Bed, Bath, and Beyond

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John 5:8 – “Rise, take up thy bed and walk” 

Many of you are familiar with the retail store called Bed, Bath and Beyond, great name, right?  Great truth too…from John’s gospel, a bed, bath and beyond experience like no other! 

In John, chapter 5, there was a pool called Bethesda, meaning house of mercy.  It was a public infirmary for the blind, weak, paralyzed and sickly.  It was told that when the waters started to move in the pool, the sick person who could make it in the water first would be healed.  One day, when Jesus was visiting this pool, He spoke to one of the sick folk and asked him a very important question “Do you want to be made whole?”  This is a key factor in receiving a change in your situation, because we can get so used to our “condition” that we can’t even imagine what it would be like without it.  

Notice that Jesus didn’t ask, “Do you want to be healed?”, He asked, “Do you want to be made whole?”  Why?  Because He knew that sickness, poverty, depression and any other prolonged negative circumstance affects every area in a person’s life.  It’s all they think about from morning until night.  They’re not thinking about others, or a bright future or all the amazing opportunities available to them.  It’s about survival.  Jesus is saying, “I’m offering wholeness, not only physical health, but restoration in every area of your life that has been stolen”.  

In John 5:8, Jesus said three things.  First, He said “rise”, meaning change your position, change the way you are thinking to the way He thinks, start to believe that this is not how it’s going to be forever, make the first move toward change by deciding in your mind to simply get up!  He wants us to come to where He is, and not just ask Him to come to where you are.  In John 17:24, Jesus prays for us to “be with Me where I am”.  

Next, He says, “take up thy bed”, meaning, you are NOT going back to that bed!  Everyone that sees that bed in your hands will know that you’ve been delivered.  Taking up your “bed” of affliction says that you are NOT the same, you are the victor and not the victim, and you are NOT going back. 

Lastly, He says “walk”, or live as the delivered, go “beyond” where you were, break through the barriers and limitations that have held you back, put one foot in front of the other!  Open up that savings account and deposit 25 cents a week if you have to, enroll in one college course at a time until you get that degree.  There is certainly nothing wrong with a gradual progression in a positive direction, there’s power in consistency.  In Exodus 23, they took the land little by little.    

So, next time you see a Bed, Bath and Beyond store, think of these three commands, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk!”…transformation God’s way!!!

 

Out on a Limb

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Mathew 14:28,29 "Lord, if it's you, Peter replied, tell me to come to You on the water. Come, He said, then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus" 

Anybody feel like they're living life "out on a limb"?  Taking risks?  Living on the edge?  That's great news.  Why?  Out on the limb is where the fruit is!  

In Mathew 14, the disciples were in a boat in the middle of a huge storm way off shore, and Jesus came toward them walking on the water.  The first thing He said to them was "Don't be afraid, I'm here".  Peter took one look at Jesus and said, "If that's really You, tell me to come".  Did you know that there was really very little difference between being in the boat and getting out of the boat?  A storm is a storm, no matter where you are.  But to get to Jesus or to get to the supernatural, Peter had to make a decision to do something different than what everybody else was doing. 

Jesus said, "Come!"  Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water!  In verse 30 it says that Peter took a look around and "began to sink".  Technically speaking, he should have sunk as soon as he stepped on water.  But not Peter.  He was doing the miraculous, walking on the water, and only "began" to sink when he focused on the surrounding circumstances.  

If you "stay in the boat", you're never going to see the miracle of walking on the water.  To see the supernatural you'll have to sometimes, well…no…most of the time, take a risk. Jesus said in Ephesians 3:30, "according to the power that works in us" . God wants us to participate in our own miracle. Come on, get out on the limb, walk in the supernatural, get out where the fruit is!!

