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Found 931 results

  1. "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more the me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds His life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." - Matthew 10:37-39 Many believe for Jesus' salvation, but never walk in the total freedom of the cross. In the New Testament, "kairos" means ' the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts; for example in Mark 1:15: "And saying, "The time (kairos) is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.'" DIVINE IMPARTATION FOR STRENGTH In Luke 22:43 after Jesus had resolved within His own heart for the Father's will to be done in His life, we see that "An angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him." It is possible for us to be granted a divine impartation of strength to embrace the cross today. If we are to achieve anything in our lives that bears eternal fruit, we must first deny ourselves and embrace the cross (God's PURPOSE for our lives) just as Christ Jesus modeled for us. The anointing to embrace the cross (God's CALLING on our life) involves prayer, sanctification, and intimacy with God. There is no alternative way to embrace the cross. In Matthew 27:32 Simon the Cyrenian was "compelled to bear His cross." Is Jesus calling us to do the same today? COMPELLED TO BEAR OUR CROSS Matthew 27:32 - "Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: Him they compelled to bear His cross." "Compelled (Greek: Aggareuo, Strongs 29) literally translated -- to be pressed into public service or compelled to "go". The word for "bear" (Greek; Airo, Strong's 142), literal translation -- to take up or to take away. The call is still true for us today just as it was for Simon the Cyrenian. To "take up our cross" we must come to the place of death. We must die to ourselves and to our worldly dreams and fully embrace the plans and blueprints that God has written for us in heaven. When Simon and Jesus took the cross to Calvary, "they were come (together) unto a place called Golgotha" (Matthew 27:33). Prophetically, Simon the Cyrenian represents each of us: We must all come to the place of the cross and die to our agendas and carnal thoughts for our lives and ministries. We must allow the Father's will to be done in our lives. We must all come to our own personal Golgothas. Just as Jesus was with the Cyrenian, He will be with each of us at the time and place of our personal death to self. "Jesus then said to his disciples, 'If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind; he must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost; but if a man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self.'" - Mattthew 16:24-25 NEB COMING UNDER ATTACK The enemy of our soul does not want us to embrace the Cross of Christ. The warfare can be tremendous for us as we embrace the cross (death to self). When we approach the place of surrender and death to self we will also come under attack from the evil one. Fortunately, Jesus has already fought this battle for each of us. The enemy will bellow and scream at us every time we fall short. When we fail to fully embrace the cross, he will illuminate our shortcomings. Picking up our cross is a process. If we fall down -- get up just as Jesus did. Emulate Christ -- dying to yourself and worldly dreams is a process. Even the Son of God walked through this process. It takes time and intimacy with the Lord -- laying down our life is a process. "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:27 Taking up your cross is not a popular message. When Jesus shared this message, many left Him, and later reviled and cursed Him. The message of the cross was one reason why Jesus was beaten, afflicted, smote, reviled spit on, crucified, and killed. When we die to manmade methods, ideas, and formulas, and begin to truly minister in the pattern of heaven, only then can God truly begin to release the Kingdom into our life. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  2. Psalm 59:9 - "O my Strength, I will watch and give heed to You and sing praises; for God is my Defense." The soul that is not recollected in one appetite alone (the desire for God) loses heat and strength in the practice of virtue. Affirmation: I WILL CONCENTRATE THE STRENGTH OF MY APPETITES ON GOD ALONE. "I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars." - Isaiah 45:2 As we are yielded to the Lord, He makes the path straight before us. Once we understandour CALLING in Christ He equips us for the journey. At times we have limited vision of the path ahead and what we are going through, but the Lord has the big picture and He calls us to trust in Him. He takes even our failures and disappointments and reconfigures them to work together for good. God invites us to hold onto the promises He has given us in scripture of our inheritance in Christ, our right standing with God, and to believe He is able to do the impossible for us.Hold onto faith as small as a mustard seed, because that alone is enough faith to see mountains move and giants fall. We need to deal with any area of unbelief in our lives. Faith and unbelief both come by what we are hearing or giving attention to. We choose to have faith come into our heart by "hearing and hearing" the Word of God. The power of God is unleashed in the lives of those with true faith. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6 "Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move and nothing will be impossible to you." - Matthew 17:20 NASB James 3:8 - "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." Affirmations: I BOLDLY DECLARE THAT MY TONGUE IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. MY WORDS ARE SEASONED WITH GRACE, AND MY LIPS ARE CONSTANTLY GIVING THANKS TO GOD! THIS IS WHAT MY TONGUE SPEAKS BECAUSE IT IS SUBMITTED TO THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  3. 2 Timothy 2:20 - "In a large house there are dishes and bowls of all kinds: some are made of silver and gold, others of wood and clay: some are for special occasions, others for ordinary use."CERTAINLY THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME GOLDEN VESSELS IN THE KINGDOM AND THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME CLAY POTS, BUT WE ARE THE ONES - NOT GOD - WHO DETERMINES WHICH KIND WE WILL BE. 2 Timothy 2:21 - 'If anyone makes himself clean from all these evil things, he will be used for special purposes, because he is dedicated and useful to his Master, ready to be used for every good work." 2 Kings 6:17 - "And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." In spiritual warfare, the battle is never limited to an "us against them" human affair. It always includes "those with us" against "those with them." Do you want to cultivate your spiritual mind? Then immerse yourself in God's Word (Psalm 119:9). Pray for revelation and ask the Spirit of God to open your eyes to behold awesome things from heavenly realms. There is nothing wrong with intellectual knowledge and pursuit. God gave us our mind and expects us to use it. However, we should never depend upon mere human intellectual wisdom to advance us in the realm of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). Mark 11:23 - "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith." Because great power is released when my heart and mouth start working together, it's extremely important that I put the right things into my heart. OBSERVATION: Once I find the will of God in a situation I will know how to pray. If I need a mountain moved out of my life, I believe God with my heart and speak it out with my mouth. AFFIRMATIONS: Jesus came that I might have life and that I might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) I shall have whatsoever things that I desire when Ipray, since I believe that I receive them.(Mark 11:24) Seeing that I have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, I hold fast to my confession. (Hebrews 4:14) ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  4. In Luke 13, "Jesus saw a crippled woman who had been bent over for 18 years; He called her to Himself and healed her. The ruler of the synagogue was indignant, not because He healed her but because He healed on the Sabbath. Jesus replied, 'Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?'" (vs. 15-17). Think of the people you know who are bound by satan, suffering, and in desperate need of a touch from God. Are we willing to get out of our comfort zone, past our old way of thinking and let go of whatever traditions or ways of man that hold us back from allowing the Lord to use us to bring His Kingdom onto this earth as it is in Heaven? What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of OFFENDING the people around us? Are we afraid that the sick won't be healed? Are we afraid that those bound by satan won't be set free? Are we afraid that those bent over won't be made straight? You see, if we pray and it doesn't happen, we'll be disappointed, feel embarrassed, feel like a failure, or worse, our faith may even be challenged. THE PRAYER OF NO FAITH With these fears brewing in our minds, it's easier to pray, "Lord, if it's Your will..." This is how we rationalize it in our minds. If we pray with that (no faith) phrase as our safety net, then we won't get our hopes up, and if we don't get our hopes up, then we won't be let down. But our hope is in God, it doesn't have anything to do with us, but it has everything to do with Him. Unfortunately, the devil is trying to get us to lose sight of this. It's a very subtle shift, but may we hear what the Spirit is saying. In Acts 5:12, Scripture tells us that through the hands of the apostle's many signs and wonders were done among the people. Hallelujah—that's just what Jesus said would happen (see John 14:12). The only place in the Bible where we see the phrase, "Lord, if You are willing..." is coming out of the mouth of someone stricken with leprosy (Matthew 8:2). For the Hebrews, leprosy was a dreaded condition which left its victims ceremonially unclean—that is, unfit to worship their King (see Leviticus 13:3). BELIEVING IN THE FINISHED WORK OF THE CROSS Jesus told us that if we believe in Him, we will do these greater things. Believing in Him means that we believe He has done it all. Believing in Him means that we can't mess it up and we can't conjure it up, because it's all about Him. It means that we know that we have nothing to add or subtract from the finished work of the Cross in order to gain our salvation or to see a miracle manifested. He has done it all, and all He is asking us is to do is to take His place as His priests. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY http://afministry.ning.com
  5. Judges 16:21 - "But the Philistines took Samson, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house." The same thing happens to a person in whom the enemy appetites reside and triumph. First, these appetites weaken and blind, then they afflict and torment by chaining that person to the mill of concupiscence, for they are the chains by which a soul is bound. Genesis 1:26 - "God said, let Us make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth." It is satan who defeats us; it is our openness to him. Satan is tolerated for one purpose: the warfare between the devil and God's saints thrusts us into christlikeness not where the nature of Christ becomes our only place of rest and security. God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image. It has always been the Lord's intent to have a "people" who would have dominion authority on the earth. The word "dominion" (Hebrew -radah) means to prevail, rule, reign, to tread down." Through Jesus Christ we have been given authority over the enemy and all that he would try to come against us with. The word AUTHORITY means LEGAL OR RIGHTFUL POWER, A RIGHT TO COMMAND OR ACT. "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you." - Luke 10:19 1 Peter 1:13 - "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Plan of Action: TODAY I SEEK TO DEAL WITH THE LOOSE ENDS THAT I'VE ALLOWED TO REMAIN IN MY MIND AND EMOTIONS. I MAKE THE DELIBERATE CHOICE TO START SUBMITTING EVERY AREA OF MY MIND AND EMOTIONS TO THE WORD OF GOD AND TO THE SANCTIFYING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  6. O that God would stir our hearts with passion; that we would encounter Him with such abandon, that we could all say: "God, I'm as hungry for You today as I was at any other time in my life!" Psalms 42:1-2, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" Panting! Thirsting! But thirsting for what? The answer is here: "When shall I come and appear before God?" It's not about us appearing before people. It's about us appearing before God. Revelation 2:4, 5a" --"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works." "You have left your first love." We can all think of those days when we were hungrier and more radical for God, devouring our Bible every day. Maybe it was in those first few months that we were a Christian. But now, because of some hard trials, valleys, and disappointments, we realize that we're still walking with God, still reading the Bible and going to church, but there's something missing. Jesus Christ is challenging us, so let's be honest. We need to FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AGAIN--revisit First Love. REPENT AND DO THE FIRST WORKS There's something about when we begin to remember and allow the Holy Spirit to move in the imagination, taking us back to the greatest times of God's power coming in our lives. It's important to remember those times when we were really hungry. The problem is, sometimes we just accept being lukewarm as normal, and our attitude is: "I've grown up in the church, and I'm a Christian. I don't need to be all that zealous anymore." But Jesus said to "Remember therefore from where you have fallen," and then He goes on to say, "Repent and do the first works." There are times when Christians get so hopeless and disappointed -- so discouraged. TAKE HOLD OF GOD AFRESH If there is luke-warmness, you have to take responsibility for it. It's not always the church's fault. You've got to STIR YOURSELF UP to take hold of God, go to the well yourself, and go to the river of God yourself. You need to say, "I don't just want to go to where the blessing is, I want to be the blessing. I don't just want to go to the revival, I want to carry the revival. I want to be what starts the revival!" We've got to be at a place where we stop and say, "Soul, what are you doing, and why are you so complacent? I've got to remember from where I have fallen. I've got to get back that love and that passion and that fire; I've got to get it back! I've got to repent and do the first works! Something's wrong here. I'm not going to stay here anymore murmuring and going around this mountain. I am going to do something about it!" ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  7. 1 John 3:16 - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Observation: WHEN I WANT GOD ABOVE ALL, I AM WILLING - AS CHRIST WAS WILLING - TO FOLLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT, EVEN IN THE MOST DRY AND DARK AND PAINFUL TIMES. WHEN I SEE WITH THE EYES OF FAITH THAT THIS IS THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE CROSS, I WILL KNOW HOW TO IMITATE CHRIST AND DO WHAT HE DID. Matthew 15:29 - "And He said, 'Come.' And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus". In the purest sense, Peter did not rest His weight upon the water; He stood upon Christ's Word: "COME!" Peter trusted that if Jesus told him to do the impossible -- even to walk on the water -- the power to obey would be inherent within the command. Hebrews 10:24 - "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." OBSERVATION: Because I constantly observe and contemplate others to know how to encourage and provoke them to love and to good works and as I reach out to assist them with words of strength -- they are becoming better, stronger, and bolder in the Lord. Affirmations: I AM EXTREMELY CONSCIOUS OF THE WORKINGS OF CHRIST AND OF GOD'S ENERGY AT WORK IN ME. I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. (Matthew 5:14) I AM A LAMP, NOT HIDDEN ANYMORE, BECAUSE GOD IS FILLING ME WITH THE EFFECTUAL WORKINGS OF CHRIST--THE EFFECTUAL WORD IN ME AS A BEACON TO ALL WHO ARE IN THE WORLD. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  8. As I write this, we have been reading the Book of Luke. I thought it might interest some of you, to see what it was like, if you were a protestant of means, able to afford one of those new fangled things called a printed Bible. Some people refer the the King James Bible, as the authorized version. It was an authorized version, authorized by the King, and the translation was completed in 1611. This authorization was for the Church of England. While the Church of England was not Roman Catholic, neither was it properly protestant church. The King James Version, was commissioned, in part, to counteract the Bible popular with protestants, to help make it easier to maintain the religious hierarchy of the Church of England. The protestants were too critical of the Church of England for the Kinds tastes, so a new version was commissioned for use in the churches of the Church of England. Basically, the Church of England, was protesting the protestants. While the KJV is an "authorized version" it was the third authorize version. Prior to it, was the Bishops Bible, of 1568, and before that, was the Great Bible, of 1535. The King James version, as was said, is AN authorized version. It was not given the title of "The Authorized Version", until 1814. Lest you get the impression, that I am anti King James Version, I am not. I love the King James Version, and it has been EXTREMELY important in church history. It is a good version. There was a faction of the Church of England, known as the Puritans. They were not called the Puritans, because they were so pure and holy, though that is how many have come to think of that term. The Puritans, were about purging or purefying the church, not just of the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, but also from issues of having a church, run by a monarch. The Puritans believed that the Church of England, was still too "Catholic" in it's operation. The puritans believed in the priesthood of all believers, not an appointed caste of Popes and Bishops and the like. This did not earn them the admiration of Kings and Popes, so they were persecuted and exiled. They were protestants, in most senses of the word. The Bible of choice, among the Puritans, was the Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible, was the first Bible to have chapter and verse numbers, and it was translated in 1560. It was carried on the Mayflower to America, and it was the most popular English Bible, during the period of the Protestant Reformation. Why this abbreviated history lesson on early English Bible versions? I wanted you to see how easy you have it. Bibles were not often in the hands of common people. The belief of the reformers, that the Bible should be available to all, and the invention of the printing press, was the beginning of the process that lead to mass Bible access. If you were a well off Protestant, over 400 years ago, what would you have seen? Here is page of a Bible (the Geneva Bible), that was printed in English, before the King James Version.
  9. Matthew 5:6 says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." So many people are not tapping into the promises that God has for them because they really don't have a understanding about the miraculous power God has given us. We must understand that Heaven is the place of creation and Earth is the place that it's manifested. When we get our hearts in proper alignment with what the Lord is saying, we will start to see this Kingdom breakthrough flood every part of our life.proper John 15:4 says, "Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me."2 Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." The Lord is looking for the ones who will receive a word from Him, and hang on to that word no matter what comes. We must hold tight to the word of God, not what the critics may say and ignore the situations that are trying to destroy your purpose. The Lord longs for the person whose heart is dependent on Him. Luke 22:24 - "Now an eager contention arose among them as to which of them was considered and reputed to be the greatest." Observation: I AM NOT AT REST IN HIM IF I AM LOOKING ABOUT TO SEE HOW HE IS DEALING WITH OTHERS. NOR AM I AT HIS SERVICE TO BRING THE GRACE OF COMPASSION TO THEM IF I HAVE TAKEN A HIGHER SEAT. Luke 22:26 - "But this is not the way it is with you; rather, the greatest one among you must be like the youngest, and the leader must be like the servant." Romans 12:2 - "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Observation: THE TERRITORY OF THE UNCRUCIFIED THOUGHT-LIFE IS THE BEACHHEAD OF SATANIC ASSAULT IN MY LIFE. TO DEFEAT THE DEVIL, I MUST BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF MY MIND! ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  10. Genesis 1:2 - "The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Observation: AS I MEET WITH GOD HE COMES LIVING AND BREATHING THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES INTO MY HEART. AT THAT MOMENT THE VERY SAME SPIRIT THAT HOVERED OVER CREATION, IN THE BEGINNING, IS HOVERING OVER ME, TRANSFORMING ME INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST THROUGH THE WORD. THAT LIVING, BREATHING WORD IS GOD! 2 Corinthians 3:18 - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Matthew 14:27 - "But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."' Christ's assurance, "It is I", literally translated reads, "I Am" - the eternal designation of God. While Jesus indeed comes to the aid of His disciples, He also reveals Himself transcendent of time's barriers. As such, He proclaims His availability to all His disciples. He is God with us, even to the end of the age! AFFIRMATIONS: Since I am in Jesus Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in me. (Col. 2:9,10) God has put eternity in my heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The Lord is like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I cannot contain it any longer. (Jer.20:9) Matthew 7:25 - "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Observation:I CANNOT BUILD MY HOUSE "IN A STORM". MY HOUSE MUST BE BUILT DAY BY DAY, BEFOREHAND, BY DIGGING DEEP AND BUILDING ON THE ROCK OF HEARING AND OBEYING THE WORDS OF CHRIST. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRYhttp://afministry.ning.com
  11. Matthew 17:4 - "Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter wanted to come up with a program to organize what God was doing; but God would have us to forsake our various programs and gimmicks and, instead, simply listen to Jesus. The same glory is just as close to us as it was to Peter -- as is the same instance to revert to dead works in spite of who we have seen. Matthew 17:5 - "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him." Deuteronomy 28:1 - " If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth." Affirmation: I MAKE A QUALITY DECISION TO DILIGENTLY LINE UP WITH GOD'S WORD SO I CAN RELEASE THE BLESSINGS OF GOD INTO THE EARTH. "If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land." - Isaiah 1:19 This opportunity is given to all who are saved, but not everyone is willing to adjust to a "diet" that is conducive to spiritual growth. Therefore, Jesus said, "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). In other words, "Few will pay the price in order to be chosen." This process of qualifying begins after we have received the gift of salvation, which has been freely provided for us by Jesus upon Calvary's Cross. Philippians 3:14 - "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Observation: AFTER LEAVING EGYPT, ALL THE EXPERIENCES THAT ISRAEL WENT THROUGH WERE TO PREPARE THEM FOR THE HIGH CALLING OF REPRESENTING THE LORD ON EARTH. I TOO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THIS HIGHEST OF CALLINGS, AND EVERYTHING I GO THROUGH IS INTENDED TO PREPARE ME FOR IT. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  12. As we are called to step out into areas that are beyond our comfort zone, we may feel as if we are floundering for a season. Yet God has called us to walk in His peace and JOY and to BRING HIS KINGDOM TO EARTH in each situation. We could easily fall into discouragement if we do not stand in God's encouragement. And part of the way He fills and refreshes us is through His spirit of JOY. Joy in the midst of heavy world situations. Joy in the midst of tragic circumstances. Joy in the midst of serious situations and huge challenges. WE CAN BE A SIGN AND A WONDER We can be a sign and a wonder to those around us as we walk in His SUPERNATURAL JOY. And when the essence of this joy touches other lives, people will be drawn to know the source of our joy, Jesus Himself. We need to EXPERIENCE THIS PLACE WHERE GOD CAN INVADE OUR SOULS and impart doses of His supernatural joy much more often than we currently do. Remember that when Paul teaches on the fruit of the Spirit, joy comes second in the list! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is...JOY! PERSONAL APPLICATION SOAK IN HIS PRESENCE. Refresh yourself in Him. FOCUS ON JESUS AND HIS LOVE TOWARDS YOU, and let Him remind you of the many blessings that He brings to your life. As you set your mind on things above, you will receive your fill-up of joy. Walking in supernatural peace is definitely a demonstration of the Kingdom of God. We must be challenged to walk in supernatural joy, to PRESS-IN TO THE SPIRIT, find His joy there, and then walk in it, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. The message of "Good tidings of great joy" is not for the Christmas season only. Because of Him, we can walk in great joy--"Joy unspeakable and full of glory" right here and right now. "There are river fountains that splash joy, cooling God's city, the holy place where the Most High dwells" (Psalms 46:4). Let's tap into that supernatural river of joy! Let's get swallowed up in a spirit of joy. In delighting in the Lord. In rejoicing in His Presence. And in bringing His Kingdom of joy down here on earth as it is in Heaven. SCRIPTURE MEDITATIONS: Psalms 16, Psalms 46, Psalms 37, Romans 14:17, Luke 15:10, Galatians 5:22, Philippians 4 ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY http://afministry.ning.com
  13. Isaiah 11:2 - "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness." Observation: THE VIRTUE OF FORTITUDE IS OFTEN MISTAKEN AS MERELY DRAWING STRENGTH FROM GOD. BUT THEN I BELIEVE I HAVE STRENGTH IN MYSELF, AND THERE IS NOTHING SO WEAK AND FAILING AS THAT. FORTITUDE COMES UPON ME WHEN MY SOUL HAS FOUND ITS ONE UNFAILING SHELTER -- THATIS, WHEN I HAVE SEEN WITH THE EYES OF FAITH, WHEN CHALLENGES COME, HOW MY SOUL HAS FLED INTO ITS ALL-SURROUNDING GOD. HE ALONE IS MY EVERLASTING WALL OF STRENGTH. Acts 6:8 - "And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people." How do you prophesy radical words over your spiritual enemies? Take a page from David's play-book. David turned Goliath's false prophesy and word curses around. 1 Samuel 17:44 - "The Philistine said to David, 'Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and to the beasts of the field.'" David prophesied back, "I will strike you down and cut off your head. Then I will give the corpses of the Philistine camp this day to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (verse 46). Many times, you can determine what the Lord wants to do in your life by the vain imaginations and accusationscoming against your mind. When the enemy whispers to your mind or screams at your soul, speak the opposite of what the enemy is saying to you. Prophesy God's will over your life. The true prophetic word always trumps the false prophetic word—when you release it. You don't need a "prophetic word" to prophesy God's will—His will for your life is in His Word. Prophesy what God's Word says about you and what belongs to you. You will prevail! Psalm 100:4,5 - "Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations." Satan’s plan is to make us somehow accept, either through our upbringing, our experiences or through Church dogma that certain portions of the life of Christ are untrue or not valid in our case. Every battle we face in life is over the word and whether or not we can build our lives upon the faithfulness and integrity of God. Hebrews 10:23 - "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is FAITHFUL;" ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  14. "Oh, my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me, that I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, 'O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.'" Jeremiah 4:19 The Holy Spirit within us wants to use us to properly do battle against the enemy. However, we must remember, "...the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty THROUGH GOD for pulling down of strongholds." 2 Corinthians 10:4 We must allow the Holy Spirit the "right of way" to take it over and to direct it. We must turn TO it and not from it. We must not be ashamed of the WEEPING that He desires to cry out through us! "...Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts...." Hebrews 3:7-8 SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH THIS WEEPING? We need to ALLOW the Holy Spirit to cry, to pray through us when this unction comes upon us, and to NOT "shut it down." Additionally, don't worry about the "words" you will pray.... Romans 8:26-27, "...the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." As we allow the weeping unction of the Holy Spirit to cry out through us, we will be praying for the things for which the Spirit within us is weeping, in the way the Lord wants it prayed about, and in the will of the Lord for the outcome. Romans 8:28, "And (then) we know that all things (will) work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." PRAY IT THROUGH When those tears and/or deep groanings come, LET them! Don't stop it! Be led by the Holy Spirit. And understand that even if you don't have your prayer language, you are still His Sheep, and you can still hear and obey the voice of the Lord, and be directed to pray according to the will of God. In whatever way He desires for you to pray, "pray it through!" Until you have a "release" or a sensing of peace that it has been "taken care of." Don't be concerned about "words!" It may be that you will experience tears and/or groanings alone. Also, we don't need to be embarrassed by tears (ours or others) if they begin to flow. We just need to "let go and let God!" And let's not "fake it" or get loud to get attention. Weeping may very well and most likely occur when we are all alone. Let's just allow the Holy Spirit total access to and through us, to be led by Him, for His purposes to be accomplished when and how He causes that unction to come. It is a time to let the "rain" of the Holy Spirit "reign!" To let Him cry out through us for souls and for mercy! In this time when so many have serious needs, let us heed the voice of the Spirit to "pray it through." Revelation 2:11, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches..." ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY http://afministry.ning.com
  15. Exodus 16:4 - "Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or no." God did not give the children of Israel the heavenly manna until they exhausted the flour brought from Egypt. This bread of angels is disagreeable to the palate of anyone who wants to taste human food. Persons feeding on other strange tastes not only become incapable of the Divine Spirit but are not satisfied with God alone but entertain a desire and affection for other things. John 14:6,7 - "Jesus saith unto him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him."' Unless we can be corrected, unless we are seeking God for an unfolding revelation of His son, our so-called "faith" may be, in reality, just a lazy indifference, a deception concerning the things of God. Subconsciously, we may actually want a dead religion so we do not have to change. True faith is freighted with the power of God. Timothy 3:5 - "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."AFFIRMATIONS: I do only those things that I see the Father doing. As I take communion, partaking of the bread and wine, I confirm my oneness with Jesus. I am in Christ Jesus. I walk worthy of the Lord - I am fruitful, and I increase in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord. Each day I seek to draw ever nearer to Christ, seeking to yield, ever deeper, my will to His will. Psalm 145:2 - "Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name forever and ever." WHAT I DO DAILY DETERMINES WHAT I BECOME PERMANENTLY. Proverbs 8:34 - "Blessed is the man that heareth Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors." ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  16. Revelation 3:17 - "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire..." We are living in the time of the Laodicean Church, which we are told is "rich and increased with goods" (Revelation 3:17). Therefore, most of us are too busy to spend much time in prayer. We must place a high value on the time that we spend alone with the Lord, or it will be overtaken and replaced with activities. This "set apart time to be alone with the Lord" must constantly be contended for. Our Lord is very sensitive about "room being made" for Him, as, when He was born into this world, there was "no room" in the inn. Thus, when anyone of us actively determines to make room for Him, He quickly notices and responds.Affirmations: I AM A "NEW WINESKIN," CLEANSED, EMPTIED AND CAPABLE OF EXPANDING WITH THE NEW WINE. MY HEART IS A CONTAINER INTO WHICH THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS POURED. I SWELL WITH CHRIST'S INNER FULLNESS. THE PURPOSE OF MY LIFE IS TO CONTAIN THE FRUIT AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. I AM DESPERATE IN MY SEARCH AND HUNGER FOR GOD! Galatians 4:19 - "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you." Hebrews 4:10,11 - "For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor, therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." Affirmations: I LABOR BY FORCEFULLY QUIETING MY SOUL OF THE NOISE OF IT'S FLESHLY THINKING AND SOULISH CRYING, WHICH IS A YOKE OF SLAVERY AROUND MY NECK, HOLDING ME CAPTIVE IN MY OWN PERSONAL SPIRITUAL EGYPT. I SEND IT FLEEING INTO THE SILENT "WILDERNESS" WITH GOD. THERE IT WILL FIND THE FREEDOM AND HOLY REST THAT ARE THE HERITAGE OF THE TRUE SONS OF GOD. Luke 5:4 - "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets". OBSERVATION: I quit fishing in the same waters I've bee fishing in for so long. I go to new territories and get ready to catch more fish than I ever dreamed possible! Luke 5:10 - "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for the souls of men!" ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  17. We don't rejoice for the battles, but we exalt in the victories that are already won in Christ. It's in times of adversity that millions, great multitudes, will come to know Christ Jesus, as many as the sand which is on the seashore (Genesis 22:17-18). STAYING IN MOTION Consistency in Kingdom advancement is more important than speed or ferocity. After all, eternity is timeless. Sometimes our journey with Jesus may seem like plodding. But, God orchestrates our steps. As long as we're in motion and not stagnating, we're taking ground. May we be able to declare, "For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed." - Isaiah 50:7. II Samuel 5:10 - "And he (David) became more and more powerful because the Lord God Almighty was with him." Marching upon the path of faith is similar to pumping spiritual iron. Each time we wield the sword, every time we put on the breastplate of righteousness, every time we act in faith, our spiritual muscles grow stronger in Christ Jesus. There are times we do not engage in battle. There are times we simply "stay in the cave" and wait (Judges 15:8; I Samuel 22:1; I Kings 19:9). It's crucial to pray and inquire so we know if, and when, God is sending us to fight. It's difficult to stumble when we're on our knees. The battle belongs to the Lord. Therefore, the defeat of the enemy is in His hands. SometimesSILENCE is the greatest weapon of all, allowing the contender to exhaust himself shadowboxing, while we stay in an attitude of worship--the highest form of warfare. THE DESIRE TO FIX THINGS Often, the battle is not with the devil, but with our own CARNAL NATURE. Our flesh really longs to rise up and fix things, stating our opinion. We must remember--the greater the faith, the fewer the words. If there are some battles or power-struggles going on in your sphere of influence, keep in mind, it's best to always bow lower. After all, God became a baby to conquer the world. For it's, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord" - Zechariah 4:6. II Samuel 5:22-25, "As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army." So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer." We're living in "move-quickly" days. When you hear the wind in the top of the mulberry trees, move quickly. Delayed obedience can be disobedience. BUILDING OUR SPIRITUAL MUSCLES God uses divine delays, times of testing, false starts, and trial runs to build up our spiritual muscles, and create a tenacious spirit within us. When David did as the Lord commanded him, he knew that God had gone before him, and he struck down the enemy all the way. There's a time of peace and a time of war, a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to speak, and a time to be silent. A time to wait, and a time to move quickly. (See Ecclesiastes 3:1) ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  18. Genesis 21:10 - "Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." Freedom cannot abide in a slaves heart dominated by worldly desires and honors. Royal freedom of spirit attained in divine union has nothing to do with slavery. There are certain foundational attributes of servanthood and sacrifice that create a seedbed for the fragrance of Christ in our lives. Luke 22:26 - "Not so with you: on the contrary, the highest among you must bear himself like the youngest, the chief of you like a servant." Romans 5:5 - "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." The proof of love is the willingness to changeObservation: I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SAME LOVE THAT COMPELLED JESUS TO GO TO THE CROSS. IT IS THE LOVE THAT COMPELS ME TO INTERCEDE FOR OTHERS. I PRAY FOR OTHERS TO RELEASE THEM FROM THE BONDAGE OF THE ENEMY. I PRAY FOR THEM SO THEY CAN COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH. Romans 15:13 - "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit." One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is JOY! One way you can know that you are communing with the Holy Spirit is when His love, joy, and peace begins to flood your heart. It is a supernatural result of your love for God in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 - "For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." There is a domino effect when we choose to live in sync with the Holy Spirit rather than following the fleshly mind. Faith and trust blossoms in the presence of God. When God is big in your life, you won't make molehills mountains and mountains molehills. You will magnify the Lord and rejoice in Him at all times. Be encouraged in your faith, believe God for greater, keep moving forward, and rejoice in His presence! ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  19. Matthew 12:34-37 - "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned". OBSERVATION: My future -- good or bad -- is in me, right now. It's in my mouth and it's determined by the words I speak. I am the prophet of my own life. AFFIRMATIONS: The Spirit of God is creating a desire for the NEW - I thank the Holy Spirit for helping me to press through into this new place. Revelation is opening my eyes and giving me this new vision. I arise now. My provision is waiting at the next level. The course of the river is beginning to change. I jump in and go up! A new height, a new momentum, and a new strength enters my soul. I refuse to sit any longer in a low place. Revelation 22:1 - "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." OBSERVATION: God leads me to the river of His Spirit -- the current of clear goodness that flows without ceasing. As I step into that unfailing new life I will want nothing else. Ephesians 3:20, 21 - "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Praise the mighty name of Jesus who pours out the promise of the Holy Spirit to us (Acts 2:33)! Praise the mighty name of Jesus who said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21) The Father sent Jesus with an unlimited anointing of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:34). That same promise is for us. This spiritual dynamic that flows into us daily is the witness of the reality of the Holy Spirit’s power to the masses who are destitute of the Love and redemption and Kingdom power that is available to them in Christ Jesus. AFFIRMATIONS:I believe for an impartation of the Holy Spirit that will enable me to flourish into a season of great fruitfulness for the glory of the Lord. I live every day in the fullness of the Lord, by seeing above and beyond what I can do, and that Jesus would receive glory and honor through His great power that works in me and through me. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  20. Psalm 8:1,2 - "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger." God equates praise with strength. Praise stops satan in his tracks. It is a weapon to use in calling a halt to satan's maneuvers. Psalm 9:1-3 - "I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence." Isaiah 60:1 - "Arise (from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you - rise to a new life)! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!" (AMP) There is a way that we run that causes us to have victory. It is not enough to be on the course, we must be ON course the entire way. To the level that we maintain our FOCUS, we will also maintain consistency establishing the Throne of God in the earth through that CALLING of God on our life.Observation: I OPEN MY BIBLE AND STIR MYSELF UP WITH GOD'S GREAT PROMISES FOR MY FUTURE. I READ THEM OUT LOUD SO MY EARS CAN HEAR WHAT MY MOUTH IS SAYING. Romans 10:17 - "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing, by the Word of God." AFFIRMATIONS: I always receive from God because I have faith and do not doubt. I continually ask, seek, and knock concerning the things God has prepared for me understanding His CALLING on my life because Jesus says I will receive, find, and it will be opened for me. I forget those things which are behind and reach forth to the CALLING God has put into my heart. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Psalm 42:1,2 - "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" Observation: HE CREATES IN ME THE DESIRE TO FIND HIM AND RUN AFTER HIM. HE TAKES ME WITH HIS HAND AND LEADS ME WHERE I CANNOT GO BY MYSELF - ALONG A WAY THAT NO HUMAN EYE CAN SEE, AND THAT IS THE WAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRYhttp://afministry.ning.com
  21. Romans 5:5 - "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." Observation: ACTING IN LOVE WHEN OTHERS ARE NOT ACTING IN LOVE TOWARD ME - THIS IS THE HIGHEST VALUE TO MY SOUL. LOVE IS THE PATH ON WHICH I WALK AS CLOSELY AS IS POSSIBLE TO THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY LIVING IN THE LIFE ETERNAL. THE MORE I FOLLOW LOVE THE MORE MY OLD SELF IS CONSUMED AND DIES. Galatians 5:22 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." Proverbs 18:21 - "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Affirmation:I SPEAK GOD'S WORDS CONTINUALLY, AND THEN WATCH THE HOLY SPIRIT BLAST THE MOUNTAINS OF OBSTACLES OUT OF MY WAY. Psalm 77:12 - "I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings." What I think about the most will grow the strongest in me. Joshua 1:8 - "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night." "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 5:20 Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why He has instructed us to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Him thanks (regardless of your feelings), and He gives you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience—at times, blind obedience. Thankfulness opens your heart to His Presence and your mind to His thoughts, enabling you to see from His perspective. It is this Light of His Presence that removes the sting from adversity. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." - Psalm 118:1 "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord." - Psalm 89:15 ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  22. John 5:17 - "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working." Because we are so prone to neglecting and forgetting about the needs of other people, we think that God is capable of being slothful toward us -- and so we accuse Him of neglecting us when circumstances become painful, or simply not to our liking. John 14:16 - "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever." Matthew 13:14 - "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will look and look and not see." As long as we see only with our bodily eyes, we will continue to live like a blind captive, fumbling around inside a prison cell in the dark of night -- while all the time the door that leads to our freedom stands open. Ephesians 1:18 - "I pray that your inward eyes may be illumined, so that you know what is the hope to which he calls you." Proverbs 29:18 - "Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." When God gives you a vision, it's inspiring. Waiting is the hard part. We must remember not to grow weary in well-doing because we'll reap in due season if we don't faint (Galatians 6:9).We must also remember that we inherit the promises of God through faith and patience(Hebrews 6:12). And we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). If you don't give up, if you're diligent to keep declaring the vision, it will come to pass in the kairos moment. God is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that He should repent. As the Lord told Habakkuk, "If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay." - Habakkuk 2:3 Affirmations: I HUNGER FOR AND VIGOROUSLY PURSUE REVELATION. I CRY OUT DAY AND NIGHT FOR THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. I COME INTO AGREEMENT WITH THE FATHER TO RELEASE ME INTO THE THINGS HE HAS PREDESTINED ME FOR SINCE BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
  23. Matthew 17:17 - "Then Jesus answered and said, 'O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.'" Jesus made it clear to the disciples that the gift of God would remain dormant in them if they could not believe. OBSERVATION: When we walk in fear, doubt, and remembrance of failures we are robbed of our boldness, and we become unable to step out in God's ability. Jeremiah 32:17 - "Alas, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You." Affirmation: I AM NEVER AS FAR FROM A MIRACLE AS IT FIRST APPEARS. OBSERVATION: The spirit of the resurrected Christ is in you -- find it. That discovery releases extraordinary faith. It's the discovery of the person in you -- that partnership positions you to redefine the nature of the world around you. Matthew 7:7 - "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." "Do not despise the day of small beginnings." - Zechariah 4:10 The Messiah had to be born in a manger before the government could be seen upon His shoulders, and it took a faithful few who trusted God's voice, beyond their own ways or understanding, to birth such tolife. The manger brings the Father, and all of Heaven for that matter, so much joy! He has always worked through manger strategies. Few recognize that so many of God's greatest moves come hidden within. Most don't want to start with a baby swaddled and surrounded inhay. Right now, many, many believers have these manger-like situations being used to birth new, small beginnings that all of Heaven is hopeful for. Most of those small beginnings don't have fanfare or a big following, just a few shepherds and wise men sent your way occasionally forencouragement to help see it through. We can't despise these moments in each step we are following the Spirit which may feel so small and misunderstood. Like Joseph and Mary, we are merely stewarding through absolute surrender, faithful obedience, and a passion for the Lord that won't be compromised. What looks like a baby surrounded by hay in the wilderness might actually be a hope that carries the destiny of the Father's Kingdom family to the world. "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts." - Zechariah 4:6 ALBERT FINCH MINISTRYhttp://afministry.ning.com
  24. How I Study the Bible - One Approach I am not an expert, I am just a lay person like most of you, with not formal Bible training of education. Such education can be very helpful, or very hurtful, because we are all in the same boat. We are human, we make mistakes, we misunderstand. This is true of seminary professors, authors, pastors, and you and I. If you do not think you are in that category, then you are either Jesus, or you think of yourself more highly than you ought to. That being said, and hopefully understood and accpeted, I would like to share with you how I approach Bible study, in an effort to minimize my misunderstandings, and maximize what I learn from scripture. First off, I do three different types of Bible studies. Expository, topical, and word studies. As I define the terms, an expository study is one were I select a passage, a chapter, a whole book, or some other contiguous grouping of words from the Bible, and then go verse by verse, looking at the verse, it’s context, the intended audience, the historical setting and any parallel or related passages, to gain an understanding of the grouping of words which I am examining. I would say that a topical study, would be an examination of a specific subject, such as abortion, the rapture, tithing, marriage, etc. Finally, a word study is where I begin by looking at a word in a verse or verses in English, where either I am uncertain of it’s usage, or just want to more fully understand it’s significance and nuances. Then look at the original Greek or Hebrew word that was translated into the specific English word at the location in question. Once having identified the original language word, I then look at every occurrence of that word in the Greek or Hebrew to see the ways the word is used, and also consult works written for the purpose of original language study, such as Lexicons. My favorite type is the topical study, but the methods I use are based on principles that can be applied not only in these different studies, but can be applied to other historical literature as well as current literature. There are rules of interpretation than most conservative theologians agree upon. By and large, they look to me to be good common sense rules, so I try to stick to them. This minimizes the “that’s your interpretation” phenomenon, which is so silly. I prefer to have a good interpretation any day, than MY interpretation. Many of these rules come from traditional Jewish rules of interpretation. Now immediately, we must concede, that there are obviously limitations to these rules, or most Jews would have recognized their Messiah. The problem is, that we are human, we make mistakes, and we bring our own prejudices and preconceptions to the interpretive table. It is true for me, it is true for you also. So, sound rules are a foundation for understanding the Bible in a consistent manner, they are there to help you see past your own prejudices, but they will only work if you are willing to be consistent, and not change the rules to suit an interpretation you prefer. So what are some of these rules? In no particular order. Always examine a verse or passage in it’s context This means that you look at the verses leading up to that passage, and following, so that you can see what the subject actually is which is being discussed. Ignore the chapter heading and number, these are man-made, it is up to you to determine when a subject begins and ends. Examining a passage in context, also involves not just reading and understanding the nearby verses, but also identify who is being addressed in a passage. For whom is the message intended? Sometimes it is a specific individual, some times Israel, sometimes the church, sometimes it applies universally to mankind, determine this. The historical context is also important, Understanding things about a time and place, can affect how you understand the passage. Context, is one of the most important aspects of Biblical interpretation. Okay, suppose we have done all that. We have arrived at what we think the verse is saying and to whom. Remember that the scriptures are divinely inspired. Therefore, they will never contradict each other. We can use that to help us check our understanding of a verse or passage in question. The next rule is: Compare Scripture with Scripture Here, we search out other passages on the same topic. For example, let’s say we examined the ten commandments, and saw there: “Thou shalt not kill.” We have now the understanding that it is always wrong to kill. However, as we read in other places in the Bible, we find that God ordains wars, and prescribes putting people to death for certain crimes. Knowing that the God does not contradict himself, we understand that we must have a faulty understanding of “thou shalt not kill”. This brings us to another rule of interpretation. Examine the Verse in the Original Language Time was when you had to own quite a library to follow all of these rules effectively. In modern times, there are theological libraries in the form of software, which are substantially less expensive than they would be in printed form. Additionally, many of these helps are online. Go and experiment with sites such as blueletterbible.org, biblestudytools.com, biblehub.com, etc. You will find many things to aid your understanding on those sites. In the case of thou shalt not kill, we would find that a better translation of the Hebrew would have been “You shall do no murder”. Another tool which is indispensable is a concordance. A concordance let’s you look up Bible verses by words that exist in English in the verse. For example, if you looked up the word “locusts”, you would discover the word occurs in 17 verses. The concordance would show you part of the verse - a partial context. This is useful if you want to find verses that have a word in common with a verse you are examining. Seeing the context, lets you see if the verse is related to the topic you are studying, or to the verse you are studying, In the Gospels for instance, the different authors some times have additional details that another Gospel writer left out. Perhaps you are wanting to find a particular verse you are thinking of, a concordance can be useful for that. This can also be done with online Bible search sites. The next ones are not rules, but recommendations. Read a passage in several translations. Translations are not all alike, nor equally good, and none is without error. Most are pretty good for casual reading of the scriptures, but by reading a passage in a different version, you can often uncover some nuance, that you may want to explore further. Additionally, it is a good idea to to read about a given passage in a commentary or two, or three. In that way, you reap the benefit of the work that someone has already put into understanding the passage you are looking at. Here again, none is without error. In fact, by reading commentaries, you may come across views you never considered. Consider them thoughtfully, but realize that only the Bible text itself, is inspired. This brings me to the next rule. Let Scripture Interpret Scripture What do we mean by that? Sometimes a verse you may be considering, is already discussed in another passage in the Bible. Since the Bible is inspired by God, you have to accept the Bible’s explanation of itself. How would you know that a passage is commented on in another section in the Bible? My primary answer is read the Bible until you are familiar with it. I realize than not everyone will follow this advice, so there are other ways. The commentaries I spoke of, will often point such passages out. A good reference Bible, such as Thompson’s Chain Referance Bible, will show related passages - a very helpful tool. When reading a passage, assume it is literal, unless there is a compelling reason not to. In John 10:9 (NASB) Jesus says: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” A literal translation of that would be to think of Jesus claiming to be a slab of wood on a hinge. There is no need to be so literal. The context of the passage will usually indicate what the author was saying. Parables and visions, similes and metaphors are frequently used in the Bible. There is an excellent book on parables and metaphors (by G. Campbell Morgan). Learn to spot this type or writing, sometimes it is not so obvious: John 11:11-15 after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples therefore said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead", (NASB) In the passage above, we see that even the disciples took things too literally. Understand the Historical Background This takes some digging, but it is most helpful to understand figures of speech, customs and historical circumstances surrounding a passage. Where is the author, why is he there? To whom is he writing and why? These type of things are very useful to stay aware of. For example, some passages are written directly to a person of a people, and may not apply universally. Strive to avoid interpreting through the eyes of your own experience and culture. A helpful tool for this is the book: "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" (Alfred Edersheim). Keep with precedents Some people love inventing new meanings for words. Understand what the words meant when they were written from the original languages, if you are working in your own language, understand the meaning of the word when they were translated. For example, you may run across the word “quick” in the King James Version. Quick meant ‘living’ or ‘alive’ in 1611, not ‘fast’ or 'sudden'. Many modern commentators have erred by insisting that certain words mean certain things that they did not mean when written, don’t make the same mistake and don’t make the mistake of assuming that what they say is true, do your own research. Use Common Logic This one seems like a no-brainer that I should not even have to mention. Ask yourself, if a given understanding of a passage makes sense. Be careful here though, not everyone thinks alike. When I say to ask if it makes sense, I don’t mean does it make sense to you! I mean is the conclusion a rational one given the words used, the circumstances etc. is it where the majority of scriptural evidence points you? Don’t make the mistake of using your logic to over-rule the plain revelation of scripture. For example, I don’t like hell. It makes no sense to me that such a place would exist, why punish someone eternally for things done during the short span of a lifetime. However, I must keep in mind, that my thoughts are not His thoughts, and my ways are not His ways, so, I go with what scripture plainly teaches - there is a Hell. Recognize and determine the validity (or lack thereof) of inference This is similar to the above. You may find it difficult, for example, to discover a verse that indicates God is a triune being. However, you might fine a verse that refers to a person known as the Holy Spirit, and that the person is called God. You might find a reference to the fact that there is a person called the Father, who is also called God. Then you may find a reference to a person who is called the Son, again, He is called God also. You will find verses that indicate the these person are distinct. You will also find versed that categorically state that there is only one God. Putting them all together, we realize that there are three separate persons who are each God, and there is only one God. Therefore, the three persons are the one God. That is inference. For some, this makes no sense, I have no problem with it. This is a case however, where you may have to suspend what you think is logical, and accept instead, that this is what is revealed in scripture, we have no right to over-ride revelation with our opinions. Recognize the unity of scripture The 66 books that make up the Bible each has it’s own story to tell. However, there is one author behind each of them, and He has His story to tell as well. When you read and study the Bible, be aware that there are themes that thread their way through the various books of the Bible, some books cannot be fully understood without the benefit of the other books. If you have an interpretation of a passage, that is a contradiction to another passage, then you have not reached a correct understanding, for God does not contradict Himself. There may be more that I am forgetting, I will add them in if they occur to me, but that is the way that I approach the study of the scriptures, I hope some of these principles, are ones that you will find helpful in your own studies. Be Blessed!
  25. Psalms 133:1-3, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." In this season God is charging us to fully put some old things under our feet...to fully put to death the works of the flesh, tradition, and mindsets. We have a choice as to whether we will rise up and get victory over the old things that hinder us, or circle-around again, and battle once more. For an increased anointing, one of the FIRST things we must understand in order to INCREASE we must RELEASE. Once again...Release to Increase. What exactly does this mean? Well, we must release God to move in our lives the way He wants to. We must release His Spirit to move in our families, our churches, our businesses, and our government. If we release control, there will be an increase. Because His desire is for us to increase, He will keep leading us back to the same situations, so that He can deal with heart issues and control issues. Our spiritual advancement requires that we totally yield ourselves to His Spirit, and then for us to always follow the leading of His Spirit. SECONDLY, we must release old mindsets concerning how WE think His Spirit should move. Our faith levels have much to do with His visitation. Because of mindsets and judgments, we could easily miss our hour of visitation. If a certain flow does not line up with our mindset, we too quickly negate how God desires to minister. Remember, they rejected Jesus because of their religious mindsets, and many missed the hour of His divine visitation. Elisha went through his "testing four different times." We need to consider four different tests and challenge ourselves to press into the overcoming power within us, so that we also, can step into that increased anointing. THE FIRST TEST: GILGAL One of the meanings of the word Gilgal is "circle." Unless we determine to rid ourselves of the works of the flesh, we will circle around this mountain again. Though Elisha was determined that he was going to receive a double portion anointing, he was most likely still tested with rejection. When Elijah and he stopped at Gilgal, Elijah instructed Elisha to remain there, but Elisha insisted that he would not leave his DESTINY link. At first, it appears Elijah did not desire for Elisha to tag along with him. He actually told him to remain and not follow. However, Elisha's statement was "I will not leave thee" (2 Kings 2:2). All too often, we quickly leave a ministry that was meant to be a DESTINY link. Maybe we feel left out and rejected, so we leave a ministry or relationship prematurely. We must "hang-on" to our DESTINY links and endure until we have received our double portions. If we do not pass the test at Gilgal, we will circle once more, and God will examine our hearts. THE SECOND TEST: BETHEL Bethel means "The House of God." Each of us "houses" the anointing. We are the temple of the Lord because He lives in us This is why we can minister wherever we are! Because we are God's temple, we are not limited to any building, setting, or place. We should be ministering under the unction of the Holy Spirit, being divinely led. Now that we understand that we are God's temple, please also know that any area in our heart where the door is locked to God's Spirit, will be tested. Hidden motives and attitudes will be exposed as God's truth searches every room of our hearts. THE THIRD TEST: JERICO Just as Elisha approached his test at Jericho, so will we be tested. Are we waiting to be sent ones, and are we pressing into the fullness God has for each of us? Being obedient to WHEN we are sent, is just as important as to WHERE we are sent. So, it is very important that we are obedient, and only go WHERE we are sent, and must complete our assignment before we can move to the next place. Elisha knew his DESTINY was to receive a double portion and so, once again, he pressed past any possible hindrances, and chose once again to remain in Kingdom covenant with his destiny link. The Lord has a test for each of us...how much do you want the anointing? THE FOURTH PLACE OF TESTING: JORDAN Jordan means "descending" or "flowing down." The only way the anointing flows (according toPsalm 133), is downward. The anointing will always flow from the head down. If you are properly positioned within the Body of Christ, if you find your place and remain there, the anointing will flow (descend) down upon you. Finally, Elisha had come to the place where the anointing would fully flow downward upon him! The anointing of your mentor will flow down upon you if you remain faithful to the end of your testing. Ultimately, we know that Christ is the head. However, when we are submitted to Christ, we are also submitted to those He has placed in authority over us, and we are in UNITY. It is only then, that we are properly positioned for the flow of anointing. ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
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