B.J. Pruitt’s Unity Through Fellowship Conference Hosted by Living Word Christian Center in Greene NY Starts Tomorrow!

Our annual leadership conference is upon us.  Living Word Christian Center in Greene, New York is privileged to host this event.  Dr. B.J. Pruitt began holding a midwinter conference more than forty years ago with the admonition from the Lord to make a place for the ministry to come together. We are proud to continue that tradition in our church.

Services begin Wednesday night February 24th and continue through Friday night the 26th.  The evening meetings begin at 7:00 PM.  We have morning meetings on Thursday and Friday at 10:00 AM and special targeted meetings on taxation and finance as it applies to churches and ministers on Thursday afternoon and evangelism in the local church on Friday afternoon.  Our speakers are:

Dr. B.J. Pruitt, a true apostolic father in the faith and the founder of the Unity Through Fellowship concept.

Dr. Eldon Wilson, one of the foremost prophets and teachers of our time.  Dr. Wilson has traveled to over 200 counties!

Pastor Tony Peaks of Suffolk Virginia will handle the taxation and finance discussion while Pastor John Snyder will discuss evangelism. 

Although we believe that the ministry from the platform will be a blessing, the main purpose of our time together is fellowship around the table and otherwise. We believe that as we get to know one another on a personal level, whatever differences we have will be overtaken by the love of God we share together. 

In my life, most of my personal, covenant relationships with other ministers of the gospel have been facilitated by this meeting and its predecessor.  All of our speakers will be available for you to talk to and interact with personally.

Lunch is provided Thursday and Friday afternoon and something light is provided after each service. If you are in the northeast of the United States, it is not too late to join us. You can find more information on our web site, WWW.Livingwordgreene.com, or on Facebook. If you can, let us know at livingwordgreene@aol.com if you are coming. If you cannot or are not sure, feel free to just come and be with us.

Although we do emphasize ministry and leadership, all are welcome. If you are a minister or church leader you will be blessed. If you are not, you will also be blessed and find help in preparation for what God has for you in the future

If you have a pet doctrine that could be divisive, that is no problem. Just leave it at the door and pick it up on the way out! If you are part of an organization, great. If you are not, that’s great too! We want to meet you and get to know you.

God bless and I hope to see you in Greene,
Pastor Bill Kiefer

The Holy of Holies: The Place of God’s Possiblities

The Holy of Holies: The Place of God’s Possibilities
February 20, 2016

Hebrews 9:3 (NKJV) 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,

I want to finish my thoughts concerning praise and worship’s role in cultivating the sense that anything is possible. Psalm 100 is generally considered the Psalm of praise. In the fourth verse it lays out a principle that points to the tabernacle pattern for our worship life. We enter into God’s presence through the gate of thanksgiving and the courts of praise.

This follows the pattern of the tabernacle in that there was one gate into the complex and courtyards that had to be crossed in order to get to the door of the Holy Place. On the other side of this outer room was a second door where the Ark of the Covenant and the manifest presence of God dwelt. There was no other way to get to the presence. You had to go through the gate, the courts and the Holy Place.

This was not a matter of law. It was simply the order of how you got there. When I plan a trip I look at my GPS unit in my car and it gives me routes to get to the destination. There may be up three but often there is only one. I may not want to go that way but if these are the only roads that lead to where I want to go, I have to follow them. That is not law. The path to the Holy of Holies is not a matter of law but of geography.

Although I am not saying that the only way to have a praise and worship service is to follow the pattern I am suggesting, I think we must understand that the Lord is showing us a spiritual and emotional route to the place where God’s presence dwells. If we follow that route we will get to where we want to go.

That route begins with thanksgiving and praise. These two elements are both separate and the same. You cannot truly praise God without being thankful. You cannot be truly thankful without praising God. I believe thanksgiving comes first in the order because it is a decision we must make before we begin a time of praise and worship.

I must decide to focus on what God has done, both in my life and generally for man. This is really the definition of thanksgiving. I often say that if we cannot think of anything to thank God for, we should thank him for our salvation. In 10,000 years we will not care about anything that concerns us today, however, we will be very happy we are born again!

