discipleship

Your Mouth Will Abort The Promise

tongue

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Zacharias (father of John the Baptist) received a word from God via the messenger angel Gabriel foretelling the birth of John.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. Luke 1:13

Because of the circumstances, their age in this case, Zacharias doubted and was struck dumb for a season.

And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. Luke 1:18-20

His tongue wasn’t loosed until after the promise came to pass.

And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. Luke 1:64

Doubt and fear can sometimes cause us to speak words that abort the promise. God did Zacharias a favor. We see the same principle at work at the fall of Jericho. They were to encircle the city once per day uttering not a word…no sound from their mouths.

And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. Joshua 6:10

Jesus also chose to endure in silence…

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: Acts 8:32

During these Gethsemane (crushing) moments, one must close their mouth when it comes to the emotional soul dimension. When spoken, the doubt and fear of the flesh will abort your promise. Instead, we should follow Christ’s example. When tempted in the wilderness He spoke the word…

But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Your emotions will deceive you. Isaac heard the voice of Jacob but felt the arms of Essau. He knew Jacob’s voice but was fooled by his feelings.

And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Genesis 27:22

If you are claiming a promise, don’t allow your emotions to speak. This includes emotional vents to your spouse. I know it’s tough but every word uttered has power especially when spoken through the lips of a regenerated spirit. In trying times, use your weapon…the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17

Speak the word only and you will surely see it come to pass!

discipleship

A Right Appetite: Bread of God

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

If we are to be blessed through spiritual hunger, what then will satisfy our hunger? If we are to be blessed through spiritual thirst, what then will quench it? In “The Right Appetite” series, we will explore a balanced spiritual nutrition plan that includes the Bread of God, Fruit of Praise, Living Water, and Oil of Anointing. In order to develop a right appetite, we must first understand the individual elements of the spiritual food pyramid. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the first…the Bread of God. What is the Bread of God?

right_appetite

THE BREAD OF GOD:

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. John 6:33

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35

We see, in these two scriptures, that Jesus is in fact the bread that came down from heaven. He, the Bread of Life, was born in the House of Bread (Bethlehem) and laid in a manager (feeding trough) for all the world to eat thereof. Great! We’ve established Jesus Christ is the bread we must eat. But, what does this mean? How are we to eat this bread? You see, the OT Jews were already expecting the Messiah to bring manna from heaven again. We can see this illustrated in numerable places. Here is my favorite.

Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. John 6:7-15

Okay, we see in this setting of scripture there were at least 5000 hungry mouths to feed (not including their wives and children) with only five loaves and two small fish. Jesus gave thanks and multiplied the resources. (Side note: If you want to multiply your resources…give thanks for what you already have.) Now back to it. Everyone ate their fill and the leftovers were so numerous they filled 12 baskets. When the men saw this miracle, they perceived Him to be the Messiah that should come into the world. Why? Was it because of the miracle? No, Jesus had performed 18 previous miracles. They already knew Him to be a miracle worker. That was the reason 5000 men along with their families were already following Him in this setting of scripture. No, they perceived Jesus to be Messiah because He supplied manna (bread) from heaven. In verse 15, Jesus perceived this new revelation was so powerful that the people wanted to take Him by force and make Him king. They received revelation and were beginning to make the connection between Jesus and the manna from Heaven but their revelation was not complete. Therefore, Jesus departed. On down in the chapter, the people pressed Jesus further:

Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. John 6:31

To which Jesus replied:

…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. John 6:32-33

Next…

Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. John 6:34

And…

Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35

This puzzled the Jews which heard it exceedingly.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? John 6:41-42

Their limited revelation needed to be expanded. Jesus obliged beginning in verse 48.

I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:48-51

We’ve scripturally outlined Jesus as the Bread of Heaven of which we are to eat. Like the Jews, this may present a new question for many.

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? John 6:52

To discover how we are to eat His flesh, we must know more about who Jesus is.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Here, we see the Word was in the beginning. The Word was with God. The Word was God. In verse 14, we see the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. At the end of verse 14, we see that flesh revealed as the only begotten of the Father. Who is the only begotten of the Father? John the Baptist reveals the answer in the next verses. Let’s read on.

