The Sword of the Spirit

The reason we read and study the word of God is that when we “take in” the word of God, we receive the fullness of God and we take God, the Holy Spirit into ourselves.

Hebrews 4:1 – Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (Verse 2) For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit from them, not being, mixed with faith in those who heard it.

In other words: when we read or hear the word of God, we need to “activate” our faith. The word of God will become alive, combining what we hear or read with faith will help mold us into “Christ-like.”

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Verse 11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Verse 12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

(Verse 13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Verse 14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Verse 15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

(Verse 16) above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Verse 17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Verse 18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – 

All the armor of God is stated to its purpose except in verse 17, where it says, “The sword of the Spirit is the word of God.” There are two swords in Scripture: One is a huge sword that would take two hands to hold. Only one carries that sword and His name is Jesus! This sword in the Scripture that we just read, is more on the side of a “dagger.” It’s maybe six or eighteen inches long and razor-sharp on both sides. Back in Biblical days, every soldier in an army carried one. This was a very deadly weapon.

Isaiah 55:10 – For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, (Verse 11) so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

When the Bible is used properly and God’s word is spoken, things begin to happen. God things begin to happen.

This sword will protect us.

The very fact that believes need protection, implies that enemies are going to come against us. When we live our lives by the Word of God, there will be attacks from all sides. Whenever we get attacked, this attack is always first against the Word of God. Satan really wants to hurt God directly, but he can’t, so he comes after you and me!

Mark 4:15 – “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word was sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

The attack is first against God’s word and secondly against God’s children. Look at the very first words that God sowed into mankind: Genesis 2:16 – And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (Verse 17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now here comes the attack: Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Verse 2) And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; (Verse 3) but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” Is that what God said? The Bible says that God commanded “the man,” He didn’t speak to Eve. God never said that they couldn’t touch it.

To whom did God give the word in Genesis 2:16? He gave it to Adam. Eve wasn’t even created yet! So where did Eve get that word? From Adam. If the only place we get God’s word is from other people, we’re all in trouble! If the only place a Christian gets the word of God is at church on Sunday, or whatever day, they are going to be a “sitting ” duck for the enemy with a bulls-eye on them!

Satan got Eve to believe that God was rigged and hard to please. God told Adam he could freely eat from any tree in the garden but one. That doesn’t sound harsh, and it wasn’t. Our Father in heaven means what He says and what He says is to protect us. The reason Satan comes against God’s word is that he wants God’s children unprotected.

The sword is alive.

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. This sword has the ability to activate motion.

Before Adam and Eve ate that fruit, they were totally ruled by the Spirit of God that was placed in them upon creation. After they ate the forbidden fruit, their soul took over which consists of mind, will, and emotions. They began to be ruled how they think and how they feel. It was completely merciful on God’s part to drive them from the garden because if they would have eaten from the “tree of life” in that condition, they would spend all of eternity seeking to satisfy their bodily cravings!

The truth is, we were all born that way, “Soul in charge!” However, one day, like every believer, was fortunate enough to have the gospel shared with them: Romans 10:17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. However, the soul is used to having it’s way for so long, that when the Spirit inside of a new believer wants to rule, there is going to be a fight. A battle will rage on the inside.

But then the word of God comes, it cuts us free of being controlled by the soul and reestablishes the creative order that God desires for us! That’s what “that sword,” the word of God, does when Scripture says, “To the dividing of the soul and spirit.” This sword is even able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word of God will also cut off that condemnation that so many Christians feel because they haven’t lived a perfect life. None of us are “good enough” or perfect in our ways. That’s why Jesus’ blood washes us from all unrighteousness. Every battle we ever face will be won in our minds and in our hearts before we ever win in our circumstances! Did not David defeat Goliath in his head and in his heart before he ever defeated him with a stone and a sling? David activated the word of God in his heart and it renewed his mind.

This sword is powerful.

Do we seek God as much when there is no battle going on in our lives? 2 Corinthians 10:3 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (Verse 4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, (Verse 5) casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,…

The definition of a stronghold is anything that we know to be against the will of God that we also believe is unchangeable.

God’s word will demolish arguments that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The enemy will come with just a spot of truth to it. Then people will reason within themselves and think, “This must be alright for me.” The lies from the enemy are not always obvious. But if we know the truth, God’s word, we will be able to know the difference!

