The Source of My Strength

160808-F-SO188-1088Ex 16:14-21 “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. 19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. 20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. 21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.”

Supply and Demand of the Kingdom—You have a need, I have a God.

Where does your strength come from? Who or what do you rely on? Why?

Delilah asked Samson, ‘Where does your strength come from?’ It’s very possible that Samson wasn’t a big guy. If Samson was a big guy, people wouldn’t have wondered how he could do all he did.

A man was a bodybuilder and all he did was display his muscles in competitions. He went to Africa and displayed his muscles to a tribe there. The chief asked him, ‘What do you do with that strength?’ He replied, ‘Nothing, just display it.’ The chief replied, ‘What a waste!’

We have the power of God and the answer for the world’s problems. What are we doing with it?

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 18:1-2 “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Psalm 28:7-8 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. 8 The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.”

Psalm 43:2 “For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

What’s the point of all God’s power? Why are we so weak? What is the purpose of it all? What is the source of the strength in your life?

Isa 43:13 “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?”

There’s a story of a man who was poor and was preparing himself to be a DJ for a radio station. Somebody gave him advice, go get ready for the opportunity right now even if the opportunity isn’t there yet. Go get skills so you can seize the moment. The difference between people who are ready and those who aren’t is simple: HUNGER.

Just as dad gets all the leftovers because he can eat all that and more, God will give you all that you can eat. God’s resources are there only if you are hungry or in need. It’s all about HUNGER.

If you don’t eat it all, God will feed it to the worms. He doesn’t waste.

God is not fair. God is a God of principle, He operates and flows through laws and principles, like gravity and physics, cause and effect.

Fair is I’ve got so many eggs, and we distribute them equally. In Scripture, there’s a parable where a man has three servants, the first he gives one, the second gets two, the third gets five. That’s not fair, but it’s the way God works. When the man came back from his trip, he found that the second and third servants doubled their money. The first guy did nothing with the money. The first guy wasn’t hungry. So, his money was taken away and given to the third guy.

Jesus would pass by the sick if they didn’t ask for healing.

Why do you think God chooses to not be ‘fair’ and why is that a good thing? 

God won’t give more than you can handle, more than your hunger can handle. He will not waste.

God will give power and victory only to those who want it and need it and ask Him for it.

What would you do if you own a business that sells stuff and suddenly there was no demand for it? You would either go out of business or create a demand.

If God has the strength and wants to show Himself mighty and you don’t need Him, He will create demand. If you don’t need a healing, you don’t need a Healer.

Being hungry doesn’t mean you don’t have anything. It’s not about the amount, if the fridge is empty, you will go where there is food if you are hungry.

God has power to display, but who will let it?

What is the source of your strength? Where does your supply come from?

God is a God of principles and laws. If there is no demand, then there is no need for supply and God does not waste.

They that hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.

Some say the source of strength is building resistance, pushing back on struggles. Some would say that knowledge is the source of their strength. ‘A sack of potatoes without potatoes the sack of potatoes will fall.’ It’s what’s inside that causes that sack to stand. If you don’t eat, you’ll get sick or freeze to death or fall over.

Your strength comes from your need for strength. You are weak. You have a need, I have a God. You complain about what you don’t have and the lack is where God shows himself mighty.

2 Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

You don’t get deliverance from this thing because I’ve got grace that will satisfy you. If you want my strength, I need you to be weak.

At the beach, you build a ditch, here’s my need, God fills your ditch full with water.

Your fulfillment comes from emptiness and heartache and God will supply. You’ve got to declare a divine reversal.

What needs have you had in your life that God has filled? What need do you have right now that you will trust Him to fill?

Jesus could walk into this city and if nobody recognized their need for Him, nothing would happen. The physician didn’t come for the healthy, he came for the sick. The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

You’ve got to confess your need and all of a sudden transformation will take place. You’ve got to present that need to the Lord.

Joseph went through so, so much. He went from slave to prisoner to second in command of all of Egypt. What was the source of his power and authority? There was a famine coming and that would kill God’s people. God wanted to display His power among His people.

Your need is the very reason God’s power is going to be displayed in your life. It is because you are weak that you will be able to say, ‘I am strong!’

They that are depressed and discouraged will receive light and courage. The joy of Lord is your strength!

It’s the divine reversal that gives you strength. It’s the answer to your need.

Strength equals the answer to a need.

Praise and thanksgiving to God is nothing more than demand meeting supply and supply meeting demand. Praise is a satisfied customer. You’ve been brought from darkness to light. I had a need and He came to my rescue and supplied.

Those of you who are weak are working out, you’re in the place where strength is coming. Why else would God provide for you unless there was a need? You have a need? God will provide.

Even when God blesses you beyond what you need, it’s because there’s still a need around you and He’s trusting you to distribute it.

If you are not going to eat, He won’t serve.

God leaves because He’s not needed anymore.

If you’ve figured out a way to handle it yourself, you don’t need God anymore so He won’t stick around.

God promised good land and blessings.

Deut 8:9 “A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.”

You need God to tell you where to dig. If you say, ‘God, I’ll figure it out,’ He’ll say, ‘Okay’ and let you fall flat on your nose.

Gal 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

When you finally surrender, God will supply. The source of your strength is your weakness and the source of your supply is your need.

What have you failed to surrender to God and still struggle with?

There is a story of a prophet helping out a needy lady. He told her to get a bunch of pots and God filled them with oil. They sold it and were blessed. When they ran out of vessels, the flow of oil stopped flowing. As long as there was an empty vessel, the Lord would fill it.

You’ve got to bring to God your need. If you’re hungry, God will meet your needs.

Everybody doesn’t get the same amount. There is an economy, a principle God flows in. If you want more and can eat it, you can have it.

God will not waste any room in your need, but He will not waste His provision. If you have a need, God will fulfill your need.

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Lessons from Psalm 23

schafer-2252308_960_720Psalm 23:1-6 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

No single psalm has expressed more powerfully man’s confidence in God whose purpose alone gives meaning to life from womb to tomb.

What does Psalm 23 mean to you?

This psalm is more from the perspective of the sheep. David was a shepherd, but this particular psalm he wrote from the perspective of a sheep led by, and cared for, by his Shepherd.

More than likely, David wrote this psalm as an adult, not while he was a young man and worked as a shepherd, caring for his father’s sheep. David was chosen to lead the people of Israel and working as a shepherd was part of his training. He couldn’t have written this psalm then, because he hadn’t gone through the stuff mentioned yet. He hadn’t had to run for his life yet.

David, when he wrote this psalm, had made a lot of mistakes, sins, adultery, yet through it all, God was always with him.

