And God spoke to Cyrus…

God is ruler of the nations! As I read these passages, thoughts flood my mind: 2 Chron 36:21 To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept the sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years. 22 […]

God is ruler of the nations!

cyrusAs I read these passages, thoughts flood my mind:

2 Chron 36:21 To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept the sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.

22 ¶ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

Notice here, that Cyrus, was not an Israelite, nor in covenant with God, yet God spoke to Him, and Cyrus knew His voice.

the-gift

Ac 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:

This is clear, God will pour out His Spirit on all people, not just Christians, and Jews. Two things will result:

1. People will recognize His voice, and will either accept or reject Jesus, 1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

One Way

When people do this, they will be given eternal life. For those who reject this, they will be eternally damned:

Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

matthew-25

Mt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

2. He will move the nations into His fulfillment of end time prophecy, speaking to leaders either blessing or cursing of their nation. Many of these leaders are not in covenant with Him, but He will speak to them anyway because He is Lord of Heaven and Earth.

god-in-control

Mt 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

I originally wrote this in 2012, and stumbled across it today, as I thought about the background of our President, Donald Trump. Could he be the Cyrus God has raised up, for such a time as this, to bring this nation into order, and to see Jerusalem established before the nations of the earth, as the city of God, the capital of the whole earth?

Let’s Pray:

‘Father God, speak to me today. May I be found pleasing in your sight, in both thought and deed. May I use all my influence, prayer, and work, to cause this nation, to be a sheep nation in your sight, that we may be blessed with your hand, both in this life and in eternity. Amen’

Grace to live!

Grace Leads to Holiness! As we seek first Jesus again this morning, and commit to our yearly Bible reading plans, this thought is impressed upon my mind: Holiness! Grace is simply God’s power towards us to do what we cannot do. He wants us to be holy, like Jesus in this world! Holiness, purity, integrity […]

Grace Leads to Holiness!

As we seek first Jesus again this morning, and commit to our yearly Bible reading plans, this thought is impressed upon my mind: Holiness!

grace-holy

Grace is simply God’s power towards us to do what we cannot do.

He wants us to be holy, like Jesus in this world!

Holiness, purity, integrity – almost forgotten word in today’s society, but the very nature and character of God.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.

12 It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world,

I like the way the King Jimmy translation says these verses:

Titus 2:11-12 (KJV)

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

grace-teaches

So, grace from heaven, comes in the form of the HOLY Spirit, and teaches us….

What does He teach us?

To deny ungodliness and worldly lusts – to live soberly, righteously, and godly – where? In heaven?

Surely we will live holy there, but this verse is plain. Grace teaches us to live holy here, in this war-torn, broken world…no small task!

2 Timothy 1:9

[For it is He] Who delivered and saved us and called us with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness [to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness]; [He did it] not because of anything of merit that we have done, but because of and to further His own purpose and grace (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago].

Well, there you have it – true grace leads to true holiness (and, I might add, is the only path to actually get there).

grace-appeared

I long to live a pure, holy life, full of love, laughter, peace, where we honestly treat others right from a pure heart – holiness is what this world needs.

He is determined to make us into the image of Jesus: Rom 8:29 CEV

and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children…

Lincoln on The Money Power

I remember reading a quote from Lincoln that has stayed with me over the years:

‘The test of a man’s character is not adversity as many would suggest, for many a good man has made it through a hard time, rather, give that man a little authority, and some money in his pocket, and then see how he treats his fellow man!”

Truly, poverty may reveal sin, but can also reveal eternal character!

God has decided to allow us to rise from the muck and the mire of the human experience, and become the people of honor both heaven and earth long for!

This is the true grace of God, the power to live a holy life!

grace-overcome-sin

May this be our desire and pursuit today!

Let’s Pray:

Father, work in us to will and to do of Your good pleasure. Cause us to love purity and holiness, and hate sin. Grant us grace to deny ungodliness, rejecting and and renouncing all that is not like You, Your love, Your presence, Your holiness, Your purity. All that will not enter heaven. Do this today, and every day I pray. I ask, knowing I am heard, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus! Amen!

prayer-plug

Prayer Requests: If you or your family need specific prayer for anything, please send us a prayer request. We as a family will pray for you today, and if you would, please let us know the wonderful ways God answers. This is a great encouragement to us. https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

Can you drink the cup…?

