Author Archives: watchingservant

About watchingservant

"Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them." Luke 12:37 NKJV When Jesus returns I desire to be found faithful. More than anything in the world I long to hear the voice of the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Revival

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Revival

Psalm 85:6 NKJV

“Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?”

Revival is a bringing or coming back to life or consciousness; restoration to vigor or health; a bringing or coming back to style, use, activity, etc; an awakening or increase of interest in religion.

Revival can also be described as …

renewal or restoration.

a fresh inflow of the life, love and power of God.

a renewal of spiritual life in an individual.

a renewal of spiritual life among a group of people.

 

 

The Bible gives us many examples of revival. As you read through the history books in the Bible ( Samuel, Kings and Chronicles) you will see many times that God’s people cried out for revival, and God heard their cries and send them revival, refreshing and restoration.

 

 

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YOU MUST OVERCOME A DEFEATED SPIRIT, MINDSET AND ATTITUDE

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There are too many believers with a defeated sprit, mindset or attitude.

A defeated sprit, mindset or attitude can…
* hinder God’s blessing.
* lead to anxiety and insecurity.
* cause unbelief.

Defeated Spirit
Oppression is often the source of worry, stress, or anxiety. Demon oppression involves a demon attacking a person spiritually. Demons will try to cause a person to worry or fear. The Bible is very clear about where worry and fear come from – they do not come from God. A defeated spirit is often characterized by a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”

Psalm 42:5 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.”

Psalm 42:11 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Psalm 43:4-5 NKJV
“Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Don’t allow Satan or the other fallen angels (demons) to gain access into your life through worry or fear.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Psalm 55:22 NKJV
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be
moved.”

God has told us in His Word, not to worry and that worrying does not help.

Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”

Oppression over a long period of time can lead to depression. Depression can come from several things: a physical reason/disorder, a demonic attack, or by opening the door to demonic influences through sin. Not all depression comes from a physical or mental disorder, and not all depression come from a demonic influence. However, it does not matter where it comes from because Jesus paid the price for freedom from all oppression and depression.

Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Instead of worrying about something, a believers needs to immediately give the problem or situation to the Lord. Not only can He work things out, He sympathizes with us. In Him we will always find the exact help we need, mixed with mercy and grace.

Defeated Attitude
A believers attitude has an effect on them, both physical, psychological and spiritually. We are instructed to have the same attitude as Christ.

Philippians 2:5
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

People with a defeated mindset or attitude…
* are unable, or unwilling, to forgive themselves.
* desire to blame others
* dwell on the past.
* engage in self-defeating talk
* fear failure.
* fear making mistakes.
* make negative assumptions – about themselves and/or others.
* make negative comparison with others.
* tend to have a victim mentality.

Your attitude will determine your victory, or lack of it. The twelve spies are a good example of this.

Numbers 13:1-3 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.”

Numbers 13: 27-33 NKJV
“Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:1-34 NKJV
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” And Moses said to the Lord: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord– because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.” And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.”

Moses choose twelve men and sent them to spy on the land of Canaan. The twelve men found that the land is rich and fertile, that giants lived in the land, and that the cities were large and fortified. Upon their return Caleb and Joshua had a good report concerning the land and a winning attitude, however the other ten gave a negative report and they had a defeated attitude. The people chose to go with the defeated attitude and it cost them the promised land. For forty years they wandered around in the desert. Like them, there are believers that seem to always be wandering around, never getting anywhere. God has many promises for them, but they are hindered because of their negative attitude.

Inability to overcome temptation and sin.
A believer should not be under the power of sin. God, through Jesus, has given us the victory over sin. Sin in the life of a believer dishonors the name of the Jesus, cause you to not experience true joy and power, and it destroying your testimony.

James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

It is possible to resist the devil or God would not have instructed us to. Resist means to withstand, strive against, or oppose in some manner. If a believer wants the devil to flee from them, they must first submit to God and they must resist the devil. Resisting the devil must be accompanied by submitting to God. The devil will not flee from a disobedient or unsubmissive believer – they will not see victory over temptation.

There will always be temptations that come our way. When they do come, don’t play with them. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to act upon that temptation.

Submit To God’s Authority
Submit means to place oneself under the authority of another. When we submit to God, we surrender our lives to His authority and control. All areas of our lives are to be submitted to God and placed under His authority. Sometimes believers do not walk in total victory is because they haven’t totally submitted to God and His authority. Instead of giving God every area of their lives they try to hold back a certain part of it to control themselves. With God it is all or nothing – He will not be a partial ruler or a co-ruler.

Commit To The Lord
When a believer truly commits to God they can live in victory. They can calmly and fearlessly confront, and overcome any situation that may arise. If you want to walk in victory commit yourself to God.

* Commit your sprit, mind and attitude to God
* Commit your past, your present, and your future.
* Give God control of your life and the lives of your family.
* Don’t hold anything back from God.
* Give God your sins and your failures.
* Give God your hopes, dreams and plans.

