Monday, October 15, 2018

Setting the Captives Free

I believe one of the greatest needs in the church today is believers receiving a pure revelation of God's Word as to, Who they are in Christ; Who Christ is in them and how the Father truly sees them. In other words, believers must come to truly know and believe what it means to be a new creation in Christ, that is, their new identification in Christ. Once believers have a solid understanding of their identification in Christ, they will then know that they can stand in the Father presence without guilt, condemnation, unworthiness, shame or inferiority as well as stand and face Satan and his evil forces as triumphant victors; as more than conquerors. They will come to know the authority that has been given them to uphold and enforce what the Father accomplished through Christ.

With this revelation knowledge believers will no long confess failure, weakness, doubt, fear or unbelief, but humbly stand by grace through faith in the power of His might in the face of any circumstance no matter how large or small it may seem. The Holy Spirit through the writer of Hebrews tells us, "Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23) Therefore, living in the light of what God’s Word reveals as the believers new and true identification, we see that it is based upon their faith in the integrity of God’s Word or put another way, not simply knowing facts about God, but  knowing God Himself. To know God is to know His will, and to know His will is to know His Word for they are one and the same. (John 1:1; 1 John 5:7)

One of the greatest examples of an ordinary man who flat out believed God was Abraham, "Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." (Romans 4:20-21) Keep in mind that Abraham did not have God's Word written in what we call the Bible available to him, but, we see in this scripture that Abraham completely apprehended the will of God. There was no question concerning God’s will. Two things arise from this; First, Abraham's faith prevented doubt, fear and unbelief to find place; second, this caused Abraham to be completely obedient to God. Therefore, when believers truly apprehend their identity with Christ, doubt, fear and unbelief fade away, obedience is normal and exercising true authority exists. So, what is the authority that every believer has the right to in Christ?

It is God’s sovereign right to give commands, make decisions, have jurisdiction, have control, to take charge, or to rule over that which opposes or is contrary to His Will, that is His Word. God’s throne is established on His authority, therefore, all of His acts issue from His throne. All physical laws of the universe are maintained by His authority. We see this revealed in Hebrews, "God in these last days has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power." (Hebrews 1:2-3) God’s Word is His power from which emanates His authority. Therefore, God's authority represents God Himself and His power is revealed by His acts, "Then God said...and it was so." (Genesis 1)

We also see God's authority released through the earth ministry of Jesus as the Son of Man, "for Jesus taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:29) God alone is authority in al1 things. We also see this revealed in the affairs of man on earth, "...For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.." (Romans 13:1) Here we see that all the authorities of the earth are instituted by God. Because God’s authority is such a tremendous thing in the universe, we need to understand that absolutely nothing overshadows it. Therefore it is imperative for us who desire to serve God to know the authority of God. Why?

For the sake of time, I am not going to read the account of Lucifer’s fall in Isaiah 14 or the account of the king of Tyre (the law of double reference used for Lucifer) in Ezekiel 28 but will comment on the accounts. Isaiah 14:12-15 deals with Satan violating God’s authority while Ezekiel 28:13-17 emphasizes his trespassing against God's holiness. To offend God's authority is a rebellion far more serious than that of offending God's holiness. Offending God’s holiness or sinning is a matter of conduct, whereas offending God’s authority is a matter of principle. Jesus said it this way, "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:31-32 )

In context with this passage, Jesus was casting out demons by the authority vested in Him through the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees rejected this and said that Jesus’ authority was through Beelzebub, that is Satan. The first part of the passage above is sin against God’s Holiness the latter is rebellion against God’s authority. So, Isaiah reports that is Satan's intent of setting his throne above the throne of God was a violation against God's authority. So, it was not the act of sinning that caused Satan's fall, it was his act of rebellion against God’s authority. It was rebellion which God condemned. This brings us to the controversy of the universe. Who has the authority? Although believers have the authority over Satan and all of his forces, any conflict that we may have with Satan is the direct result of our attributing all authority to God. With this in mind, we can look back to the Garden of Eden and see Satan’s approach to the first man and woman and see that Satan's attack on believers is the same as it was in the Garden of Eden. He makes his appeal to the flesh, that is, the five senses, trying to turn believers from the truth that all authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and earth, which has been given to the church, all believers.  (Mark 16:17-18; Ephesians 1:22-23)

