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The Almond Tree

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”  Jeremiah 1:11-12 NKJV 

The Almond tree is known as the wakeful tree. It awakes from the sleep of winter earlier than other trees; it flowers in January and bears fruit in March—first to bloom and last to bear fruit. It is a symbol of God’s early implementation of His plan and purpose, to bring it to pass in your life.

No matter what your condition, i.e., sickness, distress, lack, problems or turmoil, everything that God says, He will perform; every promise He makes, He will fulfill, so never give up on God and His Word— just stand on His promises! Like the almond tree that was first to welcome the spring, to watch over it, God watches over His Word to perform it, so always remember the almond tree.

When God said to Jeremiah that He is ready to perform His Word, literally, God was saying that he was ready to watch over and hasten the manifestation of His Word. Almond (shaqad, Hebrew) is translated “to watch.”  God chose this symbol to assure Jeremiah that He is watching over His Word to bring it to pass, no matter His youth or how long it takes.

The Almond tree and its branches is like a “receipt” for God’s “lay-away” plan, if you will, because His works are already finished (Heb. 4:3). It’s just a matter of time when the things that He has prepared for you will manifest in time and space (1 Cor. 2:9). The almond tree reminds you being the first tree to bloom and the last to bear fruit.

God’s Word, plan and purpose will always come to pass (Matt. 24:35). Why? Because, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Eccl. 3:11). Don’t ever give up. Hold on to the promise because your winter will be over and your spring shall begin. God makes everything beautiful in His time.” God executes His plan and purpose in Kairos not Chronos. Chronos is a space of time; Kairos is the set time or proper time based on God’s eternal plan. God will never stop watching over His Word to perform it (Jer. 31:28). Remember the almond tree!

 

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How Long? Not Long!

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision fails’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.” But say to them, “The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision.  For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord God. Ezekiel 12:21-25 NKJV

With the promises of God, you cannot put God on the clock or a timetable, choosing to believe, and then stop believing because of time. Time is a measurement of the progression of events—measured in minutes, hours, days, months, and years. Time can be your friend or your enemy. Time is a friend if you use time to thank and praise God and continue to act on His Word. It’s an enemy if it seduces you into apathy and indifference, doubt and unbelief because of what you do not see or hear. So, you might ask how long will it take for God’s promise to manifest in your life? And God says, “Not long.”

There are three likely reactions to the promises of God: faith, foolishness, and presumption. Faith believes and sees the answer (2 Cor. 5:7). Foolishness rebels against the answer in unbelief (Ezek. 12:2). And, presumption predetermines the answer and outcome—deciding when, where and how the promise should manifest.

As stated in the text above, God doesn’t prolong His Word, He hastens it and watches over it to perform it (Jer. 1;12). So you might ask, “Why has it taken so long?”  “So long” is a measurement of time, not eternity. God operates in Kairos and not Chronos (Greek words for “time”). Chronos is a space of time (e.g., see John 5:6) and Kairos is a set time or proper time, based on God’s eternal plan (e.g., see Matt. 8:29). No matter how long, as measured in time, God’s Word doesn’t return to Him empty, fruitless, and unfulfilled (Isaiah 55:11).  The Word that God speaks “will come to pass; it will no more be postponed . . . [God] will say the word and perform it” (Ezek. 12:25).

The Word (which includes the promises of God) will work for you if you’ll be patient (Heb. 10:35, 36). God is not bound by time but operates according to His eternal plan and purpose, and His Word will never return to Him void!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get Out and Stay Out

 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me. Psalm 142:7 NKJV

David, hiding out in a cave and deeply troubled because King Saul sought to find him and kill him. He found himself in a figurative “prison” and cried out to the Lord because he wanted to get out and stay out. Many, just like David, have found themselves in a “prison” of sin, sickness, addiction, lack and poverty, confusion and emotional turmoil and desire to get out and stay out.

The good news is that  Jesus came to set captives free, regardless of your “prison” (Luke 4:18).  He sends His Word to heal your circumstance and deliver you out of your captivity (Psalm 107:20-21). Now, when the Word comes, you can leave your prison by acting on God’s Word—believing it in your heart and speaking it with your mouth (Mark 11:23). God wants His children to get out and stay out. How?

In the Scripture text above, David mentions three ways to stay out of your “prison” once delivered; but, I will also offer an additional way. Here are the four ways to stay out, i.e., to be protected from the snares of the enemy once you have been delivered: first, after Jesus sets you free, give continuous praise and thanksgiving to God; second, be sure to surround yourself with righteous-minded people. You must avoid hanging around undelivered and unrighteous individuals who can offer you no hope; third, keep your heart and mind open and to allow God to deal with you continually. Just because you’ll been set free doesn’t mean God is finish with you. There are more seasons coming in your life; and, fourth, do not forsake the assembling of yourself (Heb. 10:25) with other believers for worship, teaching and preaching of the Word of God. You will grow in the grace and the knowledge of God’s Word by doing so.

Remember, God accomplishes His intended purposes, in your life, by the Word. This Word will help you get out and stay out according to Isaiah 55:10, 11. According to the Prophet Isaiah, the Word of God cannot be stopped no more than rain and snow can be stopped. God’s Word fertilizes your circumstance and makes it bring forth and bud a miracle of change. The Word will never return to God empty and fruitless. The Word works to get you out and keep you out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a Miracle in Your Mouth

He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:20-21 NKJV

There is miracle-working power in the Word of God (Heb. 1:3). Miracles happen when you act on the Word (Mark 9:23; Ps. 33:9); and, God will not violate His Word (Isa. 55:11). If you’re bound or “imprisoned” by sin, sickness, lack,  poverty, or problems—please know that wants His children to be free and stay free (Gal. 5:1). When God sends His Word to whatever your plight, there’s a miracle in your mouth if you’ll speak the same Word sent to make you whole and to rescue and release you.

After you get free, God wants you to stay out of your “prison.” How? Well, you can leave your prison whenever you’re ready by acting on God’s Word in your life, by speaking it with your mouth (Mark 11:23). There’s a miracle in your mouth waiting to manifest. Miracles come by speaking and acting on God’s Word.

How is it that some get free but don’t remain free? This is no mystery. If it were a mystery, then, what is the mystery of freedom? The Apostle Paul reveals the secret in Romans 12:1-2: “. . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Continued freedom demands a renewed mind. You will never be free and stay free until you become free in you mind (2 Cor. 5:17).

The Word works, but you have to work the Word. You see, the Word of God—not the Bible—is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). God sends His Word and that Word proceeding out of your mouth is the “Word” that came from God to you in your specific circumstance. The Word is a mighty weapon that God sends to us to defeat all enemies that would imprison us. Thank God that there is a miracle in your mouth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Speak the Word

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! . . . Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Matthew 8:5-13 NKJV

God’s method of healing and delivering us, and setting us free is through His Word. God sends His Word like the Sun of righteousness (Jesus) with healing in His wings to heal and to deliver (Mal. 4:2). Then afterwards, God wants His children to be free and stay free (Gal. 5:1). The Word of God heals, i.e., cures, repairs, and makes us whole; and God’s deliverance provides a way of escape, release, and rescue.

The sent Word is the spoken Word. Believing the Word of God and speaking the Word is faith in action. Much like the Centurion in the above text, who pleaded with Jesus to heal his Servant. He recognized that Jesus didn’t need to physically come to his house to heal his servant. All He had to do was to speak the Word—send the Word according to Psalm 107:20 which says, “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

There are three things to know when you speak the Word: (1) there is miracle-working power in the Word (2) miracles happen when you act on the Word; and, (3) God will not violate His Word. Jesus spoke a Word of healing and a miracle happened in the Servant who was paralyzed, and grievously tormented, to the point of death. The Centurion believed the spoken Word and acted on the Word and returned home to find his Servant healed and delivered, also believing that Jesus the Son of God would never violate His Word. When God sends the Word, He creates with His Word. When God speaks, things come into being; and, when He commands, it must stand fast! (Psalm 33:9).

So, if you’re imprisoned by sin, sickness, lack or poverty, or confusion, God wants you to speak His Word to get free and stay free. But you must know the Word to speak the word and continue to stay free (Hos. 4:6; Isa. 1:3). To get out of a “prison” and stay out, you must continue in the Word. By doing so you’ll know the truth and the truth will make you free (John 8:30-32). You stay free by praising and thanking God (Psalm 107:21). Just speak the Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Sent His Word

He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.  Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:20, 21 NKJV

Like Israel of the Old Testament, there are many—so many—Believers who are held captive by the enemy. They are bound by sin, sickness and disease, habits and lifestyles, and physical and emotional bondages; and they don’t know how to be free and stay free. But thank God for Jesus. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word, the Logos, the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings to heal and to deliver (Mal. 4:2). Now God wants His children to be free and stay free!

When God heals (Rapha, O.T.), He cure us; repairs us; and makes us whole. And, not only has God healed us, He has delivered (Malat, O.T.) us, i.e., made a way of escape, and released and rescued us from the Satan’s captivity. So, why don’t Believers stay free?

In the words of the Psalmist, “oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men (Text):  God has sent His Word and Believers have been set free, but many just don’t stay free because they stop praising and thanking God. When you stop praising and thanking God, the enemy can easily distract you and captivate you, because your focus isn’t on God, your Liberator, who has the power to keep you free. Selah. 

The Apostle Paul told the Colossian Christians to never stop  thanking God for three things (See Col. 1:12-14):  (1) God  made us fit and qualified to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Rom. 8:29-30); (2) He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Eph. 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9); and, (3) God has redeemed us by the blood of Jesus and forgiven us of our sins (Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7). Our qualification, deliverance, and redemption were all possible because God first sent His Word!

 

 

 

Can Two Walk Together?

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? . . .  If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? Amos 3:3-6 NKJV

There are causal relationships in life. For example, choice and consequences; actions and reactions; and, cause and effect—that is, “but for” your choice, these are your consequences. In the above text, Amos’ prophetic assignment was to expose Israel’s sins, and to inform them that God would punish them for all their iniquities. He reminds Israel of the causal relationship between their sin and their separation from God. When sin is the cause, God’s judgment is the effect. So, can two walk together, except they are agreed?

What does “two walking together” mean?  It means oneness and unity, i.e., unanimous in mind for the same purpose; agreement; and, togetherness. The only way for two to “walk together” to the same appointment or strive to reach the same goal, or see the fulfillment of the same vision, is to be together. If you are living on the other side of God’s righteousness, you aren’t walking in agreement with God. Many want God to walk with them, but they don’t walk with Him.      .

Amos’ prophecy used five similes (figures of speech comparing one thing to another thing of a different kind), or you might say, parable-like questions to strike at the hearts of the sinful Israelites. Their impending calamity would be God’s doing. This principle isn’t limited to the Old Testament. Apostle Paul warned the Roman Christians that there would be “tribulation and distress upon every soul of man that does evil . . .” (Romans 2:9)

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? (2 Cor. 6:14). To walk with God, there must be a separation from sin and iniquity, and a separation to God. There is no agreement living in the middle. Either you’re walking with God or with sin and iniquity. Two cannot walk together, except they are agreed!

 

 

Unity of the Faith

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV

In birthing the church, God eliminated one of the greatest division that ever existed among men—the animus and the bigotry between Jews and Gentiles. Jews and Gentiles had vast differences culturally, socially, and in their religious beliefs and practices, or a lack thereof. After being baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), Paul told the newly formed church, consisting of both Gentiles and Jews, to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, and that peace would be the glue to hold them together (Eph. 4:3). However, the unity of the Spirit is not the unity of the faith.

A common reaction when there are differences among people is divide and seek a more-in-common friendship, marriage, church, etc. Could this be why Paul pleaded with the Corinthian Christians to agree with one another so that there would be no divisions, and that they be perfectly united in mind and thought? (1 Cor. 1:10).

The Holy Spirit gives believers unity, and walking in love and in peace with others keeps that unity. But what is the unity of the faith? Consider Paul’s word to the Roman Christians:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17-18).  Ergo, the unity of the faith is the equally shared belief among all believers in the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and salvation by grace through faith (Author’s definition). So, it is God’s intention to use Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts to perfect believers to do the work of the ministry to build up and advance the Body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith (Text).

Five-fold ministry gifts will all expire when believers come into the unity of the faith (doctrine), maturity (full growth and development), and conformity (morally like Christ, see 1 John 3:2). In John 17:20-23, Jesus prayed for believers’ unity of the faith. The Church is not there yet, but will get there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unity of the Spirit

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 NKJV 

After you place your saving faith in Jesus Christ, immediately you are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Spirit and are made to drink into the Spirit. This is also a clear analogy of drinking water. For example, “on the last day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (John 37-39).

Water is not only an element of baptism, but it is also something we drink to sustain physical life. Just as we drink water, we also drink of the Holy Spirit when we are baptized into the Body of Christ. There can be no spiritual life without the presence and use of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not only gives us sustaining power in our spiritual life, but He also unifies us into one Body. This unification gives you oneness and sameness in the Spirit. Oneness is being unanimous in mind for the same purpose; it is agreement and togetherness (1 Cor. 1:10).                       

Just because of different backgrounds, gifts and abilities, personalities and temperaments, it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is different or acts differently. The Spirit gives unity. This unity of the Spirit is given when you are baptized into the Body (text). But unity of the spirit is maintained not attained—you already have the unity (Eph. 4:3-6).  Unity requires effort. To keep unity in the Body, the local church, marriage, or friendship, you must be able to distinguish between the essentials from the non-essentials. In essential matters, you need unity; in non-essentials, you give liberty; and, in all things, let there be charity! Unity of the Spirit is not uniformity; it is a spiritual commitment to endeavor to keep it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participation Requires Separation

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? . . . You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21 NKJV 

Baptism into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) is not only a regeneration and integration (Titus 3:5), but it is also an initiation of participation of the many blessings of God (John 1:16; 2 Cor. 1:20).

In the New Testament Greek, the word for communion (koinonia) means partnership, participation, and social intercourse i.e., fellowship (1 Cor. 6:17). Taking Communion is a reminder of our daily partnership, participation and fellowship with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. But honest and true participation requires separation from all that is unclean, unholy things and evil people (Jer. 13:10).

God calls for separation: “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17-18).  However, separation has two sides: first, not touching the unclean and unholy things, but also, the believer separating himself to God (Rom. 12:1-2) Also, Jesus prayed in the Garden that those who believed would be in this world, but not of this world (John 17).

God’s promises, blessing and benefits are in the “cup of the Lord” which we drink and “the bread which we break.” Participation in these blessings and benefits demands a separation from all that is unclean, unholy things and evil people. You can’t have it both ways—you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons (Text). Eating at the Lord’s Table means communing with Christ and identifying with His death, and eating at the table of demons means identifying with Satan by participating and promoting evil activities.

Are you trying to lead two lives; following the crowd and the cloud of the Holy Spirit who baptized you into the body? You must separate in order to participate! (2 Tim. 2:19-21).