To me it is self-evident that thanksgiving and praise are vital to faith for the impossible. Thanksgiving stirs up our sense of what God has done in the past. Praise declares God’s greatness and his almighty power. It stirs us and reminds us that “all things are possible.” This makes believing that thought almost automatic. However, there is another reason why the thanksgiving and praise are important. They lead us to the Holy Place of Worship and ultimately the Holies place of all: The place where the presence of God dwells.

The gate of thanksgiving begins to open our hearts to God. In the courts there are two pieces of furniture. One is the bronze alter and the other the bronze laver or basin. The alter was where sacrifices for sins were made. As we cross the courts of praise, two things happen that are necessary in order to enter the Holy Place of worship. We offer the “sacrifice of praise” which gets our hearts and minds off of sin and we cleanse ourselves from the effects of the world.

It is obvious that we cannot go into the presence of God holding onto sin. If we come to our time of worship with sin in our life, we need to repent of the sin and leave it at the foot of the cross. We have no need of animal sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ paid for our sin once and for all. However, that does not mean we do not have to acknowledge and ask forgiveness for the sins we commit as believers. If we do not, we are not accessing what God has provided and it will hinder our worship (1 John 1:8-10)

The priest could not go into the Holy Place without washing in the bronze laver. This cleansing was not a sacrifice for sinful behavior but a cleansing of the contamination of the world. The world is a sinful place. When we want to come into the presence of God we need to get rid of that contamination. In the praise and worship life of the Christian, praise is how we accomplish that process.

It is popular in some circles today to discount the importance of thanksgiving and praise in the process of true worship. They want to come in off the street, as it were, and enter right into the Holy Place. In the tabernacle pattern that was not possible. You simply could not get there if you did not go through the gate, thanksgiving, and the courts, praise. On your way through you had to pass by the brazen alter and the brazen laver. If there was any sin you got rid of it. You also were cleansed from the contamination of the world. We are naive if we think we do not have to follow the same path.

When we first give God thanksgiving and then spend time praising him, we leave the world behind. If there is sin, our sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) will bring us to confrontation with it and repentance. Our focus on the goodness and power of God will cleanse us from the contamination of the world until we are ready to enter the Holy Place of worship.

Worship is a place of intimacy. That is why it is not appropriate to enter without taking a shower first. Natural intimacy in marriage works the same way. If we want to be intimate with our mate it is important to be clean. Who wants to be intimate with a man who has just crawled out from under a car? If my wife has been cleaning the toilet I would appreciate a little cleanup before we enter the bedroom! It may not be mandatory and we would not make it a law, but intimacy is just better that way.

Many people think they are worshiping because they sing slow songs. Worship is about the heart. We saw in the definition of the word from the Hebrew that the posture is a posture of total surrender to the Lord. We can sing all the slow songs we want but that does not mean we are worshiping. Worship may not involve any singing. Some of the deepest worship is when we are silent before him.

Finally, there is the place called the Holiest of all or the Holy of Holies. This is the real goal of our worship life and the key to believing all things are possible. The Holy of Holies had one defining characteristic. The presence of God dwelt there all the time. If we want to believe that all things are possible, we need to get to the place where we are constantly aware of the presence of God in our lives.

The path from the gate through the courts, into the Holy Place and finally into the Holy of Holies was a journey the priests completed only once a year. They went part way often, however, that completed journey kept Israel right with God for the whole year. We can take the same journey every time we decide to praise and worship God. The important thing is that every time we choose to follow the process, no matter how fare we may get into the process, we cultivate the sense of God’s presence in our lives.

Our experience in every service will not be the same. Our praise and worship will reinforce the reality of the fact that we dwell in God’s presence. We do not just visit it. Our tabernacle is within not a building we come to during the week. Without an active praise and thanksgiving life, I do not believe we ever really enter the place of worship. Without an active worship life, I do not believe we ever come to the awareness of the ever present God. Without that awareness we will never believe all things are possible. With that awareness, we will never stop believing all things are possible.

Praise Releases Belief that All Things are Possible

Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Yesterday we began discussing the relationship between praise and worship and the ability to believe that all things are possible. We took some time to look at the condition of praise and worship today and some of the misconceptions that the devil has caused to creep in relating to this very important topic. Our church was given a prophetic word over 25 years ago and I believe that word applies to the whole church as well as to us personally. When praise and worship is high, the church will be high. If praise and worship declines, the church will decline.

