Posted by: Tom Graves | December 17, 2014

GOD’S ROSE COLORED GLASSES

GOD’S ROSE COLORED GLASSES

Have you ever thought about the fact that once you are “Born again” God looks at you through ROSE COLORED GLASSES? As I thought about this idea, I did some research on the web to see if I could find the origin of this phrase. This was the only reference on the subject that sounded factual: “TO LOOK / SEE THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES: To view events and people very positively seeing only their good points. To have an attitude of cheerfulness and optimism and seeing everything in a favorable and pleasant light – to have unmitigated optimism. For those who have read Dickens’ ‘Pickwick Papers,’ ‘Mr. Macawber would be a perfect example of someone who looked at the world through rose-colored glasses. This term began to be used figuratively in the 1850s and found its way into print in 1861, when it was first recorded in ‘Tom Brown at Oxford’ by English novelist Thomas Hughes (1822-96). ‘Oxford was a sort of Utopia to the Captain . . . He continued to behold towers, and quadrangles, and chapels, through rose-colored spectacles.’” [1]

I like the way this author above, expressed the definition: “To view events and people very positively seeing only their good points.” Could we say that that is how God looks at us? Let us consider the story of Abraham and Sarah when God came to tell Abraham the time had come for his prophesied son to be born. Genesis 18:1-3 & 8-15: “And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, THREE MEN STOOD BY HIM: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant…And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And THEY SAID unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. AND HE SAID, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.”

One thing I want to point out in this passage is the change in references to “…the LORD…” from plural to singular. First we are told “…THREE MEN STOOD BY HIM…” then we read “…THEY SAID…” and finally “…AND HE SAID…” I think the three men are God, manifest as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity. Yet the writer, trying to describe something that is indescribable simply refers to God in the singular when he says “…AND HE SAID…” Jesus employed this same change, except from singular to plural in referring to the Trinity in John 3:11: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.” God, as the Trinity, was in the Garden of Eden the day Adam sinned and fell and they saw Adam’s spirit die, i.e. be cut off from God, thus Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus in John 3:3b: “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

What I really want us to note in this passage is Sarah’s actions and reactions to the Word of the Lord, “…AND HE SAID, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” Sarah was standing in the door of the tent and heard what the Lord said and she laughed! It is interesting to note that Abraham had also laughed when God spoke to him in Genesis 17:17: “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” However, with Sarah, God actually took note, “…And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”  And then to make matters worse, Sarah lies to God. First, she laughs at what God says, and then she lies about it, “…Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not…” Add to this incident the fact that it was Sarah who came up with the scheme to use Hagar as a surrogate in her place and Abraham went along with it, resulting in the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16). Ishmael became the father of all Arabs, just as Isaac became the Father of all Jews. Listen to the prophecy spoken almost 4000 years ago that is being fulfilled in the Middle East today! Genesis 16:11-12: “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

You would think that God could have some pretty negative thoughts about Abraham and Sarah because they really messed up some things. But listen to God’s report of how this whole situation turned out! Romans 4:17-21: “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” And Hebrews 11:8-12: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”

This is amazing! Not one mention of failure on the part of Abraham and Sarah. Just glowing reports of their faith! Why? Because of “GOD’S ROSE COLORED GLASSES!” Here is where I believe that saying really came from, even though I have not been able to document it. Song of Solomon 2:1: “I AM THE ROSE OF SHARON, and the lily of the valleys.” Jesus is “…THE ROSE OF SHARON…” and when God looks at us, He looks at us through Jesus colored glasses! And in the same manner, that is how He looked at Abraham and Sarah. That is the meaning of Jeremiah 31:33-34: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: FOR I WILL FORGIVE THEIR INIQUITY, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SIN NO MORE.” And when God forgets our sin after we repent of it, He never brings it up again!

Consider Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is something that is conspicuously absent from this list of things that can separate us from the love of God. Do you know what it is? It is the past! As far as God is concerned, our past will never separate us from His love, because our past is wiped out in Christ Jesus! II Corinthians 5:17: “THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.” Renew your mind with that thought. Your past can only separate you from God’s love in your mind when you believe the devil’s lie. Cast down those negative thoughts and bring them captive, obedient to Christ Jesus! II Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” This, by the way, is how you turn off the gate of hell! [2] (See last week’s post, THE GATE OF HEAVEN.)

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie

Works cited:

[1] Link: http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6468

[2] Some of these ideas are from the following DVD series by Bill Johnson. If you are interested in further study of this subject, the curriculum, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind which includes the 2 DVD set, a Study Guide, and the book by the same title is available from Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” at the following Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2jBXTP448&index=2&list=TLG4KrwqBE8CI

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | December 9, 2014

THE GATE OF HEAVEN

THE GATE OF HEAVEN

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.  And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is THE GATE OF HEAVEN.” Genesis 28: 16 & 17. We talked in our blog last week about THE HOUSE OF GOD and briefly alluded to THE GATE OF HEAVEN.

What exactly is the function of a gate? A gate is a barrier between two spaces, designed to allow some things to pass but to stop other things from passing. For example, if your yard is fenced, there is a gate in that fence to allow you and those you choose access, but that gate can be closed and locked to keep out those who would intend you harm, such as thieves. As Christians, we are citizens of both heaven and earth, and as such, we are THE HOUSE OF GOD on the edge of two worlds! Because of this fact, we literally become “…THE GATE OF HEAVEN…” into the earth. When I say we are THE GATE OF HEAVEN, I do not mean for a moment that we are the way to heaven. Jesus is the only way or door or gate to heaven in regard to salvation.

What I do mean is that it is through Christians like you and me that God allows His Power and Glory and Revelation (not new scripture, but new insight into scripture) to flow into the earth. It is through our renewed mind that God accomplishes His will in the earth. Thus scripture says: “…but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, THAT YE MAY PROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (emphasis mine, Romans 12:2b).

