A familiar theme within Christianity involves taking up our cross, but what does this mean? In Luke chapter 9 and verse 23 we read, “And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” First allow us to see that Christ mentions that following Him as the Lord of our life requires choosing to love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. This is the personal covenant relationship with our Savior who redeems us with His blood and transforms our identity by His grace. There is a huge difference between believing in God and becoming a remnant disciple. Secondly, Jesus emphasizes that denying our flesh is not an option but rather is mandatory. This has everything to do with submitting our will to God and dedicating our life entirely to listening and obeying His voice. Lastly, we believe that He carried His own cross and was crucified on it for our sake, but He also demands that we take up our own cross and become a living sacrifice unto the honor and glory of His Name. These spiritual overcomers will fight the good fight of faith and are devoted to developing the discipline and self-control required to “deny” the sins of the flesh. Carnality must be conquered and the mind must be renewed through the Holy Spirit in order to walk in God’s spiritual authority. This is not religious legalism, it’s called Christianity.
GREETINGS AND WELCOME!
My name is Billy Holland and we are so glad to have you as our guest. As an independent Christian ministry located in Central Kentucky, my wife Cheryl and I are devoted to serving Jesus Christ and all people. I have a passion to promote the life-changing gospel of our Lord and Savior and have been called to challenge and edify the body of Christ to draw closer to Him and become what Jesus died for us to be. THE KING IS COMING and today is the day to prepare our wedding gowns and fill our lamps with His oil! Do you know without a doubt that you are ready to meet the Lord? He will forgive you of your sins, give you a brand new name, and love you forever as one of His children. Call upon Him this moment and ask Him to redeem and save your soul. Simply pray and ask Him to open your eyes, renew your mind, and to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Today is the day of salvation and now is the appointed time. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith and the purpose and meaning of our life. Praise and worship His name forever! We hope you will visit us often as we update several areas of this site each week! Feel free to browse the site and we pray you will receive a blessing from the content. I love to research God’s Word and it’s an honor to be one of His messengers.
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it” George Orwell
For all of you animal lovers out there, this is Teddy Roosevelt, our adorable English bulldog and as you can see, he has a face that only a mother could love – ha! He is a sweetie, with such a loving personality and is the best snuggle-buddy ever. He loves to play with his toys and of course, he’s always ready to sample whatever we are eating – a true 75-pound food hound! The only thing I’ve seen him not eat is pears, pickles, and bananas – ha! He will be three-years-old in April. He really has it rough, doesn’t he?
Thank you for your prayers concerning Teddy and his recent health issues. He’s finally seeing some improvement and starting to act like his old self again after a bad fall down the stairs. With a herniated disc, and a sprained wrist, it’s been a rough couple of months and we are grateful to see him healing. This is a recent picture of him just rolling around on the floor and enjoying life. Warm weather is coming and soon we will start taking him on some walks. For those of you who have pets, we would love to see a photo of your companions and hear about your stories. I would be glad to post pictures and introduce your friends here on my site. Just send them to my email. I post different photos of Teddy every couple of weeks so keep watching.
Our site features original music, information about what we believe, our volunteer outreaches along with much of my writing ministry. We invite you to look around, read the articles, listen to the music, and you are welcome to copy them, give them away, and use them however the Lord leads. I write a weekly newspaper column that is presented in many publications around the country and I also provide another weekly article about the Christian life that you read by clicking on the “WEEKLY BLOG” tab at the top. In the “SHORT STORY” section at the top, you can read about several different topics.
Recently, I was invited to minister at a gospel showcase and there were around 500 in attendance. It was a great night of music and fellowship. The Lord gives me music and you can listen here to an original song called, “Refuge.”
I would be interested in knowing your thoughts or questions you might have about God, the holy scriptures, your worldviews, or anything on this site. I would also love to hear about your ministry and develop a friendship with you. You are welcome to stay current with my newspaper columns which are posted every Monday on this site. Click on the above menu, “LIVING ON PURPOSE” as each post is titled and dated. Also, If you would like to have a free copy of the narrated scripture CD, “KEEPER OF MY SOUL” just email me at email@example.com (Don’t forget to include your mailing address).
“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King
BRAND NEW RESOURCE!