A decline in praise and worship is not the same as a decline in the quality of music. Praise and worship is a matter of the heart. I have experienced wonderful praise and worship in places that had no instruments or just a drum. I have been left with no more than entertainment in places where the musicians were wonderful, the sound impeccable and the productions professional. The opposite has also been true. Praise and worship has nothing to do with the quality of the music. Praise and worship is about the heart of the worshiper.

Yesterday we started looking at this scripture. One of the popular misconceptions is that worship, as defined by singing slower quieter songs, is somehow superior to praise, defined as excited, louder and faster but less intimate. There is nothing that I know of in the bible to support that idea. The closest scripture might be Psalm 46:10 which tells us to “be still and know that I am God.” I believe the church needs to rediscover the art of being still, but that does not minimize praise.

The Psalms are full of clapping shouting and dancing. All of these are elements of praise. Praise is usually more exuberant while worship is usually more quiet and intimate. Again, both are matters of the heart and not of form.

What is praise. According to Strong’s it is defined this way.

Literal to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands);Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

It is interesting that praise seems to contain some aggressive ideas such as throwing a stone. I believe praise is the expression of gratitude for what God has done in our lives. It is declaring his mighty works in a way that releases (throws) our faith at whatever situation we may be facing. It is bringing to remembrance all that God has done to stir up gratitude as well as the faith that he can do it again.

It is easy to see how important this would be in cultivating the mindset that all things are possible. The only qualification Jesus puts on what God can do is that we can believe (Mark 9:23.)

Worship has a different definition and a different function. The actions and attitudes of worship are different. Again let us look at Strong’s definition.

A primitive root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive in homage to royalty or God) :- bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship
Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

Whereas praise is aggressive worship is passive. Whereas praise stirs up our faith in what God has done, worship cultivates intimacy in who God is. There is no question that worship is a deeper expression. The intimacy of worship is also vital to building the sense of God’s possibility. After all, that sense must flow from relationship and worship is an expression and a deepening of relationship.

Does this mean that worship is more important than praise? I do not believe it does. I believe each has a vital function in our relationship with God and each is necessary to the process of building a sense of expectancy that is at the heart of believing all things are possible.

The scripture we have been looking at contains some interesting language. It uses the terms gates and courts. These refer to parts of the tabernacle God instructed Moses to build in the wilderness. The pattern for the construction of this place of worship was very specific and given directly by God to Moses. It is meant to be a type or shadow of many New Testament realities. I believe this scripture connects it to praise and worship.

Let us examine what it says more closely. We are to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving. The tabernacle, which was the dwelling place of God’s presence, was surrounded by a wall. There was only one gate by which you could enter the tabernacle complex. You could not enter any other way but by that gate.

Although the word for “gates” here is translated plural, it is not always so. It can also mean one gate. I believe that God is letting us know that if we want to come into his presence, we must first enter a gate. To come any other way will not lead us to the presence of God in praise and worship. That gate is called thanksgiving.

If I am going to find the place of God’s presence I must begin with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is appreciating God for what he has done and who he is in our lives. If we try to enter the presence of God with an unthankful heart, we will find we have a very difficult time finding our way in.

I tell our people that the entry doors to the church are gates of thanksgiving. I ask that they kindly leave their grumbling and complaining at the door. That does not mean there will be no time to express their concerns and hurts to God in our time of praise and worship. However, that is not the gate by which we enter. We must enter with thanksgiving. This puts us on a path where we will ultimately find the solution to our hurts and problems instead of just feeling better about them.

Thanksgiving also puts us on the road to believing all things are possible with God. Grumbling or complaining simply reinforces the negatives in our lives making us that much more certain that all things are not possible for us. It is impossible to underestimate the effectiveness of entering his gates with thanksgiving.

I have 14 grandchildren, most of whom live near me. If they come through the door of my house complaining about their lives, their parents, or how I have not done enough for them, I am not all that pleased to see them. When they come through my door with thankful hearts, give me a hug and telling me what a great grandpa I am, there is not much I will not do for them. More than that, they make my heart glad. I want to spend time with them cultivating our relationship. Is that not what we want to do for our heavenly Father?