TRUE JOY

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TRUE JOY

True joy only comes from God. Too many times people are looking for things or other people to give them joy. When that does not materialize they keep looking somewhere else. Often times these people are continually discouraged. Up one day and down the next.

Things or people will not give a person true joy. Knowing that all is right between you and God and that He is always with you, no matter what you are going through, and that He has a plan for your life brings true joy. Instead of wallowing in self-pity when things are not going the way you want them to, we must try to find the good in the circumstance. Something beautiful can be found in whatever season you are in. – good times and bad times. However, you must purposely look for it.

Just like the Israelites in captivity, many have allowed their circumstances to rule how they feel. They have ceased looking to God for joy.

Psalm 137:1- 4 NKJV
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land?

After going into captivity, the once joyful people stopped singing songs of praise and adoration to God. They allowed their grief to rule over their lives rather than remembering that God was with them and that He had a plan.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Romans 12:12 NKJV
“…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…”

DON’T BE DISCOURAGED

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DON’T BE DISCOURAGED

The dictionary describes discouragement as the act of being deprived of courage or confidence, being disheartened, or to hinder by disfavoring. Encountering discouragements and disappointments are normal emotions we all experience, even believers. However, we must guard against allowing them to negatively effect us. Psalm 137 is an example of what happens when discouragement and disappointment creep in.

Psalm 137:1-9 NKJV
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth– If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!” O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!”

The Israelites were taken into captivity and while there they became discouraged over their situation. They longed for the way things used to be and for what had been taken from them. They allowed the memories of the past to consume them so much that they stopped praising God. God is worthy of praise no matter what our situation or circumstance. Believers must praise God even in difficult ties.

Today there are believers that long for the past to such a degree that they have become discouraged in their spirit. They mourn for the past and in so doing they no longer praise of worship God the way He deserves to be worshipped. Basically they allow their circumstance to determine if God is worthy to be worshipped and praised or not. Discouragement with circumstances, family, friends, God, and with yourself are all a part of life. However, God can turn that discouragement into something positive if we allow Him to.

Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

Things To Remember
* Be truthful concerning your disappointment.
* Take a time out – sometimes being physically tired or weak can lead to discouragement.
* Take negative thoughts captive.
* Use Philippians 4:8 as a guide to your thoughts.
* Don’t replay the past over and over in your mind.
* Don’t dwell on your situation.
* Don’t place unrealistic expectations on others, or yourself.
* Remember that the disappoints and discouragements of this life are temporary.
* Don’t try to understand why things happen the way they do.
* Have a thankful heart.
* See things through God’s eyes.
* Draw closer to God (through prayer and reading His Word) – allow God to refresh you and encourage you.

My Thoughts From October 6, 2013

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My Thoughts From October 6, 2013

This morning as I was praying, I found myself praying that God would break every yoke, shatter every chain and set His people free. Then I heard a small still voice say, “I already have.” Immediately my thoughts went to our dog, Gunner.

Yesterday as I was walking into the back yard I realized that Gunner had pulled the swivel that he is chained to up out of the ground. I told him to sit and he did. Gunner knows where his chain will reach, his boundaries. When told to sit down, he did not realize that he was free.

Like Gunner, there are times that God’s children do not realize that they have been freed. Their yokes have been broken, their chains have been shattered, and they have been set free. After the thoughts of Gunner, the verse “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NKJV) came to mind. Instead of praying what I was, I felt urged to pray that God’s people would be delivered from a spirit of captivity.

May the sounds of the enemy be drowned out and may you walk in the freedom that God has given you through His Son Jesus Christ.

God Desires To Send, And He Has Promised Revival

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God Desires To Send, And He Has Promised Revival

God desires for there to be a revival of worship to Him, and there will be a great revival of worship to Him before Jesus returns. His glory (the manifest presence of God) will be experienced in a greater measure by the body of Christ (the church) than ever before. The true body of Christ will have a season of refreshing (renewed, restored, made pleasing) before the return of the Lord.

Acts 3:19-21 NKJV
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

2 Chronicles 7:13-16 NKJV
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”

Tabernacle Of David – A Revival Of Worship
Before the return of the Lord all the prophesies spoken by the prophets of long ago will be fulfilled..

Amos 9:11-15 NKJV
“ ‘On that day I will raise up
The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,
And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins,
And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom,
And all the gentiles who are called by My name,’
Says the Lord who does this thing.
‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord,
‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it,
I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them’
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,’
Says the Lord your God.”

It is the desire of God that His glory fill the earth. In the last days when the glory of God is manifest upon His people (the body of Christ) there will be an abundance of provision (material, physical and spiritual) and harvest (souls). However, we have a part to play in seeing that God’s desire is fulfilled. Sin cannot enter into the presence of God. No matter how much someone may say that they want to experience (and stay in) the glory of the Lord, they will not with sin in their life. Man cannot come into God’s presence without going by Jesus. There is a difference between stumbling upon the glory of God and the glory of God staying upon you, just as there is a difference between a visitation of the glory of God and a habitation of the glory of God.

