Showing posts with label believers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label believers. Show all posts

Monday, June 22, 2020

Fearless Confidence

The apostle Paul tells us, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) In other words, believers are engaged in combat with forces not seen by the natural eye and must come to realize some things concerning this battle. First and foremost, although these forces in the spiritual realm are mightier than any natural forces or what man can develop, believers must always keep in mind that these forces have been conquered and dethroned by Jesus Christ. "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14) These forces of darkness only have power over man because most people do not recognize the fact that they have been set free from them.

When Jesus conquered Satan through His resurrection from the dead, He did it for humanity. His victory over the adversary was our victory. The believer is more than a conqueror today because of what Jesus did. Believers do not have to do a thing but simply uphold and enforce their victory in the Name of Jesus. Unfortunately, most believers, including many church leaders have never appreciated the fact that our enemy is defeated and that our fight is one of faith. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith..." (1 Peter 5:8-9) "Fight the good fight of faith..." (1 Timothy 6:12)

It is a fearless confidence or faith in the Word of God that actually does the conquering. Spiritual strength and courage are built up by our persistent confession of what God's Word declares and then acting upon it. James further tells us, "But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:18) James is saying again in a different way, that one cannot say that they believe God's Word or have faith if they do not act upon it. You see, demons know that they are defeated. When believers know this as fact and act on that knowledge, they will see the results of their actions, through Christ.

My challenge to all believers is, dare to act on God's Word in the same manner that you act on the word of a doctor. Dare to act on God's Word the way you act on the word of a stranger who gives you direction when you are driving and have lost your way. Dare to act on God's Word when the circumstances of life and the world are speaking the opposite of what God's Word says. Dare to act on God's Word when you have absolutely zero evidence that things can get better. Always remember these words, "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11) "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips." (Psalm 89:34)  
"Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89) "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

May we all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, having the eyes of our understanding be enlightened so we will truly believe and act on God's Word, in Jesus' Name...

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Your Decision

Without a doubt, the Book of Romans is the greatest legal document ever given to man. Not only does it reveal the condition of every person who does not know God, but it also gives a clear, concise description of the legal and vital position of everyone who confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receives Him as Savior. However, once confession is made unto salvation, every person becomes responsible to act in faith and receive all that God has provided through Jesus Christ. In other words,  understanding the difference between living by law and living by grace. The reality is, many people who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and who say that the Holy Spirit dwells in them, do not actually live in the Spirit, but live according to the flesh much of the time.

We need to see that on the cross, Jesus, by the Father's will, made Himself one with man's fallen, satanic nature, and through His death as man's substitute, had in fact executed man's fallen nature. God never had, nor does He have, any plan for the rehabilitation of man's fallen nature. In every sense of the word, God's plan for man's old fallen nature is execution. He can do nothing with man's old nature except to kill it. Therefore, our rebellious, fallen, satanic nature was executed when Christ died on the cross so that it should no longer have the power to dominate and control us.

God forgives our past sinful acts when we come to Him in Christ, but this is only the beginning. He deals with the old nature, and He brings forth a new nature in its place, which is called the new creation,  (2 Corinthians 5:17), the new man. (Ephesians 4:20-24) This is actually the nature of Jesus Christ reproduced in us by faith through the Word of God. (James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23) The agent who produces the new birth is the Holy Spirit, who also transforms the believer into the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2)

The Apostle Paul assumed that everyone born again is living in the grace of God, and is dead to sin, so he is saying, "If you continue to live in sin, you are contradicting yourself. If you are dead to sin, you shouldn't talk about living in sin." Paul continues, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin." (Romans 6:3-7)

Our old man was crucified with Christ! The tense here signifies that this is an actual historical event that took place in the past. When Jesus died on the cross, our old man died in Him. It happened nearly twenty centuries ago. Why was this done?  "...that the body of sin might be done away with..." not renovated, not fixed up, but done away with, rendered ineffective, no longer able to control and dominate us, "...that we should no longer be slaves of sin." PTL!!! Next, Paul tells us, "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Romans 6:11-13)

Now it becomes the believers responsibility to accept by faith and act upon these wonderful liberating Words. You must refuse to accept the dominion of sin over you and the members of your physical body, but instead yield yourself, your soul (mind, will and emotions) and your body to the Holy Spirit. Although not the conclusion of the whole matter, Paul tells us, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14) Do you believe that? If you do not believe it, you will not experience it. If you believe that you are going to continue sinning, you will continue sinning. However, if you do believe that, then you understand the last part of this verse, "...for you are not under law but under grace." Knowing this to be true, you will indeed walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit not fulfilling the works of the flesh.  

Every believer must come to the place of a firm personal decision to no longer give into the flesh, but yield to the Holy Spirit, to be led by Him. He is the way of escape from continuing in the slavery of sin. Consider this; what good is it to have your past sinful nature and acts forgiven, if you are still controlled by the old fallen, satanic nature? The Holy Spirit will help every believer if you set your will to yielding to Him. He will not force you, it's your decision. Think about this way, every time you make a decision to do the wrong thing, you become more and more the slave of sin, but, every time you make a decision to do the right thing, you become more and more the slave of righteousness and live in the freedom that the Father has provided humanity through Jesus Christ. 

