Pray and Watch God Work!

praying with power_wide_t_nv“Our God is Awesome! Heals me when I’m broken, strength where I’ve weakened… Forever He will reign…!!!”

I believe in the power of prayer!

During the months of October and November of 2013, I was led by the Holy Spirit to pray for the direct needs of my congregation and persons who worship with us at Bethel Temple of Praise. There were several individuals who had been diagnosed and some that were waiting for the test to confirm or clear them of potential diseases.  Others were in various stages of financial upheaval and families that were having various issues.

The Holy Spirit spoke these words to me to declare over the congregation, “Pray and Watch God Work”.

I commissioned one of our members, a medical doctor, to make a list of all the different kinds of illness that persons were facing.  She also gave me what were the causes and potential consequences of each of these illnesses. Every Sunday morning for 15-20 I personal prayed for these various issues: personal, spiritual and financial.  During this period, we would break during our Sunday morning worship and pray specifically for the different illnesses and needs of those persons who were worshipping with us. These moments of intercessory prayer have been such a blessing and on the fifth Sunday of October we had our congregation shared their testimonies about the power of prayer and how God has worked miraculously in their lives.

As we sat and listened, during worship, we were just in awe at some of the miracles that The Lord has done. God has continued to heal the sick among us. When we sat and listened to how God has removed tumors and potential cancer cells from the bodies of our people it is just so amazing! We have heard of persons who were told by their doctors that there was nothing more to do—no operation was possible. Thanks to God he never gives up on us, and He is the ultimate healer when we are ailing.

God’s goodness never fails us, for instance we see where The Lord continues to work miracles in the lives of his people. We have had healing taken place in the life of one of our members who was inflected with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. The doctors’ thought it was impossible to do surgery, but today the surgery was a success, and thanks to God she is now recovering. God has also removed what was thought to be cancerous cells from another of our sister’s body. I can recall following the leading of the Holy Spirit to ask for seven persons to believe in faith with me while we went to God in prayer for another person that had a preliminary diagnosis of potentially cancerous cells.  Our sister has been given seven months to return to the doctor to confirm that all cancerous cells are gone. It is only The Lord that could have performed all these miraculous deeds!

Through prayer, God had restored broken relationships, provided financially for his people, provided jobs when it seems as if all hope was gone. He brought about promotions in the lives of his people and has removed numerous obstacles that were preventing his people from moving upward.

We have also seen The Lord working in the lives of His people in their personal relationships.  There were siblings and relatives who have not been talking to each other for some time now. We prayed specifically for those relationships, and we have heard of reports of these persons are talking to each other and have now reconciled their differences. This could only be achieved through God’s grace and mercy towards us as we believed by faith.

We prayed continuously for job opportunities to be opened up for our people and how good it is to hear our people shared of God providing jobs for them when they least expected it to happen. Our God promised to supply our needs and indeed He has come through for us and we are so grateful to God for always being there for us.

How then can we not remain steadfast and continue to serve The Lord with all our hearts and soul? We read in God’s words that He will always provide for us if we remain faithful to him. After listening to all that The Lord has done in the lives of His people how can we not obey His word where we are told to “…hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…”

Not everyone was instantly healed or delivered from their various sicknesses or delivered from their various issues. They too experienced the presence of God in a real and personal way. Through their issues and sicknesses they found strength and comfort that was a miracle.

Finally, let us always remember to give thanks to God for all He has done. As Psalm 34:19 says ” Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but The Lord delivers him out of them all.”…. God may not remove all the afflictions, but He makes sure we are able to endure them faithfully. Pray and watch God work!

Happy New Year!

10 year anniversary.004In 2014, how could one truly and radically live out the mission of the Church?  We still have a lot of work to do, and we must earnestly advance the mission of the Church. The Church has to recognize that their primary mission is to advance the Kingdom of God. Jesus prayed for the Church in John 17:11-17:

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me… I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

The Gospel must be preached! I have made a decision to move forward declaring the Gospel. The Gospel is truly ‘good news’ because the events of Jesus’ ministry are the fulfillment of God’s loving decision to heal the broken creation.

In 2014, as we advance the mission of the Kingdom of God, we must maintain a solid biblical foundation.  With the changing cultural environment of our time truth has taken on a relative nature, if not a back seat. The Scripture is being viewed as less authoritative than previous years.

It is quite evident that whenever there is a lack of Biblical foundation and structure there is a potential to wander away from the message of the Bible and the structure of the Church. We must hold to the teachings of the Scriptures without compromise. The heart of the bible is the Gospel Message.

During this period of Church history, we must rely on The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit directs the Church. The Holy Spirit equips and empowers the Church to serve and to proclaim the Gospel. Without the Holy Spirit in our lives we will be carried away in this period of relativity.

There is a deliberate effort to devalue and destroy!