Our brand new book is now available with Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other bookstores around the world and also as an e-book. I believe this is an important resource of strength, hope, and edification to the body of Christ in a day and age where there is so much spiritual darkness and negativity. The idea of anyone having the opportunity to walk as close with God as they want and the privilege to know His will for their life is a spiritual reality. Just under 400 pages, this book would be a wonderful gift for all who appreciate reading inspirational stories about everyday life with a positive Christian perspective. If you would like to place an order, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to send you a copy. There is also a discount if you order both of my books together and I will include a free copy of the 80-minute narrated CD, “KEEPER OF MY SOUL.”
Here is what some are saying about CONVICTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS:
“If there is one eternal theme for Reverend Holland’s writings, it is love, and it shines through in great abundance in “Convictions And Considerations” making the book a joy to read whatever your spiritual inclination. Billy writes in blockbuster style, keeping us fascinated with a new story or observation with each turn of the page, and effortlessly conveying his understanding of God’s Word in an easy-to-read style that deftly and almost surreptitiously uplifts his readers with a joyous appreciation of the practical link between earthly humanity and heavenly grace. It is a true privilege to publish his “Living On Purpose” column each Sunday and this book takes the exceptional quality of that work to yet new heights.” Ian White, Editor/Publisher, clearleadernews.com, Galveston, Texas.
“In Convictions and Considerations, Dr. Holland seamlessly intersperses guidelines for living a responsible Christian life, illustrative quotations to validate his arguments, and personal anecdotes and lyrics that add a real-life perspective to his greater points. The result is an engaging, eclectic book that allows readers to determine ways to evaluate their individual spiritual paths.” Daniel Aken, M.LIS., Reference Librarian, Clark County Public Library, Winchester, Kentucky.
“I highly recommend this book to both believers and unbelievers alike. It’s a reservoir of edification and inspiration for the believer to draw closer to God and a lighthouse of conviction for the unbeliever to see their need to be born-again. Within these pages, Dr. Holland helps us identify, pursue, and accomplish our divine mission. William is sincerely concerned about the enormous challenges we will face as followers of Jesus Christ, but reassures us that we can be victorious by developing a greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.” Lucas Ngwa, Pastor of Salvation Ministry Church, Bamenda, Cameroon.
“Convictions and considerations” keeps me on the edge of my seat! It’s filled with riveting stories and spiritual truth that convicts me to evaluate and examine my relationship with God. Dr. Holland explains about renewing our mind and the power of words, and how this relates to fulfilling our destiny. I love the story about Kate and Calvin and the powerful insights about how depression and rejection are destructive weapons used against us to steal our faith and contentment. He writes, “It’s never too late for a fresh new start! There will never be a time when darkness or hopelessness can overcome the brilliant light of God’s love and grace.” Gaye Bencini, Editor/Publisher, Hickman County Times, Clinton, Kentucky.
Check out this NEW video by MARK DUNCAN! I believe you will really enjoy this. He has this same video in several different languages on YouTube. I encourage you to take a few minutes of your time, sit back and relax, and allow this presentation to bless your spirit. At this time of year when everyone is busy and distracted by holiday stress, it’s essential that we stay focused on Jesus EVERY DAY and continue drawing closer to Him EVERY MOMENT. I’m so thankful that Christ was born and truly grateful that He died on the cross for us. God loves us so much that we can never worship or praise Him enough. Words cannot express how much we love and adore Him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCYuBetG3KQ
Here is another amazing video that I wanted to share with you. Stewart Loy is highly anointed in this presentation. Lion of Judah Ministries – Very powerful!
In January, we had 677 views with online visitors from 38 different countries! This includes places like Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and Zimbabwe, to only mention a few. THANK YOU so much to everyone who visits this site! We are meeting people from around the globe and it’s very exciting to make new friends. Whatever you need – Jesus Christ can provide! As the song says, “He is a pain taker, a chain breaker, and a prison shaking Savior!” JESUS is your healer, your deliverer, provider, the answer to all your questions and the solution to all of your problems! He willingly went to the cross and shed His blood because HE LOVES YOU and right this moment, He desires to redeem, restore, and transform whosoever will believe in Him. Feel free to contact us as we consider it an honor to connect with you and are available to pray, counsel, or help any way we can. Here is our link again, email@example.com
“Two things define us; Our patience when we have nothing, and our attitude when we have everything.”
“A successful person will always choose to lay a beautiful pathway with the bricks that others throw at them.”
