Have Faith in God - Mark 11:22


There are many supernatural, heavenly resources available to those who have partaken of the abundant grace, love, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the key that releases those heavenly resources into our situations.

In Mark 11:22, Jesus instructs His disciples to “… Have faith in God.” The Amplified version adds the word “constantly.” That is an important statement if Jesus really means that His disciples should constantly be in a state of having faith in God.

Is it hope, or is it faith?

The Collins English Dictionary defines “faith” as “strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence. (In Christianity it is) trust in God and in His actions and promises.”

God’s Word says in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

It is so easy for us to express our hope for something we want or need, either for ourselves or someone else. We say it with great conviction and sincerity. Hope, however, is for something that “will” happen. It is almost always future tense. If we stay in the hope realm, we may never realize what we are “hoping” for. Faith “real-izes” our hope. Faith completes our hope and makes it real. Faith believes it has already happened and translates our hope into substance that God can work with. Faith is for NOW!

There are probably very few Christians who haven’t heard that statement or memorized Hebrews 11:1. But perhaps there are many who, like me, have asked, “How? How do I change my hope to faith? How do I know I’m moving in faith and not mental assent? If faith is substance, should there be tangible evidence I can lay hold of.”

These are questions that sent me on a quest to learn more about faith. The Bible says if we seek, we will find when we seek with all our hearts.

In Matthew 17:20 (AMP), Jesus spoke to His disciples when they questioned Him about their inability to drive out a demon from a young epileptic, “Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith that is living like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

Many of us struggle at times with wanting desperately to believe but wondering if our faith is strong enough to meet the challenges. When we are believing in faith for something, we know our faith must be foundationally based on God. But what does it really mean to “have faith in God” and to have it constantly? You may think I’m pretty dense, but I needed that charge, "Have faith in God," to be broken down in order to fully understand what Jesus was saying.

The problem some people encounter, especially the young or immature Christian, is that their concept of God may be tainted by life experiences. If one has grown up with a father figure who was abusive, indifferent, or even absent, it’s very difficult to have faith in a loving, caring Heavenly Father. It is much easier for the person who has suffered such childhood pain and disappointments to grow up having “faith” for the negative. How can he (or she) put his faith in someone he doesn’t know or trust?

I believe that’s why it is important to examine the dynamic of having faith in God because there is often the temptation to stubbornly have faith in one’s own strength and ability, or even to have faith in our faith, as if to say, “If I exercise faith hard enough, God will surely approve of me and answer.” I can picture my little grandson sitting with his eyes and his fists tightly clenched, saying, “I will believe! I will believe! I will believe!” It is a childish picture, but we must always examine ourselves to see if this subtle, self-righteous pride is working in us. Any self-righteousness is bordering on idolatry, if it hasn’t already crossed the line. We must die to “self” daily.

What, then, does it mean to “have faith in God”? Are we to blindly, passively trust that God will work things out on our behalf? He is the Almighty God, the Sovereign of the universe. We may know intellectually that He is trustworthy, and most assuredly, there will probably be times when we must blindly trust Him. But that kind of blind “faith” is passive, like an infant resting in his mother’s arms. Faith is a very active word. Perhaps that’s why it is called exercising faith.

Think of a soldier on a battlefield. Does he blindly have faith that he will prevail over his enemy in the middle of battle? Does he blindly charge a hill toward the enemy and expect God to preserve him? As Jesus told the devil in Matthew 4:7, “It is written, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ ”

No, the good soldier is trained to follow orders and planned strategy. His training has taught him how to protect himself while obeying his commander’s orders. Through his training, he can instantly lay his hand on his weapon, his bayonet, his grenade, his ammunition, or any other thing he is carrying. He can react with lightning speed. He has an objective; he knows what to look for, when and how to move, the range, the trajectory, and the rules of engagement. He has a job to do, and he is committed. He knows his life and the lives of others are on the line.

I had an instructor in Bible college who would always pray on exam day, “Lord, help them to the level of their preparedness.” Because I always came prepared, I had faith that God would help me and bring to my remembrance what I had learned. My exam papers were always returned marked “A.” Second Timothy 2:15 became real to me, especially the part about not being ashamed!

As I sought to understand what it means to have faith in God, I learned that there are three basic elements involved.

God’s character and attributes

First, faith in God involves knowing God personally—His character, His attributes, His nature, His heart, His will. These are absolute, and they are absolutely trustworthy.

It is refreshing to remember that there are absolutes in our world to which we can cleave. Amid all of its political correctness, our society, driven by the agenda of the god of this world, has tried to whitewash many absolutes into an anemic relativity. “Your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth!”

