Why do we go to church?

Why do we go to church?

Firstly I think it is important to understand the word church. Here at Grace Family we don’t relate church with a religious denomination or organization, here church is not a solemn gathering of all the perfect people in town.  Church is not a place we go too because that is what we have habitually been doing all our lives. We don’t get together to impress people or even God.

We gather together because we all have a common motivation and that is we love God and we love each other, we are family and when we get together we create church. Grace Family is a place where people from all walks of life can gather in a non-judgment zone. We get together to encourage and motivate each other, when we get together we open our hearts for the good news of Jesus to flood our minds and souls.  Here are some practical reasons why we get together.

 The Bible indicates. (Hebrews 10:25)

 You will have the opportunity to worship God.

 You will likely have some of life big questions answered.

 The preaching of the Bible will help set direction for your life.

 You will probably make some new friends.

 You’ll probably see some old friends.

 You’ll be encouraged in your walk with God.

 You’ll likely encourage other people in their walk with God.

 It will help you define what you believe.

 It will help you understand the Bible.

 If you have kids, it will teach them to value God and His Church.

 People who attend church usually live longer (google it!)

 It will give you an outlet for service and ministry.

 It can help you develop personal leadership.

 You’ll sing inspirational songs that will carry you during the week.

 It will encourage you that God is good (if it doesn’t, it should).

 It will help you to look outside yourself.

 It will provide an opportunity to give financially to those in need.

 You’ll receive love from other people.

 You’ll be able to show love toward others.

 You’ll be prayed for.

 You will be able to pray for others.

 You’re likely to hear and be encouraged by answered prayers.

 You will be able to give praise reports and share stories of God working in your life.

 You will be able to worship God with other likeminded people.

 It’s an opportunity to introduce a friend who doesn’t know Christ.

 You’ve probably got nothing better to do. (Watching TV, or sleeping-in don’t count as better!)

 Your family need you to go.

Because gathering is part of what it means to be a Christian.

 Because it’s good to have your views and opinions challenged.

 Because we all need regular reminders of our position in Christ.

 It will help you end one week, and starts the next, with the right focus.

 It will help you re-order your priorities.

 It’s where your real friends are.

 It will help you put your life story, into the grand narrative of scripture.

 It will remind you that you have nothing to fear.

 It helps take your focus off yourself and onto God.

 It helps bring perspective and feeds the soul.

 Because gathering strengthens your faith.

 The discipline of going will help you be disciplined across all areas of life.

 It will allow for support in times of need.

 It promotes stability in your life.

 It helps to promote a happy marriage.

 It gives you something great to do with your kids.

 It will help you to improve your self-esteem.

 It will help your interpersonal skills.

 It will help increase your ability to cope with the trials of life.

 It will help you to be a happy person.

 It will positively influence future generations.

 It will provide you with an opportunity to share in communion.

 It will allow you to take an active role in missions work.

It will help develop your children’s self-confidence.

 Your children will learn the Bible.

It will help give you a sense of purpose.

 It will shape your vision of the future.

 It will give you eternal hope.

 It will help you to know what you believe.

 It will help you to know what you stand for.

 It will encourage creativity.

 It will allow you to be disciplined, mentored and pastored.

 Because you’ll learn about Jesus and have the opportunity to get to know Him.

 Because you want to go.

 It’s a pleasant experience.

 It will give you the opportunity to express yourself in song.

 It beats staying at home and being alone.

You’ll find acceptance.

 You’ll be loved.

 You can love others there.

 Real forgiveness is found there.

 The gathering of God’s people will help draw you closer to God.

 You’ll meet likeminded people.

It will remind you that you’re not alone.

 It will help the process of sanctification.

 You’re likely to learn something about God, the Bible, yourself, or others.

 Growth of the fruit of the Spirit will likely happen.

It will give you something interesting to talk about on Monday at work.

 Because being planted will help your life to flourish.

 It reflects a life lived beyond yourself.

 It will bring joy to your life.

 A miracle you need may come to pass.

 You’ve been promising someone that you’d go and it’s time to make good on your word.

Because faith without works is dead.

 It will literally change your life for eternity!

What is the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

What is the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

Posted on April 21, 2011 by Paul Ellis // 197 Comments

I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. (Mk 3:28-29)

Although many fear that they have done unforgiveable things, Jesus clearly said that there is only one unforgiveable sin, and that is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to blaspheme someone? You might have heard that it is taking the Lord’s Name in vain, but that doesn’t fully capture the meaning of blasphemy. In the original Greek, the words blasphemy(Mt 12:32) and blaspheme (Mk 3:28) mean to slander or to speak falsely of someone in a manner than injures their good name. When people accused Paul of preaching grace as a license to sin, he said their reports were blasphemous, or slanderous (Rm 3:8). In other words, the reports were false and injurious to his reputation and message.

