Category Archives: Secure

Standing Firm (Part 15)

Let’s start with the most important thing first. To begin with—you must know that you know that you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Do you? I am not asking you if you walked a church aisle, talked to a preacher, knelt at an altar, or prayed a prayer. I am asking you—do you know Jesus Christ personally? That is, have you the experienced the life-changing transformation he brings from the inside out from having a genuine relationship with him? Have you placed your complete trust in him? You can’t stand firm if you don’t know Jesus.

People often confuse church attendance, baptism, Bible reading, prayer, giving, mission work, or ministry as evidence that they are saved. Busyness and church activity do not save you—Jesus does! Do you know that you know that you know Jesus Christ? This is not a hope so, this is a know so. Are you intimately acquainted with him? Only you and God know the answer to this question beyond a shadow of a doubt. Make sure your answer is yes—not maybe—not I think so—not I hope so.

Secondly, do you understand what that relationship entitles you to? Have you grasped and begun to embrace the benefits of those blessings? It is far more than a free trip to heaven for eternity. It is far more than just eternal life. Have you grasped what it means to be in Christ?

Being in Christ means you have a secure position of victory. Jesus has defeated the enemy and you are in Christ, which means as long as you rest in that positional security you cannot be defeated. According to Ephesians 1:3, God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Every means all! In other words, what Jesus possesses right now is available to you because of your position in Christ.

Most believers have no clue of the power or potential contained in these blessings because they have been taught that those things are only available once you get to heaven. Listen closely, eternal life began the moment you came to faith in Christ. You need these things now to live the abundant life Jesus promised. We won’t need spiritual armor or spiritual gifts in heaven. We won’t be doing spiritual warfare up there. Much of our spiritual inheritance is available now so that we can live obediently and faithfully as son and daughters of the King.

God has equipped us for kingdom living, but we must embrace our position of being in Christ to fully experience it!

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 8)

Curses tend to get worse with time. Unforgiveness smells of death, and its noxious aroma attracts dark creatures that traffic in death. Unforgiveness is an open invitation for all of hell to attend a grand party at your personal expense.

Nothing draws the devil like unforgiveness. It gives him a foothold in your life—a base of operations to work from within you. It is surrendered ground, given up when you refuse to do what God demands. He plants his flag in your soul and invites his forces to dig trenches in that conquered ground. He does not own the real estate, but he holds it due to the darkness of disobedience. In the vacuum created by your disobedience, he has slipped back across the border. He’s no longer forced to attack you from the outside. No—you’ve left your screen door wide open and invited him in. You’ve given him legal rights to be there as long as you refuse to forgive.

You may find this hard to believe. You may be thinking, “There’s no way!”  I propose you read something Jesus taught in Matthew 18:21-35 in your Bible before you proceed any farther. We will re-visit this story over the next few blogs because there is a tremendous amount of truth contained in these few verse about the blessings of forgiveness and the curse of unforgiveness. Please read it and pay close attention to what takes place in verses 34-35.

 “And his lord moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all was owed him. So shall my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother (or sister) from your heart.”  I believe the “torturers” are demonic spirits. I also believe the sin of unforgiveness (a sin one refuses to turn from) causes God to gradually remove his hand of protection, which then allows the enemy to move in, set up shop, and bring torment. Death always resides in darkness, and unforgiveness is darkness of the worst kind. Where sin lingers—the devil lurks.

I am in no way implying what many would call “possession.” This is not possession versus oppression. The Greek text of the New Testament uses neither word. In some translations, the term “possession” was supplied in an attempt to explain what was meant. In other words it was added to clarify by the translators, not by the Holy Spirit or the men who penned the original words of Scripture. That attempt to clarify has clouded this issue and coined a whole genre of inappropriate language and bogus beliefs concerning the work of both the devil and his demons. The New Testament primarily uses two descriptions: 1) to have a demon (ekw), or 2)to be demonized (daimonizomai). The issue is not ownership or whether a believer can be possessed or not. They may be issues to you, but they are arguments developed from silence or bad theology, not from the plain truth of Scripture. Both Greek words mean “to have a demon—to be under the influence or power of a demon in certain areas.” Don’t allow movie makers, bogus theology, or blind ignorance to influence your doctrine in these areas. Just allow the plain truth of the Bible to speak.

