I asked one of my students today: Do you want to stay in our summer camp? She replied: “Yes, I want to advance in belt, but I am not sure I am ready.” I assured her: You are not ready, however, that is the reason you are in this camp Monday to Thursday from 9 to 5. That is the reason you are working so hard. If you work hard and give me 100% I will make sure you are ready come test time.
Many of us are not ready for our next level in the Lord, but that should not discourage us…the question is: Are you allowing the Lord to take you to the next level? If you do, HE will make sure you get there!
Last Sermon at our 3:00 PM Service. This is a Testimony of my life during the last eight years.
May the Lord give you an Upper Room experience all the days of your life. May you never leave the Carpenter’s Shop so that the Lord may continue to do a deep work in you. May the Lord fill you with Abundant Hope so that you never be depressed; may you indeed be blessed with New Hope every single morning. May you be successful in your Community Outreach. May you experience a revival greater than Welch. May the Lord show you the promise land of your destiny from Mount Nebo. May you be able to enter and conquer everything that the Lord has for you. May you always live with the excitement of a New Vision, may you always find yourself in Higher Grounds and may you always find your way in the midst of many Crossroads. This is my prayer…in Jesus name…Amen!
Thank you to all the pastors I had the honor to develop a relationship with: Pastor Sandy, Pastor Jon, Pastor García, Pastor David Metz, Bishop Griffin, Pastor Griffin, Pastor Wallace, Pastor Erick, Pastor James Brown, Pastor Faircloth Jr., Pastor Ray Faircloth Senior and others.
Every statistic concerning the absence of fathers is alarming. Fatherhood.org reports the following:
“According to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data, over 24 million children live apart from their biological fathers. That is 1 out of every 3 (33%) children in America. Nearly 2 in 3 (64%) African American children live in father-absent homes. One in three (34%) Hispanic children, and 1 in 4 (25%) white children live in father-absent homes. In 1960, only 11% of children lived in father-absent homes.”
Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.” See more at: http://www.fatherhood.org/media/fatherhood-statistics#sthash.jRAqfHb3.dpuf
As alarming as these statistics are, they are a reflection of an even greater and deeper problem. We have a greater crisis of spiritual fathers. First Corinthians 15:46 tells us:
“…the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual…” (NKJV)
In the Body of Christ we can find good Supervisors, great CEOs, but fathers are very rare. This is nothing new. In First Corinthians 4:14-15 Paul stated:
“14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (NKJV)
The word Instructor is the Greek word Paidagōgós meaning: Instructor or teacher of children, a schoolmaster, a pedagogue. This is where we get the word Pedagogy, meaning Education.
The word “Father” comes from the Greek word patḗr; gen. patéros contracted patrós, masc. noun. Its etymology is uncertain. A father, spoken generally of men and in a special sense of God. Progenitor, ancestor, father, mentor, or model. Another definition for Father is “One who is responsible for having guided another into faith or into a particular pattern of behavior—‘spiritual father, leader in the faith.” 
What Paul is telling us in First Corinthians 4:14-15 is that we have teachers everywhere, but spiritual leaders that take the time to guide spiritual sons are indeed rare. We have a great deal of ministers looking for fathers. Many men are not growing up with their biological fathers. It is sad to say, that they also find themselves without a spiritual father in their lives. Malachi 4:5-6 tells us:
“5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (NKJV)
One of the tragedies of these days is that there are fathers whose hearts are beginning to turn towards their children, but the children want absolutely nothing to do with their parents. I am talking about a rebellious generation that, together with careless fathers, is bringing forth a curse to our land.
The whole Old Testament ended with a statement that gives us a powerful insight on the importance of fathers in this world. The “dreadful day of the Lord” is the time at the very end of this age known as The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath. These bowls are found in Revelation 16.
The current statistics on fathers, as we saw in the beginning of this article, are alarming and depressing. But I hear the sound of a great revival coming. I believe with all of my heart that one of the miracles of the last days will be a revival of fathers.
 Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
 Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (465–466). New York: United Bible Societies.
We can never say that we have no sin in us according to First John 1:10, however, we can have a heart without idols. King David in all his awful sin was a man after God’s own heart:
“13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” (First Samuel 13:13-14 NKJV)
What is a heart after God? What does that kind of heart look like? Acts 13:22 gives us insight as we try to answer these questions:
“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.” (NKJV)
A man after God’s heart is a man that:
1. Is passionate about God’s will:
This is a man that will do literally whatever God tells him to do.