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:15-18

So the Word that was with God, was God, and was manifest in the flesh as none other than Jesus Christ the only begotten.

Strong’s Reference:
monogenés: only begotten
3439 monogenḗs (from 3411 /misthōtós, “one-and-only” and 1085 /génos, “offspring, stock“) – properly, one-and-only; “one of a kind”
Literally: one (monos) of a class, genos |  the only of its kind

The manifested Word of God was declared unto the world through the flesh of Jesus Christ the one and only. The flesh of Jesus and the Word of God are one and the same thing. Most are familiar with interchanging the name Jesus with the term Son, Son of God, Son of Man etc. Below we find an interesting exchange of terminology.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7

I highlighted the previous scripture because it further validates our conclusion that Jesus, the Son, and the Word are interchangeable. We see the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost phrasing used in the NT. Here, the writer interchanged the Word in place of Jesus or the Son because he understood the terms as referencing one and the same entity. This brings new light to our current question. How do we eat the flesh of Jesus. Now that we understand the flesh of Jesus to be the same thing as the Word of God, we can rephrase the question as such. How do we eat the Word of God? Phrased this way, the question makes more sense. When we study and learn the Word of God we are actually devouring the flesh of Jesus Christ. We now know that Jesus Christ is the real manna. The phrase “bread of God’ in Leviticus is actually referencing the bread of the Presence.

They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy. Leviticus 21:6

Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy. Leviticus 21:8

How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Matthew 12:4

Showbread
(Hebrew: לחם הפנים lechem haPānīm‎‎, literally: “Bread of the Presence“), in the King James Version: shewbread, in a biblical or Jewish context, refers to the cakes or loaves of bread which were always present on a specially dedicated two crowned table, in the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to Yahweh.

An alternative, and more appropriate, translation would be presence bread, since the Bible requires that the bread be constantly in the presence of God (Exodus 25:30).

In the ESV, the term for shewbread is correctly translated as bread of the Presence as seen below.

How he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Matthew 12:4

SIDEBAR:

God’s Word, or the Bread of God, is further subdivided in scripture into two categories: milk and meat. Paul acknowledges feeding milk to some while reserving meat for others. (1 Corinthians 3:2) He also admonishes those who ought to be feeding others but instead have returned to the bottle and not the meat. (Hebrews 5:12) Can a mature Christian eat strong meat? Absolutely! More importantly, a fully mature disciple of Christ is one who digs into the meat of the Word not only for himself but for others. Like a breastfeeding mother, a fully mature Christian will hunt down dinner, prepare it first for themselves, digest it, and then deliver the milk to the youngling. In nature, we know breastfeeding is best for babies. The same applies in discipleship. Bottle feeding baby Christians does not deliver the same quality of nutrients, immunizations, etc. as breastfeeding. As disciples who desire to feed others, we cannot serve up another’s milk. The most effective discipleship happens when we personally break down the meat of the Word and build up our own milk supply for nurturing others. Mature Christians should be fully stocked with milk and meat and be able to discern who needs which. We’ll talk more about these subdivisions in the future.

In conclusion, Jesus is the bread that came down from Heaven. To grow spiritually, we must continually consume Jesus Christ…the bread of God…the Living Word.

FOR ADVANCED STUDY:

There is a connection here between the presence bread and Jesus Christ. As we read above in John 1:14, we know that Jesus Christ is the dwelling place for the Shekinah or glory of God. The person of Jesus Christ was how the world beheld or looked upon, the glory of God. It was this Shekinah, or glory, that was revealed to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration in Mark Chapter 9 when Jesus pulled back the veil of His flesh. Just as the presence bread is constantly in the presence of God, so also is Jesus Christ continually before the presence of God ever living to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25) The indwelling Spirit of God in the flesh of Jesus Christ ever lives, ever remains, in the Presence interceding on our behalf. Does this mean Jesus is praying continually? No, it means every time God looks upon a blood bought child of God, He must look through the veil of Jesus Christ. That sacrificial flesh is a continual reminder that the price has been paid once and for all. We are hid. Where are we hid? We are hid in Christ with God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then we too will also appear with Him in the glory. (Colossians 3:3-4)

