Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wisdom Displayed


 Major events are happening in the United States and around the world with the election of an Outsider here in the States and Brexit in the UK. These events happened against fierce opposition from powerful and influential groups, but the people were ready for something new and voted for real change. People suddenly have a renewed hope and a sense of liberty, but that liberty is in the natural realm. I believe we are about to witness and partake of the greatest release of God’s Spirit in the Body of Christ which will liberate the church from the things that have held her stagnate. 1 Corinthians 15:46 says, “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural and after that the spiritual.”

There are two main systems in this world that control humanity; one is the government system and the other is the religious system. An important thing to remember is that both were ordained by God and given to benefit man.  However, when the purpose of these systems is corrupted they will produce evil in the form of divisions, stagnation, hatred and oppression.  Let me remind you, first the natural, then the spiritual.  Isaiah 14:24-27 reads, “The Lord almighty has sworn, surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.  I will crush the Assyrian in My land, on my mountains I will trample Him down.  His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord almighty has purposed and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?”  Isaiah 29:14 reads, “Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” The scriptures tell us God’s enemy is in control of both systems. But we have the assurance that God's plan will continue to unfold.

We who have been entrusted with leadership should recognize the weight of our responsibility. I believe our attitude should be that of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28-29, “We proclaim Him (Christ) admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.”  Today is the time for Divine Wisdom in the Body of Christ. We as God’s people need to know that our existence does not come from this world. John 17:16 says, “They are not of this world, even as I am not of it.” 

Proverbs 4:7 gives us great advice, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom, though it costs all you have, get understanding.” To understand why wisdom is supreme, let’s go back in history to 1 Kings 10: 1-9, “When the Queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions.  Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan – with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones – she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.  Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the King to explain to her.  When the Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers and the burnt offering he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.  She said to the King, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and wisdom is true.  But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes, indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.  How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel.  Because of the Lords love for Israel, He has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.” We must see the importance and the great value God places on wisdom.  Notice what drew the Queen of the South to Solomon; first, the ‘fame of Solomon”, second, “his relation to the name of the Lord.” I remind you of what Jesus said in Matthew 12:42, “…. and now one greater than Solomon is here.” As Christians if divine wisdom is in us, why are there so many in the church, disappointed, discouraged and sometimes angry with God, looking to the world for contentment and fulfillment? It will benefit us to listen to the words and counsel of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor, yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Contentment and fulfillment is not in the riches of this world. Wisdom, God’s wisdom reigns supreme, get wisdom.

Lets again read 1 Kings 10:4-5, “When the Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace, the food, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.” She continued in verse 8, “How happy your men must be!! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom.” Her soul was so overwhelmed with all she saw and heard, that she praised the Lord.  Ephesians 1:17-18 reads, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you….” I believe our Lord wants to make it clear that we should not be seeking the wealth of the world, but wisdom. It was not only the Queen that came bearing gifts to hear wisdom from Solomon, 1 Kings 10: 24 reads, “The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” We should have no question why God wanted this part of history recorded. God divinely planned and purposed that the Queen of Sheba come before King Solomon to see God’s wisdom magnificently displayed. Now, Jesus is saying of the Holy Spirit in John 16:14, 15, “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” Envision yourself displaying the Glory of Divine Wisdom.  Are you seeing how important wisdom is?  It is time to take God’s word seriously so we will not be taken captive by the deception of this world.

I am sure you can agree that the church has so much knowledge; every denomination has its own institute. But where is wisdom? Can wisdom be taught by a man?  Knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. Divine wisdom in John 5:39-40 says, “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Proverbs 8:34-35 reads, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.  For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.”

Two thousand years ago an Outsider, Jesus, came into this corrupt world; one that not only came to deliver the souls from corruption, but to deliver the spirit from the power of death. He came to unite us with Himself. Jesus says in John 17:23, “I in them and You in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved me.” We were created by Divine Wisdom and we are in Divine Wisdom. What a glorious thought! Let me illustrate what I mean when I say ‘in Divine Wisdom’. I have a pitcher of water (wisdom) and three empty glasses.  I pour water into each glass.  I fill one glass a fourth full; the next glass halfway full; the third glass three fourths full. It does not matter which glass you drink from, they all will satisfy your thirst because they all were filled from the same substance of the one pitcher. As earthen vessels, we are endowed with the same Spirit as Christ Jesus.  I believe it is time we know what Spirit we, as God’s children, are made of. Isaiah 11:1-3 reads, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse: from his roots a branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - the Spirit of Wisdom and of Understanding, the spirit of Counsel and of Power, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord, and He will Delight in the fear of the Lord.” Our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “…. I will build my church (Body) and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” I pray the Holy Spirit helps you realize the seriousness of the times we are living in.

