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Maximizing Your Harvest

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http://treeoflifelondon.weebly.com/war-on-poverty.html

Our sixth message in our series WAR ON POVERTY is now online free of charge to stream or download.

Facing financial pressure is nothing new. Abraham and Isaac both had to face times of famine – but in dealing with it, they actually increased in times of pressure. And so can you! This message will inspire you to increase in times of pressure and challenge you to be a faithful steward of God’s resources.

Attitudes and the Covenant (Bob Yandian)

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Attitudes and The Covenant

For the past few months we have centered our teachings on the various aspects of the blood covenant. In this issue we will be discussing the role played by an individual’s “attitude” towards a covenant. By attitude I mean, a person’s mental position in regard to the covenant.

We often find that people who are born-again desire to live in the spirit so much that they ignore their minds. However, the Word tells us that our mind is a necessary part of our spiritual life. For example, 1 Corinthians 14:15, says, . . . I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

To “will to do something” requires using our minds to make a decision. Look at it another way, if a person’s will were not essential in getting born again, witnessing would be easy. All we would have to do is stand on a street corner and read the Word. The Word would go right into a person’s spirit, and he would be born again, whether he wanted to be or not.

We know though that Jesus does not force anything on us and, thus, we are able to choose whether or not we want to accept Him.

It is a biblical principle that everything produces after its own kind. For example, when you were born into this earthly life, your body was born of your parents. However, when you were born-again, you were born of the Spirit, for God is called the Father of Spirits. This means that when you were born of the Spirit, your physical man remained the same, but your inner man changed.

Furthermore, when you were born again, your mind did not change, only your spirit changed. Therefore, you need to reshape your thinking so that your mind can shift from the physical way of life to the spiritual way of life. This is essential since the mind is where battles take place. Satan cannot get into our reborn spirits, but he can neutralize the effectiveness of our spirits by getting our minds on other things. He will attack the mind in an attempt to get it off the covenant God has with us.

Psalm 103, tells us of the many benefits available to those who have a covenant with God, but it is interesting to note that before David lists these benefits, he admonishes himself in verses one and two, Bless the Lord, O my soul: (notice that he did not say, “my spirit”) and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

We are told to forget not all God’s benefits. The act of remembering involves using the mind, and in this case, the remembering becomes a way of life. It is a lifetime proposition, which requires a commitment on the part of the believer. In fact, just learning of God’s benefits takes time. It is naive to think that you can grab your Bible and after a few days be a spiritual giant.

For instance, when we talk of prosperity and healing, we are not saying to read the Word only until you are healed or until your finances are straightened out and then put it down.

Rather, as you learn of God’s blessings, and walk in them, and realize that they get better every day, you should want to pick up God’s covenant, the Word, and find out what more of the benefits are. Then, you should go on and renew your mind so that you can view things as God does.

There is more than our human viewpoint or attitude toward any given situation in life. There is also God’s viewpoint. We find an example of man’s view and God’s view in Isaiah 55:7-9:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God tells us that His thoughts and His ways are higher than man’s. Although we will never get to God’s level concerning some things, verse ten tells us, For as the rain cometh down, . . . God’s thoughts come raining down upon each of us.

The . . . snow from heaven . . . also comes down (vs. 10). Snow falls one flake at a time. Likewise, He doesn’t overwhelm our brains by giving us all His thoughts at one time. Instead, He sends us one exceeding great and precious promise at a time – one by one – so that we can remember them and grow in the knowledge of Him.

As Isaiah 55:10, goes on to say, the rain and the snow, . . . returneth not thither, (heaven) but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. God does not send His Word to us only to pull it back. Nor does He dangle His thoughts in front of us only to snatch them away. Rather, the purpose of the water is to remain with us and to saturate us.

When we talk about God’s thoughts, we are referring to His Word, and learning God’s Word or His thoughts helps us in the situations we face in our daily lives. As we view these situations, we can approach them with either man’s attitude or God’s. If we speak God’s words over a situation, we will be facing it as God would which is far greater than anything we could do in the natural.

Ephesians 4:17-18, tells us more about man’s viewpoint. Although it may not seem so, these verses are addressed to believers.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

Since it is possible for believers to walk as sinners, Paul is telling them not to walk in the vanity (emptiness) of their minds as unbelievers do.

This same use of the word “mind” is found in Ecclesiastes when Solomon began bringing Gentile gods into his house. When he started to worship them, his mind became corrupted. He turned away from the benefits God had given him and he began speaking contrary to the way God speaks.

Ephesians 4:18, tells of having the understanding darkened. The Greek actually means, the faculty for thinking. In other words, their thinking has been darkened. This same idea is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.

When the gospel is preached to an unbeliever, his mind, not his spirit, is illuminated first. As he begins to understand what is being talked about, his will then opens up and that is the doorway for the light of the glory of the gospel to go down and recreate the man’s spirit and turn it into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The origin of all human thinking is satan. When man was put into the Garden, he had a great mind. He could name all the animals and remember them. Why? Because his spirit was created. There was nothing of satan’s nature in him. But what happened? Satan corrupted Eve’s mind. He got her to think another way – his way – which is different from God’s way. She had God’s mind, but she entertained satan’s thoughts so much that she disobeyed God and caused Adam to disobey, also. Suddenly their minds were blinded to the glorious liberty of God, to the light of the gospel of God, and spiritual darkness entered into them. This same thing is wrong with man- kind today; people’s minds are blinded to the Word. They can’t think God’s viewpoints because they are alienated from God.

