Our First Love

Hebrews 11:5, ‘And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.’ 

Dear friends, we can beat our bodies until we are blue; we can exact discipline of ourselves until we attain perfection in obedience, however, if we don’t believe with all our hearts that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him, we are just beating the air. 

Our kind Father has not destined us to wrath, but to His eternal glory, giving us an inheritance with the saints in and through Jesus. We are His workmanship; we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus; we are children of God. I believe we would do well to bear these things in mind on a daily basis. Doing so would help us in our daily struggles and trials. To bear in mind that He loves and rewards those who seek Him, and that we are more than conquerers through Him who loves us, would lighten our load and give us confidence to stop worrying, and courage to cast our burdens upon Him. Walking in this knowledge would give the devil a blow he would feel throughout eternity.

Just to know that however depressed or confused we may feel at times the Lord will reward us for hanging on and seeking Him with all our hearts; He will send relief before it is too late; He will not tarry. I’ve found it so. We serve a mighty and powerful God. Oh, if we could just get a glimpse into His omnipresence, His omniscience, and the fact that He exists before time and now and forever. Before there was anything, there was God. Everything began and exists from Him and through and to Him; He is all in all. We are mere specs of dirt He has chosen to love. And when all is said and done there will be nothing but God and His kingdom, of which we are a part.

We are so fortunate to have been chosen and called by Him into His kingdom. We must keep these things in mind and be thankful, giving Him glory and honor and reverent worship at all times. He alone is worthy, and He is so very worthy.

May the Holy Spirit help us to know Him whom we serve, and may we always walk in that knowledge, which is found in Jesus, the image of the one true God.

In John 34:39-40 Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.” Dear ones, don’t search the Scriptures to find out how many blessings or how much authority you may have; search them to learn about Jesus, for they truly do testify of Him. All blessings and all authority are in Him and come from the Father of lights. Make Jesus your first priority and you will find yourself enveloped in every good thing and in every perfect gift heaven holds for you. I’ve found it so. God is my witness, I’ve found it so.

Dear friends, we are not called to become proficient in theology, the Holy Spirit will bring things to our remembrance. We are called to follow Jesus by humbling ourselves and becoming as little children, trusting Him for guidance in and for all things pertaining to life and godliness. We are called to cling to our first love.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Too often Christians become overly concerned with a certain belief, or something that’s dear to them, and concentrate on promoting, or defending, what they think is right. And, in so doing, they find themselves walking in a realm of thoughts and words pertaining to their passion. They get caught up in working to become proficient in their knowledge of what they feel passionate about. They believe in Jesus, they use His name, but they no longer walk before Him as a little child. They have left their first love. They didn’t mean to, it just happened because they got caught up using the Scriptures to prove their points, rather than allowing the Scriptures to lead them to the feet of Jesus.

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We are called to follow Jesus

When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, He became hungry. The devil then used His hunger to tempt Him by essentially saying that if He was the Son of God He could get rid of His problem by commanding some stones to become bread. In other words, if He was who He thought He was, He should use His authority and command the stones to become bread, thereby getting rid of His hunger problem.

Rather than turning the stones into bread, as the devil suggested, Jesus quoted Scripture and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,’”. Jesus actually refused to use what the devil was saying was rightfully His by virtue of His being the Son of God, — His authority.  

Why didn’t Jesus use His authority and do what the devil was telling Him to do; why didn’t He turn the stones into bread and satisfy his hunger, or His ‘mountain’ as some would say in today’s vernacular? He didn’t do it for one simple reason — because He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Although He existed in the form of God, He chose instead to empty Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient… (Philippians 2:6-8). 

We, dear friends, are now in a form of God: We are the body of Christ and His Holy Spirit dwells within us. Should we do any less than Jesus? Rather than speaking to problems and so-called ‘mountains’, should we not instead be submitting to our Father, and our Lord’s Father? Shouldn’t we follow Jesus’ example and empty ourselves and take the form of bond-servants? Should we not be obedient?

The manner of some is to raise themselves up to an equal level with God and take authority over their so-called ‘mountains’ and problems. They, unlike Jesus, regard themselves as being equal with God in that they have all authority (or so they think). This belief comes not from the Holy Spirit, but from Satan himself. He tempts us as he tempted Jesus — he tells us that if we are who we think we are (children of God) then we should take authority over this, and that. But, God forbid that we follow the leadings of Satan; God forbid that we follow the teachings of those who have followed those leadings, and also teach them, swearing they are gospel. And, yes, they really are gospel, they tell us what not to do!

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus was speaking of a specific mountain, the mountain of transfiguration, vs. 9. He referred to it as ‘this mountain’. In Luke 17:6 He was speaking of a specific mulberry tree, for He referred to it as ‘ this mulberry tree’. In each mention of speaking to a mountain and/or a tree in the New Testament Jesus referred to them as ‘this mountain’ and ‘this tree’. Never once did He designate mountains, or trees, as problems. This concept originated in the minds of men who listened to Satan. It is not Scriptural.

The Scriptures tell us the Lord wants us to persevere through our problems and difficulties, not speak to them; He wants us to submit to suffering; He wants us to count it all joy when various trials come upon us; He wants us to learn perseverance and endurance through our problems and so-called ‘mountains’. And how long will we have to endure — until we receive the crown of life, James 1:12. The teaching that we can take authority over our problems and/or ‘mountains’ is preventing people from having a relationship with Jesus and comes dangerously close to robbing them of the crown of life. It is very serious. 

Dear friends, we are called to follow Jesus, not remedies. The next time you are tempted to command your so-called ‘mountain’ to be cast into the sea, say this instead, “It is written, ‘Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,’”James 1:12.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. I hear people all the time saying, “Don’t tell God how big your mountains are; tell your mountains how big your God is.” The Bible never hints of anything like this. May I suggest that we, instead, talk to our God and tell Him how much we love Him and appreciate His sending Jesus to take away our sins, and to give us an inheritance with the children of God, and a promise of eternal life. 

I also suggest that we cast our cares upon Him and praise Him for His lovingkindness and mercy. Rather than get caught up in a boxing match of words with the devil, I suggest that we steadfastly look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for our deliverance from every problem or so-called ‘mountain’ is in Him.

We are not saved by any authority we may have; we are saved by the gift of God, His only begotten Son. We are saved by His obedience and His sacrifice; for in Him we live and move and have our being.

So rather than run from problems or try to find a way out of them, I suggest that we refuse to lift ourselves up to a level with God and that we become obedient, enduring our problems and so-called ‘mountains’, which is the will of God. 

