The Power of Two

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19 NKJV

Moses, Jesus, and Paul all taught that two can be one (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Eph. 5:31). Oneness is the power of two or more agreeing as one. In the Scriptures, two is the number of witness (Deut. 17:6; 19:15). In prayer, the sincere faith-filled agreement of two is more powerful than the superficial agreement of a thousand, especially when the Spirit helps them to pray according to God’s will (Deut. 32:30).

Jesus reinforced the principle of the power of two, i.e., the law of witness, in His instructions regarding church discipline (Matt. 18:15-19). The law of witness yields great power, not only in resolving conflict among believers, but also in prayer—praying the prayer of agreement. The prayer of agreement can be analogized to marriage: the two agreeing are you (the bride) and the Word (the Groom). As you agree in prayer, a “son” is born (the thing desired) according to the will of God (Mark 11:24).

When there is focused agreement in prayer, there is multiplied power and the source of that power is agreement (Amos 3:3). Never find yourself not wanting God’s will to be done; not believing God’s promise when you pray; and, not desiring what God desires for you no matter what concerns you. Whatever you ask for or desire, believe that you receive and wholly follow the will of the Lord, much like Caleb and Joshua did (Num. 32:12).

In prayer—just like marriage—when the bride and the groom are in agreement, they experience intimacy, companionship, and relationship. It takes two and the power of two, and a three-fold cord, i.e., you, the Word, and the Spirit, is not easily broken (Eccl.4:9-12).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of My Desire

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24 KJV

Prayer is like a spiritual wedding taking place in your heart. You, the believer, are the bride and Jesus (God’s Word) is the Groom.  So, as Jesus instructed: when you pray, enter into that “inner room” in your heart then shut the door, and when you have shut the door to the outside world and other distractions, enter the bridal suite, if you will, with no one but the bride and the Groom and focus only on the thing desired (Matt. 6:6). The promised reward is the joy of your desire.

A wedding requires preparation and a performance of a ceremony, but the marriage isn’t finalized until consummation, i.e., where the bride and groom becomes one—the act of marriage (Gen. 2:24).  Spiritually speaking, in prayer you become one with the Word that you pray. The bride feels the joy of being and possessing that which she desires; thus, prayer is spiritually performing the act of marriage and procreation (Gen. 4:1). As you pray the Word, its truth leaves you impregnated by faith. You then must die to your present condition and problems and assume the Name and nature of the answer.

Whatsoever you—the bride—believe God for in prayer becomes the joy of your desire and your belief makes you pregnant by faith (text).  Faith is the proof that you are married to that Word and pregnant with the answer and divorced from the problem. Now, when you arise from prayer and open the door to return to the circumstance you left behind, you return as a pregnant bride, walking by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).  If you continue to believe that you have received, you’ll begin to see signs of the pregnancy in your circumstances, but you must be willing to give up your problems, needy condition, and limitations and identify with that which you desire, and feel the joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Marriage Ceremony

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:5-6 NKJV

Prayer is simply talking to God from your heart. It isn’t assuming a certain posture, physical position, or limiting it to some religious place. It is a powerful privilege that fills the believer’s heart with joy and hope, much like the joy of a bride and groom on the day of their wedding. Prayer can be analogized to a spiritual wedding taking place in your heart—God’s marriage ceremony.

A ceremony requires both preparation and a performance. In our text above, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught what is needed in prayer preparation and performance. Preparation begins with a right attitude, honorable intentions, and a godly motive (Matt. 6:5; Jas. 4:2-4). Next, the bride (the believer) prepares to give up her name and assume the name of her husband. In prayer you relinquish your present name, nature, and condition (sick, poor, failure, defeated, etc.) and by faith assume your true nature as promised in Word (2 Pet.1:3-4). Then, the Groom (Jesus Christ) gives his Word to have and hold, to love and honor his bride. This gives the bride confidence. Thus, in prayer you have great confidence and hope that He’ll never leave you, nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5; 1 John 5:14-15).

Jesus outlined the performance of the wedding in verse six in the above text:  (1) enter into your closet, your secret place, that inner room in your heart; (2) shut the door (the outside world, distractions and the senses) and focus only on the thing desired; and, (3) enter in the secret place (bridal suite) with no one but the bride and the Groom on the day of your wedding anxious for nothing (Phil.4:6). This is God’s marriage ceremony!

 

 

 

Five Practices of Discipleship

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.  42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42 NKJV

In John’s gospel, chapter 8 verses 31and 32, Jesus said to some Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  It is instructive to note that Jesus said, “if” you continue.” The word “if” strongly suggests that continuing to follow Christ, after believing, is a condition to true discipleship, i.e., something essential, a must, a necessary qualification, requirement, or stipulation.