Next it says we must go into his courts with praise. The tabernacle sat in the center of a complex that included courtyards that only certain people were authorized to enter. In the center stood the actual tabernacle. The first room of the tabernacle was called the Holy Place and the inner room the Holy of Holies.

There was only one door to the holy place and one door to the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of holies was the ark of the covenant upon which sat the visible presence of God. You could not enter the holy of holies unless you went through the holy place. You could not enter the holy place unless you went across the courts. What are these courts. They are called praise in Psalm 100. To get to God’s presence you had to enter the gate of thanksgiving and go through the courts of praise. Then and only then could you access the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. More tomorrow.

The Difference Between Praise, Worship and Performance

Psalm 100:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

This week at Living Word was one of those times when I had one thing planned but the Lord seemed to have something else in mind. That is quite alright because we need the “Word of the Lord” not the word of Pastor Bill Kiefer! We are working on cultivating the mindset Jesus communicated to the Father in Mark 9 that all things are possible for someone who believes.

As I began to address our church Sunday, I found myself speaking about the topic of praise. I have very strong feelings about the role of both praise and worship in the house of God. Since we founded this church God has blessed us with wonderful praise and worship. I am a musician and lead praise and worship before I preached regularly. I know the importance of the right kind of music in facilitating the flow of the Holy Spirit. One of the first prophetic words we had over our church was that when the worship was high the church would be high but if the worship declined the church would decline. I take that very seriously.

There is a great deal of focus in the modern church on the “worship team.” The music in many of the churches today is very good indeed as far as the quality of presentation. Advances in technology have made quality sound and media capabilities much more affordable. The production from the front often reflects what you might see in a concert. All of that is fine if we do not forget the purpose of praise and worship.

One of the more interesting things that has happened over the last 20 years or so is the de-emphasis, particularly in local church, of performance music. As praise and worship began to be recorded, it became very fashionable to see praise and worship as spiritual and performance as less so. The very talented musicians stopped writing and playing to perform and began to pursue the more spiritual music, praise and worship. Instead of becoming Christian musicians they were all “worship leaders.”

There is certainly a thriving Christian music industry that focuses on performance. However, very few can do that on any kind of fulltime basis. On a local level, very few churches that I know of even have anyone sing a “special” anymore. I do not know whether it is because of the perception that any music that is not worship is worldly or because of the availability of “professional music” in so many forms or some combination of both. I do know that people do not seem to be writing and singing songs in local church that are designed to be sung by an individual.

When did the idea of an anointed person writing and singing songs that are supposed to be listened to and not sung along with become undesirable. I do not write or sing as often as I once did, but when I was young I wrote songs that applied bible truth to personal life. I wrote songs that helped people know there were others who were dealing with the same things they were.

I wrote songs to uplift, inspire faith and help people face the world and devil. I did not mind if people sang along, but that was not their purpose. When did that become somehow less spiritual than songs that people sing with? Now my children write those kinds of songs. They touch my soul. I do not need to sing with them to be blessed, I just listen. If I sing along it is to identify with what they are saying and release the message in my own heart.

I believe we need to make room for that expression in our churches. We still do and I have no intention of stopping. If we look at the psalms, we will find that many if not most of them were not written for a congregation to sing. They were written by a shepherd expressing his heart and soul and sharing what God had done for him.

The problem as I see it is that the blurring of the line between performance and praise and worship has caused the latter to suffer. The performers are still performing. That is their anointing. They are just doing it on the worship team now, so worship becomes increasingly about the talent and musicianship of the people on the platform. That is great for performance. I am a musician and when I listen to music I want to hear a great player or singer inspire me with great music. That is not the purpose of praise and worship.

Our church is known for great praise and worship. I tell our people all the time that great praise and worship is not the result of a great praise and worship team. It is certainly not the result of very professional music. If not used with a great degree of sensitivity, great musicianship will hinder true worship because it will draw attention to itself. The worship team is only there to lead and facilitate the true source of great praise and worship. Great praise and worship comes from the people in the seats not the people on the platform.

