Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Tithe Or Not To Tithe?


Many Christians are taught that if they tithe, (contributing 10% of their income) that God will “open the windows of heaven, and pour them out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it…” This is based on a portion of scripture from the book of Malachi, chapter 3, verses 10-12. (Mal. 3:10-11)

The problem with this teaching is that tithing is usually taught as “the law,” something that we owe God, and are required to do or God will not open the windows of heaven and bless us. However, if that were the case, it would be an attempt to “earn” this blessing from God; trying to merit this blessing through our doing and our keeping of God’s law of tithing. That makes this teaching similar to trying to “earn” the blessing of eternal life by keeping the Old Testament laws of God. And neither can be done.

I have been a Christian for 35 years, and if you are anything like me, you know many many Christians who have tithed faithfully for years and years and have never obtained the blessing Malachi had promised tithing would bring. (In fact, I was once one of them myself). Most of these folks are still just getting by, and that is because the blessing promised in Malachi cannot be earned through tithing any more than eternal life can be earned by living a good enough life. Like all law, tithing too was intended to prove to man that he could not keep it according to God’s standard of perfection and instead to lead him to Christ who did.

Keeping the laws of the Old Testament merits us nothing with God. They can't because we can't keep them according to God's standard of perfection. Only Jesus could do that. In fact, all Old Testament law was given to prove to man that he couldn’t keep any law of God to God’s standard and couldn’t merit anything by trying to keep them. The "law" was given instead to lead men to Christ who kept and fulfilled ALL of the law of God for man and that included fulfilling the law of tithing. And it would be through our faith in Christ that we could obtain the blessings that keeping the whole law of God promised. (Gal. 3:24)

It was Jesus who earned ALL we would ever need or want and it is ONLY through faith in him that we can have any of it.

The truth is that God has already opened the windows of heaven and poured out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And he did it when he sent Jesus. God could give us no more than his Son, and it is his Son who contains all that God is and all that he has. (Col. 2:9-10) It is through Jesus that we have been given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” and it is through Jesus that we become “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” (2Pet. 1:3-5, Rom. 8:16-17) And in order to obtain ALL of these blessings, we need to receive them through faith, the same way we received eternal life through faith. Faith is the channel by which we obtain any of God’s blessings. “Trying hard,” whether it is through tithing or anything else will never work. We can “earn” or “merit” nothing from God through human effort.

God’s blessings are a free gift and given through faith in Jesus. So if the bible says that we have already been given all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus and that we have already been made to be joint-heirs with Christ inheriting all things with him, why would God now require us to tithe in order to obtain them? No, Jesus has already obtained them for us. Our requirement is to believe in order to receive. (2Pet. 1:3, Rom. 8:17)

Now this doesn’t mean that I am saying that GIVING is not important. I wouldn't say that any more than I would say it isn’t important to live a holy life just because salvation is free. I am saying however, that it is not a requirement to TITHE to be blessed by God just like I say that it is not a requirement to live a holy life to earn salvation. The bible teaches that both giving and living a holy life are VITAL and bring rewards in this earth, but are part of what we do in the natural in order to have a fully healthy life, not something we do to earn God’s acceptance, love or blessings.

Some of what the New Testament says about giving (not tithing) is this, “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall MEN give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Lk. 6:38) Giving is important just like planting seed is important. It is something we do in the natural world to reap a harvest, but it is outside of our relationship with God and it is in addition to what he will do for us through our faith. Besides, the New Testament teaches that giving is something that should be done “according as a man purposes in is heart…, it should not be done grudgingly, or of necessity;” and tithing is taught as a necessity. (2Cor. 9:6-9)

The real difference between tithing and giving is that tithing is “THE” law, (giving a prescribed amount in order to be blessed) while giving is “A” law, and “A” principle. What this means is that giving is governed by laws of sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting; “a law” and “a principle” that will always work in this natural world. But tithing and even giving are not a requirement to “earn” blessings from God. If we needed to do anything to merit blessings from God, we would merit NOTHING. Paraphrasing something Watchman Nee has said... if we try to merit ANYTHING through our own efforts, we lose EVERYTHING!

When we received Jesus as savior we received ALL that heaven has to offer. What we need to do to "have" them is to LET God pour out this blessing we cannot contain, not try to earn it ourselves; and we do that by believing that it is already ours. It will then begin to come to pass in our lives. (Mk. 11:24) After we do that, we can then give as we purpose in our hearts or as God leads and expect a return from our seed! Remember, God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives under compulsion or requirement or law. (Read 2Cor. 9:1-9)

Trying to satisfy God through tithing in order for God’s blessing to come into our lives or in order to fulfill a requirement is the same as trying to satisfy God through good works for him to save us. Both are futile. We can never do enough, nor do them well enough to earn anything.

God’s love and blessings are free and offered to us through Christ. If we believe, we will receive and be blessed, if we don’t believe but rather try in our own trying to obtain, we won’t obtain. God’s blessings are not contingent on our obedience, but on our faith.

Tithing is not something that we must do... believing is!

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Bored Lord!


What do we do if we begin to feel bored with the Word of God? That question was recently asked me and I’ll do my best to address it here.

Like most problems that we face, (whether big or small) we normally need to deal with the issue on two fronts. The first front is the spiritual, and the second is the natural. On the spiritual side, our fight is a fight of faith; that is, what we BELIEVE and what we SAY. On the natural side, it is what we DO.

With this issue of feeling bored with the Word of God, the first thing in our faith fight is to stop believing and saying that we are bored. But you say to me, I am bored, that’s why I say it; but I say that is only how you FEEL, not how you ARE. What I mean is this… The bible tells us that if we have received Jesus as our savior that we have been changed, that we are new creatures in Christ, and that our new inner man is made to be exactly like he is, and Jesus is never bored with the Word of God. He is always enthused by it. If indeed we are like him, (and we are) that is the way we are too, no matter how we feel. This emphasizes the importance of walking in the spirit, (by what the word of God says about us) rather than in the flesh, (according to how we feel). It will then be our faith that will begin to change our feelings and/or our circumstances. (Rom. 12:2, Gal. 2:20, 1Jn. 4:17)

Living by faith like this, that is, believing (and saying) that you are not bored, (despite how you feel) will begin to change how you feel. The bible says that “As a man thinketh in his heart, (about himself) so is he.” (Pr. 23:7, parenthesis mine). In short, if you believe you are bored, you will be; if you live by faith, believing you are not bored but rather excited about the Word of God, you will eventually feel that way. As you think in your heart, you will be.

In all honesty, when I talk about how the Word of God works like this, it is very exciting to me. I begin to feel a living relationship with God’s word. It is not something that I just read or study; it is something that is alive and effective in my life; something that I can learn to skillfully use to affect any area of my life… motivational, inspirational, and hope-filled to me!

Now, on the natural side of things, there is something else we can DO to help ourselves when we feel bored with the Word of God.

There is a very simple principle we can remember, and that is this. If we want to warm up, just get closer to the fire. In this case, it works like this... There are men and women in ministry who are “on fire” with the Word of God and we should get close to them and to their ministries. And even more importantly than being on fire is that they have a good understanding of what the word is saying and how it can be applied to our lives. This will add real “life” to our Christian walk.

But here it the thing. When it comes to who we listen to and what we believe, it is vital to be VERY careful. I say that because there is a fine line between what men sometimes teach and what the bible teaches. Most often, teachers and ministers of the Word of God, (even though most are well-meaning) THINK they know what the Word of God is saying, but don't know what it is really saying. Recognizing this is vital because men's ideas (religious tradition) will make the Word of God of NO EFFECT, (even though it sometimes sounds right) while the truth will make you free.

