Allow The Word To Penetrate

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:17

Faith and hearing, hearing and faith are tightly intertwined together to build [ὁ (ho) Pistis] The Faith.

It seems to me that faith cannot be built or had without hearing. We must first hear. We covered the difference between faith and The Faith [ὁ (ho) Pistis] in our first video in this series, so we won’t rehash that.

Now, if hearing is so important to my The Faith, then I really need to understand what hearing is, if I am going to mix it with my faith to produce an action. Therefore, it would seem to me that it is much more than just mere sound entering through my ear canal. It’s a hearing with the heart. It’s a spiritual hearing. A hearing with the desire to understand and grow.

Oftentimes, we hear, but we never really listen. It goes in one ear and out the other. We don’t think about it. We don’t dwell on it. We don’t try to understand it. We don’t meditate on it. We don’t let it change us. We allow the Word of God to become just words and not the Living, Active Word that penetrates our soul and awakens our sleeping spirit within us.

If you want your faith to grow, you have to seek faith. You can’t continue in the same old pattern, hoping for a change. You have to actively seek God if you want to find Him. You have to be active in Christ if you want your faith to grow.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Allow The Word To Penetrate.

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Let The Spirit Lead

23 So after he had eaten food and after he had drunk, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. 24 When he left, a lion attacked him along the way and killed him. His corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it; the lion was standing beside the corpse too. ~ 1 Kings 13:23-24CSB

There was a prophet in the time of King Jeroboam of Israel. This prophet directly heard from the Word of the LORD to go speak against the high places Jeroboam had built. Of course Jeroboam didn’t take too kindly to being called out the way he was, so he reached out his hand to call for the prophet to be seized. But as Jeroboam did this, his hand withered, and he couldn’t pull his hand back to him. So, he pleaded with the prophet to pray for him, and he did so his hand was restored.

After he did this, Jeroboam pleaded for the man to remain with him, but he refused because the Word of the LORD told him not to remain there and drink or eat in that place. Now, as he was leaving out of Bethel, an old prophet heard of him and sent his sons to get him. He came and told the old prophet that he couldn’t stay with him because he had a command from the Word of the LORD to follow. The old prophet told him that he was also a prophet, and an angel came to him and said that the prophet needed to stay with him and eat and drink.

Now, while they were eating and drinking at the table, the Word of the LORD came not the prophet but the old prophet who had deceived him. The prophet was told he wouldn’t make it home because of his disobedience to the LORD. He then saddled his donkey and left. He was killed by a lion before he got out of the city.

I want you to really think about that for a second. The Scriptures say the old prophet deceived him, but it wasn’t the old prophet that died. It wasn’t the old prophet who was punished with never hearing from the Word of the LORD again. It was the prophet who was deceived and disobeyed. That may sound harsh, but think about it. The LORD Himself came to him, gave him orders, and showed him signs and wonders, yet he still listened to the voice of man instead of God. His faith was in man, not God.

God has called each and every one of us to do something. He’s given us sign after sign, answered prayer after answered prayer, but then sometimes someone else comes along who is older or has been a Christian longer and begins to weigh in on your call. They begin to cast doubt in your mind. They’ll point out that they’re older and, therefore, wiser or that they’ve heard from God as well. This is the enemy using a willing victim. Someone who already has preconceived notions about your call, so the enemy will use them to try to get you off your path. Does that mean that they aren’t of God and they’re now evil? No. The old prophet is never called a false prophet. His deception of this young prophet didn’t take away from his overall call. Was he wrong? Yes. But the young prophet who heard directly from God was still even more wrong because he should’ve followed God instead of Man.

Don’t allow someone to dissuade you from your call just because they’ve been a Christian longer than you have or because they’re older. Let the Spirit guide you. Take instruction and guidance from those who are in step with the Spirit. Not everyone you meet will be in tune with the Spirit, but they may have an opinion. Know the Shepherd’s voice by spending time with Him. By worship and prayer. Reading your Bible and meditating on His Word. Asking for a sign and paying attention so you’ll see it when it’s there.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Let The Spirit Lead.

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Move

19 You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe — and they shudder. 20 Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works in offering Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete, 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. ~ James 2:19-24 CSB

One of my favorite songs that I have loved since childhood is the song Dare You To Move by Switchfoot. The lyrics go:

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be, yeah
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened

Jesus left us with this frightening thought,

8 … when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Luke 18:8b

This song is all about stepping out in faith. Moving forward past your fears and your past failures. It’s asking if you are going to live in faith or not. So many of us think that the faith Jesus is looking for is faith that is strictly, “I believe Jesus is the Christ.” But that’s not it. Jesus isn’t looking for a basic faith that has no depth to it.

