Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ministry Highlight: Youth With A Mission

To Know God and To Make Him Known! 

In my post Highlighting the Highlights I mentioned that I wanted to start introducing you all to the ministries and blogs that I have links to to the left. What better ministry to start with then the one that I spent four years serving in full time overseas. In my list of links I have linked to the webpage that is specific to the base that I served at in Hurlach, Germany. I encourage you to visit their page and find out what they are doing. YWAM Hurlach is a great base for schools and training. They offer several schools and training opportunites like:

School of Biblical Christian Worldview

Located in a small farming town in Germany YWAM Hurlach is a great place to get away from the pressures of society and focus some time on seeking God and learning more about His Word and the call that He has placed on us as Christians. It is a great place to get to know God more and to learn how to better make Him known.

However, YWAM is so much more than just Hurlach. According to their official website, YWAM has a staff of more than 18,000 working actively in 1,100 locations in more than 180 countries. Has God placed a specific country on your heart? There is probably a YWAM base there waiting for you!

The foundational school of YWAM is the Discipleship Training School (DTS)

If you are feeling led to work with YWAM the DTS is probably where you will want to start. I did my DTS in September of 2005 and it changed my life. It is a unique school for several reasons:

Your fellow students are generally from several different countries, cultures and backgrounds.

You learn from teachers who literally come from all over the world.

You spend half of the school in the classroom and then half of the school on the mission field. 

It is six months completely devoted to your relationship with God and discovering the mission he has given you!

Though most DTS's have the majority of students coming straight out of high school or college, there are also many schools oriented more towards older students and some even specific towards families. So whatever stage of life you are in you can find a DTS that fits you! Pray about it and then go to and search out which school you want to be a part of.

After completing a DTS you have several options for continuing in Youth With A Mission. You can go on to study in more schools and even get your degree in the University of the Nations, you can staff the DTS or other schools, or you can join several ministries or outreaches all over the world!

For more about the founding of YWAM and the vision behind it I encourage you to read Is That Really You God? by Loren Cunningham and if you are looking to set aside six months of your life for God then I strongly encourage considering a Discipleship Training School.

Three Hindrances to Victory

Dr. Lester Sumrall, the late missionary, evangelist, and teacher of the Word, discusses the dominion and victory that God has given to us in his book Take It, It's Yours! This is something that I briefly wrote about as well in my posts Faith and Confession and The Power of Prayer. In a nutshell, God gave mankind dominion and victory over the earth and all that was in it when he created Adam, Adam and Eve gave up that victory to the enemy when they gave into sin, Jesus took the victory back in his death and resurrection and gave it back to mankind.

You have dominion and victory on this earth whether you feel like it or not!

However, even though Jesus has given total victory back to us, it is up to us to walk in it. According to Lester Sumrall there are three main things that can hinder us from walking in the victory that already belongs to us:

1. Unbelief - Throughout Jesus' ministry he is constantly referencing faith. Often he commends people for there faith and attributes miracles to it (Matt. 9:22; Mark 5:34; 10:52). At other times he rebukes his followers for their lack of faith (Matt. 8:26; 14:31; 16:8). There is even one point where the Bible says that Jesus was hindered from doing miracles, as He wanted to, due to the lack of faith in the region (Matt. 13:58). Just a quick read through the Gospels tells us how important faith is when it comes to walking in the power and authority that Jesus walked in and called us to walk in. If unbelief is hindering you from walking in the victory that God has called you to walk in then get in the Word. Read the Word, meditate on it, quote it, listen to people preach on it, until your faith is built up to the point that you can walk in it!

2. Ignorance - Some people don't walk in victory simply because they don't know that they are supposed to. If that is you then let me assure you, you are supposed to be victorious! 1 Corinthians 15:57 gives us the most concise and straightforward statement telling us that, however it is all throughout the Bible. God has given us total victory through Jesus Christ! It is already ours! We do not have to cower to the devil or his demons. We do not have to allow the world or circumstances to beat us down. We are called to walk in victory and dominion! Mark 16:17-18 says: 

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

This is how we are supposed to live! When we encounter demons we are to cast them out, when we encounter sickness we are supposed to bring healing through laying on of hands, when we encounter attacks of the enemy they are not to harm us!  