Because we live in such a celebrity driven world, we have allowed this dynamic in the church. The people up front are the celebrities of the church. All ministry should be about releasing the gifts in the whole church. Music ministry is no different. The performer does so by inspiring with words and music that touch the souls of people. The praise and worship team does it by leading the congregation into true praise and worship which brings all into the presence of God. If the congregation does not enter in during the service, it is a failure. The fault may lie with the praise and worship team or with an unwilling congregation. Either way, no matter how good the music may have been played, if people do not enter in, then the praise and worship time has failed to fulfill its purpose.

I believe what the Lord spoke to Living Word Christian Center in Greene, New York 25 years ago is a principle for the whole church as well. When Praise and worship is high the church is high. When Praise and worship declines the church declines. I believe Praise and worship has declined in recent years. It has not declined in the quality of music. In many cases it has not declined in emotional release. It has declined because there is a confusion between quality and anointing.

Praise and worship has declined because those called to inspire us with powerful words and music meant to be heard have been relegated to a medium that is meant to be sung along with instead. They are two separate and distinct uses of the gift of music. We must learn the difference if the expectation of God’s possibility and not just emotional escape is going to be released in our times of praise and worship.

I have used up my time and space but let me introduce another thought about praise and worship. You will notice that I use both terms. I use them because there has been another subtle confusion that I believe the devil has brought in to hinder our praise and worship. That idea is that worship is deep and spiritual while praise is just emotional and somehow less important.

That is not scripturally true. Both are important. Each is different and each has its place. Today’s scripture does not mention worship. That is not an omission. Worship, as we understand it today, is not implied in the words used. The psalmist is giving us a principle. We enter in with thanksgiving and praise. We do not enter in with worship. Praise is vital to believing that all things are possible. Praise is vital to coming to the intimacy of worship.

If we do not get these things in balance, we will not rise above natural possibility and step into the realm of all things are possible. More tomorrow.

What does God’s Possibility Hear 2

Matthew 8:1-3 (NKJV) 1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

This week we have been looking at how our spiritual senses of sight and hearing relate to believing that all things are possible. Faith is to the spirit what physical sight and insight are to the flesh. If we are going to believe in God’s possibilities, we must be able to see past the natural into the possibility of God. According to Romans 10:17, seeing or faith comes by hearing and hearing itself by the Word of God.

Yesterday we focused on the fact that those who believe God’s possibility must hear the Word of God above all else. The Word is the highest truth in the universe. It created the natural world and will conform the natural world to itself if we build the word into our hearts. There are many competing voices. If we make the Word of God the most important voice and the one we respond to most, we will walk in God’s possibility.

Today I want to encourage us by seeing some things Jesus, who was the word made flesh, said to those around him. Beginning with the verses quoted above, we find that there was a leper who came to Jesus. He was one of many people following Jesus at that time. This leper speaks his faith in God’s possibility to Jesus. “If you are willing you can make me clean.”

On the one hand the leper knows Jesus can do what he asks. All things are possible for Jesus. However, on the other hand he makes a statement that is often the thought that stops the impossible from even being considered in our hearts. Is Jesus willing.

Anyone who believes God is real will accept the idea that God can do anything. Often, the problem is that we do not consider God’s possibility because we do not really think he would be willing to do anything for us. We are conditioned to expect a negative answer to the questioned the leper asked Jesus. We are taught that we should not get our hopes up. We are taught that good things happen to other people but rarely to us. Someone else will be chosen, but not you. Someone else may get the lucky break, but not you.

In most cases this is probably wise. There is an old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” This has proven correct most of the time in my life. When we are talking about God and his word, we must adjust our thinking. Everything God promises us is too good to be true but it is ours nonetheless.

We do not deserve salvation but when we came to Jesus and asked to be saved, what did he say? He said yes. There is a scripture that I quote often in this space.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

Anything God promises us in his word comes with only one answer. Yes! I was taught that he might answer yes, no, or wait. That is not true. Jesus always says yes to anything the Word says we can have. If it is not in the bible we have no business asking. Everything we might need is in the bible if not specifically than in principle. The answer is always yes.

That does not mean it always happens immediately. God answers as quickly as is best for you. He may need to prepare you for the answer. He may need to deal with another person because he wants that person to meet your need so he can bless them as well. There may be reasons of timing that you do not understand but God does. God sees from a completely different perspective and his timeframe is not the same as yours. That said, God is never late. He is often last minute!

The important thing here is to understand that to walk in God’s possibilities we must hear yes to our requests made according to the promises and nature of God. The leper had no idea what Jesus would say. We must allow ourselves to believe that he says yes to us. This is difficult because we feel we could be disappointed. We must trust that God will never fail us no matter how long it may take.

There are many other things Jesus said to those who came to him. He often admonished his disciples to put away fear. Fear cancels faith. If we trust him, we have nothing to fear. The more we know his Word, the more definite our understanding becomes of what he will do. When we know we are standing on his promise and the answer is yes, we will fear not. For the sake of space, I want to jump to one more thing God’s possibility says.

John 16:33 (NKJV) 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

We live in impossible times. It is important that we find a way to stay positive in our outlook because nothing is more positive than God’s possibilities. In this scripture, the disciples were hearing that the one they thought was the Messiah was leaving. They believed that the Messiah would lead Israel to a new golden age. He was to be a conquering leader. He was but not in the way they expected.

He had also become the whole focus of their life and their faith. They had sacrificed everything for him. They had no idea how they would live without him. We know what happens next. We know about the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them about him, but they had no idea what that meant. We know that he would be raised from the dead. Although they heard the words, they had no meaning to them.

We know that they were going to spread the Gospel to the world. We know that the sins of humanity could only be forgiven if Jesus went to the cross. They knew that the greatest teacher, the greatest most compassionate leader ever seen was with them and they did not want to lose him.

His word to them was, “Be of good cheer.” As we face the challenges of our lives we must also hear Jesus say to us, “Be of good cheer.” It sometimes seems irresponsible to be of good cheer with all that is going on around us. Nevertheless, it is Jesus who is saying it. He goes on to tell us why we can be of good cheer. He has overcome the world!

Yes, we will have tribulations in the world. Jesus has overcome the world and will cause us to overcome in the tribulations we face. We are more than conquerors even if the battle is not over. All the promises of God are yes and amen even if we have not yet seen them. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world even if we do not at the moment feel him. Be of good cheer!

Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk on water. Peter was overcome but Jesus was there to save him. He will never leave us nor forsake us. I read the back of the book and we win in the end! No matter what we face we have every reason to “be of good cheer.”

Praise and worship will keep us in good cheer. That is part of their function: Particularly praise. When we allow the joy of the Lord to rise in us we will begin to see that all things are possible to him who believes. When we do not cultivate the good cheer Jesus commanded we have, everything will seem impossible.

Believer, today Jesus is speaking to you. He is saying to all the promises of God, “Not only can I do them but I will!” He is also saying, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world!”

What Does God’s Possibility Hear

Luke 8:20-21 (NKJV) 20 And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

In our last post we looked at the correlation between seeing and hearing when it comes to walking in the reality of God’s possibility. From Romans 10:17 that seeing, or faith, comes from hearing. We also found that hearing itself comes from the seed power of the written Word of God. Just as natural see is designed by God to interact with natural ground, the seed of God’s word is designed by God to interact with the soil of the heart of man.

In the today’s scripture we see the natural family of Jesus coming to see him. He is in the middle of a meeting where he is preaching the Word of God. His family sends word with someone that they want to talk to him. Why did they not simply come in and listen? I think his reply tells us why. “My family are those who hear and do the word of God.” It would seem that at that point his natural brothers and even his mother did not fall into that category. It must have been hard for them to accept the impossible identity of their older brother and son. Those who believe that anything is possible are those who hear the Word and do it!

About the time we entered the ministry, my wife and I heard a particular stream of teaching. The foundation of that teaching was the simple truth that the Word of God was the highest truth in the universe. If a believer gave attention to the Word, meditated on it and chose to believe it above all other truths, faith would arise in his or her heart. That faith could change the person at a fundamental level. This faith would then conform the natural world to the truth of the Word of God.

For instance, we found that the bible had a great deal to say about God’s desire and ability to meet our needs. One scripture that became very important to us was Philippians 4:19.

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

As we said yesterday, we must “hear” the written Word of God in context. This scripture is in the context of one who is a giver. If I give what I can, Paul says God will supply all the needs of the giver according to his riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. When we were young in the ministry we needed this to become a natural reality.