Finally, God made a proposal to Israel which I believe applies today for all believers, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days..." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) Jesus said it this way, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Who Am I

When Moses encountered "the Angel of the Lord who appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush" (Exodus 3:2), he was given instructions concerning the mission that the Lord had called him to. Before Moses departed, he asked, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, what is His name?’ what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you...This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations." (Exodus 3:13-15) 

I AM that I AM is the common English translation of the response that God revealed to Moses when he asked for His name. I AM in the Hebrew language is usually translated in English Bibles as "I AM...I WILL BE...I SHALL BE." Some translations render this name as "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE." The King James version of the Bible reveals God saying "I am" 508 times in the Old Testament and 211 times in the New Testament. Although they may be repeated, such as, "I am the Lord" or "I am God," nevertheless God reveals Himself as I AM throughout His Word. Other examples of this are, "I am the Lord who heals you." (Exodus 15:26) "I am Almighty God." (Genesis 17:1) 

Taking this a step further, we also see, "For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6) from the Old Testament, and "Jesus Christ (God in flesh) is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) from the New Testament. So, why are these things so very important for believers to fully comprehend? Simply put, because far to many of God's children, who love Him and serve Him are living under the weight of a Christianity that has been and is still being taught that God is no longer "I AM" but is now, I was or I may. What is meant by this statement? I am not trying to be  condescending or condemning, but the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Although Paul says, "we are not ignorant of his devices" this does not insinuate that every believer is not ignorant of Satan's devices. Unfortunately, many believers are ignorant of his plans and schemes. Paul also tells us, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." (1 Timothy 4:1) What are deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons? Deceiving spirits are evil spirits that cause someone to accept as true or valid that which is false or invalid. Those who fall prey to such deceptions, obviously do not know it. The doctrines of demons are doctrines blatantly contrary to Scripture. Again, because these doctrines are deceptive, they are easily accepted. 

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul is speaking to us emphatically, not to be ignorant of Satan's deceptive plans, which purpose is to bring apostasy, departing from the faith, through doctrines that are contrary to God's Word. Some good examples of these erroneous doctrines that have been accepted in many sectors of the church, come from teachers that say the age of miracles has past; that God is able to heal, but it may not be His will in certain circumstances; that sickness is God's will for His children. What a deceptive scheme. Satan has worked quite hard to hide the truth from all people, especially believers, concerning these things. Satan has broadcasted these unscriptural, deceptive and illogical doctrines so much, that it has almost succeeded in reducing Almighty God from I AM to I was or I may.

Let us now look at how this plays out in the lives of believers by looking at some Scriptures concerning Israel's condition under Egyptian rule. "And the Lord said, (to Moses) I have surely seen the oppression (affliction; shatter; troubles; misery; poverty; illness; depression) of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows (great pains and suffering)" (Exodus 3:7) Although this was prior to the giving of the Law, Israel was in covenant with God through the covenant that God established with Abraham. For the sake of time, let's skip forward to God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt and see what took place. Keep in mind their condition mentioned above. "He (I AM- God) also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble (lacking physical and mental strength as a result of age or illness) among His tribes." (Psalms 105:37) Under the Abrahamic covenant, Israel went from poverty to wealth, and from lacking physical and mental strength as a result of age or illness, to health as they exited Egypt. God also promised Israel, "...I will fulfill the number of your days." (Exodus 23:26)  

Next, look at what David also recognized under the same covenant concerning I AM, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." (Psalm 103:1-5) "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation." (Psalm 91:14-16)  

Now let's look at the Scriptures concerning what God the Father worked in Christ for all, especially for believers. "But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." (Hebrews 8:6) Notice that Jesus is the, "Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." Question? How is it that those under a lesser covenant could have so much available or given to them by I AM than those under "a better covenant, which was established on better promises" by the same I AM? The reality is, Old Testament prophets and kings as well as angels have desired to look into this age of grace. What strange doctrines confront believers who are under this better covenant established on better promises that have absolutely no Scriptural evidence that the age of miracles have past and that the sick are not to look for better promises than those under a lesser covenant. 

We know, according to Scriptures, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) But, is God more willing to show the mercy of forgiveness to the devil's children, the lost, than He is to His own children? Is He willing to show more mercy and provide better promises to those under a lesser covenant than He is to His own Children who through the meritorious work of Christ are under a better covenant with better promises? Absolutely not! The fact is, our Heavenly Father loves His own children even more than He loves the sinner and His promises to all believers are greater than those under the old covenant. Not only is He able, but He is completely willing in all circumstances to heal, deliver, preserve, rescue, save, provide, make whole and give long life His children. So, let us shed ourselves from all doubts as to who God is and know without doubt that  He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. For He is and will ever be, I AM!!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

God at Work In Us

During a particular encounter that Jesus had with a group of Pharisees, He said to them, "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." (Mark 7:8-9) This brought Jesus to tell them, "...making the word of God of no effect ..." (Mark 7:11) This provokes a question for believers today. "Do we also make the Word of God of no effect by failing to enter into our privileges that the Father has provided us through Jesus Christ?" The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reveals, "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 1:19-20)

Is it not true that God worked in Christ and provides an answer to every need and demand of the believer's life? Is it not true that redemption covers absolutely every need of mankind? The answer is yes to both questions. Therefore, should it not be wrong for us to live in spiritual weakness when there is grace to meet every need? Far too many believers have unconsciously put a premium on weakness, and talk about unbelief, doubts, and fears as though they were the typical way of life for the believer. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle John reveals, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." (Romans 8:16-17) Because we are sons and daughters of God almighty, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, it would seem as though it were wrong for a believer to confess weakness and failure. Look what David tells us, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) So, if God is the strength of my life, if He comes into my life and imparts Himself to me, then I have the strength of God!

John reveals, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) Believer, "You are of God!" "You are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." He is a part of you. He has imparted His own nature to you. (2 Peter 1:4) Not only that, but He has actually come into your body
and now lives within you. (1 Corinthians 3:16) He has the same power today that He had when He raised Jesus from the dead. Therefore, every believer has a right to His strength and ability.


God is the strength of the believers life, and He is with us now. His life is our life; His strength is our strength. No wonder the Apostle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) There is limitlessness to Paul's wonderful statement. This does not only mean physical strength, it also means the ability to meet any kind of need. When Jesus said, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..." (Acts 1:8) A more literal translation would be, "You shall receive the ability of God, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." 

