Thursday, September 22, 2011

Investing Your Talents

James 2:26
     "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Are you living for Jesus? I mean, is your whole heart sold out to Him so that every fiber of your being lives for Him on a daily basis? Or, are you lukewarm in your relationship with Christ? Maybe you love to hear the good news preached - as it tickles your ears. Or, perhaps you really enjoy hearing others testify of their faith. But you? Well, you're just not there, yet. 

The Lord is very specific in the scriptures that He wants our whole heart (Psalm 138:1 & Jeremiah 24:7). He wants our absolute allegiance because He knows that it is only through our complete surrender that we position ourselves to receive the blessings He so lovingly desires to give to each of us.

In thinking of giving him your whole heart, I have a couple of questions for you today:

1) Are you born-again? Do you know the time and the place where you chose to follow Christ and repented from your sin? You must be born-again in order to see the Kingdom of God come to pass in your life! - John 3:3

2) Are you plugged into a Bible believing church? The Bible tells us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. - Hebrews 10:25

3) Are you using your time, talents and resources for His glory? I am thinking of the parable in Matthew 25:14-30 where each servant is given a certain amount of talents and time, but the person who received only one talent was afraid to invest and so he hid his one talent in the ground until his master returned. This did not make his master very happy - at all.

God has called each of us into His ministry here on earth.  Now, it doesn't necessarily mean that each of us is to be an "official" apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher (Ephesians 4:11),  but it does mean that we each have a unique gift - or perhaps many gifts - that are to be used in the body of Christ for the growth and expansion of the Kingdom of God.  In fact, Romans 12:1 says that we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice because that is our reasonable service to the Lord.

So, how are YOU using your gifts for the glory of God?  How are you presenting your body as a living sacrifice unto the Lord?  I remind you that the evil servant in Matthew 25 who was afraid to invest his talent was stripped of his one gift when his master returned (Matthew 25:28).  So, no matter whether you are rich or poor; whether you have many skills or just one; whether you are outgoing or rather quiet in nature; or, whether you are young or old - God wants YOU to participate in His Kingdom Work with what you have!

So, whether giving Time, Talents, or Resources, know that God has placed each of us in His body so that we all work together to accomplish His Will.  Every Christian has something to give.  He has made sure that every individual has something they can do.  Let's not sit back and expect everyone else to do the work of the Kingdom fo God, because God's Word is very clear, He wants our whole heart and He wants us to participate in His daily agenda in this life.

As we use what we have, He promises He will muliply back to us even more!

Matthew 25:14-46 KJV

"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

In Christ,
Deborah Ross  

PS - Thank you for donating your TIME, TALENTS and RESOURCES toward this ministry!  You are a blessing!  And, you are the hands and feet of Jesus working through every project, every message, and every gift given by Deborah Ross Ministries!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Need the Holy Ghost by David Wilkerson

Hello There:  I just read this article from David Wilkerson, August 13, 1990, that I thought was very interesting.  I hope you enjoy it!

You Need the Holy Ghost by David Wilkerson 8/13/1990 

Some of you have been saved for a number of years, some perhaps a year, and some just months or a few weeks. Being saved from sin is wonderful! Old things fade away - and all things become new, I am so glad you're saved!

But to be a good soldier in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ, it's not enough just to be saved. There is much more for you! You need to be baptized with the Holy Ghost!

In Paul's time, some believers didn't even know there was a Holy Ghost.  "He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him. We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost"; (Acts 19:2). These people were saved, but it is clear they were not filled or baptized with the Holy Ghost.

I believe we are saved through the power and ministry of the Holy Ghost. But Scripture tells us that in addition to this, there is also a baptizing, an infilling, a possessing that the Holy Ghost does in us! Jesus Himself did not send His disciples and followers into the world until they were baptized with the Holy Ghost. Certainly His disciples had pure hearts. They had faith to heal the sick, to cast out devils. They had the word of the Lord and already had been preaching Christ and gaining converts. They were witnesses to His resurrection. What more could there be? They were willing to die for Jesus! Wasn't their love for Him enough to send them into the world to do His work?

Beloved, none of that was enough! Clearly, there was more: "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 Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

These great apostles - this inner circle of followers who knew Him so intimately, who had done such mighty works, who had been baptized in water and fully taught by Christ - needed still to be baptized with the Holy Ghost!

"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 they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4).

The need for the Holy Ghost was evident after Philip went down to Samaria. He saw a great move of God there: "Then Philip... preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.... And there was great joy in that city.... Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John" (Acts 8:5-7, 14).