He’s looking for faith that moves mountains. Faith that says I don’t care what I see; I know who my God is and His plans for me. Faith that says I will dare to move regardless of my fear, past, or obstacles in my future. Faith that doesn’t speak but faith that moves.

Without this kind of faith, faith that is willing to fully trust God and follow His plan for our lives, we can’t please Him. Because if we only have the kind of faith that says I believe He is who He says He is, but I can’t trust Him in every aspect of my life, then that’s not true faith. That’s doubt. That’s a person who built their house on the sand instead of on the rock. That house will not stand in times of trouble. Even a little drizzle will shake the house off of its foundation.

Therefore, build on the rock that is immovable, unshakable, and eternal. Build on Jesus and let His Word kindle that flame inside of you so that your faith might grow.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Move.

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Be Changed By Faith

21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 2:21

Many people believe that it doesn’t matter how you live your life; all you have to do is believe in God, but is that what Scripture says? Paul’s second letter to Timothy explains that if we want to be used by God, we have to first turn away from our sin. In other words, we can’t just live our lives however we want.

We can’t just claim salvation while continuing in our sin. We have to strive for righteousness. That doesn’t mean that we never sin again; it means that we don’t just dwell in sin but fight against it. We turn 180° and run towards holiness. That is the race set before us.

Christianity isn’t about talk or even belief; it’s about action. It’s about following Christ. It’s about change. If you believe the Word of God but don’t follow it, what good does that belief do you? Faith without action is dead (James 2:26). Therefore, your salvation may be attained through faith and faith alone, but it is maintained through how that faith changes you.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Be Changed By Faith.

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Small Is Large

41 And He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And He called His disciples to Him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” ~ Mark 12:41–44

One day Jesus was sitting across from the treasury at the Temple in Jerusalem. As He sat, He watched the people putting money into the offering box. This was a voluntary offering, not a forced and compelling government proclamation. Jesus was sitting close enough to see how much money the people were putting into the offering box, and this is what He observed. Many rich people came and put large sums of money into the box, but they didn’t even notice it was gone, so little in comparison with the amount God had blessed them with. But then along comes a poor widow and put two small copper coins, which were only worth a half penny each. This caught Jesus’ attention.

Here is Jesus’ opinion about the whole matter. All of those people who came before may have put fifty, sixty, or maybe one hundred dollars into the offering box, but this woman, and not just a woman, but a widow woman, which means she lost her primary income when her husband died. She was now forced to make ends meet with the meager income she made from doing odd and ends work for probably those same people who were putting in huge amounts of money. She, on the other hand, put in all she had. It was not the amount that impressed Jesus; it was the amount relative to what she had to live on. The rich gave out of their wealth, while she gave out of her poverty. The story doesn’t tell us what happened, but I would assume she received a special blessing from the LORD for her faithfulness.

So, the next time you are moved to give, but you feel that it isn’t enough or it is too small, don’t worry; small is large in the hands of our LORD, and you will receive a large blessing in return.

Father, help us to give according to our blessing and not be concerned about the amount. Thank You, Father, that You do not judge us according to man’s standards, for he looks at the outside while you look at the heart. Thank You for Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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Stealing The Seed Pt. 2: The Food Is In The Seed

John saw a vision of Satan falling from Heaven 2000 years ago filled with wrath. Who’s his wrath pointed at? Mankind, all of humanity. How is he targeting humanity? Join Reverend Kenny Yates as he opens our eyes to the enemy’s attacks on the world in his message, Stealing The Seed Pt. 2: The Food Is In The Seed.

Mark 4:26-29
Revelation 12:12b

Stealing The Seed

The Food Is In The Seed

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Revelation 12:9-12

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The Benefits of God

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. ~ Psalms 103:1-2

Have you ever heard someone try to convince you that serving God is a useless obsession? “Only the weak-minded needs religion,” they try to convince you. But that is a learned response. They have been taught it either by someone, or learned it subconsciously, because the world would love to make you believe that there is no God. Therefore, there are no benefits in serving Him. They have convinced themselves that there is no God and now they desperately want to convince you of that, because, after all, misery loves company.

But the contrary is true. God does exist, and He does not expect you to serve Him for nothing, nor does He want you to. That is why He has made it a point to give you aid in your time of need. Yes, there are benefits to serving God. Benefits such as Salvation for our souls, healing for all our bodies, peace for our minds in times of distress, satisfaction of our desires with good things, justice for all the oppressed, and many more like it.

But somehow the God haters have even convinced God’s own Church that the benefits no longer apply to us, it was only for the first-generation Church. But James 5:15 says, “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” All we have to do is to come and believe that and accept it as truth and the promise will be ours. Jesus Himself said in John 14:14, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” You can’t get any more personal than that. But the catch is first, you have to be a child of God, and you must follow His commandment to love everyone. Then you must ask in faith, or you will not receive James 1:6-8.