David wrote about the sheep and the shepherd relationship in the first four verses. The last two verses are more about a host and a guest.

‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ This doesn’t mean that David didn’t want a shepherd. It means that David doesn’t need anything because God is taking care of him and providing for him.

God is a provider. He always will give you not what you want, necessarily, but He will always give you what you need.

Here in America, the elite and most blessed in the world live here. What we think we need oftentimes, are just wants. If God is your shepherd, you have all that you need. Satan will try to get you to think God is holding out on you, but that is a lie.

Jesus is all you need.

How has God provided for you? Describe a time where you really needed help and God provided exactly what you needed right on time.

It’s not God’s duty to give you riches, but He does enjoy blessing you. Jesus is your Good Shepherd. He will lead you and protect you.

Jesus is an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-caring God. He is more than enough. He will supply all your needs, He is your Provider.

God provided for over a million people for over forty years, food, shoes never wore out, and neither did their clothes wear out. Their clothes didn’t even get old. Their shoes grew with their feet! Forty years their shoes lasted! That isn’t necessarily what they wanted, but they had all that they needed. They had manna every morning, noon, and night.

That was a punishment.

God even blesses when He punishes! When has God given you what you needed but not what you wanted? How did you respond?

When they got to the Promised Land, they were blessed, houses, rivers, grapes, plenty of everything they needed and even desired.

God is a shepherd and you will not want, you will not lack.

Everything was healthy and there was no famine. The land was easy to care for and produced so much. Jesus wants you to have blessing and abundance, but that isn’t necessarily promised. The promise is you will not lack what you need.

Psalm 34:10 “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”

Don’t seek the thing, seek the Lord. The good stuff will follow you.

Psalm 23: 2-3 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

God protects and leads (guides).

Sheep are pretty much defenseless. They have no homing devices, they have to follow their Shepherd. The sheep know the voice of their shepherd. Sheep do not relax very easily on their own. They have to have a shepherd. Going to ‘still waters’ is dangerous because that’s where the lions go. Sheep don’t usually lie down unless they feel safe.

When it says, ‘he makes to lie down’ that means, he has caused me to not be afraid. I’m safe.

God has not forgotten you. He is a protector. He will not allow your enemy to overtake you. You will have fear removed from your life and will be able to lie down and relax and rest.

Fear is not of God. Fear is faith in something that God has not given. 

‘Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.’

If you are afraid, you are having faith or confidence in something other than God. He still loves you, but He does get angry if you don’t trust Him. Don’t worry!

Your relationship with God is not genuine if you worry. A genuine relationship with God causes you to relax. Even in the presence of your enemies, there is peace.

What are you afraid of/worried about? How can you let that go and trust the Lord even with that? Will you?

In Israel, there is a place called the Valley of the Shadow. It’s a dangerous place.

‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because thou art with me.’

God never leaves (even when you’ve left!).

Heb 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

When you know there’s trouble in your life, and you hit your knees in prayer, the Holy Ghost comes in and comforts you, know that God is still with you and you can know He is still there with you.

Do you believe these Scriptures? Why or why not? How does this knowledge change your life?

‘Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.’

This has nothing to do with being a shepherd. This is about the tradition of serving guests. If God welcomes you into His house, you are a guest of honor.

Saul pursued David and wanted to kill him. David sought comfort and refuge from the Lord.

God welcomes you in the presence of your enemies.

God wants you to know that you are the Guest of Honor in the House of God. You are loved, you are valued. People might fail you, but God will never fail you.

Do you recognize that what Jesus is offering is not more than just circumstantial changes, it’s a change of mind, heart, attitude, and action? Will you trust Him? Will you take this for yourself and allow Him to transform you and your circumstances?

The anointing on your head symbolizes the Guest of Honor.

When God gives, He gives to overflowing.

‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’

Goodness and Mercy are like sheepdogs, guiding you the way of the Good Shepherd. They may seem ‘harsh’ at times, or even painful, but it’s for your good.

Will you trust God’s ways even when you don’t understand them? How does that change your life?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Abide

vinesActs 27:31 “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” (KJV) “But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.” (NLT)

The church has been compared to a ship with precious cargo. The precious cargo is the people of God.

Do you view yourself as ‘precious cargo’? How do you view other people? Why?

Sometimes, people get frustrated because things aren’t working the way you think they should. Paul says, ‘Abide.’ That means ‘to stay.’

John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

How do you know you’re abiding? When you obey the Word, then you have the assurance that your soul is at home in God. If you abide in Christ, you are well protected, covered, privileged. You’re a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, special.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

Hold onto your heritage. The best is yet to come. When you abide, you can ask for anything.

Are you obeying God’s Word? Are you trusting what His Word says and applying that thinking to your life? What do you need to change?

Jesus set the man who was a demoniac free. The devil will always attack something important to you. When the demons said, ‘Bid us to go into the swines,’ those people depended on the swine for their economy. 2000 swine died that day. The people’s economy went down. So, the people wanted Jesus to go away. Because you’re abiding, he will not attack you directly. You’ve got to hold onto that Word no matter what is happening.

Those ‘attacks’ are distractions to turn you away from God. The enemy will use financial troubles and relationship troubles to distract you from God, His Word, and His promises.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

God will always keep His promises. He will keep you in peace if you fix your thoughts on Him.

Psalm 145:13 “For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.”

God will never break His promises. If you abide, you can do anything in Jesus. Abiding positions you for the benefits that are in Jesus Christ. Abiding positions for you for divine protection and divine provision.

What ‘attacks’ or ‘distractions’ are you experiencing today? Knowing the devil’s strategy and purpose, how will you handle those situations? How will you trust God in this situation and continue to abide in Him?

When the people went into the Promised Land, God told them to have six Cities of Refuge. Those were for those who accidentally killed someone and needed a place that was safe from the avenger.

No matter where you are, keep your mind on Jesus. At work, at home, at church, at the barbecue, at play, at the grocery store, or even all alone. If you’re abiding, the enemy can’t touch you. Stay in the church. This is your City of Refuge. If you come out of the City of Refuge, the avenger will kill you.

Determine within yourself to have your mind made up fully.

James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (KJV) “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (NLT)

Rom 8:38-39 “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 John 2:9 “If anyone claims, ‘I am living in the light,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.”

Are you abiding? How will you check yourself every day, throughout the day? Will you make yourself accountable to other people around you?

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God knew where Adam was, but He still asked, ‘Adam, where are you?’

Adam hid because he was no longer abiding. He was uncovered because he stopped abiding.

