THE GREATNESS OF HIS POWER

I pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation, of insight into mysteries and secrets, in the deep and intimate knowledge of Him,

I pray that I would have the eyes of my heart flooded with light, so that I can know and understand the hope to which He has called me, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints, His set-apart ones,

And so that I can know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,

Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,

Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named – above every title that can be conferred – not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.

And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church – a headship exercised throughout the church,

Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all – for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself.

 

Paraphrased from Ephesians 1:17-23 AMP

 

 

Because of my faith in Him, I dare to have the boldness, courage and confidence of free access

Because of my faith in Him, I can unreservedly approach God with freedom and without fear.

So I will not lose heart, I will not faint, or become despondent through fear,

Because of the greatness of this plan by which we are built together in Christ, I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named

I pray that He would grant me out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in my inner man by the Holy Spirit, Himself indwelling my innermost being and personality.

I pray that Christ, through my faith, may actually dwell, settle down, abide, and make His permanent home in my heart!

I pray that I may be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

That I may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints, God’s devoted people, the experience of that love – what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it;

That I may really come to know, practically, through experience for myself, the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that I may be filled through all my being unto all the fullness of God.

That I may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!

Now to Him Who, by and in consequence of the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams–

To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen – so be it.

 

Paraphrased from Ephesians 3:12-21 AMP

 

These are two powerful, spiritual prayers that Paul prayed for the Ephesians and they apply to every Christian. These prayers reveal the will of God for His children. In Hosea 4:6 God says that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. This is not because God’s will is hidden – it is in plain sight, openly revealed in His Word – but because His people do not take time to read and study His Word and then take it personally.

 

Confessing (speaking out) God’s Word will personalize it for you and make it a reality, first in your mind and heart and then in every aspect of your life. Don’t just do it as a religious ritual, but as you pray these prayers, listen to what you are praying and make them yours. If you will pray these two personalized prayers on a regular basis, then you will begin to walk it out in your everyday life and reap the wonderful benefits of the life, blessing, and power of the awesome Word of God, that is more precious than silver and more costly than gold!

ALWAYS PAY YOUR RESCUER

I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows,

 

14 Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.

 

15 I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah

 

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

 

17 I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue.

 

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

 

19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

 

20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!  Psalms 66:13-20 NKJV

 

David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He had a deep reverential fear of God and a whole-hearted commitment to his Lord. He put God first and himself second in everything for most of his life. He made some mistakes and some bad decisions, but he also repented immediately when God dealt with him and submitted with humility to the consequences of his actions.

 

There are always consequences! When you make a decision or a choice, you should be willing and prepared to live with the results of your actions – whether good or bad. Too many people want to eat their cake and still keep it at the same time. People want to make selfish decisions and then they expect God, or their parents, or their teachers, or their boss or their friends, or their spouse, to let them off the hook, bale them out, and save their skin. They want the best of both worlds. They are selfish and they want to have everything go their way – no matter what. This does not work in real life!

 

People treat God like they treat people – they use Him, lie to Him, take advantage of Him and try to manipulate Him. But you can’t lie to God – He is looking right into your heart – and you will find out that what you dish out will come back to you – on every wave! You cannot escape it.

 

You cannot make a promise to God and then not do it – no matter how pressured you were when you made the promise. Some people wonder why nothing ever works out for them and why God is not blessing them, but they have all these rash promises floating out there that need to be kept. God is waiting for them to do what they said they would do when they were in trouble. If you are afraid of people’s response to you not keeping a promise – what about the Creator’s response?

 

People call on God – He hears their promise – He rescues them – and now they go merrily on as if a promise was never made. They act like they got themselves out of the predicament they were in and that they did not need God’s help. That is what you are saying when you refuse to acknowledge God with your promised gift.

 

That might seem to work for you for a while, but only until the next lot of trouble you get yourself into. Then who are you going to call? If your car breaks down and you call for a man with a tow truck and then you don’t pay him – you are not going to be able to call on him ever again – at least not until you pay him what you owe him.

 

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

 

2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.

 

3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.

 

4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed –

 

5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.

 

6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?

 

7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.  Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 NKJV

 

Some people treat people better than they treat God – they pay their bills because they are afraid of the trouble they will get into if they don’t – but they have no problem owing it to God forever.