With that said, let us remember this. Satan is not afraid of believers who preach God’s Word. His greatest fear is those who are completely subject to God’s authority. God has purposed to manifest His authority to the world through the church, through each and every believer. God uses His power to maintain His authority, therefore, His authority is the hardest thing to come up against. So, as long as we continue living on planet earth, let us humbly remember, as members of the Body of Christ, we can exercise our authority in Christ in the same manner as He did, "For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." (Mark 1:27) In doing so, we are setting the captives free through the authority vested in us by Jesus Himself.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Alive For Evermore

The Bible clearly reveals the believers new and continuous identification of their life in Jesus Christ. It reveals the legal side of our redemption, that is, what God did in Christ for us, from the Cross, until He sat down on the right hand of the Father. However, there is another side of identification. This is known as the vital side of redemption. That is, what the Holy Spirit through God’s Word, is doing in the believer now. Because we have not differentiated between the legal and the vital sides of redemption, there seems to arise some confusion. One school of theology has magnified the legal side, and another, the vital side. One is the courthouse aspect, while the other is the experiential aspect.

The legal part of redemption is the portion enacted by God when a sinner confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and accepts Him as his Savior. The following reveals some of the many aspects from God's Word, concerning the legal side of redemption, that He has provided for every believe through the meritorious work of Jesus Christ. The persons sins are remitted, wiped out as though they had never been (Acts 2:38); He/she is legally justified, that is, declared righteous or set right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21); He/she is legally reconciled to the Father (2 Corinthians 5:18); He/she is legally adopted by God (Romans 8:15); He/she legally become a member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:18); Jesus publicly confesses him/her before the Father (Matthew 10:32); His/her name is written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:19); God becomes his/her Father (John 20:17). All these are the legal side of redemption and are instantaneous upon one's repentance, confession and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Now that these steps have been taken, the new believer, has a legal right to the Father's protection (2 Thessalonians 3:3); He/she has a 1ega1 right to Jesus' intercession (Hebrews 7:25); He/she has a legal right to the Advocacy of Christ (1 John 2:1); He/she has a legal right to the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); He/she has a legal right to be in God’s royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); He/she has a legal right to a child’s inheritance (Acts 2:32); He/she has a legal right to the use of Jesus' Name…(Mark 16:17) Let us keep in mind that when we overlook the legal side of redemption, we will find ourselves building an experiential structure without a foundation, and the building will surely fall (Matthew 7:24-27). This is the reason that so many who teach only the vital side of redemption have so many failures among the believers they teach and why some many believers are out of fellowship.

Now, let us look at some of the many aspects of the vital side of redemption which is the work that the Holy Spirit does in the believer through the Word of God. The Holy Spirit indwells him/her (Acts 2:38); The Holy Spirit imparts to his/her spirit the Nature of God, life as God has it, eternal life (2 Peter 1:4); The Holy Spirit makes him/her alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1); The peace of God which passes all understanding floods his/her soul (Philippians 6:7); The Holy Spirit witnesses with his/her spirit that he/she is a child of God (Romans 8:16); The love of God is poured out in his/her heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5); He/she has passed from death into life (John 5:24); He/she loves the brethren (1 John 3:16); The fruit of the Spirit fills his/her recreated spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); He/she is an heir with God and joint heir with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17); He/she can be immersed, baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4).