Again, the Apostle Paul tells us, "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man." (Ephesians 3:16) If your "inner man" is made strong, then it only stands to reason that the outer man will respond to that strength. In other words, the strength of God for the inner man is the strength of God for the physical man. Therefore, we have the God given ability to enjoy the very fullness of our privileges in Christ. The Apostle Paul goes further and says, "and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." (Colossians 2:10) The believers relationship through new birth has brought each one of us into absolute union with God. Paul also tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The new creature is made according to God and His very nature, "and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) It is God's nature, God's life, which is imparted to our recreated spirit. We are actually members of the body of Christ, physically and spiritually, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 6:15) "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:20) Based on these truths, it is absolutely wrong for any believer to consider or think of themselves as being weak and useless. God planned that every believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit's ability should dominate our life.

So, with these thing said and in the presence of grace, that is, God's ability at work in us, let us never again talk about, confess or even think that we are empty or weak when every believer can be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19) Finally, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21) 

Monday, June 26, 2017

God's Agents

One of the great promises of Jesus in which He spoke prophetically (for the church had not yet come into being) is recorded in John's Gospel, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) The fact is, we are doing greater works than Jesus did as the Son of Man on earth. He was only one, we are many and by virtue of being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit we can reach more people. We bring to the lost world the Word of Life where they are recreated (2 Corinthians 5:17), where they are delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom is redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

We are God's agents presenting to all people everywhere, eternal life, as well as showing them through God's Word that they are masters over demons and over circumstances. Through God's Word, we lead people into fellowship and communion with the Father and Son through the New Birth. Though the ministry of Jesus was somewhat limited, our ministry is almost an unlimited ministry. For instances, He raised men from the dead to die again. We show them that they were raised together with Christ (Ephesians 2:6); that in Him they never die (John 11:25-26). He fed the hungry with loaves of bread and fishes. (Matthew 14:13-21) We feed the spiritually hungry with His own wonderful Words. (John 6:63) In other words we help them to pass out of death unto life. We teach them through God's Word how God has made them His Righteousness. Now they can stand in His presence as though sin had never been.

For centuries, believers have been burdened with doctrines and precepts which have actually become laws that have given many the feeling of unworthiness. The truth is, from the moment one is born again, they should be told and taught, who and what they are in Christ; what their rights and privileges are in Christ and their legal right to the use of Jesus' name. They should be taught what it means to receive the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4) and the Life of God (John 10:10) in their recreated spirit, that has actually made them a new creation. Not only that, but the new created believer has become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), so they who were once sinners can now stand in the Father's presence without the sense of fear, condemnation or inferiority.

The fact is, every believer has the legal right to stand as a child of God (John 1:12) in the fullness of fellowship with the Father and the Son. (1 John 1:3) When believers truly come to know these things, there will be no struggle for faith, because knowing who and what we are in Christ settles the faith issue. the feeling of guilt, condemnation, unworthiness and or inferiority leave and the fullness of joy takes over. We learn how to take our place in the family of God, how to enjoy our privileges, how to live in the promises of God and best of all, we become intimately acquainted with our Father early in our new life and the great facts of Christ's substitution, the new creation and redemption becomes spiritual realities to us rather than pipe dreams that are unattainable in this life. PTL

You see, if believers do not know who and what they are in Christ and how the Father truly sees them, then God's Word is confusing. However, when believers know who and what they are in Christ, know what their rights and privileges are, then there will be no confusion to their spirit. They will no longer live with fear, doubt or unbelief, but live even as Abraham, "Who 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) So, let us let the Word of God wash over us, transform us, so that Christ can be formed in us, for we are the agents that God has anointed us to be for His glory. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Watch...

Shortly before Jesus and His disciples celebrated what is known as the "Last Supper," his disciples ask Him about the end times. (Matthew 24 - 25) The first thing Jesus tells them is, "take heed that no one deceives you." (Matthew 24:4) Although Jesus tells them, "For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:5), the fact is, deception began in the Garden of Eden as the one who is the deceiver, (Revelation 12:9), spoke to the woman. As we see Jesus telling the disciples, "many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ." Satan's tactics have not changed. His whole deceptive plan is to deceive people, even believers, away from the one and only true God. He does this by deceiving them into believing his lies by continuously working at discrediting God and His Word. We see this through all the false religions, so called Christian cults, (I dislike using the term Christian and cult together, but that is what they are referred to) and occultic practices, not only in the world, but also accepted among many believers in the name of fantasy, child's play and or entertainment.

After Jesus tells the disciples of the end time and after they celebrate the first communion (Last Supper) they head to the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the most important things that He tells them is, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Remember, He just recently told them to, "take heed that no one deceives you." Now He tells them to "watch." The word watch means, to be alert; stay on the alert; keep watch; keep watching. Why does Jesus tell them this? "Lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Satan is not only the deceiver, but he is also the tempter. (Matthew 4:3)

These things are very important for all believers to know. Why? Even some of the strongest believers in the Bible were deceived and or tempted by the devil which caused painful consequences. Today, many extreme or unbalanced teaching takes place in the church, for one purpose, the devil uses them to deceive and or tempt people away from sound doctrine to believe a lie which leads Christian's into a life without any disciplines or power. (1 Timothy 4:1) The Apostle Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 3 of the apostasy that will come upon believers. This apostasy can happen to the strongest believer(s) if we do not continuously watch and stay alert.   

