Identity Theft

Brandon 01

A prevalent atrocity in our culture today is the issue of stolen identity.  If you’ve ever fallen victim to this fraudulent evil, you have felt the personal violation of this crime. An entire industry has been created to fight for our personal identities. Statistics say there is a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds in the U. S., amounting to over 16.8 billion dollars in 2017.

I believe what happens in the natural is an indicator of what’s happening in the spiritual. Every person on the planet has fallen victim of their true identity because of the fall of mankind.  We were created in the image and likeness of God, which speaks of His nature and who He is.

God is our true Father and we are His children. Not long after birth, we begin to lose the innocence of who we were created to be. We have fallen victim to identity theft in that we forget who we are and whose we are.

Christ died for the sins of the whole world to reconcile us back to the Father. We have been forgiven because of the blood of Jesus on the cross. Regrettably heartbreaking, many people will die not knowing they are forgiven. Hell is populated with forgiven people because they simply did not receive the free gift of salvation from the only One who has the power to offer it.

Orphaned and lost, mankind wanders the earth not knowing that God is their true Father. Their identity has been stolen from them and their eyes have been blinded to the Truth. Even some who have received Jesus as their Savior, so often fight spiritual battles by not believing the whole truth of who they really are. They spend their lives trying to earn God’s love and acceptance – thinking their performance has to be just right so they won’t lose God’s love and acceptance.

The truth of your identity is found in Jesus Christ.

The Bible says if you are in Christ, you are a brand new creation, (2 Cor. 5:17) Your spirit and His are now one (1 Cor. 6:17) – like pouring 2 glasses of water into one pitcher. We don’t need to wrestle with our identity. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (1 Cor.1:30.  In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28).  It’s no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me. (Gal. 2:20). We are not justified by our works, but by faith in Jesus. (Gal. 2:6).

Let this understanding of the truth sink in deeply. Know that He is also working on your soul (mind, will and emotions), which is in a continual process of being conformed to the image of Jesus. But your spirit man is perfect in Christ. By one offering, He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Heb. 10:14.)

He not only took our sins, He became sin in our place. His body was also broken for our bodies. Healing as well as eternal life is available to us through the cross of Christ.

We are saved, healed and delivered through the cross by the sacrificial shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our identity of who we really are in Him must be realized in order to walk in the fullness of God and the incredible inheritance He has provided for us.

Identify with Jesus.

Lord, thank you that Your crucifixion was my crucifixion – Your death was my death – Your burial was my burial – Your resurrection was my resurrection – Your victory is my victory. My true identity is that I am a child of God, my Father, and He loves me extravagantly without reservation!

And to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:19)

Just say Yes

Coy fish

Then He (Jesus) said to them, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” Luke 10:2

I walked by a pond in a garden that I was told had fish in it. I looked but couldn’t see any at first, so I threw some small pieces of bread into the water. Within minutes I was looking at a shoreline full of Koi – very hungry Koi!

I was so taken by these fish – I fed them everything I had. The Lord began to speak to me that these fish are like people; If you feed them, they will come to Me.  I thought, what do I have to feed people? I heard Him say, “Give them what you have”.

Jesus said in John 6:35, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.

We have Jesus and can give Him as the bread of life! Even if people don’t want ‘the man’ Jesus yet, they’ll take His peace, His love, encouragement, hope, comfort and anything else we have of Him to give them. Even the smallest gesture – a kind word, a glass of water or maybe just a heartfelt smile and saying hello. We don’t know what someone may need at the moment, just give them what you have. Maybe it’s meeting their needs on a larger scale, giving them money or a car or clothes or furniture. Whatever you give, it will be given back to you – pressed down and running over. In what measure you give, it will be given back to you again.

To reach a lost and dying world we must say Yes to God. We may fall short in our abilities, but God doesn’t call us to be His disciples on the earth because of our abilities. He responds to our Yesour availability to Him and equips us as we go. He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. I call it ‘on-the-job-training’. We don’t have to have perfect character first because God will always be working on that part of us, just begin to share with people who Jesus is and what God has given you – He’ll take it from there.

If you are a Christian, you have all you need! By receiving more and more of the love, the grace, the blessings of the Father, we will naturally spill over and give it out to others. We are the light of the world, we are the salt of the earth. Jesus is in you in the form of the Holy Spirit. Step out in faith, get free from the fear of man and give out what you have to the hungry, lost souls right where you are. The need is great – the laborers are few. We’ve all been given the ministry of reconciliation.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. John 6:33

Just say Yes to Him. Let God turn your Yes into an Amen! He sees and supernaturally uses everything we give out in His name – even if it’s planting one little seed in someone’s life. One plants, one waters, but it is God who gives the increase (1 Cor. 3). He will increase us and reward us for stepping out in faith, which is called fruit that abounds to our account.