This morning, I turned on Facebook, and read a quote from my friend, and native pastor, that got me to thinking. Am I prepared to have great success, and not get credit for it? In a previous note, I spoke about how Jesus died to the idol of reputation. Php 2:7 But made himself of […]

This morning, I turned on Facebook, and read a quote from my friend, and native pastor, Kennie Blacksmith, that got me to thinking.

Am I prepared to have great success, and not get credit for it?

In a previous note, I spoke about how Jesus died to the idol of reputation.

Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

humble rights

How He was so committed to the will of the Father, that He obeyed unto death.

This was played out in Jerusalem, when He entered in what historians call, the triumphal entry, where the whole city came out to see him, crying ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord’, people laying clothing and palm branches before Him, as He entered as a conquering king would.

Yet, only days later, that same crowd is crying ‘Crucify, crucify!’.

As a leader, we must accurately hear and obey the voice of our Father, no matter what the crowds are saying or doing. Seems the people least like this world, have the greatest power to affect it for good.

I read a great book by Tony Dungy, called ‘The Mentor Leader’, where he talks about how greatly effective leadership doesn’t need the limelight on them to validate their success. I’ll pick it up on p 26

Tony Dungy

“Sure, if your business, your team, or your family does well, people will take notice – and they will notice who the leader is. And you may be accorded some of the credit you feel you deserve. But if you do it right-if you really mentor others-more often than not, people will notice what a remarkably talented team, staff, or child you have, rather than what a great coach, employer, or parent you are. They will all assume that anyone could win with your team or family, and they’ll say things like, “Just look at how well they work together. If I had selfless people like that, I could meet my quarterly goals as well.”

I saw this very thing happen with Chuck Noll and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach Noll was an extraordinary leader, and catalyst of a team that won four Super Bowls in six years, but he was never voted Coach of the Year. Instead, people always pointed to the number of Hall of Fame-caliber players the Steelers had. But that is just the way Coach Noll wanted it-never having anyone guess that he might have been responsible for developing that talent.

If you do it right, as a mentor leader, you may make it all but impossible for other people to give you credit.

For years, I have attended Victory Christian Center, here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the years, as I have been developing as a leader, I look back, and see how at many, many crucial ‘valleys of decision’ in my life, my pastor Billy Joe Daugherty, would magically appear in my world, and in his soft spoken way, say, “Hey Chris, what’s going on?”

Billy Joe

Sometimes I would tell him my struggles or crisis of decisions, as a business owner committed to integrity of conduct in every area, in a fallen world, where sometimes it appeared that if there had been a forgiveness meter on my heart, it had been hit repeatedly with a sledgehammer, by the treachery and betrayals of others. Yet, forgive I have, and pain has been a wonderful instructor, as has been Billy Joe, who, by the Holy Spirit, has spoken pearls of wisdom into my life at times when I either did not know what to do, or felt like quitting.

Another man like him in my life has been Kenneth E Hagin, the pioneer and head of Rhema Bible Training Center. As one of our Instructors, he, in humility, was able to impart incredible spiritual truth, and the team of instructors and leaders around him, in the final years of his life, are still some of the most incredibly gifted ministers I have ever seen in the earth.

kenneth-hagin-bible

The inscription on the Bible that Kenneth E. Hagin and Miss Oretha gave Karen and I for a wedding gift.

kenny-suit

This morning, I read a quote by my native pastor, Kennie Blacksmith, that bears witness to these thoughts:

Can you drink the cup…?

 

I acknowledge ruin is a gift.

For when you accept this, ruin will open the road to your restoration.

Restoration will lead to your transformation.

Your transformation will lead to your freedom and release from a negative past!

In acknowledging your own inability to forgive, ask the Lord to help you. In so doing, in your weakness you will become strong!

“You will indeed drink the cup!”

So, it is my time to take my place among them…As I step out again into the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus, I see footsteps before me, made by shoes that I honestly do not feel big enough to fit into yet, yet the path is clear, and follow I will, unto death if necessary….

How about you? Are there any incredible examples of leadership that you have had impact your life?

Let’s Pray:

‘Father God, help me to die to the idol of reputation, and to walk forward in your high calling, obeying you, and spending my life empowering, training, equipping, and encouraging others, to excellence, never seeking my own glory, but always seeking to glorify You Lord Jesus, Amen’

Running Before the Gale…

Running Before the Gale The Storm at Sea Acts 27:13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. 14 But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the […]

Running Before the Gale

gale

The Storm at Sea

Acts 27:13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. 14 But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. 15 The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.