There is an effort to reduce the Bible to less authoritative and outdated. There is a spirit of division that has entered into the church. I pray that in 2014 we deliberately make an effort to unite and hold up the authoritative nature of the Bible. This disunity and lack of biblical authority has allowed the desecration of the sacred. There is a deliberate effort to desecrate the sacred. Is this a result of those who are supposed to guard the sacred have left it open in the name of:

1) Quantity instead of quality,

2) “Delicious instead of nutritious”

3) Conforming instead of transforming

4) Imitators instead of leaders

5) Talkers instead of doers

6) Appeasers instead of truth-tellers

7) Political correctness instead of biblical boldness

8) Popularity instead of prophetic purity

9) Celebrity instead of shepherding

10) Acceptors instead of defenders

2014 will be a year of decisions. Joshua declared, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. What will your decision be in 2014? Will you conform or will you transform. There is no hiding. You will have to make a decision.

We must not sacrifice the gospel message in the name of being accepted in the eyes of the world. In 2014, I make a decision to more forward in advancing the cause of Christ!

Happy New Year!!!

Dr. Dalton Jenkins

I see a disturbing trend

place to stand, a_wide_t_nv

I watched a hearing the other day, and it was fascinating, to say the least.  One of the things that I noticed was that those who were asking questions were often identified by what was their party affiliation.  What if before Christians made a statement they were identified by their theological or doctrinal position?

I am amazed by how many “pastors/theologians” are embracing doctrines and theologies that are not consistent with Scripture.  Oftentimes no one is aware of where they stand theologically.  Their statements seem authoritative and are readily consumed by many.

There is an effort afoot to limit or negate the authority of the Scriptures.  If the Bible is not the ultimate source of authority then we are able do as we feel without any standard of correction.

It seems that those who are confronted by Scriptures or in violation of Biblical principles sometimes try and argue the opposite of what is taught by the Bible. I think this is done in order that they can comfort themselves or to justify this violation.

Should Biblical Principles change based on ones experiences or culture?

Many of the discussions and questions that are in the spotlight are not new.  The Church fathers have vetted these before, and each had settled on a point of view. That is why we have so many branches of Christianity.

Social media and TV have a way of masking ones theological position. Rarely does a person see public disclosures of doctrines and theologies of a given speaker/blogger. What we have displayed in public are general, edited and popular ideas.

We should be careful to understand the theological perspectives of those who we are listening to or reading their writings. Given the vast amount of declarative statements that are usually posted on social media, we could be easily led astray.  Often we do not know the persons theological perspective and or doctrinal position.

Know where you stand! Do not be carried away with every wind of doctrines!

The mind of Christ

search me_wide_t_nv

Phil 2:5-11 

One of the hallmarks of Jesus’ earthly ministry is humility. This kind of humility is not superficial or hypocritical. It exhibits a genuine dependence on God the Father. Tyndale Bible dictionary said, “Humility is a grateful and spontaneous awareness that life is a gift, and it is manifested as an ungrudging and unhypocritical acknowledgment of absolute dependence upon God.” Jesus was about his Father’s business, and nothing could change that mindset. Humility as defines by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is, “Lacking all signs of pride, aggressiveness, or self-assertiveness.”

My challenge like Paul’s is to develop a mind like Jesus, one marked by genuine humility.

Paul encouraged the Philippians to aspire to let the “mind of Christ” be their example. The principle of humility is the focus today. Even though Jesus knew the power he had, he “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” What humility? We should put ourselves second to the will of God. I know I have a choice, but I will deny myself in obedience to following Christ. So many times we hear it is my right, someone limiting my right but if we are to truly follow Christ we have no rights outside of Christ. Jesus recognized who he was and what power was available to him, but instead of activating his power to ease the demand of the mission, he denied himself for the sake of the mission.

Humility is from the heart. Sometimes a person can refuse to accept a higher place but deep inside they long for that place. They do not genuinely want to give up the high places, but it looks good to those around him/her. Humility does not look for, seek after, or work for praise. Humility shows up even when no one knows or notices. Humility is demonstrated even when it is known that nothing would be gained. Humility is to know you can but deciding, not to without any intention of gaining anything. Paul said, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8). The Evangelical Dictionary states, “Humility is the foremost test of a truly great person or leader.” One cannot truly follow Christ without a heart of humility.

The Bible said Jesus emptied himself. He became unselfish by putting the mission first. What do we need to do to “empty ourselves” as Jesus did?

Humility is not just refusing complement, praise, recognition or a high place. A person can accept a compliment but is still humble. Humility is much more about your attitude as it is about your action. What is hidden is hard to assess and in that place there is true humility. It is all about the mind. It does not seek after the high seat but is content to sit in the low seat. Humility works in places where no recognition is or earthly reward is absent.