 

Fix or Facts by Natalie Fortunato

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James 1:14 - "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed" 

Some of you might remember a song from the early 70's called If Loving You is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right).  It's a song about a man that's in love with a woman, but he's married, and the woman he's in love with is not his wife!  For some reason, that title has always stuck with me.  I guess it's because I've seen it play out over and over again in people's lives.  They know that something's totally wrong for them, but they want it anyway.   

Are you holding on to or involved in something that you know is not good for you, but you want it anyway?  Are you holding on to something that's hurting you, but you think that letting go will hurt even more?  If yes, then you have a choice to make, do you want a fix or the facts?  

A fix: when you take matters into your own hands, and try to satisfy your desires your way.  When you do things, and won't allow God to do them for you, in His way and in His time. When you decide what's best.  When you answer your own prayers.     

The facts: When you surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth from God's Word, and you make yourself accountable to them.  When you know who you are in Christ and find your value and identity in Him. When you stick to what God has told you to do, no matter what.  

A fix or facts.  You choose.  (Choose facts!)

 

 

The Lord Saves. The Lord Saves.

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1 Samuel 14:6 "Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 

Yahweh, the Lord saves!  He saves us from our addictions.  From our bad habits.  He saved us from sin.  He saves us from getting in further trouble.  One of the greatest things about salvation is, the Lord saves us from ourselves  From our bad decisions, our mess ups, our mistakes. Grace is giving you victory in your time of trouble!  

Every day you need to know the Lord saves.  The Lord is the name of JESUS, Yeshua!   What area of your life needs saving right now?  You might say "I don't  need saving, I've got things under control".  Fine, you're on your own.  But if you say, "I need help", the Lord will save.  He loves to save, saving is what He does best. 

In 1 Samuel 14:4 it says, "there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side".  Jonathon and his armor bearer were "caught between a rock and a hard place".  There were 30,000 Philistines that came and surrounded the whole area.  

It says in verse 16 that their enemy was "uncircumcised".  That's covenant language, meaning God was not with them.  But like Jonathan, God is with us.  On your job, in your family, in your marriage, in every area of life, why should you be like the people of the world?  You must have this attitude, we are God's people!  

Maybe you feel like you're between a rock and a hard place.  Or perhaps surrounded by an impossible situation today.  The Lord saves by few or by many.  He's not moved by the odds against you.  He's not looking at your bills or your bank account.  He's not reading over the doctor's report and saying "What shall I do now?"   Our verse today says, "He will work for us".  While you're resting He's working!  The Lord not only saved you, He saves you in every situation.  

 

Did You Miss the Parade? by Natalie Fortunato

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Colossians 2:15 - "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" 

What a great time we had at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade many years ago.  Getting up before dawn, taking the train into the city, loading up on hot chocolate, bundled up and standing street-side along the parade route.  Made some great memories.  Loved it! 

As awesome as it was, there is no match for the greatest parade in history.   When God disarmed Satan and all principalities and powers, making a show of them openly!  What a triumph.  What a victory.  Satan is defeated.  It is finished. 

Yet there are Christians still engaging in "spiritual warfare".  If you're still engaging in spiritual warfare, you must have missed the parade!  Warfare is between two undefeated foes.  Every time you say you are "warring" against the devil, you are declaring that he is on equal status with you.  He's not!  Satan was defeated by the blood of Jesus on the cross.  You won.  You have dominion over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).  

There's a battle raging, but it's not with Satan.  It's between your two ears.  "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:4-5  

To the obedience of Christ.  Not our obedience.  His obedience made us righteous.  His obedience made us victorious.  His obedience defeated the enemy once and for all.  You're not trying to get the victory, it's already yours!

 

Toes, Heels, Soles

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Joshua 1:3 "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said to Moses" 

There's basically three types of people that I have met in life.  First, people that walk on the toes of their feet.  Second, people that walk on the heels of their feet. And third, people that walk on the soles of their feet. 

People that walk on the toes of their feet tip toe through life, like the teenager who walks in two hours after curfew, and his dad is sitting on the Lazyboy in the living room waiting for him.  He tip toes in because of fear.  Fear causes people to walk on "egg shells", afraid of situations, people and challenges.

 People that walk on their heels are those who are ready to go backward at the first sign of opposition.  If it doesn't happen immediately they assume, "Well I guess it wasn't God".  A little wind can push them back into neutral.

People that walk on their toes are those who are ready to move forward at a moment's notice.  They are well balanced.  They walk with confidence of "knowing the One in whom they believe".  

The key for Joshua is that four times God instructs him to "be strong and of a good courage".  Under God's grace we know that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  When we are weak then He is strong. Whatever you're facing today…financial hardship, pain inyour body, a child who's not acting right…, "walk on the soles of your feet".  Press toward the mark with confidence in God's Word, toward the victory that is already yours in Christ, waiting for you to receive it.  Toes, heels, soles…you get to choose.   

 

Fraud Alert

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Daniel 1:7 " To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego". 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service reported that "stolen identity" is America's fastest growing crime.  Great measures are being implemented in identity theft protection, fraud alert, and identity victim assistance. 25 years ago we never even heard of "fraud alert"!  Still don't know what it is?  It's a message that notifies potential credit grantors to verify your identification before extending credit in your name. 

In Daniel 1:7 the Babylonians thought they had discovered a powerful weapon against God's people. The plan…to simply change their name, and thereby change their identity!  Notice, all of the Hebrew names in Daniel 1:7 ended in "ial"  or "iel", or the name of Jehovah.  Even the Babylonians knew these names were a undeniable declaration of God's covenant with His people.  

The same thing is still happening today.  One of the biggest keys to your victory is to not let anything or anyone try and "steal" your true identity in Christ.  To name you Loser, Failure, Weak, Old, or Stupid.  Don't let anyone deceive you into thinking that you are unrighteous because of your bad choices, when Jesus has made you righteous.  Don't let anyone call you a sinner saved by grace, when Jesus became sin for you and redeemed you from the curse of sin.  You've been given and new name and a new nature.  

Jesus is the name above all names.  If you find your identity in anything other than who you are in Christ and what His Word says about you, all I can is FRAUD ALERT!  Verify your identification in Christ before you take another step!  The Word is your identity theft protection.  And one more thing, when you know who you are in Christ, you certainly won't need identity victim assistance.

 

Breaking Through Resistance

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Philippians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God In Christ Jesus" 

Even a dead fish can swim downstream.  Know why? There's no resistance!  How do you respond to resistance in your life?  When you decide to live in the "high calling", you will face opposition and resistance.  "…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" 2 Tim3:12. 

So, if there's a "high calling", there must also be a "low calling". The high calling is a life lived on earth according to heaven's standards; it's seeing the kingdom of God manifestedthrough an individual's life. People who live in the high calling control their surroundings. By staying in their authority, they change the spiritual climate around them. 

Darkness cannot overpower light, light always expels darkness.  The brighter the light, the more darkness is displaced. This is how it is when we walk in the authority of God's kingdom.  We place our surroundings under its rule.  Jesus could eat with sinners because HE controlled the atmosphere. If you are stronger in God then the unbeliever is in the devil, you will control the atmosphere.  If the sinner is more dominant  in evil than the believer is in righteousness, the unbeliever will control the atmosphere. 

Again, when you decide to live the high calling, you will face opposition.  But you've already overcome because of the finished work on the cross.  Yet many settle and live for the low calling.  Why?  They don't want to face the resistance that accompanies pressing toward the high calling.  They would rather conform to their surroundings than change them with godly confrontation.  It's much easier to blend in than to stand out. 

The word "press" signifies an aggressive mentality that refuses to give up, rather than a "passive" mentality that follows the path of least resistance.  Keep pressing forward with the Grace of God and the power of the Holy Ghost.  Greater is He that is in you than what you are facing in the world. Break through the resistance!  Press toward the mark!  Start today!