Well, there is one absolute truth that we can stake our lives on: God IS! He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. His name YHWH, translated “Jehovah” or “Lord,” comes from the Hebrew verb which means “to be” (God is) and emphasizes God’s absolute being.

He is the Source of all being, all reality, and all existence. Everything else derives its being from Him. He is utterly transcendent, beyond all His creation. He is without beginning and without end because He always is. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, all-true, all-loving, all-faithful, all-merciful, and all-righteous. God is wisdom, glory, faithfulness, goodness, beauty, and patience.

He is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider; Jehovah-Rapha, our Healer; Jehovah-Shalom, our Peace. He is the Lamb of God, our Redeemer, our Savior. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Abba Father. He is Love. He is Truth. God is perfectly holy and perfectly just. He is Jehovah-M'kaddesh, the Lord who makes us holy (Lev. 20:8 NIV).

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) offers us so much hope and comfort: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” This scripture says to us that God is good, He loves us, and we can trust Him. He doesn’t change.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that He is pleased only when we have faith in Him and that He is a Rewarder when we diligently seek Him: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV).

As we get to know God intimately and learn about His character—that He is faithful, true, and loving—our love and trust grow. As the child who so freely propels himself into his daddy’s arms, we learn that it is quite safe and comforting to rest, in faith, in Abba’s loving arms, constantly.

The Word of God—The Bible

Second, having faith in God involves knowing what God says. Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Having faith in God involves the Word of Truth, the Bible rightly divided. Second Timothy 2:15 (KJV) says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Rightly dividing God’s Word has nothing to do with segmenting it. It means to rightly discern its truth by capturing the spirit of the Word.
We must not lean to our own understanding in studying God’s Word but, rather, depend on the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to receive the Word in truth according to the intent of the Holy Spirit.

First Corinthians 2:13-14 (NIV) explains: “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

The Word of God tells us that in order to have faith in God constantly, we must constantly walk in the Spirit so that we are able to hear what God is saying to us.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Word of God judges us, in that it exposes to us our own sin and unrighteousness, much as a mirror will do. A two-edged sword cuts on both sides. It separates the good from the bad coming in and going out. It divides the unredeemed soul—the mind, the human will, and the emotions—from the born-again spirit of man so there is no doubt who’s doing the ruling in our life. It will show us if we are walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh—the natural man, usually the mind of reason. It’s impossible to have faith in God if you are walking in the flesh.

The Word of God not only reveals the sinfulness of the human heart in order to bring conviction and repentance, it reveals the Person, character, works, and the will of God. It makes known His eternal purposes in creation and His divine will for man. It records the history of man—his successes and failures, past, present, and future. It is our guidebook and our compass in the life that now is, and in things eternal.

Ephesians 6:17 says the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. That’s weaponry! It is to be used both defensively and offensively.

The Amplified Bible says the Word of God is the sword “that the Spirit wields.” When we speak or stand on the Word of God, in faith, in full armor, the Holy Spirit wields the sword for us.
The Collins English Dictionary (HarperCollins Publishers) says “wields” means: 1) to handle or use (a weapon, tool, etc.); 2) to exert or maintain (power or authority); 3) (obsolete) to rule.

The Holy Spirit handles the sword, bringing to our remembrance the Scriptures we need when we need them (if we have planted them in our hearts). He exerts the power and maintains the authority of the Word. In other words, He rules! (This idea has become rather obsolete in our politically correct society!) I don’t know about you, but I want to be on His side!

As I meditated on this concept of the Holy Spirit reserving the right to wield the sword of the Word of God, I could see the wisdom of God, because there are times when we, with the sword in our hand, might use it wrongly to harm, to literally cut people. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for protecting us from ourselves!

This is another example of how the Lord uses His Word to teach us to trust Him. Studying, learning, and knowing God's Word is vital to Christian growth and to having faith in God.

The Cross

Third, understanding how to have faith in God involves understanding what Jesus accomplished when He gave His life on the cross.

Many Christians have not studied and meditated on the scriptures enough to begin to understand what all Jesus did for us on the cross. They have not learned, and sadly, most have not even been taught, the wealth of the gifts and the rights that Jesus provided for us on the cross when we believe on His name, accept His marvelous gift of atonement, give ourselves to Him to be our Savior and Lord, and receive His indwelling Spirit. And the devil—the enemy of our souls—loves keeping us in our disadvantaged, ignorant state.

Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of humanity, and hanging on Calvary’s cross, He gave His life to pay the penalty for them all—past, present, and future—when we repent and accept Him as our Savior. But what God accomplished through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death doesn’t stop there.

God provided the sacrificial Lamb, just as He had done when Abraham obediently bound his son, Isaac, on the altar, except this Spotless Lamb of God satisfied the righteous requirements of God's Law and justice once for all and rent the veil that separated God and man, as a result of Adam’s sin in the Garden, and gave all believers access to God’s covenant promises (see Romans 3).

In Christ's suffering and death, He accomplished much more than atonement for the sins of man. Christ suffered in His body a suffering that was not necessary in providing atonement. He suffered in order to bear our griefs and to carry our sorrows. He suffered for our peace and for our healing. He suffered for our abundant life.

Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV) says, “Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (For a more comprehensive teaching on the subject of healing, see my article called “The Healing Provision.”)

I believe we have only just begun to tap the surface of the many benefits and resources Jesus bought for us on the cross of Calvary and in the resurrection. As a good and loving earthly father plans good things for his children, how much more our Heavenly Father has planned for us.

Ephesians 1 has become one of my all-time favorite chapters in the Bible. It is full of promises to the believer in the Beloved. In the Amplified Bible, we see such words and phrases as “blessing,” “favor and mercy,” “deliverance and salvation,” “the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor which He lavished upon us,” “we obtained an inheritance,” “the guarantee of our inheritance.”

The more I meditate on verses 17 through 21, the more I am blessed by it. If this doesn’t thrill your soul, maybe you should check your pulse: “[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), and [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”

When the revelation, the rhema, of Scriptures like these settle into our hearts and minds, our eyes are opened to the love God has for us, and our faith in Him and our love for Him will grow in leaps and bounds. He wants us to know and understand the hope to which He has called us—that we are joint heirs with Jesus, that the things He did we will do and greater, that we can speak to the mountains in our lives, and they will be cast into the sea.

In Summary

As my heart and mind were being opened to the understanding of how to “have faith in God, constantly,” He began showing me that my faith had often been based on my view of my own righteousness, or where I felt I stood with God at the moment. Had I done everything I should have done? Had I been "good"? Had I failed in some part of my life? Was God mad at me about anything? Would He even hear my prayers?

Brothers and sisters, I believe many of us struggle with that kind of questioning, especially when we long to please our Lord. However, it must become deeply ingrained in us that our righteousness is always as filthy rags before the Lord. We will never measure up in our own flesh because no individual can rise above his nature. We are accepted by God only through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Jeremiah wrote that
the coming King would be called, "The Lord our Righteousness." Notice that he did not say that Christ would make us righteous. Instead, the usage is in the abstract: Righteousness. We become the righteousness of God. How is this possible? Christ becomes our righteousness by personal substitution. When Christ becomes our Lord, we live an exchanged life—our life for His. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

Now, I can have great faith in God, constantly, when it is based on the Person of God, on what God says in the Bible when it is rightly divided, and on the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Our sin penalty was PAID IN FULL on the cross, and
we have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus when we believe, in faith, and accept Him as our Savior.

What does this mean for the believer? It means that no weapon (no matter what it is) that is formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). It means that when you encounter sickness, whether your own or in others, you can stand in faith and speak to the mountain of sickness to be removed and cast into the sea. It means that you have the authority and the power to speak to all of the circumstances in your life to come under the authority of the name of Jesus. And you have the power and the authority to pray for others.

I must give a caveat. I am writing about the true disciple of Jesus who understands that his or her salvation came through a costly grace. As a natural father understands that the amount of power and liberty his child is given depends on the maturity and the behavior of the child, so our Heavenly Father will deal with us. "For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward]. [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]" (Hebrews 10:26-27 AMP). I would also like to mention as a reminder that 2 Corinthians 4:7 states: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from god and not from us."

We have sung about “standing on the promises.” Isn’t it about time we do start standing on them and actually become doers of the Word instead of hearers only because we have faith in God constantly? I say, "Yes!"



Pluralism, Diversity, and Inclusion


I received an email today from a close friend that said:

As a child I was always very patriotic. I would always cry when we sang patriotic songs. It was no different today as I listened to [this song]. I cried again … Very Beautiful. Click on the link to be blessed!! What a great song.
The link to the Born Again American website was attached. I opened the website and in bold red, white, and blue letters, it read BORN AGAIN AMERICAN. My first thought was, "I'm a born again American, so I will enjoy listening to this."

I listened to the song, which featured a diverse group of individual singers and groups. It was very moving. I kept waiting to hear praise to God or something akin to new birth in Jesus, but it never came. My spiritual antennae had been going up, and by now was high enough to decide that I needed to look deeper into this website. It took me to a page where I was supposed to sign a pledge. I'm careful about making pledges (Jesus had something to say about that), especially to something I'm not familiar with. As I delved deeper into the website, I discovered it was not Christian at all; it is quite the antithesis.

I started writing about my findings to my friend, but it kept growing into this post. I post it as a reminder and a challenge to all of us who are true, born again Christians!


