Monday, August 1, 2022

What Must be Freely Given?


VIDEO: What Must be Freely Given?

We know that God has instructed through the Holy Spirit that everything Agape Christian Fellowship provides is to be freely given, because this is His way. One of the hardest teachings we come across as we do the Courts of Heaven (CoH) Academy is the challenge to separate ourselves from a global church system where the ‘normal’ these days is to charge upfront for what belongs to and comes from God. 

This includes: 

  • Copyright worship music 
  • Teachings and revelation, including seats in a conference, and classes
  • Prayer, counselling, and personal ministry

The reason why many find it difficult to accept this teaching is that this is opposite to the way most of the body of Christ has been operating. Charging for things in the church has been introduced and has increased greatly over the last 50 years. For most of us, it’s the only way we've seen the church operate. People have been so indoctrinated by a church culture, where you pay upfront for the things of God, that many just accept it as God's way of doing things.

However, just because the majority do it a certain way doesn’t make it right. The only true measure of what is right is considering how it stands up against the word of God. Truth has never been about following the majority. In fact the Bible says:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.   (Matthew 7:13 BSB)  

So blindly following the majority is not always a good idea! 

Many Christians will argue that the songwriters, authors, teachers, ministers, etc. deserve payment for their time. It is important to note that we don’t disagree with that, for the Bible states: 

"You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The labourer deserves his wages." (1 Timothy 5:18 ESV)

In that verse “the laborer deserves his wages” (or reward/compensation) it is referring to those in ministry. However Jesus doesn’t want His Bride operating under the world's business model, but rather under God's biblical model.

Most of us are familiar with Matthew 10:8 where Jesus commands his disciples “freely you’ve received – freely give.  The ESV translates it very clearly:   

And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. (Matthew 10:7-8 ESV)

Jesus sent the disciples out to minister to people – healing, teaching, and deliverance from spiritual bondage. He is very specific, telling them just as you received all of this from me at no cost (ie. received without paying), likewise you are to freely give to others (ie. give without pay).    

But why does God want all ministry to be free?

 1. God is a generous God

And we as the church are meant to reflect the nature and character of God. 

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  (Isaiah 55:1 ESV)

We know these represent spiritual items, the Holy Spirit, the living water, the milk of the Word etc. Just as salvation (the most valuable gift) is free, likewise every aspect of God's kingdom is also to be free i.e. you can come without money as it is without price.

2.  The Church is meant to be set apart from the world

In the Book of John, Jesus talks about us being “in this world but not of it.” In other words, God's people don’t operate under the same principles as the world system but rather, the ways of God's kingdom.

In fact, often the kingdom of God functions the exact opposite of the world's ways. 

World  - the greatest is the person at the top

Jesus -  the greatest among you shall be your servant


World – look after number one (yourself)

Jesus – whoever loves his life will lose it


World – It’s more blessed to receive

Jesus – It’s more blessed to give than to receive

Unfortunately, rather than being a point of difference and a testimony to a fallen world, the church has, in many places, embraced the world's business model for finances rather than God's ways. The business model of the world is that you pay for your goods upfront.

  • If you go shopping you pay first before you can take the goods.
  • If you want a job done, you agree first on the price before you get it done.

That’s normal business. God's system is the opposite. You receive the ministry first, in whatever form that comes. There is no charge, no agreed price, no obligation or debt. Then, the person receiving the ministry gives back in response, whatever God puts on their heart to give.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion. (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)

(Paul says)  If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? (1 Corinthians 9:11 ESV)

The point here is in the kingdom of God, you sow before you reap. Not the other way around.

For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17 NKJV)

Peddling - comes from the Greek word kapéleuó: which means ‘to make a trade of’

Commonly used: to trade in, deal in for purposes of gain. 

Thayers NT Greek lexicon (defines kapeleuo)

To be a retailer, to peddle. To make money by selling anything, to do a thing for base gain e.g. an inn-keeper, wine merchant, a petty retailer, a huckster. 