The best picture I can think of in the natural is that of a “Gate Valve” in plumbing. It controls the flow of whatever is in the pipe. For those who don’t know, since retiring from the pastorate, I have been in ministry, working at Wal-Mart. Several months ago at work, I walked into the back hall at Wal-Mart and it was flooding with water. Another associate had broken the end off of a pipe in a room where a sink had been removed and no one, including the managers, knew where the valve was to stop the flow. It was quite a scene! The associate who had broken the pipe was holding a five gallon bucket sideways over the pipe to try and keep the water from soaking everything in the room. He was soaking wet and so was almost everything else. Since I have a background in construction, I always look at the way things are designed and built. Jeanie used to comment when we would go into a new restaurant that I would always be looking up and around checking out its design. I had done that at Wal-Mart and realized that there was probably a cutoff valve just above the ceiling tiles in this room because I had seen them high up in rooms that had no ceiling. I grabbed a nearby tall ladder, got up to the ceiling, raised a tile and there they were, two of them! I thought, “Which one do I cutoff?” I looked down, it was the pipe on the left. I grabbed the handle that was pointing upward and pulled it down. I have never heard such a sigh of relief as that which came from the wet associate below with the bucket. The unwanted flow stopped!

This is what a gate valve looks like. The one above the ceiling was similar but smaller. When the handle is “up,” if the valve is mounted vertically, the valve is on.

gate valve

THERE ARE TWO GATES!

Now, why did I tell this story? Because there are also two gates that we have to deal with. One lets in things that are good and are of God, the other lets in things that are evil and are of the devil. Consider this conversation between Jesus and Peter, Matthew 16:13-19: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and THE GATES OF HELL shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Emphasis mine, but the blog program will not let me use the word h-e-l-l and it scrambles it!) So, there are two gates, a gate of heaven and a gate of the other place. We need to learn how to cut one on and cut the other one off to allow the good of God to flow and cut off the evil of the enemy!

Jesus congratulated Peter on having received revelation knowledge from the Father and allowing that revelation to flow through him as THE GATE OF HEAVEN. But then Jesus warned Peter, there is another gate, and Peter opens it just a few verses later. Matthew 16:21-23: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” This is the KJV but I like the way the NASB expresses verse 23, “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’.”

Bill Johnson, in commenting on this passage says: “So where precisely are the gates of hell? Where does the devil sit in power? You’ll recall from our discussion of renewing the mind that I called the mind the gatekeeper of the Kingdom of God. It is the place of access, transition, and power. It follows that the gates of hell are set up in people’s minds. Jesus made this clear.” (He then quotes Matthew 16:21-23) “He didn’t say, ‘Peter you devil worshipper!’ He didn’t say, ‘You are filled with all kinds of occult practices and deceits.’ He said, ‘Your mind is filled with the things of man’ A most important thing to remember is that the devil is empowered by human agreement! …The gate of hell is in our minds anytime we agree with the enemy. I empower him anytime I agree with a man-centered perspective or natural wisdom that does not know God. I empower demonic forces and become a gate to release his power to kill, steal, and destroy in my life. It’s chilling, but the Bible indicates it’s a fact…Our goal, then, is to agree with heaven all the time, to let our minds be the gate of heaven where angels ascend and descend freely on assignment from God. It’s not that they literally flow through our minds. It’s just that they are loosed through our agreement.” [1]

TUNED INTO GOD

When our minds are renewed, we become tuned into God. We get on His frequency, so to speak, and we are able to hear what He is saying above all the din around us. As I was pondering how to explain this earlier this morning, God gave me the following story off of Facebook. Here is the story:

DISREGARD THE DISTRACTIONS AROUND YOU AND DISCOVER SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!”

“Back when the telegraph was the was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified. Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, ‘Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.’ The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!’ The employer said, ‘I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”

“We live in a world that is full of busyness and clatter, like that office. People are distracted and unable to hear the still, small voice of God as He speaks in creation, in the Scriptures, or in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Are you tuned in to God’s voice? Do you hear Him when He speaks to you? Are you listening? “This is my Son, whom I love . . . Listen to Him!” [2]

May you learn to hear the voice of God in your everyday lives above all the noise that is trying to drown Him out. May you agree with Him and become THE GATE OF HEAVEN that His will might be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.

Since we are the gates, this gives a whole new meaning to Psalm 24:7-10: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.”

Be Blessed. Tom and Jeanie Graves

Works cited:

[1] Johnson, Bill, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Shippensburg, Pa. Destiny Image, 2014, pg. 53-54.

If you are interested in further study of this subject, the curriculum, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind which includes the 2 DVD set, a Study Guide, and the book by the same title is available from Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” at the following Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2jBXTP448&index=2&list=TLG4KrwqBE8CI

[2] Telegraph story link: http://faithhub.net/stopping-to-listen-stopping-to-hear/?utm_source=FACE&utm_medium=JLY&utm_term=stopping-to-listen-stopping-to-hear12082014&utm_campaign=STORY

Posted by: Tom Graves | December 6, 2014

TAKING JESUS OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF THE CHURCH!

Merry Christmas to all! May this flash mob for Jesus bless you as much as it did me. Only five minutes long.

 

 

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie Graves

Posted by: Tom Graves | December 2, 2014

THE HOUSE OF GOD

THE HOUSE OF GOD

Have you ever given any thought to the idea that God has a dwelling place in the earth? If you are a “Born Again,” Christian, then that dwelling place is you! I Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Some will point out that “ye” here is plural and refers to the Church, the Body of Christ in the earth. So let’s look at another verse, I Corinthians 6: 19-20: “What? Know ye not that YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (the Holy Spirit is God) which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Not only is God inside of you, consider Romans 14:17: “For the kingdom of God is… righteousness, and peace, and joy IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.” If the Kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit dwells in you, then the Kingdom of God is in you also! What does all this mean? What should we expect in our lives since in reality, God lives within us! We, both individually and corporately as the Body of Christ, are THE HOUSE OF GOD in the earth.