So, I ask, why would anyone ignore such great salvation? Or to know it and yet give it up? Don’t give up your benefits!

Heavenly Father, please help me to realize the benefits of serving You. Keep my heart true no matter what may befall me. Take my hand and lead me ever, guiding me along life’s bumpy paths. Help me to have the courage to share these benefits with the ones I love and with those I meet. Please give them the desire to know these benefits as well. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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Look For The New Door

18 Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. ~ Matthew 13:18-23

There’s an old TV show called Reba that addressed the idea of someone going from a Christian to an atheist. One of the main characters, Van, told Reba, his mother-in-law, that he no longer believed in God because he prayed to God that he would be able to continue playing football, and God didn’t answer his prayer. A lot of times, that’s the temperature of the Church. We expect God to answer every prayer exactly as we’ve requested as if God is a magical genie that is around to grant our every desire. When in reality God gives us the desires of our heart if they line up with his good plan for our lives.

 See, God knows the beginning and the end. He knows the outcome of every situation and the repercussions of every mistake. He can see things we can’t and understand things we don’t. His ways are higher, and our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Unlike a genie, God doesn’t just give us everything we ask for because not everything we ask for is good for us. This New Year put your faith in God’s plan for your life instead of in the plans you have for yourself. Put your trust in the maker of the universe, who is the Beginning and the End. The God that loves you more than words could ever express.

We may not know every step of every plan God has for us, but what we do know is that God is good. He’s a good, good father who loves us and desires good things for us. So, in those times that God closes a door, look for the new door He’s unlocked for you.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Look For The New Door.

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Nurture Your Faith

1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” ~ John 14:1-7

Thomas is remembered by his one moment of doubt and disbelief. I don’t believe that it was random or even out of character that Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ. See, Thomas, like the other disciples, didn’t grasp all that Jesus told them. It was to Thomas that Jesus explained that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It was due to Thomas’ lack of understanding of how they would know where Jesus was going and how to follow Him there.

Faith isn’t blind. It doesn’t dwell or grow in ignorance. It has to be planted in good soil, nurtured and watered so that it might grow strong and unshakable. See, if Thomas understood what Jesus said, he wouldn’t have doubted when the others saw the resurrected Christ. So many of us struggle with doubt because we lack the understanding. Paul said, how can they believe if they have never heard? If also said, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. It’s by our relationship and revelation of Christ and His Word that our faith grows.

James left us with an encouraging statement on understanding. He explained that God doesn’t desire us to remain in ignorance, so if we lack any understanding, we should ask God, and He will give us the wisdom and understanding. This is key to growing your faith. Unless you know and understand what you believe, then you can’t have an unshakeable faith. Instead, you will be double-minded and, therefore, unstable in all of your ways, ready to be blown over at the first sign of trouble or confusion.

So, nurture your faith by reading your Bible, spending time praying, fasting, and worshipping. And when you lack understanding, bring it before God. Don’t allow yourself to become like Thomas and leave a legacy of anything less than God has for you.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Nurture Your Faith.

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Even If

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” ~ Daniel 3:16-18

I believe that the lack of answered prayers is one of the biggest reasons that people lose faith. When we pray and pray and pray for something, and we don’t receive whatever it was we prayed for, the Devil begins to cast doubt into our minds. The reason we do this is because our faith is conditional. This is due to a lack of true love.

We want unconditional love from God, but we don’t have to hold ourselves to that same standard. Many of us, including myself, fall prey to the deception that God will answer and give us whatever it is we ask for. This isn’t really the case. God gives us good things that will build us up and further His Kingdom, but not every one of our heart’s desires. Many of us put God up against a wall backed in a corner, threatening that we won’t believe if we don’t see the answer to our prayer. This isn’t true faith because this isn’t true love.

Our heart is stained with sin, and within sin, there is doubt because of fear. We have a fear that God won’t actually come through, so we, oftentimes unknowingly, give God an ultimatum: either answer my prayer, or I will no longer believe in You. We may not say it vocally or even think it in our minds, but it’s in our hearts. We know it is because when that prayer isn’t answered, then we stop believing.

Our prayers will never be answered unless we have faith. Unconditional without threat faith. Faith that says:

I know and believe You can, but even if You don’t, I will still be faithful to You. I will still believe. I will still love You.

Dear LORD, please forgive me for all the times that I backed You into a corner with my conditional faith and love. Please teach me to trust in You and not in my own idea of what’s best. Please replace my heart of some with a heart of flesh and renew a right spirit within me. Please write Your Word on my heart that I might not sin against You. Thank You for Your conditional love; please continue to mold me into Your image and likeness. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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