So, we need to be watchful, staying alert and continuously looking at our lives to see if there is  anything that is contrary to the entire counsel of God's Word, not what we pick and choose to justify ourselves, but the entire authority of the scriptures. This is why it is so important that we have other believers, especially mature believers, in our lives, giving them access to our lives, to help us so that we are not deceived and are not led into temptation that may lead to sin. We must understand that if there is anything in our lives does not align with God's Word, even if we ourselves do not see anything wrong with it, then we must conclude that the devil has deceived us. Solomon tells us, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25)    

This may be a hard word, but remember, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Satan will always go after the flesh with his deceptions and temptations to get to the believer. He used this tactic in the Garden of Eden, he used it against Jesus and uses the same today against believers. He goes after the flesh using, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." (1 John 2:16) However, believers have the greatest weapons to expose, defuse and destroy the schemes of the devil, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and God's love. 

If we are truly willing to weigh ourselves with God's Word and let the God kind of love take hold of our lives, then we will never give place to Satan's deceptions and temptations. We will see the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) be completely replaced by the fruit of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) The Apostle Paul tells us, "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. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:24-26) So, let us move forward in the power of His might, living victorious lives with one another, glorifying the Lord in all things.                     

The Apostle James tells us, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) So, let us be watchful, keeping alert, and "do not give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) Amen?   

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Hand of the Lord

One of the greatest misunderstandings concerning how God deals with the believer comes from the writer of Hebrews, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons, My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:5-11)

To understand what the writer of Hebrews is conveying we must define the word chasten. Chasten is defined as: To train up a child; instruct; educate; teach; discipline. Where we tend to go wrong is when we look at the word discipline. Discipline to most means punishment. Although the word discipline has the word punishment in its definition, it also means to correct; to instruct; to chasten. As we can see the words chasten and discipline are synonymous words. Now let's look at what it means for God to chasten or discipline the believer, His child.

First and foremost, God loves us and His chastening is always immersed in His love. Next, He deals with us as with sons and I might add daughters. This is very foreign to most peoples thinking. For many parents, when it come to disciplining their children there is a tendency to punish the out of frustration, disappointment and even anger, rather than through love. This has nothing to do with the method in which parents chasten their children but the attitude of the heart when bringing discipline. Gods most potent characteristic is love and we must always keep in mind that He chasten His children through His abounding, surrounding love.

Next, we see that the chastening of the Lord is for the believers profit. Honestly, how can the believer profit from chastening? We profit because it is always for our good. It is always to promote our welfare. Look at one of the benefits that we profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. The believers becomes so holy that it may be said that we are partakers of the very holiness of God. "And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) Now for some this may be hard to believe, nevertheless it is fact. However, finding such a claim hard to believe actually reveals doubt in the believers heart. The evidence that the new man, New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness has nothing to do with how we feel or our performance, but faith in Jesus Christ and the integrity of God's Word.

Next, we see what else the believer profits from the chastening of the Lord, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. What is the fruit of righteousness? To determine this, we must look to Jesus. The prophet Jeremiah refers to Christ as the "Righteous Branch." (Jeremiah 23:5) At His death, a Roman centurion glorified God by saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man." (Luke 23:47) The apostle Paul states, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus tells us,  "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit..." (John 15:5) The fruit of righteousness is doing the works that Jesus did and speaking the Word of God in the same manner as He walked the earth as the Son of Man. It is carrying out the will of the Father as Jesus did. Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12)

As parents, so also the methods to which God chastens His children may vary. The misunderstanding concerning the chastening of the Lord come from such phrases as, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him, He scourges every son, If you endure chastening, Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful. Unfortunately, believers take these phrases and twist them to mean that God chastens His children with financial struggles, sickness, disease and so on. If this is true, if God truly uses financial struggles, sickness, disease and so on to chasten His children, then one of two things come into play. First, we do not truly know Him (Job 42:1-3, Hosea 4:6) or we believe that He does these things contrary to His Word which is so very far from the truth (Psalm 89:34, 107:20, 119:89, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, John 1:1)

In fact, God punished Jesus (Isaiah 53:4-10) so that those who confess and believe that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) could enjoy all the benefits and privileges of being sons and daughters. (Romans 8:15-17, 32) He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses so that we are healed (Matthew 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24) He came to give us abundant life here on earth. (John 10:10) He died in our place to give us eternal life (1 John 2:25) He was made sin to make us righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He was condemned so that we could go free. (Matthew 27:22-23, 34-35, Galatians 5:1) We also must realize that the believer is a member of the Body of Christ. If we truly believe that God chastens His children with financial struggles, sickness, disease and so on, then we must also believe that Jesus Himself, the head of the body deals with the same. We must also believe that the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believe has no problem with sickness or disease defiling our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16) No, God child trains; instructs; educates and teaches His children through love.

Always remember that no one has a better new birth, a better righteousness, a better Savior, a better Healer, a better Provider, a better Father, a better right standing with the Father than the believer. No one can get closer to the Father's heart than we His children. So when the Lord chastens us, let us stand in the confidence that it is for our profit because God wants to reproduce Himself in us.         

    

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wow, Look What Jesus Did For Me

Once you have been in the church enough years and are exposed to Christians from the many denominations that exist, you will find that not to many of them realize the oneness that we have with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For most, Jesus was beaten, condemned, crucified, died and raised from the dead and by confessing Him as Lord and accepting Him as Savior who paid for our sins one escapes judgment and will spend eternity in heaven. Although this is true, what most believers have missed is what happened in the spiritual realm. It was what Jesus did for humanity in the spiritual realm far surpasses what happened to Jesus in the natural. All the people who surrounded the cross could only see the physical man Jesus, hanging on the cross, beaten, bleeding and physically dying. In the same way, all the people who watch movies depicting the life and death of Jesus only see the same. However, man is a spirit with a soul in a body and in the spiritual realm God the Father, the angels and demons could see the real man hidden in His body. So let us look at what took place beyond the beating and crucifixion of His physical body. 