I think that many Christians become tired, disillusioned, and even bored because they haven’t yet realized the difference between the tradition of men and the truth of the bible. One will bring life and vitality while the other will bring drudgery and disappointment. And the difference is sometimes very hard to distinguish. Religious tradition can be very gripping and can seem right and is taught by most people. This is why most of our churches do not experience a steady flow of God's supernatural power and do not have signs and wonders following their ministries.

The difference between religious tradition and truth is the difference between living our lives in our own human strength and efforts, or living by the power of God. Generally, religious tradition teaches about what we must DO to please God and to live a good Christian life, while the New Testament teaches what we must BELIEVE to please God and to live a good Christian life. It is the difference between trying or trusting; working or resting; doing or believing. And it is the difference between getting supernatural results or not.

It is believing that will tap into God’s power for our lives, not trying harder or doing better. The just shall live by faith, not by works.

Even though discerning the difference between “religion” and “truth” can be difficult at times, there are ministries that know some of the differences and they can teach those differences to us. (Mk. 7:13, Jn. 8:31-32)

Here is a short list of ministers that are well worth getting close to and that have a good understanding of what the Word of God is really saying. We can listen to them, watch them on TV, get their tapes and books and visit their websites in order to tap into their material and their teachings… Andrew Wommack, Bill Winston, Joseph Prince, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Joel Osteen, Fred Price, Charles Capps, and Leroy Thompson. I am sure there are others, but these I am confident with. If you listen to these ministries on a regular and consistent basis, they can help you begin to see the sometimes subtle difference between religion and truth and can inject a new interest, understanding and effectiveness of the Word of God in your life.

Well, that's it for now. If I don't write again until after Christmas, may you all have a blessed and joyful holiday!

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

Plant, Then Water The Seed II


There is more to prayer than just asking God for what we want. In order to be successful in prayer, we must know that prayer is governed by the laws of prayer similar to the way electricity is governed by the laws of electricity. That is because spiritual things are no different than natural things; they too are governed by the laws of God. (Rom. 1:20)

In order to get the results from electricity that we want, we must know the laws that govern electricity and apply them properly. That is not up to God. That is up to us. It is the same thing with prayer. In order to get the results we want from prayer, we must know the laws that govern prayer and apply them properly. And when we do our part, God will do his.

God makes all things available to us, both in the natural and in the spiritual; but then it is up to us to learn how they work and to make them work for us. And if we do, the laws of God will always work if properly applied. That is why they are called laws. For example, if we learn and apply the laws of electricity properly, we will always have a proper flow of electrical power. Likewise, if we learn and apply the laws of prayer properly, we will always have a proper flow of prayer power. Jesus proved this fact because he always had results when he prayed.

However, there has been a mystique about prayer that has kept us from learning prayer’s process. Because of this mystique, many seem to have felt that prayer is up to God and that if he wanted to answer it he would, and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t. But Jesus never taught that... about spiritual or natural things. Think how it would be if we thought that way about electricity or anything else in this world. If we left everything up to God, we would never get the results we want. That is because God has not chosen to do things that way, in the natural or in the spiritual. He provides things for us, then leaves it is up to us to find out how things work and to make them work for us. That is the way prayer is.

So let’s talk about the laws of God for a moment. In my last article, I shared that Jesus taught us how everything in the kingdom of God works. He said that the kingdom of God was like a man who plants a seed, and that seed grows day and night until it comes to maturity and bears fruit. Everything starts from a seed. (Mk. 4: 26-32) And that is how prayer works too. It starts from a seed. And if the seed is nurtured properly, it will always bring prayer results, just the same as good seed in a garden will always produce if it is nurtured properly.

I also shared that Jesus said that spiritual seed is the word of God. And it is when we choose to believe the word of God, that we plant that seed. (Mk. 4:14, Lk. 8:11)

Now since the seed of God's word has the power to produce whatever it says, we need to believe the word of God as it relates to what we are praying for. (Isa. 55:10-11) For example, if we are praying for healing, we can choose to believe the word of God where Isaiah said, "... with his stripes we are healed." (Isa. 53:5) That is very specific to our request and will bring forth healing. However, we can also believe the word of God when it is very general and when it covers all kinds of petitions such as the time when Jesus said, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” We can believe this simple statement in order to get our prayers answered too. (Mt. 21:22) And like I said in my Answer to Anonymous, we don't have to know the word of God verbatim, we just need to know the truth that it expresses.

So, after we choose to believe God’s word, that seed must be watered. And again, it is through the word of God that it is watered, (see my last article on this topic to get a little more detail). Now the primary way that we water our prayer seed, (that is, the seed of God’s word that we choose to believe and want to come to pass), is to read, study, listen to, and meditate on God’s word. We need to “feed” on as much of the word of God as we can… especially as it relates to what we are asking for. What we are doing when we do this is watering our seed and developing our faith in God’s word, and it will then be our faith that will bring to pass what we asked for in prayer. I like to call this part of the process "feeding the seed." It will then grow and produce results. (Mt. 21:22)

In this article, I would like to share with you another vital “tool” that must be used in helping bring forth answers to our prayers. We talked about our faith and now I want to talk about our words; that is, what we SAY about our prayer after we have prayed. Jesus said that whatever we believe in our heart and SAY with our mouth, we will have. (Mk. 11:22-23) If we think about that for a moment, we may realize how amazing that is and how powerful a tool we have in our hands, or should I say in our mouths. It will always be what we believe and what we say that we will eventually end up having. Again, our words, (like God’s) are seeds, and when believed will bring forth what we say. It will take time to come to pass, but it always will. This creative power is ours because we are made in the image of God and we do things just like he does. It was with his faith and his words that God spoke the world into existence, and it will be through our faith and our words that we will create the world that is around us, (and bring forth the answers to our prayers). If you believe it and if you say it, you will have it, no matter what it is. So, saying the right thing will bring to pass those things that you ask for in prayer.

Before I go any further let me share this. It is important to remember that it is God that will bring the increase to our seed… we don’t do that, but like Paul said, it is we who must plant and water the seed. It is God who will make it grow. (1Cor. 3:6)

So, getting back to the words of our mouth and how they relate to what we are praying for; we must realize that we cannot ask for something in prayer, and then SAY that we DON’T have it. If we do that, we WON'T get it. But when we pray, we need to start speaking "by faith" saying that we DO have the answer to our prayer even before it comes to pass, and then we will get it. It will then come to pass. We have believed that we have it and have said that we have it, and like Jesus said, it will now come to pass. I know that this might be a lot to swallow, but that is how the bible teaches that faith works. Actually, that is the kind of faith that God has and uses, and it is the kind of faith that will bring to pass whatever it is we are praying for. (Rom. 4:16-21; 10:9-10)

So, you see, the words we speak are extremely important in the answers to our prayers. The bible says that "death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof. (Pr. 18:21)

Our words are our faith in action and a vital part of our prayer.

Summing up thus far, we see that Jesus taught that when we pray, we must believe that we have the answers to our prayers and say that we have them before we ever get them. It is then that in time they will come to pass. (Mk. 11:22-24)

Can you see why people can have such problems getting their prayers answered? They really don’t know what it takes to get them answered. And please; don’t just believe me. Look up the scriptures that I’ve based this on. Both Jesus and Paul taught this and did this, and so did Abraham and God the Father!