God's "Holy Ghost Squad" came down! There had been signs and wonders, miracles, unclean spirits fleeing, people crying out to God. The city was full of joy because of all these things! Yet there was still more! "(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost" (Acts 8:16-17).

We have another example in Cornelius. He was a devout believer, "one that feared God with all his house... (who) prayed to God always"; and was a kind and generous man as well. He and his family were pure and holy, their hearts wholly given to the Lord. Yet his devout heart told him there was more.

Cornelius sent for Peter at the direction of an angel. When Peter arrived, he preached for a while - and suddenly the Holy Ghost fell on the people: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished... because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.... Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized" (Acts 10:44-48).

[This Scripture clearly settles the issue that water baptism is not the baptism of the Holy Ghost. "John indeed baptized with water: but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 11:16).]

Even after his dramatic conversion experience with Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul needed the Holy Ghost. He was hidden in a room in the city, broken in spirit and receiving a glorious revelation of Jesus Christ! God sent Ananias to him with the word that Saul was a special, chosen vessel for the Lord. Yet, still, Saul needed the Holy Ghost to fall on him:

"And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized" (Acts 9:17-18).

You Need the Holy Ghost to Help you Break with the World Once and for All! When the Holy Ghost baptizes you, He takes over! "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The Holy Ghost comes to drive out all the remaining claims of the old sinful life! He purges all evil powers. He puts down all rule and authority of the enemy. He raises up a holy standard, and He notifies Satan and his demon hordes that this temple belongs wholly to Jesus! "All principalities and powers of darkness, take heed: Your claims is lost! This is my house, and I have moved in to make Jesus Lord of this body, soul and mind!"

If you have the Spirit of Truth, you will soon line up with God's Word and love to do so! He begins to reveal the mind of Christ to you. And when you read and hear the Word, you tremble and have the power to obey!

The first message He discloses is this: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26).

I have often wondered how those calling themselves Christians can distort the Word of God - how they can read the clear warnings contained in the Bible and yet ignore them. They lead a double life! They invent their own standards and mix freely with the world. They are two people - split personalities. One part continues to do everything sinful and evil, while the other one says, "But that's not me. The real me loves Jesus!"

Scripture makes this division clear: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?... And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you" (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). How can any lover of Jesus miss or distort this?

How can an actor and actress play in raunchy, sex-and-violence movies and say with a straight face,"God told me to"? How can Christians rent evil movies or go to filthy places and say, "I am a witness for Jesus"? It is because the Spirit of truth is not in them! They need the Holy Ghost to come in and open their blinded eyes!

Jesus said, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John  14:16-17).

All the preaching, counseling and Bible reading you can absorb will be dead to you unless you have the Holy Ghost living in you! He makes you to understand and know it is God speaking! Some in our church here in New York have heard these words and warnings over and over again. Yet, after a year or two, they are still babies - still not separated, still half in the world. Why? It is because they don't have the Holy Ghost! He has not yet been called upon to possess the temple of their body! They still have control of their body - and they don't want to yield control to Him!

You need the Holy Ghost, for He is the Spirit of Truth who "shall teach you all things." You won't be sidetracked by a distorted, compromised gospel. "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:13-14).

Holy Ghost Baptism Is For You! Do you really want the Holy Ghost? Do you want Him to fall upon you and baptize you with fire? You have to be convinced this is for you. You must come to the place where you know you are nothing, have nothing and can do nothing without the power and leading of the Holy Ghost.

You must know He is still baptizing, still falling upon believers - possessing their bodies! "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:38-39).

Every hour of every day, multitudes worldwide are being baptized with the Holy Ghost! They have read of this promise in the Bible or have heard it preached. So they cried out claiming the promise, and they have been baptized!

The baptism is especially for those living in these last days. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh... I will pour out in those days of my Spirit" (Acts 2:17-18).

Jesus told a parable about a certain man who got up at midnight, went to a friend's house and asked for three loaves of bread (Luke 11:5-13). This parable is about the need for the Holy Ghost - about seeking, asking and knocking!

This man had been in his home when a friend arrived from a long journey and was hungry. But the man had nothing to give him. This represents a lack of power, spiritual weakness! So the man who had nothing to give went to the one who had bread.

This man who had nothing to give needed the power of the Holy Ghost. He was desperate!

Beloved, it is midnight and you have family and friends who are hungry and needy - yet in yourselves you have nothing to offer. You need the Holy Ghost! And He is yours for the asking: "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13).

God wants you to live and walk in the Spirit. You should not have to run to find someone else to meet a person's need. You are called to speak the Word of God as the Spirit moves on you, and to lay hands on the sick and cast out devils just as the apostles did. We are all called to be witnesses who are full of the Holy Ghost and power!