 

Kismet?

James 4:7 " Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you" 

Much of religion today believes in a fatalistic mentality that everything that happens in life, whether good or bad, must be God's will.  They say things like, "bad things happen to good people".  I know what people mean by it, but what's behind it is a doctrine of the extreme sovereignty of God, that says no matter what happens in your life, it's from God. 

The term "kismet" is an old Turkish word that simply means "fate".  In other words, if someone dies of cancer, or a terrible accident happens to a family member, or a woman is raped, well, it must have been God's will, or at the very least, it couldn’t have happened unless God allowed it!   

In James 4:7, we are told to submit to God and resist the devil.  But why resist if everything is from God?  Because it's not!!  Sickness is not from God.  Acts 10:38 says "How God anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil".  

It also says, "and he will flee from you", the keyword here is you (and me).  God will allow what we allow.  So don't just accept that you have to live below the standards of God's covenant of blessing, health, favor, and the good life!  To resist means to actively fight against.  Don't just accept depression as the norm, lack as a way of life, sickness as something to just endure, but instead, use your authority, speak the Word, and say NO!  It's your choice…resist or kismet?

 

My Pillow

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Mark 4:38 "And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master carest thou not that we perish?" 

Have you heard the pillow commercial on TV and Radio with a catchy jingle that says, "For the best night's sleep in the whole wide world, mypillow.com".  Now, I’m not endorsing "My Pillow", but I love the concept. You probably didn’t know that My Pillow is the official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation.  Founder, Mike Lindell, tells the purpose behind the pillow, "When I invented My Pillow, my dream was to help as many people get a good night's sleep as possible". 

In Mark 4:38, it says that Jesus was in the back of a ship sleeping on a pillow in the middle of a storm. I think most of us would be busy bailing water out of the ship, or screaming for help!  Not Jesus, He's asleep on a pillow in the middle of the storm.  It was the peace that was already on the inside of Him, that allowed Him to sleep through a storm.  It was that same peace that was spoken out of His mouth, "Peace, be still", that calmed the storm.  Jesus shows us a picture of restful increase.  His sleep was evidence of his trust, faith and rest that "all is well".  

We have that same peace, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, on the inside of our born again spirit, that is to be exhibited in our actions and our words. When we rest He works, but when we work He rests.  More happens when we rest, than when we don't rest.  So grab your grace pillow, lay your head down, and rest on the promises of God.  

 

Say Goodbye to Guilt

Gal 4:17 (The Message Bible)  "Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God's grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making themselves important." 

The biggest curse in the body of Christ today is the enormous amount of guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear.  These destructive behaviors are totally disarming and paralyzing the people of God. Sadly, statistics have shown that Pentecostals, Charismatic's and full gospel people suffer with guilt and guilt related disorders more than any other religious group in the world. 

The dictionary defines guilt as, the feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, or crime, whether real or imagined.  The reason why is we get hooked on what I call a toxic mixture of old testament law and new testament grace.  Once you mix the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, it will poison every area of your Christian life. 

For the majority of believers in the church today, guilt is their drug of choice.  For many, if they don't feel guilty, they wonder how they be motivated to serve God!  Some actually think guilt is a Christian emotion. IT"S NOT! Paul calls this mixture "another gospel".  Any time a person tries to earn the love, acceptance, forgiveness and favor of God, it is going to result in guilt, condemnation, shame and fear. God's unmerited favor is the answer that will deliver God's people from this addiction.  God loves, accepts, and forgives every one of us unconditionally.  It's time to kick the habit!

 

Honk Lessons From Geese

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 "Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls , the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble" 

Last Saturday night it was kind of cloudy but warm outside, so I took my dog for a walk.  Then the strangest thing happened.  We were walking along, and I couldn’t see anythingin the sky but I could hear geese honking directly over my head.  

As a goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow.  I learned that by flying a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range then if each bird on its own.  When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and the resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. 