Running before the gale!

When I was young, full of fire and adventure, I spent nine months becoming trained as an underwater welder, and I decided to join a company out of Key West named Treasure Salvors, headed up by a flamboyant man named Mel Fisher who was hunting Spanish treasure ships off the Florida Keys: it was a great adventure.

Mel Fisher

Then, as God would have it, I had the opportunity to jump ship and join ‘The Illusion’ expedition, headed up by a man from Brazil. Tony Kopp had worked in the oil fields as a diver, and had built a 65 schooner, fully equipped as a dive vessal. He had been searching archives for many years, to unearth the plight of the many treasure ships that had sunk crossing the Atlantic. He had his eyes on a Dutch Schooner said to be sunk in the Madiera Island group off Portugal, and several other wrecks along the journey. So, not yet 21, I hired aboard this wild expedition, with two Swiss, a German, a French man from Gabon, Africa, a captain from Brazil, with his wife and two year old daughter, and two Doberman pinchers!

sail

We had many adventures, and some once in a lifetime experiences finding wrecks, spearfishing, and crossing the Atlantic under sail.

We got caught in a force 10 storm, with 50-70mph winds. All we could see was blowing foam, and seas mounted to 40-50’ waves, with the tops being torn off of them by the high winds. We had to keep the boat running before the wind, carefully slicing the waves, or we would breach, overturn, and I might not be writing this story.

For three days and nights, we could do nothing but hang-on!

No food, no sleep as the waves were too violent, and would throw you out of your bunk. Dark, starless night, blowing rain, foam, mist, with one thought on all of our minds, survive.

On the third day, the winds let up, and I ate a dry cracker, crawled into my bunk, and slept for a couple of hours. I was awakened to the sound of the baby laughing, with sun streaming through my porthole!

I stumbled out of my bunk, being flung side to side, the entire boat creaking and groaning, crashing through the waves.

I came above decks to behold a sight!

The wind had stopped in the night, but because it was no longer tearing the tops off of the waves, seas were now 65-80’ tall! Our little schooner would surf up one side of a mountain of water, and launch into the air, to come crashing down the other side of these monstrous waves. We would hit the bottom of the trough, and the bow would turn submarine, plunging the front third of the ship underwater, with hatches groaning, like a cork we would bob up again, and head for the sky again.

The baby was in her safety strap hugging one of the dogs, laughing hysterically!

toddler laughing

One of the Swiss had a camcorder, and he filmed that day: how I wish I had a copy of that video!

We all began to laugh! A celebration of life! We were alive to face another day, the sun was shining, and it was going to be alright!

Now, back to the Word of God:

You know the story, Paul the mighty apostle with a burning zeal and a passionate fire to see his people saved, and right with God. He has met Jesus, and he is going to Jerusalem, capital of the world, to tell them the good news of who Yeshua really is!

FAITH is Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him.

faith fantastic

Let’s read:

Acts 20:22

And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Bound in the spirit,

Some question whether Paul heard the voice of God to make this particular trip to Jerusalem.

Romans 8: 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Spirit led1

Surely Paul is a son of God, and He heard God to go to Jerusalem.

Yet we see an interesting interplay here between the office of the apostle, and the office of the prophet.

Acts 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

v 12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

v13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

The prophetic word delivered to Paul was accurate, and for those around him that loved him, was interpreted that Paul should refrain from going up to Jerusalem. Yet, to Paul the apostle, ready to endure any hardship for the sake of the gospel, he was strengthened by the word!

courage Jesus

He hardened himself, recognizing imprisonment and a beating were in his future, but he did not flinch in the face of danger. Perhaps he read:

Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

So, as Paul Harvey would say, ‘and now for the rest of the story’.

He made it to Jerusalem, underwent imprisonment, and the foretold beating. Yet, though his path was hard, their was an audience of One that he sought to obey and please.

In His prison cell, that One, King Jesus showed up to personally comfort His servant:

Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome

How is that for an encouraging word?

You obeyed me, now I am sending you to Rome – (in the belly of a slave ship) – running before the gale!

Jesus appears

So leader, the storms of life will come. You are either in one, finishing one, or headed into another one. It is the cost of the call, the price tag of leadership, the race run, before our audience of One.

