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Returning to the Primary Purpose of Tongues

What Does The Bible Say About Speaking In TonguesThe apostle Paul pointed out to the Corinthian believers that he valued his ability to speak in tongues.  “I thank God that I speak in [strange] tongues more than…all of you put together,” 1 Corinthians 14:18 AMP.  On the other hand, he made it plain to the church that he rarely spoke in tongues during church meetings.  “In the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue,” 1 Corinthians 14:19.

If Paul spoke in tongues more than all the Corinthians put together and yet didn’t speak in tongues in church meetings, when did he speak in strange languages?  Well, obviously he spoke in tongues during his private time with the Lord.  Not only that, but his claim that he spoke in tongues more than all the Corinthians put together required him to employ tongues a lot.  Why did he bother with tongues?  Why did he thank God that he spoke in tongues outside the church walls?  Paul understood the primary purpose of tongues!

Speaking to God from the Human Spirit

“If I pray in tongues, my spirit prays,” Paul testified (1 Corinthians 14:14). Through tongues the Holy Spirit equips the human spirit to commune with God who is spirit.  Basically, the Holy Spirit gives a voice to the human spirit so it can pour forth praise and adoration for Jesus.

On the Jewish festival day of Pentecost, one hundred and twenty of our Lord’s followers gathered in Jerusalem.  “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them,” Acts 2:4.  The Holy Spirit gave them the ability to speak from their human spirits.  What were they saying?  Acts 2:11 concisely records that the 120 were “declaring the wonders of God….”  They were praising the Lord, not with their minds, but with their spirits.

Brother Paul loved Jesus supremely.  Nevertheless, he found it impossible to adequately express his feelings for Jesus from only his extensive human vocabulary.  So Paul, like the believers on the day of Pentecost, spoke his admiration of Jesus from his human spirit as the Holy Spirit supplied him with limitless vocabulary.  How good it felt to speak the overflowing love for Jesus that dwelt in his heart!

When by himself Paul communed with the Lord using both his mind and his human spirit.  “I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind,” 1 Corinthians 14:15.  His mind and spirit took turns worshipping his redeemer who mercifully met him on the road to Damascus.  This undemonstrative communion with Jesus satisfied his spirit’s need for the Lord’s presence.

Focusing on the Primary Purpose of Tongues

“Anyone who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God,” Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 14:2).  How plain can it be?  Tongues are primarily for communing with God, not speaking messages to people.

The immature Corinthian believers misused the gift of tongues in church. As a result, Paul recorded detailed rules governing the use of tongues during public meetings.  These guidelines occupy the majority of 1 Corinthians Chapters 12 and 14.

Consequently, many modern era Christians mainly focus their attention on the gift of tongues.  Regrettably, this stress on tongues during public meetings diverts our attention from the primary purpose of tongues.  Then we devalue the importance of tongues as a means of communing with God from the human spirit.

Many dear Christians who experience the baptism with the Holy Spirit speak in tongues when initially filled with the Spirit.  After that, they use tongues less and less.  This neglect of our God given ability to speak to the Lord from the human spirit robs us of the benefits of using tongues in private.

Unrestrainable Joy

Paul experienced huge disappointments and massive doses of physical pain.  He stated, “I have…been in prison…frequently, been flogged…severely, been exposed to death again and again,” 2 Corinthians 11:23.  We would naturally expect Paul to drag from one degree of depression to another.  However, he plainly declared, “In all our troubles my joy knows no bounds,” 2 Corinthians 7:4.  Where was the depression?  How could he experience unrestrainable joy when Christians disappointed him and unbelievers tortured him?

Part of the answer lies in his frequent use of tongues.  Paul pointed out, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself,” 1 Corinthians 14:4. Speaking from his spirit in languages supplied by the Holy Spirit reinvigorated Paul’s God-given joy.  His joy didn’t originate in this world, his circumstances or his feelings.  Joy that flowed from the throne of God sustained his unbounded happiness!  It’s the same with us in the twenty-first century.

Due to legal blindness, I lost my driver’s license when only 29 years old.  By age 34 I began using electronic recorders for achieving more and more of my office work.  My secretary printed my sermon outlines in ever larger letters.  Many other setbacks have occurred in my personal life and ministry because of my decreasing vision.  I admit that depression and discouragement often attempted to smother my determination to continue in ministry.  Fortunately, during my early twenties I began daily using tongues during my private communion with the Lord.  As a result, I experienced Holy Spirit edification that beat back attacks of despondency and despair.

I think that many ministers of the Gospel have failed to latch on to 1 Corinthians 14:4: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.”  They miss the self-edifying effect of partnering their spirit with the Holy Spirit in tongues.  In partnership with the Holy Spirit, our spirits praise, magnify and glorify the God in whose presence is the fullness of joy.  These expressions of our delight in God allow superhuman joy to flood our feelings and our thoughts.  Depression loses its grip on our hearts and minds and “in all our troubles [our] joy knows no bounds.”