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8) Therefore, the main thing to keep in mind concerning both the legal and vital sides of redemption is that they are both accomplished by God alone, by His great amazing grace. These things should show us why it is of great importance for believers to have a balance. If believers only have the legal side of the plan of redemption, it would lead into lifeless formalism. It would make doctrines, out of Truth resulting in intellectualism. If believers only have the vital side of the plan of redemption, it will lead into fanaticism, magnifying experiences above God’s Word.

When we understand the balance, we find that what is legally ours becomes vitally ours by the work of the Holy Spirit in us through God’s Word. In other words, it comes down to this. It comes down to  what we believe about God’s will, nature, character, purpose and plan as revealed in scripture. Many believers will say that God’s Word is true; that there are no discrepancies; that it is infallible and inerrant, but they dispute these very statements with doctrines, creeds and rituals that nullify God’s Word. Jesus said, "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition...making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down." (Mark 7:8-13

So, there are three main actions that believers should embrace daily if they want to know without doubt what their true identity in Christ is. First, be saturated in God’s Word; second, confess God’s Word; third, have intimate fellowship with the Father. Doing these things will result in knowing who we are in Christ, who Christ is in us and how the Father truly sees us, that is, our identification in Christ. The more we receive, understand and live in our new and true identity, the more we will live in the realm of the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16-18) The Apostle Paul tells us, "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children." (Ephesians 5:1) So, we must ask the question, "How can believers be imitators of God if they do not know God nor who they truly are in Christ, who Christ is in them and how the Father sees them? The Holy Spirit through the Prophet Hosea tells us, "My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me." (Hosea 4:6 NLT)

The answer to this question based on this scripture is clear. If believers have an unbiblical perspective or knowledge of God then it stands to reason that they will have, at best, a limited knowledge of their identity, and may never come into the victorious, abundant life that Christ has provided. However, the New Testament is filled with the realities of both the legal and vital side of redemption. The Apostle Paul tells us, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." (Ephesians 1:3-5) As we see in this revelation given to the Apostle Paul, man was marked for sonship before the foundation of the world. In other words, before the foundation of the world God the Father purposed a family, and man was and is the answer to that purpose.

So, let us no longer grow weary with an unbiblical understanding of our new and true identity in Jesus Christ. Why? "...because as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What's on Your Mind

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reveals to us the great difference between the old man, that is, the fallen, spiritually dead, sinful, satanic nature of man as inherited from Adam, and the new man, the recreated, new creature created in Christ with God's own divine nature. Paul admonishes the church saying, "This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:17-24)

The Apostle Paul is showing us what comes forth from the old man, that is, the flesh. In a sense, wrong thinking, produces wrong believing, which produces wrong confession, which produces wrong actions, which are all a product of the old nature. Rather than living by the old nature, the Apostle Paul tells believers to put on the new man, the new nature, "which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." The putting off and putting on requires faith in God's Word. Like Abraham, we must be fully convinced that what God said, He is able (and willing) to perform. (Romans 4:21)

Paul continues, "Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:17-32)

The attitudes of the heart and mind are to be renewed, edifying speech is to come from our mouth and our actions are not to be the works of the old man, the flesh. Believers need to pay close attention to verse 27, "nor give place to the devil." The devil cannot read minds but he hears our words and see our actions. He then lays out his deceptive game plan in hopes that the believer will act in the flesh which robs us, and grieves the Holy Spirit. Paul also tells us that the Holy Spirit has produced in our recreated spirit nine wonderful attributes to live by, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22) Of course this takes faith.

He goes on to say, "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22-25) Notice, "those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Paul assumes that every believer understands what being crucified with Christ truly means. It means that the old man, the passions and desires of the flesh, have been executed, killed, put away. But, we need to ask ourselves, "are we walking in the Spirit or are we giving ourselves over to the passions and desires of the flesh?"