 

They have no fear of God and no respect for His kindness. Some people see kindness as a weakness and even though they ask God for His help, they disrespect Him by forgetting their promise. It may seem like you are getting away with not keeping your promise and not paying your vow, but you will be held accountable and you will have to stand and face Almighty God eventually and give an account for your words, together with every other person who ever lived.

 

It would be better to not open your mouth and utter a rash promise than to promise what you have no intention or ability to fulfill. Think about what you are saying before you make a promise. Make a decision to do as you have promised at your earliest opportunity and do not quit until it is all done!

 

Start paying your vow even before you are out of trouble! If you will pay your vows promptly, and keep your promises exactly, then God will be able to bless you as He loves to do. God is no man’s debtor – He does not owe you anything. He wants to bless you, but He is only able to bless you as you keep your word and do as you have promised to do. 

 

GREAT FEAR AND GREAT JOY

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

 

2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

 

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

 

4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

 

5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

 

6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

 

7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

 

8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

 

9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.  John 20:1-10 KJV

 

Jesus spoke to His disciples many times about what was about to happen to Him, including His death and resurrection, but when He was arrested and crucified, they were devastated. They did not understand God’s plan.

 

Only in looking back, did they see the whole thing unfolded and revealed. Peter was so upset and afraid after Jesus was arrested that he denied knowing Jesus, three times. When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, early in the morning, on the first day of the week, she was distraught. One can only imagine the pain and heaviness with which she approached the tomb that day – her Lord had been crucified and was dead. She was even more upset when she saw His body was gone. Her trip that day to the tomb was not one of gladness, but one of great sorrow. However, this was about to change!

 

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

 

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

 

13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

 

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  John 20:11-14 KJV

 

This was Resurrection morning! It does not matter how bleak your life looks to you now – maybe you are full of sadness, disappointments, and regrets and you think that your life is over, that it is too late for you to have another chance – get ready for a resurrection!

 

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

 

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

 

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

 

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.  John 20:15-18 KJV

 

Mary Magdalene ran to bring His disciples Word that Jesus was not dead, but alive – that He was raised from the dead! Matthew 28:8 says that she departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy! This fear was a reverential fear that gripped her. She was also overcome with excitement and great joy because Jesus was alive she had just seen Him with her own eyes.

 

In John 11:25, before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He said unto Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Jesus is still speaking to you today, “Fear not! That which was dead shall be dead no more – I am the resurrection and the Life – and that which was dead shall live again.” Jesus died on the cross – He was dead for three days – but the good news is that He rose again. Without Him, you are already dead, but Jesus said in John 6:40 KJV, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

If you have Jesus, you will never die, but you will live forever. New life – resurrection life – is working in you even now! What do you need Him to do for you? Today is the day of your salvation!

 

THE FAITH OF MARY

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].   Isaiah 7:14 AMP

 

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.   Isaiah 9:6-7 AMP

 

Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth,

 

27 To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

 

28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!

 

29 But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.

 

30 And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God.

 

31 And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.

 

32 He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David,

 

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end.   Luke 1:26-33 AMP

 

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would give birth to a son called Immanuel, God with us. The government would be upon His shoulder, and His name would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Everybody knew of this prophecy. Mary must have known of this prophecy, but still, it was undoubtedly a surprise to her to actually see an angel standing in front of her and to hear him talking to her about becoming pregnant with a son who would reign on the throne of David. 

 

And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband?

 

35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God.

 

36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren.

 

37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. 38 Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.   Luke 1:34-38 AMP

 

At first, Mary’s thoughts went to the natural process of conception, pregnancy and birth. How was she to become pregnant when she was a virgin and not yet married? However, when the angel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, the power of the Most High would overshadow her and the holy Thing which would be born of her would be called the Son of God, she accepted it without any further questions or arguments. Most of us would have continued to argue and reason with our minds, as we do now when the Lord tries to direct us, but Mary accepted her heavenly assignment with grace and faith.

 

The angel assured her that with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Mary believed the Word of God spoken by the angel and she said, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.” We can all be very grateful that Mary was humble, yielded and obedient to the Lord. We can be grateful that she was willing to be used of God to bring Jesus into the world so that He could fulfill His destiny, which was to take our place, to save us from death and hell and to bring us into the family of God.

 

All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet, 23 Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel–which, when translated, means, God with us.   Matthew 1:22-23 AMP

 

This was not a small thing that Mary said yes to. Unlike this day and age, an unwed mother and an illegitimate child were completely unacceptable. Not only did she say “yes” to a pregnancy without a natural father, but she also said “yes” to persecution and rejection, because no one would believe her – except Elizabeth and Joseph, who had both heard from God on the subject.