Acts 15:16-17 NKJV
“ ‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the Lord who does all these things.’ ”

The tabernacle of David was a tent that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The manifest presence of God was seen there. We are to be the earthly tent that houses the manifest presence of God. The people joyfully worshiped God in the tabernacle of David. We too, are to joyfully worship God. Sacrifices of praise are to be continually offered up from us.

Psalm 95:1-3 NKJV
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.”

Psalm 100 NKJV
“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 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. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.”

The name David is a Hebrew word meaning beloved. The tabernacle of David is a type of the worship of the bride of Christ, the church. As the bride of Christ we are the beloved of God and we are the earthly house (tent) that should show forth the glory of God. The church is to joyfully offer up sacrifices of worship, praise, thanksgiving.

Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise
to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light.”

The church , the body of Christ, is to be the restored tabernacle of David, a place where God is worshiped in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24 NKJV
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who
worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

When the church removes the sin from within they will be able to worship God in spirit and in truth. Then they will see the glory of the Lord (the manifest presence of God) in their midst. Then the world around them will see the glory of the Lord in them and they too will seek the Lord.

Psalm 24 NKJV
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessings from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you 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.”

The tabernacle of David was a place of continual worship. It was also a place of voluntary worship. God did not order the tabernacle of David to be built – it came from David’s heart. The Bible tells us that David was a man after God’s heart. Like David, God desires for us to voluntary worship Him out of our love for Him.

Acts 13:22 NKJV
“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

We Need Revival

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Just like a person will never receive salvation unless they acknowledge their need for it, we will never have revival unless we acknowledge and confess our need for revival. We need revival in our own personal lives, in our churches, and in the world. The only hope for the people that are lost and on their way to hell is a holy people that are alive, awake and on fire for God.

If you think everything is okay you will never try to improve.

1. LOVE TOWARD GOD HAS GROWN COLD.

Matthew 24:12 NKJV
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

Speaking about the end-times Jesus makes a connection between lawlessness (sin, iniquity) and a cold relationship with God.

Revelation 2:1-5 NKJV
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”

A person can show brotherly love, kindness and affection towards others and still be cold in their love for God. If we desire to grow in our love for God then we must repent.

John 14:15 NKJV
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

2. PEOPLE’S HEARTS HAVE BECOME HARD (CALLUSED).
A callus is a toughened area of skin which has become relatively thick and hard in response to repeated friction, pressure, or other irritation. Since repeated contact is required to form a callus. Normally, a callus will form on any part of the skin exposed to friction over a long period of time. (Examples: the middle finger due to writing, fingers used to play a stringed instrument…)

A heart can become callused (hardened) by repeatedly resisting the Holy Spirit. It can also be caused by repeatedly failing to act upon what you have heard God speak to you through His Word, sermons/messages, or the Holy Spirit. Basically a callused heart is caused by ignoring the Holy Spirit.

After a heart becomes callused the person will feel less and less of the Holy Spirit’s convicting power and His warnings.

Proverbs 29:1 NKJV
“ He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

God will judge those who stubbornly reject His correction.

Hebrews 3:7-9 NKJV
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.”

Your heart can become callused even while sitting in the church or doing ministry work. When we hear the Word of God we must apply it to our daily lives.

James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

The Bible defines sin as to know to do right and not do it.

James 4:17 NKJV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

During Bible days, much like today, people love to hear powerful teachings but they fail to act upon or obey what they hear.

BIBLE EXAMPLE

Ezekiel 33:30-32 NKJV
“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.”

The people were eager to go to hear Ezekiel, and they would invite others to do so also, however they never applied it to their lives. They did not obey the Word that they heard. Their behavior did not match up to what they confessed as their beliefs.
Like those that went to listen to Ezekiel, there are many that attend church today as a form of entertainment or social gathering. Today many hear God’s Word but they do not put into practice what they hear.

3. PEOPLE HAVE BECOME COMPLACENT.
The dictionary describes complacence as self-satisfaction, complaisance (going along with the way things are), and unconcern (lack of care or interest, indifference).

Revelation 3:15-21 NKJV
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked– I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Complacency grows out of a false sense of security and it will eventually lead to a lukewarm relationship with God. Many in the body of Christ are satisfied with the status quo – they don’t want change, or they don’t see a need to change. People have become self-satisfied and half-hearted. Left unchecked complacency can eventually destroy a person..

Proverbs 1:32 NKJV
“For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them…”

4. COMPROMISING GOD’S STANDARDS OF HOLINESS.

1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV
“ but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

One meaning of compromise is a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial. It could also be described as making a dishonorable or shameful concession. In today’s world some believers make concessions or accommodations for those who do not agree with God’s standards. In so doing they allow the world to set their standards. God does not condone or overlook compromising His standards. Often times believers that refuse to compromise God’s standards of holiness are seen as intolerant. In today’s world intolerance is viewed as hate, however intolerance and hate are not the same. God loves everyone (even those in sin) but He will not tolerate (put up with) sin or compromises to His Word.

Leviticus 11:45 NKJV
“For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

If God has delivered you from “Egypt” (bondage or sin) then you are to be holy. Holiness is being set apart for God. As people set apart for God we must be obedient and submissive to His will and wholeheartedly devoted in our relationship with Him. We are not to compromise or deviate from His standards. We are to be holy because He is holy. We cannot truly be set apart for God and His purposes and plans when we compromise His standards, His laws, or His desires.

5. LACK OF CONCERN FOR THE LOST – THE UNSAVED ARE NO LONGER A BURDEN TO THEIR HEART.

2 Corinthians 5:18 NKJV
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…”

God desires that all will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and be restored into a right relationship with Him. As believers, the ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to us. We are to have the same concern for the lost that God has. However, throughout much of the body there is no longer a burning burden for the lost. The word burden is described as something carried (load), duty or responsibility.

Many believers and churches have lost the sense of urgency to reach the lost. How did this lack of concern creep into the body of Christ? A few reasons, but not all, are:

* Believers are too busy with their own life. The cares of life have overtaken them.

* Spiritual lethargy (lazy and apathetic)

* Lack compassion for the lost. Compassion can be described as seeing someone’s situation and desiring to do something about it to alleviate it. We must have the same compassion as Christ.

* The belief of universalism. Universalism is a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved.
People that believe in universalism …
believe that all people will be saved.
believe that a good and loving God would not condemn people to eternal torment in hell.
believe that after a certain cleansing period, God will free the inhabitants of hell and reconcile them to himself.
believe that after death, people will have another opportunity to choose God.
believe that there are many ways to get into heaven.
believe that in the end everyone will be brought into a right relationship with God
ignore the consequences of unrepented sin.

* The myth that it is the pastor’s job to reach the lost.

* Forgetting the past. Some believers have long forgotten what it was like to live in sin, without hope, lost and separated from God.

* Refusing to get out of the four walls of their church. They wait for the lost people to come to them instead of going to where the lost people are.

* Self-centeredness (concerned solely with their own desires, needs, or interests)

* Political correctness has crept into too many believer’s lives and churches. They have lost their fear of God – they would rather please man than God.

* Church busyness. Too many social activities and church programs within the church, to the point that believers are too busy to even care about those outside the church.

* Lack of prayer within the church. It is in our times of prayer and intimacy with God that He gives us His burdens.

* Forgetting that hell and the lake of fire are real, and those that go there will suffer for eternity. Too many today, even within the church, believe that hell and the lake of fire are not literal places.

6. SIN
God hates sin. Yes, He loves the sinner, but He hates sin. God takes sin very serious because He knows it will separate you from His presence. God hates wickedness and lawlessness.

Psalms 45:7 NKJV
“ You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

Hebrews 1:8-9 NKJV
“ But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

It is sad to say, but sin is just as prevalent in many churches as it is in the world.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Believers are to be different than the world. God has called believers to be in the world and not of the world, however too many are becoming just like the world. Instead of conforming to the Word of God they are allowing the world around them, and their flesh to conform them into the image of the world. Part of that conforming includes accepting sin – sins are often renamed so they don’t seem so bad.

Within the church today many…
* people fail to judge sin – in their own lives and within the church.

* believers are often accused of judging others or perceived as intolerant when they speak out against sin.

* people try to cover over secret sins.

* do not see sin as something that will cause a person to spend eternity in the lake of fire. They fail to take sin seriously.

* false teachers are preaching that God is love and He would not send anyone to hell, therefore there is no need to worry about sin. God is a God of love and a God of judgment to those who reject His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

7. THERE IS ANIMOSITY TOWARD OTHER BELIEVERS.
Animosity is a strong feeling of dislike, ill will, resentment, or an antagonistic attitude. Within the world and within the body of Christ, animosity runs rampant. Some causes of animosity between believers are differences in beliefs, personality clashes, conflicts, pride and contention. Whatever the cause, it does not come from God and we must guard against it.

When it comes to disagreeing with others in the true body of Christ, we should be able to do it without feelings of animosity. You can disagree with a person without having feelings of dislike or ill will toward them. You can disagree with a person and still love them. When it comes to what we believe we must focus on what God says in His Word. There will be times that you will have to agree to disagree and get on with your life and what God has called you to do.

There were times that the disciples disagreed with each other, but they never had animosity toward each other.

Example – Dispute Over Doctrine
Peter and Paul had a dispute over circumcision. Paul felt that Peter’s behavior and actions did not line up with his words concerning what he said about circumcision. Basically, Paul thought Peter was a hypocrite and that his actions could divide the church. Since Peter had a great spear of influence, Paul felt it necessary to address the issue with Peter.

Galatians 2:11-14 NKJV
“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

We must remember that Peter and Paul were both handpicked by God to spread the gospel. They had different callings therefore they did not see everything the same way. Even after their disagreement they both continued to serve God and they both had fruitful ministries. They did not have animosity toward each other even though they disagreed with each other.

Example: Dispute Over People

Paul and Barnabas disagreed over John Mark. Paul was adamant concerning John Mark not going with them on their journey. When Paul, Barnabas and John Mark had been in Pamphylia, John Mark had deserted them. The contention between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark was great. Instead of making this an issue within the church they parted ways and worked separately. Each one continued to serve the Lord and be faithful to Him.