THE PROPHETIC DREAM [1]

The first time the phrase THE HOUSE OF GOD is used in the scripture is Genesis 28:16-17. To give a little background, Esau, Jacob’s brother, had sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:27-34). Years later, when their father Isaac was old, Jacob pretended to be Esau and Isaac blessed Jacob with the birthright (Genesis 27). Esau planned revenge by killing Jacob (Genesis 27:41) so Isaac sent Jacob away to the house of his brother-in-law, Laban, both for safety and to find a wife. In the midst of that journey, Jacob spent the night and had a dream, Genesis 28: 12-13: “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed…” In the dream, God affirms the covenant that He made with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, has passed on to Jacob. When Jacob awakens, He makes a statement that proves to be prophetic, Genesis 28:16-17: “And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.  And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but THE HOUSE OF GOD, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Emphasis mine).

When Jacob awakens from this dream, he declares, this is “…THE HOUSE OF GOD, and this is the gate of heaven.” Jacob was in a wilderness place! There was no building there, yet we today insist on calling a building the house of God. Look at what was taking place at THE HOUSE OF GOD, which is also called “…the gate of heaven.” The first thing Jacob saw were “…the angels of God ascending and descending!” The second thing to note is that there was an open heaven at this place. The third thing to note is that Jacob heard the voice of God. Now if this is indeed a true picture of THE HOUSE OF GOD then it should be confirmed in another place in scripture!

THE FIRST PROPHETIC FULFILMENT [1]

The first chapter of the Gospel of John affirms that Jesus was the first prophetic fulfilment of this dream. John 1:14 : “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The Greek word translated “dwelt” is “G4637 – σκηνόω – skēnoō – skay-no’-o – From G4636; to tent or encamp, that is, (figuratively) to occupy (as a mansion) or (specifically) to reside (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion): – dwell.” [2] Jesus was THE HOUSE OF GOD made flesh! John saw the heavens open over Him and heard the voice of God speak. John 1:32-33: “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”  Also Matthew 3:16-17: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Before the end of the first chapter of John, Jesus has met Nathanael, “And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

Here we have God dwelling in the Man Jesus. Note in the verse above, Jesus does not refer to Himself as the Son of God, but as “…the Son of man.” You see, Jesus had laid aside His deity and was walking as a Covenant Man with God dwelling inside Him! (See Philippians 2:5-8.) There was an open heaven over Him, God speaks to Him and the angels of God ascend and descend upon Him, fulfilling perfectly the prophetic picture in Jacob’s dream. 

“TAG, YOU’RE IT!” [2]

Have you ever noticed that Jesus always passed on whatever He was or whatever He was doing to those who followed Him? John 1 describes Jesus as the light of the world. Jesus then says to us, Matthew 5:14a: “Ye are the light of the world…” Jesus literally becomes “…the gate of heaven;” and brings heaven to earth, fulfilling the line in The Lord’s Prayer that says, “…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10.) Jesus does this by healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and meeting every need that He comes in contact with. Then He says to us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14.

Now, we are THE HOUSE OF GOD and “…the gate of heaven!” 

THE DAY OF PENTECOST 

Can we see this same fulfilment of THE HOUSE OF GOD on the Day of Pentecost when the Church came into being? Jesus had told the disciples in Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We see that fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Now consider Psalm 104:3b-4: “who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” And Hebrews 1:7&14: “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire… Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” When God, the Holy Spirit, came into that upper room, He came on “…the wings of the wind…” with the angels who are God’s ministers who are described as “…a flame of fire.” Then God speaks to and through them in the gift of tongues.

So, we see the heavens opened, the angels manifesting themselves as “…cloven tongues like as of fire…” as they ascended and descended. God speaks through men and women in the gift of tongues and in Peter’s anointed sermon. This new born Church becomes “…the gate of heaven…” to those who are listening and three thousand souls entered into the Kingdom of God that day!

CITIZENS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH 

Ephesians 2:19-22: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” We are citizens of both heaven and earth, and as such, we are THE HOUSE OF GOD on the edge of two worlds! We literally become “…the gate of heaven…” into the earth. “With the assignment goes the angelic activity because you’ve been placed on the edge of two worlds. Why? Because you have citizenship in two worlds. Now what the renewed mind does is it enables you to live from His world (heaven) toward this one. The unrenewed mind has you living on this one (earth) begging Him (God) to invade. The renewed mind puts us in the co-laboring partnership with God, to learn how to do what He’s doing to see His purposes released and accomplished in the earth.” (Bill Johnson [2])  

“In John 3:12, Jesus said: ‘If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?’ He was expressing a desire to reveal things to us about what’s happening in the spiritual realm that have no corresponding earthly picture. I am convinced that as His government and Kingdom rule increase on this earth, as it says throughout Scripture, ‘…of the increase of His government there will be no end,’ (see Isaiah 9:7) and as this planet is engulfed in the glory of God, the Church will receive revelation like we’ve never known. We’ll come into agreement with the Father for the release of unprecedented miracles and power, fulfilling our destiny of being the House of God, the gate of heaven.” Bill Johnson [3].

Since we are the gates, this gives a whole new meaning to Psalm 24:7-10: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.”

Be Blessed, Tom and Jeanie Graves

Works cited:

[1] Johnson, Bill, Curriculum, The Supernatural power of a Transformed Mind, DVD Set, Disc I, Session 2, “Your mind, God’s dwelling place,” Destiny Image Publishing Inc., 2014 (Much of this material is gleaned from notes taken from this DVD)

[2] Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible. McClean, Va.: Macdonald, n.d.