However, we as believers have the nature of God in us and we have His exceeding great and precious promises. We have the covenant and benefits of God. He has rained them down on us so that we can receive His blessings. We need to saturate our minds with His Word and change our viewpoints or attitudes about life.

1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us, But we have the mind of Christ. What is the mind of Christ? The Word is. Of all the Bibles we have, none is THE Bible. They all are only copies of THE Bible. The original Bible is THE MIND OF CHRIST. You can burn copies of the book, but you can’t burn THE Book. Many nations have tried to get rid of the Bible, but they can’t do it because they can’t destroy the mind of Christ!

God wants us to think His thoughts and His ways. He wants us to become like Him. Through the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s revelation becomes ours. By praying in the Spirit and meditating on His Word, that revelation will burst forth inside of us and we can begin to understand the way the Lord thinks.

The Word not only tells us how God thinks and gives us the mind of Christ, it helps us to know the difference between man’s thinking and God’s thinking. Some- times we hear two voices that tell us how to handle a given situation and we need to know which is the right voice. The one that is backed by the Word is the voice to which we need to listen.

According to Hebrews 4:12, “the Word” . . . is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no such natural sword on this earth. Men have swords that are sharp, but all they can do is cut through natural material. God has a sword that will actually go down and divide the invisible part of you, soul from spirit, or, man’s view- points from God’s viewpoints.

Psalm 139:23, says, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. God wants us to lay our thoughts before Him because as Proverbs 23:7 says, as a man. . . thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . We want our very thought to line up with the Word of God. Outward actions mean nothing to the Lord, it’s the inward thought, the intentions of the heart, that matter. You can fake things before men with your outward actions, but the Bible tells us in I Samuel 16:7b, that while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. This is why we want even our thoughts to be right before him.

In the twelfth chapter of Romans, Paul talks about some attitudes. These same attitudes prevail today.

Let’s look at what is meant by a “worldly attitude.” Some think it is how you dress, where you go, whether you go to church or not. However, worldliness is not an outward action; it is an inward attitude. Romans 12:1-2, tell us about this attitude.

I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

These verses are speaking to believers, not sinners. Sinners are already con- formed to this world, but when you are born again, it is up to you to not be con- formed to this world. Worldliness is not what you do; it is what you think. You can go to church and praise God and yet still be worldly. Bodily you may not be there but intellectually you “check out” when the message begins. Instead, you plan what you are going to do when church gets over, or what you will do at work tomorrow. However, no one sitting beside you would know you are worldly. They see only your outer man, not your inner thoughts. The irony of this situation is that if you stayed home and made plans for the next day instead of coming to church, we would all say you were worldly.

Col. 3:1-2, tell us, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. How do we seek those things? Seeking God is not beating on the floor and begging God to do something. Seeking God means meditating on His Word.

We are told in Isaiah 26:3 that God will, . . . keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. . . The Hebrew gives a double emphasis to the word peace and actually says, “peace peace” to point out that God’s peace is nothing like what man considers to be peace.

Phil. 4:7, repeats this idea, And the peace of God, [not man] which passeth all understanding, [perfect peace cannot be explained by man] shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:8, tells us what to think about in order to stay in perfect peace. 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.

Stability is another thing we need to consider because people are always looking for it. The “sound mind” referred to in II Timothy 1:7, actually means a stable mind. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. We need stability in our thoughts.

II Thess. 2:2, encourages us, . . . be not soon shaken in mind, . . . The mind is where we can be shaken. The Holy Spirit within us cannot be shaken, but when your mind gets shaken, it makes your spirit ineffective. Then, your spirit can’t control you or bring you the thoughts of God and the actions of God. His ways can’t be your ways and His thoughts can’t be your thoughts because your mind is not stable. But, when your mind is peaceful, you are peaceful, worldliness is gone, and you are meditating on the thoughts of God. Your mind becomes renewed to the works of God and you forget not His benefits.

Now let’s look at love. Deut. 6:5, tells us, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The New Testament says to love with all your MIND, and all your strength. This strength is inward. Your strength is manifested as you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

First Cor. 13:5, in speaking of charity, or love, says that love thinks no evil. Love starts long before it is an outward experience. It begins as an attitude of the heart.

What happens when you walk in the love of God? When you become stable? When your mind is renewed to the Word of God? You become strong and effective against the devil. Then the Word shows you the difference between the thoughts and intents of your heart, between the world’s viewpoint and God’s viewpoint.

Second Cor. 10:3, tells us that we walk in the flesh. We face fleshly problems; the same problems sinners face. Sinners have problems balancing their checkbooks and so do we. The same marital problems they have, we have. Christians and sinners face job problems. However, we don’t face these problems the way the world does. . . . We do not war after the flesh: (2 Cor. 10:3b). We know that the source of all problems is not fleshly, it is spiritual. We can attack problems at the roots, at the very source of the problem, because we can attack satan.

Furthermore, according to 2 Cor. 10:4, . . . the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, [We don’t fight the devil with guns and knives] but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Satan is strong, but we are stronger.

In the book of Joshua we read of how the Israelite army attacked cities and completely destroyed their walls. The walls were a city’s stronghold, and when they came down, the city was defeated. Although we fight spiritual warfare, it is just as real as if we were in a physical war because we are fighting against satan and his strongholds.