Prov 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

The Prodigal Son ‘came to himself’ and finally went home. He was at his lowest point. He’d been wishing to eat the food he was giving to the pigs.

In order to be restored, you’ve got to come back with words ready in your mouth, an attitude of repentance. You can’t sneak in. The father was waiting and looking. The father ran to him. If you start moving, God will run to you, but you must recognize your condition, where you are. If you don’t want God, no one can give you God.

Mat 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

When the Prodigal reaches the abiding place, there is no telling what God will do for you. He will turn things around in seconds. The Prodigal received a banquet in his honor. He was fully restored.

God is ‘well able.’

When you abide, God is for you.

How do you come back when you realize you’ve sinned? If you’re a Prodigal, what words of repentance do you have ready? Do you trust God to restore you? Will you push aside your fear of rejection and allow Jesus to restore you to Him?

Rom 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

God uses the bad stuff as instruments for blessing when you are abiding. He loves you so much, that when you are positioned, he will still test you, but He is still with you.

You’ve got to go through some stuff, but He didn’t bring you this far to leave you. God is a keeper. He kept Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

Sometimes, you’re in a fire because you must learn to deal with the fire. He is an all-consuming fire. That fire burns all those things that are contrary to God’s ways and will, your attitudes, your habits, your ideas, your thoughts, your feelings.

Know the God you serve. His name is Jesus. Do all in the name of Jesus. When you’re abiding, you’ve got to know your God for yourself. Because there comes a time when no one else is around but you and your God. You have two presences to deal with, the God who is everywhere all the time Presence and the Manifested Presence. You’ve got to invoke His Manifested Presence yourself. You can’t do that if you’re not abiding.

‘Just a closer walk with thee, grant it Jesus, is my plea.’

Is that what you want? How will you pursue a closer walk with Jesus?

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Everton Wellington.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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The Life of an Overcomer

istock_000002305803xsmall1 Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”

We are to fight in this life. There is a good fight and a bad fight. Don’t fight with people!

People are not their own. There are influences and attitudes that come onto people. It’s foolish to fight another Christian who belongs to the Lord, lest you find yourself fighting with God! Don’t fight a man or woman of God (or a child of God).

But, you are in a Spiritual Warfare. You’ve got to know how to win. You’ve got to do it on purpose.

The battlefield is in your mind.

What battles do you face today? Which battles are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad’? Which battles do you need to fight and which should you let go of?

Phil 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Phil 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Prayer is not so much as asking God to do things for us, but getting on the same page as God. Get that worldliness off and put on, get, the mind of Christ.

1 John 5:4 “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”

2 Cor 6:17 “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.”

You’ve got to have your mind renewed!

What part does faith play in renewing your mind? Do you trust God to give you the victory? Does your idea of victory agree with His? Does your idea of how you should think about yourself and your situation agree with His? What do you need to change?

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.”

Gal 5:17 “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”

Rom 7:21-23 “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.”

The devil isn’t everywhere, but Paul was everywhere Paul went. That sinful nature was always with him. You’ve got to nail that sinful nature to the cross all the time. Paul ‘died daily.’

1 Cor 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

James 1:13-15 “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”

The lusts of the flesh are never satisfied.

How do you conquer the flesh, your carnal, ungodly, unholy desires? Can you do it with your own power?

Are we tempted by God? No. We are tempted by our own desires. If that temptation is not resisted, conception takes place and brings forth sin and sin brings forth death.

Why does God allow this to happen? Why can’t we conquer it once and for all?

Trials prove the reality of your conversion. You resist where you once fell. Where you once were weak, now you’re strong. This glorifies God. The tests and trials that come against you, when you resist, God is glorified and your conversion is validated.

Trials drive us to prayer. God allows crazy stuff to happen so we’ll come to Him. He won’t destroy you, but He will develop you through the tests and trials of life.

It comes down to ‘Maturity.’

James 1:2,12 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

Heb 4:15 “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

What is the purpose of trials? How can you train yourself to see your trials in a positive light?

Jesus was tempted. So, obviously being tempted is not sin.

1 Cor 10:13 “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

The resistance and the pressure seem like too much, but God is cheering you on. He is making you stronger. God always gives a way out so that you can handle it. God will relieve some of the pressure. He gives you a ‘break’ in prayer. Jesus is ALWAYS there.

Prov 3:11 “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. 12 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”

How are you handling the Lord’s discipline? Do you reject it? Do you get upset and depressed? Or, do you seek His face and receive the love and correction He has for you?

How to Overcome:

Mat 26:41 “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

You’ve got to be alert. Pray. God will help you, but you’ve got to stay close to Him. Overcoming your flesh only gets hard when you’re not in His Spirit.

There are two dogs inside of you, one Spirit, one flesh, which one will you feed? When you’re only entertaining yourself, not reading God’s Word or praying or going to church, it’ll be harder for you to overcome temptation. When you keep your mind renewed, God’s will, God’s way, it’ll be much easier to overcome temptation.

Feed the right dog every day.

Eph 6:10-20 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Get truth, the Word of God, around your center. Get righteousness (obeying the truth) around your heart. Gospel of peace is walking in the peace of the gospel, you’re prepared for battle, but walking in peace. The shield of faith, (above all means on top, the first line of defense), faith in God, the Bible, in the Truth. Helmet of Salvation, something on your head, protecting your mind, the mind of Christ.

Phil 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

How do we live an overcoming life?

Know the Word, practice the Word, use the Word.

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Be a prayer warrior, not a prayer worrier. You’ve got to get worry out of your mind, get doubt out of your mind. Doubt is faith in God’s failure. Doubt is not pleasing to God.

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

If you want to please God, get rid of doubt! Build up your faith. God is a provider. He will NOT fail you. Don’t worry. Let God stay up all night!

Don’t focus so much on your body (there is a little profit in being physically fit), but what’s more important is your Spiritual self to be healthy and fit.

You must have the mind of Christ.

When you work out, pray, listen to the Word. Brainwash yourself, wash your mind with the Word of the Lord so you think His thoughts. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Lift the voice of your Spirit out loud. Speak to yourself: You are a champion, You are more than a conqueror! Jesus said it, You’re not nothing!

Rom 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

‘If’ is conditional, ‘IF God is for us, who can stand against you?’ There may be a lot against you, but nothing can stand against God.

If you’re in a tug-of-war with the whole world on one side and you and God on the other, you don’t even have to hold onto the rope! You win!

What new thoughts are you going to let get hold of you today? How will you change to be in line with what God says about you? What thoughts, habits, attitudes, and/or actions do you need to get rid of?