The lonely times leave a mark upon your soul. Perhaps it was this time in Jerusalem that caused Paul to pen these words:

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

Leadership can be lonely, perhaps you have read my article on it…

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/leadership-lonliness/

When we enter into the perfect, sovereign assignment of heaven for our lives, all hell may well break loose to prevent us getting to our goal.

faith

Jesus faced the storm on the sea of Galilee, Paul, Joseph in the pit, Moses in the desert…

Jesus suffered alone upon the cross…We who represent Him, will find ourselves alone with Him too.

While no earthly help may seem to appear, there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. One who knows, who cares, and who will never leave nor forsake you.

We did make it to Portugal, and discover the 1611 Dutch trader with 54 silver bars on its manifest. Another story, for another day…

You will make it too, if you are willing to abandon all for the sake of the call.

Like Mary told her servants so many years ago, at the wedding feast:

John 2: (KJV)

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

obey whatever He says

In your hour of trial, HE WILL APPEAR, AND HE WILL SPEAK!

God speaks

Do not settle for the mere words of men, obey Him, and walk upon the water of His Word.

deep

Make headlines in heaven so that this question in the heart of Jesus be answered:

Luke 18:8 Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Let your answer to this question be a resounding YES! You won’t have to look any further Lord Jesus, for I believe!

faith1

Let’s pray:

‘Father, let me not shrink back for Your clear mandate for me. While the storms may rage, may I navigate them and run before the wind of Your Holy Spirit, running before the gale. In Your name and for Your glory I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’

PS: If you would like to read another adventure story type devotion from my treasure hunting days: https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/a-shark-story/

Just in case you think this kind of stuff only happens historically, here’s one from this week when our jeep was stolen: http://www.fox23.com/videos/news/video-teens-commit-tulsa-crime-spree/vDW5k2/

If you would like to help us in our missionary adventures, please make a donation on Paypal: http://chrisaomministries.com/2016/02/27/newsletter-aomministries-feb-march/

http://chrisaomministries.com/2016/03/17/faith-sets-the-sail/

Rivers of Authority

Rivers of Authority Pr 21:1 ¶ The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. In many leader’s hearts are many, many responsibilities, priorities, and conflicting agenda’s all competing for their time and resources. Jesus promised, for those us seeking to lead for […]

Rivers of Authority

rivers

Pr 21:1 ¶ The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

In many leader’s hearts are many, many responsibilities, priorities, and conflicting agenda’s all competing for their time and resources.

Jesus promised, for those us seeking to lead for Him, there would be (many) rivers of living water coming out of our hearts.

living-waters-rock

This is a tremendous verse, for intercessors, determined to see God’s will in our families, our churches, our communities, cities, states, and our nation. In each area, God has appointed and anointed, leaders to fulfill responsibilities, and to administrate and govern diligently.

We, the saints of God, have the privilege of actually moving those rivers in the hearts of men, through prayer.

1 Time 2:1 I exhort therefore, first of all, [a]that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.

When we pray, God answers, and pours out Holy Spirit, to move upon people, to do right:

[ The Promise of the Spirit ] “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.

Yes, Christians see visions, have dreams and prophesy, but God also pours out His Spirit on all people, to wrestle with their conscience, to do right. This happens, after we pray.

So:

 

col-pray

Let’s pray:

‘Father God, I believe in you, and your kingdom, actually reigning here in the earth. For those you have appointed to lead in my family, my church, my region, state, and nation, turn their hearts, into the perfect flow and agenda of the Holy Spirit for this, my generation. For those fools and usurpers that refuse your rule and reign, remove them, and place people in their positions that will indeed yield to you in the earth, that it may be known that our God reigns in the earth, that Jesus is King and undisputed Lord, for your name and glory’s sake Lord Jesus, Amen’

When God Does Business!

This is an old message I preached at one of our leadership breakfasts. I believe it’s message is rather timely for America. One by one, we need to choose to do right, for God’s sake alone, and this country and yours… will change…. Illegal vs Immoral – Wrong vs Right! “Hey, I didn’t do anything illegal” […]

god-business

This is a message I preached at one of our leadership breakfasts. I believe it’s message is rather timely for America. One by one, we need to choose to do right, for God’s sake alone, and this country and yours… will change….

Illegal vs Immoral – Wrong vs Right!

Hey, I didn’t do anything illegal” is a statement I have heard out of the mouths of certain business leaders.