•••••••

I would like to challenge you to stir up and exercise your discernment. We are moving into an era when this is CRITICAL! As Christians, we must look beyond the surface to see what force or agenda is behind the things being presented to us as good and patriotic. Instead of taking things at face value, like the Born Again American (BAA) video that is being passed around, we must learn to delve deeper to the core of what they are about. BAA at first glance appears to be a Christian movement. IT IS NOT! But the way it is presented and its name are designed to deceive even the elect. What born again means on the BAA site is that one has a renewed realization of how great America is, and they, therefore, pledge to serve her more actively. It is really true that the American dictionary is being re-written, and many words have new meanings.

There is a subtle move afoot to change the mind/thinking of people, not only Americans, but around the world. The goal of this move is pluralism, and the ultimate goal is global pluralism. Who is behind it? It is those who are pushing for a New World Order (NWO). The NWO will have a one-world government, a one-world economy, and a one-world religion.

I went searching for definitions of pluralism on the Internet and found some interesting things. Pluralism is:
A process of compromise [that answers the question right there!] characterized by mutual appreciation and respect between two or more groups, such that members of different groups are permitted to maintain their cultural ways, as long as they conform to those practices deemed necessary for the survival of the society as a whole. [emphasis added]
A very important question we should ask is: Who does the deeming of what is necessary?

Another notable definition of pluralism:
Theologically implies there being more than one principle at work in the universe.
Well, isn’t that what Christianity is all about? Good vs. evil? Life vs. death? Hope vs. despair? Wiki.answers.com says the opposite of hope is Despair: To lose all hope. Complete loss of hope. To not know Jesus. So, then, the way of hope is Jesus, and without Jesus, there is despair.
Even Wiki knows that Jesus is the only way. Okay, okay! I know that is not exactly what that definition meant. It was not referring to opposites, but "likes," as in there are more than one equally legitimate principles at work, such as, "You can go to heaven through Jesus, and I will go to heaven through Mohammad, or Buddha, or love." How about, "You have a right to marry a person of the opposite sex, and I have the right to marry a person of the same sex."

The question to ask here is: Can one simultaneously and equally possess right and wrong, good and evil, life and death, hope and despair? It is an impossibility to accept two opposing ideologies at once, as the next definition of pluralism states:
The tolerance of different and often incompatible views. [emphasis added]
Here is where compromise must enter. Incompatible views naturally repel each other, like oil and water. It is impossible for them to be close without some kind of compromise. It is impossible for them to be together and each maintain their own purity. Well, guess who is expected to compromise in this pluralistic agenda? That’s right, the Christians. Not only do those pushing this agenda want Christians to compromise, they want them extinct.

Besides pluralism, the goal is also called diversity and inclusion, depending on the group using it. Diversity is used more in societal dynamics, while inclusion has become quite the popular word in parts of religion. Carlton Pearson has embraced inclusion, with his idea that all roads lead to heaven. Even some of the popular drama series on TV now have their characters attending All Saints Inclusion Church. I saw it on "Bones." Many businesses are going beyond training their employees in acceptance of diversity and are cultivating an inclusive environment in the workplace. The propaganda is everywhere!

When you sign up to be a part of things like Born Again American, as well as others of their ilk, they begin sending you subtle mind-altering propaganda. It comes in bit by bit. They use things that sound very noble, loving, and patriotic. They are primarily targeting young people, as their commitment statement shows, because the youth are easier to influence and are the future leaders.

Behind this Born Again American movement is Norman Lear's People for the American Way, a very liberal and anti-Christian organization.

This is what Wikipedia says about them:
People For the American Way (People For) is a progressive, politically liberal advocacy organization in the United States.

Purpose

People For The American Way was created as an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. It has also been active in recent years in battles over judicial nominations and on issues including school class size, separation of church and state, civil rights, voting rights for Washington, DC, in the U.S. Congress, while its main purpose is equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people, and promotion of civic participation.

People For describes itself as "an energetic advocate for the values and institutions that sustain a diverse democratic society ... threatened by the influence of the radical right and its allies who have risen to political power." Its principal targets have been Religious Right organizations such as Christian Voice (USA), Moral Majority, and Focus on the Family.

History

People For The American Way was founded by television producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, etc.) in 1981 specifically to attack the efforts of the religious right as an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. According to People For's website, Lear was particularly concerned with the growing number of televangelists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Co-founders included Barbara Jordan, Andrew Heiskell, and other leaders from the political, religious, business, and entertainment communities.
You will find People For The American Way advertised on the Born Again American website. If you read their purpose and the pledge they are asking people to sign, you will see how they encourage the elevation of self when the Word of God says, He must increase, but I must decrease.