You Must Realize You Do Not Have All Jesus Wants You to Have Unless You Are Baptized With the Holy Ghost! John the Baptist preached, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire" (Luke 3:16).

Beloved, the Bible makes it very clear: When Jesus comes to you, He desires to baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire! The Holy Ghost brings fire - a red-hot, consuming love for Jesus. Why are so many believers hot one minute and then cold the next, never totally yielded, never sold out? Is it because they refuse to let Jesus baptize them with the Holy Ghost?

"When (the Holy Ghost) is come, He will reprove... of sin" (John 16:8). Could it be that these believers are not convicted because the Holy Ghost has not yet moved in - that He has never been invited to take His rightful place in them? If the Holy Ghost were in residence He would be convicting, convincing, probing - holding them to the Word. He is God's plumb line. Anything that does not measure up to Christ, He reveals - and He convicts us and empowers us to conform to His Word! Truly He becomes our Comforter in this, because as He convicts us of sin He empowers us to remove it. That is true comfort!

You Must Be Willing to Let Go of Decorum! That is Your Pride: Etiquette - Primness - Starchiness! In both the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Ghost fell upon people in the most unusual ways! He shook buildings. People's tongues began to praise Him - in new tongues. The Holy Ghost took full control!

At Pentecost he came with a mighty, rushing wind! Fire fell! "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2;4). Can you imagine what this crowd looked like to passersby - 120 people, all preaching and praising God at the same time and in different tongues? It must have looked like drunken chaos!

When the Holy Ghost comes down, things get shaken up. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:31).

Some say, "The Spirit came down at Pentecost. We don't need to pray for Him to fall on us now." But throughout the Book of Acts, after Pentecost, the Holy Ghost was still falling on believers!

He fell at the house of Cornelius: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them" (Acts 10:44). Again, they spoke with tongues!

He fell at Ephesus: "The Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6).

The Holy Ghost will never make you do anything stupid. But He will come upon you in such a way that sinners may think you are drunk! He is not welcome in many churches because He is thought to be too noisy, too upsetting, too unpredictable!

The Holy Ghost Is Received by Faith! "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:2). Saints, this message should ignite your faith, - and by faith you should lay hold of God's great promises! "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord" (James 1:6-7).

The Lord says, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10). Praying for the gift of tongues should not be our focus; we ought to pray to be baptized in the Holy Ghost - and speaking in tongues is an expression of His indwelling.

Have you asked God for this gift? Are you seeking the Holy Ghost? Are you continually knocking? "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13).

Simply ask and you will receive! Seek your heavenly Father for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and He will give it to you!

Here in New York City we have come to realize our desperate need to be constantly filled with the Holy Ghost, always dependent on His power and presence, and fully trusting in His ability to do the impossible. For example, we have been led to pray for HARD CASES - praying in the Holy Ghost for the salvation of those considered too far gone to be saved: the pornographers, the drug dealers - the evil-minded big-shot business men who have lost all sense of morality.

We are witnessing great miracles as a result. The most wicked, evil-minded sinners are being strangely convicted by the Holy Ghost: and they are getting right with God.

The Holy Ghost is the HOUND OF HEAVEN, and He is hunting down sinners and the backslidden everywhere. They are falling under an incredible "misery," and are beginning to hate their sin for the first time. They are feeling an urge to seek spiritual help. That, my friends, is the powerful ministry of the Holy Ghost.

We face a mad devil on the loose in our world today. He is unleashing all the power at his command; and legions of evil powers are digging in for the final conflict with heaven. It is going to take more than the dead, powerless religion practiced by most denominations. Our modern church programs are silly - carnal - and the laughing stock of hell. Demonic hordes will simply walk all over backslidden, apostate Christians and pastors. Unclean, unholy Christians are weak, powerless and afraid of Satan's power. They can no more stop the onslaught of Satan than an ant can stop an armored tank.

But Satan cannot stand up to a righteous, Holy Ghost-filled child of God who walks in faith and obedience. Show me a truly Holy Ghost-possessed believer, and I'll show you one who puts the legions of hell to chase.

We don't need bigger churches or more Christian TV or more sophisticated religious methods! We need more Holy Ghost-baptized saints - separated and sanctified - who will live and walk and talk in the power given them! We need to be on our faces crying out to God for a fresh Pentecost: that the Holy Ghost would again fall upon us, our churches, our pastors and evangelists - and rid ourselves once and for all of everything profane and fleshly.

God, send the Holy Ghost! Fall upon us! Baptize us mightily. And send us forth against satanic strongholds with an uncompromising faith that He will prevail in our day!