The early church, as recorded in the book of Acts observed five practices after repentance and their baptism for the remission of sin (text). First and foremost, then continued steadfastly in their devotion to Jesus Christ. Unlike so many believers who started fervently out in their walk of faith but have now somehow became inconsistent and lukewarm in the things of God; second, they were committed to hearing and receiving in their hearts the Apostle’s teaching. It is the Word of God that vitally changes lives and transform minds (see Jas. 1:21; Rom. 12:2; 2 Tim. 3:16).

Third, believers related to one another with Christian fellowship (koinonia Greek word, i.e., communication, partnership, participation, social intercourse, and communion (1 Cor. 10:16); fourth, the breaking of bread was an expression that referred to both the observing the Lord’s Supper and a common meal taken with other believers; and fifth, the truly repented engaged in all kinds of prayers—talking to God from their hearts, in Jesus’ name, their redeemer.

These five practices were, and  still are, the cost of true discipleship (Matt. 16:24). Like when most Jews, in the early church period, who repented and received baptism in Jesus’ name, they were excommunicated from other non-believing Jews. No man would ever forfeit his Jewish privilege short of a full conviction to continue following Jesus Christ all the way!

 

 

 

Children Are a Heritage

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Psalms 127:3-4 NKJV

It has been said that, “children are the church of tomorrow”—not so. Children are not only part of the church today, but they are also a branch of the army that God is raising up to further His kingdom here on earth. Children are a heritage of the Lord (text), a blessing to their parents, and fruit in the kingdom of God.

Often children and young people are devalued and minimized in society and in our churches and pushed into the background, but the Scriptures shows that God highly values children and childlikeness. Jesus said: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14), and He further said, “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one little child . . . in My name receives Me” (Matt. 18:4-5). God shows to us that there is spiritual equality and importance among adults and children, and adults must become child-like in their faith in order to inherit the kingdom of God..

God is raising up an army of believers that, without question, includes children and young people. Children much like little Samuel the priest/prophet, who will hear and recognize His voice even at a tender age (1 Sam. 3:10). Children and youth who will obey His voice, and even be filled with the Holy Spirit—prophesying, laying hands on the sick, preaching and teaching His Word. Children and the youth are our heritage, our fruit, and our reward. Thank God for a Godly heritage!

The Force of the Spirit

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV 

The apostle Paul instructed the Philippians to give their salvation a workout. To workout your salvation is to obey and produce fruit of your faith. God saves by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), and faith without works is dead—i.e., without fruit (Jas. 2:17). God not only saves by grace, He also gives you energy (spiritual power) to workout your salvation to produce fruit, and the source of that energy is a supernatural supply of the Spirit (Phil. 1:19).

A famous football coach (George Allen) said that, “a workout is a key that helps unlock opportunity and success. Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force.” Biblically speaking, that force is the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God is a force (active power) that energizes, influences, and strengthens, exerting power and bringing it to bear in the varied circumstances and situations in life (see Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

The Holy Spirit is a force that operates in the region of the “heart.” Man is a spirit and he possesses a soul that lives in a body (1 Thess. 5:23).  The word “heart” is used figuratively throughout the Scriptures for identifying the spirit of man—the place within where all thoughts and feelings are generated. There can be no salvation in Christ Jesus without an active power of the Spirit (Rom. 10:9-10, 13).

The force of the Spirit needs to be understood before and after the resurrection: There was always a force of the Spirit, even the in Old Testament, that God used to move upon His servants “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (text). However, after Jesus was glorified via His resurrection, the force of Spirit now operates like “rivers of living water” inside the believer (John 7:37-39), manifesting in a variety of ways (1 Cor. 12:3-6). The Holy Spirit is a force of energy that energizes you to workout your own salvation. Just work it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Source of Energy

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV

Salvation cannot be earned by works. Yet, the Scripture teaches us to “workout” our own salvation. Salvation is a gift given by God’s grace that we respond to through faith (Eph. 2:8). To “workout” our own salvation is to obey and produce our own fruit of faith. Every time we obey God’s word, regardless how big or small the matter, we are working out our salvation. The same God who saves us by grace also energizes us to do the work. “God who works in you” is energy that He affords us to produce fruit in life (Eph. 1:19).