We, as Christians, must wake up from our slumber. Wake up, O sleeper! What these liberal NWO voices are touting is not really diversity but the silencing of the Christian voices and their influence. They are tolerant of everyone but Christians. We are approaching the time when those who are against us will attempt to silence our Christian voices by any means necessary. Many Christians are going to be martyred like we have never seen in history. It’s already happening in other countries, and we are closer now than we have ever been to it happening in America. More and more, minds are being programmed to see Christians as narrow-minded, non-thinking, unintelligent individuals who are a blight on society and a hindrance to pluralism and diversity and must be silenced and/or eradicated. Even our new President stated that America is no longer a Christian nation, "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers."

How easy it is to change a mind that is not convinced. Remember that 1 Timothy 4 says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons ... The Amplified Bible adds in verse 2: through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized) ...
Deceiving spirits operate through people.

Now you can see the importance of having your senses trained to examine everything. If someone can deceive you and re-program your mind and cause you to fall away from Christ, the next great step is to draw you into allegiance to Antichrist.

I have included a link below to an article by Jim Simmons who wrote the new book I recently edited, The Last Generation. The article is made up of information extracted from his book. You will find it to be very revealing about the end times and the coming One World Empire, which includes a one-world government, one-world economy, and one-world religion. I believe it will open the reader's eyes as to what is going on in the world now. You will realize how close we really are to the second coming of Christ. It is an excellent article and a very good book. Although Jim believes the pre-trib rapture theory and it is mildly included in the article, I personally do not believe in the theory.
[I still recommend the book.] I believe the Bible reveals over and over that we must be prepared to withstand in the evil day. We must be prepared and have our senses trained to discern good and evil if we wish to be included with the "overcomers." The rewards are tremendous.

We are to put on the mind of Christ rather than the mind of the world, or of those in the world. The Bible does not teach inclusion or pluralism but, rather, to come out from among them and be separate. Jesus the the ONLY way, the ONLY truth, and the ONLY life. Those who come to the Father must come through Jesus Christ. I leave you with this truth:
2 Cor. 6:14-16 (NIV): Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."Link

Link to The Last Generation article by Jim Simmons.



Copied from the Born Again American website:

Born Again American

is committed to the rebirth and re-expression of citizenship through informed and thoughtful activism. It is an initiative of Declare Yourself, a national non-partisan, non-profit (501(c)3) organization dedicated to increasing young voter participation and civic involvement. Declare Yourself’s on-line voter registration tool has been used by almost four million people since 2004. Declare Yourself grew out of the 2003’s Declaration of Independence Road Trip that toured an original 1776 copy of the Declaration to schools, town halls, and other locations all over the country.


The Pledge
I am
A Born Again American.
I am my Country’s Keeper.
My President and my Congress report to me
And so—
I will stay informed and involved
I will make my voice heard
And not just at election time
I can make a difference
I matter.
I am an American, Born Again.

The Declaration of Independence is our nation’s birth certificate.
Recommit to its principles and declare yourself to all a
Born Again American by adding your signature.


The Song [look closely and you will see the subtle blame that is placed on the former administration]

BORN AGAIN AMERICAN

Just a workin’ man without a job
It got shipped off to China via Washington, D.C.
And I know I’m nothin’ special, there are plenty more like me
Just the same
I thought I knew the rules of the game

I stood up for this country that I love
I came back from the desert to a wife and kids to feed
I’m not sayin’ Uncle Sam should give me what I need
My offer stands
I’ll pull my weight you give me half a chance

I went up to a congressman and said to him “you know
Our government is letting people down”
He said he’d need a lot of help to buck the status-quo
I said there was a bunch of us around

I’m a Born Again American, conceived in Liberty
My Bible and the Bill of Rights, my creed’s equality
I’m a Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

My brother’s welding chassis at the plant
He’s earning what our granddad did in 1948
While CEOs count bonuses behind the castle gates
How can they see
When all they care about’s the do re mi

It’s getting where there’s nowhere left to turn
Not since the crash of twenty-nine have things been so unfair
So many of our citizens are living in despair
The time has come
To reaffirm that hope’s not just for some

The promise of America’s surrendering to greed
The rule is just look out for number one
But brace yourself ‘cause some of us have sown a different seed
A harvest of the spirit has begun

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and The Bill Of Rights
My creed’s equality
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

It’s clear my country’s soul is on the line
She’s hungering for something that she lost along the way
The principle the framers called upon us to obey
That in this land
The people’s will must have the upper hand

I felt the calling once before and took a sacred vow
And faithful to that vow I have remained
I hear the calling once again, my country needs me now
And to her cause I have been re-ordained

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and the Bill Of Rights, all people living free
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea
A M E R I C A


Scene at the Judgment Seat of Christ

Once upon a time ...