 

This is the kind of faith and commitment that God looks for in you and in me – the faith that will say “yes” to that which is impossible in the natural and the commitment that will say “yes” even when misunderstandings and persecution are virtually guaranteed. We cannot refuse the Word of God – we must accept our destiny and contend for the will of God in our lives!

 

PUT AWAY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS

Job 22:23

If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up; if you put away unrighteousness far from your tents. AMP

If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. KJV

If you return to God and put right all the wrong in your home, then you will be restored. TLB

 

Job 22:23 says that you must put away iniquity and unrighteousness from your tabernacle – the place you live – your tent or your home. The tabernacle could be the tabernacle of your attitude, the tabernacle of your body, the tabernacle of your house, or the tabernacle of your family. If you want the blessing of God on your life, then you need to humble your heart, submit to the Lord, and deal with and eliminate any form of sin – whether in thought or deed, in your heart or in your home.

 

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.  Psalms 119:132-133 NIV

 

Sin, iniquity, and unrighteousness seek to dominate, control and destroy you. You may think that you are in control of sin, but once you yield to it, sin is always in control of you. The only way to be free of sin is to confess your sin, to ask God for forgiveness and to yield to righteousness.

 

Psalms 66:18-19

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. 19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. NKJV

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened. NIV

18 He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. 19 But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it! TLB

 

The first place that sin abides that must be dealt with is our own heart and mind. This is the root that must be eliminated in order to prevent the growth of the trunk, the branches and, eventually, the fruit.

 

20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'”  Mark 7:20-23 NIV

 

In order to get rid of sin, you must expose it. You must confess it to the Lord and receive His forgiveness.

 

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”–and you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Psalms 32:5 NIV

 

The second place that you must deal with sin is in your body.

 

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  Romans 6:12-14 NIV

 

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.

13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  Romans 8:12-14 NIV

 

Deal with sin in your own heart and mind and then in your body. Then deal with and eliminate all sin from your house and your family. Charles Finney would not allow anyone – relative or friend – into his house or around his children, if he thought that they would be used by the devil to corrupt either their morals or their manners. You should set the standard in your home and your family. Do not allow sin in your house – chase it away when it comes knocking at your door – so that God’s blessing is welcome to come to reside and abide at your house. You need to decide whom it is that you serve. If you serve God then sin must be ousted from out of your house!

 

19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  2 Timothy 2:19 NKJV

COVENANT OFFERING

I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

 

7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

 

8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

 

9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.”  Genesis 17:6-10 NKJV

 

Almighty God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants – He made a forever commitment to them and asked them to make a forever commitment to Him. A covenant is a committed promise. You commit to the terms of the covenant and you also commit to never break the covenant – that is what makes it a covenant.

 

Father God committed to be a God to his people – to protect and provide for them. He asks His people to commit to Him, to worship Him only and to honor Him with their hearts, their mouth, their actions and their offerings.

 

All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God.  Deuteronomy 28:2 NIV

 

However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.  Deuteronomy 28:15 NIV

 

Jesus died to remove your sins and your sicknesses and to destroy the work of the enemy in your life. When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you also accepted Him as your Lord and Master. There is a blessing for you as you commit to the Lord and keep your covenant promises that you made to Him, but there is a curse that comes on you if you break your promises.

 

A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is the [reverent] fear due Me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name. You say, How and in what way have we despised Your name?

 

7 By offering polluted food upon My altar. And you ask, How have we polluted it and profaned You? By thinking that the table of the Lord is contemptible and may be despised.

 

8 When you [priests] offer blind [animals] for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Present such a thing [a blind or lame or sick animal] now to your governor [in payment of your taxes, and see what will happen]. Will he be pleased with you? Or will he receive you graciously? says the Lord of hosts.  Malachi 1:6-8 AMP

 

If God is your Father, then you should honor Him as a Father. If Jesus is your Lord and Master, then you should reverentially fear Him as your Lord and Master. If you brought a blind, lame, or sick offering to your governor as payment for your taxes, he would not be pleased with you and would probably punish you. Why do God’s people pay their taxes to human governments, but bring God nothing? Why do God’s people pay all that they owe on their taxes, but bring God their dregs and way less than their best?

 

“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

 

7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

 

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.

 

9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me.