I also suggest we stop falsely calling speaking to our ‘mountains’ Biblical, and call it what it really is— an exercise in the power of the mind.

P.P.S. After writing this letter I saw the following on a Facebook post:

Now this is what you want to do all the time. Don’t place your attention on any difficulties at any time. Look only to Jesus through every circumstance. Keep your eyes fixed upon Him constantly. Maintain praise and adoration in your heart even when you don’t feel like it, when it is not easy to praise. We will never be able to work out a single situation ourselves anyway. Leave the working-out to God and simply keep your eyes on Jesus, who is the Answer to every need and every problem.

Rev Loran W. Helm

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An open mind

I attended a Bible study for several months last year. It was led by a pastor. When we reached Romans 9 he read through the chapter quickly and the only comment he had was, “We have a free will.” I pointed out that verses 15-18 describe the fact that we have been predestined and his reply was, “It doesn’t say that to me.” He literally said the Bible doesn’t say what it is saying to him. He disregarded this chapter of the Bible because it didn’t agree with his theology.

I think this is a habit for many Christians; they hold doctrines in higher esteem than they hold the truth. Some will argue what they think is the veracity of their doctrines to the death, as it were. For instance, some will swear to the high heavens they have authority over sicknesses, diseases and demons, never considering they can’t even make it rain, much less heal the sick and cast out demons. Still others will argue that predestination is a false belief when the Bible is full of references that prove its truth.

(Before I go any further I would like to offer one piece of Scripture that dispels the argument that other Scriptures speak against predestination; for instance, ‘whosoever will,’ and ‘whosoever believes,’ etc. Acts 13:48 states that ‘…as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.’ In other words, those who believe are those who have been appointed to eternal life. I received this from the Lord.)

So what does it matter if one believes this and another believes that? To be honest, it’s not the differences of opinion that matter so much, it’s the unwillingness to be open minded. To find the truth one must go to the Truth, which is Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and one cannot learn from Him without an open mind. The Lord’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts. We must maintain complete openness to learn from Him. This is absolutely imperative.

Recently I read the book of Revelations twice in one day and didn’t receive one witness of the Spirit; no enlightenments, no word, not even a hint of understanding. I could have started digging into it and reached some conclusions on my own, but the Lord has taught me that my opinions are worthless in His kingdom. His thoughts are the only thoughts that matter. So I endeavor to never rely on any thoughts that come to me, unless I am sure they came from Him.

When I read the Bible, I read it with confidence the Holy Spirit will reveal to me what God wants me to know. I form no opinions. I listen only to the Lord, whether I am reading the Bible, or waiting before Him in prayer. It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who guides us into all the truth, John 16:13-15. We must walk by the Spirit, not by our own understanding. This is how we all will attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is how we will reach a point where we will no longer be tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and by craftiness in deceitful scheming. This is how we will grow up into Him, who is the head, even Christ. This is our destiny. This is our goal. This is the will of God.

May the blessings of the Lord be upon all of us and may we always keep an open mind.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Birds, Frogs and Butterflies

Yesterday, my wife was going through some boxes and found a letter I was writing to a friend in the 1990’s, but never finished, or sent:


The creation knows Jesus. They also know why He came to earth. Not only does it know Him, it knows us as well. The creation knows we are deeply loved by our God and our Savior. It waits eagerly to witness our redemption.

The past three years have been very lonely. I have a chair outside that I sit in to pray and wait before the Lord. One day I was feeling extremely lonely and asked the Lord to please send me a friend. Immediately three blue jays flew into the yard and started walking around in front of me, and the Lord said, “I have sent you three friends.” I got up and walked to within three feet of these wild birds and they didn’t budge. It was as if I was one of the guys.

A few days later I saw two doves sitting on a power line. I asked the Lord to please forgive my unbelief and to please let me know He had really sent the blue jays by sending these two doves also. They didn’t come then, but two or three days later I saw them in the same place again. The second I laid eyes on them the Holt Spirit lovingly witnessed to my heart and these two beautiful creatures flew over and walked around with the blue jays and me. The three blue jays and the two doves, along with many of their friends, have been visiting me for more than two years now. Butterflies have since joined the group and a tree in our yard is almost covered with them when they are here. When white ones come the Lord lets me know and points them out to me.

Late one evening after all this started the Lord sent me another friend. I was sitting on the ground when a frog hopped along in front of me. I got all excited when I saw him and scared the poor little thing. He came to a dead stop and sat motionless about three feet from me. I started talking to him, trying to comfort him. But he was so frightened he wouldn’t move. Finally I asked, “Do you know my God?” That precious little creature immediately recognized me and hopped over and sat down about eight inches from my left leg. He stayed there a few minutes while I tried to tell God how grateful I was that He had comforted this little fellow that I had unintentionally frightened. This little frog has visited me many, many times. By the grace of God, we are truly friends. All these friends come almost every day. The creation truly does know us.

March 28, 2018

My wife and I have been talking about the birds and frogs and butterflies who used to visit me and a couple memories came to us:

1. The doves and blue jays would sit on the fence together and browse on the ground together. There was never a power struggle at any time.
2. I never fed them a thing. I seem to recall that I put a water tray out for them after they had been coming for a while.
3. My wife would sometimes come outside when they were with me and every time she did, they would fly away. When she went back inside they would return. I felt bad about that because I wanted her to get to know them, but they would have no part in that.
4. It started out with three blue jays and two mourning doves and grew to be an average of maybe fifteen birds would come to see me each day. They stayed with me for approximately one to two hours each day.
5. After dark the frog would come to sit with me. I loved that little guy so much. We had some good times talking about the Lord and the things of God.

I know some of this may sound like I’m a lunatic, but it’s the absolute truth. I have not made up a thing or exaggerated a thing. This is something God did for me when I was at my lowest, eaten alive with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and my best friends had forsaken me. God knows those who are His and He most certainly watches over them.

I share these things and everything else I write to acknowledge the love of God and to encourage His people to trust in Him with their whole hearts. He is faithful.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Through All This Absurdity

In the past few weeks the Lord has burdened me with the condition of the church. Many preachers are still preaching their own thoughts about Scripture, rather than the thoughts of God, and they are influencing many other people. Members of churches are being told that God sees them as perfect children, and to think of themselves as such. But Revelations 2 and 3 prove this to be wrong. Even so, ministers continue tickling the ears of their congregations, not giving any thought to the grieving of the Holy Spirit.

Couple this with the word of faith movement that teaches that Christians need only speak things into being, and things have escalated downhill fast. People started believing that, along with being perfect in the eyes of God, they had unbridled authority in Jesus’ name and applied it to any situation they wanted. I don’t know which came first, being perfect in the eyes of God, or having unbridled authority in the name of Jesus, but the idea that we have been empowered to control our lives by faith, and its ability to make things happen, took the world by storm because nobody wants to submit to another. This is something the flesh craves, the ability to control its own destiny. (If anyone believes in this word of faith hypocrisy, I challenge you to study its origin.)

Those who espouse these beliefs have created a generation that has no idea what conviction of the Holy Spirit is. They don’t know Him. They are so entangled in their mind games, deciding which formula works with which problem, and whether they should declare and decree, or name and claim, they have no idea of their need for the Holy Spirit. They do, however, claim to follow the Holy Spirit. However, what they claim is the Holy Spirit is just a psychological and emotional stimulator that leads them on their quest to be on a level with God.

Again, study the origins of this hypocrisy; study their beliefs. They actually believe we were created to be mini gods. This is the rationale behind their belief that they can speak things into existence; we are like God and therefore can create things with our words. This began as a metaphysical project concerning “the Power of the Mind”. It was quickly changed to “the Force of Faith”. They take the Word of God and add whatever they want to it, whatever will attract the masses; more people, more money. If you doubt that money is what they’re after, check their net worth. Each and every one of them is in it for the money; they’re liars and thieves, robbing the poor via their outrageous lies and their pompous and arrogant doctrines. And beyond this, their filthy tentacles have reached as far as the true church. Immature Christians have latched on to some of their teachings such as name it and claim it, declare it and decree it, speak this and that over a brother or sister, etc. It all started with a study of the power of the mind.

Paul said the day of the Lord would not come unless the apostasy comes first, II Thessalonians 2:3. Dear friends, I believe the apostasy is staring us right in the eye. Those who have ears to hear: Consider the man of sin, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God, verses 3-4. All who follow the teachings of this so-called word of faith movement are treading on dangerous ground.

The Holy Spirit leads us in the ways of God. He is our Comforter, our Helper, and He teaches us the very depths of God. When we make a wrong turn, He convicts us, and we turn back to the Way. But those who have fallen prey to these false beliefs, and have lifted themselves up in their own minds never hear, or sense, the Spirit’s convictions. Consequently, they just keep running from one mental ritual to another, in a constant search for formulas that make them feel good; formulas that bring them instant gratification. These people hold to a form of godliness, and deny its power. (Some will say, “Miracles happen at their meetings.” To that I say, “They also happened at the hands of Pharaoh’s magicians,”).

I am so thankful to God that through all this absurdity He has provided for Himself a remnant of humble believers who follow the Lord Jesus and continually forsake their own will and submit themselves to Him, and to the Father’s will. They realize they’ve been called for a purpose and they seek that purpose, forsaking their own wants. Humble believers still hear the Holy Spirit when He convicts them, and they follow where He leads. Humble believers find themselves a new creation where Jesus is their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; He is their all in all. They need no authority; they have a Savior.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Faith in the Name

Peter told the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple (Acts 3) that he had no silver or gold, but what he did have he would give to him, and then said, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk.” Peter then grabbed the man by the hand and lifted him up and the man walked for the first time in his life.

In verse 16 Peter went on to say to the crowd that gathered that the man was healed through faith in Jesus’ name, and that it was His name which strengthened the man, and the faith which comes through Him had given the man perfect health. It all began and ended with the name – faith in the name — strength through the name – perfect health through the name. It all came through the name, and Peter’s faith in that name.

The kingdom of God has come; we were born into it. The veil of the temple has been torn in two; we can now all go before the throne of grace and be greeted with the embrace of our loving Father. He will listen to our requests, and if we have good motives and faith in Him through Jesus, and if what we ask is according to His will, He will give us our requests.

He does this, not because we have authority, or because we have a right to the things we ask; He does it because we believe in Jesus; we believe that every knee will bow to His name, and that His name is above all other names. We believe that He loves us and that we have been raised up with Him into the kingdom of His Father and our Father. He will give us our requests for the same reason He healed the lame man at the Gate Beautiful, because we, like Peter, have faith in the name of Jesus.

Many people think they have to use a combination of faith and authority to rebuke the devil and make him run from them. They have been taught this and similar things by preachers who give them what they want to hear. People don’t want to endure fiery trials; they want to walk in power and authority. They want to be able to command finances to come their way; they want to heal people with a word. They don’t want to wait on God; they want to be God. And in comes a boat load of preachers who tell them they actually have the authority of God. And they will follow these preachers to the moon because their words are so pleasing to their ears.

These preachers tell them they don’t have to put up with anything. All they need do is use their authority in Jesus and whatever they want will be done for them. It seems that every generation has had a formula to pass this attitude off as the truth. The last generation added to the Scripture that said if we ask for something, believe that we receive it, and we will have it, and, taking it out of context, came up with name it and claim it. This generation is using the Scripture where four people spoke of things they didn’t understand (Job 42:3) and, taking Job 22:28 out of context, they are passing it off as truth; thus declare it and decree it.

Dear friends, the truth is – the Lord leaves us in our trials that we might learn endurance and strengthen our faith. We must run from formulas and from preachers who tickle our ears. We must run from the desire to have authority, and, instead, rest in the arms of Jesus, the One who loves us beyond comprehension; the One who gave Himself up for us; the One who is interceding for us at this very moment; the One for whom and through whom all things were made and exist. We must run to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must love Him and appreciate Him, not use Him. We must look to Him and follow wherever He leads, without question.

Rather than looking for a way out of, or around, trials that come our way, we should submit to the Lord and endure each one, knowing that hidden within the process of learning endurance is the melting away of dross, dross that hinders our faith. And, as this dross is melting away, our faith will gradually begin to shine forth as pure, unblemished gold. There will be no need for authority; our faith in His name will sustain us, as it did Peter and the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.

Jon Banks

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Yielding to God’s Will

It is a known, but seldom preached fact that the devil uses Scriptures in his dealings with Christians. He uses them quite often, and apparently, quite efficiently. He tells Christians, “If you are a child of God this, or that, promise applies to you; make it happen.” This is where name it and claim it, decree it and see it, stand on the promises, etc. comes from; from listening to and heeding the very words from the very mouth of Satan. Many well-meaning preachers tell us these same things from the pulpit, not realizing they are practically quoting the devil. People who follow this practice are actually following Satan. To follow Jesus one must adopt His attitude and refuse to put God to the test, for it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’

I’ve heard very few people mention that Satan used Scripture to entice Jesus. Most dwell on the fact that Jesus used Scripture to withstand the devil’s temptations. The devil used promises of God that applied to Jesus, in order to tempt Jesus, trying to entice Him to lift Himself up to the level of God and make those promises come true. Satan, just as he did with Jesus, uses promises that apply to us, in an effort to entice us to lift ourselves up to the level of God and make those promises come true.

So what are we to do? We are to do the same as Jesus did, wait on the Lord our God. Consider the outcome of Jesus’ wilderness experience: Angels came and ministered to Him. And so will God send aid to His children who trust in Him, rest in Him, and wait on Him. He will never fail. He is our loving Father, He loves us and He keeps us and He watches over us and covers us with His wings. We are His portion; we are His chosen. We need only dig deep and find the courage to cast our cares upon the Lord and wait on Him with a trusting heart, and watch as He rewards us for seeking Him. He will most assuredly do it. This is the rest Hebrews speaks of; this is walking in the works that God prepared for us beforehand.

When our son was going crippled with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis the devil kept telling me things like, “Your son is in pain, claim healing for him now and stop his pain. Stand on the promise of healing and make his pain go away now. Don’t let him continue in pain. His pain is constant and it’s very bad.” Thanks be to God, I never once lifted myself up against God and put Him to the test. I trusted Him with all my heart and when the appropriate time came the Holy Spirit led me to say, “In the name of Jesus be healed, be whole, be well.” My son was healed in an instant. Dear ones, our Father will come to our aid, and I will testify from now to eternity that He will never fail us.

Our hearts and our minds must be right; we must simply be in submission to God, under His authority. We must not be supposing or thinking that we have the authority of Christ. This attitude comes from a heart filled with haughtiness and selfishness, and it’s hard to tame; for the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. We must be devoid of our own will and yielding 100% to God’s will. We were bought with a precious price and we no longer belong to ourselves; we belong to God. We must empty ourselves and walk in submission to Him, as did Jesus.

I have seen many things in God’s kingdom; just recently the Lord healed a burn on my granddaughter’s hand; a few months ago my wife’s jaw was out of place. I prayed for her and the Lord put it back in place without so much as a pop. It was out of place at the beginning of my prayer; it was in place at the end of my prayer. This was verified by a dentist.

Several times I’ve stood and watched the elements move in accordance to what God was revealing to me in prayer; the latest was just last spring. We had been waiting on a storm for 10 to 20 minutes; it had been broadcast on TV. A tornado was on the ground headed for our town. Warning sirens went off and as people in our little town were scrambling to shelters, the Lord revealed to me that it would not cross our path. I told my wife we would be OK and I stood outside and watched the tornado lift up from the ground and turn to the west just as it was reaching the outskirts of our town, exactly as the Lord had told me.

I have also seen a dead man come back to life after being dead for about 30 minutes, and he did so after the Lord revealed to me that my prayers for the man would be answered. I’ve seen angels, I’ve seen demons; I’ve heard trees praising God; plants and flowers have spoken to me; birds and frogs and butterflies kept me company and comforted me for approximately two years during a period when friends were nowhere to be found. I could go on and on but this should be enough to make my point.

Am I bragging? Absolutely not! I am saying that God is everything and I am nothing. I am saying that every time I’ve been involved in a working of God, I have walked away with an attitude of humility and tremendous gratefulness that the Lord would allow me to witness His immense love for people. Each time, I have walked into the situation and away from the situation fully aware that nothing was of me, all was of Him. I may have prayed a prayer; I may have spoken a word, but the end of the matter was always, I am nothing, He is all in all; I am just a piece of clay in the Potter’s hand, He is the Potter.

My friends, I know my call. Jesus ordained me with His own hands; He has given me authority; but I would never even consider using that authority on my own. I am only an ambassador of Jesus; I have been sent by Him to help His chosen people by speaking the truth to them. God forbid that I should ever lift myself up as equal to God and demand His promises be given when I want them to be given. I am nothing more than a spokesman for the Son of God. And, as His spokesman, I am obliged to follow His example and work only as the Father works. And each part of His body should do the same.

This is very serious. We must learn to submit to the Lord. We must learn to empty ourselves and walk by the Holy Spirit. Only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven, and, all who are being led by the Spirt of God, these are sons of God. All the others will find themselves standing before Jesus saying, “We did this in your name and we did that in your name,” only to hear Him reply, “Depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness, I never knew you.” (Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.) We must forsake lawlessness and humble ourselves and learn discipline, and become obedient children of our Father. We must resist Satan and, if we do, he will flee from us.

The Lord bless you,

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. The devil tries to entice Christians to believe they have a right to the promises of God. This belief is the catalyst to name it and claim it, decree it and see it, and all such haughty tactics.

I believe our Lord’s promises are beautiful and wonderful gifts He shares with us because of His immense love for us. Our God is good and His love is beyond comprehension. We need not claim or decree what we think are our rights. We need only lose ourselves in Him and trust Him for everything. We need only ask and we will receive. 


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The Lesson in the Book of Job

The church has been in a state of sleep for approximately 1900 years. During this time there have been revivals and great moves of God, but the church has remained asleep. Soon the Lord will awaken her from that sleep. When He finds 2, 3, 30, 300, maybe more (God knows how many) people who love Him and honor Him to the extent that they rely on Him for everything, including their ability to understand Scripture, He will send the Spring Rain, which will awaken and prepare the wheat for harvest.

I don’t know if these people will be in one place, or scattered throughout the world; I just know they will be humble and have so much respect for God that they wouldn’t dare speak out of turn; they wouldn’t dare utter a word to the children of God without being absolutely certain their understanding of what they are speaking of came from God.

The ability to speak only what God reveals has been missing from the majority of the church during the time of this sleep. God has always had a few who walked with Him and have spoken only of things they have heard from Him. However, for the most part, men have been as Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar and have spoken of things they didn’t understand, and have misrepresented the Lord by not speaking of Him what is right, (Job 42:1-7). The many denominations are a testimony to this.

Men of God today need to follow Job’s example, who, in the end, acknowledged and confessed his sin, (Job 42:6), and, in so doing, spoke what was right of the Lord, (Job 42:3,6,7). (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did not acknowledge or confess their sin and the Lord, being compassionate and merciful, (James 5:11), and not wanting to deal with them according to their folly, (Job 42:7,8), had them offer up a burnt offering for themselves and had Job pray for them. [So there is hope for all of us]).

The Lord is looking for people who will embrace the lesson in the Book of Job, that of humbly enduring all things, resisting the temptation to conjure up reasons and solutions for their trials and tribulations, which is folly in the eyes of the Lord, (Job 42:8). He is looking for those whose gaze is on Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith; those who speak as the Father speaks, and follow wherever He leads, regardless of the cost. May the Lord find those people and may the heavens thunder the coming of the latter rain.


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©2018 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved


Full Disclosure


Nearly all my life I have been battling PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder. I always knew I was different from the normal person, but I never knew why. I finally learned why in 2004 when a friend talked me into going to the VA for my medical needs. During an interview when I was first accepted into the VA system, the nurse giving the interview suggested that I not only sign up for a primary doctor but, due to life experiences I had shared with her, I should also see a psychologist. I said yes to the primary doctor and no to a psychologist. Several months later a gentleman from the DAV suggested the same thing and I finally agreed to do it.

It didn’t take the psychologist long to diagnose me with PTSD; a psychiatrist also diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder, as well. The PTSD stemmed from my childhood and the military. One psychologist (I ended up seeing two) told me that it was a miracle I was still alive. He said that most people who had been through things similar to what I had been through usually end up dead or in the penitentiary. I was moved to tears when he said this because I knew the Lord had been with me through it all. The VA found that the PTSD alone rendered me unemployable and rated me at 100% disability. (The longest I had ever held a job was four years; all the rest ranged from a few months to one or two years; there were many stretches when I didn’t have a job).

The symptoms of PTSD are many and one of the least devastating was being in a crowd. I would get agitated and uneasy, and want to run and hide nearly every time I was in a crowd. Even the smallest of crowds were a problem. Because of this I never felt comfortable in church. I had many problems stemming from the PTSD and I tried again and again to conquer them, but to no avail. (I share these things about myself now because I want nothing to be hidden; I don’t want to leave room for the devil to gain an advantage.) Through all this, the Lord dealt with me. Even in my darkest moments God would speak; He would reveal things to me. (Only those who have experienced PTSD and Major Depression will have an idea of what I mean by my darkest moments.) Had He not done this, I believe I would have been gone decades ago.

Since the mid 2000’s I’ve been on medication for PTSD and depression and it has worked very well. I no longer experience those dark times. Not only that, but things the Lord has shown me over the years have been coming together and forming a lovely tapestry of divine delicacies. In addition to this, I now see my purpose more clearly; I now know why Jesus was present at both my physical birth, and my spiritual birth; I now know why He ordained me Himself, with His own hands; I now know why He told me to quit Bible College after one semester; I now know that He has been separating me unto Himself the whole time; teaching me to rely on Him and learn from Him. I now know He has led me down a path of truths, one after another, and the truths He has shown me will never be shaken.

One of the things the Lord made clear to me during those years was that the devil is extremely cunning, extremely crafty, and extremely good at finding ways to appeal to the human psyche, ways to entice us to bypass the Word, and feel like we’re fulfilling the Word. He showed me how necessary it is to guard against the opinions and doctrines of man. To this day, false doctrines and man-made formulas are floating around everywhere. People just naturally want to bypass the struggling, the pleading, and the agonies of prayer. By virtue of being a part of the human race, they inherently dodge the process of learning patience through suffering, and run from tribulation. They haven’t submitted completely to God and are thereby particularly susceptible to the deceitfulness of the devil. Because they still rely on their own understanding, they are prime prey for the deceiver.

As I write, people are being misled, hurt, and abused by those who have subverted the Word of God, and claim authority they don’t have; false prophets in sheep’s clothing, enticing souls to leave their Shepherd and follow them to a world where everyone is a mini-god, where everyone has all authority and can throw the name of Jesus around and get what they want, when they want. And just as Pharaoh’s magicians turned their staffs into serpents, so these also can work miracles. However, although they preach the name of Jesus, they don’t honor the name of Jesus. These are the ones who will one day find themselves standing before Jesus and telling Him, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?,” only to hear Him say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness,” Matthew 7:22-23.

We, as human beings, are inherently programmed to look for the easiest, or fastest, way to get from one place to another. And in an effort to please God and help those in need, even the sincerest of Christians take passages of Scripture and add their own thoughts to it until they come up with an easy way to bypass any waiting, any struggling. Faith is tested by fire and no one likes fire, thus all the concepts and formulas that appear to make it easy to accomplish God’s work and bypass the fire. We must never run from the fire. We must always submit to our Father and endure the fire.

Dear friends, the Lord tells me now that soon His chosen ones will forsake the doctrines of men and look to the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus, who endured the cross, despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Soon every chosen one will walk by the Spirit; there will be no more speaking this or that over people; no more speaking to one’s problems; no more claiming, declaring, or decreeing. These and all other man-made doctrines will be replaced with trusting, obeying, and believing. There will be no more adding to the Scriptures, or taking away from them, trying to make God move; for the Holy Ghost will lead the chosen to a place where respect for our Heavenly Father will be so prevalent that we will never again venture out from under His control to try the latest spiritual fad; we will never again wander in the wilderness; we will rest peacefully in the bosom of our Father. This will all become a reality when the awakening comes, when the latter rain begins to pour, preparing the wheat for harvest. (The man-made doctrines will continue in the camp of the false apostles and those who refuse to bow to God’s authority, but they will never again be heard from the mouths of true believers.)

We must begin now, we must turn from these concepts and formulas, and look unto Jesus, and embrace His Spirit, His humility, His respect for the Father. We must lay down our lives with all the propensities of the old nature, propensities that look for an easy way to get what we want, when we want. We must follow Jesus’ example of not counting equality with God as a thing to be grasped. We must be cautious and judicious as we speak, as we work. We must cease following every wind of doctrine that blows by, and every formula that promises quick results. We must submit ourselves to God and work as He works.

Dear friends, please know this, I love each reader of this letter with the love God has poured out within my heart through the Holy Spirit. Some readers may believe in the man-made doctrines I have referred to. If so, please don’t be offended. Put the things I have said to the test; weigh them on the scales of the Holy Scriptures; wait before God and be certain as to whether they are true, or not.

The Lord has commissioned me to speak the truth to His beloved people and His love constrains me; I would be remiss if I did any less. I ache, and will continue to ache, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; until we come to the place where we will no longer be carried away by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and by deceitfulness in wicked places; and that we might speak the truth in love, and grow up in all aspects, into Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. I long for this more than words can say.

May the Lord bless each one who reads this letter; may He heal those in need of healing; and may we grow up into our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Jon Banks

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©2018 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Louder than words

Today is the day — today there are needs in the earth — there are needs in the brotherhood.  And there are so few who take these needs to heart. When James and Peter and John met with Paul and Barnabas they no doubt discussed many things.  But when they parted company they asked only one thing of them — that they remember the poor.  We will be held accountable for whatever ways we treat the poor.  For Jesus not only said that when we help the poor, we are doing it to Him, He also said that if we don’t help the poor, He in turn will say to us, “Depart from Me…” (Matt. 25).

The world will know we are disciples of Jesus by our love for one another.  And how will they know? by seeing into our hearts? or by witnessing our actions?  And how will our actions convey our love for one another? through sentimental professions of concern? or through tangible deeds of kindness?  If a family is in need of food, is it enough to simply offer to pray for them?  Isn’t that dangerously akin to saying, “Be warmed and be filled,”?  They don’t need our sentiment — they need food.  Actions truly do speak louder than words.  And love can always be heard in the tangibility of its actions.

Children of God must shun all tendencies to judge the poor, for who are we to judge the servants of another?  We must also shun the popular notion that we need only give when God speaks to us and specifically tells us to give, for in so doing we declare His written Word to be null and void.  We must run from the love of money and from the love of the world, for if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us.  Hence, ‘Whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.’ (I John 3:17, 18).  Anything less is hypocritical and adulterous, and inflicts injury on already fainting hearts.

Please judge for yourselves whether or not these are the true words of God.  Judge carefully — the standard of measure you use will be measured to you.

Rev. Jon Banks

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©2017 Jon  Banks All Rights Reserved

Two unpopular truths

Daniel 11:37 tells us the man of sin, or man of lawlessness, will have no regard for the desire of women. Genesis 3:16 tells us the desire of women will be their husbands. So in these last days powers of darkness are working to downgrade the desire of women (men) and they are doing it by upgrading women.

This may sound course but it really isn’t. God’s plan is for the man to be head over the woman. A woman is not allowed to usurp authority over a man. This is not a slam on women, it’s a divine order that, if followed, both men and women will find peace, security, and love in its highest fashion. It is the will of God.


“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves,” Romans 13:1-2.

The town I live in has a population of less than 800. Everybody knows everybody. We’ve been here a little less than three years and already I’ve noticed people we’ve seen in church come speeding up behind us on the road, only to slow down when they see it’s me. More and more people here are becoming aware of the respect I have for God. It tickles me when I see this happen but it also saddens me. Christians don’t know what they’re missing as they speed around ignoring the ordinance of God.

Only those who can be trusted with small things are fit to be entrusted with large things. And it’s a very small thing to drive within the speed limits; it requires very little to do this. However, although it’s a very small thing to do, it reaps large benefits, benefits that resound with communion with the Holy Spirit, abiding in the Vine, and access to the secrets of God.

As you drive down the road and endeavor to stay within the speed limit, acknowledge that you’re doing it out of respect for the Lord. Remind yourself that you’re doing it because it’s His ordinance. You are obeying Him. You are denying self and submitting to God. If you do this you will soon notice that your relationship with Him is becoming sweeter and sweeter; you will begin to feel closer to Him because you are walking by the Spirit and doing the will of God. And if you continue being obedient in this small area you will find that He will give you more and more responsibility and your relationship with Him will become more intimate. I’m very serious about this. We must be obedient in all areas.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as, emergencies. I’m speaking of everyday normal driving in town and on the highways.

Rev. Jon Banks

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I speak the truths of God

Through the years people have distorted the Word of God to the point that many now think these distortions are correct. Three of these distortions are claiming a promise, standing on the Word, and speaking to our problems. But nowhere in Scripture are these things mentioned. They don’t exist in Scripture or in the Kingdom of God. Why would someone claim a promise of God? To claim is to demand something that you think you have a right to. Who in his right mind would demand something from a holy God? Why would somebody stand on the Word; why not simply believe the Word? (Standing on the Word is not faith; it is an attempt to conjure up faith.) Why would anyone speak to a problem? We are called to endure and persevere in the midst of our problems.

May I suggest that these distortions of Scriptures originated from the mouth of Satan. He would rather have people standing on the promises of God and claiming those promises, rather than believing God and resting in Him. He would much rather we constantly struggle in our minds and talk to our problems rather than casting our cares upon our Lord. He would rather we spend our lives trying to make God work rather than resting in Him and trusting Him to work.

Some well-meaning people still believe and teach these three things I have spoken of (standing on the Word, claiming promises, and speaking to our problems) and I mean no offense to them, nor do I judge them; I love them as my own kin, my own family; I love them with the love God has poured in my heart for all people, without judgment, and unconditionally. I love them so much that I speak the truths of God and not the concepts of man.

Dear friends, it is a simple fact that the devil is behind these beliefs. The longer he can get Christians to concentrate on things they desire (promises, etc.) and things they don’t desire (problems [sometimes called mountains]) the longer he can keep Christians from doing the will of God. Satan is constantly trying to influence Christians to look at problems and unanswered prayers, and to concentrate on them, trying to fix them, trying to exercise power in the name of Jesus to overcome them; and the longer he can keep us doing that, the longer he can keep us from looking to and concentrating on the Person of Jesus.

God allows our faith to be tested by fire, and we endure the fire not by claiming or rebuking or speaking to problems, but by weeding out everything that tends to choke the word of faith, such as unbelief, the cares of life, the desires for riches, and the tendencies to worry. We can only cultivate the soil in which the seed of faith grows.  As we weed out the things which are contrary to faith and water the soil of our hearts with the Word of God, we walk in the sunlight of His love and the seed sprouts and bears fruit to eternal life. We receive the things we ask of the Lord because we believe the Lord.

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things,” Philippians 4:8. If we do this we will soon find our Lord showering His promises upon us. He is good. He is love. We are His beloved.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Jon Banks

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We will be blown away

Many years ago the Lord pulled me out of church and told me to stop reading books. I had quite a few books at the time. I sold my set of The Pulpit Commentary and gave away the rest of my books. The Lord also told me to start using the New American Standard Bible, so I bought one. He let me know beyond a doubt that I was to do my best to unlearn what I had learned up to then. He wanted me to start fresh and learn directly from Him.

(A couple of years prior to this a brother had a remarkable experience in which he was given several different words for several different people. I think he received this in a vision. His word for me was that God had placed a Golden Thread of Healing in me to mend the hurts of all mankind, and that I was to seek not the counsel of men, but to listen only to God, because He was the Golden Needle that pulled the Golden Thread. So, when the Lord let me know I was to empty my mind of all I thought I knew, I remembered this word and knew it was the Lord who was dealing with me.)

After a few months of reading nothing but the Bible the Lord started dealing with me through visions and revelations. The first vision came one afternoon when I was on my knees in the middle of our living room floor. In the blink of an eye I saw Joseph standing and looking out over a sea of Israelites; there were more than the eye could see. Joseph appeared to be weeping. Someone (I don’t know if it was the Lord or an angel of the Lord) told me all these people were cut off from the Kingdom of their God in order that all other races could partake of God’s grace and mercy. My heart was broken immediately and I began to weep, and, as soon as I did, I realized that someone was weeping with me; I thought it was Joseph but it was the Lord our God. He was weeping for His loved ones who were left out of the Kingdom for our sakes.

I’m weeping now. Just the thought of this makes me weep. The experience was so real, so deep, and so very sad. God was actually weeping over His beloved Israel. He loves them so much. I didn’t feel His tears but I felt His heart. His heart was grieving beyond words, beyond thoughts, beyond relief. We wept together for several minutes and then I was told about Joseph.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall.” (Gen 49:22). “For He Himself (Jesus) is our peace, who made both groups into one (Jews and Gentiles), and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16). The branches of Joseph have run over a wall.

As I was seeing and hearing these things, different aspects of His Mystery kept unfolding and unfolding and unfolding. I heard about Joseph, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Dan. I heard about apostles receiving by giving and of Paul doing his share in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. After a while, my ability to comprehend began to fade. I was still seeing things and hearing things but I reached a point where I could no longer comprehend them. I stayed there for a long time, kneeling before the Lord of Glory, watching His Mystery go on and on and on. Soon these things surpassed my ability to see (even with my spiritual eyes), and disappeared into the heavens.

Oh, my friends, we are so fortunate to be a part of His plan, to work together with Him, and to be called His children. Oh, what a God we serve. It’s no wonder the Jews wouldn’t speak His name. When we get to heaven we’re going to be so amazed at the awesomeness of our Father!!!!!!! so amazed!!!!!!! Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then we shall know fully just as we have been fully known. And, beloved, we will be blown away. You can take that to the bank!!!

I’m so sorry, I have to stop now. I’m weeping again. And I have more to say about this one vision, however, I’m not sure I should. I don’t want to confuse anybody or bring up questions that don’t need to be asked. I will leave you with this:

In Revelations 7 it speaks of the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel. Take notice that Dan is left out and Manasseh is a part of the twelve. If you will look up the meanings of the names of Joseph, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Dan, perhaps the Lord will give you a glimpse of this Mystery. (From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. I’ve seen this with my own eyes.)

I feel free to say this – Dan is actually there for it says in Genesis 49:16, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.”

Another thing I learned in this vision:  Paul was born before his time, for being from the tribe of Benjamin he was not supposed to come in until the fullness of the Gentiles had come in. This is why his conversion was so traumatic. “And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing…” (Acts 9:8). His eyes were open but he couldn’t see. He didn’t have the eyes that were needed to see because his heart had been hardened.

This is so wonderful — our Father, in His infinite wisdom, chose a Jew whose heart had been hardened (hardened so that we might receive mercy and become partakers of the promises) to carry the promises to us. Behold what manner of love our Father has bestowed upon us!!! Oh, my beloved friends, the Lord’s thoughts and ways are so far above us, so very far.

I testify to you that the Father wept for Paul until the day he could see, and to this day He weeps for those Jews who still have scales over their eyes for the sake of the Gentiles. May the latter rain come quickly and bring in the remaining Gentiles, so that all Israel may be saved, and that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of the Lord, and the restoration of all things may come to pass. Oh, my goodness, it’s going to be so wonderful!!!

“For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways. For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:30-36)

There are many other things I saw and heard in this vision but can’t speak of now. May God bless the chosen ones, of which we are a part.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Trust and Obey

In the mid 1990’s we were having a hard time making ends meet. We were taking care of some apartments for a real estate company, and from time to time we would grab a job on the side.  At the time the Lord was taking me through some extremely dark areas in the process of separating me to Himself. I had been praying and asking Him to help me trust Him to supply our needs. I prayed about this for weeks (maybe months). One day while in prayer the Lord spoke and said, “If you would trust me to supply your needs, you must be willing to give away even that which you need.” He then told me to give away all our money. I think we had a little less than $200.00 at the time.

Within two or three weeks after obeying the Lord my wife came to me and said, “We’re out of food and our son is hungry, and so am I. What do we do about it?”  I told her to give me a little time and I went in our bedroom, closed the door, and cried out to our Father. Within seconds He very tenderly said, “Go to Pizza Hut.” When He spoke those words I somehow knew which Pizza Hut he wanted us to go to. We hadn’t been to a Pizza Hut in well over twenty years, so I wasn’t familiar with it.

I told my wife we were going to Pizza Hut and she wanted to know what we were going to do when we got there. I told her I had no idea, but maybe the Lord would reveal something when we got there or maybe not; I just knew that we had to go there. Reluctantly she and our son got in the car with me and we went to the Pizza Hut. When we got there the place was empty. We were the only customers there. We sat down in a booth and my wife started digging in her purse hoping she would find some money. She looked in her change purse and found that she had inadvertently forgotten to empty it when we gave our money away. She had enough for three drinks. So we ordered drinks.

When the waitress brought our drinks she asked if we wanted something to eat. I quickly said, “No ma’am. We’re fine.” Without hesitation the waitress said, “If you change your mind, we just finished our lunch buffet and there are several pizzas left over. We’re just going to throw them away. Eat all you want. You can take whatever’s left home with you if you’d like.” I thanked her and we ate a mid-afternoon lunch that our Heavenly Father had prepared for us. We didn’t take any home because He had just sent us there to quench my family’s hunger that particular day. The following day we received $100.00 anonymously in the mail.

When I went into our bedroom that day to seek the Lord concerning my wife and son’s hunger, I didn’t even mention His promise to supply our needs according to His riches in glory. I just asked for help. He already knew the problem and He was aware of His promise. I simply knelt before Him and asked for help. You see, when I was a young Christian everybody around me was claiming things in prayer and I tried it one time. It was awful. At the very second I tried it, I instinctively knew it was foreign to the Holy Spirit, and I felt horrible. I felt horrible for days, possibly weeks, after that experience. I haven’t done it since.

Several years after the time I tried claiming something in prayer the Holy Spirit revealed to me that claiming, standing on the Word, and the so-called binding the devil stem from the root of unbelief. Dear ones ask the Lord for something and, when they don’t get their request when they feel they should and, having no assurance in their hearts that they will receive what they ask, they start claiming, binding, and/or standing on the Word in an effort to make what they want come to pass.

Many do this because they subconsciously feel they have to prove they believe the promise for which they pray. Some use the excuse that they’re not claiming something from God; they’re claiming it from the devil. Others take an opposite course and justify their claiming and standing on the promises by saying they have been given authority from God. In each instance – there is double-mindedness – their faith is wavering and, they’ve fallen into the devil’s trap.

When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, He refused to command the stone to become bread when He was hungry because He hadn’t heard a word from God. He refused to cast Himself down from the temple because He didn’t regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, and dared not put God to the test by claiming the promise Satan quoted to Him. Instead, He humbled Himself and became obedient, and waited on God. (Throughout His ministry Jesus worked as the Father worked, and did nothing on His own initiative (John 5:19, 30).

We must be cautious with the terminology we use because sensitive souls can be misled easily. A young tender Christian may hear an older Christian claiming a promise and assume that’s the proper way to pray. However, claiming a promise and standing on a promise are, to my knowledge, not in the Bible. I can’t recall ever seeing either one of them. I believe their origin can be traced to something deceitful and desperately wicked, the heart of man.

Even Abraham, when he was promised that he would be the father of many nations, didn’t claim the promise. Nor is there any record of him rebuking Sarah’s aged womb and claiming a younger one.  Abraham knew he was going to be the father of many nations because God said he would. The promise of God was the substance of what he hoped for, and the evidence of what he couldn’t see. He didn’t need to claim or demand that the promise take place — he simply believed the One who made the promise.

Dear friends, like Abraham, we must simply believe our Father and submit ourselves to Him, entrusting our entire being to His authority. We must walk humbly before Him, acknowledging Him in all our ways. We must trust and obey Him in all things. And as we continue to trust and obey we will find that a seed of faith begins to sprout and slowly grow within us, leading us to places we’ve never been, places that defy the intellect and the wisdom of man;  dark places rarely trod. And somewhere in that process, the process of trusting God blindly, without question, without doubt, we find that this One who cannot lie is, in fact, the substance of what we hope for; He is the evidence of what we can’t see. His immutable Word speaks volumes.

There are times when we feel like God has forsaken us; we can’t sense His presence; He seems so far away; it appears that He’s left us on our own, and that He’s refusing to help us. This is no time to panic and start looking for answers. Dear friends, hear thishear thishear this – the Lord is only training us up in the way we should go. He wants our obedience, and we learn obedience through the things in which we suffer; and we cannot suffer without trials and tribulations. He is disciplining us for our own good and, for that reason, He won’t immediately bail us out of every situation we don’t like.

In these situations, we must be still, and ignore every tendency to work things out our way. We must resist these tendencies and submit to our loving Father.  Submit – Trust – Obey – letting patience have its perfect work; we must learn to endure; we must attain steadfastness and perseverance.

Dear friends, the Lord is always closer than our own thoughts, regardless of what we’re going through. We don’t need to claim His promises — we just need to take Him at His Word – dare to trust the One who cannot lie and submit to Him. Abraham believed and the promise of God came to pass. For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us, (II Corinthians 1:20 NASB). If we believe, we’ll receive. Amen.

Rev. Jon Banks

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©2017 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Death is obliged to bow

Not long ago I learned that a close family member nearly died and had to undergo emergency brain surgery.  It was a tremendous shock to me.  I walked around on the verge of tears all that day.  I was plagued with the thought, ‘Death is so permanent.’  The following day I was talking to a dear lady on the phone and learned that she lost a child six years ago.  Her child was thirteen months old and had drowned in a swimming pool.  After our conversation, God began dealing with me.  He reminded me of something the Holy Spirit told me years ago, ‘Things aren’t always as they appear.’  He then told me to look up the child’s name in a book I have on children’s names and their meanings.  The child’s name is Sarah Beth.  Sarah Beth is derived from Hebrew and means ‘Princess in the house of God’.  Things truly aren’t always as they appear.  This little child’s life on earth was cut short in order that she might forever be a ‘princess in the house of God’ — God turned what appeared to be an unjust stroke of fate into an eternal crown of glory and placed it upon the head of this innocent little child.  And this little child will proclaim throughout eternity the blessings of a most kind and gracious heavenly Father who causes all things to work together for good to His beloved children.   He watches over all — cares for all — prayers are answered.

Death loses its permanency in God’s supreme gift to man — His only begotten Son — for whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but through Him the perishable will put on the imperishable, the mortal will put on the immortal.  Death is swallowed up in the victory of the Son of God.  The Lion from the tribe of Judah became an unblemished Lamb and triumphantly overcame death, rendering it powerless.  And through Him we who believe will also overcome and will one day join Sarah Beth, the little Princess in the house of God, and in victorious celebration we will sing the praises of the Lord our God.  With grateful hearts we will acknowledge His wisdom in His dealings with man and marvel at His understanding.  At that time we will know as we have been known, fully and completely; and I am certain that we will bow in appreciation to His infinite lovingkindness.

Dear friends, the leaves of autumn fall only to reenter the earth from which they came, and, in turn, rise again in a form of nutrients, providing sustenance for the grass and the trees and the flowers they left behind.  In so doing, they testify both to the resurrection from the dead, and to the ever present help of the Bread of Life which was broken for us.  And not just the leaves of autumn, but all creation is continually reminding us that we may take heart and find comfort in the hope of our calling:  The flowers open their petals to the sun; the birds can be heard in song;  winter relinquishes its grip in deference to the birth of spring…  all testifying that death is obliged to bow in submission to our Lord’s immutable promise of eternal life.  This is the heritage of the children of God; — weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Now to Him who loves us, and is able to make us all kings and priests and princes and princesses in His eternal house in the heavens, be glory and majesty and dominion and authority, before time and now and forever.

Rev. Jon Banks

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©2017 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved