes from where we least expect it. Because God does not think that some people are more worthy than others. And God calls us to refuse that idea, too. God calls us to a reordered society that respects the dignity of all creation.

Fifty years later we are hearing the call to have the faith that allows us to cry out that we are the children of God. Across the nation people are taking up a Poor People’s Campaign again. This good news is coming from fast food workers, people whose water has been poisoned by lead, people who have lost their healthcare or can’t afford to use their health insurance, and people of good conscience everywhere who know that, in the words of Dr. King,

I must be a neighbor to my neighbor because I can never be what I ought to be until my neighbor is what he ought to be … We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.

We are approaching the fiftieth anniversary of King’s assassination and his words are no less true today. The good news of the people of God is never easy news. We cannot skip to the conclusion, because we are the ones being called to take up the work. We are called to answer this invitation to discipleship, to hear God’s call to be tied together, where all persons are valued and there is no longer room for poverty, racism and war. Our God comes to us in unexpected ways. There is indeed good news from Nazareth.

Can Anything Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth? (John 1:46) – Part 2

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Can Anything Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth? (John 1:46)

Civic and village rivalries were common in antiquity. When Nathanael asks, “Can anything good thing come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46), however, he voices a criticism about Jesus’ humble origins that is also expressed more widely in this Gospel. Members of the Judean elite, in particular, were unimpressed with Jesus’ allegedly rural Galilean origins (see John 7:41-42John 7:52). Subsequent critics of Jesus’ movement may have criticized his “Nazarene” origins (see also John 18:5-7John 19:19Acts 6:14Acts 24:5), since another Gospel writer, Matthew, also finds a need to justify it (Matt 2:23).

Why does the Fourth Gospel recount this question? If John wrote for an audience outside Galilee, many of his hearers might have known nothing about Nazareth except what they had heard in other stories about Jesus. Given that they would likely be unfamiliar with this negative appraisal of Nazareth, why would John bother to inform them of it? Whatever John’s audience may have known about Galilean villages, however, John can surely take for granted that even those hearing his Gospel for the first time will have heard the verses leading up to this one. If we read John 1:46 in light of what precedes it, this verse becomes rich with irony, a technique that pervades this Gospel.

For John, Jesus is not simply from Nazareth but from God (John 1:1-18John 1:29-34). This emphasis remains clear in the immediate context. The announcement that provokes Nathanael’s protest about Nazareth is Philip’s claim that he had found the one about whom Moses and the prophets wrote (John 1:45). John’s audience may understand this claim in light of the Gospel’s announcement in John 1:17, that Jesus revealed God’s faithful love even more fully than did Moses’ law.

Philip answers Nathanael’s protest with a simple, “Come and see” (John 1:46). These words echo Jesus’ own words to prospective disciples in John 1:39. They also resemble a similar invitation offered by a Samaritan woman to her people in John 4:29. It therefore seems likely that, for John, “come and see” is a model invitation. Whether hearers are interested in Jesus (as in John 1:38-39), have heard nothing about him (as in John 4:28-29) or have legitimate objections (as here in John 1:46), the invitation is to come experience Jesus for themselves. The rest of the Fourth Gospel continues to emphasize this appeal to religious experience, initially through Jesus’ physical presence and later through the Spirit (e.g., John 16:7-15). For John, argument has its place, but it is the experience of Jesus and the Spirit that proves most persuasive.

When Nathanael meets Jesus in person, Jesus reveals something about Nathanael to him (John 1:47-48), as Jesus had done with Simon Peter the day before (John 1:41-42). Nathanael’s response is enthusiastic: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49). Nathanael’s experience of Jesus confirms Philip’s testimony from Scripture and yields one of the many confessions about Jesus in this Gospel (see also John 1:29John 6:69John 11:27John 20:28). Jesus then promises Nathanael greater revelation. He has already called Nathanael an Israelite without “deceit” (John 1:47), probably contrasting him with Jacob (Gen 27:35). Now Jesus builds on that comparison, declaring that Nathanael will witness angels ascending and descending on Jesus (John 1:51). That is, Jesus compares himself with Jacob’s ladder, a bridge between heaven and earth (Gen 28:12).