When thoughts come against us from the enemy, the Apostle Paul says to take that thought captive and bring it to the obedience of Christ! Resist the devil and he will flee!

We stand on the word of God to fight all battles and His word spoken will combat any fiery darts the enemy can throw our way!

The Sword of the Spirit!!!

The Breath of God

Scripture is God’s breath! When we read and meditate on the word of God, we are breathing in the very breath of God. Take these three symbols, bread, water, and breath: How long can we go without bread? Most people say 40 days if you have water. How long can we go without water? Most say 4 to 12 days. Now, how long can we go without air? It’s a matter of minutes.

Since the Scripture is the breath of God, is it possible that some people live in an oxygen, spiritual depleted atmosphere? It doesn’t take much to stress those people out who go without God’s word.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (Verse 17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Greek word for “inspiration” is “theopneustos.” “Theo”, coming from the word God and “pneustos” means breathed. So all Scripture is God-breathed.

Ezekiel 37:1 – The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. (Verse 2) Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 

(Verse 3) And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O LORD God, You know.” (Verse 4) Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! (Verse 5) ‘Thus says the LORD God to these bones; “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.

(Verse 6) “I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.” ‘ ” (Verse 7) so I prophesied as I was commanded, and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.

(Verse 8) Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. (Verse 9) Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ ” (Verse 10) So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

In this passage, the breath of God transforms a valley of dry bones into an exceedingly great army:

The breath of God gives understanding.

In verse 3 when God asked Ezekiel if these bones could live, Ezekiel said, “You know.”

Job 32:8 – But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.

Think about that verse for a moment. The very breath of the Almighty gives us understanding! Amazing! And how do we get the breath of God? By reading His word!

How many times have we said, “If I could just understand what God is doing or what is happening?” The Bible is how we get understanding. We can’t live a Christian life by someone else telling us what the Bible says. We have to read and know it for ourselves!

Luke 24:45 – And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Without breath, we panic then fear sets in. That’s what happens to a lot of believers that don’t read the word of God. Have you ever known a Christian that it seems every time you talk to them they are in one crisis after another? They put everything first instead of going to God’s word and seeing what He has to say about it.

The Breath of God gives order.

In Ezekiel, verse 7, Ezekiel prophesied and the bones came together, bone to bone. This was a valley of dry bones, not a valley of skeletons. They were not already put together. The bones came in to order when Ezekiel prophesied and the breath of God came. When Ezekiel prophesied, the word of God caused them to come into order.

Psalm 33:6 – By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. 

Genesis 1:2 – The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Verse 3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 

When God spoke, His word spoken out loud, it happened. When a person speaks they use their breath. We can’t speak without breathing. That day God said, “Let,” and His breath came out of His mouth and created what His words said. The “power” is in the breath!

God breathed the whole Bible and the power to do what He wants to be done is in His breath. Isaiah 55:11 – So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

When we go through difficulties and we read in Scripture what needs to be done, the power to do it has been released if we will speak His word!

The breath of God gives strength.

Those dry bones needed strength. The sinews are actually the tendons that connect the mussel together. It’s what brings strength and allows the body to function correctly.

Psalm 18:15 – Then the channels of waters were seen and the foundations of the world were uncovered at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. (Verse 16) He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. (out of the words of the enemies) (Verse 17) He delivered me from my strong enemy from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.

Exodus 15:8 – And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; and the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. (Verse 9) Then the enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them, I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ (Verse 10) You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

John 20:22 – And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” 

The breath of God gives life.

Ezekiel 37:10 – So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

The Christian life has to be nourished with the bread, water, and breath, that comes from the word of God. A malnourished person has no strength to win any battles nor will they have any power.

2 Peter 1:20 – Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, (Verse 21) for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

These holy men of God spoke the same way that Ezekiel spoke the word of God and the breath of God was released.

Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

So what brought life to Adam? The breath of God. What brings life to you and me? The breath of God. All Scripture is God-breathed!

Job 33:4 – The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 

I can’t stress this enough, but if you are not in God’s Word every day then you will eventually run out of any nourishment you need to be successful in your Christian walk!

Take in the very breath of God and He will prosper all we do! One breath a week is not enough. Eat every day, drink every day, and breathe every day.

 

The Water of Life (Part 2)

The word of God is bread and the word of God is water! We can go a lot longer without literal bread than we can go without water. How long can we go without any water? Not many days.