A Minister went to heaven and stood before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Jesus asks the minister, “Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”

The minister answered, “Well, Jesus, I have loved you with all of my heart. I prepared myself to be a minister in Your Name. I got a degree, started a website, arranged speaking engagements, held conferences and Bible studies. I taught classes and even did some writing. I built an extensive mailing list and networked with a lot of people. I have tried to be a good spouse and to be patient and understanding. I’m afraid that sometimes I did complain.”

Jesus answered, “Yes, I have seen all of those things. You enjoyed doing them and sharing your life with others. And I did take note of your complaints about your mate.”

“Yes, Lord (head hung).”

“I have some questions to ask you, My child. Please consider carefully your answers. You may wish to remain silent and ponder my questions for a while. That is acceptable and preferable because excuses are not profitable.

“Why did you spend your life trying to be a better minister when all I asked you to do was to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me?

“Why were you not willing to die to yourself and your ministry so that I might live and work and minister through you? Were you trying to build My Kingdom or your own?

“Why did you not seek Me first in all things before going to others with your complaints? Did you believe I would not understand or move on your behalf?

“Why did you not have interest or take the time to build an intimate relationship with Me? I longed for you to come to Me to enjoy My Presence.

“Where were you when I came to My garden to visit with you? I waited for you, but you never came.

“Where were you when I called you to the back side of the desert? I had many things to reveal to you in the stillness of solitude.

“Why did you habitually satisfy the cravings of the flesh instead of placing those things on the cross so that I could heal you and you could walk in the spirit?

“Why did you tolerate and accept sin, in others and in yourself, without giving a warning of the consequences? Were you trying to be accepted and approved by the world?

“Why have you not taken the steps necessary to tame your tongue and bring your self under subjection to My Spirit? Do you not know that your self must die in order to have My Life?

“Now I ask you, do you think you deserve to enter into heaven with Me?”

Weeping and sobbing in godly sorrow, the minister answers, “No, Lord, I do not deserve to enter into heaven with You. I have been self-centered and carnal, and I have failed You miserably! I'm so sorry, my Lord. Please, forgive me! I deserve to be cast into outer darkness.”

Lovingly, Jesus reached out and touched the broken and contrite minister, “That’s why I died for you. I suffered the penalty for each and every one of your sins because I love you, and I wanted to redeem you to Myself. How I desired for you to be holy as I am holy in all of your conduct. This meeting would then have been very different, for I had many rewards I would have given you ... But come now, and let us go on in to the dinner banquet."

•••

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. God’s discipline is always good for you, so that you might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.

Since you are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

Excerpts from Hebrews 12 NLT.

The Laws of the Kingdom of God

A few years ago, I was writing an article about the healing provision of the cross of Jesus Christ. As I studied John 10, I saw a vision of a sheep pen that was packed full of sheep. It was so full that none of the sheep could move. They were all staring toward a door. I could see that on the other side of the door there was no pen to restrain the sheep as one might think, but there was also a press of sheep standing on the other side staring at the door. I was sure that, on both sides of the door, underneath that press of sheep, there were some that had been knocked down, trampled, and lay injured and bleeding. None of the other sheep paid any attention to them. Beyond the press of sheep, I saw a vast, wide-open countryside with beautiful rolling hills, trees, lakes and ponds, and a sprinkling of sheep here and there. I was amazed that so many of the sheep were congregating in the door rather than going on into that beautiful countryside where there was such abundant blessing. This is what I wrote:
Jesus said in John 10 that He is the “door” to the sheepfold. John 10:7-11 (NKJV): “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. … If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’”

Those who have believed will come in through the gate and go on in to find pasture. The atonement—the sacrificial death of the sinless Lamb of God on the cross—paid for our sin penalty once for all and, thus, our entry into the sheepfold, but Jesus never intended for us to take up residence in the door. The Good Shepherd leads us into green pastures. That’s abundant life! There lies beyond the door of salvation a kingdom that is filled with promise and provision when we understand and press on into it. Jesus has already paid the price for that, too. It reminds me of my trips to Six Flags and Epcot Center. When we walked up to the ticket counter and paid our money for a ticket, everything inside that gate was open and available for our enjoyment. We were limited only by our own choices.
Now, years later, I look back at that vision with keener spiritual insight and fuller understanding. I believe we have failed miserably in communicating the fullness of the Gospel. The message of the Church has almost exclusively been focused on the afterlife—“Jesus died for your sins once and for all so you can go to heaven when you die and miss the burning hell. Say these few words, and you are in!”—and doing good works. The Gospel is good news. One well-known minister calls it the “nearly too good to be true news.” Now that stirs the imagination and gives cause for doing some digging! Perhaps if people knew there was so much more to being a Christian than what they have been hearing in the average local church or on television, they would hang around long enough to learn some things, some things that will help them with overcoming in this life and waging spiritual warfare.

Has the charge to make disciples expired? If it has, then part of my Bible is missing! "But where do we start?" you might ask. Well, we could start with the elementary principles of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1-2—
repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgmentand then learn to be skilled in the word of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action) in Hebrews 5:13, and then practice, by reason of use, having the senses trained to discern both good and evil—to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law (AMP).

The Bible says that as born-again believers we are IN the world, but we are not OF the world. We are citizens of another Kingdom, and that Kingdom has different laws. The laws that the citizens of God’s Kingdom live in are not natural laws, they are the supernatural laws, they are higher laws, they are absolute laws. Where do we find these laws? They are written in the Word of God. When we study the Word of God, the laws of the Kingdom of God are written on our hearts (Heb. 10:16), so that we might not sin against God. How do we sin against God when we are trying so hard to please Him? By coming short of the things that bring glory to God, by not living in faith according to the laws of His Kingdom, by not bearing its fruits. Matthew 21:43 says, “I tell you, for this reason the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the fruits of it.”

We have to stand on the Word of God, no matter how bleak things seem to our natural eyes and ears. When we are brought before a judge because of our faith, we won’t worry about what to say because the laws of the Kingdom will be activated by the Holy Spirit when they are written on our hearts. We must start believing the absolutes of the Kingdom of God and not the relative reports of man. Those relative reports of man that are affected by a fallen world condition or the kingdom of satan can be changed by faith in Absolute Truth (God), His Absolute Word, and what Jesus accomplished on the Cross. Jesus never once considered a natural report, whether it was a lack of wine at a wedding, a huge hungry crowd, a thunderstorm on a lake, the illness of a child and a servant, or the death of a good friend. He addressed each according to the laws of the Kingdom, and the water turned to wine, the people were fed and had food left over, the winds calmed, the child and the servant were healed, and the friend came out of the grave. Jesus was operating within Kingdom Laws!

If we are going to walk in the Spirit, this includes recognizing that we are citizens of another Kingdom. We are not bound by the laws of the natural world when we are walking in the Spirit. This has got to get strong in our spirits and our minds. Let’s truly walk in the Spirit, all the way, in all of the storms of life. Jesus said the works He did, we would do and greater. How many really believe that? Not many, I’m afraid. We need a mind change. We need to stop judging truth by our five senses. We need to put on the mind of Christ and begin to look around us with a Kingdom perspective.

How do we administer the laws of the Kingdom of God? There is no magic formula, no quick-fix. We begin activating Kingdom Laws by being in close relationship with the King. We must be submitted to the King in obedience and humility. I can’t help but remember Joseph who spent 18 years locked in a prison. His only ally was God. As he learned obedience by the things he suffered, he found favor in the eyes of the king. This led to Joseph’s appointment to a position of great authority. Do not think you will gain apostolic power and authority in the Kingdom of God by skipping this process. Only those who are “like Him,” those who have resisted sin and suffered through to obedience, will rule and reign with Him. I suggest a study of James 4.

How did Jesus affect all of the needs that he encountered? He spoke to them, just like God spoke the world into existence. As disciples of Jesus in the Kingdom of God, we activate Kingdom Laws by speaking in agreement with them by faith. We must speak the results we are looking for by “calling things that be not as though they are.” Our right to do so is because we are hidden in Christ in the Kingdom of God. When we speak, God sees Jesus speaking, and all of the laws of His Kingdom will be activated on His behalf. Praise His Name!

In Mark 4, Jesus was in the boat with the disciples when a hurricane force windstorm came and threatened to sink the boat. I think most people miss the fact that the storm came in spite of the fact that Jesus was there; His presence did not prevent the storm. I’m sure everyone on that boat would have gone swimming if somebody had not taken authority over the storm. It was only when Jesus spoke to it in the authority of the laws of the Kingdom that the winds were calmed. Jesus asked the disciples in verse 40 (AMP): Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (even after the miracles they had witnessed on the Mount)? If the disciples had addressed the storm themselves, Jesus could have rested after His long day of teaching.

When will our faith grow to where we can stop being timid and fearful and begin to speak peace, deliverance, and healing to the adverse winds and circumstances around us? Peter even walked on the water as long as he did not doubt. Philip was caught away to another location by the Spirit after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch. Kingdom laws are absolute. They will not fail. It is our faith that fails us. Many times, because of our timidity and fear, our simple lack of acting allows disasters to happen. I believe we are all given warnings if we will heed them. Sometimes they come in the clarion call of the Word or the prophet, or sometimes in the still, quiet voice of the Spirit. It is vital that we have our senses trained to discern good and evil. For some people, it is easier to believe that the sovereignty of God will take care of everything. From the Scripture above, we can see that the storm happened even though Jesus was aboard the boat. An action was required, a doing of the Word, saying to the mountain.