 Now, back to the issue at hand! If you struggle with the above paragraph, I invite you to do some study on your own. Don’t naively accept what you have been taught or even what I say. The tools you need are accessible even if you don’t have a mastery of biblical Greek. Check them out and allow the words of God to speak for themselves.

If forgiveness is not granted fairly quickly, the enemy expands his territory. That wound perpetrated on you may become a stronghold in your life. Many people who have been hurt in a particular manner eventually hurt others the very same way. Hurting people hurt people! The wound inflicted on you may eventually become a generational curse. Things like sexual abuse, emotional abuse, drug abuse, unfaithfulness in marital relationships, immorality, pornography, and alcoholism are all examples of generational curses that seem to follow families. I am not implying that if you were wounded, hurt, or offended you will automatically end up doing one of the above listed things. But if you don’t deal with whatever your wound is by forgiving the offender, you may do to someone else what was done to you. The sin perpetrated on you will affect you if you don’t forgive, and if it affects you, it will affect your children in some form or fashion. That is, unless someone breaks the pattern.

Sometimes a person who has been wounded becomes a control freak. Unforgiveness is often an attempt to get control of the chaos one has encountered. It’s your choice, but attempting to exercise control over everything and everyone will never heal the hurt or make you safer. Only forgiveness can do that.

Often people who are hurt become bitter, harsh, cold, uncaring, or unfeeling. Perhaps numb is the best word to describe this condition. They often turn to drugs or alcohol to insure the numbness, or to death-defying activities and life-on-the edge adventures to feeling something—anything to remind them that they are still alive.

Physical illness can be the result of the curse of unforgiveness. Stress triggers a domino effect of disaster in our physical bodies. I have witnessed people who were experiencing all kinds of physical conditions find healing once they offered forgiveness. God reversed the work of the tormenters in their case.

There is a curse that accompanies unforgiveness. It destroys the person from the inside out. Unforgiveness is the playground of Satan. As long as unforgiveness reigns, the devil will run roughshod through every area of your life. He cannot not get your soul if you know Christ, but if you refuse to extend forgiveness—he will eventually destroy you and possibly those you truly love.

Musings from a Madman: The Reality of Relationship (Part 16)

One never leaves the presence of God in the same way he or she entered. This is especially true when we pursue his intimate presence on purpose. Each time we encounter God, we are changed and we never leave his presence empty-handed.

In Exodus 24, Moses spent an extended period of time with God alone on Mt. Sinai. While there, he experienced the manifest presence of God. He saw God’s glory pass by as God hid his servant in a crack in the rock and shielded Moses with his hand. Moses saw the glory of God’s back as he passed by. As Moses descended the mountain and returned to camp, the people were astonished and filled with fear. His face glowed with the radiance of God’s glory. The surface of his face reflected God’s glory because his skin had absorbed the glory of the One in whose presence he had spent time. No one had to ask Moses where he had been. It was evident!

When we spend time in God’s presence we always receive far more than we give. God will often enhance our covering, authority, anointing, power, or the intimacy of our relationship with him. Intimate time spent in his presence assures us of more of whatever we need at that instant in our lives.

In those moments, we are changed. And—when we pursue the intimate presence of God and experience him on a regular basis—no one will have to ask you where you’ve been or whom you’ve been with. They will know when they see the glow on your face and hear the flow of your words as they spill from your mouth. We always reflect who or what we spend the most time with.

One moment in the presence of the King changes everything!  

Musings from a Madman: The Mystery of Relationship (Part 12)

You have stepped into the secret place, into the very presence of God in your pursuit of an intimate relationship with him. Hunger, love, devotion, and desperation have all banded together and enabled you to knock on the door, and now the love and passion of God is opening it. You are about to experience his presence in a new way…what will it be like?

One word is used throughout the Bible to describe this moment and that word is “shalom” or peace. Shalom brings an inner and outer calmness of wholeness and health in your spirit, soul, and body. Shalom is not just what God brings; it is who he is as well. The presence of God can be a terrifying thing, but not if you belong to God and have come with confidence into his presence as one of his children intent on experiencing his presence and spending time with him.

The sudden descent of peace and being enveloped in it is an experience beyond description. It is enough to say once it happens you will know it and you will never forget it, no matter how often it happens. Storms may rage on the outside but in your heart there is a peace that surpasses understanding!

When the peace of God’s presence comes, the power of his provision begins to flow. He knows exactly what you need and he pours it out in abundance. Rest assured, whenever you enter the presence of God like this, your needs will be met, even if you can’t name them. Your hunger for relationship—your desire to sit in the very presence of the Lover of your soul—is the key. Out of relationship provision will come. You pursue the relationship and God will send the provision for whatever you need.

Take the position of a child crawling up in his or her father’s lap. That’s exactly what you are doing with God. He is your Abba, your Daddy. As a child would place their hands on their father’s cheeks and look him in the eyes—lift your hands toward the face of God and tell him you love him. Forget about everything else and concentrate on the One who loves you with an unconditional, infinite love.

Time no longer matters when you arrive here. Focus on his presence—on his heart. Listen for his voice. You will never forget how it sounds once you hear it. Relax and revel in his presence. For the moment, just sit with him, soak up his glorious presence, and enjoy the peace that comes for experiencing the reality of intimacy and relationship with God.  

Musings from a Madman: The Mystery of Relationship (Part 11)

Our pursuit has taken us to the very doorstep of God’s presence—now we must be patient. God is never in a hurry, but rest assured he will meet you here…in this place. Whenever you choose God over everything else, his passion is aroused. 


Now wait just a minute…are you saying God has passion? You better believe God has passion and he is passionate about you. God’s word talks about the zeal of the Lord (a translator’s word for white-hot passion) throughout the Bible. Jesus was passionate about the Gentile worshipers that had been pushed out of the Temple by the merchants who sold the animal sacrifices and exchanged foreign currency for Temple shekels. The Holy Spirit is passionate about his relationship with God’s sons and daughters. By the way, where do you think the model for human passion came from? We did not invent it—it was patterned after our Creator. God has passion.

And—when you want God more than anything else, God’s passion for you is aroused. Maybe you have never experienced his overwhelming love and desire for you. If so, this would be a great time to check your motives once again. Perhaps the reason you’ve never experienced this is not “how” you enter his presence, but rather “why” you have come. You can make the right preparation and do everything on the list and still not experience God’s passionate presence.

What do you really want out of this anyway?

 Too often we come wanting power, position, or a hundred different prayer needs and we forget the main reason is to enjoy his presence. Sometimes we come to get what he can give rather than to rest in his presence. There is certainly nothing wrong with asking God for provisions, but his presence (who he is) is far more important than what he can do for us (his power). Whenever you choose the presence of God over everything else, his passion is aroused and he will definitely show up.

Passion is a prerequisite to intimacy. It will not be your hard work, abilities, or capabilities that attract God. No! It will be your heart—the devotion, the longing, and the love that desires to embrace his heart alone.

So be still and be quiet! Search your heart and check your motives. The real question at this moment is: Do you really want to be alone with God as much as he wants to be alone with you?

Musings from a Madman: The Mystery of Relationship (Part 10)

Once true surrender has taken place, it puts you in a position to receive. When you surrender you have given over everything—especially yourself and there’s nothing left to give. At that moment, you may hear God ask, “Who are you?” This is the question of entry that opens or shuts the door to intimacy. Your careful response is vital.

God’s not asking for information, he has all the information he needs already. He is omniscient. He knows everything. He is asking so that you will understand who you are. The question is about identification—who do you think you are.

How will you respond? Think about it for a moment, because this is the single most important appointment you have ever been invited to experience. You are where you are at this very moment—at the very doorway of God’s presence based on an invitation from Jesus Christ, not what you have or have not done, your personal connections, or your past. This invitation is not really about who you are, rather it is all about who God is. So the answer is important.

This is not the time to list your religious accomplishments, activities, or accolades. This is not the moment to share all the positions you hold in your local church or denomination. This is not the occasion to gush over your degrees, spiritual depth, or grace giftings. No, this is the moment to respond from a heart that has understanding and enlightenment as to who it really is.

Perhaps your response might sound like this: “Lord, it’s me, your servant, purchased by the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ.” That’s really all any of us have the ability to offer. When you come to this moment—it’s not about being the pastor, the teacher, the choir member, the prayer leader, the sinner, the mess-up, the success, the failure, the addict, the prisoner, or whatever label you might want to pin on yourself. No! “It’s just me, Lord. I have nothing to offer—nothing to give, but me. I’m here at your feet!”

The answer we give at this moment determines whether or not we step into the secret place with God. He is not impressed with our résumé; he is drawn to our heart. If your heart is surrendered, rest assured it will catch God’s attention and arouse his passion. Once you have his undivided attention—his presence will receive you and you will step into a place beyond what you thought was possible.

Are you willing to chunk your dignity for a moment in God’s presence? Are you willing to step out into a place that might be quite uncomfortable for your personality, your religious beliefs, or your mindset? Are you really desperate? If you are, you will do whatever it takes to get to this place, and once you are here, you will give the only answer that will open the door. No ultimatums. No demands. “Lord, it’s me—I am desperate to enter the secret place with you. I want to go into that place where no one else can see me so that I can simply be alone with you!”

True intimacy with God has a protocol to follow. Are you willing to take the next step? 

Destination Israel: The Invitation of the Eastern Gate (Part 11)

The Eastern Gate

The Eastern Gate of Jerusalem stands like a bloodied, yet tenacious soldier refusing to surrender his ground as he eagerly awaits reinforcements. Each day, as the sun rises over the Mount of Olives, the Eastern Gate greets those shimmering shafts of light with a settled assurance that this could be the day…Could be the day for what?

The Eastern Gate, or the Golden or Beautiful Gate as it is also known, was one of eleven entrance gates into the walled city of Jerusalem. This was the main gate that welcomed most of the pilgrims going up to the Jewish temple, who then entered the area known as Solomon’s Poarch in preparation for offering their sacrifices. This was the gate where Peter and John healed the lame man in Acts 3. Jesus would have often used this gate as well.

The original gate was destroyed in 70 AD as the Roman legions led by Titus sacked and destroyed both Jerusalem and its temple. It lay in ruins for almost 1500 years until Suleiman the Magnificent, the leader of the Muslim Ottoman Turks, captured Jerusalem and began the rebuilding of her walls. A wave of excitement and anticipation swept through the conquered Jews because of an ancient tradition that promised their Messiah’s return and that He would enter the temple through the Eastern Gate from the Mount of Olives. In their minds Suleiman was just a tool in hastening  the Messiah’s return.

Suleiman soon heard about the rumors sweeping through his conquered

View of from the Mount of Olives (Jewish Cementary)

foes and put a stop to by walling up the Eastern Gate and creating a Muslim cemetery down the hillside in front of it, believing no holy man would set foot, much less walk across a cemetery to get to the gate. And for the last 500 years the Eastern Gate has waited.

Muslim Cementary in front of the Eastern GateGod gave Ezekiel a prophetic word as He spoke of the new temple that would one day be rebuilt: And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord God of Israel has entered it; therefore it shall be shut” (Ezek. 44:3). This prophecy was given a thousand years before Suleiman walled up the gate.

So, when did the Lord God of Israel enter it? On Palm Sunday, Jesus (God the Son) rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey’s colt (the traditional Jewish transportation for a king) as He was proclaimed the King—the Son of David—the Messiah by His disciples (Luke 19:28-48). Just a few days later Jesus would be rejected by the nation as a whole, condemned as a traitor and blasphemer, and then crucified.

Today, the Eastern Gate is still walled up. It awaits the return of the King. For any believer who understands the prophecy of the Second Coming a view of this Beautiful Gate makes the hair on your neck stand up and chill bumps erupt on your body. As you stare at this gate you are looking at the very place where Jesus will return in glory and power. Zechariah tells us that on that day the Jews will look on the One whom they pierced and they will mourn in repentance (12:10), as their King—Messiah Jesus—touches down on the Mount of Olives and prepares to enter His temple (14:3-4). This is awesome, but what gives me chills and goose-bumps is the understanding that we as believers will accompany the Lord at His return
according to Revelation 19:11-16. You may not ever visit Jerusalem as a tourist, but somewhere in your future you have an appointment—a destination Israel—and you will personally see the Eastern Gate as it opens to receive the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Those limestone blocks and hundreds of Muslim tombs will not stop the return of Jesus. He is coming! Mark it down and whatever you do prepare for it—He is coming!

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory many come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory (Psalm