Verse five of 2 Corinthians 10, tells us what these strongholds are. One strong- hold we are told to cast down is “imaginations.” The Greek for this is “reasonings.” It is typical for a person who is new to the message of faith to try to rationalize his problems. But, you can’t figure out with your human mind how faith works.

For example, if you have stepped out in faith and are believing God for $1,000, the devil will attempt to get you to try to figure out who is going to give it to you. Maybe you reason that it is going to come in the mailbox, so you go to the mailbox day after day and it’s not there. Then you decide that it will come from one of your friends. So when you see them and they have their money out, you get closer to them. You even begin to “help” God by telling them, “Did you know I am believing God for $1,000?” You may reason that God can- not work unless you tell somebody. We need to cast down the human reasoning because it will become a barrier to our faith. It will become a stronghold that will keep us from operating in faith.

Let’s look at 2 Cor. 10:5 in its entirety, Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Here we find that we are to cast down “every high thing”, in other words pride. Reasoning and pride are attitudes that will stop the blessings of God because they exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.

Lastly, according to verse five, we are to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Since we are soldiers in a spiritual battle, we can take prisoners of war. Wouldn’t it be good to walk before Jesus and say, “Look at all the POW’s I brought home with me. Here is reasoning, pride, human viewpoint, here is what so and so said to do; but I brought it all into obedience to Your Word Lord. I have broken down the strongholds and I have defeated satan and I tell you what, God, it is just you and I all the way. I don’t care if anybody goes with me Lord, I’m going your way. I am following your Word!”

Copyright 2003 by Bob Yandian Ministries.

Poverty is A Curse (Bob Yandian)

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I. Prosperity is a Blessing
The first mention of prosperity in the Word was when God blessed Abraham. God blessed Abraham because He knew Abraham would be a blessing. Abraham’s first priority was other people, but by the time he entered into the Promised Land, he was one of the wealthiest men on the earth.

We often think God’s riches are limited. How can God continue to give? His riches in glory are inexhaustible. We can give to missions, evangelists, and other ministries, and still have more than enough for ourselves because we seek first His kingdom and God wants to bless us.

3 John 2

Beloved, I wish above all things thou mayest prosper and be in health as thy soul prospers.

Three types of prosperity are mentioned in this verse: prosperity in our natural life, physical healing, and prosperity in our spiritual life. The Greek word for prosper means to have a good journey, or a good trip. It refers to starting from one place and going to a final destination. Prosperity is a trip, a journey. When we embark upon a trip to an unknown place, we pull out a map to guide our way. That is exactly what the Word of God is — a map to help guide us to that destination.

Prosperity doesn’t come overnight. As we learn and continue in the Word of God, it begins to take root and to grow and build inside of us, line upon line and precept upon precept. Mark 4 says when the seed is sown, first comes the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. Prosperity comes a little at a time, but God wants to bless us throughout our entire lifetime. Satan will send persecution, but God’s blessings are always greater than any attack or persecution the enemy may bring.

Not everyone understands that prosperity is a blessing and poverty is a curse. Religion has taught us that there is no Satan or that Satan is nothing more than our own conscious thoughts about evil. Religion also teaches that God controls all good and evil, and good and evil are simply the two sides of God. In other words, God can bless us at one moment and curse us another. That is completely contrary to the Word of God.

If every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of life, then we can turn that verse around and say that every wicked, perverted, and stupid thing comes from below from the father of darkness. Satan always lies, he is always shifty, and he never keeps his word. We have to acknowledge the fact that the true and living God from heaven and the one who would be god on this earth are opposed to one another. The war going on between them was won at the Cross, but that victory will ultimately be established once and for all at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime, the victory of the Cross has been given to the Church so we can enforce Satan’s defeat as we tread on serpents and scorpions, over all the works of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us. (Luke 10:19) We will go through hard times, but Jesus promised we would always come out victorious on the other side. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)


II. Blessed in the City and in the Field

Deuteronomy 28:1

And it shall come to pass; if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.

Notice there is a blessing that comes upon you, and there is a blessing that overtakes you. The blessing that comes upon you comes directly from God. God wants to pour out blessings on us, but there are blessings that God wants to have come upon us and overtake us. We do not need to pursue blessings. We pursue God and blessings pursue us. We are not to chase after finances. We pursue God. We get to know Him. When we draw close to His heart and obey His commandments, blessings will pursue us.

An old expression says, “If you chase after a butterfly, you’ll never catch it. But if you stand still, the butterfly will come to you.” When we stand still and obey God’s commandments, we will watch the deliverance of the Lord in our behalf and His blessings will come upon us and overtake us.

Deuteronomy 28:1

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
Many have said we need to go where the prosperity is, but this verse says you will be blessed no matter where you are. This isn’t just a North American gospel that works only in the United States. This is the gospel that works in the city and in the field.

Some are called to go into small communities because of their job, or to pastor small churches. Often they think they are leaving a place of prosperity to go to a place where there isn’t much available. The Scripture says prosperity will chase you down when you follow after God.

God told Abraham to leave a rich country and go to the land God would give him and his children. When he entered the Promised Land, it was in the midst of a drought. This was not a land flowing with milk and honey; it was a land of poverty and desert. Abraham trusted God. God blessed him and made him one of the richest men in the world. God can bless you in the desert and in the city.

III. Blessings Follow Obedience to God’s Word
Deuteronomy 28:8

The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Notice the word storehouses is plural. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, farmers had storehouses for their grain. First, the storehouses represented blessings for their family. Secondly, it represented next year’s crop because they would plant from the storehouse. Thirdly, it represented profit because they could sell what was in the storehouses. The storehouses in your life represent so many wonderful things, including blessings on your bank account, your job, and your future.

Notice it says, in all that thou settest thine hand unto. It does not say all you do while you idly sit. God will bless you when you follow His Word and whatever you begin to set your hand to will prosper. When God begins to pour out blessings on your work, you can do a little work and God will do a lot of work with you. There is a great blessing when you begin to work according to what God instructs you to do.


Deuteronomy 28:15, 38-39

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statues which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.

Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.

Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
When your outgo exceeds your income, you are headed down the wrong path. Verse 14 tells us we will sow a few seeds and come back with a multitude of seeds. However, if you don’t hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, you can take the whole storehouse out there and come back with very little.

Throughout the Old Testament, and especially in Deuteronomy, it seems to imply that God is taking blessings from you. However, the Hebrew text implies that God does give, but if your heart is not right, God will permit Satan to steal from you. It is much like having your house unprotected. If you forget to set your house alarm and a thief breaks in, you can blame the alarm company all you want, but it is ultimately your fault for not setting the alarm. In our Christian lives, we leave the door unlocked through our own disobedience and when Satan comes in and steals from us, we blame God. But when God gave us His Word and His Spirit, He gave us every provision. When we leave the door standing wide open for Satan to rob us, we can’t blame God, only ourselves.

Throughout the Book of Job, it looks as though God is giving Job something one minute and taking it away the next. But in the opening of the book, we find that Satan was stealing from Job. God was pouring great blessings on Job’s life, yet Job left the door standing wide open.


Job 1:4-5, 10

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

Job 3:25

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
It was the fear for his children that opened the door for Satan to enter. However, when Job got rid of the fear and operated in forgiveness, his latter end was greater than his beginning.

IV. Redeemed From the Curse of the Law
Galatians 3:13 says Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us for it is written, “Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.” Verse 14 tells us that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. There has been much debate about this because the word curse is singular. We know there are curses in the law, but that verse says Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. The curse of the law was, simply, that we were incapable of keeping the law. Through the new birth, God has enabled us to keep the law through the daily operation of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit has made us free from the curse of the law. It is not a matter of trying to keep the law. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

The curses found in the Old Testament are wrapped up in this one word, curse, in the New Testament. Rather than delineate all the curses found in the Old Testament under the law, they are simply incorporated into one word. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.

The curse of the law can be found under three categories:

1. Sin: When Jesus went to the cross and died, He redeemed us from the curse of sin. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He gave us His righteousness by becoming our sin. By becoming our sin, He can remove it and redeem us from it. This is something we couldn’t do for ourselves. I call it the divine swap.

2. Sickness: Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. (Isaiah 53:5) By His stripes we were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can become the very health and healing of God the Father.

3. Poverty: Deuteronomy 28 says poverty is a curse, but Galatians 3:13 says Christ redeemed us from the curse. Jesus went to the cross to redeem us spiritually and naturally. Though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, that through His poverty, we might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Jesus became sin so we could be righteous. He became sickness so we could have His healing. He became poor that we through his poverty might be rich. That is speaking of the three-fold curses we find in the Old Testament, but wrapped up in that one word, curse, in Galatians 3:13.


III. What Happened When You Became Born Again

If you are born again, you are not a sinner trying to get saved, you are already saved. Therefore, you are already righteous. We are righteous people resisting the temptations of sin. The moment we became born again, we became righteous. Many Christians think they are still sinners. They say, “I’m a sinner just saved by grace.” No! You are saved by grace, you are the righteousness of God, and you have the right to resist sin.

If you are born again, you are healed. You are not a sick person trying to get healed. The moment you were born again, you were healed. You are a healed person resisting symptoms of disease and sickness that try to attach themselves to you. When you are walking in communion and fellowship with God, sickness and disease are like water off a duck’s back.

If you are born again, you are rich! You are not a poor person trying to get rich, you are a rich person resisting the poverty and lack that tries to come into your life. You are the prosperous. Quit seeing yourself as poor or as having lack. Quit seeing yourself as suffering the conditions of life. Instead, see yourself as an overcomer. You became an overcomer the minute you were born again; therefore, you can overcome.

If I am righteous, I can walk in righteousness. I can resist the temptations of sin. If I am healed, I can resist the sicknesses and diseases that try to come my way. Whenever lack tries to rear its ugly head, I can say, “No sir!. I am prosperous! By the stripes of Jesus Christ, He has made me to be rich in this earth the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”

You are rich whether you ever walk in it or not. You are healed whether you ever walk in it or not. You are righteous whether you walk in it or not. It was all given to you the moment you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Throughout Proverbs, the Bible says He’s made unto you wisdom whether you are ever wise or not. You can act dumb all you want, but He was made wisdom unto you.

V. Receiving the Blessings; Resisting the Cursings
How does all this fit into Deuteronomy? The Hebrew meaning for Deuteronomy is to say it again. The Book of Deuteronomy is a repeat of what is said in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. What was quoted to the first generation has to be repeated to the second generation. Deuteronomy is saying the same thing to a brand-new generation who is about to step over the shores of the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land. It says we are to instruct our children in the Word of God when they rise in the morning, when they walk during the day, and when the sit around the dinner table. (Deuteronomy 6:7) It isn’t enough for us to simply know the Word; we are to pass it on. Knowledge doesn’t come by osmosis. A child has to be instructed and taught through the years, and they are to teach their children so it is passed on from generation to generation.

Deuteronomy 11:29

And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
They were going to come into the land and stand between two mountains. One mountain would be the blessing mountain and the other would be the cursing mountain.

Deuteronomy 27:12-13

These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:

And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Both of these mountains still stand in Israel today. Gerizim was the blessing mountain. It is a beautiful mountain, full of trees. Mount Ebal is a bare mountain with no trees, and was the cursing mountain.

Jacob had two wives and two handmaids. Those who were to stand on the blessing mountain are the sons of the wives. Those who were to stand upon mount Ebal to curse are the children of the handmaids. Although Reuben came through a wife, he was cursed later on because of sin in his life.

It took five chapters in Joshua for them to cross the Jordan River. In Joshua 6, they conquered the city of Jericho. In Joshua 7, they were conquered by the little city of Ai, then they had to go back and conquer the city again. After they conquered these cities, they came to this place between mount Gerizim and mount Ebal.

Joshua 8:30

Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal.

Remember mount Ebal is the cursing mountain. Joshua didn’t put an altar on the blessing mountain; he put one on the cursing mountain because Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Jesus didn’t redeem us from the blessing! The blessing still stands intact.

Joshua 8:31

As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.

And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the Law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges; stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
After all this, Joshua read the blessings of the Law and everyone on mount Gerizim would shout, “Amen!” He would then read all the curses and all those on mount Ebal would shout, “Amen!” Can you imagine a million people on each mountain shouting in unison and Joshua and the high priest standing in the valley between with the Ark of the Covenant? After Joshua read all the blessings and cursings, they offered a sacrifice on the cursing mountain. This represented Christ redeeming us from the law.

The good news is that after Christ accomplished our redemption on the Cross, only the blessings stand. How do we receive the blessings? We receive them by faith. Faith is based upon the promises of God. The promises of God should become a part of your heart, your mind, and your lips. When you begin to speak the Word of God and believe the Word of God, whatever you put your hand to do will prosper greater than ever before. Where your hand used to produce little, it will now produce much. Where it once seemed like you spent more than you brought in, you will see God begin to bring in more than you can even imagine or think. Are you ready for some of those blessings which God promises exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ask or think? Get ready for the windows of heaven to open up in your life! It’s time!

Say this outloud!

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Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross,

I have passed out from under the curse and entered into the blessing of Abraham,

whom God blessed in all things.

(Based on Galatians 3:13-14 NKJ)

Run Through Romans (4.14-25)

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Now that Paul has shown us through the example of Abraham that there is nothing you need to do to become righteous but simply believe, he decides that it is important to keep emphasizing that it is important to realize that Abraham was made righteous by his faith:

14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Do you realize that if you are trying to impress God by obeying the law you are making God out to be a liar?  You are saying that his promise to justify you by faith alone is worthless and that you need to do something to impress God.

15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

All the law does is work wrath.  This means that the law only makes you deserving of punishment.  Every time you try and please God by your works and your righteousness, you fail and you put yourself again in a position where you know you deserve punishment.

16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

So we can only obtain righteousness by faith – because that way God gives it to us as a free gift, make available through Jesus completely taking our punishment on the cross.  And this promise is available to all who believe.

17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

This is such a powerful revelation of God.  God calls those things which be not as though they were: you might never have done anything righteous, but because God still calls you righteous.  Abraham had no children, but God still called him father of many nations.  You might not feel healed, but God says that by the stripes of Jesus, you are healed.  You might not feel right with God, but God declares you are righteous.

18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:

20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Paul is taking the opportunity of discussing the fact that Abraham was declared righteous by faith to explain exactly how faith works.

Paul shows us that Biblical faith works with four simple steps:

1. Against hope believe in hope (v.18)

Hope is your vision and imagination for the future.  When we hope for negative and evil things to happen in our life, it is called worry.  Worry is simply imagining all the bad things that could happen to you.  Hope is simply imagining all the good things that could happen to you.  Abraham started to develop his faith by refusing to imagine bad things in his future and deliberately imagining bad things.

Stop imagining your own funeral.  Imagine yourself standing in the front of your church testifying to your healing.  Stop imagining your children on drugs, rebellious, promiscuous.  Imagine them witnessing, laying hands on the sick, worshipping the Lord.

The first step to strong faith is to change what you are imagining.

2. According to what was spoken (v.18)

The next step to strong faith is to focus on what has been spoken.  Get yourself into the Word of God.  Don’t believe that you are going to stay sick – believe by His stripes you are healed.  Don’t believe you are going to go bankrupt, believe that God will supply all your needs.  Get yourself into the Word.

3. Considered not his own body(v.19)

Abraham refused to consider his own body.  He absolutely refused to think about the evidence of his senses that his body could not have a child.  He accepted the Word of God and rejected the testimony of his own senses.

If you are sick, and your body is yelling at you that it is sick: don’t consider it.  If you are in debt and your body is yelling at you to worry: don’t consider it.

Refuse to consider any testimony that contradicts the Word of God – even if it is your own body.

4. Gave Glory to God (v. 20)

One of the best ways to develop strong faith is to give glory to God.  Praise God.  Worship God.  Exalt His name.  If you are sick, don’t beg God to heal you.  Thank Him that you are healed.  Praise Him for being the healer.  You cannot stay in doubt while glorifying God.

Abraham was praising God for his children before he saw them.  Praise God for your healing before you see it.  Praise God for your husband coming to the Lord before you see it.  That is strong faith.  That is how faith works.

22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Faith like that is what makes you righteous.  If you feel unrighteous, if you realize that you have sinned and your actions are not good, then you need to realize as well that you can be right with God by faith.

Start to imagine the Lord accepting you and welcoming you into heaven.  Start to meditate on Scriptures that say you are righteous (2 Cor. 5.21 is a great place to start).  Don’t consider the sins you have committed – don’t even think about them.  And thank and praise God that you are righteous.

23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

And you, as well as Abraham, can be right with God, can be righteous with the righteousness of God, just by believing that God raised Jesus from the dead.  This is glorious news.  This is the gospel.

Praise His name forevermore!

Ben

The Healing Church (Abraham Israel)

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The Healing Church
By Abraham Israel

The Church of Jesus Christ is a healing church because He has already provided healing and health for every member of it through the atonement on the cross. The atonement provides protection of the spirit, soul and body through the Blood that was shed and the healing of the spirit, soul and body through the Body that was broken [stripes] for us on the cross of Calvary (1 Thess 5:23-24).First and foremost of all, the most important truth for the sick person to get healed is that, He must believe that it is God’s will for Him to be healed. The church as a whole needs to understand that sickness is an oppression of the devil. As the word of God clearly points out in Acts 10:38, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. As we see in this preceding verse Jesus went about doing good and healing because sickness is an evil oppression of the devil by which Satan steals, kills and destroys the life of people. If sickness is the will of God for some people, Jesus would have healed some and would have said to others that they should persevere with the sickness in faith so that God will be pleased with their life. Only a religious deceiving spirit will make people think like this. This is deceitful pride. Instead, the good news is Jesus healed all those who came to Him and all who still come to him in faith.

Sickness is a curse because in God’s original plan for this planet earth, there was no sickness in the Garden of Eden. Sickness is absolutely due to the curse that came upon mankind because of one man’s disobedience to God’s decree (Rom 5:12, 18-19). But Jesus came to rescue all mankind from death and restore all that was lost through the fall of man and the curses that came upon every human being as a result of it (Galatians 3:13).

Jesus said, “I am the life” (John 14:6) and also He said, “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” When we have this life of Jesus in us by believing what He has done for us on the cross, it will repel the urge to sin and will give us the power to say no to sin and to the consequences of it which is sickness. Sin is the root cause of sickness in our life. Sickness and life don’t go together. Even the natural life that is in our body repels all kind of sickness and that is what we call it as immunity. Our body was not designed to be a “temple of sickness and devils”, but to be “the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16).

Jesus came only for this purpose that is “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3: 8) . So only Jesus healed all that came to get healing and in several scriptures Jesus rebuked the sicknesses and healed the oppressed (Matthew 8:16-17; Luke 4:38, 39).Why should Jesus rebuke the sickness if it is a inanimate thing and not a person that is the cause behind it? Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea when He knew that Satan was behind it to kill all of them in the sea (John 10:10; Matthew 8:23-27). It is the same with the sickness that people experience that eventually makes them die slowly. This clearly points to the devil and his evil co-workers as the root cause of all sickness.

It is God’s will to be healthy and prosperous in all areas of our life (3 John 2). Hence the one and only hope for mankind to receive all these God’s blessings is through Jesus Christ who was sent by God for this purpose of saving all mankind from Satan’s evil oppressive curses (John 3:17). For this reason He came to this planet earth and died for the whole human race to be blessed by God. The removal of disease is included in Christ’s redemptive work, along with the removal of sins (Isaiah 53:4; Matt 8:16-17). Here the word ‘bore’ means substitution and not sympathy. In that way He took our weaknesses and was substituted for our sickness [curses]. What makes the fact that He achieved for us to be manifested in our life is the faith that we have in Him and His substitutionary work.
Salvation and healing are for every one who believes. So faith in the heart plays an important role for those who pray for the sick and also for the one who receives the healing from God. As believers in Jesus Christ, Jesus has given us the power to cast out devils and heal diseases (Luke 9:1-2). And Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18, “15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who [what?] believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they [here the Bible does not say ‘they may recover’ but] will recover.”

This is the promise that is given to every believer. So we need to keep our eyes on the promises of Jesus and should lay hands on the sick believing Jesus will heal them. Then in the succeeding verses in Mark 16:19-20 the Bible says, “19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Here we see how Jesus faithfully confirmed the word of His promise to these people who took Jesus at His word and did what he told them to do. Jesus did not leave them alone, but He worked with them confirming what He had promised to them. We also will see the Lord working with us and confirm the same promise through the accompanying signs, if we believe Him now and preach the healing Gospel every where expecting the same thing to happen now. It will happen because Jesus is still on the throne sitting at the right hand of the Father.

So preaching the gospel in obedience to His command is very important for us to see healings and signs to take place when we minister the word. God expects us to do this in obedience to His command. It is not an option to consider but a command to all of us personally because we are believers.
The word of God is the personification of Jesus Christ (John 5:39, 46-47; Luke 24:27, 32). Hence we need to preach Jesus who is in its pages (John 1:1; Acts 8:1, 4-8, 35). As the Bible says, “He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps 107:20). God delivers people from sickness, disease, sin and death only through the word of God. Once people receive His word, healing and deliverance will follow. So speak the word! The word will deliver you and those who hear you speak, because the Bible says it is a double edged sword and will separate the spirit and soulish thoughts and will help you to receive the Word of God from the throne room of Heaven in your spirit (2 Tim 4:2; 1 Tim 4:16; Heb 4:12).
So God Himself expects both the message of forgiveness and healing to be preached in Jesus Name. So preaching only forgiveness of sins with out God’s power to heal is to make the word powerless by unbelief. So only even the disciples of Jesus prayed to God, “29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).

And also in the above verse we can see that only the genuine touch of God’s hand can heal somebody who needs healing. In the Bible God’s hand always represents the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Only when we are constantly in communion with the Holy Spirit by being filled with the Holy Spirit again and again like the apostles, then only we can bring this healing power of God in to the natural physical realm. He [the Holy Spirit] will make us speak in the Name of Jesus and will speak through us to bring deliverance to the multitudes (Acts 1:16; Luke 1:70; Mark 13:11; Acts 13:9-12). Speaking the word of God by being filled with the Spirit will only bring true healing and deliverance to the multitudes.
When we obey His Great commission (Matt 28:16-20) and step out to preach the full Gospel [not just the half] and proclaim His word [i.e. the message of forgiveness and healing] then it is God’s responsibility to confirm His word through sign accompanying it and He is faithful and will surely confirm His word. This Healing manifestation of God’s power is for all [i.e. irrespective of whether someone is a believer or an unbeliever] through the proclamation of the preaching of God’s word or in other words Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then a question may arise, what about the believers in the church? Is it for them too? We must understand that it is God’s nature to heal that gives us healing not our goodness or our faith only. It is not about the methods that we use but about the God whose very Name is the Healer. God says about Himself in His Word, “…For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). The Word of God says and asks the question “Is any one among you sick (James 5:13)? Among whom if we ask ourselves, he is speaking to the church and the Believers.
“14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses [Therefore confess your sins] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:14-16). So in the church if a believer is sick, the first thing the believer must do is to call for the elders of the church and request him to anoint him with oil and pray against the sickness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The oil is used as a tangible symbolic substance to indicate the releasing of the power of the Holy Spirit by faith in the broken body of Jesus that brings the healing power in manifestation and the Lord will raise him up. And also with the healing, [only] if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. What a wonderful package Jesus has given to us to receive through His atonement on the cross and through the church. This is the reason the church is essentially a healing church! Hallelujah!

Some people say this verse speaks for sickness that comes as the result of sin only. So they reason out that the promise is for sicknesses that come as the result of sin and not for every other sickness. But the word says, [only] …if he had committed sins”. This tells us that with the healing, forgiveness of sins is only an option, if it is the result of sins.
It conveys the idea that no matter what is the reason for sickness, God promises to raise them [the sick persons] up if only the church will believe His healing power and will move in faith towards its manifestation. It is the wonderful privilege of the church to receive healing from the Lord who has promised His church that He will heal and raise people from their sickness no matter what reason it has come.
And the elders who pray for the sick must pray the prayer of faith. If it is done by the church in obedience to His word the Lord will once again manifest His power as usual in His church. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! God has given healing for every believer as a package with the forgiveness of sins. The church needs faith to flow in the healing power of the Lord! Are you ready for it! Amen!

Run Through Romans (4:1-8)

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So far Romans 1 has shown us that immoral people are unrighteous, and that God must punish all unrighteousness.  These people have no excuse because they have a conscience and can see creation.

Romans 2 has shown us that moral people are unrighteous as well – they do not keep the laws they have been given.

Romans 3 starts by emphasizing that by works and actions there is no one righteous.  When we finally realize that even our most righteous work is worth nothing to the Lord due to our impure motives, the sins we have committed and our inability to change, then Paul lets us know that there is another way to be righteous: by placing our faith in the work of the Lord Jesus.

This is the great truth of the Protestant Reformation: salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone.

Ephesians 2.8-9 say it like this:

8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

You are saved and made righteous only because Jesus Christ bore all your sin and iniquity on the cross.  2 Cor. 5.21 says:

21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus, who never sinned – never did anything to make himself unrighteous, became unrighteous on the cross.  He literally became sin on the cross with your sin.  All of the sin you have ever committed and ever will commit was laid on the Lord Jesus.  All of the righteousness He committed was laid on you.

He became sin with your sin so that you can be righteous with His righteousness.  This is the central truth of Romans and the central truth of the entire New Testament.  Yet there are still so many Christians trying to work for their salvation, to earn God’s merit, to strive hard enough that they can be healed, be assure of heaven, be this that and the other.

But the gospel message is this: you will never be good enough for God.  But that is ok – He is good.  And in His goodness sent a man to die on the cross and take the punishment for all of your sin.  If you put your faith in Him, that completes the exchange and you will be made the righteousness of God.