Two years ago, when I had first moved back to Texas after a decade away, we had a volatile springtime—high winds, flooding in many areas, and tornadoes. I have been in the habit of "speaking to the damaging winds" during storms. One evening, there was an outbreak of tornadoes all around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There were tornadoes in all of the surrounding areas. The weather was so bad that regular TV programming had been preempted in order to give constant updates. They had just reported that two tornadoes were headed in our direction a few miles away. I looked out the window, and my hanging flower baskets were blowing sideways. I began to speak to the damaging winds and rains to cease and be still in the name of Jesus. I thanked God for His awesome power to deliver. Within two minutes, a weather bulletin came on TV saying that ALL TORNADO WARNINGS HAD BEEN CANCELED. My friends, that is the Kingdom of God at work! I must confess that a few days later, we had reports of some approaching storms with 30 mph winds. I thought to myself, "I don't need to pray for winds that are only 30 mph." I learned a good lesson because the next day, we discovered that a section of our back fence had blown down, and our canvas cabana had taken flight and landed in a twisted up pile in neighbor's yard. Brethren, one ought always to pray! (Luke 18:1).

The Kingdom of God is established upon righteousness, as we find in Hebrews 1:8-9 AMP: “the scepter [royal or imperial power or authority] of Your kingdom is a scepter [rule] of absolute righteousness (of justice and straightforwardness). You have loved righteousness [You have delighted in integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action] and You have hated lawlessness (injustice and iniquity). Another translation of righteousness is “being in right relationship with God.” What is right relationship with God? This is yet another law of the Kingdom: He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). There is not room for two on the throne; one or the other is going to get bumped off. God gives us free choice. If we want to rule our lives, He will step aside. But when I am in charge, most assuredly I am going to mess it up! As I decrease and become more hidden in Christ, He will increase. When I have truly surrendered to my decrease, I can confess, It is not I who lives, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20); I live and move and having my being in Him (Acts 17:28). To have a blessed life in the Kingdom of God, we must give up our life (our own rule) for His sake. If we try to save our comfortable and secure life here, we will sacrifice abundant spiritual life in His Kingdom.

In Mark 4:30-32 (NLT), Jesus asked, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

The Kingdom of God is a mystery. The mystery is that God gives secret counsel to the citizens of the Kingdom that is hidden from the ungodly who willfully reject the truth. Mark 4:10-12 (NIV) says: When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ”they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!" What does this mean?
Remember Joseph. He learned obedience by the things he suffered. Only those who have resisted sin and suffered through to obedience and are "like Him," will be allowed to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom. People can exercise faith and do some great things ... for a while. But like the seeds that fell on stony ground, it won't last. And it can even do some damage in the process.

There are many paradoxes in the Kingdom of God. We will list a few.

Matthew 16:25: For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Matthew 23:12: For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Acts 20:35: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Matthew 5:38: You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Romans 2:15: The law of God given to Moses was written on tablets of stone, but the law of Christ is written on the fleshy (not fleshly) tablets of the heart as it is made soft and receptive by the working of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 18:3: We do not go to the Kingdom of God as warriors, but as a little child.

Matthew 23:11: The greatest of all is a servant to all.

Matthew 10:39 AMP: In the Kingdom, to go higher, we must go lower. Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].

Matthew 13:12:
Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Matthew 7:2
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Jesus emphasized this when He told His disciples at the collection box that the poor widow who put in two mites gave the greatest gift because the wealthy gave from their surplus, but she gave everything she had to live on.

There is nothing that God has not prepared for those who love Him. Do we believe it? Do we trust Him? Do we really know the Word and the power of God? I’m afraid if we did, there would be more signs and wonders in our midst.

I received Pastor Jim Mann's Catalyst e-mail today. Here is a man who understands the Kingdom of God. I would like to include his comments:

Mark 12:24 (NIV): Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"

I love Jesus’ response here. When you read the context, Jesus is debating the Sadducees about the resurrection. (They didn’t believe there was a resurrection of the dead.)

They were wrong on two counts. As Jesus pointed out, they missed some important Scriptural points. But secondly, they simply didn’t understand God and his power. I’m reminded that, as we go through life, we need to be right on both counts.

We can be correct, theologically speaking—minding our biblical Ps and Qs—and still be faithless. We can know the story…
…of Peter walking on water – and never get out of the boat,
…of David defeating Goliath – and never go into battle ourselves,
…of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – and never trust God with our loaves and fish.
I could go on and on, but you get my point. We need the Word AND the power.
Thank you, Pastor Jim. Let's not be hearers only but doers of the Word, moving in power.