Psalm 105:40 – The people asked, and He brought quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. (Verse 41) He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it ran in the dry places like a river.

Is it possible that in the same way bread has a spiritual meaning representing the word of God, that water has a spiritual meaning also? Literal bread came from heaven, water literally came from a rock. But there is spiritual bread, spiritual water, and a spiritual rock.

1 Corinthians 10:4 – And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

There are types, shadows, and symbols in the Bible because it’s a spiritual book, written by a Spiritual Being to spiritual beings! The Bible says that the natural mind cannot understand the things of God.

Psalm 1:1 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (Verse 2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law, he meditates day and night. (Verse 3) He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in it’s season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.

How many Christians actually believe that passage of Scripture? If we really believed that meditating on the Word of God would make us prosper, how many would jump full speed ahead into God’s Word?

There is all sort of Scriptures that say we are like “trees.” Trees planted by water if we meditate on the word of God, we then will prosper, but if we don’t meditate on His Word, we are not like a tree planted by the water and will soon dry up.

So water represents words: There are three types of words; the word of God, the words of Satan, and our words. God has the ability to speak; Satan has the ability to speak, and God gave us the ability to speak. Did you know that Satan’s words and our words can be at war with the Word of God? Or our words can agree with the Word of God?

The war going on is Satan’s words verses God’s Word! This war can go on every day in the Christians life. Satan wants to flood us and he wants to famish us, but Jesus wants to fill us.

Satan tries to flood us.

There are spiritual meanings all through the Bible but the Bible interprets itself! The bible will define itself. For instance: trees, serpents, and scorpions all represent something that is defined in the Bible. By the time we get to the Book of Revelation, it will make it much easier to read if we understand what these things represent.

In the book of Revelation, the Bible talks about a serpent and it makes it very clear in Chapter 12 that the serpent is Satan: Revelation 12:9 – So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

So the serpent is Satan; water represents words, but the woman that is talked about in Revelation, is the “Church.” Revelation 12:15 – So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

Satan comes against the church, believers, with a  flood of words that do not agree with the word of God. This is nothing new for him. This is what he did with Eve. The first thing he said to Eve was, “Has God really said?” He planted doubt with his words. He told her words that contradicted “The Word” and when she believed it, she sinned!

Satan’s first priority is to get us to believe a lie, then he can get us to sin. The “Rock represents Jesus and “flood” represents the words of the enemy. Now look at this passage with the understanding of the symbols:

Matthew 7:24 – “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the “rock” (Verse 25) “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the “rock.”

Isn’t that amazing? We build our lives on Jesus as the foundation and when the enemy comes against us with his words, we will not fall! Doesn’t Scripture make more sense when we know some symbols’ meanings when reading?

Psalm 69:1 – Save me O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. (Verse 2) I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. (Verse 4) Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. (This is David writing this, but it reminds me of what is happening to our president at this time.)

(Verse 14) Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters. (Verse 15) Let not the floodwater overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up; and let not the pit shut its mouth on me. (The pit always represents hell or Hades.)

Have you ever had a “flood,” accusations come against you? Sure you have and it just might cause you to doubt God’s word. That doubt comes in negative words, the opposite of what God says about you or your situation. Why do you think people commit suicide? Because the enemy floods them with thoughts that “its over,” “life isn’t worth living!” Hogwash! That is the opposite of what God says!

However, we have a mouth that can speak too. So are you going to agree, when you speak out loud, with what Satan is saying or what God is saying?

Proverbs 18:4 – The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; Proverbs 6:2 – You are snared by the words of your own mouth.

People are in bondage by their own words! Satan tells people things and then they repeat it out loud in agreement! Do you know why most people agree with the words from Satan? Because they don’t know the Word of God!

Isaiah 59:19 – … When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. There’s the Good News! The Bible is our standard. We combat the words from Satan with the Word of God!

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He said three times: “It is written, it is written, it is written!” If Jesus needed to quote the Word of God to overcome temptation, shouldn’t we do the same? But we can’t quote it if we don’t know it! Satan comes against us with lies and if we don’t know the truth, we believe the lies!

Satan also tries to famish us.

Satan wants to flood us with his words and starve us of God’s words. He doesn’t want us to know the word of God because he knows that God’s word is the only thing that has the power to stop him.

Amos 8:11 – “Behold the days are coming,” says the LORD God, “that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. A famine of “hearing!” We have the word, but are we hearing the words of the Lord? Listening, reading, meditating on the word of God is where the “famine’ is. Sound doctrine is not being preached in some of the churches these days either.

Mark 4:14 – “The sower sows the word. (Verse 15) “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.”

Satan knows that if we leave that “Word” in our hearts, it’s going to bear fruit and he doesn’t want that to happen.

1 Samuel 3:1 – Then the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. 

When we first read this text, we think that it means that God rarely spoke in those days. That’s not what it implies. Remember what the “famine” was, not the word, but the “hearing” of the word. There was no widespread revelation because people weren’t listening. It sounds a lot like today. “Rare’ in Hebrew means “Precious.” Samuel valued the word of the Lord, so he heard the word of the Lord! The people of the land in that day didn’t value or think God’s words were “precious!”

God’s word is a treasure, hidden in our hearts. No wonder Satan wants to come and steal it out of our hearts. He knows God’s word has power and so do we when we stand in agreement with God.

Jesus wants to fill us. 

Satan wants to flood us and to famish us, but Jesus wants to fill us.

Revelation 22:1 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear and crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 

Revelation 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Whoever desires, whoever hungers, whoever thirsts, let them take the water freely!

Revelation 21:6 – And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

The “water of life” is also a “fountain.” Satan is the one that tries to flood us and carry us away, but the word of God is not a flood, it’s a “Fountain” of fresh living water that we may drink from! This fountain is on the inside of every believer!

John 4:7 – A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (Verse 8) For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (Verse 9) Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

(Verse 10) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (Verse 11) The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?

(Verse 12) “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” (Verse 13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (Verse 14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Too many Christians live defeated lives because they do not renew their minds with God’s words. The battle is in our minds, our wills, and our emotions. We have to decide whether we are going to agree with God’s word or the words that Satan whispers to us.

Jesus washes us from the inside out, but Satan floods us from the outside in!

 

The Bread of Heaven (Part 1)

There is a book that has the power to change every area of our lives and it contains the keys to experiencing miracles and holds the answers to every problem in life – The Holy Bible.

Is God’s word your favorite book? If not, it should be. There are all kinds of books that have been written on “Self-help” but none compare to the Holy Bible! Everything we need is in that book, everything!

Is the cover on your Bible worn out? Do the pages look too fragile to even touch anymore? I have sat beside people in church for years and never seen them with a Bible or take a note in. But guess what? These are the ones that either need prayer for something or they were there one day and drifted off the next. Then after they would go through some major crises, they would be back in church, but never fully committed. But if you are saved, please read God’s word as if your life depended on it because it does.

The word “Bible’ means book. There are 66 books in the Holy Bible, 39 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New. There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament and 260 chapters in the New. That means that if a person reads 3 to 4 chapters a day, they can read through the Bible in one year.

When I first got saved I read the Bible from beginning to end and then would start all over and do it again. I did that for years but then began to really study and spend months on just one book of the Bible. Now when I read I study “subjects” and go to where the Scriptures are for that subject. But this book is so familiar to me, I can find whatever I need when I need it. Every Christian needs to be familiar with God’s word because that’s what we live by!

There is only One Author of the Bible and that is God, but there were about forty writers. The Bible is God’s autobiography. The Holy Spirit gave the Scriptures to holy men of God as they wrote but God wrote His own autobiography.

The Bread of Heaven

The Bible is our daily bread.

Exodus 16:4 – Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

Matthew 6:11 – “Give us this day our daily bread.” Does that refer to our daily provision? Yes, but does it refer only to our natural provision? Bread represents “the word of God.” Is it possible that Jesus is saying, “Pray every day for a word from God?”

Have you ever felt weak or tired while on a fast? There are a lot of Christians that are on the wrong kind of spiritual fast. Why? Because they are not getting their “Daily Bread.” Did you know that God has a word for you every day? God wants to speak to us every day! And that word will strengthen us, but it’s not going to happen if we don’t get into His Word, every day! Something happens when we hold an actual Bible in our hands and begin to read those pages.

If you don’t own a Bible, I suggest you get one. There are two types of categories of translations: The first is an exact equivalency translation. Some call it a literal translation. It is a word for word, from the Hebrew, Old Testament to the Greek, New Testament. The Old King James was translated in 1611, but there are some better ones now because our English is a little different. We just don’t speak the same English as people did in 1611. Also, the New King James is an exact equivalency translation. The New American Standard is also a word for word translation and also the English Standard Version.

The ones I just listed are great for studying, but simply for reading you can use the other translations which are called “Dynamic Equivalency translations. These are “thought by thought.” Examples: The New International Version; The New Living Translation, which paraphrases. I don’t care for those because I think they change too much from the original meaning. But I will say that for beginners, the NLT helps them understand much better than the exact word for word translations. The Message Bible is an easy one, but I have found that too many times the message strays from the original meaning. It is not for an in-depth study, it’s just an easy read for beginners.

The Bread From Heaven Is Our Sustaing Bread

Psalm 68:19 – Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah

Matthew 4:3 – Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Verse 4) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” 

Where was it written before which Jesus quoted? Deuteronomy 8:3 – “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.

In the same way that we need literal bread to nourish our physical bodies, we need spiritual bread to nourish our spirits! If a person is going to be strong spiritually, they have to eat!

Isaiah 55:2 – Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 

Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge… My people are destroyed because they don’t know the Word of God!

Job 23:12 – I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than necessary food. Job was saying that he’d rather hear God’s words than eat.

Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your ways prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

 Our True Bread

john 6:31 – “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written. He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” (Verse 32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (Verse 33) “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

(Verse 34) Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” (Verse 35) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” 

(Verse 48) “I am the bread of life. (Verse 49) “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they are dead. (Verse 50) “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. (Verse 51) “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Luke 22:19 – And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it tho them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

The Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the Word! John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Verse 14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Revelation 19:13 – He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

When we read the Holy Bible, we are consuming Jesus! The Bible is not just a good book. When we read the Word, we are taking Jesus inside of us that is filling us to the brim!

The Scripture testifies of Me, Jesus! God’s Word gives us life. There are so many malnourished Christians because they won’t read God’s word. When you get to the place where you love the word of God, it will change your life!

This Book will keep me from sin, but sin will keep me from this Book!

He Holds the Keys

Let me start by saying that “Jesus never lost the keys!” However, He gave His keys to Adam and Adam lost the keys. And Jesus got them back, but what keys did He get back?

Jesus Holds the Key of Death

Revelation 1:17 – And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. (Verse 18) “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Hades in Greek literally means “the abode of the dead.” Every saint that died before Christ went to a waiting place. During the three days that Christ was in the tomb, He went to Hades, took the keys from Satan and took the saints to heaven. Do you remember reading about the Old Testament saints being seen walking around Jerusalem that day? That took place when Jesus stopped to talk to Mary at the tomb. (Matthew 27:52, 53)

Then Jesus led them all to heaven. Do you think maybe they were singing this Psalm as they went? Psalm 24:7 – Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. And the Old Testament saints were in heaven and Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father. 

Everything that needed to be done for our salvation was done – finished! We no longer have to fear death, spiritual or physical, because Jesus overcame both. Ther is no fear of death for the believer. The fear of death is the number one fear that people have.

When the Bible says that Jesus holds the keys to Hades and Death, He doesn’t hold those keys to lock people in. Before Christ, we were already locked in. He holds those keys to set us free!

Jesus Also Holds the Key of David

Revelation 3:7 – “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens.” ‘:

What Jesus said there, is an Old Testament passage from Isaiah 22. Isaiah 22 is the story of a bad steward. Keep in mind, a steward is not an owner. Also, keep in mind that Adam lost the stewardship of the world to Satan. Satan is the “bad” steward and Jesus is the good Steward.

Isaiah 22:15 – Thus says the LORD God of hosts: “Go proceed to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say: (Verse 16) ‘What have you here, and whom have you here, that you have hewn a sepulcher here, as he who hews himself a sepulcher on high, who carves a tomb for himself in a rock?

(Verse 17) Indeed, the LORD will throw away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you. (Verse 18) He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there your glorious chariots shall be the shame of your masters house. (Verse 19) So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position, he will pull you down.

(Verse 20) ‘Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; (Eliakim means “God raises up”; Hilkiah means “Jehovah is my portion.”) (Verse 21) I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

(Verse 22) The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut and no one shall open. (Verse 23) I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house.

(Verse 24) They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring, and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. (Verse 25) ‘In that day, says the LORD of hosts, ‘the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken.’ “

Shebna was supposed to be a steward over all that the owner had. Isaiah approaches Shebna while he is building a tomb for himself. He’s building this tomb where royalty builds their tombs. The higher the tomb the higher the position the person had. And Isaiah asks him what he’s doing. Then Isaiah tells him that he’s going to be cast down.

Now, look at what God said to Satan in Isaiah 14:12 – “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weaken the nations! (Verse 13) For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; (Verse 14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (Verse 15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Shebna is a prophetic picture of Satan.

This is all a picture of what’s to come. One day God is going to violently hurl Satan into the lake of fire. Isaiah 22:19 – “So I will drive you out of office, and from your position, he will pull you down.’ ” “He” in this passage is the King of Assyria that Shebna was making a deal with. Assyria wanted the land of Israel. Shebna was making a deal to sell the people of God into bondage! 

This is exactly what Satan does to God’s people. He lies, he’s deceitful by telling people they will be happier if they would do such and such. But if people listen to him, they will have a life of bondage instead of freedom that Christ gives. Shebna’s life didn’t end well because history tells us that the king of Assyria bore holes in Shebna’s feet, put ropes through the hoes and drug him by his horse! We know the end that God has for Satan too.

Then in Isaiah 22:21, Isaiah says the key of David’s house will be laid on his shoulder. But there’s another prophecy that the “government” shall be on His shoulder.

Here’s the amazing thing about this “key.” It was a massive key that had a hook on the end to go over the shoulder. It was a master key that if it opened a door no other key could fit that same lock. If it locked a door, no other key could open it.

Jesus has this key! If Jesus opens a door for you, there is not a man or a demon that can close that door! And if Jesus closes a door, such as our sin, our shame, our past, our bondage, and any open door where the enemy used to come in and takes us captive, no demon in hell can open that door! That’s the key of David! Jesus holds the keys but:

He is Also the Door

John 10:9 – “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.”

Isaiah 22:23 – “I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. (Verse 24) They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring, and the posterity, all the vessels of small quantity, from cups to all the pitchers.”

The word “peg” in Hebrew is actually the word “nail.” He’s going to be a “nail” that’s fastened in the wall. This was a spike. This is like putting a spike in the wall of a house and putting the plaster around it so they could hang anything on it and it wouldn’t rip the plaster.

This “nail” or spike which is much larger, represents Jesus being able to hold and handle the heaviest burden we could put on Him! He’s the Door, He holds the keys, and He’s the “peg” that can handle any burden we have, even the small quantity from cups to all the pitchers. No matter how small, we still get to hang it on Jesus.

The “offspring” and the “posterity” – In the Hebrew posterity literally means “Broken vessels fit to be thrown away.” That was us before we came to Christ.

Then this prophecy takes a turn: But there’s going to come a day when that “nail” is going to be removed and fall to the ground so that it will not have to bear the burdens that it bears anymore. Do you realize the only burden that Jesus has ever bore was our sin?

So here’s what God was saying in that passage, “There is going to come a day when My precious Son will be removed, fall to the ground, He’s come to the earth, He has to die, but when He does He won’t have to carry that burden anymore!

Jesus is not still carrying our burden for sin. Colossians says that He nailed our sins to the cross! He left our sins on the cross!

Remember where they put the key? On His shoulder. What did Jesus carry on the way to His death on His shoulder? The cross. The cross is the “Key!” The cross is the key to unlock us from Hades and from Death and to close every door that the enemy has put in our lives! And also to open every door that God has for us.

 

Why We Worship

How many people come to church for the singing, but never really enter into the worship? All through a congregation, you will find those who have entered the “Holy of holies” and right next to them will be someone just going through the motions. One person can have an encounter with God while others are thinking they’re glad it’s over.

Revelation 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.” 

Why do you think Jesus said that He would “dine with you”? I think because He wants intimacy with us that we have when we dine with others. Is there not conversation when you dine with someone?

I’ve seen this for years: People loving to be fed on the Word of God but never thinking about with whom whose presence we have come to be with. The church shouldn’t be just about getting a “good meal,” but “Who is sitting at our table?”

Look, Listen, & Look

Exodus 3:1 – Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Verse 2) And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

(Verse 3) Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” (Verse 4) So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Verse 5) Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

Moses looked at that bush. He didn’t just glance at it and move on. When we enter a worship service, should we not look hard for God? Focus everything on Him. When we are focused on something, that is much more than just looking at it.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This is the same way, that if we will come and look at the manifest presence of God, we will be changed into His presence.  When we look intently, as if looking at our image in a mirror, we can translate ourselves into the presence of our Lord. But our whole focus has to be on Him.

How many people come to a worship service burdened and weighed down and don’t really put their whole focus on God? Can we change anything by worrying? No, so why not let the One that can change the situation have our entire focus. When we enter the presence of God, He will speak to us!

What bothers me is when the congregation is in the middle of entering His presence and people come in late, talking, with their coffee they stopped for, and interrupt that precious time. They break off my time with the Lord because they are rude and disrespecting of the worship time. They ought not to let them into the sanctuary if worship has already started! This happens in every church I have ever been in. If the leaders would stop them from coming in and disrupting then it would stop.

Listen

Exodus 3:4 – So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” God was waiting until he had Moses’ attention before He spoke.

When your children were young, didn’t you make them stop what they were doing and look at you before you told them what you had to say? And then when they stopped and focused on you, you’d speak.

Could it be that the word from God that some are so desperate to hear, that He is just waiting there until we get our focus on Him? When God saw that Moses turned aside from what he was doing, then God spoke! How many people would love to hear from God, but yet spend so little time in His presence?

Psalm 100:2 – Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. 

Psalm 9:3 – When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence.

All the enemies, the wickedness, that comes against the believer, is defeated in God’s presence.

Psalm 68:8 – The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God. Blessings come by His presence and mountains move at His presence!

Acts 3:19 – “Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord” Look, focus, and listen and then:

Learn 

Moses heard God tell him to “Remove your sandals because the place where you stand is holy.” Any place or thing that God touches is holy! 

Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Exodus happened 2,500 years after creation! So, how could Moses write Genesis or the other four books for that matter? God taught Him! How else could he have written about Adam or Eve, Noah, or Abraham? God taught him.

Psalm 103:7 – He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. God made known what He did to the children of Israel, but He made known why He did it to Moses!

It is amazing what God will change in each of our lives if we will just enter His presence in a time of worship!

Why We Nedd To Express Our Worship

Have you ever thought about what it would be like if your spouse or a friend, or your child, or parents, for that matter, never expressed their love for you? It wouldn’t feel very good, would it?

Are we not believers, the church, the Bride of Christ? How do you think it makes Jesus feel if we never express our love for Him? Worship is love expressed. Believers express themselves in worship, not because it’s charismatic or pentecostal, it is because it’s Biblical Doctrine.

The difference in Dogma and Doctrine is: Dogma is “established opinion.” It’s an opinion that people form over many years. Doctrine is established teaching based on the Bible.

1) Clapping

There are two reasons in the Bible for clapping: First, it is for “victory.” Job 27:23 – Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place (the wicked man). Nahum 3:19 – Your injury has no healing, your wound is severe. All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you. (The King of Assyria that was defeated.)

The second reason for clapping is for joy: Psalm 98:8 – Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the LORD,…; Isaiah 55:12 – “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees (people) of the field shall clap their hands.” When we clap our hands, we are expressing joy to the Lord and victory over the enemy!

2) Shouting

Psalm 47:1 – Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! Galatians 4:27 – For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor!”

Worship is an act of faith. Everything we do as believers is an act of faith. Shout before we get the victory. The Israelites shouted before the walls of Jericho came down! Too many believers wait for God to move on their behalf before they give a shout of victory and that’s backward. God wants us to shout and rejoice and then He will move.

Here are 5 good reasons to worship even when we don’t feel like it: (1) He is worthy; (2) It’s being true to who we really are; (3) Praise is a command; (4) Feelings should not dictate our actions, principles should; (5) We worship by faith.

3) Singing

Psalm 95:1 – Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

Psalm 96:1 – Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. 

Numbers 21:16 – From there they went to Beer, which is well where the LORD said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” (Verse 17) Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well! All of you sing to it.” 

Are there any dry places in your life? Then sing and worship God and watch what He will do! Believe and you’ll see. Too many want to see first and then they’ll believe. That’s not how it works.

4) Bowing and Kneeling

Psalm 95:6 – Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Bowing and kneeling represent submission. Satan wanted Jesus to bow down to him: Matthew 4:9 – And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me.” Satan wanted Jesus to express His worship to him because even Satan knows that true worship is always expressed!

Kneeling represents honor: Why does a man get down on one knee to purpose to a woman? Because he “honors” her! So why not honor Jesus?

5) Lifting Hands 

According to Scripture, lifting hands represents “blessing.” The One to whom we lift our hands is blessed.

Psalm 63:4 – Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 

Luke 24:50 – And He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifted His hands and blessed them. 

Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hand in the Sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

6)Dancing

Psalm 150:1 – Praise the LORD! Praise Him in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament! (Verse 2) Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! (Verse 3) Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lute and harp! (Verse 4) Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! (Verse 5) Praise Him with loud cymbal; praise  Him with clashing symbals! (Verse 6) Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!

What we do in worship validates our expression because our focus is on the King!

 

Does the Holy Spirit Speak in Tongues?

There is a gift of tongues but there is also a “grace” of tongues. There is a message from God that could be in tongues that needs to be interpreted if it’s given in the church, that’s what the Bible says. However, there is also a prayer language that is not from God but to God from man.

Scripture is very clear on this, that we can pray in tongues. Keep in mind that this is different from the gift of tongues. Every believer can pray in a prayer language to God. But the “gift” of tongues needs to be interpreted.

1) It’s Scriptural

1 Corinthians 14:2 – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. So, he who speaks in a tongue, speaks to God, in the spirit.

1 Corinthians 14:14 – For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. (Verse 15) What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (Paul is obviously talking about praying in a tongue.)

(Verse 17) For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. Praying in tongues is called, by Paul, “Praying with the spirit.” And in verse 2 of the same chapter, Paul says, “In the spirit.”

Now for those of you who say Paul did not pray in the spirit, with tongues: 1 Corinthians 14:18 – I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;

What’s amazing though is that some people will read right over Scripture and not see it. They already are biased against tongues, but look at this Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:39 – Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, “and do not forbid to speak with tongues.”

Do you know that there are churches and entire denominations that forbid people from speaking in tongues? What part of “Do not forbid” do they not understand? That is called “Spiritual Blindness!”

2) It’s a Benefit

It’s a benefit to pray in a prayer language. 1 Corinthians 14:4 – He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

This word “but” most of the time is translated as “and.” It’s not used as the opposite, it’s in conjuncture with  – and or “on the other hand.” But there is a difference in speaking in a tongue and prophecy. Let me ask you if you don’t believe in speaking with tongues: What is wrong with edifying or building one’s self up? Nothing! Why on earth would this be bad?

We can pray in private with a prayer language but when praying in public, we should use words that people understand and that’s what this entire chapter is talking about. When we read our Bible in private, do we not build ourselves up? But he who reads the Bible in public, do they not build the whole church up also?

Paul said when he prayed in the spirit, it means he prayed in tongues: Ephesians 6:17 – And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Verse 18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,… Most people stop reading after verse 17 but praying in the Spirit is praying in the prayer language – tongues! 

Jude 20 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…

Do you personally not need building up in your Christian life? We all do, so pray in the spirit, with tongues! The Bible is very clear on how we build ourselves up – praying in the spirit!

Please keep in mind, this is not talking about the manifest gift of tongues. This is the “grace” of tongues used in prayer that all believers can have when they pray!

3) It’s a Choice

1 Corinthians 14:14 – (Paul says) For “if” I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. In other words, Paul said, “If” I pray in tongues. He had a choice and so do we. But Paul says in verse 15 that “He will pray with the spirit, and will pray with the understanding.” If the Apostle Paul willed to pray in tongues, why shouldn’t all believers?

This is not something that comes outside of our own will. A person is not going to just start blurting out tongues in “Krogers” one day. We have a will, it is our choice to choose to speak in the spirit when we pray to build ourselves up. This is an act of our own will. Why would Paul give instructions on how and when to do it if it’s uncontrollable? Since its Scriptural and it builds us up, why would we not? What’s wrong with letting our spirit pray? Does He not know all things?

It’s all by faith, we open our mouth while in the presence of God, and yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit. Don’t build up a strong-hold against this. If you do you will be missing out on the benefit of keeping yourself built up in the Lord.