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Sunday, March 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
March 29, 2009
I will be heading to Karachi, Pakistan for a pastor faith seminar and miracle evangelistic meetings in the next two days and need to finish preparing and packing for the trip; therefore this letter will be relatively shorter than usual…But I believe I have a special Word from God that will bless you this week –
God wants you to be victorious in every situation and it is available to you NOW!
I am not giving you a ‘pie in the sky’ phrase that is not based on reality and truth: If are a Born-Again Believer it is already a Truth in your life. You may not be walking in that truth, but that does not negate its truthfulness or validity. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, you are already victorious in every situation in your life. Now meditate this week upon the following scripture:
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” - 2 Corinthians 2:14
Does it say “sometimes causes us to triumph”? or “once in a while causes us to triumph”?…or “when we get to heaven causes us to triumph”? No, it states: God ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ – Praise the Lord.
In every situation, in every circumstance, God will cause you to triumph; ALWAYS. You will be victorious if you will stand and believe in the reality of that truth, no matter how impossible the victory may be in the natural realm. In studying the words “causeth us to triumph”, I have come across a number of meanings from the original Greek version of the scripture – Like, “to lead in triumph, triumph over; in a causative sense, to cause to triumph; and, “to have victory, prevail indicating victory; to succeed, prosper; to be more than conqueror.”
It is also interesting to look at the OPPOSITE definitions to the word “causeth us to triumph” (which means that this scripture DOES NOT apply to these meanings or lifestyle). Opposite meanings include “to be defeated, overcome”.
No- if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you are not to be defeated in life or to be overcome by failure in life; but you are to be triumphant, victorious, prevailing, successful and prosperous!
Why? Because you are intelligent and talented, and you are can trust in your own ability? NO! Because you are in Christ Jesus! Now a Word study for the Greek original meaning of being “in Christ”, is to “governing In, on, at, by any place or thing, with the primary idea of rest” Now, get a hold of the meaning of being “in Christ” – Jesus is governing you in every situation, place or circumstance; you are resting and having faith in Jesus and only looking to him – You are not looking at the problem, or your natural ability to solve the problem!
That is the problem why many Christians fail to walk in constant victory – They do not rest in Christ; they do not put their full trust in Jesus. Believers trust Jesus to a point; after a while, they try to figure out the problem by their own ability, intelligence, talent, etc. Until you give all to Jesus and trust Him SOLELY to handle your problem and circumstance, you will never be triumphant on a continuous basis!
God wants you to be successful and triumphant ALWAYS! That is why the verse continues:
“…Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God…” (2 Corinthians 14b-15 -New Living Translation)
God NEEDS for you to always be triumphant and victorious. It is our witness of ALWAYS BEING VICTORIOUS that spreads the knowledge of Christ. Praise the Lord, meditate upon that – God needs your success and victory to be an evangelistic tool to win the world to Jesus!
I don’t know about you, but I am excited just writing these words, and my faith is increasing and I am full of joyful expectation! I will be victorious AWAYS because Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and it is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. I will be successful because the world needs to see the goodness of God – the love of God – through my witness!
Stand on God’s promise; believe it NO MATTER HOW DESPERATE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE MAY BE – If you will hold on to your faith and believe, you will become triumphant in that seemingly unsolvable problem. You will come to a place in life, through faith in God’s love through Jesus Christ, that God will cause you to always be triumphant in Christ!
Be blessed and full of joy –
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
March 22, 2009
“Seek the LORD while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”
— Isaiah 55: 6-12 (New Living Translation)
Revival – that is what is needed in the world today. The world needs a “Great Awakening” that will shake the nations out of its self-absorbed, ungodly road to perdition. The wisdom of man has failed and the world is on the verge of a great tribulation and sorrow – if we aren’t already experiencing the beginnings of such a period.
Yes, these are the ‘last days’ prophetically spoken about in God’s Word, and you can already read and view news accounts that quote world leaders and experts calling for a one world currency and a supranational governmental body to set global laws and policies ‘for the betterment of all mankind”. Can the emergence of the anti-Christ be far off?
What should we do as the Body of Christ? Wring our hands in fear and in trepidation? Should we just say, “Oh well, to hell (literally) with the world, we are going to be with the Lord soon!” No, we should get on our knees and seek the Lord for a mighty outpouring of His presence upon the earth. It is our responsibility to bring as many people around the world into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ, before the Return of Jesus Christ for His Church!
We here at Great Joy in the City Ministries – our Great Joy in the City churches of Pakistan, as well as our Bond Servants of Christ Ministerial Fellowship members – are weekly seeking the face of God, and crying out to Him that He would pour His Spirit and presence upon the people of the world. We are engaged in weekly intercessory prayer for God to awaken people worldwide to the reality of who He is through an outpouring of Hi glory, and the salvation available to them through Jesus Christ. The Body of Christ needs to rise up around the world and seek the Lord and seek His intervention. I am not saying that we can change world events – I believe that we can’t change God’s Will as it’s written for these last days. But we can firstly, make sure that world-wide tribulation and trouble will not touch us personally because we are Covenant Children of God redeemed from the Curse that is upon mankind. But equally as important, that we can also usher in the Lord’s Return by bringing in the end-time harvest.