"He has made Him who knew nothing of sin to be sin for us..." (2 Corinthians 5:21) But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed. We all, like sheep, went astray; we turned, each one, to his own way; yet Adonai laid on him the guilt of all of us." (Isaiah 53:5-6) "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree") (Galatians 3:13) On the cross not only did Jesus become sin, but He became a curse also. Is it any wonder that the Father had forsaken Him, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)

As this awful drama continues we see that, "Surely He has borne our sicknesses and carried our diseases..." (Isaiah 53:4) Another translation says, "In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered..." Laid upon Jesus as He hung on the cross was the sin, diseases and sicknesses of the human race. Through the years the ignorance of some would blame the Jews or even the Romans (Gentiles) for what had happened to Jesus. But we see that, "it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief." (Isaiah 53:10) another version says, "it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; He has made Him sick." Finally, upon the cross Jesus' physical life was extinguished, "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." (Matthew 27:50) Notice that He yielded up His spirit, not the Spirit. All of the sin, sickness, disease and pains were not place on His physical body, but upon His spirit. Once this happened He became mortal, that is, subject to death. Remember what Jesus said,  "...I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again..." (John 10:17-18)

No one could take His life from Him, He could not be killed. This may be hard for some to believe, but even after He turned Himself over to be put to death, His body could not die until sin had been placed upon His spirit making Him mortal. In other words, Jesus had to die spiritually, as Adam did, before He could die physically, as Adam also did. Once He became one with fallen man in weakness, in sin, in disease and spiritual death, He physically died and His spirit went to hell for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:40) Now let us look at what this all means for the believer. To do this we must look beyond the natural realm and think on terms of the spiritual realm.

The apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ..." (Galatians 2:20) This means that Paul (all believers) were judged, condemned, stripped naked and nailed to the cross with Jesus, "knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." (Romans 6:6) Next, Paul also tells us, "do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death..." (Romans 6:3-4)  When Jesus died and His spirit went to hell, we died and went to hell. "For my soul hath been full of evils, and my life hath come to Sheol. I have been reckoned with those going down [to] the pit, I have been as a man without strength. Among the dead -- free, As pierced ones lying in the grave, Whom Thou hast not remembered any more, Yea, they by Thy hand have been cut off. Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in depths." (Psalms 88:3-6)

Now look at the reality of what took place at the end of the three days and nights that Jesus spent in hell, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18) In the dark regions of hell Jesus was made alive by the Spirit. Concerning the believer Paul tells us, "even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." (Ephesians 2:5) "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him" (Colossians 2:13) When Jesus was made alive we were made alive.

Next, we see another incredible truth concerning the believers identification with Christ, "and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come." (Ephesians 1:19-21)  "and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6) When Jesus was raised from the dead and sat down at the Fathers right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come, we too were raised from the dead and sit together with Christ.

For Christ to sit down at the Fathers right hand after being made sin and for the believer to be seated with Christ in the heavenly places could never happen for Christ or the believer if something miraculous did not happen first. "For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:17-19)  "God has fulfilled this for us their children, (the seed of Abraham) in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption..." (Acts 13:33-34)  Jesus became mans substitute and was declared righteous because He had satisfied the claims of justice. He was made so righteous, that He could enter into the presences of the Father as though He had never been made sin. But it doesn't stop there. 

"Therefore, having been justified (declared righteous) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1) "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Because Jesus was made righteous, then all who confess Him as Lord and accept Him as Savior are automatically made the righteousness of God in Christ. We also become completely new, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) This all means that Satan and all of his forces of darkness no longer have dominion over the believer. The believer is a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and therefore sin, disease and sickness no longer belong to the New Created, Born Again believer. The Father has made us one with Christ. (John 15:5) Hallelujah!

So, if you have been told or are still being told things such as, you are still a sinner who was saved by grace; that you do not have the ability to please God; that you have a dual nature, one of sin and one righteousness; that God does not heal, deliver and make one whole today and or that being saved only means that you won't go to hell, then you are struggling with "The Doctrines of the Dark Ages" and do not live the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give. (John 10:10) Paul tells us, "And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17) and "It is for freedom that Christ set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not again be held under the yoke of slavery." (the fallen nature that you had before you were born again, Galatians 5:1) Also, "For you learned with regard to your former way of living that you must cast off your old nature, (the fallen nature that you had before you were born again) which, yielding to deluding passions, grows corrupt; That the very spirit of your minds must be constantly renewed; (with God's Word) And that you must clothe yourselves in that new nature (the born again nature) which was created to resemble God, with the righteousness and holiness springing from the Truth (God's Word) (Ephesians 4:22-24)

It is OK to listen to what others say, but every Christian must do what they did in the City of Berea (located in southwestern Macedonia) where Paul and Silas preached the gospel, "...they welcomed the Message with great readiness, and daily examined the Scriptures to see if what was said was true." (Acts 17:11) May the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion with the Holy Spirit, be with you all.   

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Conquerors Prayer

The most incredible and most moving prayer spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane. After celebrating the Passover, Jesus and His disciples, minus Judas Iscariot, sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:30) Jesus' earthly ministry as the Son of Man is winding down. He knew why He had come from God and He knows what is about to happen. He takes His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, which He did often. He then takes Peter, John and James a little further into the garden to pray and says to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." (Matthew 26:38) Jesus then leaves Peter, John and James, goes a little farther into the garden, falls on His face and begins to pray. These men have seen Jesus pray many times but something was different. They must have noticed the sorrow and distress that was upon Him. What they didn’t know, was Jesus was facing the fact that He would soon be made sin. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us…” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Next, "Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:40-41)  He warns them to watch, literally, to abstain from sleep; to be vigilant, to guard against danger, and pray that they do not enter into temptation. He knew the danger that was coming and how the flesh might possibly give in to temptation. He knew that He was about to take the place of every human being and endure the punishment that was required to meet man’s greatest need, redemption.