Proverbs 9:1, “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.”  The seven pillars are the seven spirits we just read in Isaiah 11. Revelations 4:5 reads, “…. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.” These spirits were given to our Lord without measure. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one spirit into one body – whether Jews, or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given the one spirit to drink.”  Our Heavenly Father knew what we would confront in these days; no doubt He gave us everything we need to come into our destiny. We lack nothing. Our Lord, the Outsider, came from heaven to reveal and accomplish His purpose.  Romans 11:33 reads, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out.”  I conclude with Luke 7:35, “But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”  Selah!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Whatever You Do, Do For the Glory of God!


Crisis: a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

I must confess that when I first heard the word crisis I assumed something bad.  I learned that a crisis in and of itself is not evil. Everything that has happened and will happen is within the perimeter of God’s divine, perfect, and eternal wisdom. What determines whether a crisis is good or evil is what you do with it; how you use that crisis is determined by the influencing spirit. Unless we see God’s wisdom in every crisis that He brings us into, we will never see Christ, because CHRIST IS WISDOM.  

During my last visit to Haiti, Pastor Ezekiel and I were on our way to visit various orphanages to conduct Bible studies for the youth that had received the Bibles we sent. When we came to a bridge we had to cross, it was down.  Someone had removed the bolts supporting the bridge in order to sell them; this gives you an idea of the economic state of the country.  We had to drive through the river, but Pastor Ezekiel was very hesitant about crossing. I told him God knew what was ahead for us that day and he hadn’t brought us this far to turn back.  There is one thing I have learned about our heavenly Father, he does not go halfway and neither should we.  We crossed the river to the other side only to confront another test. Cars were backed up trying to get out of the village onto the main road.  Men were blocking the road with a tree trunk forcing travelers to pay to cross.  As we got on to the main road I knew it was another teaching moment. I told Brother Ezekiel, “The world will take a crisis, man-made or not, for their own benefit to push their own agenda.” A few years ago a politician said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  As the Holy Spirit brought that quote to my memory I heard Him say, “A crisis can be used for good or evil.”  We must conclude that self driven agenda’s are part of human nature which have been corrupted by the fall and can only produce evil. When we turn to the Lord with all our heart and receive His sacrifice on the cross we have a new nature.  II Peter 1:3-4 reads, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the Divine Nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

I am asking the Lord to help you understand what you’re reading because it’s not how much we read that’s important, but the understanding we get from what we read. Don’t forget what we are discussing, ‘CRISIS’.

The first crisis recorded is in Genesis 1:1-2 which reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  Take a moment and marvel at WISDOM on display.  Here is something we must never forget, ‘God is the beginning, and the end is God’.  By definition wisdom is the power of discerning and judging properly what is true and right; having the ability to use knowledge with understanding.  Proverbs 8:22-30 reads, “The Lord brought me forth as the first of His works, before His deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity from the beginning, before the world began when there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before He made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world.  I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep when He gave the sea its boundary, so the water would not overstep His command, and when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was the craftsman at His side, I was filled with delight day after day rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind.”  After reading these scriptures it becomes clear that another realm is in control; the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Spirit of God will reveal to our hearts the wisdom of God in creating a crisis in His universe.