Helps NT word studies

Defines the word in context as – To act as a unscrupulous merchant ie. a huckster who profits by peddling the word of God. Of people marketing the ministry for personal gain.

In summary, the word peddle means ‘to make a trade’ i.e. I will give you something IF you give me something in exchange. Can you see how far removed that is from the command of Jesus to ‘freely give”?

All genuine ministry for the Lord cannot have an advanced price tag to pay before the ministry is given. Why? Because then it is no longer ministry, but commerce, trade, employment or entertainment. 

Can you imagine what a difference there would be in the world if the church was obedient in this area?

Most people have heard the phrase “oh the church just wants all your money.” Unfortunately there's a lot of truth in this – as in some areas the church has been guilty of running more like a business than a ministry.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:2 & 7 that leaders are to be above reproach and to have a good reputation even with those outside the church. What should have been an amazing testimony of generosity, trust, faith and unconditional love by giving everything freely has instead become an area of attack and bad reputation in the world's eyes.

And we will see further through the following scriptures that God is not happy with this.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:12-13 ESV)

The account of Jesus in the temple the most well known record of Jesus getting angry that we have in the Bible. It occurred near the end of His ministry and it was clear He didn't want His Father’s house in any way associated with money dealings or mammon. What most don’t realize is that it was actually the second time Jesus cleared the temple. Jesus also clears the temple right at the start of his ministry as recorded in John chapter 2. When Jesus does something twice we need to take extra note! After the first incident Jesus states 

To those selling doves He said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father’s house into a marketplace!”  (John 2:16 ESV)

The phrase ‘marketplace’ is from the Greek word emporion. This means a trading place or market-house. Jesus is clear here that he does not want the world's system of commerce operating in his church.

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up (1 Corinthians 14:26 ESV)

Imagine if this occurred in the time of the disciples: Paul is with the Corinthians having a wonderful time of worship.

Paul - “Wow that’s a great hymn to worship our Lord. I’m on my way to the Thessalonian church. I’ll share it with them.” 

Corinthians - “Sure, no worries. We’ll just put our copyright on it.  Please make sure they pay us a fee before they sing the song or there could be legal issues.”

Imagine what Paul would say!! I don’t believe he would be at all happy with such an ungenerous, controlling response. 

Yet, we see this kind of thing going on now in the church and we think it's just normal.

During COVID-19, churches began live-streaming services over YouTube, including some services with worship. YouTube algorithms began shutting down services because they were violating broadcasting rights on these Christian songs! 

Here is another scenario from Acts 8:

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John.. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:14,17-19 ESV)

Now here. Simon offers money upfront in order to receive prayer. On the outside this kind of looks okay. Simon is following the apostles around; he seems to want to learn God’s ways and the Bible does say “eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)

If Simon asked this of the church today, I wonder what the response would be? 

Many may say, “Okay Simon, you're giving a faith offering (or sowing a faith seed) - we’ll lay hands on you!” But look at Peter’s response: 

But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. (Acts 8:20-21 ESV)

Note Simon's sin here was not charging for the things of God. He's on the opposite side of the transaction! His sin was that he was going to pay for it, like commerce. Immediately Peter corrected Simon and warned him there would be consequences if he continued in that mindset, and that he needed to repent. 

An Old Testament example. Micah 3 tells of how Israel's leaders have turned away from God’s ways and were leading His people towards destruction.

Then I said: “Hear now, O leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice?” (Micah 3:1 BSB)

The prophet addresses a number of areas where they have gone astray, but we see in verse 11 that he brings this charge against them: 

Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD, saying, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster can come upon us.” Therefore, because of you, Zion will be ploughed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, and the temple mount a wooded ridge. (Micah 3:11-12 BSB) 

Here we have the leaders – teachers and prophets at every level – charging for the things of God. Note they say they are doing nothing wrong! 

V.11  “Her priests teach for a price” 

Price - comes from the Hebrew word mechir (mekkeer): which means “price, hire”

The same word is used in this verse:

Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price. (1 Kings 10:28 NKJV)

That same word ‘price’ (Hebrew word mechir) is here used for buying horses. Obviously in buying horses, a commercial trade is happening. 

This same word/description is applied to the priests. They are guilty of operating just like the world.  

The same word mechir is used again here:

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. ( Isaiah 55:1 ESV) 

God lays out here that His system is without ‘price.’ Yet Israel, just like so many of today's churches, had disregarded God's way and taken on the world’s way. There was grace for a season, but God tells Israel very clearly that judgment is coming, destruction is coming.

I was speaking with another Christian about this and they didn’t agree. So I asked them to show me one place in the Bible – anywhere over the thousands of years of church history where things were charged for upfront. They couldn’t. Yet there are many scriptures where we can show the opposite, where it is not God’s way.     

In July 2020, Lynn Hardy brought a prophetic word from God about a coming correction/judgment to the body of Christ in this area (similar to how the prophet Micah brought the warning discussed earlier). This is class 401-9 in the CoH Academy called ‘God's Way.’ It's about the need to be separate from churches that are under the influence of a Jezebel spirit, and that this spirit has infiltrated churches through compromise, especially in the area of charging for the things of God including worship music.

As a confirming sign that this message was indeed from God, it included a prophecy that the very next month “the waves south of San Francisco will break out over the barriers.”

This city’s name means Saint Francis, who was guilty of selling his father’s things which didn’t belong to him, just like churches have been guilty of selling our Heavenly Father’s things. That is the reason the prophecy was linked to that location.

Lynn said, “I believe this is going to happen next month in August of 2020. The Lord has said this first correction will be gentle. There would be little loss of life.”

A lot of prophecies can be very vague with room to move – like “God’s going to bring revival in the east next year.”

We need to consider that this prophecy is very specific. 

  1. Time-specific – next month, August 2020.
  2. Location-specific – south of San Francisco.
  3. Event-specific – waves from the ocean break over barriers.
  4. Outcome-specific – little loss of life. 

The chances of all this coming to pass in the natural would be a huge coincidence, one in millions. This was also streamed live online on YouTube, including Lynn saying “thus saith the Lord.” If it didn’t happen, she would lose a lot of credibility as a prophetic voice.  

The very next month on August 27th, hurricane Laura crossed the coast inundating the states of Louisiana and Texas.

In Lynn’s follow-up message titled ‘Fall of Church Leaders - Confirming Sign’ (this class is in the 401 Removing Charges section in the Academy), she shares how this prophecy was fulfilled with Laura breaking many barriers, including physical and metaphorical ones.

As I was reviewing this, it really stood out to me just how literally this prophecy was fulfilled. I’ll summarize this and add a few facts about the waves, which were not yet available at the time of Lynn’s previous message. 

1. Time  – Hurricane Laura occurred August 27th 2020.

2. Location – Laura crossed the coast at Cameron, about one degree south of nearby San Francisco, Texas.

3. Event – Laura sent waves breaking over barriers.

What are the barriers to the waves? 

In the Book of Jeremiah chapter 5, the prophet is declaring judgment to the people of God. Interestingly, in the middle of this he points out God's ordained barrier to the sea. 

Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. (Jeremiah 5:22-23 ESV) 

The prophet points out here that the sand/shoreline is the barrier for the sea. According to official weather reports, hurricane Laura caused a massive storm surge of about 18 feet high (5.5m) or the height of a two-story building, which is why it was called  ‘unsurvivable’ for anyone caught in its path.  This traveled about 30 miles inland. One expert describes it this way: “This type of coastal flooding includes wave action. As coastal flood waves propagate, high water conditions on structures and land will vary. Coastal wave height flooding is created by the crest of the wave riding on top of the surge.” 

An article from a local newspaper the Daily Advertiser reads: 

A tremendous wall of seawater taller than 17 feet that moved ashore with Hurricane Laura, sweeping some Cameron Parish homes off their foundations, appears to be one of the highest storm surges ever recorded in Louisiana.

Hal Needham, who was on the ground doing field surveys after Laura, said his research shows a surge of about 18.9 feet at Rutherford Beach in Cameron Parish.

“It's historic,” Needham said. “It's a tremendous amount of water that will really be unbelievably destructive, because not only are you putting almost 19 feet of salt water above normal, but it's usually moving very fast so it can destroy houses or really anything in its way.”


-- photos –
17.1 FT AGL second story bathroom Louisiana about two miles (or three and a half km)

As you can see, the waves literally did break over the barriers!
 
4.  “Little loss of life.”

Forty-one people died from this incident in the US. Although tragic, this is a lot less than it could have been for an event of this size.

Officials said if Laura had made landfall slightly further to the east or west there could have been a much larger loss of life, citing the Galveston hurricane of 1900 that had a smaller 16 foot surge in which 6000 died.
Hal Needham said “it was a destructive surge, the silver lining here is that it happened in a more rural area." 
 
So you can see all four aspects of this amazingly specific prophecy came to pass, which God said would happen as a confirming sign of that message. 

We would be wise to pay attention to the message!

In addition to these events, there was further confirmation. On August 20, exactly one week before Laura hit, Lynn brought a follow-up message (in the 401 Removing Charges section of the Academy called ‘Loss of Anointing & Removal of Leaders’.)  In this message Lynn shares the parable of the ten virgins and a dream where the interpretation is that leaders will be removed as they have not walked correctly in God’s ways, especially in the area of charging for the things of God.

In my country, it was night time when Lynn was giving that message and my wife and I were sleeping. With no knowledge at all of the message being given, my wife had a dream about a leadership couple who are both pastors of a large global denomination that focuses on worship. At the time my wife received this dream, we were still struggling with accepting that worship music, along with other things of God, had to be all free. However, the timing of this dream, and the interpretation of it, convinced us that this was indeed from God. 


Unfortunately, worship ministry has become known as the “worship industry”. 

But can you imagine what would happen if tomorrow, all the churches suddenly started doing it God’s way? What a testimony to God it would be if these ministries, who have sold millions of albums and had many millions of paid streams, suddenly announced tomorrow that all that music was free! Free to download from their websites, and free to use in any way we like. All copyrights lifted. Likewise, all the books, teachings, courses - everything, freely available.

All they ask is that IF people are blessed by this in any way that they would give back a gift in response.
 
Imagine if the church did it God’s way - the world would be astounded.
  • They wouldn’t be able to attack the church about money. 
  • The church would gain a reputation of being incredibly generous and genuinely loving. 
  • Poorer people and nations wouldn’t be prejudiced against by not having as much money to purchase “the things of God” as richer people. 
  • Imagine the growth and fruit that would be released as the church closed the door to that spirit of mammon, control, and Jezebel.
  • The church would prosper financially as the Holy Spirit is released to move on people's hearts to respond in like generosity.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 BSB)
It takes faith and humility to let go and do it God’s way. To us, it may not seem the smartest strategy! But remember - “God's ways are higher than ours.” When He commands us to do things a certain way, we may not understand but God has His reasons. At the end of the day, even if we don’t understand we are called to obey. That’s what faith is. Then the church can walk in God’s blessing, rather than in His correction, which is sadly playing out in the body of Christ, even now.


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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Celebrating Pentecost


VIDEO: How to Celebrate Pentecost 

Christians are those who are committed to Jesus as their Lord. God’s people are the nation of Israel, those who are Jewish by birth or marriage. God created a covenant, or “testament” with Israel which is the Old Testament. Christians have a New Covenant with God through Jesus. It may be labeled as “old”, but it is still relevant to our relationship with our Heavenly Father because God is always the same. Much of what Israel went through will apply to us.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

We receive correction so that we stay on the right path with God. Looking at those who walked with God before Jesus will help us know what our Father expects of us. Traditions outlined in the Old Testament will still have meaning for Christians:

And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:14-15 ESV)

Israel celebrates Passover (Pesach), or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, every year. Most Christians know this as Easter, the day Jesus died. Israel was to celebrate this “forever.”

Shavuot, the Jewish feast we call Pentecost, is a holiday that commemorates the single most important event in Israel’s history: the giving of the Torah (the first five books in the Hebrew Bible) to Moses at Mount Sinai. Although Shavuot, Pentecost, is not as well-known among non-Jews as Pesach, Passover or Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, the three are major festivals in Israel known as the pilgrimage feasts.

Offer a sacrifice to Me three times each year. Keep the festival of matzot (Passover) ... the reaping festival (Shavuot) ... the harvest festival (Sukkot) ... Three times each year, every male among you must appear before God the Lord ... (Exodus 23:14-17)

In biblical times Shavuot meaning “weeks,” marked the beginning of the new agricultural, or harvest, season.

And you shall make for yourself a Festival of Weeks, the first of the wheat harvest, and the festival of the ingathering, at the turn of the year (Exodus 34:22)

Elsewhere, it's called Chag ha'Katzir, meaning “festival of the harvest:”

And the festival of the harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you will sow in the field, and the festival of the ingathering at the departure of the year, when you gather in [the products of] your labors from the field (Exodus 23:16)

Another name for Shavuot is Yom HaBikurim, meaning “Day of the First Fruits," which comes from the practice of bringing fruits to the Temple on Shavuot to thank God. 

On the day of the first fruits, when you offer up a new meal offering to the Lord, on your festival of Weeks; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall not perform any mundane work. (Numbers 28:26)

We saw the “first fruits” of the work of Jesus when the disciples were empowered at the Feast of Pentecost after the Lord ascended to Heaven. It is now time for the final harvest before the Lord returns. 

The celebration of these feasts is a commandment for those who are Jewish, not for Christians, however, we can learn much from God’s people. Following the Lord’s instruction, the disciples gathered in Jerusalem for this festival after Jesus ascended to Heaven.

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said He, you have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 

When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power. But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the Earth.

And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven. (Acts 1:9-11 AKJV)

Despite the fact that they gathered in Jerusalem, nothing happened right away. The Lord said it would be “not many days.” The feast of Pentecost began after the organization of the apostles had been accomplished. It was on the day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit first empowered the disciples for the work of the Gospel.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

The disciples were gathered together in one place, with “one accord.” A unique Greek word, used in 10 of its 12 New Testament occurrences in the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community. Homothumadon (hom-oth-oo-mad-on’) is a compound of two word meaning to “rush along” and “in unison.” The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concertmaster, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ's church.

The power of the Holy Spirit came for a purpose. When Jesus was being questioned before the crucifixion, the Apostle Peter fled when he was accused of being aligned with Jesus. Now, empowered by Holy Spirit, the same man spoke boldly:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:14-20 AKJV)

Each person present heard Peter speak in their native tongue as the apostle quoted the prophet Joel. That Pentecost Feast was the beginning, this 2022 Pentecost will mark the time of the end. 

The Holy Spirit revealed the beginning of the Tribulation with a series of eclipses where the sun will turn into darkness. The sun turned to blood on the Second Passover that occurred this year. The Lord has been revealing His ways in heavenly visits to the Secret Place, and as we have discussed, every blood moon connected with the Hebrew feast of Second Passover has been connected with a sign in the Earth concerning the return of the Lord.    

During this turbulent time, God has provided an answer: 

And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord—Christ] shall be saved. (Acts 2:21 AMPC)

Calling on the name of the Lord is much more than simply stating He is the Son of God. It must be done with adoring worship of who He is, the Christ, the Anointed One of God. When we do this, Jesus will save us! Peter followed this statement with the very first altar call:

Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?