“Go out into the world in peace, have courage in the faith of God, love and serve the Lord, speak the truth, be positive and think on what is good and lovely, return no one evil for evil, strengthen the fainthearted, encourage the weak and help the suffering, honor and respect God’s creation. May the mercy and grace of the Almighty surround you and may you be filled with contentment and rivers of joy. Our heavenly Father is the meaning and purpose of life, and I pray that you will live in His presence forever.”
“Before we can embrace the cross as the only way to save us, we must humbly acknowledge that we were the reason Jesus had to go there.”
“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him” Proverbs 30:5.
DESIGNED FOR OFFENSE
This is a New Year and we are calling the theme, “THE KING IS COMING” and we are convinced that it will not be much longer until He does. We believe we are in the last days because of the seven thousand-year time span theological view. According to Biblical calculations, we are at the end of the 6000 years since creation which includes 4000 years before the birth of Christ. Most Christians also believe there will be a 1000 year Millennial reign where Christ will rule after He returns to the earth in great power and glory. I will also mention that many believe there will be a rapture and 7 years of tribulation included in the future, so we can hopefully agree this dispensation is soon coming to a close. I believe this is the eleventh year of writing these weekly messages and we hope that you will continue walking with us on this journey as brothers and sisters in the faith.
The saints of God were never created for just defense. A sports team can never win unless they learn the balance of guarding and scoring – and that is accomplished with the development of an organized offense. We have the shield of faith to defend but we also have the sword of God’s Word to speak and trust with His authority. Mathew chapter 11 verse 12 say’s, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and the violent take it by force.” Jesus was saying that God’s kingdom will require courage, unwavering faith, determination and endurance because of the growing opposition to the kingdom message and those who preach it. John’s ministry had ushered in the kingdom of heaven and it was crucially important to set the record straight about what the saints should expect. Jesus was very serious about spiritual warfare in Mathew chapter ten and was tired of beating around the bush trying to explain the world’s reaction. In verses 34 through 39, we find him saying some disturbing things about our relationships and our dreams of a “happy” ministry lifestyle.
Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.” Jesus is not trying to be mean or scare anyone. He is not trying to make a terrorist out of an ordinary person or be cruel for the purpose of stirring up evil, but He is trying to be blunt and explain where the rubber meets the road and plead with the saints about a “life or death” reality. Does He want us to be a fanatic? Yes! Being an extreme fanatic for Jesus would be the ultimate goal, but most everyone is ashamed of Him. We are just too embarrassed. Why? Because we do not want people to think we are crazy and we really think quite highly of our reputation. The Lord is trying to reveal the sobering truth about the dynamic power of His Word and the dramatic impact it will have on everyone we meet – IF we are brave enough to do what He says to do. Are you ready to sign up for this? Allow me to warn you, the life lived IN Christ will always provoke a reaction from everyone good or bad. It can cause hatred, anger, and division because the cross is an offense to the carnal mind and enmity to the flesh and is in direct opposition to the devil’s lies and plans. Jesus was not going to paint pretty pictures of sunsets or tell cozy stories about how everyone would embrace us and rejoice with our message because He knows the TRUE Christian life is filled with deadly resistance. He knew His disciples would experience the same treatment as He had and how the pure gospel would be an opposition to everyone who is not a devoted follower of His cause. He knew that our new transformed spirits would clash with evil spirits and how His kingdom of light would be an “in your face insult” that will stir the religious sleepwalkers into becoming a fierce enemy. Yes God’s convicting “two-edged” truth can bring beautiful freedom but it also brings a bloody war! So why was Jesus emphasizing that truth brings division and hatred? It has everything to do with God never compromising or failing. His truth must be pure and holy or it loses its authority to rule and judge. His truth is perfect – He is Omniscient and He cannot be the Lord of anyone who loves the world more than Him.