We know the story in Genesis of Joseph and his brothers and how his brothers hated him.  They were jealous of the tremendous love their father Jacob had for him.  When the opportunity presented itself they sold Joseph to traveling Ishmaelites.  Next we see him being sold again in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. Reading the complete story, you will note other events that happen to Joseph which to the natural man seem evil and cruel.  We see God’s wisdom all through the story.  Most important to note is that God’s wisdom was in each crisis that Joseph was brought into; the hand of God working in Joseph through each crisis.  We can read the story of Joseph’s life in thirty minutes or less; therein lays the problem. If we read too quickly we overlook the fact that many years pass between the crucial turning points in his life; there was something God was working towards. Note the phrase in Genesis 39:2, “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.” God prospered Joseph as Potiphar’s right hand man but when he was put in prison God continued to prosper and give him favor.  Prosper is a word the church has confused with wealth, some of the words in the dictionary to describe prosper are: to succeed, thrive, grow, etc. vigorously. God prospered Joseph with wisdom and favor.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthy things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory.” I am sure the Holy Spirit will bring many more similar scriptures to your memory.  Genesis 41:39-40 says, “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders, only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’“  Unless we see God’s wisdom in every crisis, we will never see Christ, because CHRIST IS WISDOM. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  With natural vision we would ask, where was God? After reading Joseph’s statement it becomes obvious God’s eternal wisdom was in total control. Here is a warning to the Body of Christ! We must be very careful how we view crisis when it happens to us personally, to a member of the Body of Christ, or anyone.  Joseph’s brothers sold him to get gain for themselves, but God used it for His Glory in bringing Joseph, his family and their servants into the blessing of His Glory and Wisdom. How important to have a discerning heart so as not to be deceived and influenced by a wrong spirit.
Look at the cross and see the wisdom of God in Christ.  God did not first think about our redemption when Adam fell from his position in God’s grace. Redemption was included IN the wisdom of God.  In the book of Acts 2:22-24 Peter says, “Men of  Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.  This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.”  Once again we see how God in His divine eternal wisdom was in control of His Son’s death; using His chosen Jewish family who had rejected Him to fulfill His purpose.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul writes to us in I Corinthians 1:22-24, “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greek’s look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.  But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  Paul is letting them know that what he is preaching did not come through human intellect nor did it come through the wisdom of man.  What he is preaching is a person, Jesus Christ revealed in him and expressing Christ through him in every crisis he went through.  Colossians 1:15-16 reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation, for by Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by Him and for Him.”  The wisdom that created all things is in us and that wisdom in us has a purpose.  I Corinthians 2:7 reads, “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our Glory before time began.”

Our Lord came into this hostile world with only one all inclusive purpose and that was to glorify the Father.  Jesus said to Phillip in John 14:9-14, “Don’t you know me, Phillip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, show us the Father? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father living in me, who is doing His work.” We have a destiny in God’s kingdom.  When we take every circumstance, trial or crisis and use it to glorify our Lord, we are glorifying the Father.  John 1:4, 5 says, “In Him was Life, and that Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

Have you heard God’s people say ‘we are going to rule and reign with Christ’?  I ask you how can anyone rule and reign if he has not seen the King or His Kingdom.  The early church saw Him and His Kingdom, they had clear spiritual vision.   Today Christianity has so many things hindering spiritual growth.  Man appointed spiritual leaders have brought their traditions, false teaching, self centered Christianity; only looking out for number one.  This is completely the opposite of how our Lord lived and taught.  Jesus taught if we are going to be His disciples we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him; this is still for today.  If we honestly believe what scripture says in I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  We must listen as he speaks in Isaiah 57:14-15, “Build up, build up, and prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people. For this is what the high and lofty one says – He who lives forever, whose name is Holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with Him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 43:6, 7 reads, “I will say to the north, give them up and to the south, do not hold them back.  Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.  Everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My Glory, whom I formed and made.”

Jeremiah 22:13-16 gives us a warning, “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.  So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red. “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?” Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.  He defended the cause of the poor and needy and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know Me?” declares the Lord.”

I close with two scriptures;  Isaiah 9:6 declares, “A child is born, a son is given.”  Revelation 1:6, a King is made. Selah!
John Casarez




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Delivered!

Jesus states in John 15:26,27, “When the counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father- the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father- He will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”  John 16:5, “Now I am going to Him who sent me.”   There was one more step Jesus had to take in order to finish the work of redemption and return to the Father; the CROSS.  The cross was not avoidable, it was ordained. Acts 2:23,24 reads, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”  As we continue with scripture we will understand the spiritual condition of the disciples before the cross and then by revealed knowledge appreciate the vital purpose of the Holy Spirit after the cross.

Let’s read so that the Holy Spirit can illuminate our understanding and be transformed by the power of God’s word. John 16:12-15 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear. But when He the Spirit of Truth comes He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine that is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”  Wow! What a statement of Truth.  Our Lord is saying that we can know all that belongs to Him.  Is it possible our Lord would tease us?  Do you think Jesus would say this to tempt us?  No, never!  Our heavenly Father loves us.  John 14:21 reads, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them He is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  I John 3:1 reads, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  That is who we are.

 I have met many Christians who are not seeking the things that have been freely given to us by the Father through Christ Jesus. I Corinthians 2:12 says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  It pains me to say there are Christians looking to the things of this world to build their lives.  I Corinthians 3:13 reads, “His work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.”