2. Recognizes that he is nothing without the Lord:
“O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” (Psalm 16:2 NKJV)
There is very little room for personal arrogance for a man or a woman whose heart is after God. They recognize and admit their own humanity.
3. Is quick to repent when engaging in sin:
When David slept with Bathsheba, Prophet Nathan confronted him. David could have gotten Nathan killed for daring to confront him in such way, but he did not. In Second Samuel 12:7-15 we see how this awful story unfolded:
“7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”
13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” 15 Then Nathan departed to his house.” (NKJV)
4. Is hungry and thirsty for God’s manifested presence:
It may sound strange, but even as a heart without idols still struggles with sin, because his spirit is free from idols, God’s manifested presence is indeed what they desire the most. In God’s presence they are happy, in God’s presence they are free and only in His presence are their souls totally satisfied.
“One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4 NKJV)
5. It is a heart that has a relentless trust in God and brings giants down with ease:
Somebody with a heart after God is a courageous person. This is the kind of heart that David showed when he killed Goliath.
6. Is a heart that honors God’s anointed leaders:
David had two chances to kill Soul who wanted to kill him over jealousy; however David did not do it because of His respect for God. David could have said: “I am anointed by God to be the next king” and thus accelerate the process to be the king by killing soul, but he did not. David refused to kill God’s anointed even as it was justifiable to do so (First Samuel 24).
7. Knows how to receive God’s forgiveness:
Many of us have a hard time receiving God’s forgiveness; that could be, believe it or not, a sign of pride as you find yourself surprised that you screwed up so bad. But David knew he messed up, repented from his heart every time, recognized his condition according to Psalm 51, and then knew that God forgave him. In Psalm 26:1-6 David made some of the most shocking statements:
“Vindicate me, O Lord, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. 2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.
4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked.
6 I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O Lord.”
The same David that took one of his faithful soldier’s wife and then set the man up to be killed in battle. The same man that ordered a census of the people, even as that was something that God said not to do. Even with all the blood in his hands, David establishes his integrity, challenges the Lord to search his heart and declares his innocence. Wow! But do you know why he was able to make these statements? Because David knew God in an intimate way and he knew that God forgave him.
8. Is free:
Having a heart after God does not mean that you will not suffer. David suffered a great deal; however God healed him from all of his pain. First King 1:29 tells us:
“And the king took an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress.” (NKJV)
Beloved, today…right now…is a good time to throw away the idols in your life. Today is a good day to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Today is a good day to be a man or a woman after God’s heart. Today you can enjoy a heart without idols. Today you can set your spirit free. Today I encourage you, in the name of the Lord, to go after the promise land of your destiny and destroy the giants that get in your way…Go, for if you destroy your idols, God will be with you and will give you great victories to destroy the giants!
Do we have a clear understanding of what is a regular sin and what is the sin of idolatry? For the believer, sin is not something we look forward to; but when that thing has become an idol, we can’t wait to do it. The true believer will be miserable sinning; the idolater will enjoy temporary happiness until his/her idolatry destroys him.
Then what are giants? What is the difference between a giant and idols?
Giants we fear; idols we worship! A giant get’s a hold of your flesh; the idol gets a hold of your spirit. Both, the giant and the idol are designed to keep us from conquering the promise land of our destiny, but they use different mechanism.
The giant comes to challenge our faith and to question the power of God to deliver. The idol comes to swallow our spirit and to offer a replacement for God, altogether.
The idol is what takes away any hope of victory over the giant. When you are dealing with a giant, you know it is wrong; when you are dealing with an idol, you are so blinded that you can’t see that it is wrong. God will fight against the giants of your life for you, but you must destroy your own idols.
Both, the idol and the giant work together in perfect partnership to offer a one-two blow designed to send you straight to hell.
To be continued…
I want to emphasize on those that tremble at the sound of God’s voice. God is looking for people that will obey HIM. God is looking for people that will stop making excuses when God tells them to do something and will do what He tells them to do; people like Noah, who engage in building an ark in preparation for a flood that was coming during a time when rain was inexistent.
God is looking for people like Abraham who was called to leave his country, his friends and his family. Abraham left with the promise of a land and the start of a nation with his seed, even as he was already seventy-five years old and his wife was not able to have children.
God is looking for people like Moses who left the comfort and power of Egypt to come against it as he allowed God to use him to deliver Israel out of the hands of the very ones he grew up with.
God is looking people like Daniel who never compromised his loyalty to God in the midst of the evil Babylon.
God is looking for people like king Josiah who brought down the idols out of the low and high places.
God is looking for people like the prophets and the Apostles who gave their lives and stood until the end for what they believe.
These were not perfect men; the Bible actually recorded the sin of many of them. They sinned because of their sinful nature and their unrestored soul, however their worship belonged to God and God alone.
Are you still getting a hold of that book, even as you know that it is satanic and is bonding your spirit? Are you still listening to that music that is not pleasing to God? Are you still wearing those clothes filled with demonic symbolisms? Are you still watching those movies even as the idea of good and evil is distorted?
Are you still involved in that relationship even as it is taking you away from the Lord? Bad relationships are an ideal tool of the devil to pull us away from the Lord. These relationships affect us at our flesh level because of the sexual desires: at a soul level as they take over our hearts, emotions and thought processes: and in a spiritual level because they become our focus. No longer will we live to please God; we live to please this person and engage in doing things that are totally against God’s will.
Beloved, even as worship to God is done in spirit and in truth, when it come down to the Devil, because he is the father of all lies, it is pleasing to him that you worship him even if you don’t know it. God is a God of truth, so worship to Him requires truth. Worship to the Devil, weather you are aware of your worship or not, it does not matter, is just as good for him.
The Devil will get a hold of your spirit and take you into a place where you will lose all sensitivity to God’s presence. The Devil will continue to pull you away from God until he can kill, steal and destroy your destiny in God.
To be continued…
“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2b NKJV)
Beloved, we must guard our spirits from idolatry. Idolatry was what brought Israel to destruction. Ten Tribes of Israel refused to stop worshipping and mixing with other gods and thus were taken into captivity first. As we look at the remaining two tribes, and the descendants of David, we see these kings removing the idols from the low places, but many left the idols in the high places.
Leaving these idols in high places was what caused the final one-two punch that brought the whole nation of Israel into captivity as Babylon took over the remaining two tribes (Judah and Benjamin). It was idolatry that caused Israel to fall.
In Joshua Chapter seven we see how devastating idolatry can be to a whole nation. In this particular case the whole nation of Israel suffered because of one man.
“But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.” (Joshua 7:1 NKJV)
One man’s idolatry caused the Lord’s anger to burn against the whole nation. As you continue to read Joshua chapter seven you can see that they lost a humiliating battle against the Amorites. This particular battle was supposed to be an easy one. Joshua could not believe it; he tore his cloths and asked the Lord some hard questions. In Joshua 7:10-13
“10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” (NKJV)
Joshua got up and immediately got to work trying to find this idol that caused such devastating defeat. He went tribe-by-tribe and family-by-family until he found the man that caused such humiliation. Joshua 7:19-26 tells us:
“19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.” (NKJV)
When we go after idols we are affecting our own families, our communities and even our nation. Here we were able to see the devastating effect of the idolatry of one man. When our spirits are consumed with idolatry, we can’t have victory over the giants in our lives (Joshua 7:12) and we can’t experience God’s manifested presence (Joshua 7:12)
To be continued…
“23 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. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 NKJV)
Worship, of any kind, is done in our spirit. When something or someone gets a hold of our spirit we are in deep trouble. In Revelation sixteen we see God manifesting His wrath at the end of times in what is called, The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath. This is God judging the world; specifically those that received the mark of the beast.
If you know about the mark of the beast, without this mark, people will not be able to buy and sell during the time of the tribulation. The significant thing about receiving this mark is that you must worship the Antichrist. As worship is done on a spiritual level, these people position themselves in a place of no hope. Even as they see, feel and taste the wrath of God, Revelation 16 gives their reaction:
“9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.” (Revelation 16:9 NKJV)
“10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.” (Revelation 16:10-11 NKJV)
“21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” (Revelation 16:21 NKJV)
We can be the worst sinner, but if we repent from our hearts, God is faithful to forgive us (First John 1:9). Through Scripture we see people repenting of all kinds of sins: Prostitution, Murder, Adultery, Pride, etc. but when a man’s heart is filled with the worship of others gods, we see very little repentance. I am not saying that an idolater can’t repent and be saved; I am saying that it does not happen too often.
To be continued…