I was talking to a person the other day about losing weight and they made a comment that made me think. They said the reason they have not been successful is that they just do not have a high level of passion and self-control that dieting requires. They are are not serious about exercise and they really do not care about how much chocolate cake they eat. I appreciate the honesty and we all struggle with self-discipline, but I believe this is also why most people do not have Christ as the Lord of their life. Yes, they believe that God is real, but so does the devil and all the demons. Most everyone believes the Bible is true, but so does Satan. When it comes to the priorities of our love, how many will someday stand before God and confess the reason they did not accomplish their mission was because they did not care. If we are not focused or even interested in God – I can promise we will not read the Bible, pray, or even think about Him. Of course, the exception is when we have a problem that we desperately need Him to solve. There are many who believe God is real and consider themselves religious, but God is not impressed in the least. Why? Because they are NOT serious about Him. If our connection to God is only calling upon Him when we need something, we have missed the point entirely. It’s dangerous when Christians try to hold God’s hand while holding on to their sin with the other hand. Why? We CANNOT serve God and the devil. It’s called “lukewarm” or “middle of the road” living and no matter how you and I try to remodel it or paint it, there is no way to fool The Almighty. Matthew 6:24 says,
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” There will never be any type of compromise or special deals with those who try to play games. Let us remember that when the world loves us, we can guarantee – something’s terribly wrong with our soul. We have so many excuses and justifications to stay in a spiritually powerless lifestyle but when God says, “Stand for My truth and fight the good fight of faith” it was not presented as an option – it’s a demand. The world hates Jesus and if we truly love Him they will hate us also. “And you will be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end will be saved” Mathew 10:22.
The message is always the same. Reach out to Christ – pray – study His truth – develop faith – walk with Him in holiness – follow and obey His voice – live in peace and victory! If we do not choose to walk in His Spirit, we will automatically remain in the old default system of mediocrity and we will not be effective in His kingdom. In fact, we actually become His enemy! If we are carnal – we are not in Christ – if we are filled with sin and satisfied – we are defeated! Threaten the enemy of your soul instead of allowing him to lead you! Declare to your flesh and the devil that every time you are attacked, that you will instantly pray to God and cry out for His help. Then instead of the devil being on offense against you, you have just turned the tables and put the devil on the run! He will begin to see that trying to hurt you is hurting him much worse. James 4:4-8 says, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Face the devil and tell him to get out of your life forever – NOW! If he comes back – do it again! How many times will I need to rebuke the devil? How much spiritual victory do you want? We were never promised by God that after we are saved we would have an easy life. It’s actually the opposite. When we are born-again, we become God’s warriors against sin. Our victory is then based on our faith in Jesus BLOOD and the spiritual authority of the Father over all the powers of darkness. The Almighty never designed us to fight in our own strength but has equipped us with every piece of spiritual armor that is found in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. However, this armor is useless until we put it on and march onto the battlefield. Who wants to serve? Who will fight on the front-lines? Our needs do not move God to act on our behalf, but rather our FAITH moves God and activates HIS power and this is the miracle that will manifest from our confessions and causes our prayers to change circumstances. Until we choose to become a participant, we will remain an observer. Jesus did not die for us to be a spectator, He died so that we can be an overcomer for HIM! It is HIS inspiration that creates the fruit of our lips and generates the SUPER-NATURAL power in the name of Jesus! Let us not cower in fear to Satan who is already defeated! This is now 2020 and King Jesus is coming soon! Let us start the New Year with making a decision that we will draw nearer to God than we ever have been before. Let us pray every day and confess God’s Word over our lives and the lives of our family and friends. Let us be known as a true Christian who walks what we talk and may we carry God’s two-edged sword and not be afraid to engage in spiritual warfare. “I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I will not back down until they are destroyed” Psalm 18:37.
“Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…it is a price of love.”
SEND A GREAT REVIVAL IN MY SOUL
Do you believe the Spirit of God is being poured out today on His Son’s and Daughters? Do you see any evidence of a powerful revival coming? Do you sense the Lord stirring you to turn away from the things you desire and draw closer to Him? If we are not careful, we will become so numb from the pleasures of this world, that being lukewarm will become a normal way of living. Do we really want God’s fire to purge us from our sins? Do we really want to sacrifice the way we live and deny our flesh from all the things we love?
Sure, there are times when I feel like not writing anymore. However, if everyone were to stop writing, serving and teaching God’s truth, discouragement and defeat would run rampant. Sometimes it seems that no one is listening, but then I notice there are people visiting from all over the planet and this is actually very encouraging. In fact, I appreciate you being here right now. Of course, the enemy wants to stop God’s Word and is fighting hard to silence God’s messengers. Sadly, many have become tired of the gospel and are leaving the church and abandoning their faith. Older saints are weary and backslidden because they did not maintain their personal relationship with Jesus. Some are being distracted by pleasures that seem more important or more desirable than spending time in God’s presence. Others are falling away from the self-discipline of sanctification and growing more distant from their spiritual responsibility to live holy. Some are saying the Bible is filled with errors and faith does not really work. Some are declaring that God is not politically correct and they are embarrassed to support and believe it anymore. Allow me to say that all of this was prophesied to happen and it should come as no surprise to those who study the scriptures. The falling away and the love of many waxing cold is a spiritual reality that we should have known was going to happen in these last days. The important truth to write on the tables of our hearts is that even if everyone we know turns away from God – we will never let go of His hand.