Jesus’ warning about not slandering the Holy Spirit is reported in three gospels (Mt 12:32, Mk 3:29, Lk 12:10). In two of those accounts the warning comes after Jesus had been driving out demons “by the Spirit of God” (Mt 12:28). But the Pharisees and law teachers thought Jesus’ power came from Satan. “By the prince of demons he is driving out demons” (Mk3:22). In other words, they were giving the devil credit for work done by the Holy Spirit. I would say that is fairly slanderous! In Luke’s account the context is a little different. This time Jesus was preaching to a crowd of “many thousands” when He gave them this famous couplet:

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. (Lk 12:8-9)

Right there you have a baseball bat for whacking every single believer who has been cowardly in their witness. Well, you would, if Jesus didn’t immediately follow up with this:

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Lk 12:10)

What are the forgiven sins?

Peters of the world be encouraged! Peter disowned Jesus before men but Jesus declares of him, “he’s forgiven!” When Jesus warned us about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, He made it clear that the sin of speaking a bad word against the Son of Man, like all sins and blasphemies, will be forgiven. If you grew up cursing God, be assured that this sin – along with all your sins and blasphemies – was indeed forgiven when Jesus went to the cross (Col 2:13). You may have cursed God, but He has blessed you! How? By removing your sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).

People sometimes ask me, why do you grace preachers say all our sins are forgiven? The answer is, because Jesus said so! This is the Good News and either you take Him at His word or you don’t. You are not forgiven because of anything you’ve done but in accordance with the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7). But just because you’re forgiven, it doesn’t follow that you’re saved. Grace is ineffective unless it’s matched with faith (Eph 2:8). And this brings us to…

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

As we have seen, to blaspheme someone is to slander or speak falsely about them. To understand what it means to speak falsely of the Holy Spirit, we must first discover what is true about Him and His ministry. Jesus tells us:

When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (Jn 16:8-11)

Before He died, Jesus said that His blood would be poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28). If all the sins and blasphemies of men were forgiven at the cross, there’s only one sin the Holy Spirit can convict you of: “in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” Do you believe that you have been eternally redeemed through the blood of Jesus (He 9:12)? Do you believe the Spirit-inspired scriptures when they declare that Jesus’ sacrifice has done away with sin once and for all (He 9:26)? If not, you are resisting His conviction and calling Him a liar. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but the stakes are enormous. If you think you must do things like confess and repent from your sins in order to get what Christ has freely given, then you are denying Him and His finished work. You are walking after the flesh and slandering the Spirit. What’s the solution? Jesus tells us: “repent and believe the good news” (Mk 1:15)! Biblical confessionmeans agreeing with the Holy Spirit about your sins (1 Jn 1:9). Although you were completely and eternally forgiven 2000 years ago, you will not experience that forgiveness until you say “yes!” to Jesus.

Jesus also said, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and law-teachers, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul declared that the gospel reveals a righteousness from God, a gift that is received by faith from first to last (Rms 1:17). You are not righteous because of anything you’ve done, but because of everything He’s done. On the cross Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness (2 Co 5:21). In Christ you are as righteous as He is (1 Co 1:30). The second aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to convict you of your righteousness. If you believe Him you will look at yourself in the mirror and confidently declare, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!”

The third aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is that He will seek to utterly convince you that the prince of this world is condemned. You are not condemned, Satan is. If you are responsive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, you will confidently declare, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” You will ask with wonder, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” With a firm revelation of the Father’s love for you – revealed through the Son and affirmed in your heart by the Spirit – you will have no fear of punishment (1 Jn 4:18). You won’t wonder whether God gives and takes away and you won’t view natural disasters as divine judgments. Instead of confessing your sins you will boldly confess your sonship and lay claim to all the rights of intimacy and inheritance that come with that (Gal 4:7).

The Holy Spirit must be the most misunderstood Person in the Bible. I plan to write more about the Him and His ministry over Easter. But to answer the question at the top of this post – what is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? – it is refusing to believe the Holy Spirit’s testimony regarding the grace of God revealed through Jesus Christ. In a word, it is unbelief. Unbelief may manifest in a hard heart or in a religious spirit that confuses the devil’s work with the Lord’s. In either case, to resist the Holy Spirit is to trample the Son of God underfoot and treat as unholy the blood of the new covenant that sanctifies us. It is slanderous and insulting to the Spirit of grace who seeks to convince us – through the written word and revelation – that Jesus is true, you are forgiven, and He now offers you the free gift of His righteousness.

As we will see in the coming posts, the Holy Spirit is not some Divine Policeman in the sky with a great big whacking stick. He’s actually the most awesome, powerful, and wonderful Being in the universe. And He is absolutely committed to your success in Christ!

Power of partnership

The Power Of Partnership


Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men,” but it’s not talking about skills, talents, abilities, or even anointing. I used to think it was, as a matter of fact; I used that verse in that exact way until I began to study it in greater detail. In this article, I’ll be teaching what it really means and how that understanding can change your life.

In my two-teaching album The Power of Partnership, I taught about the many rewards you receive when partnering with a ministry that is reaching out with the nearly-too-good-to-be-true news. I used the example of King David who set a precedent that gave the people who guarded the spoils an equal share with those who actually did the fighting. We learned that Philippians 4:19, which says, “But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” was written to people who were partnering with Paul in the Gospel and gave to his ministry on a regular basis. Paul confirmed that in 1 Corinthians 16:2, where he wrote, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside” (New King James Version).

The partners Paul was talking about were systematic, deliberate givers. I’ve also taught that the reason God prospers you is so that you can establish His kingdom here on the earth, and if you seek to build that kingdom, then He will provide a supernatural divine flow that will meet all your needs. I can promise you that when you pray and ask God for direction in your giving and then respond to that, He will take care of your financial needs better accidentally than you’ve ever been able to do on purpose. These are all powerful truths, but I want to show you an aspect of partnership that I believe very few Christians understand.

What does the scripture mean that says our gifts will make room for us and bring us before great men?

The Hebrew word that was translated “gift” in Proverbs 18:16, 19:6, and 21:14 literally means “present.” Those scriptures leave no doubt that they’re not talking about an anointing or having favor but about a present that one person gives to another. Proverbs 19:6 makes it clear that “every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts,” and in 21:14 we read that “a gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.” The New International Version translates Proverbs 18:16 this way, “A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.” I believe these scriptures describe a very important aspect of what happens when you enter into partnership with a ministry.

Let’s look at an example of this in 1 Kings, chapter 10, which talks about Solomon, the wisest man on the face of the earth. Solomon asked God for a very unselfish thing, wisdom, so that he could be a good king. Not only did God give him what he asked for, but He also gave him what he didn’t ask for and made him exceedingly rich. In fact, the Bible says that he was so rich that everything he had was made of gold, and they didn’t even use silver; it was just thrown in the streets (1 Kin. 10:21). That’s pretty rich.

The fame of Solomon spread throughout the land, and in 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-3, we read,

“And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.”

The Queen of Sheba was so overwhelmed by Solomon’s kingdom and wisdom that it actually took her breath away (1 Kin. 10:4-5).

In 1 Kings 10:24 we also read that all the kings of the earth sought Solomon for his wisdom and for his blessing. Think about that; Solomon was the most famous man in the world in his day. He was ruler of the most powerful and prosperous kingdom in the world in his day, and all the people of the earth sought Solomon for his attention so they could ask his wisdom, get his opinion, and receive his favor. So with all these people competing for his time, why did he move the Queen of Sheba to the front of the line and spend so much time answering all her questions? I believe it was her gift that made room for her, just like Proverbs 18:16 says, and it brought her before a great man.

We read that she was well prepared and came with many gifts. She gave the king 120 talents of gold (that’s about 145,000 ounces and at today’s price would be about $44,000,000 worth of gold). That doesn’t include the great stores of spice, an abundance of which had never been seen before, and precious stones. It wasn’t her skill, talent, or ability but her huge gift that made room for her and put her at the front of the line.

So what did the Queen of Sheba get out of this? Everything she wanted and more. 1 Kings 10:13 says,

“And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty.”

There isn’t space in this article to prove the math, but the gift that the queen gave to Solomon was only equal to one-tenth of one year of the king’s annual income. When the scripture says the king gave her of his royal bounty, don’t you think his gift was greater than hers? When the queen left for home, she left with greater riches, more wisdom, and the favor of the greatest king on earth. Her gift opened the door to great blessings.

Does what the Queen of Sheba did seem selfish to you? Are you thinking that all those riches should have been given to the poor who would’ve really needed the help instead of the richest man on earth? I don’t believe it would be out of reason to think that some king or ruler or tribe came to her and begged for her help as she traveled. It probably took hundreds of camels to carry these gifts, so her journey wasn’t any secret. You know, it could have been a real guilt trip as she passed by all the needy people, but the Queen understood a very important principle that applies to the support of a ministry today.

When you give to a ministry, it’s not just what they need, it’s what you need too!

King Solomon didn’t need the queen’s riches, but she needed his wisdom and blessing, and her gift opened the door to the very things she needed. She probably left with more riches than she brought, and just think of how much more of a blessing she may have been to the poor on her return trip. This is a great example of how things work in the kingdom of God.

When you give to a ministry, you not only bless the people that are being touched by that ministry, but you start a supernatural flow of your finances, and you partake of the anointing and the blessing that’s on that minister’s life. It’s not bad to want the anointing that is on my life or that of another minister. The Bible says that we are to desire spiritual gifts. I really believe that the things that are operating in my life have come in part, not totally because I have supported great men and women of God. I gave on purpose, saying, “God, I want to be a part of that. I’m going to sow part of my life into this person and into that ministry and, by doing so, open a door that allows the blessing that’s on them to flow toward me.” It doesn’t just happen automatically; you have to have faith. But I believe that you can start seeing these things happen in your life just as I have seen in mine, if you will mix faith with your gifts.