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will take from what is His and make it known to us.  John 17:22 reads, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.”  According to this the first thing our Lord reveals is that He has given us His glory. What our Lord has given us is all that He has and all that He is.  The second part of verse 22 gives us the purpose of his glory, That they may be one as we are one.”  What a magnificent revelation.  Here’s where we see the great significance in our Lord’s crucifixion, resurrection and exaltation.  It is not possible to read this and not be moved to bow our heads and ask God to forgive us for allowing the enemy to deceive us into thinking that the world’s goods somehow are included in the glory of Christ. We need to be united to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit more than ever because of the world’s influence on Christianity.  This Unity in the Spirit cannot in anyway be produced by human wisdom, intelligence, force or strength.  It is supernatural and it flows out from God.  Romans 11:36 reads, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be the Glory forever Amen!!”

The Lord has given us this inexhaustible revelation of ’Unity in the Spirit’ to deliver to the church.  Once we, as Sons of God, know our place in the Kingdom of God, the Spirit of Truth will reveal to us how we will live in a world full of hate.  To qualify this our Lord makes a request to the Father in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory the glory you have given me because you have loved me before the creation of the world.”  The answer to that request is in Ephesians 2:6, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  Not only does the Holy Spirit reveal to us our place, but our destiny as mentioned in Romans 8:17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”  The last part of this scripture gives us a little insight to the process we must all go through.

 John 14:27, Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  We are learning what we have received and who we are in Christ.  Jesus demonstrated this peace as He walked through this world in total control of the spirit of death and darkness.  This peace is the result of knowing that God is in control of everything in His creation.  All who receive Him according to John 15:9-13 receive what comes with Him, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”  Is it not amazing how our Lord is revealing all this just as He said the Spirit of Truth would do?  Consider this, Jesus is talking to His disciples knowing He is about to lay down His life, resurrect and ascend to the Father.  Contrast Jesus’ stance to his disciples. Peter denied our Lord three times after He was arrested according to John 18:17,25,27.  Thomas says in John 20:25, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”  Another passage in Mark 16:1 reads, “When the Passover was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.”  Now if they had believed what Jesus had told them that on the third day He would resurrect, I ask you what were they dong?  Did these disciples of Jesus really believe?  The point I want to make is that there are two types of knowledge; one is mere head knowledge which will not help us when the trials come and the other is revelation by the Holy Spirit. Selah!!

The Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:2,5,7,9,10, (2) “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (5) So that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (7) No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (9) However, as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, (10) But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The spirit searches all things even the deep things of God.”  Amazing isn’t it, that we have received the Spirit of the Son according to Galatians 4:6, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts….”  We have been given the spiritual ability, right and privilege to know the deep things of God. If we have received the Spirit of the Son, we have received the faith of the Son like it says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live by the faith of the son of God.” (KJ) 

I believe it’s time we stop looking to man, to be delivered from all the chaos in this world and see that we have already been delivered in Christ Jesus.  It is time we ask God to remove the cataracts of religious traditions and remove the hidden idols in our hearts by a revelation of Jesus Christ.  One final word in Colossians 3:1, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” 

To make our standing
The result of conduct
Instead of conduct
The result of our standing
Is a grievous error.
(Author unknown)

John Casarez

Monday, December 21, 2015

Why ME God?


Until you and I receive a clear understanding of the greatness of our Lord Jesus, we will never see what we have been chosen and called to. When God reveals His purpose to us, He does not give it all at once.  It will come according to the grace and sovereignty of God.  All through history we see this.  In the book of I Samuel 13:14 (NIV), after Samuel rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s commandments, Samuel says in V. 14, “But now your kingdom will not endure;  the Lord has sought out a man after His own Heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lords command.”  Read II Chronicles 16:9 (NIV) when again the King of Judah is rebuked for trusting in man and not in God.  Hanani, the seer, says to him in V. 9, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him...”  Several words come to mind in these scriptures; devoted, faithful, committed and determined. This is what God sees in every chosen vessel. This is exactly what He received from His only begotten Son Jesus Christ and what He expects from us if He is going to use us to fulfill His purpose for His Son.

Let’s return to John 15:16 (NIV) where Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you...”    As we continue you will understand what I Samuel 13:14 and II Chronicles 16:9 have in common with John 15:16.  When I read ‘I Chose You’ two questions arise; when did you choose me and why did you choose me Lord?  I know that John 15:16 continues with “and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.”  Some ministers use that portion as an evangelistic message.  They are not wrong. However reading it in context, Jesus is talking about Himself being the true vine and we are the branches and God is the husbandman.  I see a whole different picture. The Lord is saying, I chose you to be an extension of ME.  It is important to note that Jesus and His chosen ones have just left the room where they took the bread and wine and Jesus spoke to them in seclusion in a more intimate way.  This reveals that there are times when God will speak to us in a more intimate way in the privacy of our hearts.   As He takes them out, and they walk along there are two things that He is doing.  One, He is preparing His disciples for after His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  Second, He is fulfilling prophecy. Isaiah 43:4-8 (NIV) reads, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, and nations in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back’. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth -  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.  Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.”  Habakkuk 2:14 (NIV) reads, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”  By these two prophecies and many more, we can see that being chosen by God involves more than attending church. 

I remember the dream I had over thirty years ago where I saw the glory of the Lord and these words came forth from that glory, “If you seek me, you will find me, and you will grow in me.”  These words are still working in me; they led me to the point where I not only receive but also understand what God’s Ultimate Intention is producing in us.  God spoke those words to me in that dream shortly after I had given my life to Him. Taken by those words and giving myself to study His word, I came to the Book of Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NIV), “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “declares the Lord...”  Our God will never lead us astray and the Holy Spirit will not work in us outside of God’s Word. 

God is always testing our hearts because He chose us to be His companions.  This is where we enter into the why He chose us.  The word companion is full of meaning; getting the right meaning will result in absolute satisfaction both to you and to God who chose you. To begin our understanding of this word companion let us look at Hebrews 3:1 (KJV), “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling...”  Hebrews 3:14 (KJV) reads, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” The word partakers can also mean companions. Luke 5:7 (KJV) "So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them..."The word used in Luke is partner which has the same meaning as companion.  Companion can mean two persons or more who have taken up a cause, chosen for a specific purpose.  This is something we see throughout scripture.  Abraham, a great servant of God, was devoted and faithful; however the special name given to him was ‘friend of God.’ Isaiah 41:8 (KJV) reads, “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.  God’s description of Moses in Exodus 33:11 (KJV) “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...” Samuel describes David as “a man after His own heart.”  John 15:14-15 (KJV) reads, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what His lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for ALL THINGS that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”  It becomes clear in these scriptures that there is a unique intimate relationship between the one who chose and the one chosen.  When our Lord came into this world, He chose His disciples and apostles on the basis of companionship.  There was something dear in their relationship with the Lord; it was their companionship with Him.  Luke 22:28 (KJV) reads, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.”  It is important to note that these words make it obvious that a companion continues with you through life’s sufferings. John 15:14 (KJV) reads, “Ye are my friends...” It is very important that we take note of that. God revealed to me several years ago that I was united to Him by the Spirit; that I was one with Christ in the Spirit.  I Corinthians 6:17 (KJV) reads, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.”  Galatians 4:6(KJV) reads, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father.”  This is what John 15 is all about.  This is what the gospel is all about.  This is what the cross of Christ is all about.  This is what His death, burial, resurrection and ascension is all about.  He chose us to be His companions for all eternity.

There is one purpose revealed in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelations. This purpose lies behind every stage of life; it lies behind creation and divine foreknowledge. This purpose lies behind every person God chooses; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Joshua.  It’s behind the Judges, the priesthood, the kingships and the prophets. Throughout the bible and all of creation God has had one purpose in mind and every sovereign move of His is governed by that one purpose   that IN ALL THINGS God has the fullness of His Son in view.  John 1:3 (KJV) reads, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”  Colossians 1:16 (KJV) says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers. ALL THINGS were created by Him, and for Him.”