[3] Johnson, Bill, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Shippensburg, Pa. Destiny Image, 2014, pg. 55-56.

If you are interested in further study of this subject, the curriculum, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind which includes the 2 DVD set, a Study Guide, and the book by the same title is available from Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” at the following Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2jBXTP448&index=2&list=TLG4KrwqBE8CI

Posted by: Tom Graves | November 25, 2014

PROVING THE WILL OF GOD!

PROVING THE WILL OF GOD!

How does one go about proving the will of God? Is it even possible to prove what the will of God is in a certain matter? If it is not possible to prove the will of God in a certain matter, then why would God tell us in scripture to prove the will of God?

Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, THAT YE MAY PROVE WHAT IS THAT GOOD, AND ACCEPTABLE, AND PERFECT, WILL OF GOD.”  (emphasis mine).

According to Bill Johnson, “The renewed mind has the responsibility and privilege – two sides of the same coin – to demonstrate, to illustrate, and to prove God’s will, which is: on earth as it is in heaven.” [1] (see last week’s post, CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!)

The Greek word translated “PROVE” in Romans 12:2 is Strong’s “G1381 – δοκιμάζω – dokimazō – dok-im-ad’-zo – From G1384; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication to approve: – allow, discern, examine, X like, (ap-) prove, try.” [2] W. E. Vines notes that dokimazō is translated both “prove” and “approve” defining it as: “…to test, prove, with the expectation of approving…i.e., approve after distinguishing and discerning.” [3]

ILLUSTRATING APPROVAL!

I love the way Bill Johnson illustrated the meaning of this word. He began by saying, “The word ‘prove’ means much more, actually, to approve, to thoroughly examine until you come to the absolute conclusion that this is legitimate.” He then proceeded to illustrate this with the following story which I have paraphrased to some extent:

Let’s pretend that I am a Van Gogh art specialist. In reality, a Van Gogh painting was recently discovered in an attic. The experts thought this painting had been lost forever. It was worth tens of millions of dollars. Now, let’s say you inherit an estate and you are going through the paintings in the attic and you find one that has a Van Gogh signature on it. You need to have this painting verified as a real Van Gogh, because if it is a real Van Gogh, it’s worth tens of millions of dollars. If it is a copy, it may be worth ten dollars.

You want someone who is an expert on Van Gogh to actually validate what you have, so you bring it to me. I have spent my life studying Van Gogh, his style, his brush strokes, the age and type of canvas he used, his use of colors and so forth. After several weeks of study and testing, I call you and say, ‘You may want to sit down for this, but I have incredibly good news! You have an authentic Van Gogh painting! The expert approved the painting, i.e., he proved you had an original.” [1]

APPLICATION TO THE WILL OF GOD

Bill continued his story: “Let’s say you have two really solid good friends who have dreams about you. – The first one calls you and says, ‘I had this dream about you last night and I felt like the Lord wanted me to tell you that you are going through a season where you have horrible disease in your body, but God is going to use it to build great character in you and He is going to use this disease to bring your family members together and bring healing to your whole family line.’ – And you hang up the phone – depressed of course with the gospel of the Good News.”

“Two or three days later, the second friend calls and says: ‘Hey – I had this dream and the Lord spoke to me and I felt like I was supposed to tell you that the Lord is releasing a new measure of anointing on your life where you’re going to see the most impossible situations you’ve ever heard or faced in your life. Everyone around you, they are going to come to you because of this anointing you have and you are going to see breakthroughs at a level you’ve never seen before.” [1]

INTERPRETING THE STORY

Bill continues: “What do you have? – You have just been given in the same week, two paintings. – And the renewed mind takes a look at these two paintings and then goes to the originals” – at this point, Bill picks up his Bible and opens it and says: “Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. You look at every brush stroke. – You look at every word that Jesus spoke to an afflicted or tormented person. – You look at the end result – the end product – the finished work. The finished work of everything that Jesus ever accomplished. – And then you compare the two paintings that you were just given. – You look at them and you compare them to the originals – and you are able through a renewed mind to come to the conclusion – one is authentic and one was a nice try.” [1]

JESUS, THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE FATHER

Jesus declared in John 14:9: “…He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” If you want to know how God the Father thinks and acts, look at Jesus. He came to make the Father known to mankind. It is through God’s Names that we know God’s nature and character, thus Jesus says in John 17:6a: “I have manifested thy Name unto men…” and John 17:26a:”…I have declared unto them Thy Name…”  John 5:30: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I SEEK NOT MINE OWN WILL, BUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER which hath sent me.” John 10:30: “I and my Father are one.”  Colossians 1:15, speaking of Jesus, “Who is the image of the invisible God…” This thought is repeated in II Corinthians 4:4: “…Christ, Who is the image of God…” Are you beginning to get the picture? Jesus demonstrated the will of God for earth. Hebrews 1:1-3 sums it up: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; WHO BEING THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS GLORY, AND THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

CONSIDER THESE FACTS

No one ever came to Jesus for healing or deliverance that did not get it! He never told anyone, this is for your benefit or to make you a better person. In fact we are expressly told that every person Jesus healed was made sick by the devil! Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and HEALING ALL THAT WERE OPPRESSED OF THE DEVIL; for God was with him.” Jesus never encountered a problem that He did not have an answer for. He was never overwhelmed by the situation! Even when He was faced with feeding 5000 men plus women and children with only a few fish and a few loaves of bread, He knew what to do. (see Matthew 14:15-21).

Go to the originals, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Study the Gospels and Acts, learn the brush strokes, the colors, His attitude toward people. Discover and prove God’s will for your life!