Rom 8:32-35 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Rom 8:37-39 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We’re not just conquerors, we’re ‘more than conquerors.’ You don’t even have to fight! You can just stand back and watch God work. It’s not about you. It’s the fact that you have God for you.

How do you get God for you? Get God’s Word in you, Believe His Word, Get His armor on you.

2 Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Your weakness is just a situation for God to show Himself strong. He’s not looking for vessels that are filled with their own strength. It’s not by your might or your power, it’s by God’s Spirit and God’s power. He will show Himself sufficient and strong.

You’re not to do anything good or right, just let Him do the work through you.

Worship.

John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”

God is pursuing you. What does God want you to do? He wants you to worship Him. Worship Him in Spirit and truth, not in possessions or health or money or position. It’s in the Spirit, not the natural. It’s only your body that you dance to the Lord. You don’t have to feel it first in order to do it, praise Him no matter how you feel!

You worship when things are good and when things are not. There is something in you that is already, always victorious.

Everywhere in the Old Testament where there is a battle, there is a lesson to be learned. God sent Judah first into battle. This was the tribe who worshipped and praised. If you want to enter a battle, start with praising the Lord.

Jer 1:19 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”

Jer 20:11 “But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”

I win every time. I’m an overcomer!

Isa 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”

Isa 50:7-9 “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 9 Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.”

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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The Ripple Effect

olivier-fahrni-268660-unsplashGen 2:16-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Gen 3:9-12 “ And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

Gen 4:6-7 “And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

What life-changing choices have you made? How has your life changed because of them?

There is a word of wisdom and a word of knowledge. The difference between wisdom and knowledge is knowledge is information whereas wisdom is revelation or knowing what to do with that knowledge.

When you pray, you must include a prayer for wisdom. You must understand the power of choice. Those choices you make can alter your life forever and set you on a course for a lifetime.

Some decisions are made hastily and cause a ripple effect affecting many lives. The choices you make are very serious.

Just like a rock bouncing across the water, causing a ripple effect, so are your choices.

Waves come from objects in the water that disturb the calm of the sea. So, are those decisions to the calm of your life.

This effect that took place started in the Garden of Eden, these are the choices Adam and Eve had that affected the world they were creating together. Death was the result of eating from that tree (obedience).

How have the choices you’ve made affected others?

1 Tim 2:14 “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

Adam answered honestly to the Lord and shifted blame onto Eve. Eve said the devil tricked her, also honest. Adam was in transgression because he knew better and chose to sin.

Adam chose Eve and the sin over God. He knew the sin and the consequences of it. He sinned willfully. His sin was greater. Because of Adam death was passed on to everybody. All who sin are in Adam. He was the originator and a ripple effect took place. It was by one man that sin entered the world.

Rom 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

The greater the disturbance, the farther the reach the wave will go. Adam’s choice still affects us today, over six thousand years later.

What can reverse this cause and effect? How can we fix this? God gives people a choice.

Moses said, ‘I give to you a choice, life or death, blessing or cursing.’ He gave them wisdom as well. He said, ‘Choose life, choose God, serve Him and be blessed.’

All the victories that God wrought for the Israelites in the Promised Land, were based on the choice that was made by those Israelites to serve God. Joshua led the people and they had great victories.

Joshua 24:14-16 “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;”

Joshua chose to serve the Lord. A ripple effect took place.

How have the choices you’ve made benefited others in the long term?

A woman who was a Moabite chose to follow her mother-in-law and become Jewish. Ruth’s choice caused a ripple effect that changed the lives of people down through the ages.

Ruth 1:16 “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”

She was given opportunities and more decisions made. Her grandchildren were affected by the choices she made. Jesus came through her line.

The Ripple Effect has no judgment, it just keeps impacting lives.

Rahab made a decision that saved the lives of her entire family. She believed in the Great God of the Jews. She risked her life to keep the spies safe. One choice changed the course of her life. Jesus came through her line too.

Lot made some choices too.

Gen 13:12 “Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.”

Lot went eventually in the direction he was looking. He chose to live in an evil place. Because of his bad decision, his daughters became the mothers of the Moabites and the Ammonites. These became the enemies of Israel. Bad choice after bad choice caused these bad results. Abraham should never have taken Lot with him. God told him to separate from his family.

There is a way to reverse the effect of the Ripple Effect.

Jesus gave the disciples a choice. God is giving you a choice today.

John 6:66-68 “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

Peter made a choice and stayed with Jesus. This caused a ripple effect that changed his entire life.

A young man made a bad choice and people died in a tragic car accident.

Decisions that are good and bad will have a Ripple Effect.

Make a list of the great decisions that you have made.

Some of those poor decisions can haunt you at night. If you throw a rock into the water and that rock begins to move your boat down the river, how do you get the ripples to move in another direction? Throw another rock! Make a decision to do something better. Find a bigger rock!

The Rock of Ages is waiting for you to pick Him up and make a big splash. Choose you this day. God has given you a choice. The thing that haunts you will be smashed and thrown away.

You can make a decision to change direction and follow Jesus. Jesus will lead you into more good decisions.

If you understand the Ripple Effect on life, you have to understand where you will find wisdom and help.

Will you choose to throw a bigger Rock and see what God will do for you?

Alexander the Great conquered the world so quickly because he never wavered.

James 1:5-6 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

Don’t waver.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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The Path and the Promise

fire-heart-961194_960_720Jesus came to deliver us from fear, especially fear of death.

Heb 2:14-15 “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

Why are we still here?

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

There is no greater joy than sharing this hope with someone else. This sets people free. There is nothing more satisfying and more fulfilling and more worthwhile than sharing this precious truth because this has eternal benefits.

What has been your experience in introducing Jesus to other people? How did it make you feel when they received Him for themselves?

Luke 24:49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Acts 1:1-5 “In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

This path to Pentecost is very interesting. There are several post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. He showed Himself alive through many infallible proofs that He had raised from the dead. This point was key to the gospel. (1 Cor 15) Every preaching in the book of Acts always included that Jesus came out of the grave and was alive. They were eyewitnesses of this fact. The requirement for Judas’ replacement was having known Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry and being a witness to His resurrection.

A man’s word to what he had seen was as valid as any video back then. It was extremely important, the very crux of the message was not just the cross, but the resurrection. That was their focus. Praise God for what He did for us through His death, but He sealed the deal when He came out of the tomb.

Why was it so important that Jesus died for us? Why was it so important that He rose from the dead (also for us)?

Jesus wanted them to know He was raised from the dead. That’s why He stayed around for 40 days. He was giving them the commands, the Great Commission, found in all four gospels and Acts. To understand the completeness of it, you’ve got to know all of them.

Jesus had already appeared to the women at the tomb, then to some disciples on their way home, then that same day at evening He appeared again to ten of them (minus Thomas) in a locked room. They were still afraid. We always attack Thomas for being a doubter, but they were just as fearful and doubted.

John 20:20-21 “As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’”

God never turned His back on Jesus, He was feeling the guilt that everyone else felt for their sins. God was in Christ. God not only spoke the words, He did the works. We have the same promise that the Comforter that was with them would be IN them.

He isn’t just Emmanuel—‘God with us.’ He wants to be the Holy Ghost—‘God IN us.’

2 Cor 3:17 “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Why is it so important that God is not merely ‘with’ us, but IN us? How does being (overwhelmed/baptized) filled with His Spirit change your life?

The Kingdom isn’t located here or there, it’s a Spiritual Kingdom. It is IN you. It will make you and me lively stones, part of His body. God does everything. He is not a one dimensional God. He’s beyond even three or four or ten dimensions. He’s all the dimensions. He has a multitude of purpose for us.

1 Cor 15:4-8 “He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.”

Paul made a complete turnaround. He went from having a letter to kill all who called themselves Christians to ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’

There are at least 14 post-resurrection appearances between the gospels and the book of Acts as well as Paul’s explanation in 1 Cor 15.

It’s possible that there were more than 1500 people who saw Jesus after the resurrection. (They counted only the men back then.)

Jesus showed up to Peter on the beach. At the time, Peter hadn’t forgiven himself for denying Jesus and had lost all hope of being able to be used in ministry. So, he went back to fishing. Jesus asked him if he loved Him more than his fishing and what he knew. Peter had a choice and he chose to ‘feed My sheep.’

How has Jesus forgiven and restored you? How has your life been changed as you’ve obeyed Jesus’ call to you?

On May 6, we are at that point, just five weeks away from Pentecost. In the Jewish world, this was a very important time. They were commanded to go to Jerusalem at least once a year. On the day of Pentecost, people from many, many nations were there. It mentions those specific nations because to mention more would fill up chapters. Often, people from far away would come for Passover and stay through Pentecost. So, many of those people saw all that had happened, from Jesus’ death on a cross through to His resurrection and up to the Day of Pentecost. So, at Pentecost, they were given an eye-witness to the purpose of Passover.

We are just one week away from His ascension. We’re thinking about the times He was commanding them and the Great Commission. Jesus didn’t start with ‘Go.’ Matthew 28 and the Great Commission starts with ‘receive.’ It ends with that same thing. You’ve got to receive the Holy Ghost and power in order to have something to give.

He had all power and wanted to give that to us through His Spirit.

Acts 3:6-7 “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”

You’ve got something to give. Freely you have received, freely give! It all began with a commandment to receive the Holy Ghost and then to go. Thank God that the name of Jesus in any language works!

God’s Word has been translated into over 3000 languages. He speaks all languages. His promise is for you and for your children and for all that are afar off!

Jesus commanded His people not to leave Jerusalem until they received that Holy Ghost. It’s the oil that powers the lamp, it’s the fire that lights the lamp, it’s the power that comes from on High!

The people were daily in the temple praising and blessing God. They faithfully were in that temple worshipping, praising, and blessing God. When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were filled with the Holy Ghost. You can only receive with hands lifted focused on Him, praising and blessing God.

Acts 1:2 “Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.”

From the front to the back of the house, it was filled.

Acts 1:3-4 “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”

Sinai was the birthday of the Jewish people. This was the beginning of the church. God visited in visible signs to fulfill His promises. Everything was prophesied about Jesus. God was showing them ‘this is the fulfillment of the giving of the law.’

Jer 31:33 “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

When we come to that place of repentance, like dying on the cross with Him, our lives become just fuel for fire in His presence. When we lay ourselves on the altar, He can consume us with that fire, Holy Ghost fire in our bones.

Are you willing to come to Jesus daily and allow Him to use you as fuel for His Kingdom to see others saved? What will you change today in order for that to happen?

Jesus still comes. Pentecost is not just one feast day per year. Since that day, it has been made available like a river that flows. Every day you can receive the Holy Ghost. We are living in the days of the Latter Rain, the Greater Glory.

The Holy Ghost is for YOU. It’s for EVERYBODY!

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Evangelist Monty Showalter. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Identified with Christ

perminder-klair-233786-unsplashGod’s nature never changes. When God’s nature encounters our nature, we’re changed.

Luke 5:36-39 “Then Jesus gave them this illustration: ‘No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.’”

A patch from a new garment won’t work for an old. Old garments have already shrunk. New wineskins will still stretch for new wine. An old wineskin will not expand.

How does the fact that Jesus never changes comfort you? How have you allowed Him to change you?

Jesus constantly challenged the stale religious practices at that time. He warned them what they were doing wasn’t for God but to be seen a certain way by other people.

Jesus took this opportunity to shift their paradigm from outward actions to a real relationship with God. He was talking about something deeper than the new covenant that was coming. It was about you and me as containers. Something has to take place in us in order to receive it.

You’ve got to change. You can’t put new wine into old skins. Their religious practices caused them to be stuck in a rut. They were stuck in an old philosophy. They didn’t want to let go of their traditions.

Wine gets better with age. The longer it sits, the better it gets. When you get used to it and it gets older, people like it. People are comfortable with the old and can’t receive something new. An old vessel will not receive new wine.

Jesus wanted to employ a truth, external rights and ceremonies and rituals won’t heal the broken parts of your life. You’ve got to embrace and become a new vessel.

New patches on old material won’t work. Paradigms must change in order for lives to be changed and fixed. Take the old garment and transform it. Renew every thread and every hole, old things passed away, all things become new.

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Embrace change in order to receive from Jesus.

How have you resisted change? What happened? How have you embraced change? What happened?

Saul of Tarsus was a very religious man. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, concerning the law, zealous, a Pharisee of Pharisees. If you are not careful, you might end up persecuting everybody who doesn’t think the way you think or act the way you act. Paul was stuck in a rut. God had to knock him down with a bright light and a voice from heaven.

The voice from heaven said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It’s hard to kick against the pricks.’ This means it is hard for you to resist Me. This phrase is taken from the beasts of burden who were poked and prodded with sharp objects if they weren’t moving fast enough. If they kicked against those sharp objects, they hurt their feet.

Acts 9:6 “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

Saul (known as the Apostle Paul) changed in an instant. Then, God was able to make this man great. He became a new wineskin instantly. No longer opposed to the gospel and the strong evidence of truth, Saul of Tarsus changed. He stopped kicking against the pricks and changed.