In the incarnation, deity and humanity coming together, Jesus was not mortal or immortal, but a perfect human being as Adam was before the fall. However, as man’s substitute, He would become mortal the moment sin was placed upon Him in the same way that Adam became mortal when he sinned. Jesus knew that the moment He would be made sin, He would experience what Adam experience when he himself sinned. He would spiritually die, be forsaken by the Father and then physically die. He knew that as Adam’s sin made him subject to Satan, it would be the same for Him. He knew that He would suffer in hell until the entire debt that humanity owed justice was paid in full.

Some may have trouble comprehending these things, but they are facts, "And they made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand." (Isaiah 53:9-10)  The word death is plural in the original Hebrew and like Adam, Jesus died twice, spiritually and physically. Isaiah also tells us, "He has put Him to grief…" The word grief here means, to make sick, to be diseased, to afflict. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.) (Galatians 3:13) We see that Jesus was made sin with our sin, was made sick with our sicknesses and a curse. 

This should gives us a greater understanding as to what Jesus was going through in the Garden. "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:43-44)  He alone must pay the penalty for humanity or humanity would be eternally lost. Did you ever notice that angels never came and ministered to Him while He was on the cross. I believe there was more spiritual agony here than there was on the cross. Three times He prayed a prayer of dedication and consecration, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luke 22:42) A more literal rendering: “If it be possible, take this cup from Me, not my will, but yours be carried through to completion and save humanity.”

After Jesus finishes praying, "He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand." (Matthew 26:45-46) As Jesus emerged from prayer He had already won the the first part of the battle. He was no longer in sorrow and distress, but He was the Conqueror. He was ready for the trial; He was ready for the scourging; He was ready for the cross; He was ready to conquer sin and death; He was ready to redeem humanity from the hands of the enemy; He was ready to destroy sin, disease, poverty and everything that was set against humanity by Satan all due to Adam's transgression. Jesus emerged from prayer as the righteous, conquering King of kings and Lord of lords.

The apostle Paul tells us, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37) As conquerors our prayer is to be one that is rooted in the Word of God. It is based on the believer knowing that their faith in Christ has already given them the victory over the circumstances that life may bring. It is one that is conceived within the believer that gives them the confidence that in Christ they are independent of their circumstances and, in a personal sense, "can do all things through Christ who strengthens." (Philippians 4:13) It is the assured confidence that God is able to do what He said He would do. (Numbers 23:19) So, let us pray like Jesus our Conqueror, especially when we are faced with seemingly insurmountable circumstance, knowing that we can, "Cast the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." (1 Peter 5:7) 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweet Victory

Isn't it a wonderful thing that Jesus did for all humanity. Not only did He make a way for people to have eternal life through His meritorious work at Calvary, but He also defeated the flesh, the world and the devil and through faith in Him anyone can live a victorious life on planet earth.
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:11-15)

In short there was a day that all we knew was sin. But then we met Jesus and when that happened everything that was against us, all sin, the OT Law, Satan, every demon and all the corruption that dwelt within humanity was nailed to the cross and was crucified with Jesus. Therefore those who are in Christ have been freed from these things, that is, all accusations that man and or Satan and his bunch may try to being.

However, although Colossians tells us that Christ has taken away the curse of the Law and has overcome the power of Satan through His sacrificial death on the cross, it does not mean that the devil and his bunch do not try to judge, accuse and deceive believers. It simply means that ones faith in Christ has freed them from everything that was set against humanity for their eternal ruin. To further emphasize the devils activities, Peter writes to the church…

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8)

The devil takes great effort to alarm and overpower believers as a lion does it prey. He uses things like fear, anxiety, worry, fret, doubt, condemnation, etc. which neutralizes faith. But it doesn’t stop there…
And no wonder! For Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. (II Corinthians 11:14)
Satan also comes in a subtle fashion counterfeiting the things of God with his lies. He does it with false doctrine, powerless and false religion as well as a variety of socially accepted ideology that sets itself up against and is contrary to the Word of God. Unfortunately many churches have bought into these lies and have accepted it as truth., meanwhile believers pay the brunt of this because as Paul says, "They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie".

Believers who have been taken captive through this liberal theology will never live a true victorious life because it erodes the very thing that Christianity hangs on, faith in Jesus Christ. Not a mental assent, but a faith that is from the heart that says, "I am completely convinced that God is willing and able to do what He said He would do." PTL

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do You Really Know the LORD?

"My people are being destroyed because they don't know me." (Hosea 4:6 NLT) It saddens me when I listen to believers, especially church leaders make statements concerning the character, nature, actions and the will of God that are contradictive to His Word, the Holy Bible. When I hear contradictions several things are revealed, the top reason being what God reveals in Hosea, "They don't know me." This is very sad especially when He has revealed Himself through His Word.

Whe greatest means to know God is through His Word. His Word reveals His character, nature, purpose and His will. A lack of knowing His Word will hinder believers and keep them from living a victorious life for two reasons. First is a person cannot act upon God’s Word beyond their knowledge of it and second, if a believers does not know the LORD they will not know His will. The greatest assest of knowing Gods Word other than it's the best way to know Him, is that it provides the best resourse for believers to grow their faith, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17)

In one of Jesus' many confrontations with the religious leaders He exposes their lack of knowing God, "Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." (Matthew 22:29) Even His disciple who basically lived with Him for 3 years struggled with knowing Him, "Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (John 14:5-9) There will be no mistake, if we know Jesus we know the Father. As believers observe the ministry of Jesus throughout the gospels, what He said and did, we come to know the Father, that is, His nature, His character and His will. We come to know HIM as well as growing our faith!!!



Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and is profitable (advantageous) to teach the will of God, to convince people of the truth, to straighten out false notions (concepts or impressions) and for tutoring mankind in faith in Jesus Christ. So that no one is lacking in integrity, in the knowledge of Christ, in faith in Christ, in loving God and man as well as being a successful preacher of the Gospel. (II Timothy 3:16-17 AMP) Wow, why would any believer not want to have a daily diet of knowing God through His Word?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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. 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 Apostle Paul clearly shows us the process of wrong thinking producing wrong believing producing wrong confession and finally producing wrong actions. These are all a product of the old nature. But believers are to put on the new nature. The attitudes of the heart and mind are to be renewed, edifying speech is to come from their mouths and their actions are not to be sinful. Believers need to pay close attention to verse 27. The devil cannot read minds but he hears our words and see our actions, which are a reflection of what is in our heart. He then lays out his deceptive game plan in hopes that the believer will greive the Holy Spirit through wrong thinking, etc.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 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. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)

Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit in the believer produces wonderful attributes to live by. But the question comes as to whether believers are walking in the Spirit where the passions and desires of the flesh are squeleced? This is easily uncovered if believers are not living out Galatians 5:26 and Ephesians 4:31-32.
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.

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. If one of these areas is wrong, then they all we be wrong…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Being Victorious Through Humility

I Peter 5:5-9 gives believers a principle for living victorious lives. Believers are called to be clothed with humility in both their outward appearance and conduct as proof of a humble heart. Humility then releases the unmerited unearned ability and desire to do Gods will (Grace). That means that no matter how difficult a circumstance or situation a believer finds himself in Gods promise it to elevate a humble believer above them.

However, there is a very important key to not letting life's difficulties pressure believers into discouragement, fear, anxiety and disappointment, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) The Amplified Bible says it this way, "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." Wow, what a wonderful Father that we have in heaven. Our heavenly Father does not want His children to worry or be anxious about anything. He wants believers to cast all anxieties, all worries and all concerns, once and for all upon Him. This means to cast our cares on Him and not take them back. This can be a difficult task for believers because Peter reveals where anxiety, worry and concerns come from, "...your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8)

The devil uses lies, deception, accusation and persecution to create circumstances and or situations to cause believers to fret, worry and or be filled with anxiety and concerns because it neutralizes faith. This is why Peter tells believers to be "sober, be vigilant", that is, not showing agitated emotions due to the concerns of the world but being watchful (on guard) because the devil who is an evil spirit has access to us everywhere we go. The devils primary objective is to contend with and oppose believers all the time to get there focus off of the LORD and on anxieties, worries and concerns. What are believers to do?

"Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." (I Peter 5:9) Stand against the devil! Do not be weak in faith! Do not waver at the promise of God that He will exalt you and that He will take all anxieties, all worries and all concerns if we give them to Him. The crises of this life come to all of us. The difference is believers have the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the name of Jesus to use to resist the devil and stand in faith. We must get out of the habit of worry and anxiety and get into the habit of exercising faith knowing this; the weakest believer has the authority to overpower the devil if his faith is in the Son of God. Hallelujah

Monday, September 20, 2010

You Better Hold On

Let's consider the second part of this verse of scripture from I Thessalonians 5:21, "Test all things; hold fast what is good." To hold fast is to guard from loss, hold down, possess, adhere to firmly and retain faithfully. In this verse it implies, adhere to firmly and retain faithfully, Gods Word. Do not accept anything that sounds good but is not inspired by the Holy Spirit, but hold fast to what is good. Applying these definitions to the words "Hold Fast" it should be apparent that a possiblity exists that the Word of God or the things of God can be taken or stolen from a believer. This is also seen in other verses of scripture.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."
(Hebrews 10:23) Let us guard, adhere to firmly and acknowledge the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Never doubting, being unsteady, wavering in the promises or declarations made to believers in Gods Word through Christ, because God is faithful, He does not nor cannot lie. Again, believers are to hold fast, guard from loss, adhere to firmly and retain faithfully Gods Word. In Revelations 2:25 Jesus speaking to the church at Thyatira says, "But hold fast what you have till I come."

Jesus is pointing out another level of what holding fast indicates. For believers to hold fast to Gods Word implies a struggle that someone or something is trying to wrestle it away from them. In this church Jesus reveals as Jezebel was a self-proclaimed prophetess to king Ahab her husband and the influence that she had over him which influenced Gods people in a negative way, that there were false prophetesses in this church that were influencing many with false carnal doctrine. However, Jesus encourages the ones that had not accepted this false doctrine to guard from loss, adhere to firmly and retain faithfully His Word no matter what it takes until He returns which will mark the end of their conflict with evil. This then brings us back to why it is so important for believers to fully understand the Parable of the Soils. It reveals how much we must gurad ourselves from the wiles of the devil.

And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. (Mark 4:15) Again, it is very apparent that the Word of God can be taken, robbed, stolen from believers if they do not have a foundation of Gods Word to build upon and hold fast to. Believers are in a conflict, a struggle… "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."
(Jude 3)

Jude is exhorting believers to strenuously defend, as in a contest, the truth that they had received. Many believers know the LORD as their personal Savior, but they do not always know the privileges and promises that they have in Him and how to receive them. Could it be that many believers do not have a solid foundation of Gods Word in their hearts? Could this be due to Satan coming immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts? Let's face it, faith grows through the very things that the devil comes to steal from the hearts of believers.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Can you HEAR Me Now?

My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. (Proverbs 4:20-22 NLT) Have you ever made a promise that you either could not or did not keep? Many people have. Before I was saved I would make promises and sometimes failed at carrying them out. However, not long after I became a believer I completely stopped making any promises. Many believers
look at Gods Word and see things like, "For they (Gods Word) bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body" and marvel at the promise(s) of God. However, let's begin to see Gods Word as facts! This is what faith is built upon.