Related Post:
The Right Appetite: Fruit of Praise (Pt1)

 

discipleship

Your Mouth Is Telling On You

gossip

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matthew 7:18

A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. Proverbs 16:28

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. James 1:26

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13

He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. Proverbs 10:18

And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for THY SPEECH BEWRAYETH THEE. Matthew 26:73

BEWRA’Y, v.t. beray. To disclose perfidiously; to betray; to show or make visible.

Translation: Tsk tsk…you’re not fooling anyone. Your mouth is telling on you! 🙊 🙉

discipleship

Lost In The House

lostfound

Reflecting on the timeless lyrics of Amazing Grace this morning.

🎶  I once was lost but now I’m found 🎶

I wanna be found over and over again!

Consider the parable of the lost coin…lost…in the house. The difference between the lost sheep, the lost son (prodigal) and the lost coin…the sheep and son are cognizant they are in fact lost. A lost sheep cries out so the shepherd can hear and thereby rescue. The lost son comes to himself and makes his way back to the father. The coin, on the other hand, is in the house (church) and yet completely oblivious that it too is completely and utterly lost. Worse still, it cannot cry out or rise up and walk.

Without the intervention of one who cared enough to light a candle, shine the light, and sweep the house (preach the word) the coin would remain lost.

Too often, the peril of the lost coin befalls seasoned people of God. The ones who have been in the house long enough that habit, tradition, and status have perhaps masked their struggle to the point they are now a dusty coin in the corner of the church house…out of sight, seemingly forgotten, and in need once again of being found.

After all, you can be a follower (Paul’s diviner damsel) and not be a believer. You can be in the inner circle (Judas) and still be a devil. You can be in the inner circle (Peter) and fail miserably denying what you once professed.

The only way to find something lost in the house is to illuminate and sweep…reveal (shine light on) and preach. Being in the house doesn’t mean you are (or will remain) found. It simply means you are in close proximity to The Seeker…the One who came to seek and save that which was lost. He’s perpetually seeking and saving you. This act was never meant to be viewed as a one time occurrence but rather a continual process of being renewed daily by every word that proceedeth (perpetually, continually) out of the mouth of God.

Rest assured, you are not forgotten. Someone is lighting the candle and sweeping the house. Be grateful someone cares enough to come looking!

Every day…in every service…start and end as one always striving to be found!

discipleship

New Year’s Tradition

newyear16

As is tradition, the Fergs rang in the New Year with an official last word of the year spoken at 11:59 PM followed by silence until 12:00 AM where we utter the first word of a New Year. We like to call the tradition “The Alpha and Omega.”

2015, we leave you declaring the name that is above all names as we welcome 2016 with the same!

Jesus: The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last, the Aleph and the Tav.

Happy New Year!!!!!

discipleship

Shine On

This-Little-Light-of-Mine

In all fairness, darkness isn’t America’s problem. Light shines in darkness and darkness
comprehends it not.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:5

The problem is that the light is under a bushel.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:15

The problem isn’t with the darkness. The problem isn’t with sinners. The problem isn’t with people of faith in general. The problem is with the people of the name.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The people of the name have to humble themselves. The people of the name have to seek His face. The people of the name have to repent.

It doesn’t matter how much darkness is around us. A world of blackness cannot stop the flicker of even one single match. Light overcomes darkness always. We are the light of the world!

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Matthew 5:14

No wonder the powers that be want people of the name to keep their faith at home behind closed doors. Even they know that a light on a hill cannot be hid. What about the darkness that has multiplied in the earth? As an artist, I understand one way to increase the light in a piece is to deepen the shades of black around it. As He did in the beginning, the original artist and Creator of all, has once again chosen to separate and heighten the contrast between darkness and light.

Are you called by His name? Then shine on my friend…shine on. His masterpiece is nearly complete!

discipleship

Christmas Bread

Christmas Bread

Jesus, the Bread of Heaven, born in Bethlehem (the house of bread) and laid in a manger, feeding trough. O taste and see!

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:12

ON A SIDE NOTE:

In Old Testament customs, the shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes to protect the body of the lambs which would be offered as sacrifice at the Temple just four miles away in Jerusalem. Wrapped in swaddling clothes to keep the new lambs without spot or blemish, they would be laid in a manger until they had calmed down.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

discipleship

Are You Excellent?

excellentDaniel had an excellent spirit.

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Daniel 6:3

For a long time, I thought that meant he was a positive and encouraging individual. Well I’m sure he probably was but that isn’t what this setting of scripture is referencing. What it’s actually saying is that Daniel did things with excellence. NLT renders it this way:

Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Daniel 6:3

Next scriptures that come to mind:

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…Ecclesiastes 9:10a

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Proverbs 18:16

It does matter that we invest in the logistics of our gifts and callings. It’s worth noting that God didn’t ask Moses to get any old jack of all trades Joe when it came time to fashion things in the Tabernacle. No, God specifically called people by name who were known masters of their craft. People who were excellent in skill.

And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. Exodus 35:30

Invest time, prayer and hard work into the dreams God has placed in your heart!

discipleship

Silence of the Lambs

lambs

The greatest threat to the kingdom is the silence of the lambs. Lift up your voice!

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12

…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16b

The quickest way to dispel darkness is to turn up the light…so turn up Jesus! When darkness seems to be consuming the world in which we live, Christians need to crank up Jesus!

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 11:9

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:5

If every Christian in America would realize that praise ambushes our enemies, I’m convinced that every church in America would be transformed! We are a nation at war (spiritually and in the natural.) Praise is a war strategy!

And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. 2 Chronicles 20:22

It was a victory shout that brought down the walls of Jericho.

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. Joshua 6:20

As a cheerleader in high school, I jumped, screamed and shouted more to praise and encourage a basketball team than 95% of Christians do for Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith! We stand out of respect when the President walks into a room while bands blare “Hail to the Chief” yet many Christians won’t stand to sing a praise to the King of Kings! People scream until their throats are raw for sports teams yet are appalled at the thought of shouting unto God with the voice of triumph. Doesn’t make good sense. If you want to see what real joy and praise looks like, just tell a 6 yr old they’re going to Disney World. They jump, throw their hands in the air, scream, shout and even cry yet somehow Christians are able to contain joy unspeakable! It may be joy unspeakable but it’s not unpraisable! When words fail, get your praise on! God receives praise loud and clear! Praise isn’t just having good thoughts about and towards God in our hearts. Praise is mouth AND motion.

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Psalm 47:1

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1b

Should Christians be forced to praise? That’s impossible! There is no such thing as a forced praise! Praise is a free will offering. No one can make you do it. On the flip, when you know what God has brought you out of and into, no one on earth can make you stop praising Him!

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Some feel that actual (aloud and visible) praise is not important because the love of Christ is in their hearts. That’s fantastic! If it really is in our hearts, it will come out of our mouths!

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

The one leper who came back to offer praise was made whole. Healing is great but wholeness is greater! Our nation needs more than a healing…we need to be whole again! That will not happen outside of praise! Consequently, it’s real easy to sit back and say yay and amen but what are we as individual Christians doing about it? How are we to expect the nation as a whole to praise rather than eschew God when the majority of churches are silent week after week? If your church isn’t a praising church…make it one! If doing so isn’t accepted in your church, you’re in the wrong church! Praise is not an option…it’s a reflex, a natural outflow from a thankful heart! I say it’s time to let Judah go up first!

And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first. Judges 20:18

The praise is in the front! (2 Chronicles Chapter 20)

Related Post: The Right Appetite: Fruit of Praise (Pt1)