I write because God has called me to be one of His messengers. His grace is sufficient as it is my honor to serve Him and with gratitude and humility, I offer myself to be used as a small candle for His glory in a world of darkness, anger, and deception. As the representatives of His Kingdom, we must stay strong – we must endure to the end. I encourage you to examine your conscience and see if there is anything that is separating you from the Lord. This is the hour of grace and the time for the bride to prepare her gown for the coming of the groom. Let us shout from the housetops that Jesus is coming and today is the day to repent and receive His endless love and salvation. Right where you are, you can ask God to forgive you and He will cleanse your heart and deliver you from whatever is holding you captive in the bondage of misery. Revival begins with an overwhelming awareness and conviction of sin. Spiritual renewal is a heavy burden to repent followed by an unrelenting passion to live in obedience to everything God is demanding. This can only happen when an individual agrees to surrender their will to God with complete honesty, sincerity, and humility. Let us sing this old hymn together, “Send a great revival to my soul, send a great revival to my soul, may the Holy Spirit come and take control…and send a great revival to my soul.”
Before you go to the menu and start browsing, I want to mention another special offer. This is our first book and it’s a collection of Theological insights about our intimate relationship with Jesus along with my experiences of leading congregational worship and singing my original music through the years. It’s a whopping 50 chapters and 367 pages! I’m very grateful for this opportunity to be one of the Lord’s messengers and I’ve purchased some extra copies of this book so that I can share them with those who are interested in having a closer relationship with God. While supplies last, I can send them anywhere in the U.S. for $12.50 each. This is a significant discount compared to ordering online or through a bookstore. I try to give all of my resources away and would love to be able to give everyone a copy of my books, but unfortunately, they are very costly to publish especially with shipping. I just want to make it affordable because I believe they will be an encouragement for those who read them. The question presented throughout this work is, “How is the way I live associated with worship?” Well, you will need to see the answers for yourself, but I can say that a greater awareness of God’s presence is the key to sanctification. Worship is not just a song we sing, but an intentional attitude within our mind and our conscience that demonstrates Christ-like behavior. You can click on the book menu at the top to find out additional information, but I just want to say this resource is for those who have a sincere desire to go beyond a normal and traditional religious ritual. When we make the decision to include God in our thoughts and plans, we move from a knowledge-based lifestyle into a spiritual awakening. There is only room for one king on the throne of our heart and each moment our free will has the choice to serve Jesus or our flesh. We must go beyond just knowing “about” God – we must evolve into personally knowing Him or we will miss the meaning and purpose of our existence.
This would also make a wonderful gift for someone you know who is a seeker of spiritual truth and with every copy, I will include my brand new scripture narration CD, “KEEPER OF MY SOUL” for free. If you would like to place an order, we have added an instant purchase button connected with PayPal. This is a simple way to make a secure transaction at a much-reduced price. If you would rather go through Amazon or Barnes and Noble you can click on the BOOK tab at the top and it will provide the links to these distributors. This section will also explain details about the content of the book and you will see where I have actually posted a couple of chapters for you to read. Those who have read it, are commenting on how this work is an in-depth and thought-provoking collection of topics which presents a sobering challenge to our faith. I look forward to hearing what you think about it and what the Lord is revealing to you.
Book – 367 pages
“A LIFESTYLE OF WORSHIP – Living in the awareness of God’s presence”
I received an email the other day from a website ministry saying they were going to post an excerpt from one of my recent newspaper columns. To say the least, I am very honored to be listed with some very special individuals. However, if I have ever said anything that has eternal value, it was first given to me by God. The idea of being a usable Christian is for us to become a willing container where the Lord can fill us and then pour out through us. It’s His water and He’s in charge of the pouring.