God is using a tool poking and prodding you, but you are rebelling against the very thing that is trying to make you become something new. Old skins can’t handle the new wine.

There is no removing of the foundation. However, once you’ve got that firm foundation, you need to be able to receive more from God. If God is trying to speak to you, it’s not the experience of yesterday, it’s ‘he that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Lord is saying to you.’

Are you regularly seeking God’s opinion on issues in your life? Do you seek His will and way and obey Him? If not, why?

Jer 48:11 “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

This is actually talking about wine. The ‘lees’ are talking about the dregs. It’s about allowing the wine to sit for a long time. Sediment settles on the bottom. The dregs, if they sit too long start to stink and become bitter. The process was to pour the wine into a new barrel and have a strainer get rid of the dregs.

Jeremiah is saying that you haven’t allowed this and you stink.

God is changing you. He wants you to grow and change. If you don’t get dumped out, you’ll settle and stink.

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’

The difference between a reservoir and a river is water doesn’t flow in and out of the reservoir. It’s stinky. A river has fish and water flowing in and out, moving. The banks hold up and direct the water. The reason why the Dead Sea is called dead is that nothing flows out.

You’ve got to stir up yourself. You’ve got to allow yourself to be poured out and grow and change.

2 Cor 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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.”

Are you willing to stir yourself up? Are you willing to be poured out in order to grow and change? How have you resisted or embraced this process in the past? What happened as a result of your choices?

Moses came down from the mountain with two stone tablets. The people were okay with the tablets but got freaked out by his glowing face. They had him put a veil over his face. After a while, that glory faded.

There is a glory you can have that will not fade away. (2 Cor 3:18)

Getting into the presence of God and the Word of God help us get changed from glory to glory to glory. We need to change until we are more and more and more like Jesus.

We call it salvation, He calls it marriage. Spending time together enables people to know each other and become like each other. The whole purpose of Christianity is to know Jesus so well that we resemble and are identified with Jesus. You have got to change and give up who you are until you are no longer you and like Jesus.

If you’re a person who is bipolar or depressed or a loser or a failure, you can break free from that identity in order to become a new creature in Christ! You’re struggling with yesterday’s identity and what God’s destiny for you. You have got to hear a Word from God and let it change you!

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

You are no longer these things! ‘Such WERE some of you…’

1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

You are His child, His son, His daughter!

Let go of yesterday and take a hold of tomorrow! You can’t hold on to yesterday and understand what God has for you.

What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe more what the Bible says about you or what other people (or you) think about you? Are you willing to let go those thoughts/beliefs/attitudes that are contrary to God’s Word? How will you go about doing that?

1 Pet 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”

GOD HAS CHOSEN YOU!

When you’re the captain, you get to pick who you want on your team. God chose YOU!

Don’t keep going by what you think you see in the mirror. See what God sees. You can’t receive what God has for you with the same mentality of who you think you are. You are not who you think you are, who the devil says you are, who the world says you are. You are who God says you are!

You are chosen by God! Peculiar means ‘Purchased’ by God. You are purchased and no one else can have you.

Your issues put labels on you. Until you really change, you can’t be identified with Christ. What do you believe about yourself? You are what God says you are, but you’ve got to confront this in order to receive this truth about who and what God says you are.

The person who has issues tries to hide behind their pride. There is so much hurt and shame, but their patch doesn’t help. You try to pour in love. Rebellious people don’t like authority. You may have an attitude and your own wisdom and your own ways and your own agenda. It says, ‘I don’t need you.’

The Kingdom of God has a process, but you won’t be able to receive it until you change.

You’ve got to take off the mask. Be honest. Come as you are, expect to be changed. You’ve got to go home different. Always go home changed. Allow God to pour you out and become new.

It’s not one service that will change you. You are who God says you are, but you get poured out and stirred up and changed. That’s part of the process. Seek the change. Don’t fight the process.

John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

You are God’s child.

The temptation of Christ is when the Spirit led Jesus to the desert to be tempted of the devil. Just before that, He was baptized and the Spirit descended like a dove and said, ‘This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.’ Then, Jesus was tempted by the devil. Satan didn’t tempt Him with really with food, it was tempting Him by asking Him about His identity. Is He really the Son of God. Satan challenged His identity.

Every day you will be confronted with that test. Who are you? You’ve got to be willing to change.

How have you tried to hide your issues? Have you been successful in hiding them? Where do they pop out? Are you willing to be honest and allow the Lord to deliver you?

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.”

You can’t be what God has called you to be until you get away from what God has called you out from.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stop Letting Your Issues Speak for You!

freedomMark 5:1-13 “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.”

‘Don’t call me out my name’ is an old saying that means ‘Be respectful.’ Sticks and stones may break bones, but words scar the heart. We need to make sure the words that come out our mouths are meaningful and respectful.

When you were a kid, did other kids call you names? How did that make you feel? As an adult, how do you handle such things today? What can you do to change your actions and/or your response?

Regardless of faith, as people, we should respect each other and be kind to one another. It’s the golden rule, ‘Do to others as you would have done to you.’

There’s something about words. There are times when you have said something and then realized too late that it wasn’t good. It is important that your words are meaningful, intentional, and definite. The things you say will guide the things you do.

On top of the human race being respectful to one another regardless of color or gender, just be kind. People are so thin skinned now. How much more should Holy Ghost filled Christians, representatives of Jesus, be kind to one another. Words are powerful. Words not only dictate actions, healing or hurtful, there is serious power in your words. Words shape in the spirit.

Prov 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

How do you guard your heart and mind against thoughts and feelings that are contrary to God’s Word? If you don’t, what will you do to start?

Back to the story, the demon possessed man said, ‘What have you to do with us?’ Jesus said nothing.

This man was always, night and day, crying and cutting himself. The dude had issues.

If you really want to do the work of God, you have to recognize there are people with issues. Maybe they aren’t cutting themselves with rocks, but people have issues. As you walk by, knowing who you are in Jesus, people recognize something going on. As a Holy Ghost filled believer, as you walk into the room, you affect the atmosphere.

When you spend time with Jesus, you are effective. Without that time with Jesus, you will not be effective.

If you are unsure, you don’t have the commitment to Jesus that you need to have. Recognize what you can have through your relationship and connection with Jesus.

Jesus walked with full confidence. You can have that as well, but it depends upon your reality with Jesus. This comes through receiving in prayer, Bible reading and fasting.

Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

This is for YOU! Know who you are, where you’re going in life, and don’t allow any devil to stop you. Know who you are at home. It’s not to be confident in yourself, but being confident in Jesus. You are supposed to be confident in your anointing and your call from Jesus. ‘I know who God has made me to be. I know where I came from and where I’m going. Whatever comes out of my mouth will be from God.’

Do you know who you are in Jesus? Are you confident in that knowledge? How has this changed your life, your thoughts and actions, and your interactions with other people around you?

There was a prophet, Samuel, who never missed. God never let one word fall from his mouth. Yet, you think he never had a bad day? He had a relationship with God at home, beyond whatever everybody else saw. Read his life story. God came through and honored His man.

There will be times that you will make mistakes, but God will have your back. Don’t go for the glory, go for spending time with Jesus. Seek Jesus in the dark and in the community.

No pity act, who cares about you’re not being worth it! Your past need not affect your present! If you dwell on this, you can’t change your world. It’s okay that you had a bad past, but look at what God has done and walk in authority and confidence in HIM!

The disciples went out and tried to cast out devils and had their hinder parts handed to them. The reason it didn’t work was that they didn’t have the prayer and fasting. Those disciples had confidence. It wouldn’t have bothered them if they didn’t have such confidence. Even before they had it all together, they walked with authority.

It is time to plant your feet on who you are as an Apostolic Christian. He is the lifter of your head!

How will your life be different if you walk in the confidence and authority and love that you have in Jesus?

Notice that before Jesus even opened His mouth, those devils were messing around. (Even people with issues have peaceful moments!) The truth is demons are uncomfortable in the presence of God. Issues are uncomfortable in the presence of God. As holiness and perfection and the presence of heaven drew near, demons got uncomfortable. These devils started tormenting again.

Sometimes in the midst of the worst chaos in your life, Jesus is getting closer to you. It’s crazy but good. Keep going through. Don’t stop. Let Him change you. Just because you’re having issues doesn’t mean God has forsaken you.

Sometimes the greatest chaos is issues crying for mercy. Those things can’t be a part of you anymore.

Will you keep drawing near to Jesus and push through the discomfort? Despite the chaos? Or will you withdraw?

Learn that even in the midst of chaos and stuff that shakes you, it’s only time to draw closer and closer to Jesus. When those things move out, Jesus moves in. He brings peace, healing, mentoring, and love.

As you start evicting misery, it gets mad. Issues and chaos are a sign that Jesus is drawing near. It’s the Lord pulling things out of your spirit. He will replace that with ministry and stuff that matters. Those things can’t take root with your issues in the way.

Jesus wasn’t asking for the demons’ name.

Luke 8:30-31 “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”

Jesus wasn’t talking to the demons, He was talking to the man. The issues were so deep in the man and so controlling his life that he allowed the demons to speak for him.

When the Lord calls on you, stop letting the issues answer for you. No more, ‘yeah, but’ Don’t let your issues answer for you. Are you available to Jesus? You are called to be right where you are at every moment in your life. You are a witness. When you are at work, at church, at home, you are still called to be a witness. God orders us and steps us into whatever situation. He goes with us and transforms if we allow it.

It’s great when you’re walking in blessing, but when bad things happen, it’s a little harder to trust that God is still ordering your steps. There are situations that will call on you because God has ordered you to be there. You don’t need to jump into the issue, God is calling you to calm and heal and lift and light. You are called to be an example.

Do you trust that God is ordering your steps even when times are difficult? How does that knowledge change your reactions to your situations?

You have a purpose of God in your life. You are here for such a time as this. You are here to walk in purpose and anointing, not wallow in pity. You are called to be part of a great revival. Quit allowing your issues answer for you! Plant your feet and say, ‘I am a man/woman of God and I am going to fulfill my purpose no matter what my past and present look like. None of it will dictate my future!’

It’s time to walk in the purpose and calling of God. Stop trying to hold onto a persona that’s not you. Cling to what Jesus says you’re supposed to be.

Daniel 11:32 “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

If you stop letting your issues answer for you, they will leave and testify for you!

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Joe Giunta.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Wimps, Wannabes, Whiners, and Winners in the Kingdom

grain-664740_1280Mark 4:1-12 “And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude,

 so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the la

 

nd. 2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, 3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

In order to understand this parable, you had to ask Jesus to explain it. He still will answer, but you have to ask.

Do you believe Jesus will answer you? Will you seek His answer?

Mark 4:13-20 “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

God has invested in you. Don’t just sit on it. Jesus is waiting for increase to come back to Him. It’s not so much about the Lord or His Word, but what you do with it. What kind of heart do you have? What kind of Christian are you?

There are four types of Christians: Wimps, Wannabe’s, Whiners, and Winners. Which are you?

A Wimpy Christian is likened to the one on stoney ground. It is shallow. Wimps that know they’re wimpy only pick on people that are weaker than themselves. They can’t overcome things like sin, it’s too competitive. They struggle with temptation. They have no roots. They have trouble leaving the crowds behind. Wimps are afraid of what people think. They are easily offended at preaching, persecution. It’s the pressures that cause that feeling of rejection and causes the wimp to fall away. Wimps don’t think about how much God loves them and approves of them and accepts them, they care about what everybody else thinks.

When God backs you up and you know it, you don’t need to know who else is backing you up.

Are you sometimes afraid because you feel no one else is backing you up? Do you care too much what others think?

Wimps tend to take the easy road of backsliding when the road to be a Christian gets hard. Wimps don’t have commitments that last. They tend to back up and vacillate from their commitments.

The strong dig down and have a resilient life, they have resistance to the pressure. They’ll speak the truth even if it means getting into trouble.

Wimps don’t like to tell the truth because they’re afraid of what’ll happen.

Col 4:14 “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” 2 Tim 4:10 “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.” Demas was a wimp. He quit and gave up.

Quitters are losers, not winners. They don’t know how to fight.

Jesus said to the rich young ruler, ‘Sell everything you have, give to the poor, and follow me (serve).’ That guy walked away. He had a personal invitation to be with Jesus and instead he walked away. He knew what he was turning down. He couldn’t handle the kind of commitment involved. If you want to be a real soldier, you’ve got to learn how to do some stuff that will be hard. You challenge yourself.

If you’re a wimp, you’ll hide. King Saul hid from Goliath. They all spent forty days in fear.

It took David about forty minutes. David had a fight inside of him. He had the anointing upon him and he refused to back away.

Today, it’s not about getting into fights with other people. It’s about fear and the things that you’re up against in life. You have this lack of strength and are heavy and fearful.