In the news lately is the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was a rich man, but abandons his riches to live a simple life, caring for the poor and suffering. During this Holy Week, I pray that we will strive to be like Jesus. We can accomplish this mind by being true to the teaching of Jesus.

The Bible in Matthew 20: 25-28 reminds us that we should not adopt the principles of the world, particular in these verses but follow Jesus.
“But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be prominent among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

How then can I find true humility? I started a list, maybe you can add to it:

1. Establish a system of accountability within your ministry.
2. Always ask yourself, who or what are you comparing to God?
3. Keep in mind at all times that all we have accomplished is for the Glory of God.
4. Remind yourselves that every gift or ministry is given to us to advance the Kingdom of God.
5. Perform a constant and honest evaluation of your life, both good and bad.
6. Always check your motives.
7. Accept commendation but put it in perspective.
8. Remind ourselves that no matter how educated you are we still fall short of knowledge and wisdom of God.
9. Remind yourselves that you are not infallible.
10. Always keep two are three persons around you that will tell you the truth regardless.
11. Create an atmosphere of candidness in your ministry.
12. Perform frequent and constant self-evaluation.
13. Have others anonymously evaluate your work including frank discussion about your work.
14. Avoid false humility (refusing to accept praise for a job well done).
15. Maintain a selected group of prayer partners.
16. Hang around those that will challenge your knowledge and expertise.
17. Entertain questions about you and your ministry.
18. Watch out for pride, covetousness and greed.

Are there any other suggestions you can add to this list?

I pray today for a humble spirit. It is easy to develop a heart of pride, but I pray that you help me to humble myself before your throne. Lord, keep me humble because pride comes before a fall.

Staying focus

Philippians 3:13-14

It is very difficult, given all that is competing for our attention, to stay focus. Life seems to be moving at the speed of light. Fashion changes with the season. Methods become ineffective within months. Staying focus on one particular thing is viewed as abnormal and old fashion. Every six months there is a new technology and a new version is released. Satan is using this as a weapon to attack the church. He is doing so by taking us off course and causes us to compare the churches strategies and results with that of the world’s.

In Matthew 4, we read that immediately after Jesus’ 40 days of fasting was over, Satan quickly moved to distract Jesus. He was going to try and distract Jesus. This is the same method being employed by Satan today. He shows up at our low points and gives us short-cuts around God’s plan for our lives. He shows up in places we would not expect and quote scriptures out of context and apply them incorrectly just to support his point. All this is done deliberately to distract us and take us out of God’s will.

Have you ever started a ministry and shortly thereafter loosing focus? You might even made some pledges, promises and even offered to assist someone in ministry only to find something or someone causing you to back away from those pledges. You have made promises to God only to see them fade with time. Satan is the greatest architect of confusion leading to lack of focus and finally withdrawing. I hope you will recall your commitments and refocus with deliberate intention to fulfill your pledges.

The Bible says we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices ( 2 Corinthians 2:11). The first thing Satan did was to try and focus Jesus on his physical needs. He then pointed to Jesus’ ability to solved this problem. The Holy Spirit had led Jesus up to this point but now Satan wanted to have Jesus solve his need by himself.

Next he brought Jesus into the temple and wanted Jesus to tempt God. This he hope would stop Jesus from following the direction of the Father. Basically he as saying do what you want because God will take care of you.

He took Jesus to a high mountain and promised him the world and all it’s glory if Jesus worship him (Satan). Again he intended to cause Jesus to take his focus off the Father and go for the quick fame.

In the three temptations Satan intended to prevent Jesus from focusing on the mission he was on. We are often tempted with similar schemes. Fix it yourselves, God is taking too long to help me. You can sin God will forgive you. Show Off your gifts God has to honor his words. Worship others (putting them first) and receive the fame and glory.

Jesus defeated the devil thereby he gave us a pattern to use when we are tempted to loose focus. Here is what he did:
1) Jesus followed the leading of the Holy Spirit
2) Jesus stayed in prayer
3) Jesus was familiar with the scriptures
4) Jesus uses the scripture as his defense and support
Anytime you are uncertain about what to do or how to respond to temptation, turn to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the perfect source to refocus us back to the basic mission. Let us not allow Satan to cause us to loose focus but let us be wise and alert as to the devices that are employed by Satan. Focus! Paul stated, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

Lord as I seek to fulfill your will in my life help me to stay focus. There are a lot of things designed to take me off focus. Help me to always depend on you. Lead me to your Words when temptation causes me to loose focus.

Who controls you?