I must stop here and ask the Holy Spirit to remove anything and everything that obstructs our spiritual vision and impedes our spiritual progress into the fullness of Christ.  There is no other conclusion but that truly this is no small thing He has called us to.  There is no doubt this is a great companionship which was planned before this world was ever created.    Let us look at a few examples in the Old Testament to see important characteristics of companions.  We will look at Gideon first, but to appreciate this chosen vessel, we need to look at the state of God’s people.  Judges 6:1 (NIV) records, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” (V6) “Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.” The first thing to notice is that before God sends deliverance, He exposes their sin.  God is always dealing with our hearts.  God sends a prophet to make clear why they were in misery; why did God do this? They had rebelled against the rule of God. He is teaching them in the land of blessing and privilege the difference between the rule of God and the rule of man.  We must take this to heart, especially here in America, here where we have had the privilege and freedom of gathering together to worship our God and Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that since the beginning of time God set in motion two paths; one of blessing and privilege through obedience and the other of curse and death through disobedience.  I heard someone say ‘God is not through with the United States.’ To this I say it depends on the spiritual state of the church. Israel was called to be a blessing to the nations, so is the church.  We may have forgotten, but God is not dealing with the Midianites yet; He is using them to judge His own people. Selah (Stop and think about it) In the midst of Israel’s misery, we find God’s man of deliverance, Gideon; God’s companion and witness.  God is bringing him into circumstances in which he is to act. This should immediately remind us of Philippians 2:5-9 (NIV), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Gideon is in the midst of Israel’s misery but notice what he is doing; he is threshing wheat and hiding it from the Midianites.  The angel of the Lord is watching him; what is he observing?  The angel is watching the attitude of Gideon’s heart. He is not angry nor is he murmuring. He took upon himself to alleviate some of the distress of the Israelites. He was concerned for others; the care of his people was on his heart.

When you come to see why God chose you, the Holy Spirit makes the Ultimate Intention of God clearer.  Even the small things that we do which are governed by God’s purpose are noticed by God.  Man may consider the deed insignificant, but God notices.  Let us return to Judges 6:12 (NIV) when the Angel of the Lord says, “The Lord is with you." The angel saw deliverance in the heart of Gideon. God’s love, interest and desire were at work in Gideon whether he knew it or not.  We should never make the mistake of coming into adversity and accuse God of abandoning us.  Two reasons for experiencing adversity: One is ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Two God is putting our trust in Him to the test.   Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) reads, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  Our Lord wants everyone whom He chooses to know that God opens doors, He closes doors, He sets up and pulls down.  Whatever He must do to make us compatible He will do.   Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (NIV) reads, “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:  God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”   It is so very important to know, understand and accept all that is in the process in making us compatible for our Lord. The following word spoken by Jesus to His disciples greatly anchored my soul, mind and emotions when I was experiencing a trying circumstance.  Luke 6:40 (NIV) reads, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”  When God spoke that in my spirit, the raging storm within me stopped and the peace of God took over.

We all should have a history of our walk with our Lord.  The moment you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and accept Him to be Lord of your life, you enter into the school of Christ.  Hebrews 5:8-9 (NIV) reads, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  Hebrews 12:3 (NIV) reads, “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” May the precious Holy Spirit encourage, strengthen and establish you in His fullness and for the glory of Jesus Christ.  We will continue this unfolding revelation in our next letter. Amen!

Your Companion in the Heavenly Calling,

John Casarez

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I Chose You (3)




 Genesis 1:11, “Then God said” “let the land produce vegetation; seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”  Genesis 1:28, “. . . Be fruitful and increase in number.” Since the beginning of time this principle is being fulfilled. In this world there are millions of babies being born; some are born premature, some full term, some planned, some are surprises, some are welcomed and some are rejected.  Regardless of the circumstances, every baby was chosen by God for a purpose. You did not choose to be born; your birth was God’s purposeful choice.   Colossians 1:16 says, “. . . all things were created by Christ and for Christ.”

Because we are taking our statement from the book of John it is helpful to note that John’s book is the bridge from the old dispensation to the new dispensation; the great transition from the symbolic Christ throughout the Old Testament to the manifested Jesus Christ Himself. Christ is the completeness of all the historical parts. Everything in John’s Gospel is a transfer to Jesus Christ. Everything John wrote was to clarify that the new dispensation which had come was a spiritual dispensation.  Matthew reveals the lordship of Jesus Christ, Mark reveals the ministry under the authority of Christ and Luke reveals God’s new humanity.  John reveals to us the necessity of Jesus coming into this world to lay down His life only to take it back.  He takes us from the natural realm into the spiritual realm; from the earthly to the heavenly and from the temporal into the eternal.

One road block that has prevented the church from entering the fullness of Christ  is the attitude, ‘Oh, I know that scripture, I’ve read it many times; I don’t see anything new.’  We cannot come to God’s word with our natural minds and expect to receive anything.  There is much more in the statement, “I Chose You,” than meets the eye.  I will qualify that by referring to Matthew 13. Jesus is sitting by the lake teaching the crowds.  Verse 3 reads, “Then He told them many things in parables . . . . V10 The disciples came to him and asked “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” V11 He (Jesus) replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to You.”  Do you realize it is to the disciples whom Jesus had chosen that the secrets of the kingdom were made known?  I expect that you and I, as chosen vessels, will realize there is more to every word that our Lord Jesus spoke than we will ever know. 

I am aware that there are people born into the kingdom every day and they must be fed the pure spiritual milk, but that is just the beginning; God expects us to grow.  What do you spiritually hear when you read Hebrews 5:11-14, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s Word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food.  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  When we become born again we begin the process of growing but for some unknown reason many stop growing and stop bearing fruit.  The Amplified translation of Hebrews 5:14 will help us see and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, “But solid food is for full grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.”  This tells us that if our relationship with Christ grows cold, our discernment will become dull and we won’t be able to discern what comes through our senses; we fall prey to the enemy.  This is how the first man, Adam and the entire human race were deceived and died spiritually.  However, the second man, Christ conquered all, even death, to live for evermore.  You see although Christ presented His fullness in the New Testament that is not enough to hold us secure we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within us. John 7:38 reads, “Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 

The church needs to have its spiritual eyes reawakened to the true nature of Christ. I cannot emphasize enough that we were chosen by Jesus Christ the eternal living Word, not by any man, movement or organization.  Until we have a clear understanding of Christ, we don’t have a solid foundation for our spiritual life.  Everything begins and flows from our understanding of Jesus Christ.   Jesus says in John 15:1, “I am the true vine . . ." V4 "Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  I hear our Lord giving his disciples a word of assurance; a word that would hold them true to their calling.  Jesus knew what his disciples were about to see, hear and experience.  He is saying the same thing to us today because of what we see happening to Christians throughout the world; Christianity as we know it today is beginning to be shaken to its core.  Hebrews 12: 26-27 reads, “At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” Haggai 2:6 – 7 reads, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 

What is it that the nations really desire?   All around us there is fear, unrest, insecurity and no peace.  Multitudes upon multitudes are fleeing their homes trying to save their lives only to be rejected, hungry, full of anguish, disappointment and death.  The only answer to all the unrest is Jesus Christ.  We can only find eternal peace, security, rest and eternal life in Him. John 16:33 reads, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

You need to be aware of the power that is spoken in the words “I CHOSE YOU” to help you see through all the religious fog that has obscured the vision of so many children of God to the point that the true image and destiny has no transforming power.  Religious tradition is another reason we don’t see fruit in our lives.  Let me remind you of what Jesus said in John 8:32, “Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”  Truth is not your opinion, tradition or what you think the scripture might say. Truth is Jesus Christ.  The more we know Him the more He is glorified in us and through us.  Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” Think about the stars and planets; billions and billions of them.  Not one of them is out of place, not one of them is doing its own thing.  Who is sustaining them?  What is holding them in place? The spoken Word is sustaining and holding them.  If God can hold these enormous majestic objects in their place, can’t He sustain and protect you through any crisis?  Stars and planets don’t have a will of their own but we do, therein lies our problem.  This is why our Lord came into the world to show us our destiny and how we can arrive at it. John 7:16-17 reads, “Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me.  If anyone chooses to do God’s will, He will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”  John 12:26 reads, “Whoever serves me must follow me and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  John 12:44-46 reads, “Then Jesus cried out “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

These scriptures confirm that the one who is sent, the one who is appointed, the one who is chosen walks by the will of the Father.  Christ is showing us what it is like to be one with the Father and what it is like to be one with the True Vine.  All the essence of the life of the True Vine is in the branches.  What a glorious revelation!  John 14:20 reads, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I AM IN YOU.” That day is referring to the day you receive Christ as your Savior and make Him Lord of your life. It is hard to doubt the Power in the Words Jesus spoke when he said, “I CHOSE YOU.”

The Holy Spirit wants me to emphasize to you in the Body of Christ, who feel your spiritual contribution is insignificant, consider your little toe it also appears insignificant, however without it your walk becomes more difficult. If God considers it important for us to walk correctly in the natural, how much more important would it be for us to walk spiritually straight. You are not insignificant, we need you.

If you forget everything you have just read never forget this, God is all-knowing and all-wise; He never makes a mistake. The fact that He chose you should reveal that He will accomplish what He desires for His Son. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God CHOSE the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God CHOSE the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He CHOSE the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.' " Selah!