There are Church leaders around the world calling for a “Great Awakening”. One in particular, has (I believe) a special anointing upon them. Dr. Billye Brim is having weekly one hour intercessory prayer for a Great Awakening, which you can join her by internet. Just go to www.billyebrim.org on Wednesdays at 12 noon (US Central time) and join with thousands from around the world who are gathering for intercessory prayer. Or do as we do in Asia – you can go on to Dr. Brim’s archives media section on Thursday, and download the intercessory prayer service and join in.
If we will do our part and cry out to the Lord to manifest His presence, we can be assured that God is faithful and just to bring his glory upon the earth – a Great Awakening that will shake nations.
Join with us by calling out to the Lord, and seeking His face for a Great Awakening that will touch the nations of the earth!
Be blessed and full of joy -
Sunday, March 1st, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
March 1, 2009
How is your life going? Are you enjoying the fruits of God’s blessings, or are you in famine – both spiritually and in the natural realm?
We are at a crossroads in world history – the return of Jesus Christ is soon; and we can see ‘signs’ every where in the world. If you have read a newspaper lately or watched a news report on television, you will be well aware of the ‘doom and gloom’ plaguing the world, and touching every person globally. Neither kings, nor presidents, prime ministers, heads of state, nor their ministers, congresses and parliaments (or the United Nations), have an idea how to handle a world spiraling out of control.
But like the darkness that fell upon Egypt during the final days of the Israelites’ bondage, there is ‘light in the land of Goshen’ for those who will follow God’s Ways and His Righteousness. This is the time for the Glorious Church to rise up in the earth and be a light in darkness – a time when the Body of Christ shows off God mightily, giving the world their one true hope and answer to all problems: Jesus Christ. So, I ask you the question: Are you experiencing victory in your life, family, finances, etc.? Or are you following after the same failure-ridden course and hopeless direction as the world?
Well, I have a feeling the many of you are being plagued with the same doom and gloom as the world; but not to worry or fear – I am going to give you a plan for victory: Godly wisdom that is going to turn your sadness into ‘Great Joy’!
If you want to escape the same fate as the world and experience “Days of Heaven upon the earth” while the ‘Babylonian System’ collapses, then you need to diligently follow the instructions of 2 Chronicles 7:14. This is not a one-off change you need to make; but you should use this scripture as a ‘lifestyle’ change, and a mindset transformation that should be thought upon and applied daily till Jesus returns. It states:
“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.”
Now, I am presuming that I am writing to Born-Again Believers (if you are not, receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior now and ‘qualify’ to receive your answer), and therefore we can see by the opening words of this verse that God is speaking to you – “If my people, which are called by my name”. God is giving you specific instructions to change your bad circumstances…And if you were wise, you would have ears to hear and follow God’s instructions. What does God call for you to do?
1. Humble yourself –
God is calling for you to humble yourself. He is not saying that you should correct and humble others or that He will be humbling you – God is calling for you to take account of yourself; examine your prideful ways and change! Let’s all be honest with ourselves – we like doing things our own way, and we have acted rebellious towards God. We need to monitor our motives and actions on a daily basis (actually on a minute-by-minute basis). We are all going to mess up from time to time; but if we keep a humble spirit about us, the door to God’s blessings will still remain open. But if we keep a prideful spirit, the door to God’s blessings will be slammed shut. Just look through the Old Testament and the Israelites who constantly messed up through rebellion. If you made a study of the Israelites and their relationship with God, you would notice that a key to their success after failure was through repentance and humbling themselves before God. Keep humble- examine your actions and motives, not only daily, but every minute of the day. When you mess up through sin and rebelliousness, be quick to repent: Stay Humble and keep the door open to God’s grace and blessings!
2. Pray –
When you look up the original Hebrew word used in this scripture, you’ll notice that the application of the word “pray” means, “Prayers offered in a time of distress”. Instead of wringing your hands and spending half the night worrying about your problems and circumstances, in troubled times it’s best to pray: The best type of praying when problems loom big, is praying in the Holy Spirit (praying in tongues). Prayer does three things: It builds you up spiritually to fight the ‘good fight of faith’; also, when you pray in the Holy Spirit, you are praying out the ‘mysteries of God’ – you may not know how to deal with the problem in the natural, but the Holy Spirit knows the answer, and praying in the Spirit applies Godly Wisdom to the problem; finally, prayer brings peace – I can’t tell you how many times, I would pray in desperate times and the peace of God would come and assure me that everything would work out just fine (and it did). Become a person of prayer – on a daily basis.
3. Seek the face of God –
Now, I want you to understand that praying and seeking God’s face are two different spiritual actions. To seek the face of God is to seek the presence of God. Times may be difficult and hopeless, and the world financial system is collapsing – but if you are in the presence of God, then you are in the middle of the “Blessing Stream’ and you have an answer to the world financial and systemic collapse. Once again, look at the Israelites in Egypt – the Angel of Death was going throughout the land and killing the first born of every family; but the Israelites were protected by the presence of God that was symbolized by the blood on their door posts. Seeking God’s “face” means to seek His purpose, plans, wisdom, protection, healing and prosperity – it is to seek God’s Blessing. To seek God’s face is to seek a reflection of ‘God’s essence’, which are God’s goodness, mercy and blessing. If you were sitting next to a campfire, you would be filled with the ‘essence of that campfire’- your clothes would smell like smoke, and every one who came in contact with you would know that you spent time near fire. The same principle applies with God – to be in God’s presence means that you would be filled with the essence of God (love), and people would know you were in the presence of God because they would see God’s blessing upon your life. The more you have the presence of God in your life (like more time around the campfire and its resulting smoke), more of the essence of God would manifested in your life. So, seek the face of God and you will be permeated with the essence of God – and His Blessing!