Do you realize this: believing in Jesus makes you the righteousness of God.  You are as right with God as Jesus is.  You can stand before God without fear, without inferiority, without shame.  Not because of anything you have done – not that you can boast (Eph. 2.9), but because of what Jesus has done.

If you are a Christian, you are righteous.  You do not have to go to hell when you die and you do not have to endure hell on earth.  You can go to heaven when you die and you can enjoy heaven on earth.  If you are not a Christian all you have to do to become righteous is believe – Romans 10.9-11 says:

9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

All you have to do is believe that Jesus rose from the dead and say out loud that Jesus is Lord.  Then you are saved and you are righteous.  Then you shall never be ashamed.  You might feel ashamed – but that is because you are trying to approach God on the basis of your actions and your actions are not enough to be righteous.  If you approach God on the basis of Jesus’ actions, you will not feel ashamed because you never have to be ashamed because the work of Jesus is complete.

Let’s look at the first few verses of Romans 4.  Here Paul is writing to the Jewish people, but the principles apply just as much to people from any religion.  You can only be righteous by faith, not by what you do or don’t do.  Stop thinking about what you have done and what you have not done – and start thinking about God’s grace and what He has done.

1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Paul here brings the Jewish people back to Abraham.  He is making the clear point that Abraham lived before God as a righteous man, but that contrary to what some people might have thought, Abraham was not considered righteous because of his actions.  He was righteous because He believed God.

2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Paul is saying that Abraham was not good enough to be righteous by his actions.  You must realize that even the most moral people are not good enough to be righteous by their actions.  They have to believe God and that He makes people righteous by faith.

4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

If you are still working and doing good works to make God impressed with you, then you are saying God owes you something.  That you deserve every blessing you have.

This is nonsense – it is pure pride.  Yet so many Christians talk and act like this.  Even word of faith people act like this.  It is not true.  You cannot work for any blessing.  Every blessing you have – righteousness, peace, joy, health, wealth – came because Jesus Christ took the curse on the cross, bore your sin on the cross, and made the blessing freely available.  All you have to do is believe and receive.

God makes the ungodly righteous by faith.  Say it out loud.  Write it on a piece of paper, learn it, meditate on it.  Get it into your heart – you are righteous because of Jesus Christ, not any good works you have done.  When you look at your works and feel righteous, you are not righteous because of your works, you cannot boast.  You are righteous because of Jesus.

When you feel unrighteous because of your works, you are not unrighteous.  You are righteous because of Jesus.  Your righteousness never changes because what Jesus did never changes.  You can always approach God by fiath in His grace.

6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Even King David sinned, as any student of the Old Testament is aware.  David did not say that you were blessed because you never sinned.  He said you were blessed because the Lord will not impute sin.  Impute is an accounting term which means not put into the account.

Because Jesus took all of your sin, then every sin you commit if you put your faith in Jesus is not put into your account.  No matter what you have done wrong, no matter what you ever will do wrong, no matter what sins you have committed, no matter what you have done.  It doesn’t matter because it will not be put against your account.

It was put against Jesus’ account.  He was punished for you.  He died your death because of your sin so you could live His life.

Many Christians do not accept this powerful Scripture because they think it is too good to be true, but it is true.  If you are a Christian, then no sin you have ever committed and no sin you ever commit will EVER be laid at your account.  You will never have to be stand before God on the basis of your sin, because Jesus Christ has completely dealt with the sin issue.

You can stand before God right now as if you have never sinned, with no sense of fear, no shame.

That indeed is a place of blessing and there is nothing you can do to earn it, you cannot boast about it.  God has given it to you freely.  That is what grace is: you have been given what you do not deserve: complete forgiveness of sins.

You are the righteousness of God in Christ.

A few months ago I was talking with a Muslim man.  He has committed a number of sins that are disturbing his conscience.  He feels guilty – and he should he is guilty.  He has broken the commandments of God and is unrighteous.

He told me that he prays, that he fasts, that he goes to mosque, but feels no relief.  I told him he wouldn’t, that makes sense to me.  That surprised him because he felt that religious rituals and prayer would assuage his guilt.

I told him it couldn’t deal with his guilt.  I said if he was in a court of law he couldn’t claim innocence of the crimes he had committed because he has prayed or done other rituals.  Rituals cannot make you innocent.  I understood his anguish as I showed him that there is none righteous not one.

It is important to show people the futility of having any faith in their ability to do right and be righteous, because they are then open to the good news that there is another way to be righteous.

I then said that what he needed was someone to live a perfect life and then offer up that perfect live as a sacrifice for him, then – and only then – could God count him as righteous.  Only then could he have peace with God.

He said that no one would ever do that for him, so I told him all about what Jesus did.

He did not became a Christian that night – the peer pressure of his family being part of the issue – but he knows the gospel now.  And one day he will receive the love and mercy of Jesus and put His faith in the work of Jesus.

But, although this was a Muslim man, there are many in the churches that are not Christians or are Christians but because they do not know why they are righteous, are condemned, lacking peace, feeling defeated and unloved because they know that according to their actions they are unrighteous.

Listen – according to your actions you are.  But you are blessed – every sin you have ever committed or ever will commit is not being put against your account.  You can approach God as if you have never sinned.  You can stand before God as a righteous man.

You can pray and have your prayers answered.  You can lay hands on the sick and have them healed.  You can do the works Jesus did.  You can be a force of life on the world.

Bless God forever!

Ben

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