Remember, we have been adopted into a royal family, we have now become children of the most High God through Jesus, kings and priests unto Him!

royalty

We are no longer merely governed by the laws of the land in which we live, but also by the courts of heaven, where truth, mercy and holiness reside.

In many cases, I would have to agree, these people operated in the confines of the laws of the land. Yet, what about the laws of God? In trying to survive in today’s ‘jungle warfare’, that we are forced to compete in as business leaders, did we find ourselves lying, cheating, stealing, or violating sacred trusts, in order to make a buck?

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

moral

I think about Ananias and Sapphira, (Acts 5) who were struck dead for lying to the Holy Spirit, in the presence of a man of God, anointed by God to raise up His church.

Yet, let’s break this down into a modern day contract negotiation. It would be fair in contractconstruction, to take bids or estimates from vendors, suppliers, and contractors on a project, compile the bids, add an acceptable profit and overhead, and submit the completed bid to the client.

Contracts are then issued and performed. When the work was performed, the vendors or suppliers would then invoice according to their initial approved estimates, and we would pay them, based upon the percentage of work completed. If there were additions or subtractions to the contract, these are documented, and suppliers are paid accordingly.

This, however competitive it might become, is honest business.

Yet, here are a couple of scenarios that are not only common in the business world, but in many cases have become, ‘the law of the jungle’.

jungle

Let’s just say for instance, that I want to make more on the electrical portion of the job, so I tell my electrician the amount of the other two bids, telling him to match the lowest bid, or he does not get the job. This is unfair, in that it is now a corrupt bidding process, for I have immediately disqualified the other two bidders by secretly disclosing their numbers to my buddy.

Or, I have been awarded the contract, and I have so much money allocated for each trade or portion of the work, and I then ‘shop’ the bid by lying to contractors, saying: ‘I only have $5000.00 into this project for electrical, can you do it for this, and we will make it up on the next one.”

When perhaps, acceptable profit and overhead is 20-25%, and I actually have $10,000.00 allocated for the work. The honest way to do this, is to simply ask contractors, “How much are you willing to do this job for?” and let them bid it fairly.

In a free market economy, competition will keep the bids on track.

This scenario, is exactly what Ananais and Sapphira did.

Now, let’s say, that the job goes well, and I am invoiced by my suppliers, but I tell them, that ‘we ran into some additional expenses on this job, and we are all having to settle on 90cents on the dollar.’ In other words, I get paid the full amount of the contract, but pay my suppliers 90cents on the dollar, and pocket the remainder. This is lying, cheating, and stealing.

Let’s look at Ananaias and Sapphira for a second:

Acts 5: ¶ But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

servant

I have a picture come to mind, for all you theologians out there, of one of the Levitical high priests, perhaps an Old Testament prophet, who saw the new covenant God was about to make with all humanity through Jesus. How the law, with all its holy ordinances and principals would be fully satisfied in Jesus, and how all the punishment a sin sick humanity deserved, would be poured out upon this One, the Lamb of God, and how God our Father, would receive His sacrificial death as an atonement for our sins, and that after He had raised Jesus from the dead, how God could now pour out love, and mercy and blessing upon anyone who believed. Perhaps this man had spent his entire life consecrating Himself to God’s laws and service in the temple, well aware of God’s holiness. Perhaps He cried out the throne, knowing in the future that a people totally undeserving were now going to enter into the covenant he had given his life to uphold, and from the depths of his heart he cried: ‘God, forsake not Your Holiness!

And God heard, and performed a precedent setting example in the courts of heaven – sin would still be judged, and unfortunately for Ananias and Saphira that day, their lies, cost them their lives.

These two did what is common business in the United States today. They sold a piece of land, and then had a private meeting, to discuss what they were going to do with the money. They decided that because of the big revival going on at the church, that they ought to make an offering at the temple because it was the politically correct thing to do:

Ac 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

Others, touched by the Spirit of God were doing it, so they decided to join the noble, God fearing community, and give into the gospel.

Yet, they decided to try and make themselves look good at church, while padding their pockets with a nice little profit.

Funny thing about sin, it costs more than you were willing to pay, and generally takes you further than you were willing to go.

Notice, in Acts 5:2 how: they did not have to give the entire purchase price of the land in the offering.

They could have simply declared how much they were going to give, and placed that amount in the offering, and gone away from the meeting, blessed of God, and favored of man.

Yet, like many business people I have met, they told one story, but lived another.

It cost them their lives.

fear-of-the-lord

Pr 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

How many lies do we have to tell, before we become liars? Just one.

How much do we have to steal, before we become a thief? Just once.

How often can we accept a bribe or shop bids, before we become a cheat? Just once.

Whatever happened to sin?

I wrote an article on this title, that became controversial: https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/whatever-happened-to-sin/

Seems discussion of sin in the church, is not longer politically correct, yet the gospel is this:

1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

If the apostle Paul could call himself the chief of all sinners, how much more I, and you, before a holy God.

The gospel, or good news, is that Jesus Christ died upon the cross, to pay for our sins. He will forgive, but only if we humbly, honestly ask Him, with the intent of going our way and sinning no more.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

I love this verse that I describe this way: If you sin, immediately tell Jesus, and ask for His forgiveness. When you do, He will hear, and He will forgive you, and give you strength and grace to not do it again, and wisdom to know what to do next. He, in His amazing love, will cleanse you from the your filth, and will even make the impossible possible, in mending the unmendable, fixing the unfixable, cleaning up the mess we made.
grace-teaches

This is repentance. This is the cross. This is grace. This is the love of God.

Perhaps you are in this place today:

You have been a mover and shaker, trying to get things done in this brutal world we call the business world. Yet, your words have become lies, and truth is no longer the bedrock upon which your life is built.

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Amplified Bible (AMP)

13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [a]adjusted and [b]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [c]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

way-out

Now, this verse is written to those who are enduring temptation or trial.

The people I am speaking today, have already blown it, and have sinned, yet unlike Annanias and Sapphira, you are still alive.

God is love. He is merciful, and though there may be brutal consequences to your sin, you are alive, and He will walk with you as you bear them, and more importantly, He is not done with you, for there is a fate far worse than death.

There is a very real, eternal place, called hell, and Jesus and I are working very hard to see that you don’t have to go there.

Re 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

In a book, entitled ‘A divine revelation of Hell’, a lady claims to have been taken by Jesus into hell, and shown around. Everyone knows Him there, for He sent them there:

Re 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

His heart, is always to seek and save the lost, but if His offer of forgiveness and restoration is rejected, He only has two other options: 1. You can die, your life cut short because of your sin, but your soul saved that you might make heaven, instead of hell. 2. You may eternally reject His blood, and refuse to change your ways, and in that case, you will go to hell.

liars go to hell

In one account in hell, the woman witnessed a man in a prison cell, tormented in flames, screaming in pain. He saw Jesus, and cried: “Jesus, give me one more chance. You know I will do better this time!” Jesus looked at him, with eyes of steel, and said: “You are still a liar, even here!”

There is a day of judgment, where we will appear before Jesus, alone. No excuses, every word and action of our life on complete display. No one to blame, but ourselves. What we do this day, can prepare us for that day.

Run for your life!

Leave people, places and things that corrupt you. Choose truth, holiness, and honesty before God, at all costs, no matter how much money is involved, or what people might think.

How much is eternal life worth?

eternal life

No one can keep your individual appointment with God on that day, but you, yourself.

Make a decision, to watch your words and actions, today. All we have is today. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is only a dream. Work for your God given dream, but live, in truth, today. His name is ‘I AM’, and Now, faith is. He is an ever-present help in time of need, and we all need Him.

Before we pray, I give you the following story:

Who was United States Senator Edmund G. Ross of Kansas? I suppose you could call him a “Mr. Nobody.” No law bears his name. Not a single list of Senate “greats” mentions his service. Yet when Ross entered the Senate in 1866, he was considered the man to watch. He seemed destined to surpass his colleagues, but he tossed it all away by one courageous act of conscience.

Let’s set the stage.

Conflict was dividing our government in the wake of the Civil War. President Andrew Johnson was determined to follow Lincoln’s policy of reconciliation toward the defeated South. Congress, however, wanted to rule the downtrodden Confederate states with an iron hand.

Congress decided to strike first. Shortly after Senator Ross was seated, the Senate introduced impeachment proceedings against the hated President. The radicals calculated that they needed thirty-six votes, and smiled as they concluded that the thirty-sixth was none other than Ross’. The new senator listened to the vigilante talk. But to the surprise of many, he declared that the president “deserved as fair a trial as any accused man has ever had on earth.” The word immediately went out that his vote was “shaky.” Ross received an avalanche of anti-Johnson telegrams from every section of the country. Radical senators badgered him to “come to his senses.”

The fateful day of the vote arrived. The courtroom galleries were packed. Tickets for admission were at an enormous premium.

As a deathlike stillness fell over the Senate chamber, the vote began. By the time they reached Ross, twenty-four “guilties” had been announced. Eleven more were certain. Only Ross’ vote was needed to impeach the President. Unable to conceal his emotion, the Chief Justice asked in a trembling voice, “Mr. Senator Ross, how vote you? Is the respondent Andrew Johnson guilty as charged?” Ross later explained, at that moment, “I looked into my open grave. Friendships, position, fortune, and everything that makes life desirable to an ambitions man were about to be swept away by the breath of my mouth, perhaps forever.” Then, the answer came — unhesitating, unmistakable: “Not guilty!” With that, the trial was over. And the response was as predicted.

A high public official from Kansas wired Ross to say: “Kansas repudiates you as she does all perjurers and skunks.” The “open grave” vision had become a reality. Ross’ political career was in ruins. Extreme ostracism, and even physical attack awaited his family upon their return home.

One gloomy day Ross turned to his faithful wife and said, “Millions cursing me today will bless me tomorrow…though not but God can know the struggle it has cost me.” It was a prophetic declaration. Twenty years later Congress and the Supreme Court verified the wisdom of his position, by changing the laws related to impeachment.

Ross was appointed Territorial Governor of New Mexico. Then, just prior to his death, he was awarded a special pension by Congress. The press and country took this opportunity to honor his courage which, they finally concluded, had saved our country from crisis and division.

Jon Johnston, Courage – You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, 1990, SP Publications, pp. 56-58.

You can make daily courageous decisions to tell the truth, no matter what others are doing.

Lets pray

Let’s pray:

‘Father, I come before you today, asking for mercy. Where I have lied, cheated, and stolen, please forgive me. Father, change me, restore me to integrity, honesty, truth, holiness, and true righteousness before You today. Please eliminate from my life people, places and things that would cause me to sin against You today, and bring into my life, people of honor, truth, faith, that I can be accountable to. You see the horrible consequences my sin has wrought, and only You can fix the messes I have made. I give all of these to You, and ask You for wisdom to know what to do, in each of them. Thank you for sparing my life, and giving me a second chance. Please let me do right in this..in Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen.’

put-jesus-1st

https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

Get Your Ducks in a Row!

Get Your Ducks in Row! Hab 2: 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait […]

Get Your Ducks in Row!
ducks-impossible

Hab 2: 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Some time ago, I attended a ministers conference that was teaching us the importance of solidifying the vision and mandate that God had placed upon each of our lives, hosted by Brad Stine, and Blake Fite of Sanctuary Church. He gave the illustration of being stuck in traffic on Sheridan here in Tulsa, on the 4 lane section, with all 4 lanes stopped in both directions. He looked at the long line of traffic stopped in both directions, and saw the lights of a police cruiser up ahead, stopping traffic.

Thousands of tons of metal at a complete stop, with a policeman directing traffic?

As he peered off into the distance, to see what kind of accident or calamity had stopped traffic, he was amazed to see the policeman escorting a mother duck across traffic, with her ducklings in tow. She seemed oblivious to all the commotion her crossing was causing, but simply with great quacks, and purpose, she focused on keeping her ducklings moving in single file, to get them out of danger, and across the busy street.

ducks1
Brad went on to say, that our particular vision, mandates, and goals needed be as focused as that mother ducks: all we have to do, to be successful in life and ministry, is to stay focused on our particular assignment from God, for our individual lives, keeping our ducks in a row. He will stop the world if needed to make way for our gift and calling…Yep, all we need to do, is keep our ducks in a row.

ducks
This is a cute story, but relevant. We can walk with Jesus, in a spirit-led, powerful life.

Let’s Pray:

Father, God, please reveal to me today, Your specific assignment for my life, and what I need to be doing today in order to accomplish it. Remove from me, the distractions, and things that I have added to the simplicity of what you have called me to do. I trust you to protect, provide, stop traffic, and send the laborers I need today, to get done, exactly what You have called me to do, in Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen

ducks2

 

Grace to live!

Grace Leads to Holiness! As we seek first Jesus again this morning, and commit to our yearly Bible reading plans, this thought is impressed upon my mind: Holiness! Grace is simply God’s power towards us to do what we cannot do. He wants us to be holy, like Jesus in this world! Holiness, purity, integrity […]

Grace Leads to Holiness!