If we have as much sense as a goose, we would stay in formation with those headed where we want to go.  Are we willing to accept their help and give our help to others?  Two are always so much better than one.  HONK if you're willing to work with others!  You'll accomplish so much more.  It's called " synergy", where two or more people work together to produce a result not obtainable by any one independently.  Two are better than one.  Stay tuned next week for Part Two of "Honk Lessons From Geese".  

 

The Weight is Over

Galatians 5:22 (The Living Bible) “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” 

As the New Year begins, so does the tradition of making New Year resolutions.  What is number one on your list?  If you're like most Americans, it's to shed the extra pounds you gained over the holidays, or last summer, or your "baby weight".  So, what's the plan? 

In Galatians 5:22-25, God shows you how to live a Spirit lead, powerful, supernatural life.  When we are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, everything we need is already on the inside of us.  Regarding eating habits, all the self control you need is already on the inside of you.  Will power and positive thinking can only take us to a certain level, but through the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome in every area of life.  

There you go, “the weight is over”. 

 

No Trespassing!

Gen 15:11 (The Living Bible) – “Some vultures came down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away”

One Sunday I was dosing off while watching a football game after church, when I heard a commotion in my front yard.  A Pit Bull had gotten loose from one of the neighbor’s fenced in yard, and had wandered onto our property.  He was met face to face with our dog Benny, an oversized Yorkshire Terrier.  I knew that all that dog needed to do was position his jaw a certain way on Benny’s body and things would be quite serious.  On the contrary, it was Benny that had the Pit Bull on the run and was nipping at his tail and chasing him off our property.

In Genesis 15:11, Abram had laid out a sacrifice as a sign and a response to his covenant with Almighty God.  As he did this, some vultures tried to “trespass” on his sacrifice, but Abram “chased” them away!  That’s exactly what we need to do when the devil tries to come on our “property”.  Drive those “vultures” off of what belongs to you through the finished work of the cross.  You do this by exercising your authority through speaking the Word of God over your family, your teenager, your body, your bank account, your thought life and whatever else it might be.  Jesus said, “I have given you power…over all the power of the enemy”!  Declare today, “No Trespassing!”, in Jesus’ name.

 

Check's in the Mail

Daniel 10:12  "Then said he unto me, fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, Thy words were heard, and I come for thy words".

Years ago when I was in a windows and siding business, after I would make a huge sale, I would stop by the customer's house at scheduled intervals to pick up a check for the job. When they didn't have it ready, I would get a little (okay, a lot) impatient and I would call the customer to check on the check!  Their response, these famous words, "the check's in the mail".

In Daniel chapter 10, it appears that it took three weeks for Daniel's prayer to manifest.  However, in verse 12, the angel of the Lord, said something really powerful and revealing to Daniel.  He said, "For from the first day...thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words".  That tells us that every prayer that's in agreement with God's word is answered instantly. 

It was the prince of Persia that withstood Daniel's prayer (verse 13), for 21 days.  The prayer was answered but the manifestation took time to get there! That's huge, but how come?  Daniel was under the old covenant he didn't have authority to speak "TO" the delay.  Daniel had to wait because he didn't have the authority on the earth that you and I have.

Do you have any "unanswered prayers"?  Don't give up.  If your prayer is in agreement with God's Word, it's on the way, "it's in the mail".  Use your authority and command the answer that rightfully belongs to you, and expect to see it!

 

Is That Your Final Answer?

Mark 11:14 "And Jesus answered and said unto it, no man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. And His disciples heard it."  "Is that your final answer?" is a phrase made famous from an American television game quiz show that first aired in 1999 called Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  The show made television history as being...

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Watch the Tram Car Please

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Amazing Feet

Ephesians 1:22  “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Several weeks ago, the USA Women’s Soccer Team accomplish an amazing “feat”, who had been previously de-“feat”-ed by Japan by penalty kicks.  But this year was a different story when...

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