The natural truth of our lives was that we had very little money. Our church at that time consisted mainly of people who were on welfare. They could not give us food stamps as that was illegal. Sometimes they had no money so they would pay their tithe by purchasing food with the food stamps and giving it to my family. This helped with the grocery bill but not with the heat, lights or cloths for our children.

The truth of the Word of God in Philippians 4:19 was that God would provide for us. We were givers. We paid our tithes and gave as many offerings as we could. I remember our tithe one week was seventy-five cents but we paid it. That meant our income for that week was seven dollars and fifty cents. This was the 1970’s but even then you could not raise three children on $7.50 a week! I needed the reality of Philippians 4:19 to become the reality of my life.

We continued to hear the Word of God. We studied this verse and many others that confirmed that God would meet our needs. We continued to give. We continued to preach the Gospel. As we built the truth of the Word into our hearts, we saw God meet our needs but it was still hard. Our reality was changing but slowly and with much stress. We continued to meditate on the truth of the Word and applying it to our lives.

As we did, I began to see certain truths in that scripture that changed my thinking. Seeing began to come from what I was hearing. One of the first things I realized was that Paul was telling the Philippians that his God would respond to their giving by providing for their needs. I realized that God was not just Paul’s God. He was the Philippians God. He was my God. My personal Father God, who cared more for me and my family more than I ever could was the one who was responsible to meet our needs!

Then I began to see that he was my God. He was not just my friend or my boss or any other natural thing. He was God and he was the one who would meet my need. Then I saw that he would meet my need! Not part of my need but all of my need. Not just my need for food but for heat, lights, cloths and anything else I might need for myself or my family.

What were the limits to what God would do? The limit was his riches in Glory! It would be great if he said his riches in the earth. The Bible says that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. One brother said, “And all the ‘tators under them.” However, he did not say all his riches on earth. He said all his riches in glory! I have no idea what that means but I doubt there is any need on earth that is greater than his riches in Glory.

How is he going to do it? That can be the hard part when things are pressing in on us. This verse says, “by Christ Jesus.” What does that mean. It means he is going to meet our needs by our covenant relationship with God in Christ. There is no more binding agreement than blood covenant. God instituted it at the fall of man when he covered them with the skins of animals whose blood was shed. It has carried through to every culture. We do not fully understand blood covenant today but our ancestors did. I did not know what method God was going to use to get what I needed into my hands, but when he spoke of my covenant relationship it sealed the deal for me. It was going to happen.

As we continued to hear and do the Word of God, my sense of what was possible changed. We were still under pressure but we saw God do wonderful things. We like to say, “What if never happened!” “What if we don’t have enough to eat. What if the heat is turned off? What if they take the car?” None of those what ifs ever happened. It looked like they would a few times but they did not happen.

To believe that all things are possible we need to begin to hear the Word of God. There are many things that vie for our attention. There are many natural truths that the devil wants to use to overwhelm us. They may be the truths we hear in the news or the ones facing us personally. We cannot simply deny that some things are true. That is not faith. We can look at the higher truth and believe it as higher. If we give ourselves to that truth, not leaving natural wisdom undone, that truth will change our reality. It usually will not happen in a moment but it will happen.

We finally came to a point where Philippians 4:19 became our reality. We have had to keep “hearing” it as many truths have tried to take it from us. Nevertheless, what if still has not happened and we have done things we could have only imagined when this journey began. We have traveled the world. We have built buildings. We have seen people changed. We have raised our children. All without large amounts of financial reserves or consistent benefactors who paid our way.

As I look back on my life, I see that the truth of Philippians 4:19 has changed what would have been the truth of my life. I have not been able to afford anything I have done. That is the natural reality but not the reality I have lived.

Finances are only one area of possibility the truth of the Word of God will change. Whatever reality you face will change if you hear the possibility in the Word of God.

Hearing and Seeing

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

As we continue to cultivate the attitude that all things are possible to those who believe, we have been looking at Paul’s admonition that we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7.) To walk by sight means to depend on natural vision, both inward and outward, to navigate our world and deal with the challenges of life. To walk by faith means we “see” with eyes that look beyond the natural. In our last post we studied the prophet Elisha and his servant (2 Kings 6.)

They were confronted with overwhelming impossibility. An army was sent to destroy them and they were all alone; or so the servant thought. The servant was carnal in his thinking. Even though he lived with a prophet of God he could not see past the natural. His conclusion was that they were going to die. The prophet saw something else entirely.

The bible says that the prophet asked God to open the servant’s eyes so he could see that there were more with them than against them. There were two of them and they were confronted with a whole army. The prophet saw the natural impossibility. However, he saw through it and saw God’s overwhelming ability standing behind the enemy army in the form of an angelic army that was for them. To believe that all things are possible we must learn to see past the natural to the world where God lives, the world of the spirit. Faith makes that connection.

How do we learn to see by faith? Today’s scripture is something I require every member of our church to know by heart. It is fundamental to believing that all things are possible. Faith comes to us in only one way. It comes by hearing the Word of God.

The Word of God is like no other book in the world. I believe that the written Word of God, or the logos in Greek, has the capacity to become the faith producing Rhema or saying Word of God. If we plant the seed of the bible in our hearts, it will produce faith for anything we need but we must first “hear” it.

The word hear implies hearing with a certain level of understanding. I believe to “hear” the fullness of the written Word, we must study it. Most important, we must hear it in the context in which it was written. I cannot hear just one verse and have the necessary understanding. I must hear the whole chapter and the ones before and after the current chapter if I am going to “hear” with understanding.

I must also open my heart to the moving of the Holy Spirit, the author of the Word, in times of meditation. This is not eastern meditation. It is what God wrote to Joshua.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Meditation in the Word of God implies to “mutter” the word to ourselves. That means we speak it over and over allowing it to dwell in our minds. This means we dwell on it “day and night.” This process leads to “observing to do” all that is written. I find it interesting that the word “observe” means to see. Faith is seeing.

We see that there are two senses, spiritual senses, that are involved in Romans 10:17. Faith, or seeing, comes by hearing. If we do not hear the Word, we cannot see the God’s possibility. How does hearing come to us? It comes by the Word of God itself.

As I have already stated, the bible is not like any other book. It is not just philosophy, theology or doctrine. Look at what the Word of God says of itself.

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

Here we read that the word of God is both living and powerful. The Word of God in this verse is the Logos of God. The written Word. What is the nature of its power?

1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV) 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

The power in the written word of God is the power of the seed. As we plant the word in our heart, the power of the word is released just as the power of the natural seed is released in the natural soil. When God created the natural seed and the natural soil he built into each a compatibility for the other. The soil and the seed were designed by God to interact and release the power to create a plant.

It is the same with the “supernatural seed” of the written Word of God. The seed and the human heart were designed by God to interact in the same way the natural seed and the natural soil were. In Mark 4:14 Jesus says plainly, “The Sower sows the Word.” He then describes the different soils into which it is sown as types of the hearts of men. The seed is the Word of God the soil is the heart of man. In verses 26-29 he describes the process.

Mark 4:26-29 (NKJV) 26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

If natural seed and natural soil come into contact, there is a reaction that occurs and a process that begins. If the soil is cultivated and the seed fed and watered the outcome is inevitable. The process takes time and must be allowed to run its full course. In due time, if both the seed and soil is good and providing it is properly cultivated, a plant will grow and fruit will be produced. The process is automatic. Man’s role is simply to facilitate the process.

In the spirit the process works in the same way. That is Jesus’ point. The seed is always good. It is the Word of God and it is full of the life of God. A seed contains the life of the plant but is a potential form of that life. The Word of God contains the life of God to produce whatever it says but also in potential form.

If we make sure to properly cultivate our ground and get the seed into it, the process begins and it is just as inevitable as a tomato seed producing a tomato plant and a tomato plant producing tomatoes. There is nothing we have to do but protect the ground while we feed the seed which we do by continuing to meditate in the word and water the seed by prayer, praise, worship and time in the presence of God. Nothing can stop the process from working.

Seeing (faith) comes by hearing and hearing comes by the seed action of the Word of God. If you plant God’s written Word in your heart it will produce a plant that will enable you to “see” God’s possibilities no matter the natural impossibilities. If we do not plant the seed of the Word, we will never be able to see beyond the limitations of our natural abilities and resources. The impossible will stay impossible.

(Follow this link to a number of books on Kindle that will help you see God’s possibilities. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=bill+kiefer)