And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-39 AMPC)

We must turn from the world, from sin, and turn toward Jesus, looking for His will in our lives. When we do that, we can be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that we can be forgiven and turn from our sins. This comes with a great gift, the Holy Spirit.

For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. (Acts 2:39 AMPC)

Wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit is for every Christian, everywhere! It is important to be willing to repent, to turn from our ways:

And [Peter] solemnly and earnestly witnessed (testified) and admonished (exhorted) with much more continuous speaking and warned (reproved, advised, encouraged) them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation.” Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls. (Acts 2:40-41 AMPC)

Just as it was in the first coming of the Lord Jesus, so it is now. The word “wicked” means twisted. The generation upon the Earth is perverse, twisted, and unjust. But Jesus is the answer. The Holy Spirit is our Guide. Pentecost is the season where we celebrate and receive Him. 

More Articles on the Courts of Heaven can be found in the: 


Courts of Heaven
tab in the menu at the top.

FREE Books

Believers' Boot Camp series

Believers' Boot Camp - Volume One
Believers' Boot Camp: Volume Two
Roadmap to Heaven
Destroying Curses
in the Courts of Heaven


Many people think of boot camp as a place you train for combat. Any veteran will tell you that basic training is about three things:
  • Knowing what weapons are available 
  • Learning how to use those weapons 
  • Receiving orders and following them 
Believer’s Boot Camp series is a collection of books which teach us how to hear more clearly from God with the goal to ready ourselves for a face-to-face meeting with our Lord, Jesus. The series reveals the “weapons and tools” God has given us and how to use them, so we can bring God’s kingdom to Earth. Each book in the series focuses on a single topic to clearly define one tool or weapon from our Heavenly Father. 

The series uses the Word of God to reveal all that He has given us through Jesus. The Bible is our instruction manual and the Holy Spirit is our guide to understanding it.

Volume 1: Why Doesn't God Speak to Me?

Eager hearts cry out, hoping for a single word to confirm that He hears us. Yet, many times the only sound is silence. Over the years I have heard several reasons why God speaks to some and not to others. One night, as I tossed and turned, I brought each of these reasons before the Lord, stating why each of them did not line up with who I thought He was. 

Words rose from my soul, pleading for Him to reveal why He has remained silent when a single word from Him would mean so much to so many. For the next few hours, God used things I learned about years ago and things I had just discovered to show why He talks to some and why He doesn’t, and in demonstrative ways. 

In His grace, He also showed me how people could hear more from Him. Basic instructions on how to hear more from God and how to be led by Him are included in this book. Thank you for taking time to consider the answers I received and share with you now.

Keys to Authority for Every Believer

There is untapped power that is easy for every Christian to access in the form of authority. The keys to this authority will unlock weapons we can use to free ourselves from the attacks of the enemy. We must be intimately aware of the bounds and limitations of our weapon if they are to be used effectively. 

Find out about your authority:
  • Why you need it.
  • Where it comes from.
  • What you can do with it.
  • How to get more.

 

 

 

 

Conviction, Correction, and Condemnation

VIDEO: Conviction, Correction, and Condemnation

As Christians, we are called to repentance, which means to turn from sin. John the Baptist preached repentance and we are to see sin as something horrible that we need to turn from. 

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness (desert), preaching a baptism [obligating] repentance (a change of one’s mind for the better, heartily amending one’s ways, with abhorrence of his past sins) in order to obtain forgiveness of and release from sins. (Mark 1:4 AMPC)

Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with [your] repentance [that is, conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin]... (Luke 3:8 AMPC)

When we confess and repent, we must mean it with our hearts, we must have a true and proper confession, not a false or flippant confession, where we just want freedom from attacks of the enemy, or from backlash we may be experiencing. God sees our hearts, He knows our motives and our intents.

Then hear in Heaven, Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart You know, for You and You only know the hearts of all the children of men, (1 Kings 8:39 AMPC) 

We must repent with sincerity from our heart. This means we must fully agree that we have done something that is against God, something that is not right, which may be quite humbling. Regardless of what the sin is or was.

Different scriptures talk about how people used to ask for forgiveness in biblical times. 

  • They were truly humbled, they sat in ashes and sackcloth. 
    • Some people even fasted from food and drink. 
  • They portrayed on the outside what they were feeling on the inside. 
    • They felt grieved about sinning. 

We are supposed to feel bad about our sins  to some extent. It will help us to remember not to do it again! There may be times when feeling bad about the sin we have committed is all that we think about. 

  • We may feel so overwhelmed with guilt and shame. 

When this happens,  we must remember that God has forgiven us!

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 AMPC)

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. (1 John 1:9, AMPC)

 I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25, AMPC)

When it becomes something we cannot let go of, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we pray for help to let it go, this is a sign that the enemy has brought condemnation upon us. 

  • Satan condemns us. 
  • God corrects us.

Let’s look at what the word condemn means so we can understand it a little better: 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines condemn as: 

    • To declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation
    • To declare to be wrong

Strong’s defines condemn as: 

    • Penalty
    • Punishment

When you are condemned you may feel:

  • Truly horrible about what you did (which is how we should feel so we turn from it, and do our best not to do it again)
    • This is all we think about
    • We can’t let it go
    • We can’t forgive ourselves for committing that sin (no matter what the sin was)
  • We become so very sad, disappointed and upset with ourselves
    • It may be difficult to smile or have joy
    • We may cry about it, sometimes we may even cry a lot
    • It may be difficult to show love or even have love for ourselves and God
  • So ashamed 
    • Which is ok if it helps us to keep from committing that same sin
    • When we are so ashamed, we feel that it may be difficult to face God, or even people, if they knew.

  • Sometimes, Satan will even tell people they are not good enough to be called children of God.
  • He can lead them to believe that what they did was so bad that God will no longer love them anymore because of their sin, or they feel that they can no longer be used by God.

The feeling of condemnation may be accompanied by a variety of emotions. Remember God does not condemn us! 

Yet I am glad now, not because you were pained, but because you were pained into repentance [and so turned back to God]; for you felt a grief such as God meant you to feel, so that in nothing you might suffer loss through us or harm for what we did. For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death]. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10, AMPC)

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.] (John 3:17-18, AMPC)

I like that 2 Corinthians 7:10 says: Godly grief and the pain God has permitted and allowed is directing us to repentance, which can lead to and contribute to our salvation and deliverance from evil. Wow! What we are allowed to feel at first should lead us to repentance! When we repent, God has already forgiven us! If you find it hard to let go, you can take your thoughts captive and bring them under the obedience of Jesus Christ!

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMPC)

Or, you could ask the Holy Spirit if there is a soul wound involved in what you are feeling. 

  • Is there a soul wound against God, because things have not turned out like you expected?
  • Is there a soul wound because of things you have done? A soul wound against yourself? This can prevent you from feeling like you are worthy of forgiveness. 

Now God does convict us! Yes, there is a difference. 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines conviction as:

    • The act of proving or finding guilty: the state of being proven guilty

Strong’s defines convict as: (the "I" here is the Lord)

    • I reprove, rebuke, discipline, 
    • I expose, show to be guilty
    • Of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish

When we are convicted of our sin, we are simply being shown that we have sinned. The Holy Spirit is telling us where we sinned, so that we can immediately confess, repent and plead the blood of Jesus over our sin. 

And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment: (John 16:8 AMPC)

The Word conviction means to bring about righteousness, uprightness of heart and right standing with God. As we repent, we are no longer feeling convicted about that sin. It has been removed. That sin is no longer there. There is a difference between feeling convicted as the Holy Spirit convicts us about sin and feeling condemned because we sinned. 

The conviction of sin also brings correction. 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines correcting as:

    • To make or set right
    • To alter or adjust so as to bring to some standard or required condition
    • To point out usually for amendment the errors or faults of

Conviction brings about changes to our behavior, our thoughts, and our actions. It corrects them and alters our perspectives so that we are in line with how God desires for us to live. Correction can be the pain that is allowed to come, so that we know that we have done something not quite right. 

Reading the Bible teaches us how to walk in God’s ways. It can also be used for correction. 

All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; (2 Timothy 3:16, AMP)

We have been forgiven. When a person repents, God does not pick and choose who receives forgiveness or not. Not one person is better or “more saved” than another. So, if you have confessed, repented, turned from your sin and saw your sin the way that God sees it, as something horrible, and asked to plead the blood of Jesus over this sin, then your sin has been forgiven. 

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12, AMP)

If you have forgiven someone for something, would you want them to keep coming back to you saying “I'm sorry” over and over and over again? No, you have already forgiven them for their actions. You would want them to let it go. Trust and rest that it is blotted out of all records in Heaven. There is no longer any record of that sin. 

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1, AMPC)

If we think our sin is too great for God to forgive, then we are saying that the sacrifice of Jesus is not greater than our sin. He is the Son of God and His sacrifice is far greater than our sin. 

Sometimes, even when we know that a certain action is wrong, we occasionally fail in our attempts to stop ourselves from engaging in it even when we know it is wrong. It is like the enemy is pushing a button, and we sin without even thinking about it. Sometimes generational curses or soul wounds allow the enemy to gain access to us. 

Once you complete the first three courses at the free online school: the Courts of Heaven Academy, you will be ready for a prayer appointment to receive assistance if you are continually struggling with a specific sin! Look for the “Known Sin” appointment at the bottom of the 401 Removing Charges course.

More Articles on the Courts of Heaven can be found in the: 


Courts of Heaven
tab in the menu at the top.

FREE Books

Believers' Boot Camp series

Believers' Boot Camp - Volume One
Believers' Boot Camp: Volume Two
Roadmap to Heaven
Destroying Curses
in the Courts of Heaven


Many people think of boot camp as a place you train for combat. Any veteran will tell you that basic training is about three things:
  • Knowing what weapons are available 
  • Learning how to use those weapons 
  • Receiving orders and following them 
Believer’s Boot Camp series is a collection of books which teach us how to hear more clearly from God with the goal to ready ourselves for a face-to-face meeting with our Lord, Jesus. The series reveals the “weapons and tools” God has given us and how to use them, so we can bring God’s kingdom to Earth. Each book in the series focuses on a single topic to clearly define one tool or weapon from our Heavenly Father. 

The series uses the Word of God to reveal all that He has given us through Jesus. The Bible is our instruction manual and the Holy Spirit is our guide to understanding it.

Volume 1: Why Doesn't God Speak to Me?

Eager hearts cry out, hoping for a single word to confirm that He hears us. Yet, many times the only sound is silence. Over the years I have heard several reasons why God speaks to some and not to others. One night, as I tossed and turned, I brought each of these reasons before the Lord, stating why each of them did not line up with who I thought He was. 

Words rose from my soul, pleading for Him to reveal why He has remained silent when a single word from Him would mean so much to so many. For the next few hours, God used things I learned about years ago and things I had just discovered to show why He talks to some and why He doesn’t, and in demonstrative ways. 

In His grace, He also showed me how people could hear more from Him. Basic instructions on how to hear more from God and how to be led by Him are included in this book. Thank you for taking time to consider the answers I received and share with you now.

Keys to Authority for Every Believer

There is untapped power that is easy for every Christian to access in the form of authority. The keys to this authority will unlock weapons we can use to free ourselves from the attacks of the enemy. We must be intimately aware of the bounds and limitations of our weapon if they are to be used effectively. 

Find out about your authority:
  • Why you need it.
  • Where it comes from.
  • What you can do with it.
  • How to get more.