This question is easily answered if believers are honest with themselves. Are we living in the fruit of the spirit as our witness that we are living in the realm of the new man or does the flesh crop up, even on occasion, as the witness? Our gauge is not based on mans words but "every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God." We simply need to get Gods Word into our hearts and act upon what it says. Acting upon Gods Word is faith in action. Again, it is wrong thinking, wrong believing wrong speaking and wrong actions that defeat most believers, not the devil. The devil has already been defeated and the weakest believer has the authority to overpower him if he is standing on the integrity of Gods Word and his faith is in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul tells us, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2) So, let us make it a daily routine to dedicate our bodies to the Lord and  renew our minds with God's Word. If our thinking is right, our believing will be right. If our believing is right then our confession will be right and if our confession is right then our actions will be right.It comes down to, what's on your mind?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Let's Do This

As believers, we can get caught up in the many activities that our congregation may have. But are there true disciple being made? "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20) A disciple is a follower of Jesus and His teachings. However, the word disciple also means, a pupil, student, adherent, learner and apprentice. With this in mind, let's look at the command that Jesus gave His disciples concerning making other disciples.

The reality is, this is not a suggestion or an option. Jesus is giving a command. He is saying, go make pupils, students, adherents, learners and or apprentices to follow Me and my teachings. Notice, that Jesus is talking to His pupils, students, adherents, learners and or apprentices, disciples. He tells them to go and do what He had taught them and emulated before them. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus puts it this way, "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.” (Mark 16:17-18) Again, this is a command. Every one who believes, is to emulate Jesus and His earthly ministry.

The apostle Paul said, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1) This is a key to understanding the importance of discipleship for today because it falls in line with what Jesus spoke to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. Paul is telling the church, to follow him as an example of one who is following Christ. He is saying that he has made Christ his example and model in all things, and if the church were to follow Christ as he follows Him, they will not fall into error. Notice that Paul is only using himself as an example of one sold out to Christ and that if believers were to follow his example, they will never go astray. This is one of the reason why discipleship is so important, especially in the church today.

We must also note that not all of Paul's letters were written to a church, but also to individuals that he personally discipled, like Timothy and Titus. Paul is not using his position as a means of control or abuse, but he is very personal in his approach to them, "To Timothy, a true son in the faith:" (1 Timothy 1:2), "To Titus, a true son in our common faith:" (Titus 1:4) Paul gives these men personal counsel which in a sense demands these two men to keep moving towards Christ. He also gives them (us) some of the best information on church structure and order. Again, the focus is on intimating Christ not Paul.

For the church to become the "Bride" without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, it must become a church of faith, "But 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 diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) Not some general faith where we say we believe God's Word and never act on it, but a faith that produces fruit and pleases God. The church must become a place where making disciples is a way of life and that it is more important than all the other programs and activities. Jesus tells His disciples (us), "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

The day of "Go, make disciples" is upon us and if we truly want to see revival, this is the way it will happen, obeying Jesus' command. We see this clearly in the ministry of the early church, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers...many wonders and signs were done through the apostles...And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:42-43, 47) "And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women." (Acts 5:14) "Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number..." (Acts 6:1) "The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith." (Acts 6:7) "Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied." (Acts 9:31) "And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord." (Acts 11:21) "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord." (Acts 11:24) "So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily." (Acts 16:5)

Seeing these wonderful example of church growth, or better yet, kingdom expansion, through discipleship is exciting. Let us all latch onto the commandment of the Lord and Go, make disciples. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all...

Monday, September 17, 2018

What's The Report

The Prophet Isaiah brings us, most likely, the greatest revelation of Messiah prior to His advent. Although he is used of God to announce the purpose of Messiah, God knows the heart of man and begins one of the passages of scripture revealing the Messiah by asking a very important question, "Who has believed our report?" (Isaiah 53:1) Basically, the Holy Spirit, in speaking to Isaiah is saying, "What I AM saying and about to say, would scarcely be believed by anyone." Isaiah refers to the fact that his message and those of the other prophets, "our report" had been for the most part rejected. He groups himself with the other prophets, and says that the Word of the Lord which they had spoken concerning Messiah had been, for the most part, disregarded.