Acts 15:30-41 NKJV
“So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles. However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. “

There are times that believers will not agree on details or aspects of ministry. When this happens it is sometimes better to go your separate ways. We must note that Barnabas did not use his position, he was a representative at the Jerusalem council, to speak against Paul or to try to alienate Paul from ministry. They simply went their separate ways and continued in ministry. To often today when people disagree in ministry one of them will use their position or power to alienate the other from ministry or to force them out of ministry. The “if you disagree with me you are out” mentality has no place in the body of Christ.

Luke 9:49-50 NKJV
“Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”

In the above passage Jesus is responding to a statement made by John. John though just because they did not know the man and he was not part of their group that he should not be ministering. This attitude is still in the world today.

Sometimes when a person goes their separate way and continues to minister they are thought of as being out of God’s will. Even though someone may not be in your circle it does not mean that they should be stopped or that God can’t or won’t use them for advancing His kingdom.

Jesus did not say the man John objected to was in sin, or a false teacher or anything like that. Therefore, we can assume that John based his objection to the man solely on the fact that he was not part of their group. The same still goes on in the church at large today.

Acts 5:38-39 NKJV
“And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.”

The counsel that Gamaliel gave the Jewish Sanhedrin lines up with the teachings of Jesus, regardless of the motive in his heart (Gamaliel) when he said it. We must guard against allowing animosity in our heart because in the end we could be fighting against God, which is a very scary thought.

8. UNFORGIVENESS
Hurts within the church happen everyday. People hurt pastors…pastors hurt people…people hurt people…pastors hurt pastors….that’s just a fact of life. Hurts can lead to unforgiveness and unforgiveness effects everyone in a church – either directly or indirectly. Because of that we must guard against an unforgiving spirit. Unforgiveness HURTS you more than the other person – forgiveness HELPS you more than the other person.

Forgive means to:
* to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)
* to stop blaming (someone)
* to stop feeling anger about (something)
* to forgive someone for (something wrong)
* to stop requiring payment of
* to give up resentment (a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury) of
* to give up claim to requital (something given in return, compensation, or retaliation)
* to cease to feel resentment against

Forgiveness is described as the act of forgiving someone or something and the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people. It can be defined as letting go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is not a feeling, but a decision to let go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is purposely deciding (a mental decision) not to hold others sins/wrongs against them. Forgiveness is extending loving mercy to those who have hurt us. God has instructed us to forgive throughout the Bible. A few examples are:

Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV
“ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 NKJV
“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Some hindrances to forgiving are thinking that you have to forget in order to forgive, thinking that trust and forgiveness are the same thing, and thinking that forgiveness eliminates the consequences of what has been done.

Forgiving and Forgetting
When you forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you will forget. You don’t have to forget the hurt in order to forgive the person. There is a difference between a scar and a scab. When a wound is completely healed a scar is sometimes left behind. A scab on the other hand is a wound that is still in the healing process. When you have a scar many times you don’t even notice it, but from time to time you eye may catch a glimpse of it and remember the wound that use to be there.
So it is with forgiving. You may never truly forget what happened, and from time to time those memories will try to creep in, but you can choose to forgive and move on with your life. FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE NOT A FEELING.

Trust and Forgiveness
Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. When a person is hurt many times it will cause them to loose their trust in the person who hurt them. Trust is a fragile thing. Once trust has been broken, it takes time to be restored. Sometimes it takes many years to rebuild the trust between people and sometimes it never will be. For some people they will have to forgive and move on without attempting to restore trust. Just because you do not trust someone doesn’t mean that you can’t wish them blessings. Sometimes you must do this from a distance. You don’t have to trust everyone. NOT TRUSTING A PERSON IS NOT A SIN.

Forgiveness and Consequences
Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate the consequences of what has been done. There will still be consequences even when forgiveness is given. However, we must leave the consequences up to God and not take matters into our own hands.

Luke 17:1 NKJV
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”

Jesus Himself said that it was impossible for there to be no offenses. He did not say for us to get even with the offenders ourselves. He said woe to him through whom they (offenses) do come. The word woe in the Greek is ouai and is more than just an expression of a feeling – it is a judgment. It is not our place to try to get back at someone because of an offense. God will take care of it, that’s not our job. GOD IS THE JUDGE, NOT US.

Luke 6:37 NKJV
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Dear Father,
I choose this day to forgive everyone who has, or who I think has, wronged me or my family. I choose not to hold on to anger, hurt, resentment, or bitterness. I choose to walk in love and forgiveness. I pray blessings on each of these people. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to have a godly mindset.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

9. PRIDE WITHIN THE CHURCH
Pride is a great hindrance to revival because it keeps people from seeking God. It can keep the unsaved from coming to Christ for salvation, it can keep the sick from coming to God for healing, it can keep the bound from coming to God for freedom……

Pride is an infectious and dangerous attitude that has crept into many churches today. It effects the decisions a person (leaders, members and attendees) makes therefore, it can infect an entire church.

Mark 7:20-23 NKJV
“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Pride comes from inside a person – from their heart. Within the body of Christ, pride manifests itself in various ways. Some are: division, critical spirits, gossip, mockery, self-satisfaction, quarrels, compliancy, and condemnation of other believers who do not believe as they do.

In some churches the leaders are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God. While they may not express that attitude with their lips, they do with their actions. Everything they do is about their will, their plans, and their dreams, not God’s. They are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts and desires are far from God.

Psalm 10:4 NKJV
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

What is pride?
Pride can be defined as:
excessive confidence or glorification in one’s self, possessions
giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished.
taking the glory that belongs to God.
self-worship.
the opposite of humility.
an attempt to replace God.
a form of self-righteousness.

What does God think about pride?
God is very clear in His Word that pride is a sin. Pride is a sin and sin cannot enter into the presence of God, both here and in heaven.

Proverbs 8:13 NKJV
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Psalm 10:3-4 NKJV
“For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

Proverbs 16:5 NKJV
“Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV
“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

What are the consequences of pride?
Destruction ( in the church and in individual lives)
A spiritual fall
Oppression
Not allowed in the presence of God.
Disregard, disrespect and disobedience to God.
It places stumbling blocks in front of people.
It keeps people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
It will send a person to hell.

Guard against pride.

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

Everyone must guard their heart against pride because pride will…
* keep someone from helping others because they think the other person doesn’t deserve help.
* keep someone from asking God ( or others) for forgiveness because they don’t feel that they were wrong.
* cause a person to boast or brag about what they have or what they have done.
* cause a person to take the credit ( or glory) for something that God has done.
* cause a person to think more of themselves than they should.
* will cause a person to become their own god. They begin to replace God with themselves.
* cause a person to do what they want (their own will) instead of what God wants.
* keep a person from rejoicing with others over blessings / promotions because they will feel like they deserved it more.
* keep a person from seeking God for answers, wisdom or knowledge because they think they have all the answers.
* keep a person from studying God’s Word because they think they know it all already.

10. LACK OF CONVICTION
Could it be that churches and believers have left the Holy Spirit out of their lives and churches by being more concerned in pleasing man than in pleasing God?
Within the churches have they been more interested in making friends (social clubs) than making disciples?
Have churches quenched and grieved the Spirit for so long that they don’t even realize it?

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. He desires to minister in our churches but we must allow Him to. We can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by refusing to follow His leading – by disobeying Him. Another way to grieve and quench the Holy Spirit is by planning and scheduling Him completely out of the service. When people enter into our churches they need to have an encounter with God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, not an encounter with man.

There is something very wrong when backslidden and unsaved people feel very comfortable sitting in churches listening to sermons and not feeling the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. They come, they listen and they leave unchanged. Will God hold us accountable for this?

Ezekiel 3:18-21 NKJV
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

If the church really believed that they are God’s watchman in this world would they do whatever it takes to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell in their midst? It is the Holy Spirit that convicts a person of sin, wrong and bad habits. Without His presence in our midst we are hopelessly lost.

Everyone needs the Holy Spirit …
We need His convicting power and presence in our churches.
We need His convicting power and presence in our individual lives.
The backslidden and the prodigals need His convicting power.
Those that have never accepted salvation need His convicting power in their lives.

11. MAN’S AGENDAS
Agenda can be described as a list or outline of things to be considered or done. It can also be described as an underlying plan or program. God had a plan and agenda for the church long before it was ever formed.

* Man has his own agendas, and they usually conflict with God’s agenda. Often today we see churches where the leaders and the people are concerned more about their own agendas than God’s. There are even churches that have a scheduled order of service that is so strict it schedules a move of the Holy Spirit right out of it.

* Are churches more interested in being a social club or a house of prayer? God’s agenda is not for churches to try to be the biggest and best church around. Many look more like a social club or civic organization than they do a house of God.

* There are some leaders in the church that use the church for personal advancement – both monetarily advancement and position / power. Their plans are implemented according to their own desires and in such a way that it is a positive addition to their resume or their portfolio.

* Within the church man’s agenda is often dictated by worldly viewpoints, secular influences and unsanctified lifestyles, not by prayer.

* Often times churches are more interested in making attendees rather than disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”

* During services many churches spend more time on announcements and greeting each other than they do greeting God, welcoming the Holy Spirit, praying or worshipping God. God calls His people together to worship Him, not to worship church.

A house of prayer
According to Jesus the church was to be a house of prayer. Jesus was very interested in the sanctification (set apart for God) and purity of the temple. Twice in His ministry Jesus was enraged at what He saw going on in the temple.

At the beginning of His ministry.

John 2:13-16 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

At the end of His ministry.

Matthew 21:11-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Mark 11:15-19 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Jesus said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” A thief can be described as someone that takes something that doesn’t belong to them. While we don’t have people sitting around in our foyers today selling things in a fraudulent manner, we could be described as a den of thieves in a way. Some churches have stolen God’s agenda and replaced it with their own. Instead of God being honored, worshipped and glorified, man is.

When the church is a house of prayer, one that is pure and set apart for God, it will be the voice that boldly proclaims the good news with power that totally changes people. Just maybe it is time to go through the church, and its agendas, with the Word of God. When the church seeks God’s agenda and lines up their services, ministries and outreaches accordingly great things will happen, the kingdom of God will increase, and disciples will be made.

12. SPIRITUAL DETERIORATION
Deterioration is described as the action or process of becoming impaired or inferior in quality, functioning, or condition.

Revelation 3:1 NKJV
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

Spiritual deterioration does not happen all at once – it is usually little by little. Often spiritual deterioration comes without our awareness.

Judges 16:18-21 NKJV
“When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison”

Samson had the power of God upon him, but he played around with sin and was found helpless in the face of the enemy because he was unaware that God’s power had left him. Like Samson many believers and churches are playing around with sin. Things that God calls sin are no longer considered sin in the eyes of many. The sins have been renamed in an attempt to make them sound more acceptable. And just like Samson, one day they will realize that they have allowed spiritual deterioration to creep in, and that God‘s anointing is no longer upon them. Hopefully they will wake up from their slumber and repent before it is too late.

Some signs of spiritual deterioration are:
Avoiding fellow believers
Careless concerning the things of God
Cease to desire to worship God in spirit and in truth
Declining faith
Delusions
Greater emphasis on number of attendees or members than on the presence of God
Hardness of heart
Heresies
Indifference to the Word of God
Lack of personal discipline
No desire to pray
No desire to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Oblivious to the reality of the occult and spiritual realm
People want to be entertained
Persistent doubts concerning God’s Word
Religious errors
Seeing praise and worship as just a song service
Substituting fellowship with God with fellowship with people
Talk begins to change
Unteachable spirit

13. LACK OF VICTORY IN THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS
There are too many believers with a defeated sprit, mindset or attitude.

A defeated sprit, mindset or attitude can…
* hinder God’s blessing.
* lead to anxiety and insecurity.
* cause unbelief.

Defeated Spirit
Oppression is often the source of worry, stress, or anxiety. Demon oppression involves a demon attacking a person spiritually. Demons will try to cause a person to worry or fear. The Bible is very clear about where worry and fear come from – they do not come from God. A defeated spirit is often characterized by a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”

Psalm 42:5 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.”

Psalm 42:11 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Psalm 43:4-5 NKJV
“Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Don’t allow Satan or the other fallen angels (demons) to gain access into your life through worry or fear.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Psalm 55:22 NKJV
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be
moved.”

God has told us in His Word, not to worry and that worrying does not help.

Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”

Oppression over a long period of time can lead to depression. Depression can come from several things: a physical reason/disorder, a demonic attack, or by opening the door to demonic influences through sin. Not all depression comes from a physical or mental disorder, and not all depression come from a demonic influence. However, it does not matter where it comes from because Jesus paid the price for freedom from all oppression and depression.

Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Instead of worrying about something, a believer needs to immediately give the problem or situation to the Lord. Not only can He work things out, He sympathizes with us. In Him we will always find the exact help we need, mixed with mercy and grace.

Defeated Attitude
A believer’s attitude has an effect on them, both physical, psychological and spiritually. We are instructed to have the same attitude as Christ.

Philippians 2:5
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

People with a defeated mindset or attitude…
* are unable, or unwilling, to forgive themselves.
* desire to blame others
* dwell on the past.
* engage in self-defeating talk
* fear failure.
* fear making mistakes.
* make negative assumptions – about themselves and/or others.
* make negative comparison with others.
* tend to have a victim mentality.

Your attitude will determine your victory, or lack of it. The twelve spies are a good example of this.

Numbers 13:1-3 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.”

Numbers 13: 27-33 NKJV
“Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:1-34 NKJV
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” And Moses said to the Lord: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord– because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.” And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.”

Moses choose twelve men and sent them to spy on the land of Canaan. The twelve men found that the land is rich and fertile, that giants lived in the land, and that the cities were large and fortified. Upon their return Caleb and Joshua had a good report concerning the land and a winning attitude, however the other ten gave a negative report and they had a defeated attitude. The people chose to go with the defeated attitude and it cost them the promised land. For forty years they wandered around in the desert. Like them, there are believers that seem to always be wandering around, never getting anywhere. God has many promises for them, but they are hindered because of their negative attitude.

Inability to overcome temptation and sin.
A believer should not be under the power of sin. God, through Jesus, has given us the victory over sin. Sin in the life of a believer dishonors the name of the Jesus, cause you to not experience true joy and power, and it destroying your testimony.

James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

It is possible to resist the devil or God would not have instructed us to. Resist means to withstand, strive against, or oppose in some manner. If a believer wants the devil to flee from them, they must first submit to God and they must resist the devil. Resisting the devil must be accompanied by submitting to God. The devil will not flee from a disobedient or unsubmissive believer – they will not see victory over temptation.

There will always be temptations that come our way. When they do come, don’t play with them. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to act upon that temptation.

Submit To God’s Authority
Submit means to place oneself under the authority of another. When we submit to God, we surrender our lives to His authority and control. All areas of our lives are to be submitted to God and placed under His authority. Sometimes believers do not walk in total victory is because they haven’t totally submitted to God and His authority. Instead of giving God every area of their lives they try to hold back a certain part of it to control themselves. With God it is all or nothing – He will not be a partial ruler or a co-ruler.

Commit To The Lord
When a believer truly commits to God they can live in victory. They can calmly and fearlessly confront, and overcome any situation that may arise. If you want to walk in victory commit yourself to God.

* Commit your sprit, mind and attitude to God
* Commit your past, your present, and your future.
* Give God control of your life and the lives of your family.
* Don’t hold anything back from God.
* Give God your sins and your failures.
* Give God your hopes, dreams and plans.

14. PEOPLE ARE ASLEEP AND THEY CANNOT DISCERN THE TIME THAT WE ARE LIVING IN.

Mark 13:35-36 NKJV
“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping”

As a believer we are to be spiritually awake – not asleep. We are to watch for Jesus’ return, and be sober or serious about it and the things that God has instructed us to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober”

Throughout time many people have been spiritually asleep. People were asleep when Jesus was born. People were asleep when Jesus was arrested, tried and convicted. And, people will be asleep when Jesus returns. Our attention must be on God and on Jesus’ soon return. We are to keep a lookout for Jesus so that when He returns we won’t find ourselves unprepared.
When Jesus returns will He find the church slumbering?

Vigilance in commitment must be the order of each day. There is no such thing as partial commitment – you are either committed or you are not. The parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents are two examples of this. In the end the five foolish virgins and the lazy servant were all rejected.

The Ten Virgins
In the parable of the ten virgins five of them were vigilant and five of them were not. Those that were not watchful and alert were not prepared when the bridegroom came. They had neglected to do completely do what was required – they had not taken any oil for their lamps. To a degree they were watching for the bridegroom, but not completely.

Matthew 25:1-13 NKJV
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

The Parable Of The Talents
In the parable of the talents three servants were each given a talent(s). Two of the servants used the talents to the greatest extent possible, however the third one did not. That servant was not vigilant about doing the master’s work. To a degree he prepared for the master’s return, but not completely.

Matthew 25:14-28 NKJV
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.”

15. DISCOURAGEMENT IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
The dictionary describes discouragement as the act of being deprived of courage or confidence, being disheartened, or to hinder by disfavoring. Encountering discouragements and disappointments are normal emotions we all experience, even believers. However, we must guard against allowing them to negatively effect us. Psalm 137 is an example of what happens when discouragement and disappointment creep in.

Psalm 137:1-9 NKJV
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth– If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!” O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!”

The Israelites were taken into captivity and while there they became discouraged over their situation. They longed for the way things used to be and for what had been taken from them. They allowed the memories of the past to consume them so much that they stopped praising God. God is worthy of praise no matter what our situation or circumstance. Believers must praise God even in difficult times.

Today there are believers that long for the past to such a degree that they have become discouraged in their spirit. They mourn for the past and in so doing they no longer praise of worship God the way He deserves to be worshipped. Basically they allow their circumstance to determine if God is worthy to be worshipped and praised or not. Discouragement with circumstances, family, friends, God, and with yourself are all a part of life. However, God can turn that discouragement into something positive if we allow Him to.

Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

Things To Remember
* Be truthful concerning your disappointment.
* Take a time out – sometimes being physically tired or weak can lead to discouragement.
* Take negative thoughts captive.
* Use Philippians 4:8 as a guide to your thoughts.
* Don’t replay the past over and over in your mind.
* Don’t dwell on your situation.
* Don’t place unrealistic expectations on others.
* Remember that the disappoints and discouragements of this life are temporary.
* Don’t try to understand why things happen the way they do.
* Have a thankful heart.
* See things through God’s eyes.
* Draw closer to God (through prayer and reading His Word) – allow God to refresh you and encourage you.

16. LACK OF TRUE JOY IN THE HOUSE OF GOD.
True joy only comes from God. Too many times people are looking for things or other people to give them joy. When that does not materialize they keep looking somewhere else. Often times these people are continually discouraged. Up one day and down the next.

Things or people will not give a person true joy. Knowing that all is right between you and God and that He is always with you, no matter what you are going through, and that He has a plan for your life brings true joy. Instead of wallowing in self-pity when things are not going the way you want them to, we must try to find the good in the circumstance. Something beautiful can be found in whatever season you are in. – good times and bad times. However, you must purposely look for it.

Just like the Israelites in captivity, many have allowed their circumstances to rule how they feel. They have ceased looking to God for joy.

Psalm 137:1- 4 NKJV
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land?

After going into captivity, the once joyful people stopped singing songs of praise and adoration to God. They allowed their grief to rule over their lives rather than remembering that God was with them and that He had a plan.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Romans 12:12 NKJV
“…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…”