Be Blessed, Tom and Jeanie Graves

Works cited:

[1] Johnson, Bill, Curriculum, The Supernatural power of a Transformed Mind, DVD Set, Disc I, Session 1, “How To Think From Heavens Perspective,” Destiny Image Publishing Inc., 2014

[2] Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible. McClean, Va.: Macdonald, n.d.

[3] Vine, W. E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. New York: Nelson, n.d.

If you are interested in further study of this subject, the curriculum, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind which includes the 2 DVD set, a Study Guide, and the book by the same title is available from Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” at the following Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2jBXTP448&index=2&list=TLG4KrwqBE8CI

Posted by: Tom Graves | November 18, 2014

CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK

CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!

I saw a Tee shirt the other day that said, “NORMAL IS BORING!” In a way, I had to agree with it, but as I thought about, it was like the Lord said to me, “The reason normal is so boring is that my people live so far below what I intended for them.” Most of us would have to agree that church as we know and experience it can be pretty boring at times. If you think about it, however, when Jesus was leading the group, “Church” was never boring. It was exciting, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, demons were cast out and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was preached with power! But it didn’t stop when Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended into heaven!

The same was true after the Day of Pentecost with Jesus’ followers. Jesus had declared, Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” And it happened just like Jesus said it would! They were baptized in the Holy Spirit and they received power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom! Read the book of Acts some time! That is what was normal for the early church, and should be normal in the church today. The exciting thing is that it is beginning to happen again, just like that! The sick are healed, the dead are raised, demons are cast out and the Gospel of the Kingdom is being preached with power. Souls are being brought into the Kingdom of God because people are discovering that “Church” does not have to be boring!

What is it going to take for signs and wonders and miracles to become the “NORMAL” in church again? Believers are going to have to change the way they think. When Jesus began his public ministry, immediately after forty days of fasting and being tempted by the devil in the wilderness, (see Matthew 4:1-11) He preached His first sermon, Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When repentance is preached today, the emphasis is “Stop sinning,” which is a major component of repentance, but Jesus had much more in mind!

The Greek word for repent in Strong’s Concordance is G3340 – μετανοέω – metanoeō – met-an-o-eh’-o – From G3326 and G3539; TO THINK DIFFERENTLY or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent. (emphasis mine). [1] W. E. Vines notes that it means “…to perceive afterwards…TO CHANGE ONE’S MIND OR PURPOSE…INVOLVING A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER, an amendment…repentance from sin.” (emphasis mine). [2] Note that both definitions include the word “afterwards.” In essence, Jesus was saying, “From this day on, i.e. afterwards, things are going to be different because the Kingdom of God is invading earth. Things aren’t going to be the same anymore. Things that you used to think of as impossible are going to become common place! And then Jesus went out and demonstrated what He was talking about, Matthew 4:23-24: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”

This should be the normal Christian life! Exciting, filled with signs and wonders and miracles and healings. But wait just a minute you say, that was Jesus. We can’t do that. That is exactly why Jesus said CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK! You can do that! Jesus said you could! Do you believe what Jesus said? Do you believe John 14:12-14? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME, THE WORKS THAT I DO SHALL HE DO ALSO; AND GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL HE DO; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Powerful words! True words, even though they sound impossible, CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!

People today want proof! There are so many different religions around. How can a person tell which one is real? Where is the proof? Paul gave us the answer in Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, THAT YE MAY PROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (emphasis mine).

CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK and you will be able to demonstrate proof of the reality of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God! I have been working on changing the way I think for a number of years and I have seen some results, a healing here or there, a salvation, or a deliverance, but I know I am not where I could be. To help me get there, I have begun to seek out those who are far ahead of me in the Kingdom of God. This past August, I spent a week in Orlando at the Voice of the Apostles Conference with men like Randy Clark and Bill Johnson among others. (For a link to miracle testimonies, see [3] in works cited). I have “attended” two other conferences on-line and am being blessed. The Holy Spirit is continuing to renew my mind to the possibilities that are available for those who are willing to ask, seek and knock, and keep on  asking, seeking and knocking (Luke 11:9-13).

Bill Johnson and Bethel Church in Redding, California are on the cutting edge of what God is doing in the church in America and have been for several years. People are traveling to this church from all over the world to experience the miracles of God. Consider this excerpt from Bill’s latest book:

“It had been an awesome Sunday night in the presence of God. When it was all finished – the prayer and praise, the teaching and the time of asking God for miracles – one of my staff members walked from the sanctuary into the hallway and saw a man jumping up and down saying, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!’ His pants seemed too big for him – he was holding them up so they wouldn’t slump around his ankles. He was puzzled, but knew God must have done something. When he asked around we learned that the man had been healed that night after receiving prayer. The tumors he’d come with had instantly disappeared. He’d come all the way from a neighboring state because doctors had given him only two weeks to live. In his mind, we were his last stop on the way to heaven or on the way to a miracle. He came into the sanctuary where he continued to jump up and down with great joy, very much healed and in need of a new wardrobe.

How did it happen? The Kingdom of God had come crashing into his infirmity and overwhelmed it. It was another great night and another great victory over the enemy.

That same weekend a woman drove to our church from two states away because she was having difficulty breathing. The doctors had found what they believed to be lung cancer. Her family had to help her into the building. After receiving prayer, she left pain free, able to breath without any restriction.

Again, Kingdom reality vanquished earthly affliction.

A NEW NORM

Is that normal? Absolutely! But is it common in today’s church? Not yet. But God is changing the way Christians think about the so-called impossible. He is teaching us to work hand in hand with the Kingdom so the reality of heaven comes crashing into earthly problems and overwhelms them. The results are astonishing miracles, great victories over the enemy, healing, deliverance revelation and more. It’s not hype; it’s not baseless hope or theory. It’s fact.” [4]

God is bringing a Great Awakening to America and it has already begun with men like Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. Why? Because they were willing to allow Holy Spirit to renew their minds and change the way they think. If God will do it for them, He will do it for me. And if He will do it for me, you can be sure He will do it for anyone who will ask, seek and knock and allow Holy Spirit to change the way they think!

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie Graves

Works cited:

[1] Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible. McClean, Va.: Macdonald, n.d.

[2] Vine, W. E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. New York: Nelson, n.d.

[3] This is a testimony that was given in Orlando when I was there in August. It will encourage your faith and it will connect you to a number of other testimonies from Global Awakening.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PWpCD0bFj0

[4] Johnson, Bill, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Shippensburg, Pa. Destiny Image, 2014, pg. 23-24.

Click the link below to experience how the Body of Christ ministers and not just the Pastor at Bethel Church.

Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PzttaVImCY

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | November 10, 2014

GOD SENDS A SIGN!

GOD SENDS A SIGN!

The link below will take you to a Garth Brooks video that will touch your heart. Especially for those who may be battling cancer right now. God is Good!

Be blessed, Tom Graves

Link: http://www.mrctv.org/blog/heartwarming-video-woman-s-sign-brings-garth-brooks-concert-halt#.VGESFeryM8k.email

Posted by: Tom Graves | November 9, 2014

MIRACLE HEALING IN FLORIDA

MIRACLE HEALING IN FLORIDA!!!

sfl-woman-went-45-minutes-without-pulse-pictur-008

It is not often that the news media acknowledges a miracle healing through answered prayer to God. This story occurred on September 23, 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida and was reported in the Sun Sentinel newspaper. Here is the body of the article:

BOCA RATON:

Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro had gone 45 minutes without a pulse when doctors called her family into the operating room and told them there was nothing more they could do.

A team of more than a dozen doctors and nurses had been working desperately to revive her. But now they’d lost hope that the 40-year-old Deerfield Beach woman, whose heart had given out without warning after a routine C-section at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, was going to make it.

Devastated, Graupera-Cassimiro’s husband, mother and sister said goodbye to her just hours after they’d welcomed a healthy baby girl. The medical team stopped all lifesaving procedures. They watched a heart monitor, preparing to record a time of death.

And then the impossible happened: A blip of a heartbeat showed up. Then another, and another.

Within a few hours, Graupera-Cassimiro, a human resources manager and now a mother of two, was tugging at the breathing tube on her face and scribbling notes to family.

“There’s very few things in medicine that I’ve seen, working in the trauma center myself and doing all the things that I do, that really were either unexplainable or miraculous,” said Dr. Anthony Dardano, president of the hospital’s medical staff. “And when I heard this story, that was the first thing that came to my mind.”

In what hospital staff are calling the “Second Miracle on Meadows Road,” Graupera-Cassimiro has made a complete recovery. She was taken off the life-support machine a day after the Sept. 23 near-death experience.

It was caused, doctors say, by an amniotic fluid embolism. The rare, serious condition occurs when fluid that surrounds a baby in the uterus enters a mother’s bloodstream and heart, clogging it. Sudden and unpredictable, it creates a vacuum and stops circulation.

Doctors say it’s hard to put a number on the odds of Graupera-Cassimiro’s survival. In many cases, amniotic fluid embolism is not diagnosed until after death. But living through 45 minutes without a pulse is extremely unusual. And the decision to call in Graupera-Cassimiro’s family wasn’t made lightly. “Once we say that’s it, that’s it,” anesthesiologist Dr. Anthony Salvadore said.

Amazingly, doctors say, Graupera-Cassimiro suffered no complications. No reduced brain function from the loss of circulation. No burns from the repeated shocks doctors delivered in hopes of restarting her heart. No bruises, even, from the chest compressions they took turns giving her to keep her blood flowing. Within days she was back at home.

There’s something to these near death experiences. Too many of them recall similar stories of being greeted by Family Members who have passed, and being told, that it’s not their time. Keep the Faith! “I don’t know why I was given this opportunity,” Graupera-Cassimiro said, “but I’m very grateful for it.”

She was back at the hospital Tuesday for a tearful reunion with the medical team that fought to save her. She hugged the doctors and nurses — who cooed over her daughter, dressed head to toe in pink — and thanked them.

“God had the right people in the right place,” Graupera-Cassimiro said as she cradled the sleeping baby, named Taily.

The baby had just been delivered by obstetrician Dr. Michael Fleischer during a scheduled, “unremarkable” C-section when disaster struck the afternoon of Sept. 23.

Fresh from the operating room, Graupera-Cassimiro “went from talking to being unconscious,” while in a recovery room at the hospital’s Toppel Family Place, anesthesiologist Dr. Jordan Knurr said.

Doctors and nurses sprung to action, starting CPR, intubating Graupera-Cassimiro and calling in help from other parts of the hospital. Fleischer, on his way to other duties after the successful operation, hurried back. Anesthesiologists, intensivists and more nurses flowed into the room and spent over two hours trying to revive her.

“Suddenly,” Fleischer said, “the heart just stopped.”

They kept pumping Graupera-Cassimiro’s chest for 45 minutes, taking turns to avoid exhaustion. They repeatedly tried shocking her. Nothing worked.

A distraught Fleischer told Graupera-Cassimiro’s family she faced slim chances of pulling through, and brought them into the operating room. There, her mother cried out for God to “please take me instead.” Her sister grabbed and hugged her.

The family left the room with nurse Julie Ewing after saying their goodbyes. They held hands and prayed, Ewing on her knees. Then another nurse, Claire Hansen, came out of the operating room. “Keep praying,” she said, “because her heart just started.”

Screams filled the hallway as Graupera-Cassimiro’s family took in the news. They jumped up and down and cried. Her sister ran into the operating room. “It was a complete miracle of God. It was answered prayer,” Ewing said Tuesday. “We all were there. We all witnessed it.”

Graupera-Cassimiro woke up in the intensive care unit with no idea what had happened. She thought she was just coming to after the C-section and was bewildered by the voices she heard telling her to open her eyes. She wondered why they wouldn’t they let her sleep. When she did open her eyes, she saw her family was crying and relatives had come in from Miami. She realized something must have gone wrong.

In the next few hours, Graupera-Cassimiro said, she remembered something she thought had been a dream: what she described as an encounter with the spirit of her late father, who told her it wasn’t her time. It dawned on her that it may not have been a dream.

When Dr. Shawn Iverson, a resident from Florida Atlantic University, checked in on her the next morning, she gestured upward and nodded. And when Fleischer came to take off the breathing tube, Graupera-Cassimiro told him: “You don’t have to be afraid of dying.”

Ruby Graupero-Cassimira’s story is called by doctors the “Second Miracle on Meadows Road,” because hospital employees already refer to a prior event as the first: The building of the hospital itself.

Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel

Note that the Doctor acknowledged a miracle, “ ‘There’s very few things in medicine that I’ve seen, working in the trauma center myself and doing all the things that I do, that really were either unexplainable or miraculous,’ said Dr. Anthony Dardano, president of the hospital’s medical staff.”

Not only did God heal and raise her from the dead, God healed all of the damage from the entire episode! “Amazingly, doctors say, Graupera-Cassimiro suffered no complications. No reduced brain function from the loss of circulation. No burns from the repeated shocks doctors delivered in hopes of restarting her heart. No bruises, even, from the chest compressions they took turns giving her to keep her blood flowing. Within days she was back at home.”

God is good!!! God is a healer!!! God answers prayer!!!

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie Graves

Photo from Sun Sentinel

Posted by: Tom Graves | October 27, 2014

FAMINE IN AMERICA!!!

FAMINE IN AMERICA!!!

How can that be? America is the greatest nation that has ever existed. “In the realm of food, The United States remains at the top, unchallenged. The United States has the position of being the largest producer and exporter of food.” [1] That being the case, I still stand by my statement! There is FAMINE IN AMERICA!!! So what kind of famine am I talking about if it is not a food famine? What other kind of famine is there? Hear the Word of the Lord!  Amos 8:11: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I WILL SEND A FAMINE IN THE LAND, NOT A FAMINE OF BREAD, NOR A THIRST FOR WATER, BUT OF HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD.”

Those days have come for America! America is reaping what she has sown. God has been “excommunicated” from official society in America. The Bible and prayer have been greatly restricted in our public schools, our military, and apparently our courts. The First amendment of our Constitution has been turned upside down. Do you know what the First Amendment of the Constitution actually says? Here it is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Do you see anything there about “The separation of Church and State?” If you would like to know how this phrase came to represent the meaning of the First Amendment in regard to religion, I highly recommend you purchase and read ORIGINAL INTENT, The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion by David Barton.

Our government and its courts have used this misrepresentation of the First Amendment to remove God from public life in America. This is never what our founding Fathers intended. “The entire foundation for America’s successful political existence was given by George Washington in his ‘Farewell address” when he declared: ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.’ ” (Barton, p325). George Washington said, “RELIGION AND MORALITY ARE INDISPENSABLE SUPPORTS” but they have been knocked out from under us by those who would throw off God’s restraints! We are living Psalm 2 in America: Psalm 2:2-3, Amplified Bible: “The kings of the earth take their places; the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and His Anointed One (the Messiah, the Christ). They say, Let us break Their bands [of restraint] asunder and cast Their cords [of control] from us.”

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Ravi Zacharias in his radio broadcast, “The Search for Absolutes in a Pluralistic Society: Part 1” explains:

“Somewhere in the middle of this century [the 20th century] the consciousness of western culture particularly, began to get radically transformed. You can gain that from the writers who began to express a sense of uncertainty in what was happening in our world, because we were well underway now into the bloodiest century in history. I’m not sure if you are aware that the twentieth century indeed has shed more blood than any other century in history, and by some counts may be more than the first nineteen put together”

“What is the principle idea then that has woven itself into our consciousness that has created such a cultural struggle in our time?”

Zacharias goes on to say that the idea of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) that “God is dead… has now woven itself into our social theory.” Quoting Nietzsche he continues “…God is dead and He remains dead and we have killed Him…must not we ourselves now have to become god simply to seem worthy of what we have done? …What are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of a dead God? …God is dead. We have killed Him!”

 Zacharias explains, “Nietzsche was speaking philosophically, of course, that philosophically God could no longer survive the metaphysician’s blade and that the twentieth century was going to be a century that came on the heels of an atheistic world view.” Because America has “…absorbed this kind of thinking… the culture is in crisis in terms of a loss of reason.” He goes on to say that America’s culture has become secularized which he defines as “…when religious ideas, institutions and interpretations have lost their significance.” [2]

How better to … break Their bands [of restraint] asunder and cast Their cords [of control] from us” than by declaring that “GOD IS DEAD!”

If you are familiar with the several great revivals that took place in North America at the end of the twentieth century you would know that laughing was one of the characteristics that was manifest in these revivals. I can remember being in a Rodney Howard Brown meeting in Columbia, South Carolina where the laughing was contagious. But there were protesters there who put down the laughter because they said, “God would never laugh at what is going on in America.” Apparently they have never read Psalm 2 because verse 4 says, “He who sits in the heavens laughs…” Are you aware that we are seated in the heavens with Him? Ephesians 2:3-6: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS.” Have you ever been around someone who is laughing? It’s contagious and besides that, we are His body in the earth, so if He is laughing, does it not follow that We would laugh also?

It is very significant to me that the early church faced similar restrictions from their government in their day. In fact, Peter and John were being commanded “…not to speak at all nor teach in the Name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18b). In fact, after they were let go, they gathered with the local church to pray and in that prayer they appealed to God on the basis of Psalm 2.

Acts 4:23-31: “23And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 29And now, LORD, BEHOLD THEIR THREATENINGS: AND GRANT UNTO THY SERVANTS, THAT WITH ALL BOLDNESS THEY MAY SPEAK THY WORD, 30BY STRETCHING FORTH THINE HAND TO HEAL; AND THAT SIGNS AND WONDERS MAY BE DONE BY THE NAME OF THY HOLY CHILD JESUS. 31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”

God answered their prayer with a shaking and a fresh filling with the Holy Spirit. They went out and spoke the Word of God with boldness and He confirmed His Word with signs, wonders, healings and miracles in the Name of Jesus!

BREAK THE FAMINE!!!

Father, in the Name of Jesus, hear their threatening’s against your Church. Grant us boldness and a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit that we might speak your Word with boldness. Shake your church to awaken us and then confirm Your Word, even as you did for the early church, with signs, wonders, healings and miracles in the Mighty Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have mercy on America and break the famine of hearing the Word of God. Thank you for another Great Awakening in our land!

Blessings,

Tom and Jeanie Graves

Works cited:

[1] Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_power

[2] Ravi Zacharias radio program,

Link: http://www.rzim.org/let-my-people-think-broadcasts/the-search-for-absolutes-in-a-pluralistic-society-part-1/

Barton, David, ORIGINAL INTENT, The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion, 5th ed. July 2011, Wallbuilder press.

Posted by: Tom Graves | September 29, 2014

BLOOD MOON TWO – OCT. 8!!!

BLOOD MOON TWO – OCT 8!!!

God declared in Psalm 104:19a that: “He appointed the moon for seasons…” We read the word seasons and have a tendency to think of the four seasons, spring summer, fall and winter. But that is not what God is talking about! The Hebrew word translated seasons, both here and in Genesis 1:14 is Strong’s H4150:

H4150 מועדה   מעד   מועד

mô‛êd mô‛êd  mô‛âdâh

mo-ade’, mo-ade’, mo-aw-daw’

From H3259; properly an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): – appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed). (emphasis mine)

Notice that first of all it is an appointment with God. And those appointments are God’s feast days. Leviticus 23:2 says: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” Both times the word feasts is used in this verse it is the same Hebrew word, H4150, used in both Genesis 1:14 and Psalm104:19!

So then, what is a BLOOD MOON and what does it have to do with God’s feast days? Have you ever had the privilege to observe a total eclipse of the moon? It can take a couple of hours from the time the shadow of the earth first falls on the moon until the shadow completely leaves the moon. Once the moon is totally in the earth’s shadow, something remarkable happens, the moon turns blood red, hence the term BLOOD MOON.

This is the second of four BLOOD MOONS that occur in 2014 and 2015. The amazing thing about them is that all four BLOOD MOONS occur on God’s Feast days (see Leviticus 23 for the seven Feasts of the Lord). This one occurs on the Feast of Tabernacles or SUKKOT which occurs on October 8, 2014. Each of the Feasts of the Lord is prophetic in nature. For example, Passover was prophetic of the Crucifixion and Pentecost was prophetic of the coming of Holy Spirit. The Feast of Tabernacles is considered by many to be prophetic of the Second Coming of our Lord.

I think God is using these BLOOD MOONS that occur on His Feast days to get the world’s attention. Joel 2:31 states: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” This is quoted by Peter in Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, another of God’s Feast days. (See my blog BLOOD MOON COMING for a complete discussion and dates of all four). For a great concise overview of the seven feasts, go to http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Introduction/introduction.html

It is very significant to me that since the first of these four BLOOD MOONS, which fell on Passover, April 15, 2014, Israel has been at war with Gaza because of Gaza’s continuing rocket attacks on Israel. This follows the pattern of significant happenings in Israel as I noted in the following quote from my blog BLOOD MOON COMING:

“This is not the first time in history that this grouping of BLOOD MOON events has taken place. ‘Such events have occurred only three other times in recent centuries, and each time they were linked to significant events for the Jewish nation…For example, when it happened in 1493 and 1494 Jews were expelled from Spain. The blood moons in 1949 and 1950 came right after the nation of Israel was assembled, giving the Jews a homeland for the first time in thousands of years. And in 1967 and 1968 it was linked to the Six-Day War.’ Look for some miraculous events concerning Israel during these times.”

There are those who question whether these BLOOD MOONS actually have anything at all to do with Israel because the first two were not visible in Israel. The fact is, the fourth BLOOD MOON, which will also occur on the Feast of Tabernacles on September 28, 2015 will be visible in Jerusalem. It will be at its peak at 5:47 AM Jerusalem time [1], just before the moon sets and the sun rises on a new day! The Second Coming is certainly going to issue in a new day for the earth!

CAN I SEE IT?

It is significant to me that this is the same scenario for those of us who can see this second BLOOD MOON! Where I live In St Augustine it will be at its peak at 6:55 AM, EDT, just before the moon sets and the sun rises on a new day! To determine what time the BLOOD MOON occurs at your location and if it is visible to you, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2014-october-8 and enter your location at “Eclipses viewable where you are .”

Please note! This BLOOD MOON occurs on the morning of October 8th and not the night of October 8th. If you wait until Wednesday night you will miss it!

Coupled with the fact that, on the Jewish calendar, we are in a SHEMITAH year, this should be a very exciting time. Watch for more significant events happening with Israel. If you would like to know more about the SHEMITAH year and what it signifies, check out my blog “SHEMITAH” – WHAT IS IT?

May you have clear skies and good viewing and may the Lord quicken to you the reality that His Second Coming is very, very close, “…even at the doors.” (Matthew 24:33b).

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie

[1] Link for the fourth BLOOD MOON visible at Jerusalem: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/israel/jerusalem?iso=20150928

 

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