Luke 5 is one of numerous passages of scripture that paints a clear picture of hearing the Word of God and and responding to the facts. In Luke 5:12-15 we see a leper who asks Jesus if He is willing to heal Him. Jesus said, "I am WILLING, be cleansed". We see Gods willingness to heal this man but verse 15 holds a key that we need to see, "However, the REPORT went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to HEAR, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities."  Isaiah 53:1, John 12:38 and Romans 10:16 all ask the same question, "Who has believed our report"? We see in Luke that a multitude heard His report, believed and were healed. But a little further into Luke 5: 16-26 we see a different perspective towards God Word.

On a certain day Jesus was teaching and as He taught the power to heal was present. But why do we suppose that these men mentioned here brought a paralyzed man on a bed to Jesus? It should be obvious,  they must have HEARD and because they heard and responded, Jesus sees their faith in action. Understand, there was power to heal all who would hear, even for the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, but the scribes and Pharisees "began to reason."

"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) This is contracting the promise that God gave Israel that Canaan, the Promised Land, would be a place of rest for them in the same way Christ is the ultimate promise of rest to those who believe in Him. Moses preached Gods promises to Israel and they did not mix it with faith (receive the Word as facts) and their unbelief caused a generation to die in the wilderness. When the Word is preached today the same danger exists. If believers do not hear the Word and let it penetrate deep into their hearts and act upon it, unbelief becomes the product and believers will be unfruitful. (See John 15:1-11).

There are many reasons why people, including believers, will not hear Gods Word and act in faith, but the effect is the same, unbelief. Think about this, "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let's Do It Right

According to recent 3 year study by a well known group that looks at trends in the church in the USA, people from 16 – 29 years of age describe Christians as, judgmental, hypocritical, old fashion, too political, out of touch with reality, insensitive to others and boring So what makes you and I (believers) attractive to others, and I am not talking about what society determines attractive. What has made Christianity so attractive and respected in the past but seems out of touch today? Could it be our approach to be appealing to man rather than pleasing to God that has young people so turned off? If Jesus has restored humanity (He did) to what God had intended for Adam and if God is inexhaustible in power, love, wisdom and resources (to name a few and He is) then why is the report of young people according to this poll so negative? Maybe all we need to do is observe and implement the principle and practices that gave the early church such great success for nearly 300 years. They were not problem free, but their impact on society was far above than ours is or ever was in the USA.

I believe that there is a natural attraction which occurs to those who are un-churched, to the church when there is genuine fellowship among ALL believers. I believer this occurs when believers truly understand the cohesiveness that they have with one another in Christ and live it out daily, for example (not all inclusive)...
  • We are united together in His death – Together in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5)
  • Suffer together with Christ – Glorified together with Christ (Romans 8:17)
  • Perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment in Christ (I Corinthians 1:10)
  • Laborers together in Christ (I Corinthians 3:9)
  • Made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13)
  • Joined together in Christ (Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:19)
  • Knit together in love, in Christ (Colossians 2:2)
  • Comfort each other together in Christ (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Heirs together of the grace of God in Christ (I Peter 3:7)
Honestly, who would not be attracted to a people who not only know these things but act upon them and live them out together? There were no arguments over church names, formulas, rituals, traditions, creeds, baptism, style of music, order of worship, which church to join or doctrine and if there were it was worked out, it was dealt with because the fear of the LORD and not the fear of man was in place. The early believers were unified, magnified and multiplied which was an attractive, powerful testimony of Christ to the unsaved which brought many to salvation. When the church today acts like the church that we see in the Bible, it is very attractive to those outside the church.
Acts 2:47 "Praising God and having favor with all the people..." The lifestyle of the early church gained the admiration of all the common people who observed them. They acted like Christ, there was a comradery among them as well as compassion and love towards the unbelievers around them. They did not fail to preach the good news of redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ nor did they lack the faith to demonstrate Gods power. The early church did nothing more than doing exactly what Jesus commissioned them to do, can we say the same?
Having favor with all the people may be hard for us to comprehend today, but the days are coming when the church will be restored. It will no longer be about rituals, traditions, laws, rules, regulations and flesh pleasing entertainment, but about exalting Jesus Christ and glorifying the Father. The church will be filled once again with the fear of the LORD, be lead by the Holy Spirit and believers will once again truly live by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. PTL

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Light up Your Neighborhood

When looking at the early church you see that they emulated the ministry of Jesus in every way. One of the ways was going to the temple but also from house to house. There are many examples of Jesus meeting in the temple or synagogue, that is large gatherings but He also met in many homes in a small group setting. So we see that the early church embraced a model that Jesus had introduced. (Matthew 8:14-17, 13:54)

We also see many examples of small groups meeting in house’s in the early church. (Acts 20:20, I Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2) But what happened to the small group dynamic that cause the early church to be up close and personal? History records that between 323 and 327 AD Constantine began a massive program to build buildings to house the church which triggered a fad in large cities all over the Roman Empire. The church had begun moving from living rooms to large buildings only and believers and society began recognizing buildings as the church and not people.

The return to small groups did not have a large scale impact upon the church until 1738 through John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield who were actually influenced by the Moravians in England who form small societies within the church for the purpose of sharing, bible study, prayer and preaching. However, after Wesley’s death the movement became a denomination and not to long afterwards the concept of small groups was once again lost to meeting in church buildings only.

But once again the "revelation" of small group meetings and there impact on society rose out of the ashes in the late 1950's and the small group model emerged. Today all around the world church leaders are throwing away the lies that small group do not work and are once again embracing the model that Jesus Himself and the early church showed us throughout the New Testament. Let's face it, Jesus said, "I will build My church..." so if we let Him build it we will have the same influence or greater than the early church had and once again the world will recognize believers not as people who go to church, but who are the church.