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  John 15:8.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. John 15:16.

Testimony (short version): While in Brazil, our group of 5 women went to a hospital to pray for children in the ICU. There was a grandmother there whose grandchild was born prematurely and was addicted to heroine. The mother had left, so this grandmother was left alone to watch her little granddaughter struggle for her life. We prayed for the baby and then we prayed for the grandmother, who was devastated to say the least. As we prayed for her, we realized that she didn’t know Jesus, so we asked her if she wanted to receive Him into her life. She said “no, I’m not ready. I really don’t believe.” She then shared with us how hard it was on her financially to come to the hospital to be with her granddaughter. She was very poor and had to travel a long distance by bus to and from the hospital. We were still praying when all of the sudden, a few of us turned around (at the same time without a word) and got money out of our purses. As we filled this grandmother’s hands with money, she began to weep. This wasn’t a small amount of money for this little Brazilian woman – it was more than she made in a year! As she continued to weep, we heard her say, “I want this Jesus you are talking about.” We prayed with her and she received Jesus. Because of the supernatural move of God on her life to supply an incredible need – she was convinced that God is real!

Give God your YES! This is what we are born-again to do and to be… we are Christ-ians. He meets all our needs.

 

Authority

raindrops in water

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10

It’s not so much that God is ‘sovereign’ or ‘in control’ – but that He has all authority and He has given all authority to Jesus. We, as Christians, are Christ’s body. We are ‘in Him’. Jesus has given His church (His body/His bride), this authority to rule on the earth through Him – to bring heaven to earth!

We are to use our delegated authority in this world/this realm to bring about on earth what is already in heaven. Not to command or determine the lives, ways and paths of man, but to command and determine what the spiritual forces are to be surrounding man (ourselves). We are to cast down evil and darkness so the Kingdom of God can be established on the earth and in one’s life and circumstances. We are the light of the earth – light bearers.

This is truly ruling and reigning with Christ to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth. We do this by our words.

By our choices, we determine and rule by the words that proceed from our mouths. Our words are weapons that push back darkness and bring in the light.  The soul’s only power is the power to chose and the power of the word spoken out of the heart (our beliefs). This is why it is so important to have the knowledge, understanding, wisdom and will of God. We find these in His Word. We align our heart and our will to Him/His Word and speak accordingly.

(Photo by Brandon Cole)

Even Jesus Has Scars

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A wound hurts and weeps until it is healed. A scar is a healed wound that no longer hurts when you touch it. Jesus still bears the scars of His wounds. However, He is not on the cross anymore, He has risen victoriously over all! The Father has put everything under His feet. He is ruling from a place beyond the cross now – we must follow Him to that place because we are to rule and reign with Him.

2 Tim. 2:12 says that ‘if we suffer (endure), we shall also reign with Him.’  Have you suffered or endured anything for Christ? Have you been through the fire? Do you bare scars from this life for His sake? Allow Jesus to heals your wounds and make them into scars for His glory.

Rev. 5:10 says God has ‘made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.’

This not only speaks of the Millennium – but now in this life as we live in Christ.

He birthed His Church (Ekklesia; the called out ones) upon the cross when blood and water poured out of His side. We are His body, His bride, His church. He is coming back for a church-bride that is spotless and without wrinkle (Eph. 5:27).

Allow Him to show you how He now sees you as His church – His bride as you surrender your life completely to Him. As we give Him our availability, He gives us His ability, for “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.

We are victorious and overcomers in this life, not only because of what Jesus did on the cross – but because of who He is now. “As He is, so are we on this earth”. 1 John 4:17.

Pathway of Revival

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Revival and encounters with God come primarily through our hunger and our invitation. We are asking for more of Him – for more of His Spirit to be poured out upon us personally.

John the Baptist proclaimed to ‘make a way’ for the Lord. Mark 1:3 says, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” In John 1:23 he said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord,” The Passion Translation says, to make a clear path in your hearts – to prepare your hearts.

Certainly, those who want more of an intimate personal relationship with God, will naturally cry out for a corporate outpouring because this is the heart of God – to encompass the whole world.

So first, there must be a personal hunger-pathway for Him to ‘travel down’ to release His Spirit for revival and outpouring. We must individually prepare our hearts to receive before He can pour out corporately. (The individual makes up the corporate, not the corporate making the individual. We are individual members of His body. Without individual members, there would be no body.)

Picture an airplane trying to land without a landing strip to land on – we are not to be spectators just watching the plane trying to land without a landing place. No! We need to clear a place of ruts, bumps and holes making it a smooth, straight place to land. We are making a way for God to pour out His Spirit on and in us. Preparing the way is through our personal hunger, repentance, circumcision of heart and anticipation of Him.

The plane is circling – make a landing strip in your own heart!

For true Holy Spirit revival to come, we must individually become conduits of God’s Spirit to ‘land’ in other people’s hearts as well. This outpouring is transferred by impartation of the Holy Spirit from one who has it to one who doesn’t yet have it. God isn’t going to crash-land the plane and cause casualties. He uses us, the ones who have the fire and the passion and the anointing to provide a ‘landing strip’ for others to receive His presence and His power.

Through our Spirit-lead words, testimonies and sharing of the gospel, God demonstrates His power and anointing by opening their hearts and minds. As Scott McNamara, (Jesus at The Door Ministry) states, “We share – He shakes!”

Revival Rain doesn’t just fall out of the sky. The rain clouds are seeded with prophecy and prayer, sometimes for years before we see results. However, what hastens and proceeds any great move of God is a passionate hunger and thirst in His people crying out for MORE!

Paul’s Prayer to the Ephesians

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(Taken from Eph.1:17-23 The Passion Translation and personalized)

17Father of glory, I pray to you, the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, that You impart to me the riches of the spirit of wisdom and the spirit of revelation and discovery, to know you, God, through my deepening intimacy with You.

18I pray that Your light will illuminate the eyes of my imagination and innermost heart, flooding me with light until I experience the full revelation of the hope of Your calling (to which You are calling me), that is, the wealth of your glorious inheritances that You find in us, Your holy ones!

19I pray that I will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of Your power, God, made available to me through faith. Then my life will be an advertisement of Your immense power as it works through me!

 20This mighty power was released when You, God, raised Christ from the dead and exalted Him (seated and enthroned Him) to the place of highest honor and supreme authority in the heavenly realm.

21And now, Jesus is exalted as first above every ruler, authority, government and realm of power in existence! He is gloriously enthroned over every name that is ever praised, not only in this age, but in the age that is coming.

22And Jesus alone is the leader and source of everything needed in the church. God, you have put everything beneath the authority of Jesus’s feet and You have given Him the highest rank above all others.

23And now we, His church, are His body on the earth. We are filled and completed by Christ and we also fill and complete Him!

 

Walk It Out

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And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  Col 3:17

Only the things we do for Jesus really matter in this life. That’s why whatever we do, we need to do everything as if we are doing it to Him and for Him.

He is saying, “Live your life by faith in Me. Whatever you do and wherever you go – see yourself as never separate from Me. I am in you – wherever you walk. Cast down fear and condemnation. Step out in faith, not by sight or emotions. Fear and condemnation will flee as you humbly rely on Me. As you do this, you will find the courage to step out. As your fears are defeated within you – you will see the giants defeated all around you.”

We are full of faith in our prayer closets and see ourselves as God sees us (at least we should be this way and see ourselves as He sees us). Now we just need to walk out (experience) what He has prepared for us this day. God is with us and in us – always. We need to experience and realize His presence in the fray, in the battle – where the soles of our shoes touch the road we walk on. It’s the path He has for us since He’s tailor-made each day for us to experience more of Him and His overcoming power working in us.

I hear Him saying, “Learn from Me. Follow Me. See the victories and blessings I have prepared for you – to strengthen your faith and to experience My power and glory in your life.”

We grow in the difficult times more than in the easy times. Don’t be afraid of the storms of life. God will use them to strengthen you and show you His love, grace, goodness, faithfulness and all that He is.

Yes, come out of your closet! It’s time walk out what He’s given you – bold faith, confidence and an unrelenting trust in His ability. He simply asks for our availability and to keep our eyes on Him and fear not.

Say it out loud when you are afraid or doubt: “I trust You Jesus!” Don’t let your need to understand everything distract you from His presence. The Holy Spirit is your resident tutor, so exert your will to trust Him! The path you are on may not be of your choosing, but know that it is His way for you, to bring you into a closer relationship with Him.