You’ve got to choose to fight against the spirit of fear and stand on something solid. It’s not easy or fun or something you want to do. You signed up to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. You’ve got to rise up and not be a wimp. You’ve got to endure. You’ve got to be resilient. Be calm. Handle emergencies. Christians are resilient. They are like weeble wobbles, they weeble wobble, but they DON’T fall down.

Do you have a godly fight in you? Are you willing to get back up when you fall and keep on seeking after Jesus and His way?

Dan 11:32 “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (AMP) “With smooth words [of flattery and praise] he will turn to godlessness those who [are willing to] disregard the [Mosaic] covenant, but the people who [are spiritually mature and] know their God will display strength and take action [to resist].”

You’ve got to learn how to get roots. The devil and temptation and the world’s system are not long time fighters. You just have to outlast them in a fight. You want to know how to overcome the devil? Just don’t quit! Keep standing. Hang in there!

You don’t grow when things are easy.

If you are able to do it, you should do it. It’s your job to roll away the stone and Jesus will raise the dead. Pray, go to church, read the Bible. Be like Noah. Keep preaching, keep building. Be like David. He never backed down with the bear, the lion, or the giant.

Don’t be a wimp. God is looking for good soldiers for His kingdom.

2 Tim 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

Fasting, praying, and obedience to the Word of God, even when it’s not going your way. A good soldier just keeps pressing on. If you don’t have that strength, start searching. Learn how to pray and fast. Reach for God in ways you’ve never reached before. Losing is not an option. Get rid of those stones. Don’t be a wimp. Find the want-to.

The second type of soul is a ‘wannabe’. They say one thing and do another. They want the credit, but not do the work, ‘whited grave,’ beautiful on the outside, gross on the inside.

Acts 5:1-2 “Now a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s full knowledge [and complicity] he kept back some of the proceeds, bringing only a portion of it, and set it at the apostles’ feet.” 

You can’t lie to Jesus. Peter called them on their lie, God caused some kind of brain aneurysm and they both died.

God wants a return on His investment. It’s about time you do and act the way you profess. Don’t say one thing and do another. You can’t fool God.

The answer is submitting to the Word of God.

You’ve got to get under the authority and anointing of the Word of God.

Are you willing to work? Do you understand what you’re supposed to do and are you doing it? In what areas of your life are you lazy?

The Sons of Sceva were wannabes. (Acts 19)

You need a genuine old fashioned trip to the altar and submit to the ministry and the Word. Receive it and say, ‘Yes.’

The third kind of soul is the whiners. They are always complaining. They are very negative. They spread negativity like a disease. Whiners were the ones that traveled in the desert for 40 years and then died. Negative people aren’t always mean, they just don’t have faith. Twelve spies went to spy out the Promised Land. Only two didn’t whine.

Complaining and murmuring drive God nuts. Instead, ‘Bless the Lord at all times.’

Two simple words will take care of a whiner: ‘Be Thankful!’ Get your tank full of thankful and you will be fine and won’t whine. Be thankful and you’ll have the fruit God wants in your life.

In what circumstances do you allow yourself to become negative and complain? Are you willing to change that and learn to be thankful instead?

The fourth type of soul is the winners, the good ground. This is the ones who have suffered the loss of all things, but counts it as trash because he knows he’s won Jesus Christ.

Phil 3:8 “But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ,”

Are you a winner? If not, you can choose to be. Fight the good fight. Trust God. Be thankful. Are you willing to change?

The stuff of this world is going to be destroyed, but the stuff of heaven is eternal. Winners don’t complain. They rejoice. Winners win friends, people, against temptation, the devil and sin. Winners produce fruit and victory. They have faith in the Word of God. They know their God. They keep the Word. They have faith in times of disaster and trouble. They daily practice holiness and separation and consecration. They build altars to God and tear down altars to Baal. They fight doubt and win with faith. They fight depression and win with praise. They fight the things of this world and win by the Word and the Spirit of God.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Power of Perfect Love

imagesJohn 14:15-17 “If ye love me, keep my  commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

Jesus said, ‘You’re asking me, What does it take?’ The only way to get into Jesus is to be born of the water. You’ve got to wash all the hurt, the pain, the disappointments.

If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments. Perfect love will take you to a place you’ve never been before.

Love causes you to do whatever it takes to make that other person happy. The Bible reminds us that we can’t come to Him with our own agenda in the way. Get rid of the stuff that keeps you from what God wants to do in your life. What matters is today, keep His commandments.

What personal ‘agendas’ keep you from seeking to do God’s will God’s way?

What is the purpose of repentance? You can’t come to somebody holy and righteous without it.  Repentance is simply turning from your way and will and doing things God’s way instead. Repentance says, ‘God, I’ve got all this stuff, all this weight.’ As you worship, you’ll feel lightness on your shoulders. As you repent, you’ll say, ‘God, You’re the One in control. I trust You.’

You love God. You wouldn’t read this if you didn’t love Him. You may not fully understand Him, but you love Him. If you love Him, you’ll keep His commandments. You’ve got to repent.

In the Old Testament, before the priest could enter into the holy place, there was a place of repentance to go through first (that altar of sacrifice).

What things are in your life you need to get rid of? What habits, actions, and/or attitudes are contrary to God’s will and way?

How do you get into God? How do you get into Christ? It’s through baptism. ‘As many of us have put Christ on, you are a new creature.’ Baptism cleanses all that junk out. Jesus went on further to say to Nicodemus that he needed to be born of the Spirit.

You know Jesus, He’s with you and dwells in you through baptism into His Spirit.

The reason you carry stuff for far too long is you haven’t fully grasped Perfect Love.

God will do a perfect work in you if you let Him. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from or your religion or language or color, Christ wants to be inside of you to comfort you, to love you, and show you His pureness and purpose.

Mat 8:2-3 “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

That’s the power of Jesus Christ, when you come with your heaviness and burdens and filthiness, Jesus changes you, transform you. You may not understand life, but know Jesus can help you. Jesus will do a miraculous work in your life.

What miracle do you need right now? Do you need healing, physically, emotionally, in your relationships? He can and will give you that miracle, if you ask Him and trust Him and choose to obey Him, doing things His way.

The leper came and worshipped. Worship will open the door to the miraculous power of Jesus Christ. It’s raising your hands and surrendering everything to God right now. It’s an act of surrender and trust (faith) and hope. It says, ‘God, You’re in control, You’re the One who does the work, the miraculous.’

God will do something different when we worship. It’s the key. When you let go and worship, things happen.

The love of God will always lead us to repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. If we really love Him, we’ll do exactly what He wants us to do.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Evangelist Nathan Hulsman. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Guest Speaker, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment