Friday, February 1, 2008

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER 2008

Living Word Christian Fellowship

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7

Vol. 17, No. 2 February 2008


Isa 40:31 (KJV) “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.”
I keep seeing the wings of God spreading out over us as we begin to fly. He is watching with expectancy to see that we do not fail at this new venture. He doesn’t want us to fail. He doesn’t want us to retreat. He wants us to fly. This is not the norm for most people. Face it, we like to walk on the solid ground of security. But if we are to be where the Lord is going, we must learn to fly with Him spiritually.
The heavens are filled with darkness as the powers of the air keep multiplying over us, but the Lord is calling us higher above all the dread, darkness, depression and despair. Breakthrough doesn’t come before we press through the darkness.
Think about the Shuttle Astronauts. They have to pierce the atmosphere to break away from the grip of the earth’s gravity. It is extremely dangerous as they can catch on fire and explode. Do we think breaking through Satan’s grip over us today is any easier? But we have the Lord’s protection. His wings of love are over us as we soar into the freedom that rightfully belongs to us as children of the Most High. Don’t allow the fear or panic to keep you earthbound. You are heaven bound in the Spirit of grace and mercy. But you have to learn to fly. Let go of the weight of evil surrounding you. Rise up to the level that God expects for you. There is a battle going on for your soul.
Heb 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”