I’ve shared in this article the basic principle of the power and importance of our words. Being careful about what we say and saying only those good things that we want is a great start and a solid foundation. But like all things, there is more that can be learned and applied. A good farmer always starts with the basics and then builds on them for better and better results. Maybe in the future I will share more with you about this. But for now, there may be enough to think about here.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Friday, November 21, 2008

Answer To Anonymous


This is in response to anonymous who had a question about my last article, “Plant, Then Water The Seed.”

Concerning answers to prayer, Anonymous asked about having more of a desire than a need and wanted to know where to go for “tools” to get that desire met if what they wanted was not exactly worded in the bible.

Jesus answered that question like this… “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mk. 11:24)

In this one simple statement Jesus did two things. First, he taught that it was God’s will to meet our desires as well as our needs, and secondly, he taught how to get those desires met in prayer. Listen again to what he said, “...What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This kind of believing is past tense and is an act of faith on our part. It means that when we pray, we must believe that we already have what we asked for even before it comes to pass. This is true bible faith, and it is this kind of faith that will bring to pass the thing that we desire.

This is the kind of faith that God has and uses. And it is the kind of faith that Abraham had in the miraculous birth of his son Isaac. In this instance, God used this kind of faith when he changed Abram’s name (which means exalted father), to Abraham, (which means father of many nations). God was claiming that Abraham was already the father of many nations before Abraham had any children and when Abraham and his wife Sarah were past child bearing years. The important thing here was that Abraham believed God and accepted his new name. He believed that he was who God said he was and that he had what God said he had before it came to pass, and in time it came to pass. This act of faith gave Abraham the distinction of being called the "father of faith." (Rom. 4:17-21)

We all have personal desires that God wants to meet even though they are not specifically spelled out in the bible. The thing to remember is that the answers to our prayers are not a matter of knowing an exact scripture even though it may be helpful if there is one and we know what it is. The answers to our prayers are a matter of knowing how prayer works and putting that knowledge into practice. Truth is truth and God's ways are God's ways. They will always work for you no matter how you say it. Use your own words when needed!

What anonymous should do is what Jesus said to do, and that is to ask for what they want and to believe that they have what they asked for before it comes to pass. Then in time, it will come to pass.

I know that this may raise other questions, (like many of the things that Jesus said) but because the Lord did not complicate this statement of faith, neither will I. This will work just like he said if it is put into practice. It is in my articles on this topic that I share in some detail how this process of prayer works and recommend other “tools” that the bible offers to enhance and help bring answers to our prayers. If however, there are other questions, please just ask.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.
Phl 4:8


YouTube Christian Music Video with Alvin Slughter and colleagues
There’s much that can befuddle and have us feeling so out of sorts, I mean terribly bad about life and the matters that effect us, our families, friends, the global community, the struggles at home, the craziness on the job and confusion in many schools and lest we not forget the economy! As some folks say” What in the world!” That simply implies that much of what’s going on makes no sense to them at all! I just wish the 24 hour news stations highlighted more of the flip side-the brighter side instead of the “flops” that keep us reeling from the shock. Consciously we have to filter this information and challenge ourselves not always to focus on the dire reports. There's always a mental and spiritual flipside that we can deliberately choose to embrace. I trust that when a life affirming word is needed you run not to the telephone or the internet first, but search out your Holy Bibles. Scripture reminds us that we can speak life over our circumstances with God’s power to what appears to be bleak and negative. There’s power in His word! Trust that God's powerful word will envelope you with the assurance and love needed to handle all of life's issues.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

We can resolve to keep living with fullness of joy, we can choose to keep the faith, keep believing in the face of disparity. I know making resolutions are the popular thing to do in preparation for next year. But, what about today friends? Instead of forecasting some resolutions that may be difficult to keep, let’s resolve right this moment not just in the start of January 2009; but today beginning a new! As Marian say's, "We have to change our minds!" Let’s change our hearts and minds to think on the good things of the Lord? Yes, doors will be open, opportunities will be realized and God’s sovereignty will forever remain constant.Join me in seeking more of God’s wisdom to navigate life’s path with zeal and determination-desiring a transformative power for new living. We can keep in mind that:

For I can do everything with the help of Christ whogives me the strength I need.

Friends, here are some wonderful website discoveries that may encourage all of us to resolve to: earnestly share our stories to encourage our bretheren, laugh out loud at the absurdities of living, reaching forward as we benefit in sharing with another, endeavoring to remember that our bodies are our temples as we seek to improve healthier living. Let’s also invigorate and stimulate our minds and happily gain new-a brand new perspective on life outside our communities and be sure to breathe again. I am going to take my own medicine! By no means am I an expert on encouragement, but here’s a little e-food for thought. You are invited to simply add to the list of websites and I dare you to go and grow, grow, grow into a better you! Pass the plate please. God bless you!


Adopting Healthier Lifestyles50 Million Pound Challenge
-Laughing Out Loud-Real Good Medicine:Man and bear - Salmon fight
Charity- “Give and it will be given unto you”One laptop Per Child
Persevering While Waiting on The Promises of God
Redefining perseverance
Spreading Joy-7 yr old keyboard master MSN video.


Joyfully Submitted by:
Linda Mose Meadows,author: The Blessedness of Believing A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lesson’s and God’s Promises
Enjoy other writings: Click on Blessed Chronicles http://blessednessofbelieving.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Plant, Then Water The Seed


In order to get our prayers answered, a seed (or seeds) must be planted. That is because everything in the kingdom of God starts from a seed. (Mk. 4:26-32)

Well, you might ask, what is the seed we need to plant in order to get our prayers answered? The answer comes from the parable of the sower and the seed when Jesus said that the seed is the word of God. (Mk. 4:14, Lk. 8:11)

I used to think that our prayers were our seed. But they are not. Our prayers are the results that we want and that would be our harvest, not our seed. The seed that we need to plant in order for our prayers to come to pass is God’s word. And what it means to plant God’s word is that we believe in our heart what God has said.

So, let's go a little further...

The word of God that we choose to believe can be any truth from the bible, and it can be very general such as the time when Jesus said, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Mt. 21:22) That is simple enough and covers all types of prayer requests. OR, the word we choose can be specific and relate specifically to what we are praying for. For example, if we are praying for healing, we can choose to believe the word of God when Isaiah said, “… with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5) That is specific and personal and will bring forth healing if believed. The point is, that there must be a seed from God’s word that we believe in order to get an answer to our prayer.

It is the seed of God’s word that has the potential to bring forth whatever it says, and it is our faith in God's word that will bring forth the answer to our prayer. Isaiah said this... “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isa. 55:10-11 NIV) So, like I said, the word of God has the potential to bring forth whatever it says. It is the spiritual seed we need in order to do so.

Simply put, when we pray, we need to believe a promise from God’s word in order for God to answer our prayer. The word of God is our seed! And our seed will bring forth what it says.

Now, a seed that is planted needs watering in order to grow! And guess what we need to water our seed with? Again, we need the word of God. Why? It is because the word of God is also called water. (Eph. 5:26) The word of God is called water too? Yes, it is very versatile. You might say it is multi-purpose; it can do a lot of things. In fact, the bible teaches us that the whole universe was created by the word of God. Remember, God said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3) Throughout the bible, we see that the all things that are created started from the seed of God’s word. (Heb. 11:3) It is how God does everything. Like Isaiah said, God’s word is a seed and has the power to create. So if we apply it properly (as God did) it will bring forth answers to our prayers.

Now the primary way that we water our prayer seed, (that is, the seed of God’s word that we choose to believe and want to come to pass), is to read, study, listen to, and meditate on the word of God as it relates to our prayer. For example, if we are praying for physical healing, we should do personal bible study on the subject of healing, AND we should get books, tapes and teachings on biblical healing. We need to read, study, listen to, and meditate on as much of this material as we can. What we are doing when we do this is watering our seed and developing our faith in God’s word, (in this case healing) and it will be our faith that will bring to pass what we asked for. (Mt. 21:22) So, since the bible says that “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” it follows that the more word, the more faith; and the more faith, the faster our prayer will be answered. (Rom. 10:17) Remember, Jesus said over and over that it would be done unto us according to our faith. (Mt. 8:13, 9:29, 17:20; Mk. 9:23, 11:22-24 etc. etc.) The thing to remember is that we must be very careful where we get our teaching materials. We need to make sure that the ministry they are coming from has RESULTS, (and in this case results in healing prayer) because if they don’t have results, their teachings will not bring us results either...

Spiritual things are not automatic any more than anything else in this world. That is because spiritual things work the same way that natural things work. (Rom. 1:20)

In order to make things work in the natural world, we must know how they work and then put to work what we know to make them work. Take for example the power of electricity. Just knowing that there is a power called electricity and knowing that it can light and heat and cool our homes is not enough. We must know how electricity works and then we must put to work what we know in order to make it work. The same it is with prayer. Just because we know that there is power to answer prayer does not mean it will automatically work for us. We must know how it works and we must put to work what we know in order to make it work.

God said in his word that, ""My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." (Hos. 3:6)

The results we get from electricity, prayer, and everything else we find in life are based on knowledge. God makes everything we need available for us. But it is up to us to find out how it all works and to make it work.

In my next article I will share with you several other vital tools we can use to further nurture our prayer seed, but what is important for us to realize is that we too have a responsibility in prayer. It is not just God who will do it for us, (even if it is his will to answer our prayer). It is when we fulfill our part that God can fulfill his.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GAME CHANGING PERFORMANCE

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.[fn1]
He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven.
Hebrews 12:1, 2 (NIV)

Grateful is what I am and yes indeed still in awe of November 4th ! My spirit is celebrating! I am encouraged to continue tapping the divine within! New posibilities, new thinking, new expectations are on the horizon for all. We voted as though our lives depended on it! And as a result of this public outpouring, we witnessed an evolution of change for the better. Yes, it was a relay race, and the voters passed the baton to then Senator Barack Obama.

Now we continually here in media conversations that focus on the need for clearance and smooth transition for President Elect Barack Obama. He’s being urged to speedily move to rectify a flat- lining economy, miserable job loss, a costly and unpopular war with military families in need, a heath insurance debacle and crumbling urban infrastructures and the beat goes on and on about what must be tackled now.

It’s aptly called the “handoff”-truly president elect must feel as though he’s running a marathon. Clearly the baton is in his hand and the world awaits the outcome of this final leg of the race. He’s in the anchor position. But thank God for our divine anchor Jesus Christ! The irony is President Elect is not yet sworn into his office of presidency. The people’s commitment to embracing Barack’s vision of change and hope, their resounding appearances and attendances at community rallies –and ultimately their votes were the baton. And we await the start of this race, anxiously anticipating a favorable race!Take a look at these instructions friends for running a successful relay race. Thanks Holy Ghost, this was an eye opener for passing a relay baton and determining whether you win the race:


How to Pass a Relay Baton By eHow Sports & Fitness Editor http://www.ehow.com/how_2106595_pass-relay-baton.html
Speed, coordination and working as a team determine whether you will win a relay race. Knowing how to effectively pass that baton is fundamental to achieving victory. There are two basic passes, and your team should be proficient at both


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Up Sweep and Palm Down Pass

Step 1

Time it so that when the approaching runner hits the mark, the outgoing runner starts to sprint.

Step 2

Reach back with the outgoing runner's receiving hand, arranging an inverted "V" with the hand.

Step 3

Move the approaching runner's arm in an upward motion and place the baton in his hand. He takes the baton from the outgoing runner.

Step 4

Always run through the pass, never slowing down in the timing of the exchange.


Down Sweep and Palm Up Pass

Step 1

Coordinate the team members so when the approaching runner hits her mark, the outgoing runner starts to sprint.

Step 2

Plan for the outgoing runner to reach back with his baton in hand parallel to the track.

Step 3

Turn the outgoing runners thumb in the direction of the torso with his palm facing up shaping a "V".Step 4Move the approaching runner's arm in a downward sweeping motion as the outgoing runner places the baton in the receiver's hand. The approaching runner takes the baton and sprints.


It’s been the exception to the rule. It’s time for a game changing performance. That President Elect Barack must hit the ground running, not resting and not wavering. From all appearances he hasn’t has a moment to breathe and revel in the fact that come January 20th he’ll no longer be Senator of Illinois but President of the great United States.


My prayer is that for just a moment he’ll rally around his family, friends, this nation and celebrate his great calling. In all of that let’s continue to bathe him prayer and cover him with God’s word and blessings as he begins to run this stretch of the lap. Friends reference step 3- his palms are facing upward, he sprints with his heart is pumping and victory is in sight! Surely we’ll win!
Prayer of Thanksgiving

Lord we thank you for this wonderful man you’ve placed among us-President Elect Barack Obama. You’ve planted a great vision and responsibility in him. He’s the human anchorman evoking needed change for this nation and this universe. We praise and bless you for that! We are grateful that you’ve planted his feet on the foundation of your word. He has a genuine heart to seek change for the betterment of human kind, we appreciate that Lord. When his heart is overflowing with the cares of this world show him your grace and comfort.


Let us not forget that when we are weary we can rely on you Lord for divine support, stability, and a supernatural anointing. This anointing reminds us as your children that security and mainstay belong to us in you Heavenly Father.

God, we realize that you alone are the voice that beckons us to hear your instructions and strengthens us to fear not! Lord we confidently know that our hope in you is our anchor. For all the days ahead we will remember to give you all the honor, glory and praise. Amen!

Enjoy this blog and the videos that capture a history breaking era. http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hqblog


Joyfully Submitted by:
Linda Mose Meadows, Author of:
The Blessedness of Believing
A Devotional Journey of Life's Lessons and God's Promises
Enjoy other writings:
Click on Blessed Chronicles http://blessednessofbelieving.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How Long Lord?


Have you ever asked that question? How long Lord? Probably all who have ever prayed have. But asking that question can come from a lack of understanding of prayer and how prayer works because prayer is a process.

Jesus said this; that everything in the kingdom of God starts from a seed, (and that includes answers to our prayers).
These are the Lord’s words…
“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mk. 4:26-29 NIV)

So, as Jesus said, everything in the kingdom of God is a process. It is a process of Seed, Time, and Harvest. A seed is planted, time must pass during the process of growth, and harvest comes when the fruit is ripe. And so it is with prayer. It is a process. It starts from a seed, and will take time to come to pass.

Skipping ahead a little in the prayer process, the important thing to note is that during the time period that it is growing, it is what we do (or don’t do) that will determine how long our prayer takes to be answered or even if it will be answered at all. That is because answers to prayer are no different than the growing of a plant from seed. When a seed is planted in the ground, it must be watered and protected and given the proper amount of light if it is expected to come to fruition. And it is the same with spiritual seed and our prayer. If we want our spiritual seed to come to pass and to come to pass in the shortest amount of time, we need to learn how to nurture it properly. In this article I will lay some of that important ground work for you.

Let's first look at the difference between natural seed and spiritual seed (and where the difficulty in nurturing spiritual seed comes in). The difference is that we cannot always see spiritual seed growing while with natural seed we can. And that is why the bible decrees that we must live by faith and not by sight. (2Cor. 5:7) When it comes to prayer answers, we must continue to believe that they are growing and will come to pass. If we doubt that our prayer is in the process of being answered, it will not be answered. Remember, Jesus said that we must believe and doubt not when we pray. (Mk. 11:22-24) I know that doesn’t make it any easier, but that is the way it is. And that is why Paul calls this a “fight” of faith. It is a fight of faith because when we cannot see the answers to our prayers growing, there is always room for doubts to plague us. However, we do not have to accept the doubts. We can continue to “fight the good fight of faith” and believe that the answer to our prayer is on the way.

One of the best illustrations of this process and what gospel faith is like can be seen in the promise that God made to Abraham and Sarah (who were called Abram and Sarai at the time of the promise). God promised to birth a great nation out of Abraham, and out of his wife Sarah. But the thing was; at the time of the promise, Abraham was 75 years old and Sarah was 65. Both were beyond child bearing years and had gone childless in their marriage. Yet, Abraham believed God's promise that he would be the father of a great nation. Now a major issue for Abraham, (besides this promise being naturally impossible) was the length of time that it took for the promise to come to pass. Abraham had to stand in faith for 25 years before a son was miraculously born to him! Now, that’s a long time to believe such a seemingly impossible promise but that is what Abraham did. We can read what scripture says about Abraham… “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him…, Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (Rom. 4:18-21 NIV) And Abraham did this for 25 years before he saw any results! Wow! What faith! And, what patience! And so, it was done unto Abraham according to his faith. And it will be done unto us the same way, if we believe God’s promises and doubt not.

You might be thinking here that I am saying that is will take 25 years for your prayer to be answered. Well, it may. It depends what you are praying for and what it is that must grow. Are you growing something small like a head of lettuce or are you growing something big like a Red Wood Tree? What Abraham was waiting for was pretty big.

The thing to remember in all of this is that even though a plant grows so slowly that you cannot "see" it growing, it is. Looking at time lapse photography shows us that. Well, your prayer is the same way. You may not be able to "see" it growing, but it is. God is working behind the scenes and your prayer is coming to pass little by little.

The bible says, “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’ And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” (Heb. 6:15 NIV)

So, in order to see God’s promise of answered prayer come fully to pass, we must realize that prayer is a process and we must have the same kind of faith and patience that Abraham had... And we must have it no matter what happens and no matter how long it takes.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Labor to Rest II


One of the most counter-productive things Christians do is trying to get things that they’ve already been given.

Let me explain. The bible says this about all provision from God… “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him…” (2 Pet. 1:3 NIV) This is past tense and refers to what we have received when we came to know Jesus as our savior. When we accepted Jesus as our savior, we received everything we needed for life and godliness…, EVERYTHING…, ALREADY.

This is no different than the concept of salvation and the gift of eternal life. Salvation has already been given to mankind through the life and death of Jesus Christ and is not something we can attain ourselves through trying. That would be "counter-productive," and would not gain for us eternal life. Salvation and eternal life is something that we must RECEIVE in order to have. (Eph. 2:8-9) It is receiving Christ as savior that gains for us salvation and eternal life. It is not obtained by trying to get it, (or even asking for it). Well, it is the same thing with everything else we need after we have accepted Jesus as savior. It has already been given to us through Christ and is not attained by trying to get it but obtained by RECEIVING it.

For example…, Christians seem always to be asking God for power, when power has already been given to us. There are many scriptures in the New Testament that attest to this. Just one of them says this, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Tim. 1:7) So, this scripture says that we have been given power already. We need simply to receive that by faith to "have" it. In other words we just need to believe it. And not only that, but this scripture also says that we have been given a spirit of love. So, trying to be more loving or asking God to help you be more loving would also be counter-productive. In order to obtain what God has already given us, (in this case to be more loving) we must receive it, not try to get it. God can’t give you something that he has already given you.

Another example…, Christians are always trying to attain righteousness and trying to be and to live righteously, but the bible says that righteousness has already been given to us. It says that we have been … “made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21) Righteousness can be obtained only by receiving it; that is, accepting by faith that we are righteous already. When we believe that, (rather than trying to be that) we will begin to see a transformation in our lives. A righteous life style will begin to grow and become natural, where we will not be trying to get it in our own effort but increasing in it through the power of God’s word. Christianity is a fight of faith, not works. (Rom. 12:1-2)

Here’s a good one. Many Christians are “trying” to get healed from God when the bible says that we are already healed! Isaiah said “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isa. 53:5) We are healed already! We need to believe that to see it. The book of 1 Peter says the same thing. (1Pet. 2:24) We do not get healed from God by "trying" to get a healing but by believing that we are healed already. Then you will begin to see a transformation in your life where healing will begin to come.

I know that this whole concept sounds a bit strange, and to the natural mind it is. Natural man needs to see things before they believe it, but in Christianity, it is just the opposite. We need to believe it before we will see it. That is called faith. And it is our faith that will bring it to pass. Watchman Nee said in his fabulous little book, “Sit, Walk, Stand”… “Christianity is a queer business! If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing; if we seek to attain something, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with a big DO but with a big DONE.” (“Sit, Walk, Stand,” page 14) Everything we need has already been acquired for us by Jesus and simply must be received.

All of this is related to the verse of scripture I am focusing on in this article… “Let us labor to enter into that rest…” (Heb. 4:11) In other words, it is our job to enter into the rest of the finished work of Christ BY FAITH…, that is, to believe that what we need has already been given to us through the Lord, not try to get it. That is where the “rest” in Christ is and that is where your needs will be met and your prayers answered. (Mk. 11:24)

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Labor to Rest

This statement, (labor to rest) sounds like a contradiction in terms. Actually I took a little liberty in using this statement because the bible says it like this… “let us labor therefore to enter into that rest,” which to my ear still sounds like a contradiction. But really, it is not. (Heb. 4:11)

This would be a contradiction… trying to do something that is already done. That would be a contradiction, or trying to get something that you already have. That too would be a contradiction. And in fact, it is these two contradictions that this scripture is addressing, (and trying to help us avoid).

Many Christians and many non-Christians try to do something that is already done and they try to get things that they already have. Allow me to explain by looking at my opening scripture. It is really not that complicated.

The scripture, "let us labor therefore to enter in that rest" is found in a chapter that addresses two specific issues.

The first issue addressed is that of our salvation and entrance into heaven. What it says is that what must be done to obtain our salvation and gain entrance into heaven has already been done for us. It was through the life and death of Jesus that accomplished this for us. There is nothing left for us to do except to “enter into that rest” by faith or maybe better said, to trust in Jesus to save us. There is no human effort, (besides our faith) that is needed to gain entrance into heaven. And as I will explain, any attempt to gain heaven in our own efforts is a contradiction and is futile… in essence trying to do something that is already done.

So again, what this portion of scripture is saying is that what needs to be done to gain entrance into heaven is already done for us by Jesus Christ. We need do nothing except to “rest” in his finished work by faith. AND once we do that, (having accepted Jesus as our savior) we are then called to trust in the fact that acceptance with God and a future eternal life in heaven is ours! Period, with no more to do! “That” is where the rest is for the people of God. And "that" is what we are to labor to enter into. It is a fight of faith, not trying!

Now, the reason that this scripture says to “labor” to enter into that rest is because it is simply hard to believe. It is hard to “let go and let God,” and to trust Jesus to save you. Because of our humanity we feel that there must be something we must do. But heaven is not gained by good works or good intentions or trying to live a good enough life. That just isn’t possible. God’s standard is perfection and Jesus is the only one who could live up to this standard. None of us can attain that because we are imperfect beings. Thus, it is only by faith in Christ and in what he did for us that can “save” us. Besides, we have ALL sinned, and it is only Jesus that died for those sins. Without him, we would have to pay an eternal price for sin ourselves. (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)

If we can come to grips with this scripture, (and all of chapter 4 of Hebrews) we can receive Christ as savior and rest in the fact that in Christ all we need to do to enter heaven is already done. This means that all struggle of “trying” to gain God’s favor and “trying” to be good enough to get to heaven plus all the worry and unrest and uncertainty of our eternal destination will cease. A new peace and a new rest will enter into our lives. Then, the importance of good works and a good lifestyle will take on a new meaning and be more rewarding. No longer will you feel pressured, driven and guilt-ridden trying to live up to a standard that you cannot attain. You will in essence be off the exhausting treadmill. You will be at rest.

So, if you have already accepted Jesus as savior, think of it this way. Trying to be good enough to be in right standing with God is counter-productive and brings a lack of peace. Trusting that you already are in right standing with him will bring rest! (“Labor therefore to enter into that rest”). But if you have not accepted Jesus as your savior; if you feel that what you do will be good enough to get you into heaven, it just won't be. Salvation cannot be earned. It can only be obtained by receiving Jesus as our savior, not by trusting in our own good works…

I will look at the second issue that Heb. 4:11 addresses in my next article. And that issue is about how Christians “try to get things that they’ve already been given.” Until then, enjoy your rest in Christ!

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Return To Normalcy


Jesus came to return us to normalcy because what we experience on this earth is not normal. It may seem normal to us because this is all that we have ever known, but it is not normal at all.

The condition of the earth and the condition of our lives are not what God had intended and are not “normal.” What I mean is that because of sin, the earth as we know it now, (and the condition of humanity) is in a fallen state and is in a defective condition from God’s original creation. And it is God’s original creation that is normal.

It’s hard for me to describe what original creation was like because it is hard for me to imagine. The bible however states that God originally placed man in the Garden of Eden. The Hebrew word for Eden is delight. God placed Adam and Eve in a Garden of Delight! We could call it a paradise; But probably a paradise beyond even in our grandest dreams. It was like a heavenly paradise. (It was in fact a replica of heaven that God was giving man to live in. He wanted us to have a place of our own that was just like his). And in it, there was nothing but delight. There was absolutely nothing imperfect, flawed, deficient or harmful in any way. There was no death, no suffering, no sickness, no pain, no war, no destructive weather and no lack of any kind... just delight. Hard to imagine! But that was God’s creation and his perfect will for man and was to be our normal experience forever.

But as most know, the bible tells us of the sin and fall of Adam and Eve, and how death entered our perfect realm of existence. But this death was not only physical death nor was it just the cessation of life. This death included every kind of suffering imaginable and penetrated every area of our lives. A clear picture of what this death entailed is to say that anything not found in God’s original creation is a part of the death that came upon man. So, since all that was in God's original creation was a delight, we can say that anything we experience that is not a delight is part of this death.

But God is a good God and was not willing that man suffer from his mistake. So he promised to send a redeemer to bear the punishment of our sin and to restore mankind and the earth to the pristine “normal” condition he had originally intended. And that is exactly what Jesus did. He came to earth; he bore our sin, and to all who receive him as their savior, restored what God had always wanted for man.

But you say; I don’t see everything restored! Everything continues as it always has. Don’t worry; if you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you will in due time see the full restoration of all things. The bible states that the earth’s restoration is delayed because God is “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” What God is doing right now is giving mankind time to find out about and accept Jesus as savior so that as many as can enter the “new heavens and new earth” will have that opportunity. But eventually time will “run out,” Jesus will return, judgment day will come and all things will be restored to “normalcy” and it will be for eternity for all those who have accepted Christ. (2Pet. 3:9)

Nonetheless, we do not have to wait until Christ’s return to enjoy “normalcy” and a restoration to our personal lives. What I mean is this. Jesus came to restore God’s life to man both in eternity AND in the present. (Jn. 10:10) And to make a long story short, it is through the example of Christ’s perosnal life on earth that we can see what is available to us as well. And what we see in Christ's life, (before he chose to go to the cross), was that he had a life free of all harm, despite the presence of evil and evil men. The life he lived was one of “normalcy” and health and wisdom and protection and abundant provision even though he dealt with sin and death and harm and destruction just like we do. And this is the kind of life that we too can experience. In fact that is the very kind of life that Christians have already inherited. Paul said in the book of Romans that if we are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ then we are … “heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” Everything that God is and has and all that Jesus had and all he earned is our inheritance. And we inherit them for the here and now because benefactors inherit the benefits of a will when the testator dies, not when they die. (Rom. 8:17)

If we have accepted Jesus as our savior, we have been made to be exactly like him and given the same authority over evil and protection from it that he had. And all the provision and power and grace that Jesus had is ours too. Think about it. We can be living “above” the natural as Jesus did, experiencing the supernatural as a “normal” thing. But what many Christians think is that we must wait to get to heaven to experience this kind of freedom from harm, and some even think that suffering and harm is all part of God’s will for man. Well, suffering never was God’s will for man and it still isn’t. God and God’s ways do not change. (Jas. 1:17, Heb. 13:5) So what God has done is to provide a way for us to appropriate the same kind of life Jesus experienced, and he did it through his promises. We can have eternal life in heaven AND we can ALSO have a protected, abundant, supernatural life here on earth by believing God's promises to us.

But the bible says that God’s people are “…destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” The problem is that Christians do not know that this kind of life is available to them or they do not know how to get it, or they don’t believe it is theirs when told about it. It is no different than salvation and eternal life... Many people do not have the forgiveness and eternal life available in Christ because they do not know about it or do not know how to get it or they do not believe in it when told. (Hos. 3:6, Rom. 10:13-17) But we don’t have to be like that. We can believe and we can receive and we can enjoy ALL that Jesus came to give us. First, we can receive Jesus as savior and the eternal life he offers AND secondly, we can receive the protected, fulfilled and abundant life that comes with it. Our lives can be filled with the delight that God originally intended, being delivered from evil as Jesus was. But it is all up to us what we have. It is not up to God. If it were up to God, we have already seen through his original creation what he would give us. But because we have a free will what we have in life is our choice.

Jesus said that he came “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10) And in all future articles that I write I will continue to build your faith in this “good news.” And the good news is that God loves you, wants to return delight to your life and has done so through Jesus Christ. Along with that, I will also teach you how to obtain that abundant life for yourself. First, I would recommend that you read my book, "Suffering (God’s Will?)". This book is a vital biblical foundation of God’s will of delight for you, and will clarify many passages of scripture that have been traditionally misunderstood and been misleading. I explain in my book how the enemy has used certain scripture to “twist” our thinking to erroneously believe that evil is at times good and is God’s will for our lives, and that God sometimes purposely uses evil as a tool. This the enemy has done just so he can hurt us. And then I suggest that you be ready for the publishing of my upcoming book, “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer and How to Fix the Whole Thing.” This book will explain to you how prayer works and how it involves more than you may have thought. It will reveal to you why people don’t always get the prayer results that are promised in the bible and will show you how to get results for yourselves. In it I share how I applied biblical prayer to obtain results in my life, including healing from an illness that was medically documented as permanent.

God spoke in the Old Testament saying, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deut. 30:19) Both death and life are available to us, and God commands us to choose life. It is up to “us” as to what we choose and it is up to “us” to learn how to get the life that is promised. We don’t have to choose death, poverty, sickness, or affliction. We can resist death and all of its destruction and we can obtain the abundant life that Jesus came to bring. It won't be easy however. There are many obstacles and trials and tribulations that will hinder you. Like Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” (Mt. 11:12) Because of the fall of man, the good things in heaven that God wants us to have are surrounded by obstacles, hindrances, and barriers, but like Jesus said, we can take them and we must at times do it by force. And if Jesus did it, so can we.

Some of the reasons that Jesus came to earth were to show us what a “normal” life was, to make a way for us to have it, and to teach us how to obtain it. So let’s choose that life and let’s find out how to acquire it for ourselves and for those around us.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Redeemed From The Curse

The bible says that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one who is hung on a tree.” (Gal. 3:13)

This scripture is simply saying that Jesus bore any and all punishment for our sin when he died on the cross. This he did so we wouldn’t have to.

Sin can be described as breaking the law of God, and all sin carries a penalty. This is the “curse of the law” that the bible is talking about or better said, the “curse of breaking the law.”

Listen to this. If we look in (Deut. 28:15-68), we will see that there are over 100 curses for breaking any part of God’s law. These curses include all the components of spiritual, physical, and emotional death. This passage says that those who do not keep ALL of God’s law will be cursed in the city, in the field, in their basket and store, cursed in their body, land, and increase of their family, flocks, and sheep. They will be cursed when they come in and cursed when they go out. They will be cursed with sickness, crop failure, war, captivity, business failure, poverty, defeat, insanity, slavery, cannibalism, etc. and etc.. This obviously is bad news because we have all broken God’s law in one way or another.

But as we have read in the book of Galatians, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, “becoming a curse for us.” What Jesus did for us was take the curse of the law upon him, so that we would not have to. And more than that, Jesus took our curse so we could enjoy the blessing of Abraham. The book of Galatians goes on to say this, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:14 NIV)

So, going to (Deut. 28:1-14) we see what the blessing of Abraham includes. It includes being set high above all nations, being blessed in the city, in the field, in the fruit of our body, the fruit of the ground, the fruit of our cattle, the increase of our families, flocks and sheep; blessed in our basket and store, blessed when we come in and blessed when we go out; when our enemies rise up against us, they will be smitten before us, and our all of our storehouses will be blessed. All we set our hand to will be blessed. We will be blessed in the land that God gives us, and we will be an established, holy people, known to be the people of God and feared. We will be plenteous in goods, cattle, fruit of our bodies, and lands. God’s good treasure will be opened to us, we will have rain when needed, being lenders not borrowers, the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath… all the elements of life, health and prosperity. This is good news for all who have accepted Jesus as their savior.

Jesus bore the curse so we could have the blessing!

Let’s look at this as a big picture. Because Jesus bore all the sin of the world, he also bore every curse and affliction that sin could possibly cause. He did this so that if we accept him as our savior we could be free of sin and any of its consequences AND have all of the blessings of life and health while we are alive... as well as eternal life in heaven when we die.

The book of Matthew says this, “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick; That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Mt. 8:16-17) This scripture gives a fuller meaning to Jesus redeeming us from the curse of the law. It means that when Jesus bore our sins, he ALSO bore our sickness and infirmities.

So, in Christ, we are not subject to sin or the curses it brings. We can be free of ALL of sin’s consequences and the curse of breaking the law. And this means here and now. Just like we can experience forgiveness here and now, we can experience freedom from any of the curse here and now.

Did you ever notice that before Jesus went to the cross he never suffered any consequences of sin? He had never sinned so, he was never sick or had any infirmity or affliction or any lack of any kind. It’s not that he was never subject to attack by these things, (we are all subject to their attack while still on this earth) but he had authority over them and nothing or no one could ever harm him. He had perfect and total protection from the "curse of the law," and he was able to control all curses and all evil that came against him. In fact he could even deliver others from them. The point is that in Christ all of our sin is removed, making us as sinless as he is, and making into the "righteousness of God." So all the authority and protection Jesus had over evil is available to us as well. (2Cor. 5:21, 1Jn.4:17)

Well, you say, what about the sins I commit now. Isn’t there a consequence for them? The answer is no, the price has already been paid! Jesus died for all sin; past, present and future. If he did not die for our present and future sins as well as our past sins, there would be no forgiveness for them because Jesus is the only one God sent to pay that price for us. The book of Hebrews says, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14) If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, all sin is forgiven; past, present and future. So, if we sin now, we simply need to receive forgiveness because forgiveness has been purchased and is available to us. It is there for the taking. The truth is that we are forgiven already so we just need to believe that and walk in forgiveness at all times. (2Cor. 5:17-19) And if we do, sin and the consequences it brings will have no power over us. We will have to believe and stand firm in faith, resisting evil in order to experience this blessing, but it is ours if we want it and if we know how to obtain it. (Mt. 11:12)

Even though we have to wait for heaven in order to enjoy these benefits without a fight, the victory is ours now and we can have the benefits of redemption here on earth. Jesus said that, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33) That means that Jesus has overcome and defeated anything evil or harmful so that through him we can enjoy the victory that he won in this world. And there should be no question as to whether or not these benefits are God’s will for our lives. As the bible shows us, they are all part of what Jesus died to purchase for us, and are all part of the salvation package. This Gospel is good news! In fact, it is The Good News! (Jn. 3:16)

So, when you receive your forgiveness, receive also your healing, and when you receive your healing, receive also your prosperity, and when you receive your prosperity, receive also your hope. And that is just for starters. These and ALL the blessings of Abraham are available to us through faith because we have been redeemed from the curse of the law… in order that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us through Christ Jesus.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Spirit, Soul & Body II

The bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new and all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…” (2Cor. 5:17-18)

But how is it that I am a new creature? I know that when I accepted Christ some things changed. But how is it that I am completely new. I may feel different and see some things differently but I am still me. And how is it that old things are passed away? There are still a lot of old things that I have. I still have old thoughts, feelings, emotional and physical problems. And how is it that all things are of God? That just doesn’t seem possible. I still have a lot of things that are not of God in my life. Just what is this scripture talking about, and just how can it be true?

Well, Paul is talking about our spirit. You see, the bible teaches that man is made up of three separate parts; spirit, soul, and body, and when you accept Christ as your savior, it is your spirit that is so radically changed. Your soul, (which is “who” you are; and comprises your mind, will and emotions) and your body, (which is your physical body) may be affected to some degree, but it is your spirit that is made new, and made like God. And because your spirit is your nature, (the very essence of “what” you are), Paul can say “if any man be in Christ, “he” is a new creature… (See 1Thess. 5:23)

Before we accepted Jesus as our savior, (becoming “born again,”) our spirit was “dead” in sin. It is not that our spirit did not exist; but because of sin, it was simply separated from the “life” of God. But when we accepted Christ, our sins were forgiven, the life of God was birthed once again into our spirit, the characteristics of our old spirit (and old life) passed away, and our spirit became changed and new; spiritually alive, connected to God and as righteous as he is. “That’s” how we are new creatures in Christ. It is our spirit within us that is made new. How else can we be holy and perfect enough for heaven? It certainly it is not from the outside, from what we “see” of ourselves. It is our spirit that is “a new creation.” It is our spirit that is made righteous and Christ-like and holy and complete and qualified for heaven, not our flesh. (2Cor. 5:21)