4. Turn from your wicked ways –
In general, that would mean evil and sinful ways. This world is filled with sin, and the culture of the world is plagued by it. If you are playing with sin in your life, then you are out of God’s helping grace; and you need to repent and turn from your wicked ways and return to God and Holiness. But ‘wicked ways’ also means’ twisted thinking’: Anything that ‘exalts itself against the knowledge of God’ (2 Corinthians 10:5), we are to cast down and align our thinking exclusively to God’s Word. I don’t care how “reasonable” the world seems, and how impossible God’s Word seems – you have a choice to make, whether you will trust God and His Ways or the world and its ways. From the daily news accounts, you would think the decision would be an easy one; especially since the entire world’s “Best and the Brightest” don’t have a clue to solve the insurmountable problems globally. But many Believers are still not convinced enough to follow after God and His Ways, and chose to follow their own experiences or so-called ‘experts’. Until you finally make a decision to break away from the world and its thinking, you will continue to reap the same results as they have been receiving…So, in other words, get ready for more pain and bad times!
But if you were to follow the instructions of 2 Chronicles 7:14, then you would be in ‘position to receive’ from God: “then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Yes, God will heal your community and country, but your ‘land’ also means any thing that produces a harvest in your life – Your ‘land’ can be your body, and God will heal it; ‘land’ can mean you finances, and God will heal them; ‘land’ can mean you family life, and can God can heal it, etc. God can heal anything in your life that produces a harvest from the seeds you have been sowing; and that ultimately means victory and success: Godly victory and success, even in the midst of world’s systemic collapse…Praise the Lord!
We are the Children of God – we are in this world but not of this world; and our citizenship is of heaven. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, you don’t need to fear and worry like the world; you have an answer to the curse that is upon this earth – and His name is Jesus Christ. You have been redeemed from the curse (Galatians 3:13) that is upon this earth, and you can walk above the world’s financial, moral, political and social crisises. All you need to do is to be humble, pray, seek God’s face and turn from your wicked ways, and God will heal your land!
Be blessed and full of joy -
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
February 22, 2009
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of beating my head against the wall when it comes to my life’s journey; how about you? We can make up ‘religious excuses’ for why things don’t go right in our lives, and why obstacles sometime seem unmovable. There are entire denominations that look at such things as “our suffering in life” and state that we have to wait till we get to heaven to walk in victory; but such thoughts and excuses are wrong.
No, Jesus walked in this world as a man, and if he could walk victoriously – so can we; if we will do the same things as Jesus did. Remember, Jesus stripped away his divinity to show you and me how to walk in victory in this world (yes, he took up that divinity when he went to the cross; but in ministry and in his life, he walked as a man perfected and sin-free). Jesus is our role-model of how to walk in this world; and the better we can walk as he did, we will not only following him as true Christians, but also the more victory we will have in life. Some of you may think it too impossible to do that; but if it was so impossible, why did Jesus state in John 14:12: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”?
The key to walking in the same victory that Jesus did can be found in his own words, spoken in John 5:30 (Amplified Version):
“I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord--but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”
If Believers would seriously study the words found above; meditate and act upon those words, they would walk in 100% results like Jesus did.
Let’s breakdown the scripture and glean some Godly Wisdom and insight how to walk in guaranteed results:
- “I am able to do nothing of Myself”: The quicker Believers get this basic revelation regarding their life the better off they will be. You see rebelliousness starts with the false belief that “I know better than God” and that “God helps those that help themselves” (in other words, God wants you to figure things out on your own and then He will bless it). No, we need to get it into our thinking and actions (like Jesus did) that perhaps you can stumble through life on your own, but you will never be able to do anything worthwhile (having eternal import and impact) on your own. This is the starting place of walking in God’s Will and Ways, as well as walking in the realm of the miraculous and Blessing of God.
- “…but only as I am taught of God and as I get His orders”: Jesus spent time in God’s Word (He knew the Torah) and He spent countless hours in prayer and fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit revealed to Jesus the truth of God’s Word and gave him insight, instruction and showed him things to come through prayer and fellowship. For you to walk in guaranteed results like Jesus, you will need to become a person of God’s Word – meditating and seeking revelatory knowledge of God’s Word. You will also have to pray in the Spirit and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, who will teach you and give you God’s divine, pre-ordained, victorious plan for your life. Let me tell you, life gets very easy when you get God’s instructions and follow God’s instructions – People will think you are a ‘super-genius’ and a supremely ‘Godly man’; but truthfully, all you are doing is downloading wisdom, information, plans and insights from God and follow the instructions: God can make anyone look like a “world beater” when we follow Him!
- “I do not seek or consult my own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose]”: I can’t stress enough how this is Key to Victory in Life; and how it is difficult to follow after. This is the proverbial “where the rubber meets the road”; and this is what it means to truly “Walk by faith and not by sight”. For you to not seek or consult your own will is to truly die to self. This is where Jesus excelled, and where we struggle in life. Because you are going to confront circumstances and situations in life (as well as “expert opinions”) that are going to tell you that to do it “God’s Way” is absolutely nutty and impossible. But if you can train yourself not to trust your ways and thinking and only trust God’s Ways and Thinking, then you are going to be well on your way to victory by faith; and tap into the limitless love and provision of God. Master this key and all of Heaven’s Blessings and Provision are open to you!
- “but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”: In every thought and action you must purposely declare and evaluated your motives by saying, “Not my Will but God’s Will be done”. You are going to have to train yourself to not make a move and not to take an action, without first knowing in your heart that you heard from God – AND KNOW THAT YOU KNOW THAT YOU KNOW, it’s God’s Will. Only then after knowing you heard from God, will you move. Things may seem to go very slowly and cautiously at first; but you can (over time) learn to hear from God just like Jesus did, and walk in God’s divine Will and Plan regularly.
These are the keys to walking in 100% guaranteed results. I am not stating that it is easy to walk like Jesus walked; but it is definitely possible, if you are committed and disciplined. Plus you are not alone in this pursuit – Jesus gave you a Helper, Guide and Counselor: The Holy Spirit.
But if you do make the commitment to follow after the wisdom and instruction of John 5:30, you will start to see (and you don’t have to walk perfectly according to the scripture to start experiencing) success in an ever increasing measure. God’s divine results –His success- will be yours in direct proportion to your walking perfectly according to John 5:30…the more perfection, the more guaranteed results.
So, there is a roadmap for divine success laid out for you. And – if you are like me: If I can see the road and way, I can walk along that road and according to that way. The question is (as it always is) – Are you hungry enough to want to experience the Fullness of God? How bad do you want it?
There is a divine way that will bring you 100% results and victory in life. It is there for you and no one but you can stop or hinder you from obtaining such guaranteed results. But you need to follow and become a true disciple of Christ to walk in such results. Are you ready to make a decision to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus? If you are, you will walk in the ‘Fullness of God”, and come to experience – That with God all things are possible!
Be blessed and full of Joy -
Sunday, February 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
February 15, 2009
I have just finished a powerful ministry trip to Pakistan. During the ministry trip, we held pastor faith seminars, evangelistic meetings and crusades in the cities of Lahore, Sheikhpur and Quetta located near the Afghanistan border. I was blessed and humbled to be used by the Lord to bring great miraculous healings to Christians and Muslims alike. We saw blind eyes open, the lame walking, the deaf hearing and the Glory of God falling dramatically. It was an awesome display of Holy Ghost power that changed the lives of those who believed, and impacted Pakistani cities for Christ in a major way.
I want to emphasize the fact that people needed to believe in order to receive a healing or a touch from the Lord – and that there were people who did not receive healing or a touch from God due to no expectation or hope of receiving. In particular, what strikes me as poignant in retrospect is how I was able to lead a person to get in position to receive from the Lord when I got them to look at me. Specifically, they would receive when they would look intently into my eyes. I can’t tell the number of people who did not receive anything from the Lord at first, but when I said to them, “Look at me” and they responded to my instructions received from the Lord; but they were many. Over the course of a number of years, I have grown to apply this basic instruction to get results; and I would say that except for cases of sin in the person’s life that blocked an answer from God, I would get nearly 100% results when the person followed my instructions.
Am I stating a new doctrine of “Look at me”? No…But there is a powerful spiritual truth attached to the command – “Look at me”.
In Acts 3:1-9, we can see an account of Peter and John using the same instructions to get a lame man to walk:
“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God”
In this passage of scripture, we can see the Apostles getting the lame man in position to receive a healing with the instructions, “Look upon us”. There are actually two spiritual actions that took place in order for the lame man to walk. Firstly, was the Apostles’ action, “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John”; and secondly was the response by the lame man, “he gave heed”.
The Apostles fastening their eyes, was an action as defined in the Greek original wording, of “strained, intent” and to “expect fully”. There was a release of faith on their part that they were anointed in Jesus’ name to get the man healed, and they expected results. As for the lame man, “he gave heed”, which in the Greek original wording means, “to fix the mind upon, give heed to, pay attention, to appropriate.” We are talking about a coupling of God’s pipeline of Holy Ghost power residing in the Apostles to the lame man’s pipeline of receiving. And, there needs to be both in order for the miraculous to manifest – a coupling of both pipelines; coupled and sealed together with love.
The Apostles were not acting upon their own leading, but were moved with the compassion of God to heal the lame man. God’s love and compassion burning inside them yearned to heal the lame man; and that agape love reached out to heal. Now, we know that God is willing and able to heal us. But I want you to get a revelation of the words strained intent, expect fully: God yearns to bless you; to bring to you every answer to every need in your life with strained intent and expecting fully for the manifestation: healing, prosperity, success and victory – whatever you need. God is expecting fully to see a manifestation of His goodness in your life. It is a guaranteed expected result on God’s part to meet every need in your life!
But you have a decisive role to play in aligning your “receiving pipeline” to God’s “Blessing pipeline” – You need to give heed, pay attention and appropriate! It states in verse 5, that the lame man “gave heed”; he expect fully to receive. He wasn’t distracted by surrounding circumstances or any person, but he expected to receive and appropriated the healing anointing available to him.
After studying this portion of scripture, I understand more fully why a person, who comes to me during ministry in a prayer line, will receive their healing when they “look at me”. God’s compassionate love that resides in me yearns with strained intent and is expecting fully to see that person healed – and I act boldly, lay hands upon the person and God’s healing anointing is released. The person looks upon me and gives heed, pays attention and appropriates – they expect to receive and appropriate a healing. When they focus their attention upon me and are no longer distracted by other things, they appropriate the healing anointing available.
I am human, so the level of healing anointing is dependent upon my faith and being a “vessel of honor” in order to be filled to the full with ‘dunamis’ power. But God is always ready and His anointing is yearning and seeking for the person who is giving heed to him, paying attention and ready to appropriate. In other words, the Blessing pipeline is always flowing.
We are the ones who need to get in position – to align our receiving pipeline to that never-ending divine ‘Blessing flow’. There is no limitation on God’s part; we are the ones who determine how much we receive. So, I want to encourage you this week to continuously look intently towards God and earnestly expect to receive. Get up in the morning and with your awakening eyes, praise the Lord and give thanks. Declare that it’s going to be the best and most blessed day of your life. During the course of the day, be expectant that God’s Blessings are flowing. God loves you without measure. God’s love is flowing towards you NOW – So, connect your receiving pipe to God’s flow; and seal those pipes together with love. Eagerly expect to receive and let the Blessings of God flow abundantly and continuously in your life!
Be blessed and full of Joy -
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
February 8, 2009
Have you ever known the Will of God for your life, family or ministry, and yet things just seem to go wrong or are delayed? You start looking for reasons for the problem; and many times, you glance in to the mirror and start pointing your finger at yourself, concluding that you missed God or it’s your fault.
I am writing from personal experience…In fact, this week I experienced great frustration over a financial need that seemed to be hindered in an odd way; fustrated that I could not figure out the reason for the delay; and frustrated that I did not have an answer to the dilemma. I knew that I was in the Will of God over the matter; in fact, I had the financial need met (the money was there, but I just couldn’t get to the financial assets needed). I started to get stressed out over the matter as GJITCM had some expenses to pay for in regards to a major ministry trip, and there was a looming deadline for payments to be made. There I was at 3:30am, feeling sorry for myself and figuring that it must be my fault in some way. I found myself starting to confess some unknown sin to God since I was convinced it was my fault. The Spirit of the Lord arrested me and I heard in my inner man the Lord say to me, “Son, it’s not your fault, so stop beating yourself up over it. Just turn the matter over to me and rest. It will all work out. Sometimes things can happen that are totally out of your control.”
I can’t express to you how quickly the burden and stress lifted off of me; and the Holy Spirit soon came up with a stop gap plan that got the necessary finances to us; and that also gave me the time to figure out what happen to the funds that were ours but unavailable: Praise the Lord: “Sometimes things can happen that are totally out of your control.”
I want to encourage you to not let Satan get you into ‘condemnation bondage’ when things go wrong or are delayed, even though you know the matter was God’s Will for you. Take comfort knowing that you are not alone in such a dilemma as it happens to all Christians; in fact it happened to Jesus himself!
It states in Mark 1:40-45:
“And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.”
In this story, we see Jesus walking in the perfect Will of God: He is going throughout the cities of the Galilee preaching the Gospel, casting out devils and healing the sick. Jesus comes upon a leper who kneels before him and pleads to be healed. Jesus walking in the Will of God and moved by God’s love and compassion heals the leper. He instructs the healed man not to tell anyone, but to go directly to the priests of the synagogue and tell them what happened and make a sacrifice. Jesus was following the plan of God. Jesus was going to preach in the synagogue, and was sending the man to go before him and prepare the way for his arrival.
Sounds like a “God plan” to me – Jesus is in God’s perfect Will. Yet something goes wrong that hinders the plan of God: The healed leper disobeys the explicit orders given and announces to everyone he comes across that Jesus healed him. He creates such a stir giving his healing testimony that Jesus can’t go fulfill God’s plan of preaching the Gospel within the city! How many people did such an action affect? How many people did not receive the Gospel although it was God’s Will for them to hear? How many people did not receive a healing or deliverance although it was God’s Will that they receive?
Jesus could have easily concluded that it was his fault in some way: Perhaps he shouldn’t have healed the leper? Why didn’t God tell him in advance that the leper was going to cause him problems? That is what we would have started to ponder and get stressed out about; condemning ourselves for the resulting mess though we knew we were in God’s Will.
No, Jesus knew that Satan was always present trying to get him off course; and would try to create circumstances to hinder God’s plan for Jesus’ life and ministry. The difference between Jesus and you and I in such a circumstance, was the relationship Jesus had with Father God, and the resulting confidence and faith Jesus had in God’s love for him. Jesus knew that God’s Will would be done no matter what Satan would try to do; and if he would be trusting (no matter what the circumstances stated), things would work out in the end. Jesus kept his focus upon God’s Will no matter whatever road blocks arose, or whatever obstacles were placed in his way…
The difference between Jesus and you and I in such circumstances, is the fact that Jesus never “sweated the small stuff”; Jesus never lost his focus of God’s plan. He kept strong in the Lord, and never allowed anything to separate him from God’s love. Jesus never listened to Satan’s attempts at putting condemnation upon him for the demonic obstacles that the enemy created to hinder God’s plan!
The Apostle Paul addressed the proper attitude we should have in every hindering circumstance and seemingly “out of the norm” obstacle that confronts us -
Romans 8:35-39 states:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My dear friends – You may be abiding with the Lord and walking according to God’s Will, yet there may be times when things are just out of your control. You are living in this world that is dominated by your enemy, Satan. He can control certain aspects of your pressing need through influencing people and circumstances that can impact your situation. So, don’t condemn yourself, or allow Satan to place a burden of guilt upon you: Just stay close to God, and abide in His love for you.
If you will keep your focus and trust upon God’s plan, nothing shall be able to separate you from the love of God. Remember, as we all know – Love never fails. Trust in God’s love and be patient – He has it under control. Things seem not to be working for you? It’s okay, it will work itself out, Abide in God’s love, be patient and at peace…it just may not be your fault!
Be blessed and full of joy -
Sunday, February 1st, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
February 1, 2009
…I said the world is in turmoil and that does not necessarily mean you if you will follow Jesus’ example. As a Believer in Jesus Christ, you have a choice to either flow with the world in turmoil or to disconnect from the world’s system and abide in the Kingdom of God, living in peace and blessing in the midst of the storm. Abiding in God’s Kingdom system doesn’t mean that you will be taken out of the storms of life. No, as long as you are in this world, you will have to deal with the storms of life; but what we can have assurance of is the fact that we can have success and victory with peace in the midst of the storm.
“Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”
Now, let’s go through this story to detail the spiritual lessons to be learned and applied; especially as we live in the turmoil of today’s world:
- Jesus understood the Will of God for His life – “Let us go to the other side”. Christians often get overwhelmed with the turmoil of the world, not knowing what to do and allowing confusion and a sense of helplessness create fear in their lives, because they do not understand God’s Will for their life.
- Jesus had faith in God’s ability to fulfill that Will of God for his life no matter the circumstances – “he fell asleep”. Jesus abided with God, a relationship of love and trust that assured him of success. Jesus understood, as he stated in John 14:10: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
- Jesus knew that he had the power and authority, because he was in God’s Will, to overcome any adverse circumstances attempts (the enemy’s) to stop him – “then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water.” It cannot be stated clearly enough, that we will only walk in the awesome power of God (the power and authority of God) when we are fulfilling God’s plans and purposes and not using such power for our own purposes. It is when we are declaring “not my will by thine be done” (Luke 22:42) – and not seeking our own plans, purposes, recognition, etc., that we will walk in the fullness of Signs, wonders and miracles. Total dedication to God and a ‘no-compromise with the world’ attitude will always bring the fullness of God’s sovereignty to bear upon your behalf to fulfill His plans for you: No matter how dire the circumstances!
We are called to be like Jesus on this earth, and to not only do the works that Jesus did but greater works (John 14:12). But the problem is that Believers in the midst of the storms of life react in a manner that is reminiscent to how the Apostles dealt with the storms instead of like Jesus: They knew God’s Will through Jesus’ commandment; Jesus was with them in the midst of the storm but they didn’t think he cared about them; and when the circumstances seemed overwhelming they chose to believe the circumstances rather than the Word and Will of God.
No, you need to overcome the world and not be overcome but it. If you will react to the storms of life in the same manner as the Apostles did, you will have failure in life and will be in the same mess as the world: Without hope or answers and full of fear. The same question will be asked of you that were asked by Jesus of them: “Where is your faith?”
I would encourage you to meditate upon the following scriptures over the next week (honestly, I would make these scriptures a part of my daily confessions for the foreseeable future) and get them deep into your heart, till you have confidence and faith in God even in the midst of the world’s storms of turmoil:
John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
1 John 4:4: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
1 John 4:17-19: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
And my favorite passage of scripture in the Bible –
Romans 8:37-39: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In all these things – in the midst of economic, political, societal and cultural turmoil that is burdening the people of the world – nothing shall be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have been given the command by Jesus to “go to the other side”: A place of God’s blessing and happiness; the land of healing, health and prosperity; peace and fulfillment in the midst of thee storms of life. Be like Jesus, trust and have confidence in God’s love and willingness and ability to see you make it to the other side; and rest peacefully even in as the world is in turmoil.
Be Blessed and full of joy -
Sunday, January 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
January 25, 2009
Did you ever lay upon your bed at night thinking about your life? During those times, did you ever find yourself dreaming big dreams and envision yourself doing mighty and awesome works? They didn’t have to always pertain to ministry-related activities, but also of a personal nature and activities where you excel and have great success…You see yourself successful, prosperous, healthy and full of happiness, with great joy and satisfaction. But as night wanes and dawn breaks forth, you feel like those possible achievements and “good life” are but a dreamy mist that is fleeting and soon fades.
You should not discount those times when your imagination soars with the impossible becoming possible. In fact, during those times you should write down (“journal”) those thoughts, imaginations and ideas, because they are usually divine. The Lord (especially when your life is God-centered) is trying to get across to you His loving plans and expand your faith to receive the fullness of His Will for your life.
It says in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The word “ways” (referring to God) in the Greek, means “course of life”; and the word “thoughts” (referring to God) means “purpose” and in another context it means “imagination”. So, when you are lying upon your bed at night and your imagination soars with greatness, know that it is not just your imagination at work but it is also God’s imagination, plans and purpose that is being revealed to you through His Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord, I know that those thoughts may seem greater than your ability and you are at a loss to see how such wonderful things can manifest in your life. But God is God; and He thinks wonderful dreams and great plans for His children.
Once again, as in many cases with receiving God’s goodness, it is we who are the obstacle. It is a chronic problem where a lack of our understanding the depth of God’s love for His children, and the right-standing that we have with Him (that we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places), that limits God from manifesting His best in our lives.
Why do we short-circuit God’s best in our lives? What is it that causes us to doubt God at His Word, and choose to believe the prevailing and seemingly daunting situations in our lives that overshadow God’s love? It continues to say in Isaiah 55:10-11: “ For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” God’s Word will not return to him ineffectual and empty; and it will “accomplish, advance, appoint, bestow, bring forth” (as Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary explains) where God wishes. God’s Word will prosper or “to succeed, to be victorious, causing something to turn out successfully” (as it states in The Complete Word Study Dictionary) where He sends it.
