And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7 NKJV)
Humans are prone to falling into patterns. It’s just part of our nature. When we let patterns continue without regard to their meaning, we have vain repetition. Don’t allow your services to be empty actions.
So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21 NLT)
I have prayed for healing for many dear people over the last 39 years. Some have been healed, some have not. Since I am convinced that healing is always the perfect plan of God, I have to ask myself, “What hinders people in receiving their healing?” Some things are obvious: If your lungs are messed up, quit smoking. If your liver is swollen, quit drinking, etc. Others are more “spiritual” in nature. Two things pop up time and time again. In this lesson from a Tuesday evening teaching, I dealt with the first one: A general sense of unworthiness or shame. Jesus has dealt with those issues, but until you believe it, your faith will be hindered in all other areas. Watch the video here: Let grace rule!
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Don’t do this alone, Amigos.
We had a great men’s gathering this past weekend. During one of the discussions, a man asked the question, “Who is your role model?” We were discussing how we strive to become the men God made us to be. One way was by finding someone to model the Christian life for us. Certainly, Jesus is our ultimate example, but, as in most things, we benefit from having a tangible person who can make impartations into our life. Paul identified himself as a spiritual father to the Corinthians, boldly telling them, “Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” (1 Corinthians 4:16) That brings up the question, “How do I choose someone to mentor and model the Christian life for me?”
When I started out, I had a mentor whom I chose for all the wrong reasons. I hung out with him because of the things I perceived he had. He had money, he was very well-spoken, and he seemed self-assured. God hooked me and reeled me in. As I got closer, I discovered that the real attraction was not what he had or what he did, but who he was. As time went by, I had two other men to whom I looked for examples. I am forever grateful for all three of these men. Take time to find someone who reflects the “who” of the Christian life, not just the “what” of the material world. It will pay rich dividends. Here’s what I found to be important in a mentor/model.
1. A commitment to winning the lost. Eternity was real to him, and He intentionally looked for opportunities to present the Gospel.
2. A commitment to helping people. He invested time and money into proactively seeking opportunities to help people who were in trouble.
3. A commitment to the Word of God. The Bible was something that was part of his daily life. He read it, he spoke it, and he lived it.
4. A commitment to his wife and family. Respect for the marriage covenant came from his mouth and was demonstrated in his actions. He guarded his purity, and he spoke respectfully of his wife.
5. A humble heart and a listening ear. None of my three models found it necessary to tell others of their own good deeds, judge others for their shortcomings, or lecture before they listened.
Somebody Said: He that gives good advice builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example builds with both. -Francis Bacon
Scripture Reading: My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. (Philippians 3:17 CEV)
The Christian life was never designed to be lived alone. Becoming what we need to become is done in concert with others: those who walk beside us on the road, those who have gone ahead and beckon us onward, and those who are coming behind looking to us for guidance. We are each in all three categories at any given time. Be sure to look ahead for those whose lives show them to be heading where you want to go.
Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
La Lluvia viene.
Cada mañana me despierto pensando que de seguro Jesús viene hoy, me cuesta mucho trabajo reconocer el mundo en el que estamos viviendo, las normas culturales e instituciones de mi juventud y mis medianos anos, pareciera que los hicieron a un lado, me pone triste el saber que aquellos que no creen que el mundo no terminara en un caos, si no que será restaurado al plan original de Dios el Padre por medio del trabajo del hijo. Antes que eso suceda, quiero ver un avivamiento radical en nuestra tierra. Nuestros ante-pasados le llamaban la “lluvia tardía” siempre esperaban por el día predicho por Oseas, “el vendrá a nosotros, como la lluvia, como la lluvia tardía que riega la tierra” Oseas 6:3
Algunas semanas atrás escribí acerca de la responsabilidad de la Iglesia, especialmente, por llenura del Espíritu Santo, una Iglesia que habla en lenguas, y el orar por la lluvia. Si no oramos, ¿Quién se supone que lo va a hacer? Hay otras dos cosas que Dios nos anima que hagamos, para así poder mirar que caiga la lluvia:
1. Guarda sus mandamientos, Deuteronomio 28 dice: que los resultados de guardar sus mandamientos serian: “te abrirá Jehová su buen tesoro sobre ti, abrirá los cielos para dar lluvia a su tiempo a la tierra y para bendecir toda obra de tus manos (Deuteronomio 28:12)”toda persona en esa sociedad agrícola sabía que abrir la ventana de los cielos significaba que vendrían las lluvias y vendría la cosecha. Nuestro mandamiento en el nuevo pacto es simple: “ amémonos unos a otros” si queremos ver la lluvia de su Espíritu, tenemos que trabajar en lo del “amor”
2. traer los diezmos al alfolí, yo sé que algunas personas se molestan nada mas de ver la palabra “diezmo”, pero si queremos llegar hasta el final de los tiempos, necesitamos ser honestos con nuestro dinero así como con nuestra doctrina. Malaquías da una gran promesa acerca de los diezmos: “probadme ahora en esto, dice Jehová de los ejércitos sino os abriré las ventanas de los cielos, y derramare sobre vosotros bendición hasta que sobreabunde” Malaquías 3:10, no importa que creas acerca del diezmo, Dios quiere que su Iglesia sea libre del amor del dinero y que seas liberado para dar en abundancia como él lo manda. Es un problema del corazón y al sanarlo eso traerá lluvia.
Alguien dijo: hay tres tipos de dadores- El perezoso, la esponja, y el amoroso. Para sacarle algo al perezoso necesitas amartillarlo, y aun así solo le sacaras migajas, para sacarle algo a la esponja, necesitaras exprimirla y entre más presión más vas a obtener, pero el amoroso, solo se desborda con tanta dulzura. “¿Qué clase de dador eres tú?”
El dar con agradecimiento y generosidad, hace que desechemos al viejo avaro que vivía en nosotros, incluso el pobre necesita saber que también él puede dar, solo el acto de soltar el dinero, o algún otro tesoro, hace la diferencia en nosotros, y destruye la codicia demoniaca,- Richard J. Foster
Escrituras Bíblicas: hasta que sobre nosotros sea derramado el Espíritu de lo alto, y el desierto se convierta en campo fértil, y el campo fértil sea estimado por bosque (Isaías 32:15 NVRJ)
Dios me está pidiendo que me concentre en el mover del Espíritu Santo y en los diezmos. Mi objetivo es transformar el amor al dinero al amor a las personas, de ensenarles a no depender en el sistema del hombre pero si depender del Espíritu de Dios, y así transformar a los mas que pueda. ¿No quisieras ver el avivamiento? ¿La cosecha? ¡Vamos a tomar responsabilidad y hagámoslo!
Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
I started using turmeric and drinking turmeric tea. Why? I read an article that said it had great benefits. It helps your heart, decreases inflammation of joints, soothes the digestive tract, and improves circulation. Why not? We all buy into all kinds of claims about all kinds of stuff. So, what if you could take something that would make you spiritually stronger, enable you to impact events around the world, and have intimate communication with the Creator of the Universe? Why would you pass up such a wonderful opportunity. That is the promise to us concerning speaking in tongues. When I pray in tongues, I speak divine mysteries to God, I edify myself, and I pray the will of God for the saints, even when I don’t know what I’m praying for. That’s why the devil spends so much effort trying to dissuade us. He tells folks that tongues are not for today, or they are certainly not for everyone, and even if you do speak in tongues, it will offend people and cause them to think you’re crazy. Well, I’m not dissuaded. I’ve read the ads in the Book, and I am determined to experience the benefits. Let’s do this!
These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
(1 Timothy 3:14-15 NKJV)
It’si Sunday. We get to go to Church. Let’s do it right on purpose.
These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
(Acts 2:15-16 NLT)
Sunday we had several visitors. That’s a big deal for a small church in Arizona in June. As I watched the congregation during worship, I noticed that most of our guests seemed engaged: singing, the occasional clap, even a smile! Then, at the end of the musical worship time, came the dreaded moment of quiet. I saw my wife looking at me with that look that means, “I have a tongue.” Oh no! What will the visitors think? Do they know what this is? Are they gonna freak out and run from the room? At that moment, I had to decide whether to be bold and let God move, or let my fears drive me. The tongue was given, I had the interpretation, and God’s blessing flowed to encourage and strengthen His people. The intimidation that comes from the perceived opinions of strangers is one of the biggest blocks to allowing God to move in our midst. Let’s press through!
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Church is the gathering of His family. Attitude moves the mouth to proclaim the blessing. How is your service gonna be today?
I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;
(1 Corinthians 14:18 NKJV)
A beautiful Saturday. Time to walk the dog and pray in the Holy Ghost. Praying in other tongues is my default mode for life. If you don’t believe in it, that’s OK. Feel bad for ya. For those of us that do, let’s practice what we believe. This old world needs us.
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (Acts 2:32-33 NKJV)
In his Pentecost message, Peter spent a good deal of time visiting Old Testament texts about the coming of Messiah. Thank God for the written word and those who preach it faithfully! But when it came time to convince his Jewish audience that Jesus of Nazareth was, in fact, the One of whom the Prophets spoke, he appealed to experience. Thank God for experience! He told theem, “We saw Him,” and “You can see and hear what He has sent us.” We serve a God of sound doctrine and dynamic experience. Take time to find out what you believe, then press in to experience it.
Love people, not money, Amigos.
Every morning I wake up thinking that surely Jesus is coming today. I hardly recognize the world I live in. The cultural norms and institutions of my youth and middle years seem to have been swept away. That makes me sad for those who don’t have the confidence that the world will not end in chaos but will be restored to the original intent by God the Father through the work of the Son. Before that happens, I desperately want to see a sweeping revival in our land. The old -timers used to call it the Latter Rain.” They were looking for the Day predicted by Hosea, “He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth. (Hosea 6:3)”
A few weeks ago I wrote about the responsibility of the Church, especially the Spirit-filled, tongue speaking Church, to pray for the rain. If we don’t pray, who do you suppose will? There are two other things the Scripture encourages us to do that we might see the rain come down:
1. Keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 28 says that one result of keeping the commandments would be, “The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. (Deuteronomy 28:12)” Every person in that agricultural society knew that opening the windows of Heaven meant the rains would come and the harvest would come in. Our commandment in the New Covenant is simple: “Love one another.” If we want to see the rain of His Spirit, we need to work on the “love thing.”
2. Bring the tithe to the storehouse. I know some folks get mad from just seeing the word, “tithe,” but if we want to see the end time outpouring, we need to get real in our money as well as our doctrine. Malachi gave a great promise attached to the tithe: “And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)” No matter what you believe about the tithe, God wants His church to be freed from the love of money and released to give in the abundance He intends. It is a heart issue, and fixing it brings rain.
Somebody Said: “There are three kinds of givers — the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?
Giving with glad and generous hearts has a way of routing out the tough old miser within us. Even the poor need to know that they can give. Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed. — Richard J. Foster
Scripture Reading: Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. (Isaiah 32:15 NKJV)
God seems to be asking me to focus on the move of the Spirit and the importance of the tithe. It is my aim to make the journey from the love of money to the love of people, from dependence on man’s programs to dependence on God’s Spirit, and to take as many with me as I can. Don’t you want to see the revival, the harvest? Let’s just get serious and do this!
Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
You can ramble through the archives of these posts, along with other material, at pastorvirgil.com. Stop by and check it out. New stuff is being added almost daily. The aim is to contend for the supernatural in the local church.
I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then He took the children in His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:15-16 NLT)
Laying hands on people in order to make an impartation is a very common Bible practice. It behooves us not to get so “sterile” in our services, and even in our daily lives, that we miss the power available in this practice. Jesus imparted blessing to children and healing to the sick by laying hands on them. Paul did the same, and in addition separated ministers to their ministry and imparted spiritual gifts through the laying on of hands. The Apostles imparted the gift of the Holy Spirit in the same way. Hebrews lists it in the basic principles of the faith. I urge you, don’t forget the power that is in your hands. Don’t let it lie dormant while people struggle for lack of power.