Monday, September 10, 2018

"Prayer Works Like A 'W'" (by Bill Winston)

Just heard this today during a sermon from Bill Winston.


God initiates it, but He puts it through the Holy Ghost in your heart  \

You respond and pray (according to His will) - when you pray, it goes back up to God  /

Once it goes back to Him, He answers the prayer

God dispatches resources on your behalf in response to your prayer  \

Once you receive what you prayed for, you give praise to God  /

This is by no means meant to simplify the prayer walk, but it is an interesting way to hear it explained.

One reason I give the disclaimer above is because many Christians know and understand that our praise often times needs to be lifted up to God before we receive the answer to our prayers.  Again, it was still an interesting reference using the letter W :).

Angels On Your Side

(a re-post of an article many years ago from

"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

Most of us heard about our guardian angel when we were just children. And, in those days, it was a comforting thought. With monsters lurking behind the closet door and creepy things crawling beneath the bed, it was good to know that someone was there to protect us when the light was out.

But, as the years passed, we left behind our childhood fears. The imaginary creatures that had once seemed so real disappeared from our minds. And sadly enough, for most of us, the angels did too.

Now it's time to set the record straight.

Angels are not just kid stuff. They're not little fat babies with long blond hair and bows and arrows in their hands. The Bible does not refer to these mighty beings as female. They are referred to as great and mighty in strength and ability.

Forget those pictures you saw on most Sunday school walls! Angels are big and strong. They are our protectors and our warriors. They are very real and VERY powerful. And, if you are a believer, they are a vital part of your life.

In fact, according to Hebrews 1:14, angels are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation."

Before you can really appreciate what that means to you, you need to realize that the word "salvation" in that scripture does not refer simply to the eternal, go-to-heaven-when-you-die, new-birth kind of salvation.

The Greek word translated salvation there is "soteria." And if you'll look up the word soteria, you'll find it "denotes deliverance, preservation of material, and temporal deliverance." Real biblical salvation not only includes eternal protection, but also it includes protection from all the material dangers of life right here on this earth.

Now, with that in mind, read Hebrews 1:14 again. "Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

Just think about that. God has created vast numbers of gloriously powerful spiritual beings for the express purpose of protecting us and delivering us from the evils of this world—from everything from hurricanes to plane crashes, from gang violence to diseases.

We see examples of what angels can do all through the Bible. When the children of Israel were fleeing from Egypt with Pharaoh's army hot on their heels, the Bible tells us that suddenly the wheels on the Egyptians' chariots just quit rolling!

Who do you think was the cause of that? Angels, of course!

And they haven't retired since then either. Angels are at work today just like they've always been.

Several years ago in one of Israel's major wars, the enemy had their guns trained on Israeli compounds. Those guns were the finest military equipment money could buy. They had a range of at least 20 miles and were equipped with electronic gun sights for accuracy.

But something very odd happened. Every time they fired those guns at the Israelis, they missed their targets, in some cases, at almost point blank range. We know there was nothing wrong with the guns because later the Israelis captured them and fired them back at the enemy with perfect success.

What happened? Angels, that's what! In another instance, an Israeli patrol composed of just a handful of men captured 600 motorized infantrymen and all of their tanks.

Why would any modern-day army surrender to such a small patrol? Because they said they heard a massive army approaching. They thought they were outnumbered!

What did they actually hear? They heard angels.

My friend, these are not fairy tales. They're real-life examples of the involvement of angels in the lives of God's people today. And, if you're a child of God, if you're an heir of salvation, then you have a right to expect those angels to minister such deliverance for you.

But if you want to make sure you'll receive their ministry when you need it, you'd better start exercising your faith and getting your words and your actions in line with God's Word.

Why? Because, according to Psalm 103:20, His Word is what sets the angels in motion: "Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word."

When you're in trouble, don't speak about how awful things are. Speak the Word. Give your angel something to respond to!

Say, "I am an heir of salvation. I am an heir of preservation and deliverance. The angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister that deliverance for me. And Mr. Angel, in the Name of Jesus, that's exactly what I believe you will do."

Once you've spoken that word of faith, stand fast. Don't waver. Give the angels time to work! They're real beings, and you've given them a real job to do.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Healing for the Hurt

(a letter that I wrote to my cousin in response to some struggles he expressed)

Don't feel bad opening up about this.  We're human and we're going to have times where we struggle with our thoughts and feelings and don't really know exactly how to deal with them.  If you can't talk to a loved one you trust, who CAN you talk to.  We all need someone we can relate to who can empathize with our struggles (without judgment).  And you're right; we have to have the mind of Christ and be filled with His love so we can forgive - otherwise the bitterness and resentment can eat us up (that's why I had that stint back in the late 2000's where I started getting so much grey hair; I was carrying a lot of resentment and bitterness inside and it was literally eating me alive).

As much as we want to be Christ-like, I really believe that the majority of us believers are not even close to being "good Christians" unfortunately.  I know that we have the ability to measure up to the high standard that Jesus came and demonstrated for the world, but it takes a level of sacrifice that most of us aren't willing to sacrifice :(... I've been a Christian for 27 years, and there was only ONE time in that span of time where I fully surrendered and started to see what it really means to be a Christian... And it started to fade as soon as I went back to work.  It's really challenging to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)  Again, it's not impossible, but unless you're a full-time pastor or evangelist, it's often times a battle to press toward that mark while you're immersed in the world (which is where most of us Christians are when we're spending a large portion of our time in the workplace).

I think one of the most important things we can do is to realize that we can't do it in our own power.  We need God, and we can't give up.  We have to keep doing what we know is right, and what the Spirit leads us to do (digging in to the Word, spending time alone with God, renewing our minds and hearts, etc).

So many people have wronged and hurt us, and they don't deserve our love or forgiveness.  And the world didn't deserve God's love or forgiveness, but He freely gave it anyway.  So we have to love the unlovable, and we have to forgive the unforgivable.  And often times, not for THEM, but for US.  Us choosing to do what Christ did changes OUR hearts.  And God willing, the people in our lives who don't deserve it will hopefully see something in us that is different from what's seen in the rest of the world (Christ in us, the hope of glory - Colossians 1:27).

Sorry man, I always seem to transition from an encouraging chat to a sermon, lol.  You know what though?  It's often times the Holy Spirit talking directly to me while also talking to the person I'm sharing with. I need this sermon just as much as you might need it!  I even have times where I'll re-read an email that I sent to someone because God used it to encourage and build MY faith.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Standing In Faith

(a letter that I wrote to my dad)

Hey dad, before we talk again today or this week, I wanted to say some things that are on my heart.

There are at least 110 places in the bible where we're told to "fear not" (essentially, "do not be afraid").  I believe that one of the main reasons we're told to "fear not" is because fear is toxic.  After all, the opposite of "faith" is "fear".  But I believe another main reason we're instructed to not be afraid is because fear blocks the blessings of God.

When God created us, He created us in His image and His likeness, and He also gave us authority.  We're to be like Him; operating in the same way that He operates (Genesis 1:26-28).

Along with that, "we've been given the mind of Christ", and "we've not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, power and of a sound mind" (1 Corinthians 2:16 and 2 Timothy 1:7).

There's an example in Mark 5 and in Luke 8.  The gist of the story is that there was a church leader whose young daughter was on her death bed, and then she died.  But despite the fact that the little girl was dead in the natural realm, Jesus told the church leader "fear not; believe only, and she shall be made whole".  As children of God, we have to renew our minds to the fact that the spirit realm is actually more real than the natural realm that we see and feel.  And everything that exists in the natural realm is first birthed in the spirit realm.

Jesus told the leader to not be afraid because he knew that fear in the man's heart would block the blessing.  Notice also that Jesus instructed him to "believe only".  You can imagine how hard it would be to only trust in God and His perfect will if your own child was dead, but that's exactly what Jesus told the man to do.

Bad things happen to "good" people all the time, but that doesn't mean that God is ever bad.  We live in a fallen world, and bad things are going to happen.  But how we choose to respond to those bad things is what determines the final outcome in our lives.

God's will is always to prosper us.  God speaks directly to us in Jeremiah 29:11 when He says "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," saith the Lord, "thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end".  God's will is that we would prosper in all our ways.  And the bible has a lot to say about it (

This reminds me of the number of times I've heard people say "God is in control".  Every time something good happens, you always hear people say "Praise God!".  But every time something bad happens, it's all to common to hear those same people speak a somber "well... God is in control.... I guess we just have to trust that He knows what He's doing".

But despite what a lot of people think, God is not in control.  If that were true, the world would not be so chaotic and filled with evil.  God was not in control when Adam and Eve were living in the garden thousands of years ago, and God is not in control today.  We are in control, and we can choose to seek God and allow His Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, or we can choose to exclusively take control ourselves.  That's exactly what Adam and Eve did when they ate the forbidden fruit.  There were commanded by God to NOT eat the fruit of that tree.  They were supposed to trust in Him and obey Him.  But despite the fact that, in their hearts, they knew better, they still chose to be disobedient and go against what God told them not to do.  And that one act of disobedience is what ushered in sin and death, and it's been at work in this world ever since.

But glory be to God!  Jesus came to die in our place, and He died and rose again to conquer sin and death.  His victory becomes our victory when we choose to believe in Him, and obey what He leads us to say and do in every waking moment of our lives.  Christ came to demonstrate to us how God desires us to live.  And Jesus was the perfect example of who we can be if we'll fully surrender ourselves to the leading of God and His Holy Spirit in our lives.  Here are three examples where Jesus showed us by example how we should live (like He did):
John 5:19, John 8:28 and John 12:48-50.

Remember the story of Job?  He was an extremely successful, blessed, prosperous man.  But he lost everything when satan attacked him.  And despite the fact that his entire family and friends wouldn't support him and actually turned their backs on him, he never stopped believing that God is good.  And he was eventually restored by God to an even greater place and status than he was at before the attack that had previously nearly destroyed him.

Every time something bad happens in our lives, we have a choice; we can either submit to it and ultimately let the enemy defeat us, or we can "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12) and "overcome through Christ" (Philippians 4:13  and Revelation 12:11).

In Deuteronomy 30:19, we're told to "choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live".  Every time the enemy attacks us, we can either fall into a victim mentality and start being afraid of a bunch of things that haven't even happened, or we can do what Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to do: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.", and what James 4:7 tells us to do: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you".

This is the way we should think and act at all times: 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  "Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Joshua 1:8:  "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

My ultimate desire is to walk in God's ways and to please Him.  And in order to do that, I have to live by faith. There are four different passages in the bible that say "The just shall live by faith".  As "believers", we're not supposed to "try to be good people" or "do our best in our own power" or "go to church once per week and put something in the offering plate".  We're commanded to LIVE by faith.  That means that we're supposed to always be striving to live this life the way that God intends it to be lived.  We may not always understand or know exactly what He's doing, but we're never supposed to stop trusting in Him, and we should always be diligently seeking Him.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us "...without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

I could go on and on right now, so I'll leave you with that for now :).

One of the primary reasons I'm sharing all of this with you is because I want to prep your mind and heart for our next voice-to-voice conversations this week.

Last scripture/thought:  We're not supposed to be like the world.  We're supposed to look different, and operate on a higher level.  And the only way we can do that is by not leaning unto our own understanding, but instead "being transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can know and live in the pleasing and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Song "Be The Centre (Jesus)"

There's an overwhelming desperation in my spirit for what this song is singing:

Jesus, be the centre
Be my source, be my light

Jesus, be the centre
Be my hope, be my song

Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Jesus, Jesus

Jesus, be my vision
Be my path, be my guide

Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Jesus, Jesus

(Instrumental solo)

Be the fire
Yes, Be the fire

Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Jesus, Jesus

Jesus, be the centre
Be my source, be my light

Be my source, be my light





Something interesting about the word "center" vs "centre":  "Center" can be used to describe a place or institution, whereas "Centre" is used to describe the middle point of something.  Based on that description, I desperately want Jesus to be the "centre" of my life.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Getting Back To God

As challenging as it can be sometimes, I'm at a point in my life right now where I really feel a desperation of how much I need to cut off all the distractions of the world and dive back into diligently seeking Him and His perfect plan for my life.

I have a daily devotional book called "Jesus Calling", and there are some really helpful devotionals in there.  One that really hit me recently (and it was one that I happened to read out of sequence, and I'm glad I did!):

May 19th, 2018

Scripture references:
John 10:28-29
Corinthians 13:12
Psalm 29:11

"I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence.  That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings.  You are on your way to heaven; nothing can prevent you from reaching that destination.  There you will see Me face-to-Face, and your Joy will be off the charts by any earthly standards.  Even now, you are never separated from Me, though you must see Me through eyes of faith.  I will walk with you till the end of time and onward into eternity.

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings.  When you forget that I am with you, you may experience loneliness or fear.  It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.  Practice the discipline of walking consciously with Me through each day.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Crucify Your Flesh & Renew Your Mind

(a "sermom I preached" to a dear friend; and to MYSELF, lol)

God wants us to "fear not" and He wants us to continually seek Him, sow His Word, and be DOERS of The Word (Matthew 6:33, Mark 4:14 and James 1:22).

God says we're supposed to love Him with ALL our heart, mind, soul and strength (Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). I know for a fact that I've not been doing that on a daily basis :(. But we should be seeking God even MORE than a heroin or meth addict seeks a fix!  It's amazing that hardcore drug addicts literally "die to self" and are willing to risk their lives to pursue "the fix", but yet we don't have many Christians in the world that are willing to die to self and pursue the Almighty God :(.

His Word is so crucial. The battles we face every day always start in the mind. That's why God's Word says it's vitally important for us to "renew" our minds DAILY (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16 and Ephesians 4:23).  When our minds are continually renewed, we think like God; which causes us to hear Him on a much deeper level, which causes us to BE like Him.  He wants more than anything for us to be just like Jesus - that's one of the reasons He sent Jesus to die for us. He loves us more than we could ever fathom with our earthly minds, and He wants us to live in complete victory.  Jesus said we WILL have trials, but He overcame the world (John 16:33), and He wants us to overcome as well, through 100% trust and reliance on Him.

I think a perfect analogy would be this:
If you really wanted to go on a hike to some amazing place in another part of the world, but you had no experience or knowledge of that place, you would need a guide; someone who HAS experience and could help you on that journey. Our lives are that journey. Every day we need our "guide" (the Holy Spirit) to show us the way and to help us to navigate.  Otherwise we're basically just "winging it", and that ultimately will not lead to true victory.  We might get lucky sometimes (and even then, it's only God's Grace that protects and sustains us; it's not luck at all).

I truly mean no disrespect when I say this, but if someone says they are giving God 100% of their heart, mind, soul and strength, but then the moment something major happens in their life, they start to question Him, they're not FULLY surrendered. Using the "guide" analogy again, it would be like saying to the guide every 5 minutes "Are you SURE this is the right path?", when the guide has been on the journey so many times, he could walk it blindfolded.

I believe that one of the main reasons you struggle and question Him is because you don't have a great enough revelation yet of His love for you. Trust me man, when you do, it transforms you. And I'm not saying you don't know Him. I'm just saying that you might want to try something radical. For instance, take a 1 week vacation, but rather than doing what you would normally do, take that week and go somewhere secluded by yourself and spend every waking moment of that time seeking Him; spending time in His Word, praying, meditating. I guarantee if you do that, you will have radical revelations and grow in your faith in ways you never thought possible.  Again, this message is for me as well because I need the same thing in my own life.

Sometimes we have to completely fast from the world. That's one of the reasons the bible tells us that we have to die to ourselves and crucify our flesh (Mark 8:35, Galatians 5:24, Luke 9:23, Galatians 2:20, Romans 8:13, etc).  Our flesh is always talking to us. For one person it might be saying "Don't work so hard! This company doesn't appreciate you! You should just play some games or go take a nap - no one will know!". Or for another person it might be saying "Come on man, you know you want another hit off that pipe! Take it!!" Or for another it might be "Look at how hot that woman is! You want her, don't you!?".  But if our hearts aren't completely hardened, even if we're not walking on the path we SHOULD be walking on, we know in our spirits what is truly right or wrong. But if we're not strong in our spirit, our flesh will win that battle every time.  Romans 7:15 speaks about this: "I don’t understand my own behavior - I don’t do what I want to do; instead, I do the very thing I hate!"

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

I believe one of the things that verse is telling us is that, if we diligently seek God, and we dive into His Word and continually renew our minds, we will BE who He called us to be (and one of the things God wishes for us is that we would triumph over evil every time we're attacked).

Remember when Jesus went into the wilderness to fast, but satan came along and tried to tempt Him 3 times? EVERY time satan tried to tempt Him, Jesus immediately responded with God's Word! That's how we should be. Every time we hear lies in our head or we feel ourselves being tempted, we're supposed to have God's Word SO stored up in our hearts that we don't even have to think about how we're going to respond. We will just immediately REACT by speaking God's Word to counteract those lies.  Which reminds me of the verse in the bible "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45).  If we're filled with His love and truth, it can't help but to overflow out of us into every facet of our lives.

I think it's natural for us to feel fear and all the other natural emotions that can rise up inside us. But I DO believe that God's goal is for us to be so filled with the revelation of His love for us that we will NEVER be a victim of fear.

Look at Jesus example when Him and the disciples were in the boat on their way to the other side of the lake. A great storm rose up and started thrashing the boat, to the point that the disciples literally feared for their lives. They went to Jesus and found Him sleeping, lol! That was their first clue! They should've had enough sense to see Jesus sleeping and be like "Dang, if HE'S not afraid, why should WE be!?". But instead they woke Him up and were basically like "Dude, don't you see we're about to die!?" And the first thing Jesus did was spoke to the storm and calmed it (He was demonstrating His authority, and ultimately SHOWING his disciples "Guys, you don't have to be afraid! I am WITH you!"). The very next thing He did was he asked his disciples "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?".  That's the exact same thing God says to you when things don't go right in your life and you start to question Him. It's the same thing He does with all of us - we all fall short in that area.

But when we continue to renew our minds to these revelations and mediate on them, we will start to be transformed by His love and truth. We WILL get to a point where we have absolutely no fear. When something tries to rise up against us, rather than being afraid or questioning how we're going to handle it, we'll be at peace, trusting in Him, and seeking Him to show us how to be victorious (and in many of those moments, we'll actually know what to do and how to respond because we'll have reached the level of understanding and confidence that it takes to properly respond to the lies that try to make us doubt and be fearful).

His Word says in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge".

That's why we gotta preach the gospel - people are lost and need His truth.

It's cliche, but it's true: John 8:32 says "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

* Free from fear
* Free from the bondage of addiction
* Free from being victims of temptation
* Free from doubt
* Free from anger
* Free from everything that isn't His will for our lives

You might not realize this, but I appreciate when you talk to me about stuff like tonight because God encourages me and refreshes my spirit while He's using me to encourage you.  He is SO good like that!  Proverbs 27:17 ;)

Can I preach some more? :D

Look at David! He was SO confident in God, he not only went up against Goliath, but he RAN out to meet him on the battlefield. And that was AFTER seeing an ENTIRE army scared out of their wits and too fearful to fight him!

As we both know, he eventually became king and won MANY battles through The Lord. But even with all that victory in his life, he still had struggles. In 1 Samuel 30, it says "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."

David is a good example to us in that verse (verse 6). He was GREATLY distressed. But despite the pain he was in, he STILL knew His God was good. So he encouraged HIMSELF. He didn't wait for someone else to do it. He didn't even ask God to help him out of his grief. He encouraged HIMSELF. Sometimes we gotta do that. We gotta remind ourselves that God IS good and wants the best for us, no matter what we're going through.

Joseph went through a pretty hellish journey too. His brothers hated him so much that they sold him into slavery, and then they lied to their dad about it. And then he eventually ended up in an Egyptian prison. But he never gave up his hope in God. And God turned the tables! He went from being a prisoner to being the second most powerful man in Egypt! I guarantee you he would NOT have had that kind of victory if he had sat in that prison feeling sorry for himself and doubting God.

God was able to take care of Joseph while he was in prison because Joseph was fully trusting in God's ability to take care of him (despite his circumstances).

We HAVE to know that, even when there's a major storm in our lives that's risen up and is threatening to destroy us, we have to know that Jesus won't let that storm destroy us - and we HAVE to FULLY trust in Him. If we don't, there's a chance that the storm WILL destroy us.

That's one of the reasons God has given us SO many examples in His Word. He is telling us "Hey! Trust me!"

Look at Matthew 9:18-26.  A ruler (a man of power and authority) came to Jesus and worshipped Him and said "My daughter is dead, but if you lay your hand on her, she will live!". And on the way to the dude's house, Jesus stopped to address a woman who needed to be restored.  Then Jesus finally arrived at the guy's house.

And Jesus said "the girl is not dead, but just sleeping". The people in the room laughed at him! They knew in the natural, she literally was dead.

The first thing Jesus did was put all the naysayers outside (He had to get rid of the spirit of unbelief that was polluting that environment).  Then Jesus raised her from the dead and the fame of that miracle spread throughout the land!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Your Body Is The Temple Of The Living God!

HIS Spirit dwells within you!  The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within you, and quickens your mortal body, giving life to your flesh and bone (Romans 8:11).

Let's continue to water our spirits with the living Word of God!

Something I'm really feeling in my spirit:  We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus, and for GOD's purpose.  This life does not belong to us; it belongs to HIM.  I believe we've been too far drifted away from God and He wants us to be fully surrendered to Him so we can be used by Him and experience the blessed life.

Let's keep starving the world and keep feeding our spirits!