There are so many people in the world today who are stepping forward to voice their opinion about what they believe. Are God’s people not allowed to do the same? I realize that much of our faith needs to be demonstrated by how we live, but isn’t there also a time to testify and preach God’s message of hope and salvation? Is it not our responsibility to relay the gospel to a lost and dying world? Have we as Christians not been commissioned to teach God’s life-changing promises so that minds and souls can be delivered from sin and deception? When we read the true accounts of the martyrs who have given their lives for the sake of Jesus, we must consider that we are not excused from the same accountability and commitment. Let us pray that we will be found worthy to stand faithful in that day if called upon. The Christian life is a holy vow and a blood covenant that includes a devotion to not only surrender our will and live for God but to be prepared to face persecution unto death. Following Christ has very little to do with prosperity and blessings but rather has everything to do with prayer, holiness, love, faith, integrity, courage, sacrificial giving, renewing of the mind, and self-discipline. Yes, God’s people are the light holders and vessels of honor in this realm of darkness and have been commissioned to evangelize the world. Followers of Christ have the ultimate responsibility to speak God’s Word everywhere and to every person, they meet.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).
God’s idea is for all of His children to be a minister and to serve Him and the world as a lifestyle of love. The world is a cruel and harsh environment and the Christian remnant followers are facing a developing hostility. However, even in times of severe persecution, we will embrace the example of Christ and remember his commands to be led by his Spirit and not our human nature. Humility allows his servants to walk through the storms and stand strong in adversity because they are seeing the bigger picture of life and how this journey is not based on their feelings. When we remove our vision away from spiritual love, we blindfold our own heart with emotional deception. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10). “Lord, help me to become more discerning of the needs of others. Allow me to have compassion for those who are seeking your wisdom and understanding. Give me a burden and a passion to live a “lifestyle of worship” before the world that someone might be inspired to know you. I ask for a greater spiritual sensitivity as that I can hear your voice and with your grace, I pray that you will be able to use me in your divine appointments. Remind me when I begin to drift away from being dependent on your anointing. Convict my heart when carnal pride tries to deceive me. I desperately need your wisdom. Help me to stay focused on you, to stay on my knees and trust you in everything. I love you, Jesus. Amen.”
“And they overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death” (Revelation 12:11).
The blood of Jesus empowers His saints with the authority of His Name! It is the only power that can forgive us of our sin and save us from eternal death. Our testimony is a declaration of faith that understands who God is, who we are IN Christ and that NOTHING can stop us from accomplishing His will! The Kingdom of God is advancing – because it CANNOT be stopped! Praise Him forever! There is NOTHING that can keep us from being filled with the Holy Spirit except our own free will. Let it be shouted from the housetops that we can have all of God that we want. The problem has always been that most people only want an amount of God that not interfere with the way they choose to live. The war of evil and good is between the human will and the will of God. Remember, we will never resist the devil if we are not willing to resist our flesh!
God’s nature is love and nothing can conquer love. This is not just a catchphrase but is crucially important to remember when we are walking through difficult places that are filled with discouragements and disappointments. For the remnant disciple, one of the greatest lessons to learn and stay aware of after we have been knocked to the ground is the determination and courage to get up and dust ourselves off and keep going. The enemy has spent the last 6000 years trying to distract men and women away from God’s will, but the joy of the Lord is a fountain of strength that cannot be quenched! All of the darkness in existence cannot overcome one tiny lit candle, and all of the hate in the universe cannot outweigh one act of genuine compassion! Love IS the authority of God and will never fail and when we learn how to encourage our own hearts, we can take another step into the maturity process of being an overcomer for Christ.
Remember the story found in I Samuel chapter 30 about David and his army when they returned home to Ziklag and found the city had been burned and all of their families had been taken captive by the Amalekites. Verse 4 says, “Then David and all the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept until they had no more power to weep.” But notice in the last part of verse 6, “but David encouraged [strengthened] himself in the Lord his God.” The ones that are involved with ministering God’s Kingdom will not always feel like standing strong or being electrified with an overflowing current of excitement and enthusiasm. There will be seasons of frustration and fatigue where it seems that nothing is happening and things are coming unraveled. But these are the times when we need to have a private consultation in front of the mirror and lay down God’s law to our own will! We have the CHOICE to believe the truth or embrace a deception.