As we seek first Jesus again this morning, and commit to our yearly Bible reading plans, this thought is impressed upon my mind: Holiness!

grace-holy

Grace is simply God’s power towards us to do what we cannot do.

He wants us to be holy, like Jesus in this world!

Holiness, purity, integrity – almost forgotten word in today’s society, but the very nature and character of God.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.

12 It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world,

I like the way the King Jimmy translation says these verses:

Titus 2:11-12 (KJV)

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

grace-teaches

So, grace from heaven, comes in the form of the HOLY Spirit, and teaches us….

What does He teach us?

To deny ungodliness and worldly lusts – to live soberly, righteously, and godly – where? In heaven?

Surely we will live holy there, but this verse is plain. Grace teaches us to live holy here, in this war-torn, broken world…no small task!

2 Timothy 1:9

[For it is He] Who delivered and saved us and called us with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness [to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness]; [He did it] not because of anything of merit that we have done, but because of and to further His own purpose and grace (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago].

Well, there you have it – true grace leads to true holiness (and, I might add, is the only path to actually get there).

grace-appeared

I long to live a pure, holy life, full of love, laughter, peace, where we honestly treat others right from a pure heart – holiness is what this world needs.

He is determined to make us into the image of Jesus: Rom 8:29 CEV

and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children…

Lincoln on The Money Power

I remember reading a quote from Lincoln that has stayed with me over the years:

‘The test of a man’s character is not adversity as many would suggest, for many a good man has made it through a hard time, rather, give that man a little authority, and some money in his pocket, and then see how he treats his fellow man!”

Truly, poverty may reveal sin, but can also reveal eternal character!

God has decided to allow us to rise from the muck and the mire of the human experience, and become the people of honor both heaven and earth long for!

This is the true grace of God, the power to live a holy life!
grace-overcome-sin

May this be our desire and pursuit today!

Let’s Pray:

Father, work in us to will and to do of Your good pleasure. Cause us to love purity and holiness, and hate sin. Grant us grace to deny ungodliness, rejecting and and renouncing all that is not like You, Your love, Your presence, Your holiness, Your purity. All that will not enter heaven. Do this today, and every day I pray. I ask, knowing I am heard, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus! Amen!

prayer-plug

Prayer Requests: If you or your family need specific prayer for anything, please send us a prayer request. We as a family will pray for you today, and if you would, please let us know the wonderful ways God answers. This is a great encouragement to us. https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

Jump! He will catch you!

jump
As I read this story, I thought I needed to share it with someone trying to make a decision:

One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: “Jump! I will catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” The father replied, “But I can see you and that’s all that matters.” 

If you know Jesus, you are adopted into God’s family and you have a heavenly father that knows, sees, and will catch you when you jump in faith into the unknown.
leap-in-faithIn our case, we don’t need to simply trust our instincts, but Holy Spirit, God Almighty!

Here is a similar illustration:During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, “I can’t see you!”

The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, “But I can see you. Jump!” The boy jumped, because he trusted his father. The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known.

Donner Atwood

I know it seems scary to do something you have never done before, but if you want to change, you need to make a change.

Note: I am thankful for the wonderful community on here that critiques me! The underlying assumption in this whole exhortation is the premise, that God Himself is the one telling you to JUMP!

Jesus said:

obey hear voice

God loves you, and has a plan for your life, and will speak to you as His child. Now, if you have not yet met Jesus, or are not sure He is speaking, I encourage you to please read this: https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/the-gospel-the-power-of-god/

Let’s Pray:

‘Father, lead me. Show me the direction You have for my life. Where I need to change, show me, and give me courage to JUMP, knowing You will catch me. I ask, knowing I am heard, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen!’

Prayer Precedes Leadership Selection

Prayer Produces Leadership
godly-leadership
Look at this account in the life of Jesus, our Lord and example, in selecting leaders:

Luke 6: 12 ¶ And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

Notice how Jesus chose His disciples here: after all night prayer. We cannot choose leaders based upon outward qualifications, because God knows what is inside of them, and what He is forming them into.

1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Important decisions must be preceded by prayer!
Let’s pray:
Father God, give me wisdom today, as to decisions I need to make that are of the highest priority to you. May I seek your face, until you show me exactly what you would have me to do in these, in your name I pray, Lord Jesus, Amen!”