Romans 8:14 & Matthew 4

Today’s reflection is on the phrase in Matthew 4:1 that stated “Jesus was led up by the Spirit”. What an example Jesus left for us to follow. He followed the Holy Spirit’s instructions. Jesus was going to face temptation. This temptation was designed to derail the plan of redemption. But Jesus knew that if he followed the Holy Spirit he would have additional help to combat the future temptation. Jesus humbled himself. Paul stated “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8)

To be led by someone indicated that there is some level of submission to the person leading. It also suggest obedience to the person that is leading. My youngest son, when he was younger, would often resist his older brother’s instructions by declaring “you are not the boss of me”. I cannot but see this statement in light of my relationship to the Holy spirit. When I follow his instructions I am indicating that he is the “boss of me”. The Bible in Romans 8:14 said “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” You can know who you belong to based on how obedient you are to the instructions you are given.

We do not know what is before us, therefore, we need to rely on the one that knows all things. These lines from a song says “Where leads me I will follow, I will go without a murmur and his footsteps follow still.” So many times we refuse to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit for one reason or another. This a dangerous place to be. As Jesus submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit so too we should gladly submit to his leading.

How do I know when the Holy Spirit is leading or bidding me to follow him? You have to be at a place where you are familiar with his voice. For the Christian, you have to spend extended time in prayer, Bible reading, quiet time in meditation, spend time in worship and reading and listening to those things that will edify your spirit. You cannot know the voice of someone that you have not spoken to. It is in the quiet times that I hear the Spirit. Also, evaluate the things you are pursuing, is it advancing the mission. Ask yourself this question, is what I am doing or planning on doing, going to bring glory to God and advance is kingdom? To unsaved he is leading them into righteousness (John 16:8-11).

Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit often comes in some of the following ways:
1) Sometimes it is a thought that comes to your mind as you read the bible
2) Sometimes it is your intuition,
3) Some persons have heard an audible voice
4) It could be through a dream
5) It could be a confirmation through the sermon
6) Or it can be a direct instruction from another person confirming what you’ve pondering

The important thing is not to focus on how you will hear from God but to spend quality time with him. This way when He speaks you will know without a doubt what he is saying.

Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will come to instruct us, to help us and to empower us (John 16:13). Even though the task we have to carry out is great and the road ahead is long and rocky if we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit it will be ok.

Let us not resist the leading of the Holy Spirit but follow him with all of our heart. He is indeed the “boss of me”.

Who controls you?

Whose drum beats do you march to?

Who is pulling your strings?

Is there someone else that you listen to more than the Holy Spirit?

Lord help me to submit to your leading. I do not want to make a mistake so help me to stay close to you that way I will be more familiar with your voice. Lead me lord I will follow.

Jesus stayed in prayer

Luke 11:1-13

Today my focus is on the fact that Jesus spent quality time in prayer and we should also.

Everything these days are expected to be quick. The microwave technology, fast food, cell phones, ATM machines, Facebook, twitter, instant messaging, and the internet have transform the mindset of our time. This expectation has crept into the church. We want instant gratification. Give me my blessings now! Why should I wait to be elevated to an office or position. Everything I need should just be ready for the taking.

I know that many things I desire, I have had to spent extended time seeking God’s direction. Spending quality time in prayer is not easy. There are so many things competing for our time. It is even easy to justify spending limited amount of time in prayer. There are even those that will say I just need to ask God once about a thing and don’t keep bothering him about it because he already knows what I need.

Prayer is not us informing God about what we are experiencing or about what we want or need. Prayer is the process of us aligning to God’s will for our lives. We need help to pray, that is why Paul reminded the church in Rome that:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26

Sleep seems to overtake us so easily the moment we determined that we are going to spend quality time in prayer. The phone awakens out of its deep sleep the moment we decide to spend quality time in prayer. That relative or friend you have been wanting to talk to seem to call at just that moment of prayer. There is always something to interrupt your time of prayer. So, yea, it is not easy to find the time to spend in prayer that is why it takes deliberate effort to spend quality time in prayer.

The scripture in Luke 11:9 stated
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

The verse in context is about not giving up too quickly when we pray. It is a challenge to stay in constant and consistent contact with God in prayer. It is about being persistent in seek God’s direction. Let us not just give up so easily. Jesus in Matthew 4 spent 40 days in prayer, in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36) he prayed until his sweat became like drops of blood. Jesus is our perfect example of how we should spend quality time in prayer. This is a healthy habit to develop.

We can spend hours watching a game or a movie but in prayer, maybe not. Here are somethings that have helped me prayed for extended periods of time:
1) Set aside a specific time
2) Locate a place, some place quiet and with few interruptions
3) Have a plan of what you are going pray about
4) Keep an itemize prayer log
5) Change your posture frequently
6) Identify scriptures that you will read during the time of prayer
8) Schedule some time during which you will stop praying and be silent
9) Pray audible

Lord help me to develop a healthy appetite for spending quality time in prayer. Help me to prioritize this period of my time so I can stay in prayer with you.