3. Sin - Let me be clear, all of your sin has been forgiven through Jesus Christ. When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you are made completely righteous in God's eyes and you do not lose that every time you sin. Even all of your future sins that you will commit have been covered in the blood of Christ. However, if you do not learn to walk in the righteousness that you already are you will be hindered from walking in total victory. Paul puts it this way:

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousnessBut God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 
Romans 6:15-18

Even though God's grace has made us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22), we can still choose to present ourselves to sin making us it's slave. This will hinder us from walking in victory.  Focus on God and getting into His presence and you will begin to recieve the revelation that you are dead to sin and alive in Christ. With this revelation you will find it easier and easier not to sin and to walk in victory.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Highlighting the Highlights

Enjoying my blog? Well don't stop here.

I just want to take a post to direct you to different links surrounding my posts. I hope that God is speaking to you regularly through my posts but there is so much more to be seen.

At the top of the site you can find links to different pages always available on my blog.

Martureo - A Living Martyr - Gives a short description as to why I chose the name "martureo" and what I am trying to say about myself through that name. "Martureo" is the Greek word for "witness" and is the word that we derived the word "martyr" from.

What is the Gospel? - Jesus' last command to us was to "Preach the Gospel to every creature..." but what is the Gospel? The Gospel means simply "good news" and if you are not clear on what that good news is then check out this page.

Living Martyr Ministries - God has put ministry on the hearts of my wife and I. Here I have described the ministry that we are doing and the ministry that we desire to do. Visit this page and pray with us as we seek out this ministry in a greater capacity.

To the Left you can see two sets of links:

The first set of links are ministries that I either have a direct or an indirect connection to. From YWAM Hurlach where I served full time for four years to Strong Hearts Ethiopia which my wife and I are personal friends with the director and founder. There are also ministries in Uganda and Fiji which I found out about through my brother. The links will take you to there blogs describing what they are doing in there prospective ministries. Finally there is Loom International and Connection Ministries based right here in Portland.

The second set of links are blogs that I have discovered and have found encouragement or challenge from their posts. I do not necessarily agree with every post that they make but I find that they have helped me grow in my beliefs and in my life. Some of the bloggers update regularly and others do not. However even those who are not regularly updating have archives of posts that are worth going through. Some of the bloggers I know personally and others I have found through my online connections. I encourage you to check them out and be encouraged and challenged in your walk with God.

In upcoming posts I plan to spend some time expounding on some of these links. God has blessed me with many wonderful connections all over the world and I want to share those connections with you so that you can be blessed and you can also join with these ministries in prayer.

Lastly, you can always search through my past posts. On the left, below the aforementioned links you can see links to my popular posts by page count and on the right, you can see my archive and you can go back all the way to my first post in 2010.

Feel free to explore and let the Lord speak to you.

The Reason for God's Power

...You be like them that built the Babel tower
trying to get the power
when you couldn't tell me how to
lead someone to the father
why do you even bother?...

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

 "I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms."
Ephesians 1:19-20

You have God's power living in you!

But what are you using that power for? All of us like the idea of power, we all want to be powerful. But there is a reason for God's power in us. The Bible says that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in us and is available for us to utilize through our belief. However the Bible also tells us that there is a reason for that power; to be His witnesses. 

When's the last time you stepped out as a witness for Jesus? Being a witness simply means to tell your experience. So when is the last time you told someone how you experienced Jesus? Sometimes we are seeking signs and wonders but we are never going out to tell people about Jesus. In the Bible the signs and wonders are always linked with preaching the Gospel.

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Mark 16:20

What do you want the power for?

When was the last time you went out and preached the Word?

Is your main focus telling people about Jesus?

It's good to be seeking after the power of God. He gave it to us for a reason and He wants us to understand that power. But in order to fully walk in His power we must understand the reason for that power. It is so we can be better witnesses!

If you're not seeing the power of God manifested in your life on a consistent basis it might be because you are not getting out to preach on a consistent basis!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Cure for the "Case of the Mondays"

This is a great reminder at the start of another work week! It is so easy to get caught into a "case of the Mondays", especially when we are not yet where God has ultimately called us to be in our careers. However, there is so much to be thankful for! Choose to start each Monday going through this list:

1) "Give thanks to the Lord!" 

Again there is so much to be thankful for! I am sure you can find many things in your life. First and foremost we should thank Him for our salvation, for our place in His family, and for the opportunity to have a relationship with Him. But I am sure there are many other things you can thank Him for. Whether it be family, friends, your job, your house, food on your table, etc. there are many blessings in your life.

Maybe you are not where you want to be but thank Him first that things are better than they could be and thank Him second that things aren't going to stay where they are. You are not stagnant, you are moving forward, praise God!

2) "Make known His deeds among the people... Talk of all His wondrous works!"

Let people know how good your God is! It is difficult to be upset about your situation when you are constantly talking about the miracles that God has done in your life. The problem is that most of us have forgotten those miracles. Remember what He has done and start talking about it every chance you get!

3) "Sing to Him. Sing psalms to Him..."

Sing out your praises! Sing about how great God is. If you feel too self conscious to sing in front of others then sing in your morning devotions. Sing in your car. Sing worship songs that others have wrote but also sing a new song. Let the praise rise from your spirit!

4) "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face forevermore!"

Take time to seek Him each morning, at the start of each day. Seek to know Him more, seek His glory, seek that relationship with Him, seek the manifestation of His power. Seek His face!

I guarantee that if you start your Monday's with these four things your entire week will be transformed. You will find a new joy, a new peace, and a new motivation to push forward through any trials or difficulties that may present themselves!

Remember His marvelous works that He has done, His wonders, and the judgements of His mouth!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Forget Not All His Benefits!

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalms 103:1-5

Forget not all His benefits!

We always say, "seek His face not His hand", which is true. We should look for relationship more than blessing. We should seek His presence more than His miracles. However, God does want us to know all the things that He has done for us. 

God wants us to know what He has blessed us with and He wants us to walk in it.

So what has He blessed us with?  David gives us a pretty good list here:

"Who forgives all your iniquities" - God has forgiven all of your sins! This same psalm states that He has removed our sin "as far as the east is from the west" and Jeremiah 31:34 tells us that God will "remember our sin no more"! All of your sins, past, present, or future, have been forgiven. They have been washed clean by the blood of Christ. Forget not His benefits! Forget not His forgiveness! Do not allow the enemy to get you caught up in shame and guilt.

"Who heals all your diseases" - Not only has God forgiven all of our sin, He has healed all of our sickness. Sickness is a part of the curse and the curse was broken through the death and resurrection of Christ. We just need to learn to accept our healing through faith.

"Who redeems your life from destruction" - We were headed towards destruction before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. For many that destruction would have come in this life and for all of us it would have come in eternity. Either way He has redeemed us from the path of destruction and put us on a path of abundant life!

"Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies" - God is always looking to shower love and mercy on us as His children. His love crowns us as we go through our lives and forever marks us as sons and daughters of the Most High!

"Who satisfies your mouth with good things" - The Lord is our provider, Jehovah Jireh! He promised that if we seek His kingdom first He will make sure all things that we need our added. Not only that but He promised to satisfy us with good things! Not just the bare minimum needed to survive but that we would be wholly satisfied.

"So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" - He will renew your youth and your energy. As you serve Him you will find that you have renewed energy to do so. It is never too late to serve Him, as long as you are on this earth He has a plan for you to be here!

Look at that list! Those are all things that God has done for us, but we have to learn to walk in them. We have to accept those things by faith and make them true in our life. Sometimes we have to fight in order to recieve what God has already done, but the first step is to know that God has already done it.

Forget not all His benefits!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Make Plans, Allow the Lord to Direct!

It's great to have plans. It's great to think about the future. However it is even greater to allow the Lord to direct our future!

We need to make our plans but it is important that as we do we follow after the Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to guide us in our everyday life but can't do that if we are too stuck in our own plans.

What plans are you following?

Have you sought God about those plans?

Are you open to the Holy Spirit directing you differently?

For a couple of examples of the Holy Spirit's direction in our day to day lives you can visit my post God is Speaking Are You Listening. However I believe that this verse is referring to our life plans. It's so easy to get stuck on a certain path or plan and then get discouraged when things don't work out the way that you thought they would.

So what do we do when things don't work out the way that you expect them to? First thing should always be to seek God. There are basically three reasons that things don't work out like they are supposed to:

1) God is leading us on different path.

2) We sabotaged our own plans.

3) The enemy is coming against us.

We can't just assume it is any one of these things because we will miss out on so much that God wants to give us. This is why our first response always needs to be to seek God. We need to ask Him three questions;

1) Is this really your will?

If He directs you that it is not then you need to let go of it and continuing seeking Him for the alternate path. However if He confirms to you that it is His will, then you should go on to the second question:

2) Am I doing something to sabotage this plan?

Again this may or may not be the case. If it is then He will point out what needs to change in your life and then our next step is obvious: change what He points out. However, He may not point anything out. In that case we need to move on to the third question:

3) How do I need to stand against the enemy in this battle?

The first step in standing against the enemy is obvious from a quick study of the Word. We need to stand in faith and confess the truth of God's Word over our lives.

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
Mark 11:23

Speak to your mountain and tell it to get out of the way. Then search to Word for promises regarding your situation. If you have a Word spoken to you directly from God then speak that out to yourself and to the enemy. If God spoke it then it is true, you just need to access it with your faith

Secondly, you should seek God if there is any practical step that He wants you to take. Some times God is calling us to be stubborn with our goal and our vision but flexible with our methods. This again goes along with the original proverb. Sometimes we make our own plans of how we are going to get to the ultimate goal that God has placed before us, but even though the ultimate goal is from God He may direct us on a different path to that goal.

Ultimately we need to learn to be led by the Spirit in our day to day lives!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Resurrection Life!

"...The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit."

Praise God that Jesus became a life-giving Spirit! He has given you life, you have it now! You don't have to wait until you get to heaven. Accept that life and live in it now, here on earth.

John 10:10 says, "...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly."

But it is up to you to live in that life!

Paul said that he was crucified with Christ and that Christ was now living through him (Galatians 2:20). It's a done deal, we just have to recognize it and start living like it. As Watchman Nee said:

"Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection."

It is through the cross that our old man passed away and it is through the resurrection that we have been made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). This Easter let us revel in the new life that Christ gave us. Let us recognize that our old man has already died and we are already a new creation. Let us begin to match our actions with that fact that has already been true through Christ. Lastly, let us recognize the power that lives in us and seek God on how to walk in that power every day.

"and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places"
Ephesians 1:19-20

Saturday, April 4, 2015

How Can You Prove That God Is Real?

How can you prove to me that God is real?
When I can't see and I can't feel
The proof of His existence
I try to live right but there's so much resistance
Troubles coming left and right
I try to wait for morning but it's continual night
And the light won't come despite my endless fight
In this life comes continuous pain and strife
At times all I can think of is the gun or the knife.

You say there's a sun beyond the clouds
But all I can see is that you're too proud
To come down and help and guide me
To the one you say can live down inside me
You say that Jesus loves me
But why can it not be
You that shows that love to me
Then I'd fall to my knees and say God prove yourself real to me
But the way you're living shows
You don't really know
Him like you say
So why should I pray
and waste my time
Trying to make Him mine
When He's not even yours
I've got enough sores
from my own battles
But the truth is I need a mantle
To take away the pain on the double
Because I can't see past my troubles

What are you doing to show Christ's love to those who don't know Him?

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Ark of God Was Captured!

And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
1 Samuel 4:5-11

The ark of God was captured! 

This was unheard of before this point! Every time Israel had gone out to battle with the ark of the covenant they had always seen miraculous victory. This was so true that even the Philistines, who had just won a battle against Israel, were afraid. But here it seemed like God had failed them. They brought in the presence of the Lord and they still lost. Thirty thousand men were slaughtered! What does this mean?

When you read the context of the story you see clearly that Israel was not following God. Hophni and Phineas, mentioned in verse 11, were the sons of Eli who was currently the leader of the Israel. they used their place of leadership to exploit the people for their own gains. We see a few of the things they had been doing 1 Samuel 2. They had been stealing from the offering of the Lord and had been exploiting the female servants of the temple for sex. These were the people who leading Israel into battle. Moreover, they initially went to battle with no recognition of the Lord or the ark of the covenant. It was only after they were defeated that they decided to bring the ark with them stating,

"...Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.
1 Samuel 4:3b

Notice how they didn't even recognize God. They were relying on the representation of God to save them rather than God Himself. There was no actual relationship, or even recognition, of God. 

They were attempting to use God's power without any form of relationship with Him.

There is a similar story in the New Testament, in the book of Acts. In Acts chapter 19 Luke tells us the story of "the seven sons of Sceva" (v. 14) who attempted to cast out a demon "by the Jesus whom Paul preaches" (v. 13). This didn't work out for them as the the demon possessed man caused them to flee out of the house "naked and wounded" (v. 16).  In Ephesus they believed that if you found out the name of a god they could control it and because of this they were constantly trying to find out the name of the more powerful gods. The seven sons of Sceva recognized that Jesus was powerful but thought they could simply control Him by His name. Needless to say, it didn't work.

Whether in the old covenant or the new, the power of God has always flowed out of a person's relationship with God!

Note that God does not require people to be perfect in order to walk in His power. The Bible is full of imperfect people who had the power of God flowing through them. He doesn't require perfection, He simply requires relationship. 

As I wrote in Faith and Confession, you can confess and speak things into existence in your life! You can call things that are not into existence! You have a right to healing, deliverance, and prosperity through Jesus Christ! But you need to remember that the power and authority that brings these things into existence flows out of your relationship with Him!