But most Christian’s don’t look at themselves as they are in the spirit, which is new and Christ-like. Rather, they look at themselves as they are in their natural lives and in their behavior; with faults, weaknesses and sin. They live according to the flesh instead of according to the spirit. They do not understand what it means to “walk in the spirit,” and they live by works instead of faith, trying to be in good standing with God and trying to change themselves, and trying to be good enough and trying to add up. They “try” to be good Christians and pleasing to God rather than “believing” they are already pleasing to him. But you can never please God in the flesh. It is only by faith that you can please God and be in right standing with him, and it is only by faith that real outer change can be made in our lives. Now, I am not saying that we should not “try” to be good Christians. We have a “natural” life and should do the best we can in it, but it is not in the natural that we will gain or maintain a right standing with God. Nor is it by trying harder that we will bring any real transformation in our lives. It ALL must come by faith. (Rom. 7:18, Heb. 11:6)

The point I am making is that “living” our lives as Christians is no different than how we became Christians. It is by faith. It does not come by doing the best we can. To those who understand salvation and gaining eternal life, you know that being good enough will never attain eternal life for us. Being good enough is never good enough; it can never bring about forgiveness and the change in our spirit that is necessary. That has to come from God. And it is only through faith in what Jesus has done for us that God is able to “save” us. And it is the same after we are saved. Trying to please God and maintain our right standing with him or trying to bring “change” in our lives by doing the best we can is just not possible. We simply do not have the power within ourselves to do either. It too has to be done by faith. (Rom. 7:18, 2Cor. 5:7, Eph. 2:8-9)

Now let’s address another misconception which is connected to all of this. I had said that a man or a woman’s spirit is their very nature. It is the essence of what they are. And because of sin; before we are born again, our spirit (and thus the very essence of our being) is the nature of sin. But once we are born again, our spirit becomes the nature of righteousness and of God. None-the-less, because of the struggle we have with sin and sinful desires after we have accepted the Lord, many Christians believe that we have two natures; one that is the nature of God, and the other the nature of sin. But that is impossible. Let’s consider a simple illustration. Think for a moment of your neighbor’s pet dog. It has only one nature and that is the nature of a dog. That is because that is the very essence of its being. That is what it is. It cannot have a nature of a dog and a nature of a cat. It can only have one nature, not two. It is the same with Christians. They cannot have two natures. They cannot have a righteous nature AND a sin nature. They can have only one nature, and that is the nature of God. “That” is the very essence of their being. The struggle we have with sin and sinful desires does not come from a sinful nature. It comes from our flesh. Paul clearly explains this in the book of Romans when he says that the reason he cannot do good even though he wants to is because of sin in his flesh. It is not because he has a sin nature. He said clearly that his sin nature was dead and gone. (Rom. 6:6-7, 7:17-20)

Now the reason that we still have sin in our flesh is because our flesh is not yet redeemed. It is not yet changed like our spirit is. We are waiting for the redemption of our bodies which will take place at the resurrection. It is then that all those who during their lives had accepted Christ as their savior will receive new and immortal bodies, like the one Jesus received when “he” was resurrected. Until then we must deal with bodies that are corruptible, susceptible to sickness, suffering and death. (Rom. 8:21-23, 1Cor. 15:51-54)

But we are not helpless or bound to a life of sickness, and suffering, and struggling with sin. God has made it so that our soul can be a “bridge” to our new spirit and through our soul we can gain a “transformation” in our bodies and in our behavior. What I mean is this. Instead of believing that we are like we see in the flesh we can choose to believe that we are like we are in our new spirit. And that kind of faith will, over the course of time, transform us on the outside into what we are already on the inside. (Rom. 12:1-2) Paul calls this “walking in the spirit.” This is the only way a Christian can have peace with God and confidence in their salvation. And it is the only way they can have victory over sin. Paul said, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 3:16-17, 2Cor. 5:7)

It takes a while for this concept to sink in. It is not natural. It is spiritual. It is living by faith and not by sight. And simply put, that means to believe what God’s word says about you (or anything else) even if it is different than what you see in this world. Your faith will then change what you see. It will be done unto you according to your faith. So, if you begin to think of yourself strictly as God says your new spirit is, a transformation will begin. The power of God’s word will begin to transform you into exactly what it says your spirit is, empowering you to live a Christ-like life in every way. If you believe that you are a saint, and perfect in Christ, you will be able to live righteously, healthfully, wisely, and powerfully. Your faith will be a bridge to your new spirit. However, if you believe you are a sinner and incomplete and imperfect, seeing yourself as you are in the natural; you will be bound by the very things you believe. You will have used your faith as a bridge to your flesh.

Believing is the course of the day since Jesus instituted the New Testament. The Old Testament was about what man was required to do. And that proved impossible. The New Testament is what man is required to believe. It is faith that will attain for us forgiveness and eternal life, it is faith that will bring peace and rest in God, and it is faith that will free us from problems we experience, enabling us to grow and develop and walk the Christian life.

You don’t need to become a better Christian. You need to believe that you are the best Christian you need to be. You don’t need to become more loving and forgiving. You need to believe that you are already loving and forgiving. You don’t need to try to get healed. You need to believe that you are healed already. And all of this faith will be based on the truth of what your new spirit is.

Jesus said this, “It is the spirit that quickeneth, (or gives life) the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (Jn. 6:63) It is in believing the word of God that brings life and results. Trying harder does not. We are called to believe, not work. It is God’s word that will work. In the book of Isaiah, God said this about his word. “…it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing that I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11)

It is up us to believe and to live by faith and it is up to the word of God to accomplish that which it says; and if we believe God’s word that is exactly what it will do…! Like it says in the book of Zechariah, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit (that is my word) saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6, parenthesis mine)

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

FAMILY SOJOURN



photo © Dorothy Alexander

Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York, on June 27, 1936. Her first book of poems, Good Times, was rated one of the best books of the year by the New York Times in 1969.Clifton remained employed in state and federal government positions until 1971, when she became a writer in residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she completed two collections: Good News About the Earth (1972) and An Ordinary Woman (1974). Read mre about Lucille Clifton on Poets.org @
http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/79
blessing the boats
(at St. Mary's)
may the tidet hat is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out beyond the face of fear
may you kiss the wind
then turn from it
certain that it will love your back
may you open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

This was my third Jones Lewis Family reunion celebrated with my husband's side of the family in Baltimore, Maryland; Dougie and Janice did an exemplary job as our host family from the start of the weekend through Sunday farewell gathering afternoon spent in their backyard.
Truly it was a memorable occassion and quite a whirlwind weekend filled with cutural and family appreciation. New connections were made, conversations had with favorite family members, laughter and lamenting opportunities had while we meander through the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Why I never thought about Art History and eventually becoming a curator is beyond me? I love visiting museums, truly it's a great meeting place, and yes there's history, culture and art under one roof.

This was my second visitto this fine museum, but this moment provided me with an opportunity to journey through the exhibit A People's Geography. As my husband entertained and chased little Courtney around the museum, I eventually caught up with them in the gallery that featured A People's Geography: The Spaces of American Life and there was Lucille Clifton's blessing the boats poem painted on the wall.

There I stood transfixed rereading her blessing. I felt the words were as powerful as the beautiful quilts, the artistic impressions and the historical video.

I thanked God for how eloquent and appropriate Ms. Clifton's words were for this family sojourn. These were words were stenciled not only on this wall, but in my heart. Wordsthat captivated my soul. Words meant for our time, our ancestors and the generations yet to be born. Words that were a blessings for any visitor, any travelor to behold.

Here we were in the midst of this celebration of family and culture, why it couldn't have occured in a more approriate setting! Thank you and may God continue to keep you Sister Lucille!

Every Word of God is pure;
he is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.
Proverbs 30:5

Joyfully Submitted by :
Linda Mose Meadows
The Blessedness of Believing
A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises

All rights reserved, no use without prior written permission of Linda M. Meadows