Self edification isn’t selfish. The Lord who placed us in ministry edifies us by his presence so we can edify others by his power.  Let’s return to the primary purpose of tongues and use our spirits in communing with the God who depends on us to bless people.

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

May I suggest my book Demystifying Speaking in Tongues if you would like to learn more about this gift from our Heavenly Father.  Click here to order it for $5.00 plus shipping and handling.

Identifying the Spirit of Antichrist

Open BibleThe Bible predicts a miraculous event commonly referred to as the rapture. “We who are.. .alive.. .will be caught up.. .to meet the Lord in the air,” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. However, this catching away of God’s people does not shield us from the many anti-Jesus deceptions present in the world today.

Scripture predicts a world government headed by a man called Antichrist. Before this evil person arrives on earth, “Many antichrists [will] come. This is how we know it is the last hour,” 1 John 2:18. Let’s consider Jesus’ warnings regarding deceptions advanced by the spirit of antichrist:

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many,” Matthew 24:4-5.

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christ’s and false prophets
will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it,” Matthew 24:23-26.

We must learn to identify the spirit of antichrist who currently stalks planet earth!

BIbleFirst Declaration Made by the Spirit of Antichrist: The Bible Isn’t God’s Word

Every person and every group controlled by the spirit of antichrist claims that the Bible is merely a book written by humans. This assertion isn’t surprising.  In Genesis 3 the supreme deceiver attacked the validity of God’s Word. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

First, Satan insinuated doubt about God’s Words: “Did God really say?” Second, Satan distorted God’s Word: “You must not eat from any tree in the garden.” God actually said to Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” Genesis 2:16-17.

Genesis 3 exposes the pattern the spirit of antichrist always uses—deny the Bible is God’s Word and distort it. What does the Bible say about itself?

“The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets” (Exodus 32:16 ).

“I wrote for them the many things of my law” (Hosea 8:12).

“Jesus replied.. .These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me” (John 14:23-24).

“Every Scripture is God-breathed—given by his inspiration” (2 Timothy 3:16 Amplified).

“These are the true words of God” (Revelation 19:9).

“He who was seated on the throne saidthese words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5).

God handpicked various men who served as his co-laborers in recording Scripture. “Understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit,” 2 Peter 1:20-21.

In summary, Scripture is the reliable Word of the Creator of the Universe. There is no writing from either ancient or present times remotely equivalent to Scripture. Therefore, everyone who declares their word equals Scripture is of the spirit of antichrist. Everyone who changes the meaning of Scripture is under the control of the spirit of antichrist. Scripture means what it says and says what it means.

Second Declaration Made by the Spirit of Antichrist: Jesus is not God in a Human Body

 Verses in 1st and 2nd John clearly expose another deceptive teaching of the spirit of antichrist.

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. The spirit of the antichrist…even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:2-3).

“Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 1:7).

Jesus’ humanity is absolutely essential to God’s plan for creation. In the man Christ Jesus, heavenly Father exalted a human to lordship over all things. When we repent of our sins and submit to Jesus’ lordship, we participate in Jesus’ exaltation. “God…seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:6. The Spirit of antichrist hates this because our enthronement dethrones him!

The spirit of antichrist always alleges that Scripture is not God’s Word and Jesus isn’t God’s Son. Each teaching depends on the other. If Scripture is invalid, then Jesus’ claims to deity are untrue. Conversely, if Jesus’ words are unreliable, then Scripture is undependable. Every human is free to determine truth. Basically this teaching goes back to Satan’s lie in Genesis 3:5, “You will be like God.”

 Satan desires equality with God. In reality, he regards equality as superiority to God. In the same way, the spirit of antichrist seeks to elevate its teachings above Scripture. This so-called superior teaching downgrades Jesus to a mere mortal like every other human. For example, a Hindu can easily fit Jesus into his pantheon of innumerable gods; Jesus is just a good teacher who lived about 2,000 years ago.

During these days of rampant deception, we trust “him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and great joy,” Jude 24.

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

 

Bible Names that Describe the Jesus in You

Hand Made Heart

The Spirit of Jesus lives in every human who surrenders themselves to his lordship.  “Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit,” 1 Corinthians 6:17.  We do not become Jesus and Jesus doesn’t become us.  However, his dynamic life imparts life to our spirits which were formerly dead because of sin!  When Jesus’ Spirit moves into our dead human spirit, we experience what Scripture calls the “new birth.”

Isaiah 9:6 lists several descriptive names to the Jesus who lives in us.  Knowing these names builds our faith in his commitment to helping us.  Our reliance on his help builds our confidence in our ability to live victoriously no matter what goes on around us.  Instead of succumbing to defeat, discouragement, hopelessness or confusion, we stand fast with confidence in the Jesus who dwells in us.

The Jesus in Us is “Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6)

The Hebrew word for wonderful means “a miracle, miraculous thing, a wonder or great.” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) All these adjectives describe the Jesus who moved into your spirit the moment of your new birth!  The word impossible never deters Jesus from doing or being anything.  “All things are possible with God,” Mark 10:27. “With God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.  

“Wonderful” means to be full of wonders.  “Wonders” exceeds human comprehension and therefore are inexplicable; wonders are extraordinary or superior to the usual.  Well, since all things are possible with God, we can afford to go beyond our human understanding and expect better than the best and more than the most.

When Delores and I chose to leave a very prosperous church we had pastored for 15 years, move to Houston and prepare for ministry in Southeast Asia, we needed miracles.  Approximately two weeks after moving to Houston, I woke up one morning about 1 a.m.  I couldn’t sleep—I was terrified.  What had I done?  How did I ever expect to make it to Southeast Asia without a national mission’s department supporting us?  Since I couldn’t sleep, I arose, walked to our living room, sat on the couch and began worrying.  Worry was conquering me that morning, but the Lord, the Wonderful Counselor, asked me a question.  “Are you going to live by my promises or your explanations?”  I thought about the question for a while and then looked up and said to the Lord, “I am going to live by your promises and not my explanations.”  Total peace immediately enveloped me.  I returned to bed, slept the rest of the night and the rest is history.  We not only ministered in several Southeast Asian countries, but also pastored in Japan.

Friend, I don’t know what miracle you need. I can’t imagine the disappointment you feel.  But I can recommend that you turn your attention to the God of wonders who lives in you.  Quit trying to figure life out and depend on the Spirit of Jesus who lives in you to perform miracles for you and your family.  He appointed you a winner, not a loser!

The Jesus in Us is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6)

The God who created the first humans immediately began counseling them about life.  Counsel” means “to warn, instruct, admonish, and guide.”

In the biographical sketches of Jesus, he is often referred to as teacher.  In fact, Jesus was the ultimate Teacher whose instructions guide us, warn us and cheer our hearts.  Not only does Jesus counsel us through the Holy Spirit, but he provided the Bible for us.  This book offers direction from our Creator which shields us from falsehood and keeps us on the path of divine truth.  Jesus’ words in John 14:6 are so reassuring.  “I am the…truth…. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Notice that Jesus did not say, “I teach the truth,” but, “I am truth.”  He is the personification of eternal divine truth!

We rest in Jesus!  Every human teaching that disagrees with Jesus is a lie.  Every human teaching that substitutes anything for Jesus is wicked.  So, we rest in the Jesus who is the embodiment of truth, eternal truth that doesn’t change according to convenience or selfish ambition.  Everything we need for victory lies in Jesus, the wonderful Counselor!

The Jesus in Us is “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6)

Humans find it so easy to concentrate on personal weaknesses.  That’s understandable since we are so prone to every kind of emotional, physical, spiritual and all other types of deficiencies.

But the Jesus who moves into our spirits is “mighty God.” True, our Lord Jesus surrendered himself to human weakness and died a horrible death.  But he was raised from the dead and seated at heavenly Father’s right hand!  There is no frailty whatsoever in the man Christ Jesus whose Spirit lives in us.

Listen to what Scripture says about God’s children.  Through Jesus “we are more than conquerors” in everything that happens to us. (Romans 8:37).   The Spirit of the Ruler of the universe brought his conquering power into God’s children.  He is undefeatable so we are winners because of his presence in us.

While in prison the apostle Paul declared, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:13.  Can you imagine that?  A prisoner of the Roman Empire saying he can do everything?  Paul’s words “through him” are the key to this seemingly absurd statement.  However, Paul’s declaration is not absurd because it stands on the “mighty God” whose Spirit indwelt Paul’s human spirit.  Guess what?  You can make the same statement about yourself.  You are God’s child because the Spirit of Jesus dwells in you.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, so train yourself to expect to be a winner! (1 Corinthians 3:16)

The Jesus in Us is “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus is not heavenly Father and heavenly Father is not Jesus.  They are two different persons of the Trinity which includes heavenly Father, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.  But in Isaiah 9:6, “father” refers to Jesus as the Provider, the Guardian and the Creator of everything.  Colossians 1:16 points out, “By [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, all things have been created through him and for him.”  Heavenly Father, eternal Christ and Holy Spirit worked as a unit bringing creation into being.

As Creator of everything, the eternal Christ Jesus is “sustaining all things by his powerful word,” Hebrews 1:3.  Like any faithful father, the everlasting Jesus watches over us, blesses us, protects us, guides us, comforts us and carries out God’s will in us and through us.  He cannot and will not let us down because “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Matthew 28:18.   This “everlasting Father” promises that “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5.  Therefore, the presence of this “everlasting Father” in us fills us with the boldness to proclaim, “the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid,” Hebrews 13:6.  Praise be to the Lord who is our victory!

The Jesus in Us is “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

The Hebrew word for “prince” refers to “a head person, captain or chief, a ruler.” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) So the inner peace that God plants in us cannot be taken from us by anyone or anything in the universe.  Jesus is Prince, Head Person, Captain or Chief Ruler of peace in us.  No enemy of our indwelling peace can overcome our Prince of Peace!  He always wins and cannot lose.  His presence equips us with a peace that does not originate in us or around us.  This peace is beyond human comprehension because this peace is the Person Christ Jesus!  He doesn’t change, he isn’t unreliable because Jesus “is the same yesterday and today and forever,” Hebrews 13:8.

These Bible names that describe the Jesus in us fill us with superhuman ability to stand strong in all circumstances!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

A Concise Picture of Earth’s Future

God watching over earth

The Bible contains hundreds of predictions about the future of planet earth and humanity.  To write these predictions, God personally selected individuals in whom he placed his Holy Spirit.  United with these human spirits, the Holy Spirit accurately foretold many events.  These forecasts are normally called prophecies.

Three Men God Chose

Bible prophecy can only be understood if we appreciate three men God selected for His purposes.

Abraham was a regular heathen who knew nothing about the true God, the Creator of heaven and earth.  Nevertheless, God broke through Abram’s ignorance and began revealing himself to this ordinary human.  Genesis 12: 1-3 records:

“The Lord had said to Abram, leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

After Abraham passed away God spoke to his son, Isaac:

“The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘I will be with you and will bless you.  For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham….  Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,’” Genesis 26:2-4.

On one occasion the Lord appeared to Isaac’s son Jacob and declared:

“I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.  I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying; your descendants will be like the dust of the earth….All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring,” Genesis 28:13-14. 

In view of all these promises, we understand that God’s commitment to Israel isn’t based upon the Jewish people.  God’s commitment to Israel is based on his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.   But the Jewish Jesus is God’s instrument for reaching out to everyone of each race and nationality.  Therefore, our hope for humanity’s survival and salvation includes hope for all mankind.    Let’s look at a concise picture of earth’s future as recorded in the book of Jeremiah chapter 30.

The re-establishment of the nation Israel

In about 606 BC the prophet Jeremiah spoke for the Lord and predicted, “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers,’ says the Lord,” Jeremiah 30:3.

In the year 70 AD the Roman Empire crushed the little nation of Israel.  The Jewish people were dispersed over the face of the earth and remained a scattered people until the year 1948.  In that year the United Nations re-established Israel as an independent nation.

The birth of modern-day Israel represents an absolutely huge step forward in God’s plan for mankind.  God always keeps his promises!  “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill,” Numbers 23:19?  The promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will certainly come to pass and all humanity will benefit from God’s faithfulness to his Word!

A Time of Terrible Trouble for Israel

Most people and nations hate Israel.  This animosity springs out of mankind’s hatred of the Creator.  This abhorrence will not decrease but intensify as time passes.  The prophet Jeremiah referred to this worldwide hatred of Israel as “a time of trouble for Jacob,” Jeremiah 30:7  (The name “Jacob” in prophecy is synonymous with the word “Israel”).   This “time of trouble for Jacob” will be awful beyond description.

Sinful humans find it easy to blame God for earth’s problems.  “If God is good why does he allow bad things to happen?” they shout.  In reality, God is not the author of confusion, tragedy and heartache.  He instituted the law of cause and effect at creation.  Consequently, the angry rejection of the loving Maker of everything causes unpleasant effects that create unimaginable trouble on planet earth.  So, mankind’s rejection of the Lord brought about the immeasurable pain that humanity has endured.

As we watch world news, we witness mankind’s march toward total loathing of our loving Creator.  This rebellion culminates in what Scripture calls the battle of Armageddon.  Armageddon is a location in Israel where Satan and his earthly partners “gather the kings together,” Revelation 16:16.  At this time, Israel is almost annihilated.  “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it;….Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city,” Zechariah 14:2.  As the armies of the Antichrist exult in the destruction of Israel, Jesus appears in the heavens.  His armies obliterate the followers of Satan and the armies of Antichrist!  Israel is almost destroyed, but not quite, because Jesus is faithful to his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The Beginning Is at Hand

There is no such thing as the end of the world.  Yes, mankind will almost be eliminated from planet earth, but not before Jesus rescues heavenly Father’s plan for human beings.  Bible prophecy never predicts the annihilation of God’s work.  It predicts a wonderful change for planet earth, but this change is a beginning, not an ending.  A brighter future awaits mankind!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

Let God Be Your Refuge in The Day of Disaster

Christ Hugging ManThe prophet Jeremiah lived in Jerusalem when King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian armies besieged the city.  The year was about 600 BC and the people of the city were suffering horribly.  There wasn’t enough food or water.  The Babylonian army continually attacked the city with the weapons of that day.  Fear affected everyone and disaster appeared inevitable.

Jeremiah faced persecution from his own people.  The leaders tried killing him by confining him to a pit full of mud, but the Lord inspired an Ethiopian slave to rescue the prophet from certain death.  It went from bad to worse for Jeremiah but, in spite of all this, Jeremiah proclaimed that “You are my refuge in the day of disaster,” Jeremiah 17:17.   How could a persecuted Hebrew prophet make such an absurd statement that contradicted all appearances?  Jeremiah found mental and emotional shelter in his Lord and the word of God!  Consequently, in spite of his ups and downs Jeremiah remained hopeful in the day of disaster.

Toward the end of his life on earth Jesus predicted seemingly endless disasters as humanity practiced more and more rebellion against our Creator.  Here’s a partial list of Jesus’ predictions for planet earth during the last days before his second coming:

  • Deception that turns people from Jesus, Matthew 24:5.
  • Wars and rumors of wars, Matthew 24:6.
  • Famines and earthquakes, Matthew 24:7.
  • Persecution because of faith in Jesus, Matthew 24:9.
  • False teachers and widespread deception, Matthew 24:11.
  • The increase of wickedness destroys the love of many Christians for Jesus, Matthew 24:12.

There are many, many other predictions concerning the awful godlessness of the last days, but we boldly proclaim that God is our Refuge in the day of disaster!

The Undefeatable Spirit of Jesus

Obviously, we are human bodies with human minds and emotions.  But we are primarily human spirits.

Genesis 2:7 declares that God created Adam’s body but it was lifeless. Something was missing from this perfect and complete physical body.  Then God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.”  The Spirit of God created the human spirit in Adam which gave life to the physical person.  Adam and God were both spirits and communed and communicated on the spiritual level.  Adam knew nothing of fear, worry, anxiety or any other unpleasant thought.  “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man and he brought her to the man,” Genesis 2:22.  Both Adam and Eve lived in a disaster free environment.

Jesus was truly human because he was body, soul and mind but his Spirit originated in Heavenly Father and was totally sinless.  Jesus was like Adam before Adam sinned.  Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to experience temptation by Satan, attacks from the ungodly and inner battles with discouragement.  But Jesus’ earthly trials perfected his human spirit so his resurrected Spirit could indwell every child of God.  When Jesus’ Spirit moves into a born again human being, the human spirit comes to life!

When the undefeatable Spirit of Jesus moves into a person, that person becomes empowered to overcome every human weakness, every temptation to sin and every rebellious feeling toward God.  The undefeatable Spirit of Jesus becomes your refuge against which no enemy can succeed.

Jesus, a Refuge for Our Thoughts

When Jesus’ Spirit moved into our human spirits, our spirits became empowered with divine energy to resist fearful, discouraging thoughts of hopelessness.  God does not take us out of this world when we are born again—He equips us to overcome the world in which we dwell.

Obviously, bad news about disasters of every type permeate society.  Radio, television, computers, cell phones and every other kind of electronic communication device flood our thoughts with fear invoking news.  Nevertheless, with the mighty Spirit of Jesus in us we can control the effect this news exerts upon our thoughts.  Actually, we should refuse to soak our minds with bad news.  What’s the alternative?  The first two verses of the Book of Psalms tells us to control the thoughts we permit into our meditation.  “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” 

God’s Spirit wants to serve as a refuge for your thoughts, your meditation!  Refuse to saturate your mind in the bad news of this world.  Don’t allow the things of this world that you did not cause and cannot prevent to occupy your meditation.  Control your thoughts by reading God’s word, listening to it taught and preached, and rejecting the temptation to allow the news of this world to fill your mind.  Remember God’s command to us in Isaiah 37:6. “Do not be afraid of what you have heard.”  End of issue!

God, the Refuge for Our Emotions

God created us creatures of feeling as well as creatures of thought.  We call these feelings emotion.  Emotion is a very important part of our being and our relationship with our heavenly Maker.  However, emotion can fight against us when not kept under control.  So, God wants to serve as a refuge for your emotions as well as your thoughts.

The Spirit of Jesus who indwells your human spirit empowers you to say No to ungodly and unhealthy emotions.  Through Jesus’ presence we can deny fear, hatred, sadness, anxiety and every other destructive emotion that attacks us.

Recall what Galatians 5:22 and 23 says about you.  The Holy Spirit who dwells in your spirit empowers you to accept God’s emotions when you don’t feel them.  You say No to destructive emotions and you say Yes to the beautiful emotions of God that indwells your human spirit.  Let the Holy Spirit be your refuge which shields you from emotions that tear you down instead of build you up.  Through the energy of the Jesus in you, you purposefully and deliberately choose the emotions that bless you and your walk with Jesus Christ!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

EasterNot too long before he returned to heaven, Jesus told his followers “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me,” John 14:1.

The English words “Do not let” mean “to refuse to allow or to permit something to happen.”  So, God gives us the power to reject a troubled heart.  Yes, the Holy Spirit in you equips you to reject a troubled heart even though you live in a troubled world!  We can reject the trouble we brought on ourselves or that others brought on us.  In fact, Jesus told us that God “will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away,” Revelation 21:4.

As believers in Jesus we firmly stand against a troubled mind and a disturbed heart.  God is our Victory!

Another wonderful verse is found in Proverbs 12:28: “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

Three Cross PaintingResting in Jesus

Jesus is our life!  He isn’t merely our pathway to life—he is our very life!  So, we rest in him even when we live in a world of chaos and feel fear in our hearts.  We say “no” to fear of every kind and surrender ourselves to heavenly Father, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.  They are our guardian and our provider.  Even if our enemies kill us, we do not fear, but rest in the Lord who called us into eternal immortality.  There is nothing to fear because heavenly Father, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit commit their infinite power to bestowing eternal life on us.  We are more than conquerors through him who loved us!  Remember the verse we quoted above?  “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality,” Proverbs 12:28.  Yes, walking with Jesus guarantees immortality to his followers.  Even if we are executed by our enemies, we do not fear because God designed us for eternal life!

When we die, our spirit steps out of our bodies and lives eternally with Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  We cannot lose for winning!  Our God called us to eternal life so that’s where we are headed!

Overcoming Fear of Death

Death is a frightening experience that nobody wants to go through.  However, death happens to every human since Adam and Eve.  So, we overcome fear of death even though we cannot escape death.

We refuse to allow our hearts to be frightened of death because we belong to the Author of Life.  Jesus came to earth as a mortal and experienced execution on a cross.  However, Jesus volunteered to die and, thereby, became eligible for eternal life.  True, his death was very unpleasant.  His torture, crucifixion, spitting, screaming and beating was anything but pleasant.  Nevertheless, Jesus experienced this for our sake so that by uniting with him we could overcome the fear of death just like he overcame it.

Jesus was buried in a tomb hollowed out of rock.  They laid his body in this tomb and rolled a large stone across the door into the tomb.  However, in three days Jesus’ Spirit entered his lifeless body and brought it back to eternal life.  He walked out of the tomb and appeared to many of his followers before ascending to his father’s right hand.  Consequently, we face the experience called death without being terrified by it.  We know that beyond death lies eternal life for everyone who loves the Lord!  Eternal life awaits all of Jesus’ followers who love him and want to please him.  God gives us the power to reject a troubled heart even though we must go through physical death.  We are seeking immortality even though immortality requires us to experience death.  We are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself up for us, so we do not fear death.  We refuse to let our hearts be troubled by the prospect of these bodies ceasing to exist.  Eternal life awaits all of Jesus’ followers because he died to bring us into everlasting life!  Our union with Jesus guarantees our union with him in eternal life!

Joyfully Anticipating Eternal Life

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me,” John 14:1.   We choose to not be troubled by placing our faith in the God who called us to eternal life!  All of us face a resurrection which brings us into eternal life in a resurrected body.  Truly, we cannot lose for winning!  Our God called us to eternal life without fear of harm, injury or death.  We refuse to be troubled by fear, anxiety or hopelessness.  We rest in our God who watches over us and will help us escape eternal death by raising us from the dead and placing us in an eternally resurrected body.  We choose to not be troubled because we believe in our eternal God who loves us with all his heart.  We are headed for an eternal life without any fear, pain, sorrow, regrets or suffering.

Remember, brother and sister, what Proverbs 12:28 promises you: “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.” 

Be greatly encouraged,

James Fields

When God Thinks About You

God can’t get you off his mind. His infinite love fixes you in his thoughts.  Before creating the universe, God filled his mind with wonderful plans for your life on earth and awesome ideas for your eternity.

We small mortals can scarcely believe that an infinite Creator thinks so often and so highly about us.  David asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him,Psalm 8:4. “Mindful” means that God’s mind is full of living thoughts about his loved ones.  We can’t explain how God simultaneously thinks about all his children, but he does!

Jesus described his heavenly Father like this: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they,Matthew 6:26.  Jesus was trying to help the human imagination grasp the outer fringes of God’s love for us.  If he is mindful of birds, how much more does he think about meeting human needs?

A verse from Job summarizes God’s feelings for his children.  “He never takes his eyes off the righteous,Job 36:7.  He thinks about us all the time.

Heart, MusicWhat happens in God when he thinks about you?

You rejoice his heart and place a song on his lips.  “He rejoices over you with singing,Zephaniah 3:17.  You are the source of his song because you are the object of his love.  The measureless One who made all things experiences a thrill every time his children come to his mind–and we fill his mind always.

You delight his heart.  “He takes great delight in you, Zephaniah 3:17. “Delight” exceeds joy.  Although our actions and behavior don’t always bring joy to God, he continually delights in our person.  Our imperfections, failures and weaknesses grieve his heart but do not lessen his delight in us.  He remains committed to perfecting us when we act very imperfectly.  His delight in us never waivers even when it is necessary to correct us, to rebuke us, or reprimand us.  “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline,” Revelation 3:19.

What happens to you when God thinks about you?

You wear a crown of blessing.  “Blessings crown the head of the righteous,” Proverbs 10:6. The new birth removed the crown of thorns you wore and placed a crown of God’s blessing upon your head.  The crown God placed on you represents the position he gave you.  You became an offspring of the King of the universe.  Like your Father King you wear a crown as a sign of your royal position.  You are his child.  Human frailties do not tear you out of his family.  Doubts about your God or yourself never decrease his determination to live in you by his Spirit.

Wearing God’s crown of blessing doesn’t exempt you from unpleasant seasons, difficulties or trials.  The crown simply indicates that whatever life throws at you, you will triumph; you will win; you will move out of unpleasantness into pleasantness.  “He rescued me because he delighted in me,” (Psalm 18:19) applies to you no matter how you feel or what’s going on around you.  You will eternally be God’s delight.

What happens to your spiritual foes when God thinks about you?

They cringe in fear of the One who thinks about you.  Devils flee from the One who fills His mind with you.  Wild panic grips their thoughts and feelings.  They flee from you as the One who thinks of you commands his angels to encamp around you.  Dear Christian friend, please notice the full quotation of Job 36:7. “He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.”  Let’s skip to verses 15 and 16 of the same chapter.  “But those who suffer, he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.  He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.”  Please don’t let life’s disappointments or hardships fool you into believing that God isn’t thinking about you.  He is “wooing you from the jaws of distress.”  He cannot lose sight of your best; your welfare fills the thoughts of the One who can’t quit lovingly thinking about you!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

When the Angel Sat Down

Three Cross Painting

Hilarious glee filled the hearts of Jesus’ enemies.  They had succeeded in crucifying and burying this man who claimed to be the Son of God.  All who resisted the will of God rejoiced at their victory over the man they considered a great deceiver.

But one thing troubled Jesus’ foes.  They recalled that he predicted his resurrection.

The chief priests and Pharisees approached Pilate, the Roman governor over Israel.  “Sir…we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again,’” Matthew 27:63.

Soldiers At Jesus TombThey requested Pilate to station an armed guard at Jesus’ tomb so that his disciples would not steal the body and claim that He rose from the dead.  In addition to the guard, the religious leaders sealed the huge stone that lay over the tomb.  This seal was probably a cement-like substance spread over the edge of the stone that glued it to the tomb.  The weight of the stone plus the seal created a strong barrier to anyone who wished to remove Jesus’ body.

Everyone who resisted God’s plan for Jesus’ resurrection felt confident that they had thwarted his prediction.  The tomb was securely sealed, and soldiers guarded against intruders.

Angel Rolling The Stong Away From The TombGod always prevails over human resistance to his plan.  God never loses; sinners never win.  “An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and…rolled back the stone and sat on it,” Matthew 28:2.  The mighty soldiers fainted.  The seal that attached the stone to the tomb completely shattered as the angel touched it with a little finger.  Then the angel sat on the stone that was intended to prevent Jesus’ resurrection.

Dealing with Terrible Times

Through the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit predicted terrible times in the last days preceding Jesus’ second coming.  Why terrible times?  Because humanity’s rejection of God exposes us to Satan’s hateful violence against all that God loves.

Although we live in terrible times, we can remain confident in the One who overcame all human resistance to Jesus’ resurrection.  The God who raised Jesus from the dead is the God whose Spirit lives in our hearts.  Don’t focus your attention on the terrible times; keep your attention on the heavenly Father who sent his angel to demolish human resistance to divine purposes.

Christians die in wars and natural disasters and are sometimes victims of crime.  However, death is like the stone that covered Jesus’ tomb.  It means nothing.  Physical death propels us into eternal life and eventual resurrection of our bodies.  Satan only wins hollow victories.

Do Not Be AlarmedWe can live without fear during the terrible times.  “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed,” Matthew 24:6.  Jesus predicted terrible times, but he also commanded us to reject panic, fear, and feelings of uncertainty.  Since God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, we choose to reject the fear, the panic, and the uncertainty that attempt to dominate our thoughts and feelings (2 Timothy 1:7).

What kind of people will God make us during terrible times?  People filled with divine energy to remain calm, “though briars and thorns are all around” us and we “live among scorpions” (Ezekiel 2:6).

Assured Indestructibility

Satanic creatures and human sinners sought Jesus’ destruction.  What’s new?  Sinners of both the spirit world and the natural world harbor intense resentment against God’s will and plan, but they can never win!

God enfolds his plans and purposes in assured indestructibility.  He mocked mankind’s effort to thwart divine purposes.  He sent an angel to sit on the stone sinners trusted to keep Jesus in the tomb.

You are God’s will.  His will brought you into existence and sustains your every breath, your every heartbeat, and your future.  God’s Spirit wraps you in assured indestructibility.  Get on with your life; pursue your plans.  Seek more intimate fellowship with the Spirit of Jesus.  Don’t worry about anything.  Don’t panic when things around you crumble.  God purposefully sees to it that his indestructible will for your life is fulfilled.  Often quote Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

If a mere angel can defeat Satan, how much more can our Almighty God crush him!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

The Power to Overcome Fear of Bad News

Beach Scene By Mark Campbell      Ability to defeat fear of bad news does not originate in us, but in the Jesus who defeated Satan, sin and the world.

      The first part of Matthew chapter four records Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus by causing him to sin.  Jesus never yielded to Satan’s attempts.  Jesus held to his righteous nature, rejected all Satan’s suggestions and completely defeated the Satan who led Adam and Eve astray.  Jesus faced many other temptations which are not recorded in the gospels, but in every case he proved victorious.  Jesus even felt forsaken by his heavenly Father as he hung on the cross and was drawing near death.  He cried aloud, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)  Nevertheless, Jesus held to his faith in heavenly Father’s provision.  Truly, Jesus’ “heart [was] steadfast, trusting in the Lord,” his heavenly Father (Psalm 112:8).

     The Spirit of heavenly Father dwelt in Jesus and empowered him to overcome fear.  Consequently, Jesus’ heart was steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  Jesus remained faithful to heavenly Father and to you and me during those grueling hours hanging on the cross.  He ended his earthly life by crying out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.  When he had said this, he breathed his last,” Luke 23:46. Jesus was so strong that he never blamed Father for anything, but committed himself to heavenly Father’s care!  Truly, Jesus’ heart was secure in his faith in Father’s love.  Consequently, fear couldn’t conquer Jesus.

     It works the same for you and me.  With the Spirit of Jesus dwelling in our human spirits, we can overcome the fear of the massive amount of bad news in our world.

     The Spirit of the same Jesus who endured persecution, beating, crucifixion and ridicule, dwells in you.  The presence of Jesus in your spirit empowers you to live above fear in this fear-filled world.  We chose to yield to the Lord’s promises that are recorded in his written Word.  We chose to yield to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and enables us to overcome the fear of the rampant bad news that permeates society.  We can win against fear of bad news!  In these last days, fear attempts to fill us with lack of faith in God.  Remember that Jesus “began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’” Matthew 26:36-38.  Nevertheless, the Spirit of heavenly Father in Jesus enabled him to deny fear’s control of his life.  Truly, Jesus’ heart was secure and overcame all fear.

Following Jesus’ Example 

     The Spirit of the resurrected Jesus dwells in all of his followers.  Although we don’t always feel his presence, his Spirit continually dwells in us.  We must follow Jesus’ example and say “no” to the fears we feel and the uncertainties we experience.  Give yourself to the Word of God and to the Spirit of Jesus who lives in you.  Then, God will empower you to completely defeat fear of bad news in these last days.  He will empower you with divine ability to not be alarmed by this world’s horrible plight.  The Spirit of God in you will keep you focused on the Jesus who died and was raised from the dead so he could make you more than a conqueror.  Scripture declares, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” Romans 8:37.

     So keep your eyes on Jesus and your spirit built up by God’s Holy Word.  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” Romans 15:13.

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

(Blog from the article entitled Overcoming Fear of Bad News)

 

Do Not Be Alarmed

     Easter     Jesus and his apostles visited the impressive temple built by King Herod in Jerusalem.  As our Lord and his apostles left the temple “his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings,” Matthew 24:1.  Truly, the buildings erected by King Herod were very magnificent and impressive.  They were large and ornate, expensive and awesome.  But Jesus surprised his followers by saying, “Do you see all these things?… Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down,” Matthew 24:2.

     His apostles came in privately and asked about his prediction of the destruction of the Jewish temple.  He answered, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come,” Matthew 24:6.Do Not Be Alarmed

     Then Jesus continued, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me,” Matthew 24:7-9.

      Sounds very severe.  But remember, Jesus told us to “see to it that you are not alarmed,” Matthew 24:6.

 The Benefit of Striving to Please the Lord

     “The righteous…will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord,” Psalm 112:6-7.  There it is!  People who strive to please the Lord are inwardly steadfast, unmovable and confident because they trust in the Lord’s protection and provision.  They stay full of God’s Word and, consequently, have no fear of the bad news that fills this world.  No, they don’t like the bad news, but they do not allow it to control their emotions and thoughts.  Their trust in the Lord keeps them focused on the God who protects his children and eventually takes them to the heavenly new Jerusalem.

     So, my brothers and sisters, let us strive to please the Lord.  First, spend private time with him by reading his Word consistently and spending time alone praising, loving and magnifying him.  His Word and Spirit will deliver you from the fears that are rampant in our world and make you steadfast as you trust the Lord’s control of what’s going on in you and around you.  Confidence in him will fill you with assurance that he can take care of your family and your friends!  We may be surrounded by a fearful world, but we need not allow fear to enter us since we trust in the almighty Creator of heaven and earth!

      We definitely live in the last days that Jesus predicted in Matthew chapter twenty-four.  However, please do not concentrate on the bad news, but concentrate on the Lord who is in you, with you and around you!

     Dear friends, we can overcome fear of bad news.  Bad news will fill our world, but we need not yield to fearing it.  God’s almighty power dwells in us and his Word strengthens us with divine ability to overcome fear of bad news.  Remind yourself of Psalm 112:8, “[Your heart is] secure, [you] will have no fear.”

      Remember Romans 8:37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  We don’t deny the reality of bad news, we just deny its ownership of our hearts and minds!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

(Blog from the article entitled “Overcoming Fear of Bad News”)