Since energy to produce comes from God, who saved us by grace, doesn’t it stands to reason that He has every right to expect us “to will and do of His good pleasure”?  Our source of energy is supernaturally supplied (see Phil. 1:19). “To will” is to allow God to live inside us to help us. We are not left alone in our struggles of life (John 14:16-17). And, “to do of His good pleasure” is God giving us power to obey to His satisfaction and delight (Eph. 1:5, 9). It is important to point out that, we can unleash or limit God’s energy by our thinking (Eph. 3:20). The Word of God is effectually energized when we believe (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 16-17). Never stop obeying God’s Word and producing the fruit of faith. “God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love” (Heb 6:10).  Obey God’s Word and work it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work It Out!

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling . . .  Philippians 2:12 NKJV

We often go for walks, go jogging, we go to gyms and fitness facilities to workout for physical health reasons in order to get in shape or stay in shape. Paul told Timothy that, “bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things . . .” (1 Tim. 4:8).  How is it that we value the upkeep of the physical man but we sometimes take for granted the health of the spiritual man?

In our text, Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians was to always obey. In doing so, a believer works out his own salvation, with the fear of God. A workout is always a performance, practice, or exercise to test or improve fitness and ability. This principle can be applied spiritually with respect to one’s salvation. Salvation is a gift that must be worked. But make no mistake about it: salvation cannot be earned by works; it is given only by grace through faith. But what are you doing with your gift of salvation?

To workout your salvation is to obey and produce (John 14:23; John 15:5). You work it out in practice, producing and exhibiting visible evidence of salvation. Your faith justifies you in the sight of God, but works justifies you in the sight of men (Jas. 2:17-18).  This practice is more of a “let me see”, not “prove it to me.” You have nothing to prove to no one but yourself (Gal. 4:4). Working out salvation demands that you be careful about what you believe and how you live (Jas. 1:25). Thus, salvation is a gift with God-given expectations and responsibilities (Matt. 25:14-30). Yes, by grace you were saved, through faith, and by grace, you have God-given abilities to obey Him. Just work it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give What You Have

So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”  3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors — empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. 2 Kings 4:2-6 NKJV

Jesus taught a universal principle, “Give and it shall be given unto you . . .” (Luke 6:38). This precept works with the issue of forgiveness and any other form of giving. But what is your motivation for giving? Is it giving in faith and obedience to glorify God? There is a tendency to give to those you know because they gave to you first, with an expectation, that they would return the favor. In such case, are you doing it for the joy of giving or just to get a favor in return? Check your motives when you give because if you give with the wrong motive, you are still a “beggar.”

In our text, the widow woman was a desperate beggar until the prophet Elisha gave to her what he had: a word of wisdom inspired by the spirit of God. The beggarly widow was transformed into a “believer” when she acted in obedience and faith to the word of the Lord by giving what she had, i.e., a jar of oil. She borrowed vessels, shut her door, and poured out what she had into empty vessels, and her little became much. When there was not another vessel, the flow of oil ceased. The widow discovered that when you give what you have, God’s provision is as large as your faith and willingness to obey. Don’t limit God’s blessing by a lack of faith and obedience (Eph. 3:20).

Never be afraid to give what you have. If you are reluctant to give what you have, how can God trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11). “Shut the door and pour” and you’ll discover that it won’t long be before you have faith to say to the lame, “rise up and walk”!

 

 

 

 

Put A Little Love in Your Heart

[W]ho, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  Acts 3:3-6 NKJV

Peter and John, on their way to the Temple at the hour of prayer, said to the lame beggar when he asked for money, “Look at us”—this was undoubtedly an unction or a prompting of the Spirit or perhaps God swelling their hearts with love, to give what they had. They didn’t have money, but they had the power of God in Jesus’ name (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God moved upon them and stirred up love in their hearts.

The first verse of a very popular song recorded by both pop and rhythm and blues recording artists says, Think of your fellow man, Lend him a helping hand . . . You see it’s getting late, Oh, please don’t hesitate . . . And the world will be a better place For you and me, You just wait and see put a little love in your heart. When you put even a little love in action and touch other lives, the world will know that you are a child of God; you belong to God; and, you are one with God—a believer and not a beggar!

When you close your heart to others in an uncompassionate way, then it begs the question: where is the love of God in you? (See 1 John 3:17).  You are called to “walk in love” (2 John 6). Perhaps the challenge of living a life of love and giving is that many have been hurt in relationships, and have shut-up their bowels of compassion, and refuse to let love flow out. Love cannot flow to others unless you give up some things, e.g., anger, bitterness, resentment, judgment, etc. towards those who have wronged, injured, or insulted you. Just remember that love always gives! Love seeks to create selfless outlets of giving rather than selfish inlets (Luke 6:38; Eccles. 11:1). Just put a little love in your heart!

 

 

 

 

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