In this context, Nazareth serves an ironic function, highlighting by way of contrast Jesus’ other origin. Jesus may be from a humble hometown, but far more significantly he is king over all Israel (John 1:49John 12:13). In John’s theology, the most significant “geographic” context for Jesus is not a Galilean village but that he is from God (John 1:29-34) and is a bridge between heaven and earth (John 1:51).

PROPHESY

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PROPHESY

EZEKIEL 37:1-7

>> Prophecy is a gift, but prophesying is a command.

>> Not everyone is gifted with the gift of prophecy, but everyone has a mandate to prophesy.

>> (1 Samuel 10:6).. Nothing turns captivity like prophesying.

>> Prophecy rest on the platform of knowledge.

>> (Amos 3:8).. Our strength and capacity to prophesy is on the platform on what the Lord has spoken.

>> What gives you strength to prophesy is what God has said.>> You lack result because you’re bankrupt of encounter.

>> Luke 4:32,36.. Job 15:6.. Luke 19:22.. Isaiah 50:4.. Daniel 10:12..

>> In the midst of a fast, what God hears is not abstinence from food, but the declaration of your mouth.

>> Gentility & timidity – brutality & ruggedity = nonentity in captivity.

>> When you’re too gentle and timid and you’re not brutal and not rugged, you’ll become a nonentity in captivity.

WHAT IS PROPHECY?

Prophecy is a supernatural enabling by the Spirit of God to hear His voice and then deliver the message of what that voice is saying. I believe that you cannot prophesy without the unction of the Spirit. If you are prophesying without God then you’re not prophesying from the correct source. The difference between psychics and prophets in the Kingdom of God is the source of their revelation. We get our source directly from the Holy Spirit. Biblical prophecy is speaking the words of God by the unction of the Holy Spirit.

WHO CAN PROPHESY?

If you can not prophesy by God through gifting, you can prophesy through the word by revelation

1 Corinthians 12 talks about the list of spiritual gifts that are available to us when we have the Holy Spirit, so I believe that everybody has the ability to prophesy but not all people will choose to prophesy. Because it’s the Holy Spirit that gives us revelation in the first place, all believers can do it. Even if it’s a simple picture that is coming directly from God, that can be a profound moment in someone’s life.

The scripture also says that there is grace given by the Holy Spirit as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). You get a measure of grace upon your life to operate in that gift. So for some people, it comes really naturally and other people have to work at it.

SO, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMEONE WHO CAN PROPHESY AND SOMEONE WHO’S A PROPHET?

We can all operate in the gift of prophecy like we can operate in the gift of healing and wisdom and discernment. If someone is called as a prophet then you’re looking at a different function. The prophet function in Ephesians 4 is more of a life call. Which is God-given. It’s part of who you are, you kind of can’t escape it.

I believe true prophets who are walking in the fullness of their call have angelic encounters, they have visions or dreams or both. I’m more of a visions person, I’ve got a woman on our team, who has more of a dream gift. Prophets will have angelic encounters and the supernatural will be flowing through their life. Not everyone who prophesies accurately is a Prophet.

Prophets should be positioned in the body of Christ, in the local church and operate from being part of a family. I don’t believe they should be functioning outside of the local church. It’s really good to be commissioned into your call by leadership who recognize the call and anointing in your life.

The other thing to consider is the prophet’s realm of influence. Is it a local church influence, or is it a city-wide influence, or is it a global influence? Prophets like Cindy Jacobs, Sharon Stone, Rick Joyner and Bobby Conner are all global influence. That level of influence is definitely decided by God, not by us.

HOW CAN A CHRISTIAN LEARN TO PROPHESY?

If you can not prophesy by God through gifting, you can prophesy through the word by revelation

I would first say, “Holy Spirit, this is a gift that you’ve given me. I believe in faith that you have given me this gift, so would you teach me how to do this? Would you start to give me pictures or words or scriptures for the people around me?” You’ve got to start with those that are around you. You don’t go from zero to prophesying over the nations in five minutes. Scripture says to prophesy in proportion to your faith, so when you start off, you’ve got a little bit of faith to prophesy and that faith can grow. You also have to build trust in the Holy Spirit that He will speak to you, and you also have to build your trust in yourself that you hear correctly.

THE BEAUTY OF PROPHECY IS NOT IN THE ACCURACY
BUT IN THE FULFILLMENT

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