In Christ,

Pr. Steve

Prayers Answered - How To Pray and Get Results


Read Nehemiah 1:1-11
Cyrus King of Persia had succeeded Nebuchadnezzar, and the Jews were now living in Babylon. Four years later (596BC) Nebuchadnezzar took away Judah and destroyed everything. In 539BC Cyrus overthrew Nebuchadnezzar’s empire. Instead of destroying everything, Cyrus allowed the captives to return to Judah and begin to pay tribute. In 536BC Zerubbabel took 50,000 people out of Persia back to Jerusalem to begin to build the Temple and restore praise. This is where Ezra comes in. He is known as the modern founder of Judaism. By 520BC, sixteen years have passed and only the foundation has been built. Nothing else takes place for years. In 457BC, the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi come to help Ezra the priest to build, but it takes Nehemiah, a governor to make it happen. God had used Prophets and priests up to now, but it took an administrator to get the work done. Nehemiah’s name means “Jehovah comforts”.
Hanani was a blood brother of Nehemiah. He brought with him some visitors from Judah and Nehemiah wanted to know what was happening. Verse 3 picks up with the remnant and the affliction that has taken place. Affliction in the Hebrew is rah, raw-aw'= adversity, hurting, sorrow. This is what was going on with the people: they were hurting, filled with sorrow, and in stringent adversity. This news broke Nehemiah’s heart. “Reproach” in Hebrew is kher-paw' = disgraced, the object of the wagging finger, everyone made fun because they were destitute and hurting. [Job uses this word to describe what Satan did to him – made him a reproach.] The people were a reproach because the wall of Jerusalem was broken down. Walls speak of identification; they no longer had an identity. Walls also signify security, and they had no security. Their enemies, Tobiah and Sanballat overran them at will (Isa. 60:18). Today many believers don’t seem to have any security or identity or purpose because their walls are torn down. When salvation or our relationship with God comes down, people are ravaged by the enemy. You have to keep the walls mended and secure or the enemy will make ridicule of your life. When the gates of praise are burned, when you stop praising God for your life and in your life, then you will hurt, be filled with sorrow, and find that adversity overtakes you.
What did Nehemiah do when he heard the problem? He began to prepare to pray. Preparation for prayer is as important as the prayer itself. The reason we don’t get answers is we don’t prepare ourselves. Some people can pray at the drop of a hat – that is because they stand ready at all times to pray. But many are not ready for prayer.
1. PREPARING: (Vrs.4) Nehemiah sat down and wept; he recognized the problem for what it was. He let it soak in. He didn’t deny it, ignore it or wish it wasn’t so. Take time for the problem to sink into your soul. If you are not a part of the prayer, it won’t go any higher than the ceiling. Take time to let the problem sink in, Nehemiah focused on the problem - this is not a popular teaching. But understand the issues. “I wept.” This is a very natural response. The spiritual follows the natural. Acknowledgment is the first step to prepare for prayer. That is taking a hold of the problem to possess control over it. The first thing that happens to people when a problem occurs is helplessness, so they try to avoid it. But in Christ Jesus we must possess it in order to overcome it. Not that it possess us, but that we take control of it. Problems happen to us to mess with us – don’t let them. Frustration, anger, and then sorrow follow helplessness, you are also open to another power. If you take hold of the problem you will have the power to overcome the problem.
2. MOURNING: This is remorse over the problem. “Certain days.” It means “as long as it takes” until remorse comes – compassion for the loss of salvation – no walls and gates. Remorse is a hurting inside because of recognized wrong. Do we ever let ourselves get to this place? If you let it in you and you possess it, you will feel the hurt that others go through. Mourning moves it from our soul to our spirit.
3. FASTING: As believers we need to practice times of fasting whether we can spend time in prayer or not. Fasting says, “Lord, You are more important than my appetite.” We are declaring to our system that something is going on that is more important than us. Fasting doesn’t bless God. It makes us ready to be sensitive to the Spirit of God. If sorrow brings the issue to understanding in the soul and remorse opens the spirit of man, then fasting identifies with the will of man. It is a surrender of self to acknowledge God in this problem. Prayer is not the hard part – preparation is the difficult area. If you take the time to prepare, the prayer will just flow because your spirit, soul and being are involved. It is no longer just a head matter. Instead, the total being gets involved with God, locking us in with the Lord. (Jms.5:16) “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
4. PRAYING: This moves us from the problem to the solution (vrs.5) “O Lord God of heaven…” This is His title: the warrior God “Sabaoth” “The Lord of Hosts.” He is in charge and I have to make my request known to Him. I am not complaining over the problem; I have accepted it for what it is. Now I am acknowledging the one who can do something about it. I need the side of God that can conquer and restore and heal. “The enemy has broken down my life. I am distraught and made a laughing stock because of my ways. I have not taken care of my life according to the Word. I have forsaken you and you have come and judged me. And I am in ruins. I need a great and terrible God to bring salvation. One who keeps covenant and mercy for them that love him and observes his commands.”
~Great = better than anything else. God, You are the one with superior power. The enemy has created this mess and left me ravaged, but You have the power to restore what the enemy has taken away.
~Terrible = awesome – always to be feared by the enemy and reverenced by man.
~Keepeth covenant = a watchman, to observe what is going on; guardian, the protector. You always keep covenant. You never step away from the one who sincerely prays and keeps relationship.
~Mercy for them who love him = those who are attracted to God and care about Him. This is not agape love, but a love from those who are beaten down and hurting and who knows that God is their only source of help.
~Mercy = kindness for those who have been reproached (by what Satan did). “God I don’t do everything the right way, sometimes I blow it big time, but deep down inside I really do love you.” You don’t have to be perfect to pray this kind of prayer.
~Observe his commandments = not keep, but observe; you don’t always obey, but you know you should; you give attention to them. You observe them.
THE PRAYER: (vrs.6) The actuality of your heart. “I pray it day and night.” Pray until you get your answer. You stay focused because it is a problem and you must find solution. Vrs.6b -7 Nehemiah acknowledges his responsibility for the wrong. “We” prayers get answered, not “they” prayers. When you possess the problem you will take responsibility – that is identification; bearing the blame; missing the mark. When you identify with the problem then God is released to do something to fix it. When the church identifies with the weaknesses of the body, then He will come forth with great deliverance, both individually and corporately.
Vrs.7 – “corruptly” = bound, tied up God’s hands. God is everything He says He is. And He does everything He says he will do, but we have bound Him and the enemy has ravaged our lives. Don’t say my life has not been affected. We are all affected. When one suffers we all suffer (1 Cor.12:26).
Vrs.8-9 – “Remember” - the thrust of all prayer is to remind God what He has said. That is covenant prayer, that is prayer that gets answered.
Vrs.10 – He is confessing what God has already done, now he wants a part of it. That is covenant prayer. Remind God that you are in covenant with Him and that you know and believe that He is more than able to answer.
Vrs.11 – “Hear me, O Lord because I desire to fear your mighty, eternal name. I desire to prosper as you want me to prosper. I need mercy, I need a miracle. Let me be successful.” The proper perspective of prayer begins with preparation for prayer and ends with praying that results in answers.
Remember what Jesus said, “Satan desired to sift you, but I have prayed…”

-Pr. Steve

I am going to be sharing with you thoughts from my journal over the past few years. This is to show you how the Lord has brought about His Word in my life to minister to you and to show you how real this walk can be. Please read and understand by the Spirit about ...

. . . My calling as a pastor


Pastor’s Journal 2007
Feb. 1: “I will be a wall of fire around you and I will be the glory within you.”
Feb 2: “Do not be ashamed of what has been entrusted to you. For this reason you suffer. Stay strong in the Word of Truth without wavering and you will be granted favor with God our Father.”
Feb. 3: “Now that America has become a religious society, you must not allow My Spirit to become weak in you. Continue in truth at any cost. Let people behold My Glory. There is still a greater work to be done. Resurrection power is your ability to stay the course.”
Feb. 8: “Be of good courage. Set your face to follow My commands and do not be distracted by those who turn away.”
Feb. 9: Total surrender brings lasting peace that produces selflessness.
Feb. 10: Who is forgiven much has loved much. When little is forgiven there is little love.
Feb. 12: “Do not rely upon man to meet your need. I am doing what is necessary to transition you. I have heard all your cries for help, but what I do is eternal and you are in the center of My plans. Remember, the steps of a righteous man are ordered of Me.”
Feb. 13: “My peace I leave with you. Nothing ever disturbed My peace because I trust My Father. I enjoy the fruit of My labors.”
Feb 15: “Keep pressing into My Spirit with faith believing and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Feb. 16: It is not the outward design but the inward character that fashions a body in heaven for you. It will be glorious and more than you can think or ask. It is developed through obedience and pressing into My Glory.”
Feb. 17: “As the past comes back to you, remember the blessing that is on your life. “Blessed are you, when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” Remember, you are being killed daily so that My life will come forth! If you suffer you shall reign. Choose the suffering rather than sin for a season and after a while you will be established, strengthened and settled, and made perfect.”
Feb. 20: God will come to a man who conducts his business fairly. (Psm. 112:5) He will never be shaken.
Feb. 22: “Some say the church has been in her finest hour. I say the church has been in her judgment and is experiencing the results. When My Glory comes forth in the remnant, the church will see and find her blessing of life and fullness of My spirit upon all who come to Me. You are waiting on My Father. You will rise up with wings that will make you soar. You will see and experience Me as a Tree of Life and Righteousness, and your waiting will not be in vain. You are free to live and be who I have made you to be. Do not fret over what you hear or see but know I am still in control of Living Word.”
Feb. 23: It has been a week of great disappointment in people’s lives. I know we are in a time of endurance with long-suffering, but it will produce the character of Christ in those who continue to press into the Glory of God. The powers of darkness are great, but he who is in Christ is greater; and because He rules, we shall press through the truth. We are being totally captivated by the Lord. I surrender!
Feb. 25: Arm yourself with the mind of Christ so you will no longer live in your own desires and so you will know your place in the battle.
Feb. 26: “You are being lifted up to a new realm by the wind of My Spirit. The air is thick for the battle is intense; but I am the victor; and where I am you are with Me in the victory.”
Feb. 27: The seed sown on rocky ground cannot take deep root. The Word of Truth is received with joy until trouble comes into that person’s life and then because the roots are not deep enough, he will flee in despair and disappointment. Many have done this in this hour.

Rich Toward God


We have all heard this expression: “More or less,” but do we believe that most of the time less is more?
Luke 12:17-21 (KJV) “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? (18) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. (19) And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry. (20) But God said unto him, [Thou] fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (21) So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Christians should realize that God is truly their provider and that we should not strive to be mega-wealthy unless we know that God has a purpose for it. This generation in America is the most clutter-ridden generation ever. Even the poorest people have closets full of stuff – junk. It is shocking to realize that even with an overabundance it is possible to maintain a poverty mentality. The truth of the matter is that the riches of this world are uncertain. The proverbs say that riches grow wings and that they flow through the cracks between our fingers as unstoppably as water does. Our trust, our hope, and our heart must not be given to the delicacies of this world, but rather be humbly offered to our loving savior.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (KJV) “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Do we invest our lives in taking the time to communicate with God and receive His wisdom and life-giving words by the Spirit? Do we have any living word to share or anointing to minister to others? Or have we fallen back to our old ways of thinking and living? We all entered this world as sinners; and when we experience trials and tribulations, it is tempting to lean back on the old way of dealing with things. Leaning on the power of worldly wealth can seem like a default setting, but it must be overcome by our faith in the living God. God gives us the things that money cannot buy. He brings joy in difficult circumstances and hope when there appears to be none. He calms the troubled mind and brings inner peace that sooths the heart and soul. Truly the contentment that only God can give is great gain.
James 1:14-17 (KJV) “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
When trying times come, and they will come, remember the covenant that we have with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son. Every good and perfect gift comes to us from Him. Do not agree with the enemy when he accuses God of injustice or withholding. If we find ourselves desiring anyone or, or anything in this earthly realm more than we desire God, we must turn from that thing and return to God. As we seek to be rich toward God, we will find that we are truly wealthy- and in need of nothing.

-Kurt Thurston