Some very good friends of Jamie and I, whom we’ve known since about 1980, have a great testimony that will illustrate what I’m writing about. Charlie and Jill LeBlanc are one of the most anointed couples in music I’ve ever heard. Even though they have always had a powerful anointing, they struggled financially earlier in their ministry. Because of that, they developed a real heart for other quality ministries in the same position. They were taking all their tithes and offerings and giving them to smaller ministries where they felt their gift could really make a difference.

Their gifts were certainly making a difference in the lives of these ministers and the people those ministers were reaching. They were also experiencing a supernatural flow of God’s divine prosperity coming toward them, but they were still missing one very important element—they needed an impartation of anointing and blessing that those they were giving to were not able to give. The Queen of Sheba needed something her peers weren’t able to give either, so she went to the one who could, King Solomon. It wasn’t just a selfish desire; it was important so she could better fulfill her role as queen.

The Lord began to convict Charlie and Jill of this, telling them that they needed to start giving to ministries that fed them and had an anointing they needed. It was time to start partaking of the blessing and anointing that was on the lives of other ministers. In response, they began giving to people like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, and me, all ministers who were imparting anointing and blessing to their lives.

Within about six months they received a call from Dave and Joyce Meyer, who asked them to dinner. During dinner, Joyce asked them to lead praise and worship in their Word seminars she conducts across America and around the world. What a blessing! They now minister on a regular basis to thousands, and their anointing has increased proportionally. It was no accident that this door was opened to them after they started giving, expecting to receive increased blessing and anointing. This isn’t to say that God doesn’t lead us to do benevolence giving, expecting nothing in return, because he does. Just like the Queen of Sheba, Charlie and Jill could have been sidetracked by the needs of all who were struggling, but they knew that what they would receive in increased anointing and blessing would make it possible to benefit those around them in a much greater way.

It’s important to understand the power that is available in partnership and then put that power to work for you. I pray that the eyes of your understanding are enlightened and that the Holy Spirit has borne witness with this teaching in your heart, and I release the blessing and anointing on my life to you, my partners. I can’t say all I would like to about partnership in this short article, but you can hear the complete message by ordering my two-tape or CD series on The Power of Partnership.


12 Habits that lead to divorce

12 Habits That Lead to Divorce


 Dave Willis


March 21, 2017



Every married couple has exchanged vows which promise “til death do us part,” but for far too many marriages, their dreams of “forever” are crushed by divorce. According to government stats from the CDC, America averages one divorce every 36 seconds. That’s roughly 2,400 divorces each day, 16,800 divorces every week and 876,000 divorces per year.

So, how do we stop this epidemic of broken marriages? To bring it even closer to home, how should YOU protect YOUR marriage? I’m convinced that if you’ll avoid these 12 common bad “habits,” you’ll be well on your way to beating the divorce statistics and creating a healthy and happy marriage that will endure through every season of life. If you believe your marriage might be heading for divorce, please don’t lose hope! In addition to reading the list below, please check out our program designed to save struggling marriages at FightingForMyMarriage.com

The 12 habits that lead to divorce are (in no particular order)…

1. Constant Criticism

When you get a warning light on your car’s dashboard, it means there’s something wrong under the hood that needs immediate attention. One of the biggest “warning lights” in a marriage is a tone of constant criticism. When a husband and wife start being each other’s biggest critics instead of the biggest encouragers and when they start focusing only on the negative instead of the positive, it creates a downward spiral that often leads to divorce.

#2 is something many couples do as soon as they get married, but they don’t realize they’re just preparing themselves for divorce

2. Dividing everything into “his” and “hers”

When a husband and wife have separate bank accounts, separate hobbies, separate friends and separate dreams, they’re running the risk of creating completely separate lives. Marriage is about combining; divorce is about dividing. The more you can share together, the stronger your marriage will be.

If your marriage is struggling right now, please check out our new online program at FightingForMyMarriage.com.

#3 is the reason there’s an epidemic of divorce among couples who have been married for 20 years or more…

3. Putting the marriage “on hold” while you’re raising your kids

I’ve seen too many marriages fall apart because two well-meaning people put so much focus on their kids that they forgot to keep investing in the marriage. Some couples reduce their relationship to a partnership in co-parenting, and when the kids finally grow up, they discover that they have created an empty nest and an empty marriage. Give your children the gift that comes from seeing their parents in a loving, thriving marriage. Model the kind of marriage that will make your kids excited to be married someday.

#4 might be the most common (and one of the most dangerous) habits on the list

4. Giving each other your “leftovers”

Some couples have what I call a “cable company marriage.” Have you ever noticed how Cable TV companies seem to give you their very best deals and service at the beginning of the relationship but then after the “introductory period” ends, they give you as little as possible to still keep you around? Some married couples were great at giving their best at the beginning of the relationship, but as time goes on, they start giving the leftovers. Strive to keep giving your best to each other. Grow deeper in your love, your respect and your friendship through all the seasons of marriage.

#5 is toxic and when it happens, neither spouse is going to have peace or happiness...

5. Holding grudges and “keeping score”

If you’ve been married longer than 15 minutes, chances are good that your spouse has done something to offend you and you’ve done something to offend him/her. When our words or actions cause harm, we need to be quick to admit fault and seek forgiveness. When your spouse has wronged you, you need to offer grace quickly so that trust can start being rebuilt and there’s no room for bitterness to take root in your heart. Don’t use past hurts as ammunition in arguments. Let grace flow freely in your marriage. No marriage can survive without it.

#6 reveals the WORST thing to trust to advise choices in your marriage

6. Trusting your “feelings” more than your commitments

There are going to be days when you might not “feel” like being married, but feelings are fickle and they were never intended to be our primary advisor in major decisions. “Feelings” often lead people into adultery. The healthiest couples have discovered that love is a commitment; not just a feeling. Their commitment to each other perseveres regardless of what they’re feeling. The strength of that commitment allows them to have a deeper intimacy, a stronger connection and a happier marriage.

#7 happens with pride replaces thoughtfulness in the relationship

7. Making decision without consulting your spouse

Our pride can often convince us that we don’t have to answer to anyone, and we should be able to make decisions without consulting anyone. Pride has been the downfall of so many marriages. The healthiest couples have learned that EVERY decision they make as individuals will have some level of impact on each other, so they respectfully and thoughtfully consult each other in every decision.

#8 frustrates BOTH spouses, but doesn’t help either one of them

8. Trying to change each other

When you try to “change” your spouse, you will BOTH end up frustrated. As you’ve probably learned already, you can’t change each other; you can only love each other. The only part of the marriage you have the power to change is the part you see when you look in the mirror. Be willing to change your responses to your spouse’s behavior. Look for ways to love and serve each other even when you have differences of perspective or preference. You’ll both probably end up “changing” for the better in the process.

#9 is the biggest single step toward an eventual divorce

9. Planning an exit strategy

The healthiest couples have removed the “D-Word” (Divorce) from their vocabularies. When we threaten divorce or when we silently start fantasizing about life with someone new, we’re ripping apart the foundation of the marriage. The couples who make it work aren’t the ones who never had a reason to get divorced; they’re simply the ones whose commitment to each other was always bigger than their differences and flaws.

#10 doesn’t necessarily involve sex, but it’s still an act of infidelity...

10. Hiding the fact that you’re married

If you are intentionally hiding your status as a married person or you’re projecting “availability” through flirting, slipping off a wedding ring, acting single around your single friends or at bars, etc., then you’re WAY out of bounds. Those subtle acts of deceit are in themselves forms of infidelity even if they never lead to a sexual affair.

If you’re in a struggling marriage, please don’t lose hope. Check out our new program at http://www.fightingformymarriage.com

#11 is EVERYWHERE, and it’s having a tragic impact on marriages..

11. Seeing porn, erotica or graphic romance novels as “harmless entertainment”

When you’re acting out sexual fantasy apart from your spouse, it’s an act of mental infidelity. All true intimacy and all infidelity begins in the mind; not in the bedroom. If your eyes and your thoughts are wandering away from your spouse, then your heart is going to follow. Two thousand years ago, Jesus taught that “to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her in your heart.” Don’t just be physically monogamous. Strive to be mentally monogamous.

I’m convinced that #12 is the #1 cause of divorce

12. Selfishness.

We are ALL selfish by nature, but a marriage can only work when we put our selfishness aside and put the needs of our spouse ahead of our own needs. When BOTH spouses are willingly to selflessly love and serve each other in this way, the marriage will thrive. The hard part is that YOU must be willing to go first and be selfless even in those moments when he/she is not reciprocating. Your actions might turn the tide. Choose to be a thermostat; not a thermometer. A thermometer always adjusts to the climate in a room, but thermostat CHANGES the climate in the room. Be the change. You probably have more influence than you think!

For more tools to help you build a rock-solid relationship, check out our new 7-Day Marriage Challenge (by clicking HERE).

Under no obligation

By Arthur Meintjies

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.Micah 7:18 (NASB) 

This is a beautiful verse declaring the character and nature of God—who pardons our iniquity!!


Iniquity is a word that describes our fallen state and is closely connected to the idea of “indebtedness” or to be in debt! 

How many of us know exactly what “in debt” feels like? When you owe money to someone it changes your relationship. You do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do because you feel indebted, and that sense of indebtedness ultimately turns into obligation. And eventually that obligation, if not relieved, will turn to hate.

For example, if Tom wanted to buy a house but could not afford the down payment, his wife’s parents might step up and say, “We’ll loan you the money. No interest. Just pay us back as you can.” It sounds like a good deal, so Tom agrees. They’re family, so no paperwork is drawn up. Tom and his wife buy their house and start enjoying life. 

Soon it’s Easter, and Tom and his wife begin making plans to visit the in-laws. “Oh no,” thinks Tom, “I owe them money, and I can’t pay it. This is going to be awkward.” And even though the parents don’t mention the money, the money Tom owes remains in the back of Tom’s mind. Their relationship is changing.

Before Tom realizes it Thanksgiving is here, and it’s time to see the in-laws again. “We’ve missed you guys,” Mom says opening the door.

“Yeah,” Tom replies, “we’ve just been so busy.”

“Before dinner, would you mind helping me?” Dad asks. And although what Dad wants isn’t too difficult, Tom agrees because indebtedness obligates him to help—thinking that in some way he is paying his debt. But in the back of his mind he is thinking. When are you guys gonna move into a retirement home where you belong? They have people there who get paid to help you.

Unfortunately, this is the same mentality that many people have in their relationship with God, they serve God under a sense of indebtedness and obligation! Feeling that they owe God, and therefore need to do things for Him to pay back some of their debt!

Is there hope for this kind of relationship? Only if the debt is forgiven. Like the old song says, “We owed a debt we could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe!” Praise God, Jesus has removed the debt of sin between us and God. Today, we can enjoy a debt free relationship with Him without fear, and without obligation. Our debt is forgiven!

Not by Sight

By Paul Ellis

Ever since James wrote that “faith without works is dead,” Christians have been busying themselves with all sorts of busy-ness to prove to themselves that they really, positively do have faith. But much of what passes for Christian works could be done by anyone, with or without faith. Let’s not kid ourselves. If what we’re doing is humanly possible, it can’t be a work of faith. I don’t say that to make you feel bad, but to free you to do great exploits! Faith is for moving mountains. Faith is for healing the sick, raising the dead and otherwise demonstrating the gospel. To be specific, faith is for doing the works and greater works of Jesus:

“The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it.” (Jn 14:12, MSG)

I suspect the chief reason why many Christians live no different from their unsaved neighbors is they don’t know about the awesome authority that God has given us. So instead of healing the sick, as Jesus instructed us to do, they’re asking God to heal the sick. Instead of proclaiming life over their hurts, they’re complaining and speaking death over themselves.

In this short series on prayer, we have contrasted the Biblical way with the traditional way to pray. InPart 1 we saw that there is a difference between praying with hope and praying with faith. In Part 2 we learned that faith doesn’t move God – He’s already moved! In Part 3 we saw from scripture that answered prayers are sometimes delayed by the devil. The enemy is surely opposed to our prayers, but he’s probably not the main reason why our prayers aren’t answered. No, the hindrance to most of our prayers lies between our ears. The problem is we don’t appreciate what God has already done for us. More to the point, we don’t know how awesome and powerful is the One who now lives within us.

“Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God’s Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world.” (1 Jn 4:4 CEV)

Who do you think you are?

In Part 3 the punch-line was resist the devil. Here’s today punch-line: Renew your mind and learn to interpret your circumstances through the finished work of the cross. What do I mean by that? I mean it should be normal for you to see yourself as completely forgiven, sanctified, righteous, healthy and prosperous – all because of Jesus. Is this how you see yourself? Here’s a simple way to find out. When you get sick, which of the following statements best describes how you respond?

(1) “I am sick but I’m going to ask God to heal me.”
(2) “I am healthy but the devil’s trying to rob me.”

If you chose response No.1 then you’re starting from a place of defeat. By asking God to do something He’s already done, you are confessing ignorance of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross. Maybe you’re not sure of what He’s done. Then you had better find out because faith, by definition, is being sure (He 11:1). How can you be sure when you’re unsure? Look at what you’re saying: I am sick… The focus is squarely on your physical condition. Do you know what the King Jimmy Bible calls it when we are more mindful of our physical circumstances than God’s word? Carnal mindedness. And you know what that means, right?

“To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rms 8:6, KJV).

Do you know that you can be in the Spirit yet walk after the flesh? This happens when you put your feelings (what you see and hear etc.) ahead of your faith in God’s word. In effect, you are trusting in your praying performance instead of resting in His finished work. Pray like this and you will reap nothing because your faith is misplaced. Instead of standing on what Christ has done, you’re essentially saying God needs to act again and He won’t unless I first do something. You have more faith in you’re doing than in what Jesus has done.

If you want to release life and peace into our circumstances, be spiritually minded. That doesn’t mean “think spiritual thoughts.” To be spiritually minded means be led by the spirit. Your renewed spirit, like the Holy Spirit, already trusts God regardless of the circumstances. To be spiritually minded is to walk by faith, not by sight. So speak to your condition and say, “By His stripes I have been healed” (1 Pe 2:24).

If you chose response No.2 then you’re starting from the place of victory. You might declare, “As He is so am I in this world. The old man who suffered sin’s curse is dead and buried and I am a new creation. Sin and sickness no longer have dominion over me.” I’m not asking you to deny your physical reality but to have faith in a higher reality. I’m not saying the problem you are facing isn’t nothing; I’m saying that this Jesus who lives in you is Really Something! Here’s Andrew Wommack writing in Grace – The Power of the Gospel:

“I’ve changed. I know now that I’m not the sinner trying to become holy. I am the righteous whom Satan is trying to make unholy. I’m not the sick trying to get well. I am the well that the devil is trying to make sick. I’m not the poor trying to be prosperous. I am the prosperous that the Enemy is trying to make poor. This is a totally different attitude and mindset. But I’ve found it much easier to fight from the position of victory than to try to fight to obtain a position of victory. It’s infinitely easier to release something I already have than to go get something I don’t.” (pp.117-8)

When you’re sick your flesh will pull in one direction (“I need healing!”) but your spirit will pull in the other (“By His stripes I am healed!”). Flesh and spirit are opposed to each other and you will have to choose (Gal 5:17). The carnally minded believer will heed the flesh, but the spiritually minded believer will heed God’s word. This is not a question of having more or less faith – you already have the same measure of faith as Jesus (2 Pet 1:1). This is about putting your faith to work and releasing what God has already given you.

Plant this seed

In this short series I’ve given you some keys on how to pray effectively. I have given you truth in seed form. Perhaps you’ve been blessed reading these posts. Maybe you even clicked the “like” button or forwarded posts to your friends. But understand that nothing will change in your life unless this seed takes root in your heart and grows. It’s now up to you. Are you content to live no differently from your unsaved neighbors? Or do you want to see the Kingdom come and His will done in your world?

Be warned that neither the devil nor your flesh will like what you’ve read here (Ga 5:17). Jesus said the devil is a thief who likes to steal seed (Mk 4:15). Right about now this thief will be suggesting you go visit Facebook or he’ll be reminding you to take care of some task that really needs to get done. He’ll do whatever it takes to get your focus off Christ and the cross. But we are not ignorant of his schemes.

I began this series with Wommack and I’ll finish with him. Here he is writing in Spirit, Soul and Body:

“I’d confess aloud, ‘By His stripes I was healed.’ My body would counter, ‘Oh no you’re not!’ Then I’d answer, ‘Yes I am – the Word says so!’… You will have to overcome the same conflict! You don’t just say, ‘All right, I see the truth. Flesh, I now renounce you and choose to walk by the spirit!’ No, it’ll be a traumatic experience when you turn around and head the other direction. Your mind and emotions have been indulged now for many years. They’ve always said that whatever you see is more real than what’s invisible. There’s going to be a fight.” (p.117)

The good news is it’s a fight you can win, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Have faith in Jesus! Speak to your mountains! Heal the sick! Rebuke that storm! Change the world!

Our Authority Releases God’s Power

By Andrew Wommack

There are a number of keys to seeing the miraculous power of God manifest on a consistent basis. One of the least understood, and therefore seldom practiced, is the fact that healing is under the authority of the believer. God has already provided His healing power and placed it on the inside of every born-again believer. It is up to us to release it. Understanding and using our authority is the key to seeing miracles happen.

Look at how Peter and John ministered healing to the lame man in Acts 3:1-8:

“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

Notice that Peter didn’t pray for this man. He also didn’t ask God to heal him. He said, “Such as I have give I thee.” This didn’t mean that Peter was the source of this healing. Notice what Peter said in Acts 3:12,

“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”

It was God’s power that healed this man, but that power was under Peter’s authority. Peter went on to say in verse 16 that it was faith in the name of Jesus that had wrought this miracle. But Peter didn’t ask God to heal this man. He believed the Lord had already done His part and had placed that power within him. Now it was Peter’s responsibility to release that power, and that’s just what he did.

The Lord never told us to pray for the sick in the sense that we ask Him to heal them. He told us to heal the sick. There is a BIG difference between the two. It has to do with operating in the authority He has already given us. Look at these commands the Lord gave His disciples.

“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”(Luke 9:1-2)

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matt. 10:1)

“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:7-8)

Jesus told us to heal the sick not pray for the sick. What a radical statement! This will get you kicked out of most churches today, but these are the exact words of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is precisely why more people don’t see the miraculous results they’re praying for. They aren’t taking their authority and commanding God’s power; they’re passively asking God to do what He told them to do.

I know this goes contrary to popular Christian doctrine. We’re constantly told that it’s not us but God who is the Healer, and I agree with that totally. But, I also believe that God has placed His healing power under our authority, and it is up to us to release it. If we don’t take our authority and become commanders instead of beggars, God’s power will not be released. There needs to be a radical renewing of our thinking on this issue.

A good friend of mine, Dave Duell, held a meeting in Africa many years ago. It was one of his first times he saw miracles such as the blind and deaf healed. The people were so excited that they were mobbing him as he walked through the streets, trying to touch him so they could be healed. His first thought was influenced by this religious thinking I’m trying to change. He thought, They shouldn’t be looking to me. I’m not the healer; it is Jesus. He was about to stop them when the Lord spoke to him. The Lord said, “Dave, do you remember when I rode that donkey into Jerusalem, and all the people put their garments and palm branches in the way and cried, ‘Hosanna’? What would you have thought if the donkey had spoken up and said, ‘It’s not me! It’s not me’? That would only have revealed the donkey’s arrogance. No one was praising the donkey; they were praising the One that was riding the donkey.”

When Dave recognized the people weren’t trying to touch him but the One he was carrying, he let them touch him all they wanted and people were healed. This is exactly what happened with the first-century disciples. Peter had people line the streets so that if only his shadow would touch them, they would be healed (Acts. 5:15).

Look at an amazing passage of Scripture in Isaiah 45:11.

“Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

What a powerful scripture! What does the Lord mean when He tells us to command Him? Well, He certainly doesn’t mean we are mightier and more powerful than Him and can order Him around. He means, concerning the things He has already done, He wants us to take our authority and command His power.

It’s like electricity. The power company generates the power and delivers it to your house. It’s not your power, but it’s under your control. You don’t call the power company and ask them to turn the lights on. No! They won’t do that. They generate the power, but it’s under your command. You simply flip the switch on the wall and command the power to work. Does this mean you are the power source? Certainly not! You can put a light bulb in your mouth, and it will never come on. You aren’t the power source, but you are the one in control of what that power does. You can plead with the power company all you want, but they won’t flip the switch for you. You have to assume your authority and acknowledge the power is under your command.

That’s what the Lord was speaking of. He has already healed everyone who will ever be healed. He did it two thousand years ago when He bore our stripes on His back. Then He deposited His resurrection power inside every believer (Eph. 1:19-20). He’s done His part, and now it is up to us to do ours. We need to take the authority He has given us and become commanders instead of beggars. This is a powerful truth that works, and it’s the reason we see so many miraculous healings. We aren’t just praying for the sick; we are healing them in Jesus’ name.

Growing Up in Grace: Our Security in Christ

By John Reed

18 but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 AMP

 We've been in a brief study concerning growing up spiritually in the Grace of God. We've established that by planting the right roots of knowing who we already are in Christ will produce growth in our life in Christ. When we know who we are and what we have because of Christ, fleshly desires, and sinful habits will in time fade away. In Him is found true and lasting freedom. 

 We also established that understanding our love and acceptance in Him frees us from guilt, shame and allows for unhindered growth. In our last study, we discussed how hearing the true gospel of Christ allows for growth that is uncontaminated by religious tradition. Getting the root right always produces the right fruit.

 Today, I sense the impression to continue studying growth in Grace. Another area that is essential for proper growth in Him is to understand our complete security in Christ. Too many believers are insecure in their relationship with Father God. Religious traditional teaching about God, people's own experiences with their own father, are the main reasons for this. 

 This is why it is essential that we properly reveal the loving goodness of our Father in Heaven to a lost World. His everlasting, unconditional love will heal hearts and reshape images people have of God. Misrepresenting the Father to the people is not something God takes lightly. In fact, this is why Moses couldn't enter the Promise land. He made it appear God was angry with the people when He wasn't. (see here). 

Secure in Him forever

 When the Golden Gate bridge was being constructed the builders installed safety nets so the workers would not perish during the construction phase, (here). When the workers knew even at that height they were secure, they produced much labor. Had they not had a safety net, do you believe they would be so productive? 


 This is what the security in Christ brings us. When we know we will never again perish, we are able to grow and produce fruit. Even when we stumble and fall we can immediately get back up and continue walking. 

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” John 10:28-30 NLT

 We are forever secure in our Father's hands. He promised we would not perish or be lost again. Knowing this great promise we can freely pursue God's plan for our lives. Religious, performance minded folk believe that assurance of our salvation, knowing we can never perish causes us to live contrary to our new nature. 


 Religious tradition tends to think that by removing our assurance and ministering an idea of eternal insecurity that this will motivate people to grow up in God and cease from wrong living. Fear then becomes the driving factor as to why we live right. God then moves from being God the Father to the "godfather". 


 We better get right or God is going to "get" us. One slip up and you've lost your salvation. Threats of loss of sonship and blessings are what drives you to keep your heart and mind pure. How well does this style of ministry work? It leaves many broken, burnt out, and breaking away from the church, and walking out on their "relationship" with God.


 I've got some good gospel news. God is going to get you. He is going to get you saved. He is going to get you healed and whole. He is going to get restoration to you. He is getting new life and abundance to His people. He is not mad or disappointed in His Church. 


 In Christ, we are cleansed from all our sins. We are as righteous as Jesus. We are eternally saved and secure. He purchased eternal redemption for us, not temporal redemption, (see here). We now rest in our eternal redemption. This is where we find real and lasting fruit. 


 Reject the notion of an eternal insecure salvation. We have eternal salvation because of the Finished Work. Once you truly and sincerely received the Lord Jesus and His free gift, you are forever saved and can never again be lost or perish. Because we are always in His hands and can never permanently fail or fall our potential and possibilities in Him are endless!