 

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

 

11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.

 

12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.  Malachi 3:6-12 NIV

 

If God is your God – if He is your Father, your Lord and your Master – then show Him your honor and your respect by giving Him your first and your best. Bring your tithes – the tenth of your income – to the storehouse first, before you pay your bills or buy the things you need and want and God will bless what you have left over and give you even more.

 

Don’t be a God-robber, don’t break your covenant promise to serve and obey Him. Don’t think of your tithe as money you are losing out on, but as an investment into the kingdom of God and a maintaining of your covenant promise to honor Him. God never ever breaks His covenant promises to you, but if you break your covenant promises with Him then He cannot protect you from the enemy. God always keeps His covenant – make sure that you make your commitment and keep your commitment to Him and you will always see the blessing and favor of God on your life.

 

HONOR YOUR FATHER

A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is the [reverent] fear due Me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name. You say, How and in what way have we despised Your name?

 

7 By offering polluted food upon My altar. And you ask, How have we polluted it and profaned You? By thinking that the table of the Lord is contemptible and may be despised.

 

8 When you [priests] offer blind [animals] for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Present such a thing [a blind or lame or sick animal] now to your governor [in payment of your taxes, and see what will happen]. Will he be pleased with you? Or will he receive you graciously? says the Lord of hosts.

 

9 Now then, I [Malachi] beg [you priests], entreat God [earnestly] that He will be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand [as a defective animal for sacrifice], will He accept it or show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts.

 

10 Oh, that there were even one among you [whose duty it is to minister to Me] who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on My altar to no purpose [an empty, futile, fruitless pretense]! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, nor will I accept an offering from your hand.

 

11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name shall be great among the nations, and in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and indeed a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

 

12 But you [priests] profane it when [by your actions] you say, The table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit of it, its food, is contemptible and may be despised.

 

13 You say also, Behold, what a drudgery and weariness this is! And you have sniffed at it, says the Lord of hosts. And you have brought that which was taken by violence, or the lame or the sick; this you bring as an offering! Shall I accept this from your hand? says the Lord.

 

14 But cursed is the [cheating] deceiver who has a male in his flock and vows to offer it, yet sacrifices to the [sovereign] Lord a blemished or diseased thing! For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and My name is terrible and to be [reverently] feared among the nations.  Malachi 1:6-14 AMP

 

There is an honor that is due from a servant to a master and from a son to a father. A servant who does not honor his master and a son who does not honor his father despise and abuse the relationship and cut off their avenue of blessing. Honor, where honor is due, goes hand in hand with blessing. You show honor toward God by your offering or dishonor toward Him by your lack thereof.

 

By bringing no offering, you demonstrate that you do not honor the Lord. If you bring an offering, but it is your dregs and scraps – the blind, the lame and the sick – then you openly dishonor your Heavenly Father. You think that He does not see or know, but He does – your offering rises up to Him either as a sweet smelling savor or a terrible stink – depending on the quality of the offering and the attitude in which you offer it. The two things that matter every time you give an offering are your attitude and the measure or quality of your offering.

But who am I, and what are my people, that we should retain strength and be able to offer thus so willingly? For all things come from You, and out of Your own [hand] we have given You.  1 Chronicles 29:14 AMP

 

Everything you have is God’s and it belongs to Him. He graciously allows you to partake of it. He even shares what is His with the unjust – He rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

 

Cain did not bring an acceptable offering – God did not receive his offering – because he did not bring his first or his best (Genesis 4:3-8). Abel brought the first and the best and his offering was acceptable to the Lord.

 

If God does not accept your offering – then there is no blessing for you – there is no harvest and no return. Cain got mad at Abel and murdered him, but what he should have done was to repent, obey God and bring an offering that was acceptable to the Lord. Abel wasn’t Cain’s problem – Cain’s disrespectful attitude was his problem.

 

Be honest with the Lord in all your dealings – particularly your offerings – because He knows your thoughts and the intents and purposes of your heart. If your attitude is wrong – He knows it. If your offering is second-rate – He knows it. If you want Him to accept your offering and to bless it – then you must bring Him that which is acceptable to Him.

Do not try to slip a polluted offering past Him and then get mad when He does not receive it – change your attitude and do what is right so that all of God’s blessings

 

YOU ARE JESUS DISCIPLES?

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

 

32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31-32 NKJV

 

A disciple is a learner or a pupil, someone who is being taught by a teacher or a master, learning everything the master knows, following his teaching, imitating him and, in the end, becoming just like him.

If you abide in Jesus’ word and if His word abides in you, then you are trained by it and then you are truly His disciples.

 

The word of God must come to live on the inside of you – it must take up residence in you. You must hear it, receive it, believe it, act upon it and live it out in your life. Even if you are born-again, you are not truly Jesus’ disciple if you do not have His word in your heart or if you do not imitate His example and do what He did. Even if you know the Bible back-to-front, you are not truly Jesus’ disciple until you are a doer of the word of God.

 

When people see that you behave like Jesus – that you walk like Him, talk like Him and do the things that He did – then they will know that you are His disciple.

 

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

 

14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.  Acts 4:13-14 NKJV

 

Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men, but they were anointed with power and boldness and they had a revelation from Heaven of spiritual things – a fact which was very evident to the religious leaders. They could tell that they had received their education from Jesus because they were just like Him and they behaved just like Him! When you abide in Jesus word, you will know the truth and the truth will liberate you, deliver and make you free.

LOVE

 

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35 NKJV

If you abide in Jesus’ word and His word abides in you, the love of God that is shed abroad in your heart will begin to flow out of you and you will walk and operate in love, just as Jesus did. When you walk in the God-kind of love, that love that loves the unlovely, then people will know that you are Jesus’ disciple. The God-kind of love sees people as valuable and precious, even when they are worthless, useless, despised and despicable in the eyes of man.

 

When you walk in love, you will do things and say things in a way that is totally opposite of the way the world operates. Because you do the thing they least expect you to do, because you respond in love and peace when any regular person would react in anger and hate, they see the difference immediately!

 

They know that you are different – they know that something happened to you, they know that you have been with Jesus and learned from Jesus, and they know that you are His disciple. You are a light and a testimony and you convict them of their sin.

BEAR FRUIT

 

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

 

2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 

3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

 

4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

 

5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

 

6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

 

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

 

8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:1-8 NKJV

ETERNAL PRIORITIES

6 So then we are always full of good and hopeful and confident courage; we know that while we are at home in the body, we are abroad from the home with the Lord [that is promised us].

7 For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.

8 [Yes] we have confident and hopeful courage and are pleased rather to be away from home out of the body and be at home with the Lord.

9 Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him.

10 For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].

11 Therefore, being conscious of fearing the Lord with respect and reverence, we seek to win people over [to persuade them]. But what sort of persons we are is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood by God, and I hope that it is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood also by your consciences (your inborn discernment).

12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but we are providing you with an occasion and incentive to be [rightfully] proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who pride themselves on surface appearances [on the virtues they only appear to have], although their heart is devoid of them.  2 Corinthians 5:6-13 AMP

 

There are those who pride themselves on surface appearances – they pride themselves on virtues they only appear to have – although their heart is devoid of them. If you present yourself as something other than what you really are- you make yourself a liar. We all want people to like us and think good things about us, but in the end it really doesn’t matter what other people think of us – it only matters what God thinks of us! God plainly recognizes and thoroughly understands what sort of person we are. Can He find something in us that He likes and that is pleasing to Him?

 

There will come a day that we will all stand alone before the judgment seat of Christ and all that we have done and said – both privately and publicly, good and bad – will be revealed and judged. We will be judged according to what our purpose and motive have been, what we have achieved, been busy with, and what we have given ourselves, and our attention, to accomplishing. Even our priorities will be scrutinized. We will receive our pay according to these things. God is fair and just and He judges impartially. We are the ones who make our choices, whether good or bad, and we are the ones who receive the pay we deserve.

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.  1 Samuel 16:7b NIV

 

The only chance we have to redeem ourselves and change for the good is while we are alive here on earth. A wise man or woman would make sure that he or she lived their lives in such a way that is pleasing to the Lord, who looks on the heart not just on outward appearances.

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:3-5 NIV

 

Your true worth and beauty does not lie in your outward appearance – your clothes, your jewelry, your make-up and your “mask”. Your mask is the face you put on to impress people, to make them like you and to make them think of you the way you want them to think about yourself. Your true worth and beauty comes from inside, from your heart. It is alright to look good on the outside, but it is not the only area you should work on – you should rather work on cultivating a heart attitude that pleases God and is of great worth in His sight.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

 

God has placed eternity in our hearts. Let us live for eternity. Let us make eternal things – not earthly things – our priority.