Interestingly enough, Isaiah's question appears two more times in scripture. Once in John 12:38 and again in Romans 10:16. This time, like in the past, it is focused around people not believing in, Messiah,  Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself faced unbelief mostly from the religious community, especially the religious leaders of the time. In the account in Romans 10, the Apostle Paul was also dealing with unbelief among the Jews concerning Christ. Unfortunately today, in many sectors of the church, unbelief has also infiltrated the ranks of church leaders who pass it along to the church. Sure most evangelicals believe that rebirth is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but what about healing of the body and mind or deliverance from being demonized. Why are these things pasted off as not Gods will for today when they are clearly as much of a part of redemption as rebirth?

The problem is revealed in the ministry of Jesus, "Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." (John 12:39-40) The writer of Hebrews also sheds some Light on this, "For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." (Hebrews 4:2) The problem is a lack of faith. This same question is significant to us today if we are to see and experience Gods entire redemptive plan manifest on the earth. However, the only way that believers will see and experience Gods entire plan of redemption is to see it through the eyes of faith.

Isaiah tells us, "Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all...Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick..." (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10 AMP)

This passage reveals to us a good portion of God's brilliant, merciful, glorious plan of redemption. Although many today have limited redemption to only regeneration, the fact is, regeneration is only a small part of the total plan of redemption. The Hebrew words borne, griefs, carried, wounded, transgressions, bruised, iniquities, chastisement, stripes and healed opens a wonderful picture of what Messiah would come to earth to do. This was not simply for a season or for a particular dispensation, but for eternity. God's complete, comprehensive plan of Redemption, in which some things have been revealed by Isaiah, is eternal and available to all who put faith in Jesus Christ. The following is a compilation of the definitions of these words placed in sentence form.

Surely He has taken away, carried away, cast away, all of our anxieties, calamities, diseases and sicknesses (pains of the body). He has taken the burden of our pains of the mind, yet we esteemed Him stricken by Gods divine judgment and afflicted as though He had sinned. His skin was breached by violence because of our rebellion, sin and trespasses. He was beaten to pieces because of our perversity, evil and sin. Discipline and correction was brought upon Him so that Gods peace and favor would be upon us, and by His bruises, hurts and wounds we are cured, repaired and thoroughly made whole. This is the report and it is as true and available today as it was when it was spoken by Isaiah. PTL

So, let us all, every believer, come to the place where faith in God's Word is above all reasoning, intellectualism and logic and simply "Believe God's Report!"

Monday, September 10, 2018

What Problem

In a quick summary of Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us that worry robs us of life because when we worry it shows a lack of faith, "...O you of little faith." Jesus tells us that we are not to place our  affections on material things, not even our very life, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?"  What He does tell us, is that our focus is to be on "seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Why? Because "your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things." Jesus also tells us that we are of more value than all other created things.  

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul addresses the same issue, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) Although to be anxious can be, in a sense, a good thing such as, "I am anxious to do the outreach that we have scheduled on Saturday," the Apostle Paul is using it in the context with, experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome, worry. The Amplified Version puts the first portion of Philippians 4:6 this way, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything..." 

The next part of Philippians 4:6 in the Amplified Version tells us, “...But in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”(AMP) Therefore, a believers response through faith should be, "Father God, you said do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, so I am going to commit myself and my circumstance to you and do what Your Word tells me do. I choose not to fret or have any anxiety about anything. This problem is no longer mine, I give it to you and I thank you that you will work it out, in Jesus Name. I also stand on your promise,  "...that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

If we apply faith, this is an easy thing to do. However, for most believers it really isn't easy. Many believers have been raised where a parent, family member or someone they were close to were worriers and they themselves have adopted the same habit. We also know that the devil will use his arsenal to rob people from believing God. He used deception, although not specifically worry or anxiety, all the way back in the Garden of Eden to get the woman to reason that maybe God was not being completely honest. The devil deception continues today whether believers accept it or not. This is why the Apostle Paul reveals to us, that believers are to "Cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Although the devil may try to use worry and or anxiety to sway the believe from faith in God's Word, we simply apply faith to God's Word, and boldly say to the devil, "Satan, worry and anxiety are not from God they come from you. So you take these things and leave me in the name of Jesus. I choose to cast my care upon the Lord because He affectionately and watchfully care for me."  We say this with all confidence in God's Word because God also promises, "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

As believers take a more aggressive part of no longer focusing upon problems, but on, "seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" and "fighting the good fight of faith," they will enjoy more of the abundant life here on earth that Jesus said He came to bring. God's Word has the solution to any and every problem that believers may face, "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness..." (2 Peter 1:3)    So, if the devil tries to put worry or anxiety on you, simply respond to God's Word, "So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you." (James 4:7 AMP).

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Splendor of the Lord

In His final instruction to His disciples concerning all believers to come, Jesus said, "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me..." (John 17:24) The word "behold" in this verse means more than to perceive with the eyes, but moreover, to enjoy the presence. Jesus would not have said this if it were not possible for believers to encounter. It is important that we understand that Jesus was not simply talking of His glory as the risen Lord now seated in heaven, but also His glory manifesting on earth. This should be a desire of all believers, that is, to have and enjoy the glory of the Lord manifesting in the here and now on earth. Why?

The glory of God releases and produces something in the hearts of people that cannot be received directly through hearing teachings, reading books, or receiving an anointing through the laying on of hands, even though these are good things to do and can point us to the glory. However, if we sincerely want to be changed and transformed, we must have an insatiable desire to enter into His glory, into His presence. The Psalmist David said, "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." (Psalm 100:4) and "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy..." (Psalm 16:11) It is in His presence where believers will experience things that are, "...exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think..."
(Ephesians 3:20) It is the place where we "all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

However, to experience continuous transformation, we also need to know how to respond when the glory of God manifests. There is no formula, method, or manual regarding how to do this, but we must be prepared for His presence to come. Sometimes, His presence comes to heal or deliver, and people are aware of it, but they do nothing about it; they don't respond in faith. Even though God acts according to His sovereign will concerning this, our part is to worship Him, or to say, "Lord,I receive my healing. I receive my deliverance." We have to respond to Him when His presence comes. If we have wrong attitudes towards His presence, we may find ourselves missing His coming. This very thing happened to Jacob, "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16) Even worse, we may find ourselves grieving the Holy Spirit.

As we see, it is possible for us to be in the same place where the glory of God is present and not realize it. His presence is a gift so, let us not ignore or reject Him. God does not manifest His presence where He is simply tolerated, He comes where He is celebrated. We need to remain sensitive to how the Spirit of God is moving. The next time we recognize His presence, we can respond in faith and worship. When Jacob did realize that God was with him, he set up a pillar, marking the place, and anointed it with oil. (Genesis 28:17-18)

I believe God is raising up a new generation of men and women of all ages who will know how to respond to His presence. This generation will thirst for His glory to manifest on earth. The darkness in the world will become denser each day, and wickedness will multiply, but the manifestation of God on earth will also become more powerful with each passing moment, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." (Matthew 6:10, 13) It will be this generation of believers, of every age, every nation and tongue, that will impact the world and gather the greatest harvest of souls ever seen.

I believe that entire cities and nations will be shaken by His glory and we will see some of the greatest miracles, signs, and wonders taking place where they will recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior. My question to you is this; are you willing to be transformed and be a part of the new generation? If your answer is yes, God will take care of everything because He does not want His people to waste their time following religious norms. He wants us to enjoy the highest dimension of His glory. So, let us move on to perfection in and through His glory. 

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen." Jude 24-25)