Now think about it – It sounds pretty much guaranteed, doesn’t it? Those dreams that look too good to be true are yours (NOW) if you will dare to believe. In fact, as you start to walk in the largesse of God’s goodness, those dreams will get larger and larger, and your vision will expand. Always remember, God is a God of abundance and overflow: God will never say to you, “No more – That’s enough blessings for you!” No, God will give you as much as you can handle. You are the one who determines the measure of God’s Blessings that you will receive.
So, just get alone with God, and after a time of praising Him and praying in the Spirit, just be quiet before the Lord. Start allowing God to reveal His thoughts, plans and purposes to you. Then, go to the Word and find scriptures that build your faith in God’s love and faithfulness. Meditate upon God’s Word and see yourself walking in the fullness of what God has revealed to you. As you do, the impossible will become possible. God will reveal His ways and strategies to bring those dreams to pass; and one day, you will just step right over into God’s best – It will be effortless and with such great ease that you will say, “Why didn’t I step into this before!”
Dream big – take to yourself (by faith) everything that God has revealed to you; and you will come to live big – walking in the fullness of God’s plans and purposes for your life. If you will follow this simple plan - then one day you will come to know the truth, that with God all things are possible!
Be blessed and full of Joy -
Sunday, January 18th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
January 18, 2009
I have been thinking over the past week, why the Body of Christ has failed (for the most part) to have a greater impact upon the world. Yes, we are making progress; but not progress or impact on the same level that the Book of Acts Church made. Our witness to the world is not of victory; it’s not of a demonstration of God’s love - either as individuals or as the Body of Christ as a whole. Why is that?
I believe that the Body of Christ has failed to be a powerful victorious witness and a demonstration of God’s love in a Holy Ghost impacting way to the world, due to not having a greater revelation of God’s love; and specifically, not having a greater revelation of how much God loves us.
Jesus stated in in John 13:34-35 (New Living Translation): “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” This is the New Testament commandment given to the Body of Christ, that we should love on another. Now, we are to love the world, but Jesus was not talking about loving the world in this commandment. We can see that by the result of loving one another – “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” That has been a big problem in the Christian world: The Body of Christ is not loving one another. There are too many divisions among Christians, and particularly among denominations, who think they have the REAL TRUTH over every other group of Believers. We at Great Joy in the City Ministries, have a major goal of bringing unity among all Christians because we are fully aware of the commandment given to us by Jesus. We all need to do a better job of showing love to one another – because this is the only way that we will prove to the world that we are the disciples of Christ!
But there is a key reason why Christians fail to show the love of God towards one another, which hinders our witness to the world and stops the Blessing of God from manifesting in our lives:
Believers do not have a revelation that God loves them. And if Christians do not believe the love God has for them, they do not have the love of God to give to others: In other words, if you do not receive God’s love for you, how are you going to love anyone else? How are you going to demonstrate the love of God to the world?
I will be honest and confess to you that this was a big problem in my life. I had a major problem believing that God loved me. It comes from a harsh upbringing full of abuse, and being told I was no good and would never amount to anything in life. Having never known love growing up, it was a difficult for me to accept the fact that God loved me. When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior in December of 1980, I had a supernatural experience with God. God’s love came upon me in a very real and tangible way; to the point that I did not know where I was or who I was: All I knew was the love of God. I grew to understand that God had to do something extraordinary, to make a divine connection with me to demonstrate the fact that He loved me. But still, even with that powerful demonstration of God’s love, I had problems accepting the truth that God (or for that matter, anyone else) really loved me. I had “head knowledge” (I read the words and mentally agreed with them), but I did not truly believe them. Through many years of meditating upon the love of God, did I finally get a revelation and come to KNOW the love of God for me.
It states in 1 John 4:16 (Amplified Bible), “And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.”
Let me make this clear to you: You need to BELIEVE and KNOW the love that God has for you. You believe the love God has for you by choosing to have faith in God’s love for you. This comes from having faith in God’s Word: If God’s Word says He loves you, then it doesn’t matter what your mind says or what your past experiences have been. You choose to believe the love that God has for you by renewing your mind to what God says. The end result – the real proof – of truly believing the love of God for you, will be the evidence of happiness, joy and satisfaction in your life. The word “know” in the Greek is the word, “ginṓskō”, and it means to know in a complete sense; an intimate knowing, like a husband ‘knowing’ his wife. This only comes about by some serious fellowshipping with God. Let me tell you from personal experience: If you want to overcome any obstacle to truly knowing God’s love, you will have to spend time with God every day!
You see the problem with many people is that they mess up (like all people do). But since they have a hard time accepting the truth about God’s forgiveness and righteousness, they beat themselves up. They do not like themselves because of the mistakes and faults in their lives. They figure if they don’t like themselves because of failures, how can God possibly love them? And that is the problem: If you do not receive God’s love, then you can’t give God’s love! If you can’t receive God’s love, then you can’t receive God’s blessings! You will be in constant failure of trying to work your way out of a bottomless pit of earning God’s love through ”acts of righteousness”: AND YOU WILL ALWAYS FAIL!
No – Receive God’s love by faith. Receive Jesus’ forgiveness and right-standing with God by faith. Always remember: You are loved by God. You are very valuable and important in God’s eyes. No matter what you have done, or how bad you have messed up in the past - GOD LOVES YOU AND BELIEVES IN YOU!
You need to say it every day: “God loves me. I am important to God!” Say it over and over; say it every day, for months and years if necessary. You need to get a revelation that God loves you, and know and believe the love God has for you. Then and only then, can you give and demonstrate God’s love to others!
Make the decision to develop a revelation of the love that God has for you. You are given the commandment by Jesus to love one another as God has loved you. The love of God poured out by Believers towards one another, is our proof to the world of who we are in Christ Jesus. A real demonstration of God’s love is the only true way of impacting the world for Christ!
Be blessed and full of Joy -
Sunday, January 11th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
January 11, 2009
There are millions of Christians around the world who are trying to figure out how to get “clean enough” with God to have their prayers answered and be blessed. I cannot tell you the number of people who ask me to pray for them every day because they feel too unworthy to pray on their own; or who tell me how they need my prayers to help them overcome the problems in their lives. There are many of you who are reading this right now, who ask God every day to forgive you over and over again for sins committed years ago; and there are some of you who just speak out in fear, “God forgive me, I am a sinner” , when an image appears in your mind of a past sin.
I want to be perfectly clear and honest with you – If this sounds familiar, and you recognize yourself in one of the previous scenarios laid out, you are under Satan’s bondage and have a “sin-consciousness”: And while you are under such bondage, you will never receive God’s best in life!
Deear friends, I am talking from experience. I was in bondage for years to a sin-consciousness that kept me in bondage, made my faith weak and hindered my receiving God’s best. But then I got a revelation that I want to share with you -
It states in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Now get a revelation of this – Jesus, who was without sin, was made sin with YOUR SIN. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, while in prayer, he sweated blood. Jesus understood that he was going to bear the sins of all of mankind. When Jesus was on the cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Why? Because for the first time (in all of eternity), Jesus was separated from God (sin separates us from God). While on the cross, Jesus bore the full brunt of God’s judgment of sin. Jesus who was sinless, took upon himself the sin of all of mankind – Praise the Lord!
Jesus bore all of your sins. In return, as it states in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “…that we might be the righteousness of God in him.” You have been made righteous with Jesus’ righteousness! Get a revelation that you have received a greater gift than you are now fully aware. Yes, your sins have been forgiven and you won’t go to hell – if that was the only gift you received that would be good enough. BUT YOU RECEIVED MORE – you are in right-standing with God; and you are now seated with Jesus at the righthand of the Father (Ephesians 2:6).
Satan wants to keep you in bondage to a sin-consciousness. He wants to constantly remind you of past sins and say to you, “Dont you realize the sin you committed? Don’t you know how bad you messed up?” And Satan will replay the sin in your mind (even though you have already asked Jesus to forgive you); and you agree with Satan and say, “Yes, I messed up; I am no good: I am a sinner: I am not worthy of God answering my prayers.” The Church World confesses and believes incorrectly, Romans chapter 3, reciting verse 10 by itself (without reading the entire chapter): “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.” There are Christians who have been held in a sin-conscious bondage for years and decades. They are always replaying the sins of the past, and are reminded by Satan that they are not worthy of God’s love. This is a lie out of the pit of hell!
Romans 3:21-24 states: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
Get this scripture into your heart -
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:”
You have been made right-standing with God by faith. You will never be good enough if you try to be self-righteous by your good works. You may have messed up and sinned, but Jesus paid for that sin; and now you are CLEAN, INNOCENT AND RIGHT WITH GOD! Just receive by faith, what Jesus did for you when he went to the cross, and believe that you are now the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ!
I am going to make a statement now that is going to shock you at first; but the more you meditate upon it (in light of the scriptures that I have given you), it’s going to be life changing. In fact, I will dare to say, if you will get a revelation of this statement, it will change your thinking, faith level and prayer life forever:
You are as right with God as Jesus is; because you have been made right with God with Jesus’ righteousness!
Don’t run the other way! Say that statement over and over again, and meditate upon it. I gave you the scriptures to declare the truth of the statement: You are as right with God as Jesus is; because you have been made right with God with Jesus’ righteousness!
Now, if you have been made right with God with Jesus’ righteousness, and are in right-standing with God as Jesus is: What is holding you back?? Did Jesus get his prayers answered? Did Jesus have all his needs met? Did Jesus do miracles, signs and wonders through the power of God? GET A REVELATION: You have been given Jesus’ righteousness; and you are sitting with Jesus RIGHT NOW IN THE SPIRIT at the righthand of God!
I want to leave you with this final scripture in 1 John 4:17: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” It states in the New Living Translation, “…because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
Praise the Lord! Stop reliving you past sin; stop feeling guilty for the sins you have already been forgiven for when you first confessed them; stop allowing Satan to keep you in bondage through a sin-consciousness.
You are right with God; and you are as right with God as Jesus is, because you have been made right with Jesus’ righteousness! God loves you just as much as He loves Jesus. When Jesus was on the earth, there was not one prayer that went unanswered. As Jesus is now – seated at the righthand of God – so are you in this world!
If you have confessed your sin, no matter how bad it was, you are now forgiven through the blood of Jesus. You are innocent, clean and in right-standing with God. Now go and receive all of the Blessing of God that belongs to you through Jesus Christ; and go and bless all the world!
Be blessed and full of Joy -