It’s true, there are times when we are sad and frustrated and we all will have problems and situations that we must deal with in this life, but thank God that He is always there as a safe haven to give us encouragement and support that can help us through our times of sorrow. Yes, the battle is very difficult and we must be sensitive to the spirits of depression or oppressive, critical, and judgmental attitudes that are like a contagious virus that can infect others with hopelessness and drain the atmosphere of expectation. In I John chapter 1, verse 4 we see that joy is like a liquid in a tank that can run low or be filled and it is necessary to constantly monitor our joy and protect it from being diminished. “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” If the general of an army told the soldiers they did not have a chance to win the battle, it would exhaust their strength and crush their faith before they even started. So how do we stay filled with joy? It would definitely contribute to our joy tank if we would deliberately spend more time in His presence. Nothing can take the place of simply thinking about Him and sharing our concerns and feelings with Him.
I believe we can agree that the spiritual strength of the individual is based on the fullness of joy within the heart. Without a strong personal relationship with God, there is limited joy, and with low joy, there is a mediocre interest in walking with Him. So, we can say the stronger our relationship with Him, the more full our joy will be and the more He can and will be seen within us. As believers in the full gospel, we must realize that God’s idea of a normal Christian life is for us to be fearless warriors that daily walk in the realm of signs and wonders. The Creator of the universe lives inside of us! Why should we NOT be doing what Jesus did? God’s Word reveals how the last days are going to unfold and how religious spirits will continue to distort the true reality of “normal” into an imposter normal. Nonetheless, no matter how deceptive or hypocritical the religious system becomes, Jesus will accomplish His perfect agenda with those who love Him! When Jesus calls you to let go of the boat and walk on the water, there is NOTHING that can prevent your victory as long as you stay focused on His presence! Amen!
Even Satan does not care if we accept Christ as long as we keep Him to ourselves, because when we live as undercover agents for Jesus, we are NOT a threat to the dark domain. However, when we allow our flame to receive more oxygen from the Holy Spirit and it turns into a raging blaze, the devil realizes that we can be used to help recruit thousands of soldiers for the Lord’s army, tear down principalities and strongholds, inspire the lost, and do mighty miracles and wonders in Jesus Name! It’s worth the moment to consider the question; will you allow the enemy to stop you from being an overcomer? We are living in the last moments of grace, but it is also a time to become strong in our faith and personal intimacy with the Lord. Overcomers are strong leaders that have Special Forces training to PRAY and OBEY in all circumstances! Prepare now to step forward when the world is turned upside-down. Allow Jesus Christ to fill you with the wisdom of His Word today, or you will not have the anointing or faith to boldly stand as a leader in the days ahead.
If we are going to be provided for like Elijah at the brook and the woman with the measure of oil, we must learn how to not only be an encouragement to others but to encourage our own hearts. If we cannot believe God to heal our sore toe today, what makes us think we will be able to believe Him for a loaf of bread in the day of famine? There is no reason to be stressed or worried about what man will do because we have been promised that direction and encouragement will be given to those who are devoted to God. “The Lord is near unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry and will save them” (Psalm 18-19). The word of the Lord today is that He is trying to get our attention. He is doing everything He can to open the eyes of our hearts so that we can learn how to live for Him. What will it take for us to become serious about our relationship with God? What will it take to pull us away from our flesh and the pleasures of this world and convict us to humbly fall on our face to God?
Our mind is like a garden and we are the gardener. We can plant whatever we want and will harvest whatever we have sown! Our new spirit and renewed mind are ready to listen to King Jesus as He inspires us to confess out loud His never-failing truth over ourselves, our families and our situations. This is only accomplished when we develop a serious awareness of our thought life and how powerful our confessions can be. You see, the old nature is associated with the old way of thinking but when our minds have been renewed in Christ, this is intended to give us better leverage when trying to wrestle our will into its rightful place (which is submission to Jesus). The reason why people do not want to pray is that they realize God is going to ask them to surrender their will and become a living sacrifice for His glory.
People want all the blessings in this life but do not want to live for God in order to enjoy them. A covenant is an agreement between two parties and humans desire to be the receiver without being the giver. The idea is that God gives everything to us and likewise we are to give everything back to Him which includes our will. Our good works will mean nothing until we have yielded and submitted our nature to God’s perfect plan. We can demand and command all we want, but until this structure of order has been established, the spiritual process of covenant salvation will not function properly. We can take the safe path of least resistance where we just hold our shields, play defense, and do enough to get by, or we can face our fears of being uncomfortable, take a stand of faith, pick up our swords, and go on the offense. Righteousness and redemption are not about religion – it’s about loving and worshiping God with ALL of our heart and this includes praying, listening, and obeying His voice in all things.
Faith and joy are not confined to a geographic location, a mood, or an emotion – it is activated when the determination to believe God becomes stronger than the temptation to doubt Him! We have a CHOICE to praise God because we love Him and trust Him! The Lord knows that if we can maintain our faith, that in the name of Jesus we can speak to the mountains in our life, and in God’s power and authority they will be removed! “And ALL things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). Hopelessness is a condition of the default system that occurs when people only trust their own decisions. Human intellect and logic, impressive education, great wealth, or political power cannot save souls or bring true peace. Only God can change a mind and transform a life.
A character trait of an Overcomer is to carry burdens, but they also learn to leave those burdens at the foot of the cross because they are very heavy and can hinder our liberty to live in joy. May we remember that as servants of the Most-High, ministers and leaders feel the same pain and heartaches that everyone does, and there is no condemnation for being sad and discouraged. It’s not an option but crucial that we all learn how to encourage ourselves and realize the source of our strength. Overcomers learn that qualities like fortitude, perseverance, determination, and integrity are formed and activated in times of great difficulty. God created and owns the heavens and earth and everyone must bow down to His power and authority. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4:8-9).
“Father, I desperately need You to fill me with Your holy PASSION. Make me hungry and thirsty for Your presence, and help me to develop an awareness of Your voice within my heart. If I do not have Your FIRE, I will remain a fading ember and be satisfied to stay in the comfort zone of my old nature. If I do not have Your love working in my conscience, I am nothing but a tinkling cymbal and will not be of any use to You. Break me and melt me so that I can be molded into Your image. Do a strong work in my heart that will literally CHANGE the way I think and who I am. I’m weak and self-centered Lord; please give me compassion and a burden for the lost, the needy and those who are hurting. Awaken me and breathe life into me that I may experience the depths of your presence. Purify me and make me holy in the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.”
“Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hath left us a commandment, which concerns all Christians alike, that we should render the duties of humanity, or (as the scriptures call them) the works of mercy, to such as are afflicted and under calamity; that we should visit the sick, endeavor to set free the prisoners, and perform other like acts of kindness to our neighbor, whereby the evils of this present time may in some measure be lightened.”
Martin Luther (1483-1546), German monk, theologian
THE CANVAS OF LIFE – (Poem) – William Holland
I was overwhelmed with emotion as I stood today
In the office of a friend who recently passed away
How much time had he spent there alone?
Visions and ideas that will never be known
Letters and awards proudly declare his name
Pictures and clippings with much more of the same
Energy and passion with a unique expression
Dreams and thoughts from a vivid imagination
Through the years his creativity and wisdom grew
As these walls tell a story that only God knew
Every frame and phrase a cherished memory
A collection of experiences we call a legacy
It was his identity, the deepest part of his core
Now just piles of clutter with no room to store
As the dust is settling on the desk and shelves
I consider the image we paint of ourselves
We begin with a fresh canvas, a brand new spirit
Then steadily with our decisions, we proceed to fill it
Eventually, our brush will rest in silence
Leaving our words and deeds for guidance
A life’s work remembered for all to see
The beauty of respect and integrity
What is the worth of a spiritual obsession?
Or the eternal value for a lifetime of expression?
Will the labors of our journey be thrown away?
Or will they be used to help light the way?
Perplexed, yet I desire to learn more
Pondering my own canvas, I slowly close the door
I had the honor to be a part of the KCAL Old Time Radio gospel showcase again this year. What an amazing group of singers and musicians! Over 400 people attended and everyone had a blessed time in the Lord. I’m playing here with Mike Carr of the Moron Brothers, and loving his harmonica with one of my original songs called, “Somebody was praying.” It has a blues sound and we really enjoyed our time together.
Here I am singing in an outdoor concert that I had the privilege to be a part of this summer called “Gospel on the green” in Wilmore Kentucky. A great evening of music with several different groups and soloists. Around 125 people showed up to enjoy the music and food. An offering was taken and the proceeds were donated to our local old-time radio theatre which I am a troupe member. It had been very hot that day and many of the singers and the audience wore shorts and t-shirts. An encouraging and joyful night of fellowship and praising the Lord. And yes, I did trim my beard…