Operate in His Vision
One of the greatest problems we have is that we fail to appropriate what is truly ours. Why not let God work the truth within? Let Him develop a heavenly vision for the situation instead working up selfdefense mechanisms through Satan´s rationale.
God can heal the wounds and bind up your broken heart. He can take away the scars and give you the authority of love, the ointment of joy, the power of peace, and the manifestation of His presence. You can have a heavenly vision and enjoy the living God, with a living faith in a living Church that is taking a living message to a dying world.
Would you rather represent the authority of your feelings, the authority of your experience, and the authority of what you think? Just represent what God says! The choice is yours. I pray that you will be built up and use the authority of God´s grace, God´s mercy, and the filling of the Spirit to operate in His vision.
The Felony of Un-Intention
The Word of God is vital to the normal twisted thinking of all of us who, in the felony of un-intention, go misunderstanding the ultimate purpose of God. We have our own purposes and our own concept of what we need according to our own instinct of self-preservation. We exist on earth and never reveal Heaven. We may have a form of godliness according to how good we think God is. We fashion our concept of God after our conception of ultimate goodness in Adam. God wants us to forsake all in our mental attitude and to let the Word of God become our mind through revelation. Christ is an eternal revelation. We never attain to a place where we no longer have need, and yet we do not have to live in bondage to our needs because we are freed by the quality of His life. God discloses Himself through Christ that we might be clothed from above and no longer disclose that which the earth has given us through Adam.
How many times do people speak from their emotions? What they hear in Satan´s accusation, they consider in their mentality. Then they experience the effects of its death in their emotions and express the results of it through their members. Their members are not set apart for Heaven, but are established by and a derivation of the corruption of the world. What they are living in, God has counted loss in death. We become a loser unless we receive what Christ gained by obedience to what love purposed.
1 Samuel 8-10
Justice Supersedes Love
II Corinthians 5:21
God poured His love out in abundance to men in the Incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ. However, God's love never supersedes God's justice. Reconciliation, or right standing with God for the sinner, can only take place according to God's sovereign plan of redemption. Religion that seeks to establish favor in the eyes of God through human effort or striving is entirely unacceptable in appeasing God's holiness.
The gates of eternal life in heaven are open to all who, by faith alone, receive the free gift of salvation, not based upon human merit, but wholly upon the grace, or undeserved favor, of God (2). Human good is rejected by Christ. The believer must receive the impartation of divine nature in his soul in order to become acceptable in the eyes of God, who is holy, righteous and just.
Salvation from eternal condemnation is the promise to all who believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins with His perfect blood. Jesus Christ is our substitute. The penalty for sin had to be paid in order to satisfy the justice of God. Therefore, the sinner who accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior is made righteous in the eyes of God. God communicated this to mankind in the Bible, which is His presentation of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ . Let your faith rest upon the unchanging finished work of Christ through His death, burial and resurrection.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9
Turn to the Lord
2 Corinthians 3:15-16
When some people read the Word of God, there is a kind of veil that covers their hearts. This veil represents the flesh. Because they have entered into a system of works, they attempt to perform the requirements of the Law in the energy of human effort. They cannot see the Finished Work.
Yet, when a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. His vision is no longer obscured.
I couldn't recommend anything more beautiful than turning to the Lord. In my next breath, and in my next decision, I can turn to the Lord. When emotional pressures, financial problems, health problems, or unexpected adversities come upon me, I turn to the Lord. What happens? The veil is taken away!
"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Existence without a Life
How many conversations result because of a lack of submission to God? People end up in complaint and in heartache because their hearts were not submissive toward God. Some people honor Christ totally. Others honor Him in proportion to what they feel they can do while reserving their individual right to have the human conveniences they want. Some take up the Cross, and some acknowledge its existence, but do not take it up. People can acknowledge in Adam, yet never live in the life of Christ. They say but do not allow God to do in them what their words state He has done. They observe the Cross respectfully, but never draw near submissively. This shows a lack of humility and contrition in the sight of God.
Your heart is naked before God. Let your life be so filled with God´s will that you have no desire to resist the Cross, repudiate discipleship, or refrain from humility. Do not spend hours resisting and allow your life to be a result of your resistance.
Do not have a case to present, have a heart of love to submit. Do not come with ideas, come with a Cross. Do not come demanding, come to submit. Do not come asking people to agree with you, instead, come to love and to listen and to see if their spirits agree. The choice is between self and the Cross, pride and humility, death and life, the spirit of the devil and the Spirit of Christ.
1 Samuel 4-7
Walk Ye in Him
Every person must comprehend the seriousness of choosing to receive Jesus Christ as Savior; the rejection of Christ is the most tragic decision any man can make. Only the Christian can have an eternal and meaningful impact upon the world. Knowing, understanding and manifesting the disposition of Christ to the world is the ultimate purpose for which we were created. Once a man is saved, he must continue to make positive decisions in responsiveness to the Word of God. The difference between a carnal, fruitless babe in Christ and a mature, fruitful servant in the Kingdom is the continuous appropriation of truth and the understanding of Bible doctrine in every category of life.
The key to begin living in truth is found in Colossians 2:6, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." Christ is received by faith alone, minus human merit and striving. The manifestation of the divine disposition in the human vessel is not produced by self-effort, but rather by faith in God's promise to make it happen. No amount of intelligence or dignity can bring it about. Salvation originates from a source outside of our human nature in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The faith principle is the same for salvation and for living, because "without faith, it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).
Imagine the dynamic, worldwide impact that would take place if every believer's goal in life were to please God!
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. - Colossians 2:6-7
The Authority of Truth
2 Corinthians 13:8
God has all power, He is everywhere present, and He has all knowledge: That is God´s ability.
Now, we can be partakers of that supernatural ability if God´s Kingdom dwells in a man, and he surrenders and submits to it. Then, knowing he has God´s authority, he will realize that everything is under his feet and that every place the sole of his foot touches belongs to him.
This man has the same authority that created the world (Hebrews 11:3). It´s the same authority that made the heavens (Psalm 33:6). It´s the authority that holds all things together. This is the authority of the Word of God (Hebrews 1:3). The Bible makes this clear.
Put your shoulders back. Confess any area where you are accepting a lie. Take up the truth that His authority is your authority, and walk in it. Now, His victory is your victory. Stand in it. His power is your power. Live in it.
Living Far From God
When a person cannot follow the leading of the Spirit and obey God, it reveals more than just ignorance of the love of God. It reveals the lack of a contrite heart and a humble spirit. He instead goes to the Tree of Knowledge and challenges the Spirit with emotional reaction and rationalistic attitudes that make him live far from God.
How is one renewed and quickened in an experiential response to God´s presence? By being humble before God, contrite in heart, and by not thinking of himself above what he is, frail and weak. It is not living in anything less than that which is imparted by God. Humility is not expressed in examples of piety where your feelings of worthlessness keep you from experiencing a Finished Work.
God will bring mysterious challenges into our lives to test our humility towards Him and to prove the validity of the Scriptures. How we react to God in those challenges reveals the measure of our humility. If a person is always striving against circumstances, it is because he is not humble enough to accept them in the plan of God´s grace. If an individual kicks against the pricks (the sharpness of the Word as it comes into their experience), he is not contrite enough to be near God and to have the presence of healing as the ointment of his soul. Through humility, allow God to heal you of everything that is outside of grace.
1 Samuel 1-3
Recompense of Waiting
Great recompense means that God gives grace in return for waiting on Him. The Christian has in his possession the ability through grace to have a relationship with the Father in spite of the condition. He wants us to learn how to wait and to experience His grace without regard to situations and circumstances. In waiting, we will receive the reward of patience. It is necessary for everyone to experience valleys in order to develop God's patience. He allowed Sarah and Abraham to wait many years for Isaac. He made Moses wait 40 years on the back side of the desert before he raised him up to lead Israel out of captivity.
Parents often have to wait for their children to become what they want them to become. While they wait, God conforms them to His image. He cultivates divine patience, a fruit of the Holy Spirit developed at the cross.
Many believers are not prepared to serve. They are never equipped to go out, because they fail to understand this divine principle of waiting on God. They need to recognize that it is the method by which grace and faith are taught in the quiet solitary places of their hearts.
Cast not away your boldness or your outspokenness when you come to Jesus, be frank... be honest. This confidence toward Him will be rewarded with great recompense.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. - Hebrews 10:35-36
Behold the Lamb
If I continually behold the Lamb, I will be so overcome that I will be humbled in every area of life. As I look at the Lamb, the questions I have about my life will be answered. As I look at the Lamb, my relationships will become very meaningful. As I behold the Lamb, studying will be a thrill. If I behold the Lamb, I will have no problem with people who take advantage of me.
As I behold the Lamb in the Gospels, I see God Almighty becoming a man, suffering because of human sin and the satanic government of evil around Him. I can see the Lamb being led to the slaughter of Golgotha.
I cannot behold two things at once. I cannot behold my problems and the Lamb. One would interfere with the other. So, I learn to behold the Lamb, placing Jesus Christ before everything in my life, which reveals great honor. It is a tribute to Him, who alone deserves all the glory.
Rejecting Christ´s Authority
What were the beginnings of Absalom´s conspiracy against his father, David? It began with considerations concerning the ministry of his father. He took counsel from an adviser who had criticized David. Absalom thought the things he was doing were right. He thought that he could do a better job than David. He got supporters to back his opinion and organized a program to elect himself king. How? By getting people to agree with his breath of evil.
The result of his conspiracy? His false covering left him hung on a tree. He was suspended between Heaven and earth. His eyes could not look to Heaven and his feet were not on the earth, because his false covering had trapped him in the strands of its own judgment. It all happened on a tree.
Absalom was not under the covering of David; therefore, he was not under the covering of Christ, David´s Head. He went out of the covering when he went against his father who was delegated to be over him. No matter what David did, it was up to God to deal with him. Absalom usurped authority outside of his position of a submissive son. Some people say that they accept Christ and yet they will not accept Christ´s delegated authority as the provision for their covering. A person who does this will be suspended without a foundation and left unable to walk properly on the earth. Our choice is conspiracy versus the communion of love brought through submission.
Take the Shield of Faith
The Christian who is not experiencing the law of faith is living in the law of fear described in Job 3:25-26. He must have the attitude of "As it is written, so it shall be. I know it will be as God said." Any area of his life where faith, through the grace of God with confidence in Jesus Christ is not functioning, fear will take over.
Many believers unknowingly live in the law of fear because they do not define it. They do not necessarily feel it, but if they do not believe with the right quality of faith in Christ, it is possible for anxiety to produce fear in their hearts. It leaves one intellectualizing truth rather than internalizing it. He may hear messages, but he fails to appropriate the Word in practicality. There are many Christians who do not live in overt sin, but live in the law of fear. They can overcome this by trusting Christ according to categorical doctrine. Living by every Word of God (3) creates a shield to keep out fear!
Realize this: Life is made up of moments which reveal in whom we trust. Every situation we face today will expose our frame of reference, whether it is the cross of Calvary or self-orientation.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. - Ephesians 6:16
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came. - Job 3:25-26
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. - Matthew 4:4
Seek First the Kingdom
Picture it. Jesus Christ is saying so personally to you, "I have laid down my life for you so that I might live inside you and be everything you need. I will provide for you, and I will give you the abundant life. I want you to seek first My Kingdom and My righteousness, however, and not the things that are all around you. Then, all these other things will be added unto you." God wants us to see that as we develop intimacy with Him through obedience to His indwelling Word, He will give us divine protection and a godly reputation among the nations. We will have special favor as we enter into the unction of prayer power, prayer praise, prayer worship, and prayer provision.
Listen to the still small voice of God as He whispers, "Begin to understand what it means to spend one hour in the morning and one hour at night with Me. Come all alone to My throne of grace and mercy. Shut out every distraction, and begin to pray for every promise in the Bible."
Hung on a Tree
2 Samuel 18:9
A false covering will always put a man on a tree, hung in the condemnation of his own guilt. A true covering has put Christ on a tree, that we might walk from that tree receiving truth forever, never again to be hung in judgment. A person receives a false covering as soon as he rebels, even mentally, against God. When a person thinks against another Christian, he is in actuality attacking God. It is certainly not an incidental thing to react mentally against leadership. It is serious in its consequences. Absalom´s false covering put him on a tree.
A person cannot live without the covering of God. Without the Body, and the government of that Body, represented by God´s men, a person is left to the judgment of a false covering. You will be judged for that which you judged another (Romans 2:1). Absalom went against his father David, who was chosen as God´s man. Only God has a right to deal with His man. Even David could not deal with Saul, when Saul was anointed king. It appeared that he had a right since Saul tried to kill him, but God has sole responsibility over His men.
God´s men are given all authority, all power in Heaven and on earth. Weak yet strong, frail yet adequate, this is the living paradox of a servant of God who receives a delegated ministry from Christ. God´s man walking in the fruit of the Spirit is never wrong. Do not usurp authority by going against those whom God alone has chosen to lead.
Our faith must be rooted and grounded in who God is. As a believer trusts in the perfect character and nature of God, he can appropriate the Scriptures in every situation and detail of life. He bases decisions on absolute authority of the Word of God, rather than on sight evaluation or the limited perception of the senses. As he learns to think with the content of the Bible, he begins to rely on God's sovereignty, integrity, immutability, mercy, goodness, patience, faithfulness, holiness, power, and in His infinite capacity, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
This faith is necessary for proper thinking (1); the content of what we think makes our faith valid. When we hear the Word of God, we are released. We think about the fact that not one of His promises will ever fall to the ground (2).
"For all the promises of God in him, are yea, and in him Amen" (II Corinthians 1:20a). It is impossible for God to lie (3). Because of these promises the believer can think in the right attitude by trusting not in his own faith, but in God's faithfulness. Thus, we come "boldly to the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16)!
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. - Romans 12:3
Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. - 1 Kings 8:56
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: - Hebrews 6:18
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; - Titus 1:2
The Gift of Righteousness
Jesus Christ has given us His righteousness apart from the law-it doesn´t depend on our own works. The moment we first believed on Christ as Savior through His death, burial, and resurrection, He imputed to us "the righteousness which is of faith" (Romans 10:6) as a gift of grace. Now, we receive imparted righteousness through the Word of God because we believe that He is not only our Savior but also our Healer and our provision for life.
The Holy Spirit wants to take us beyond the veil of our flesh and the awareness of our circumstances. The Lord is saying, "I am already in you, but I want you to have so much more!" He wants to carry us beyond subjective reflections of the past into His mighty presence. Together, we are learning to have the right perspective through objective thinking.
God desires that we would have fellowship in perfect oneness, so that heaven can fill our souls. Thank God! We can be inspired by His presence, knowing that He is for us.
A Breath Against God
2 Samuel 17
Men and women who are not Spirit-filled live in Absalom´s place. They have usurped authority outside of the position God has given them. A man must walk in the position God places him and in the place in the Body where God puts him. Otherwise, man is usurping authority above the plan of God. Satan is subtle, and he wants to condition us into being involved in the early parts of a conspiracy. With no definition and form in the beginning, our hearts may be moving from submission to God. We are either part of a conspiracy, or we are part of a Body against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail. We are either potentially part of a conspiracy, or we are walking in the light experiencing the Kingdom and growing in the fullness of our potential in God.
A conspiracy occurs when a person breathes against God. A hint of contempt can flourish into an all-out attack on the Kingdom of God. A mere breath against godly leadership, not even organized or mobilized as of yet, is the mental attitude of a conspirator. Satan has achieved his beginning to eventually fulfill the purpose of his plan when he gets a person to begin to breathe against God and against those whom God has appointed as delegated leaders. Satan will try to hold back the prosperity of an intensely active ministry with the breath of conspirators. Do not, in sentimentality or otherwise, be akin to breaths of conspiracy.
The Emotions: the Great Indicator
Having no actual word for "emotions" in the Old Testament Hebrew, metonyms were used to express this concept as we know it today. Some examples are the words "bowels," "kidneys," and "reins." One such usage is in I Kings 3:26: "For her bowels yearned upon her son." The emotions are intended to be the great indicator or red flag to tell us whether or not we are rightly related to God.
The emotions play a tremendous role in the believer's interaction with the diverse situations he encounters in life. They are the aspect of conscience where feelings are experienced, and have a capacity to respond positively or to react negatively to any given initiation or stimulate. The state of the emotions indicates the condition of the mind, much like physical symptoms indicate the condition of the body.
The Christian life is not to be guided and directed on the basis of emotional responses to situations. One should never allow his feelings to take the place of the mind as the decision maker. When properly functioning, the emotions are relaxed, carefree and do not react in anxiety or frustration. We can refresh the emotions of others by building them up in the Word of God. Philemon 7 says, "For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee."
There is a treasure inside each of us, and God desires that it be revealed on the outside, through our habits, our speech, and our manners. What is it that God desires?
He desires that the treasure results in a life that bears fruit. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8). "...I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit..." (John 15:16).
God looks upon a situation in a home, and He sees the treasure inside the people in that home. He desires that the treasure that is within becomes a fragrance on the garments of their outer life.
When the desire of a child of God becomes the same as His desire, there is a fragrance from the garments of that person´s life that you can appreciate. You recognize that there is something precious within him. It´s just good to have this person around.
A Leopard Changing Spots?
Enoch had a son born to him (Genesis 5:21), and this son, Methuselah, lived to be the oldest man. He, whom death could not vanquish, reproduced a man who broke all records with his life. Why did Enoch live and prosper as he did? He was of one soul and one spirit with God. There were no divisions to exhaust his emotions. There were no conflicts to tax his nerves. There were no problems to perplex his potential. He was one with God. God says that the leopard cannot change his spots, and Enoch agreed.
God said to Enoch, "I cleanse you by blood, you can walk in faith," and Enoch agreed. God said, "Satan has no right to accuse you," and Enoch agreed in his life experience. It is not an agreement without result. Many people agree that God is right, and then they live in defeat and depression. This is not true agreement. This is just the sound of vain words that are not one with the heart of God. Agreement means that you are one soul with God. Your agreement expresses the experience of the words with which you agree.
Enoch knew what it meant to walk with God because he was one with God in his walk. He did not waste time trying to change his spots or to correct his life. He just agreed and walked with God. To walk with God in togetherness means to be so one with what God says, that even when we falter, we rebound by agreeing with God about our failure and about what He did with it. God could not change failure, so He crucified it in order to change us.
Beautiful for Situations
Situations are necessary to show us that Jesus Christ is beautiful and to reveal our personal experience with Him through truth. We need to experience a variety of circumstances in order to grow in grace. God needs us in the situation so He can take over and produce life in it. The world needs us in the situation so it can see God in action.
Therefore, He is beautiful for all situations. He ordained each and every moment of our lives before we were born. There are no accidents in the plan of God. When we are assured that all is ordained, we can take up our cross, with our free volition, and bring pleasure to Him through obedience. And He works out of our lives that which is undesirable. The Lord Jesus Christ is beautiful for situations because He wants us to learn obedience even through suffering. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). We should learn from suffering. He wants us to learn obedience by denying ourselves with our free volition and going forward in joy, peace, power, love, and purpose, taking up our cross to learn something from Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ wants to show us that His grace is sufficient for every single situation. He will never leave us nor forsake us (2). There is no situation we can encounter that is void of His faith, for He goes through everything with us, to the very end.
A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. - Psalm 48:1-2
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. - Hebrews 13:5
Any believer who wants to be serious about his walk with God must focus on Jesus Christ. He must be open and in tune with the Holy Spirit´s prompting.
There are remnants throughout America who love Jesus and who are being called to serve Him because of the purity of their motives and their hunger and thirst for righteousness. Still, one thing is so necessary, yet, sadly, few have even heard of it: divine humility.
I did not say "humility" but "divine humility." It is not self-effacement, which comes from a works program of false piety, trying to get rid of self.
Divine humility comes from recognizing our co-crucifixion and co-burial with Christ. This humility reveals itself in a life that doesn't criticize. This mind is not paranoid but always thinks the best. We will find a heart that possesses a capacity that is far greater than most of us have ever considered.
And He Was Not
There are two things that are imperative for us to know: a) that it is impossible for us to change in Adam; and b) that it is impossible for God to lie about what He has done to Adam.
A believer may walk with God outwardly, but he cannot walk with God inwardly unless he knows the meaning of the words "together" and "agree" and then moves in grace. "Together" means one soul in two bodies. Even when Christ´s soul was sorrowful unto death, his soul never became any less than God´s soul, though he was in his humanity.
Do not have a marriage with two souls in two bodies. Have a redemptive marriage with one soul in two bodies; a redemptive family, one soul in every member; and a redemptive Corporate Body, every member joined in one soul. People who are not redeemed are a group of many souls in many bodies-they are all different.
If we agree with God we have one soul. It is recorded in Genesis 5:24 that Enoch walked with God and was not. The chapter discusses person after person who lived and died. Then it talks about Enoch, a man who walked a different way, a man who had one soul with God, who agreed with God, and who never died but went to Heaven with Christ. All kinds of people live and die, but those who walk with God have had their last rites and are not, because they are with Christ.
God’s Provision for His People
In Numbers 9:8, Moses said to the Israelites, "Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you." The Lord told Job to "stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14). Both of these are examples of men who learned the tremendous principle in the Word of God about divine quietness.
The child of God must not give in to fleshly activity. This stems from unbelief, which always magnifies difficulties and creates an atmosphere of haste. It is vital for believers to learn not to let their emotions govern their actions. In the most difficult trial, God would say, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). The believer receives divine enablement to do this when he puts on the mind of Christ (2) through the intake of the Word of God. Christians gain nothing by restless, anxious effort. The flesh cannot study to be quiet.
Faith is the only means to raise the soul to God's standards, provisions, and life. How does faith come? It "comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Through the precious promises in His Word, God Himself enables us to stand still. When unbelief is driven from the scene, God enters in with quietness to give us rest.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. - Exodus 14:13-14
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: - Philippians 2:5
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. - Romans 13:14
My Union with Christ
When I put sugar in my coffee this morning, I noticed that the sugar couldn't be seen after it dissolved into the coffee. It blended in so completely that it wasn't visible. The sugar entered into a union with the coffee. They were no longer separate, but one.
In the same way, we are in union with Christ's death and burial. Everything about my life has been crucified and buried with Him. Everything my father or my grandfather may have done to me, as well as everything that was passed on to me through genetics, was transferred to Christ at Calvary. All of those things entered into union with His death and burial, out of God´s sight forever.
God offers total freedom from Adam. He offers freedom from the negative words you speak about yourself and from the bad things that have been said about you. God can change your personality, improve your moods, and expand your capacity for Him. This is because all that you were, naturally, was placed upon Christ.
Our Last Rites
Many people think they have rights, but the rights that they hold onto prohibit them from walking in agreement with God. You do not have to hold onto certain rights so that you can secure a place in life for yourself. God will remove all that your rights have given you and baptize you into the last rite, that can never be wrong. You are baptized through death into the Life of God which is unconditional love. Our life in Christianity is to be originated from the God Who cannot lie. We do not have to make in Adam what we could not stir up through our talk about God. When I forsake Adam, the Lord takes me up in Life.
How do we walk together with God? Many people walk outwardly together but never live in togetherness. Believers do not walk together with God because they do not agree with God. They live in bondage to their own Adam, and that separates and prevents them from being one soul with God. In Jeremiah 13:23, God says that it is impossible for a leopard to change his spots. And yet, person after person in the Christian realm spends a lifetime trying to change his spots. A man has a permanent weakness and he cannot change that spot of weakness, or the way he is made. He begins to live in that impossibility, convicted that there is a need to change and yet frustrated without change. He tries again and again to analyze his own spots, all the time forfeiting his chances to experience what God has provided in the weakness of his actual situation.
The Experiential Believer
Not many believers make the decision to take up their cross daily. Some get up and have devotions, but not in the full understanding of taking up a personal cross for that particular day. For example, you enter into your first situation being totally unoccupied with self. "You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).
The average believer goes through trials that he cannot figure out. He gets upset because he did not deny himself and take up his cross for that period of time. The average believer, in all honesty, is not a "practical" believer. He believes at times. He believes if it is convenient. He believes if it is comfortable. But he is not an experiential, daily believer because he does not understand that his free volition must take up the cross, daily. Paul said in I Corinthians 15:31, "I die daily." Paul had entered into this very definite act of the co-crucifixion of his will, daily, with that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You are no longer filled with self-interest or self-preservation. There is no "duty" in the cross. There is no going away muttering under your breath at bothersome points during your day. There is no pressure and no stress, but complete availability to God. Life becomes a pleasure when we allow God to be Master, Christ to be Lord, the Spirit to guide, the Word to reveal truth, and the abundant life to be experienced.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. - Matthew 16:24-25
Covered by Love and Friendship
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. I don´t think a man should ever get married until his love for his wife could be characterized as being "born for adversity." In his wife´s worst trouble, a husband has to be able to say he was born for that day.
Friendship is an amazing covering. We´re not talking about acquaintances or associates. We´re not talking about having mutual interests, mutual pleasures, mutual likes, or mutual dislikes. We´re talking about agape love, the love of God, that produces a friendship in which a person sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
God´s love is an amazing covering. Not only does it cover a multitude of sins, but it never repeats the matter unless a person refuses to get right with God. Love covers a multitude of sins (James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8). This is not sentimental love, but real love.
Going Beyond in Love
Paul took pleasure in finding out what all-sufficient grace does. He besought the Lord three times to remove his thorn in the flesh. At his third request, God spoke: "My grace is sufficient. The thorn will not be removed, Paul. You will draw your strength from me and Christ will be formed in you. You will be formed and conformed in the image of meekness and humility. You will get to know my sufferings and the nature of my dependence on the Father, as you depend upon me, through the Spirit. When you think that you cannot make it, there will be a mystical comfort, a motivating fellowship, an assurance from the Word, and a oneness in mercy. My strength will be made perfect. I want you to know a strength that will not leave you when you fail."
Paul took pleasure (2 Corinthians 12:10) in learning what all-sufficient love does. He learned what it meant to live with a thorn but to have the life that he lived be in grace. You can love because grace is sufficient. Another person´s response should not regulate your initiation. You go beyond in love, where their attitude stops because of ignorance or rebellion. Their behavior does not change your attitude. Their immaturity does not change the maturity of love, the stability of grace, and the strength of God´s character.
A trial may be inexplicable, and yet within it, there is definition and clarity of purpose because of your experience with Christ in the oneness of grace.
Stewards of Grace
God's grace is not dependent upon us; grace depends upon the Giver, never upon the receiver! Since Christ received us when we were still sinners (2), we should, therefore, receive one another (3).
We minister to the needs of others through the Word of God, with a redemptive spirit and the ministry of reconciliation. We give grace and edify others (4). As a result, believers enjoy oneness with the Body of Christ. Then, we are not divisive, negative, selfish, greedy, unkind, hateful, cruel, indifferent, or reactionary. We are thoroughly motivated by His love and the consciousness of truth. Vision, prayer, a heart attitude of love, tears, compassion, goals, desires, delight, and purpose are realized when a local assembly magnifies Christ in the spirit of unity.
Every Christian must esteem others more highly than himself. Applying this principle does not mean that a believer views himself as having less value to God, but rather he honors another's privacy. Therefore, our attitude is, "I esteem your freedom and privacy. I must protect your rights as a believer-priest, and minister the provision of grace which allows you to stand or fall before God without my interference." We are to value the individual calling of each member in the Body of Christ, for it is "fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth" (Ephesians 4:16a).
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6,8
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. - Ephesians 4:29
Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. - Romans 15:7
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. - John 15:12
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. - John 13:34
The Cup of Blessing
1 Corinthians 10:16
The Bible speaks of our capacity for communion as sons of God. Our capacity-the measure of our ability to receive and to give-comes through the blessing of the Blood in our relationships. Jesus Christ has established the means of fellowship. Our cup of blessing speaks of our capacity to relate to one another in our sonship, discerning the Body through His blood.
We are to bless the cup, which represents the blood He shed on Calvary. In the Old Testament tabernacle, the blood of the sacrificial animals was sprinkled on everything, but the effects were only temporary. The blood of Christ washes away sin forever; it purges the conscience.
According to Romans 5:9, the blood takes care of our justification as we appropriate it by faith (Colossians 1:20-23). It reveals freedom and purity as it washes over our hearts, minds, ears, and tongues. It takes over our frame of reference. Because of His blood, we can enjoy the blessing of having communion with each other.
Enough in Every Situation
2 Corinthians 9:8
Man does nothing but fail God. God says nothing but "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Grace was sufficient for Abraham though he took Hagar outside of the will of God (Genesis 16). God protected Ishmael and gave him an inheritance (Genesis 21:18). Jacob steals his brother´s birthright. Does he lose the privilege of it? No, he ends up hearing the words "Jacob have I loved" (Malachi 1:2) and with the assurance that God never imputes sin to a crooked Jacob (Numbers 23:21). David, despite his many sins, was called a man after God´s own heart. Lot was counted righteous in the New Testament age of mercy. Peter denied God three times to the point of cursing, and yet God used him. Saul accused and persecuted Christians, but grace knocked him down, called him to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, and used him as the chief apostle to the Gentiles.
Grace does not become sufficient when people live up to God, but God´s grace is sufficient when we fail and can do nothing but allow His strength to be made perfect in our weakness. Satan wants us to think that grace is given based on a system of what we merit. But grace is Jesus being enough for every man who, in every situation, will trust the nature of love to be sufficient in the weakness of his character.
Why did Paul endure a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7)? God wanted Paul to discover the sufficiency of grace. The thorn reminded him of his frailty and thus drew him into the perfection of God´s strength.
Having Truth in the Heart
We are living in a time where there is such a need for truth - to have God's truth established in the inner man. Many can recite principles from God's word, but do not let them take residence in the innermost parts of their souls. It is so easy to speak the words of Christianity, but not mean them.
Many individuals have said, "My only goal in life is to get my act together," and that is the problem; it is only an act, or an external issue. It is evident to all believers that the heart is deceitful and the self-life has been rooted within it. That is why the Lord wants service that comes from a heart motivated by His love (2). He does not dwell on the outward performance, rather He seeks the one who is willing to give his heart to God. "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom" (Psalm 51:6).
Jesus came to give us abundant life (3). "He that believeth on me as the scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). God's provision will come out of the depths of a new heart that He has given to us (4). He wants to establish our hearts in grace (5). "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it" (I Thessalonians 5:24).
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. - Psalm 51:6
Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; - Ephesians 6:6
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. - John 10:10
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: - Ezekiel 11:19
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. - Hebrews 13:9
Communion in the Body
Every Christian has been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ; we are not our own. Each one of us is a member of the Body, of which Christ is the Head; and our Head would like us, the Body, to be His life, His flesh, and His very bones. Even the weakest member of our Body is still Christ´s. Each member of the Body must be treated as Christ because Christ possesses him; therefore, we are to honor the Body, identify with it, and express life to it.
When I look at another person in the congregation, I cannot afford to get caught up in personality clashes, resentment, bitterness, insecurity, or fear. Instead, I must love each member, for each one is in Christ and, therefore, he is a part of me. No one is perfect at this point, but in heaven, everyone will be perfected and we will spend eternity together.
Knowing this, we are to love each other as we grow, become mature, and take our places as particular members of His Body. God has placed each member in the Body according to His design and He wants us to realize the benefit of staying in our particular place and learning how the whole Body is blessed by the diversity of its members.
His Grace is Sufficient
Why did God leave Adam? He crucified and buried him, yet why did God leave Adam still available to his own will? Why is the enemy not driven out totally in experience as he is in position? Why does God just drive him out little by little (Deuteronomy 7:22)? Why grow in grace? Why can´t we just arrive? Why do we have to decrease ( John 3:30)? Why must we always learn obedience? Why can´t we confess that we have arrived? Why press on? Can´t we say we made it while living in humanity?
The reason is that God does not want spiritual robots, but a people who will experience a grace that is sufficient. He desires His strength to be made perfect in our weakness instead of a people who have strength but no weakness. God does not make us perfect, because He wants His grace to accept us as perfect before we are perfect, lest we misunderstand the revelation of grace. Otherwise, we would not understand growth in perfection.
God accepts us before we are acceptable (Ephesians 1:6). He provides a perfect record before the record is perfect. He sees us as mature when we are yet immature (Colossians 2:10). He reckons us dead to sin while we yet fail (Romans 6:11; Philippians 3:15). Grace is sufficient to see us living in Christ though at times we do live in Adam. Our experience denies Christ´s provision, but God´s grace establishes His provision as our experience. God´s grace cannot impute sin. It is sufficient. His strength is made perfect in all forms of weakness.
Serving Has No Bounds
A true servant is only concerned with pleasing the one he serves. The real men of God in the Bible were not in the habit of living in self-determination. They did not decide where or what type of environment in which to serve. Oftentimes, we start to murmur when we are given a menial task to do, especially if we are not noticed. Oh, the pride in our hearts!
Jesus exhibited the laying down of His life in selfless service to the Father when He said, "But he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve" (Luke 22:26). Jesus girded Himself with a towel and washed the feet of the disciples, including the very one that would betray Him, Judas Iscariot (2). Menial tasks did not stop His servitude; yet, this is one of the most often heard complaints today. When Christians murmur about their job, it only reveals that it is not their nature to serve. Their motivation is not pure. A believer whose true motive is to please himself is no servant at all.
In order for Christians to be true servants, just as Jesus was, they must be transformed in their mental attitude by the Word of God regarding their service (1). Then their nature will be that of a servant.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Romans 12:1-2
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. - John 13:4-11
I have a free spirit, and so does every Christian who is confessed up-to-date and filled with the Holy Spirit. We don´t wrestle with yesterday´s problems. We aren´t dealing with last year´s skeletons or with provocations from someone who hurt us. We have a free spirit!-and it´s God´s free Spirit!
What does it mean to be upheld by God´s Spirit? Well, God is pretty free! He´s already whipped the devil. God is free to forgive us, free to cleanse us, free to purge us, and free to live in us forever. He is free to give us love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance. He´s free to guide us into all truth and to quicken our minds.
We are free to be content.
Free-to love the Body of Christ.
Free-to enjoy the love of friends.
Free-to pray and fight diseases by faith.
Free-to fight problems by God´s provision.
We are free, free, FREE!
A Wild Man Born
God gave Abraham the promise of a son. The fulfillment of that promise was to be the eventual result, but God had purposes set in the plan that preceded the sight of the promise. God´s plan does not just lead to an end; it includes experiences along the way. God sets out to finish us as His product many times before He gives us the finished product that fulfills His promise.
Abraham and Sarah were tired of waiting. They were tired of receiving grace to live in a plan to reveal unconditional qualities in a faith that does not demand evidence. They did not like God´s method of grace. Abraham did not want to express the effect of unconditional love, which is patience. Patience is the outward manifestation of the in-working of God. It is the quality of love. Abraham and Sarah dictated to God and did not receive the method God desired. They lived in the anxiety of self, distressed because nothing had been produced to appease their sight. When the method was not as they wanted it, they frustrated the plan and the product of this frustration was a wild man, Ishmael (Genesis 16:12).
When we do not enter into patience through grace, we frustrate the plan with our inward disturbance. We perplex grace by living in the frustration of love. We do not receive grace to live in God´s plan and to be God´s purpose as an individual, so we exchange grace for our method and act by our own energy in the flesh. We can never produce what is only born in Heaven.
When one occupies himself with the cross, all of God's agapao (love) becomes applicable and is known. Agapao is the Greek word for God's divine, unconditional love. His cross proves that His love: 1) takes pleasure in us, 2) prizes us above other things, and 3) is unwilling to abandon or do without us (Wuest) (1).
How true 1 John 3:1 is when translated, "Behold what foreign kind of love" is this. The fact that the classic Greek pagan mind could never imagine or conceive of offering such a love to an enemy proves that with Christ comes a brand new understanding of His infinite care for us. This produces the adult son, the mature believer. This person passes through the devastations and trials, cracking the maturity barrier, and comes into hidden prosperity and "treasures of darkness" (Isaiah 45:3). Oh, this is rare. We are living in an age when the Gospel is popular but the cross is not. Unfortunately, this often produces the professing Christian but not the possessing Christian.
Jesus challenged us to bear a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (2), taking up our cross daily, with a mental attitude of faith and identification with our Lord's sufferings (3). It is through our own death that we grow into His cross as our ultimate frame of reference.
Pray that He will increase, that we might decrease (4).
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; - Ephesians 5:25
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:30
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; - Philippians 1:29
He must increase, but I must decrease. - John 3:30
Orientation to Life
God will not measure us by anything but His own gift, His own mercy, and His own grace. He will not deal with anything according to moral light. We are measured only according to how we respond to His life and light.
When knowledge possesses us without God´s light, we end up living in the Christian paradise of salvation without the grace of God transforming our minds. When Jesus Christ possesses us and takes over our hearts, however, then we learn the proper orientation to life.
Jesus wants to teach each of us to orient ourselves to His life. God sees us in His Son, who is the Light of the world. God sends forth His light and His truth to lead us (Psalm 43:3). Ecclesiastes 11:7 says, "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold."
The Demand of Reformation
When one has his own desires in grace, he may be taking a right that would liberate him from the plan of God. Grace does not extend itself that we may willfully go against the plan of God. Grace is the sufficiency of communion with a Person within the plan.
God has many methods of grace; whereas man has many manipulating moves to escape the method. It is vital to accept God´s method of grace as the truth of response in our lives. An example is found in 2 Kings 5. Naaman was wroth with God´s method of grace. When Elisha told him to wash himself in the Jordan seven times, Naaman was outraged. He had a preconceived idea of the method he desired God to use. When God did not choose to complement his own desire, Naaman reacted.
There is a cleansing involved in God´s method of grace. Our conscience is freed from the strivings of human responsibility. We cast our cares upon One Who is able to supply our need in grace. Situations, therefore, cannot make demands of us and neither can we demand certain results from any situation. Instead, grace reigns and causes the situation to be filled with grace because we have made ourselves available, without demand, to grace. It is not how the situation should change, but it is how I change as I behold One Who has a changeless life. I do not call out for reformation according to my desires, but I live in revelation that Christ may express regenerating Life in terms of His desires.
Being a true servant of God means that you have no claims on your life. You have made Jesus Christ Lord and He has control over you.
Paul taught that one of the most significant aspects of being a servant is to be spent. "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you: though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved" (II Corinthians 12:15). Paul's service was characterized by fervency, but also faith rest, peace that passed understanding, joy, delight, godly reverence and godly fear because he knew that the Lord was his witness (2). He did not mind giving up personal rights and becoming a doormat for others if it was for the Gospel's sake.
Oh, how free and committed Christians would be if they knew that God was their witness, and that is all that matters. Because of this, Paul refused to be moved. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself" (Acts 20:24a). Allow God to have unconditional claim on you, and know that it is all for your good. He has nothing but thoughts of peace toward you. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11).
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. - Acts 20:24
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; - Romans 1:9
The Manifestation of God´s Presence
God is interested in manifesting His presence. It´s not enough to have a grasp of knowledge, a catalog of theology in the mind. Seminary professors have all that. I would dare to say, however, that very few of them experience the manifestation of His presence.
The soil of our hearts must be broken up. Once this is done, the Bible becomes rich. Every verse and every line becomes so precious to us, leaping out as the Spirit brings it to life. Everything is recognized as sacred, and the dynamics of God´s Word are realized in our midst. This is revival, fired and fueled by the Word of God. As a result, fields of faith are built up.
The manifestation of His presence becomes so strong that distractions are minimized. Capacities are enlarged as believers grow from one degree of faith to another. With hearts fixed upon Christ, nothing can hinder the move of God. Obedience flows freely and becomes the master of the revival; the key is obedience, not feelings, and not emotional outbursts.
It´s so simple. Jesus sends the Word to heal. As we believe it, our faith goes into action.
Reigning in Self-Sufficiency
2 Corinthians 3:5
Are we satisfied with the sufficiency of grace or would we rather be granted an absence from the situation to take the road of self-satisfaction?
Self-satisfaction is never sufficient because it is trapped in the lust of its own flesh. It seeks continually for satisfaction because of the inadequacies Adam finds in what he thought would be sufficient. It never leads to seeking someone, but leads to a struggle to discover something that will give Adam an excuse to live outside the plan. The plan always brings us into necessitating grace. God does not alleviate our need to be dependent. As we grow, we grow into Him, giving up our independence and increasing our need for Him.
God has many ways of revealing grace. Many times people do not like the methods of God´s grace that are bestowed on them. They want grace to change the situation instead of being changed. They want grace to change someone else instead of changing them for someone else. They want God to intervene in their favor instead of accepting God´s favor as grace intervening in the situation. Instead of allowing grace to reign in its total sufficiency, they become exhausted, reigning in their own insufficiency. We determine through faith or unbelief what ultimately controls our lives. Only God´s control through a plan releases abundant life. A control of the Spirit keeps us in the way that we may be free from the controlling forces of Hell.
That We May Be One
The disciples were described as having turned the world upside down because of their tremendous influence in evangelizing the nations. This sheds light on the heart attitude of Jesus as He prayed, "That they all may be one; as thou, father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21).
It is the desire of the Father that all men would know Christ and experience the very same life that He derived from His Father, through the provision of recovery for their growing process (2). This does not mean losing one's individuality or creative capacity, nor does it imply that a person's sin nature can ever be eradicated.
In I Corinthians 15:10b, Paul said, "I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." Paul never lost his individuality; yet, he operated in the power of God's disposition throughout his ministry, for it is an impossible task for man to glorify God in his natural disposition. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, human problems and dilemmas can be transformed into victories for the believer.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. - John 17:21
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
We have a ministry of reconciliation and a word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors representing heaven, the new covenant, and the new creation. Jesus Christ has given us all this through the Cross. Oh, how great is the love of Christ, that He never mentions our sin!
Consider the motivations we have: the love of God, the Word of God, the Bema Seat, and reverence toward God. We know no man after the flesh. We live in the new creation, and we are committed to the ministry of reconciliation. These are our motivations and the foundation of our integrity.
If I have the integrity of the Finished Work, then it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of me. It only matters that I walk in my integrity. Even in the midst of his trouble, Job never lost sight of the Finished Work. His motivation to continue was based on the reality that he knew his Redeemer lived (Job 19:25).
The Measurement of Faith
2 Corinthians 5:7
Truth does not depend upon my moments of weakness to evaluate its reality. Truth depends upon Jesus Christ. There is something extremely unique in the life of a Christian walking by faith. He does not deny his life the privilege that faith offers it. Faith offers love the opportunity to find Jesus Christ. He can depend upon these Words of truth. His state of weakness is now measured in terms of faith rather than his evaluation of the Word´s reality.
Why should we challenge the truth with self-knowledge? Self-knowledge toward ourselves with a knowledge of the truth is far different from an experience of the truth to give us a knowledge of love toward God. When we feel the empty vacuum of self-knowledge and all of the consequences of having a form of godliness without the power, it is not time to withdraw and challenge the love of the truth. It is time to draw near because of truth. Why challenge truth with that which is temporal when we can just as easily submit to truth and call situations victorious, recognize the devil as a liar; and declare ourselves eternally free? Instead of trying to understand faith, we live in faith with God´s understanding.
All of Jesus Christ's security was taken away, that He might reveal light by submitting to truth. He removed His right to live as God so that His dependency would be God. At His moment of trial, He would not challenge truth, but would say, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."
Whenever you are spending time with someone, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind his positive qualities. Think of the many times the person has blessed your life. Meditate upon all the he has done to serve God and to further the kingdom. Pray for him silently in an area of need. Make a positive commitment to base relationships on the Lord Jesus Christ, allowing Him to have preeminence.
This is a beautiful process of the mind. If we could only begin to see one another as perfect and righteous, as God sees us through His Son! We are "[seated] in heavenly places" and our lives are "hid with Christ in God." We know that our sins have been paid for and that we are "made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21b). God knows our potential; He sees the work that He has already done and He also sees what He is going to do. There is no disappointment in Him, and He will give us everything we need to complete our lives. "And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ - right up to the time of His return - developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you" (Philippians 1:6, Amplified).
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: - Philippians 1:3-6
Walking in Integrity
If I am being mistreated, the only thing that matters is my integrity, not the person who is mistreating me. If I walk in integrity, I will respond in the filling of the Spirit and the love of God. Maybe the person is obnoxious, but I will walk in my integrity. While I do it, I will say, "God, give me mercy."
You will be healed and cleansed if you will just walk in the integrity of the living Word of God, in the integrity of grace, in the integrity of mercy, and in the integrity of love for yourself. You will feel good about yourself and your feet will stand firmly at Calvary. The Cross is an even place in the midst of the congregation.
Oh, that we would continually walk in the integrity of what has always existed from the beginning: the Word of God. There we discover the depth, the height, the length, and the breadth of His unconditional love for us (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Love Beyond a Law
Romans 5:4; Ephesians 3:19
The Sabbath is not lord over Jesus. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. The commandments are not lord over Him. Jesus excels in absolutes beyond where absolutes have excelled.
Absolutes have always excelled in the holiness of God´s character, but man was born for trouble ( Job 5:7) brought by the inconsistency of his own nature. Absolutes may excel, but man was overcome with failure as he could not succeed in any attempt to be godly. He needed the impartation of a character beyond Himself. Jesus Christ excelled in an absolute beyond all absolutes, and that was love. This love was an absolute that would go beyond what the law said about man and what it caused him to be, an absolute that was expressed in the Person of Christ.
This love fulfilled the law that man could not complete (Romans 10:4; 13:8) and brought man into Himself where all completion lies. How can anyone use their absolutes as a reason to stop the absolute of love? Absolutes, without love to bring them into the Person who fulfilled them, leave a person without hope in the desperation of the final decision upon his case. Judgment was brought upon the Son, that mercy might rejoice over us (James 2:13).
The Pharisees in Luke 6 went by what they thought to be absolute law and never entered into absolute love which fulfilled the law, so that it might bring redemption to humanity. Their standard tried to prevent love, so that love would not draw man into Life.
The Value of a Soul
Too often Christians settle down into a convenient lifestyle, one that is not worldwide in its vision, one that is less than stepping out in faith. They settle down into their own lives, not seeking and saving that which is lost.
In Luke 15:8, a coin was lost because of the carelessness of a woman, but she took a candle and searched her house until she found it. The sheep was lost because of ignorance, but the shepherd left the ninety-nine, went out to find the one, and brought it back to the fold. The prodigal son was lost because of rebellion. The Father just waited to love him when he came back. He never charged him with his sin. He never asked any questions. He gave him the ring, the robe, the shoes, and the fatted calf, and received him back to full sonship by kissing his neck. He said, "My son was lost, but now he's found. We will eat and be merry and rejoice." When the lost coin was found, the woman called to her neighbors and they rejoiced. When the lost son returned, the father called to his household, and they celebrated. Jesus said, "There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth." The principle is the value of a lost soul.
Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. - Romans 15:7
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? - Luke 15:8
Seek the Kingdom
Lovingly, kindly, and graciously, the Lord pleads with us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God-and the Word was God. Seek Him first, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
This is how it works. New Testament believers gave themselves first to God and then to the apostles by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:5). For us, this means we are to get on our knees every morning before we do anything else. We should seek the Lord as our Savior and our Redeemer.
Seek the Lord as the One who made you and redeemed you, and go to Him. As you go to Him say, "You are first, Lord Jesus. In every decision today I will put You and Your Word first. I will walk with You as You have led me through the Bible and through what I have heard."
An Order to Live
1 Peter 2:21
Once we receive God´s love we are in His order; and because we accept the order of first going to Calvary in co-crucifixion, then we end up being everything that God has ever ordered us to be. It goes beyond knowing that Christ died for your sins. We must enter into a co-crucifixion and co-burial, where all that would order our life outside of God is ordered out, that the convictions of God may be eternally rooted in us.
People fail to realize that they must cooperate with God in the order of truth by first submitting their hearts at Calvary. Many serve God but never co-labor with God. People separate themselves from God´s ministry to establish their own. They want to find a place of security where they can feel religiously exercised, instead of being under the covering of the Body exercised in their spiritual senses by the Word.
It is first Calvary, then Pentecost. People who express an emotional manifestation without Calvary end up in the consequences that their emotions bring upon themselves, and their lives reveal frustration with no resurrection. Christ went first to Calvary, and as we follow in His footsteps we pass through death by faith in His death. The result is ascension in the power of the Baptism of the Spirit, in the Corporate organism. Coinciding with Christ´s life through the guidance of the Spirit brings us under the order of love in a government, in a Body, and in a life that ordains us to bring forth fruit.
Contentment – Not Natural
A man, even in his best moral state, is totally incapable of producing a contentment that goes beyond the degree to which his environment fulfills his desires. It is totally outside the reach of his own resources. It is inherent within the nature of man to continually desire, and seek for more and more; yet, he remains unfulfilled by the inadequate provisions of the natural to meet his desires and even his basic emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (I John 2:16). Sin has made contentment conditional upon the gratification of these many forms of selfish lust. This is evident in people at all different levels of society.
Man tries to depend on the natural for contentment without looking to God. He depends upon his environment for contentment. It is no wonder that the Scriptures describe the character of man's behavior as, "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such" (Galatians 5:19-21a). Do not look for contentment in your own resources. It is important for us to know that it is only God who can cause us to be content through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. - Hebrews 13:5
Motivation from the Word
Motivation-it is what moves our hearts, our minds, our souls, our wills, and our bodies. What motivates a Christian to continue walking with God by faith, when neither sight nor feelings encourage him?
John 1:1 does not say "In the beginning was love," although certainly love was there in the beginning. But that verse says, "In the beginning was the Word." The greatest motivation for us in these last days will come from understanding what existed in the beginning. It was the Word. We were created by the Word (Genesis 2:7). The heavens were created by the Word (Psalm 33:6). The worlds were framed by the Word (Hebrews 11:3). Everything is held together by the Word (Hebrews 1:3).
It is not our feelings, our emotions, or our opinions that motivate us. It is the objectivity of the Word of God. Jesus said we are to live by every single word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
A Lamb Before the Foundation
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 John 4:10). God does it all, and we allow Him. Before we were conceived in sin, God placed us in Him, holy and without blame (Ephesians 1:4). How could God the Father see us that way? It was because Jesus Christ was a Lamb before the foundation of the world. Before we were born, on the basis of foreknowledge, He knew we would accept Him. Therefore He looked at us from the eternal reward record and could impute righteousness to us before we were born. The Lord said to Jeremiah that “before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet” ( Jeremiah 1:5). That was said by the Lord because of foreknowledge of Jeremiah´s decision.
There was a Lamb before the foundation so we could be a revelation in the foundation. Jesus Christ went to the Cross through the power of the eternal Spirit and was crucified mentally and emotionally long before the crucifixion of Golgotha. He represented a living Cross. Just as we reckon ourselves dead after we go to the Cross, Jesus Christ reckoned Himself dead before the Cross.
Jacob was blessed based on what someone did for his crookedness. It is not that Jacob loved God, but it is what the Lamb did for Jacob before the foundation (Numbers 23:20-21). Even though we are not without sin (1 John 1:8), we are without blame because He was blemished with our blame before the foundation.
Job 16:12-13, Hebrews 12:28
Carefully consider the cry of Job in Job 16:12-13. Obviously, after losing everything he possessed, Job was temporarily emotionally unbalanced. He had no answer to his dilemma and had to wait for God’s deliverance in patience and in faith.
Often, believers fail to hear the Word of God in such a way that it produces a response of faith. To respond to the Word outside of faith causes the mind to sublimate or become occupied with something other than God’s truth. To maintain emotions that are spiritually healthy and to have a capacity to respond positively to God’s initiations, the rooms of the soul must be filled each day with the preaching of the cross and categorical doctrine. Through this process the believer’s soul will become a spiritual home in which God can dwell and manifest His nature to the world. Failure to respond to God’s warning signals in the emotions indicates that the mind is not established with His thoughts.
The believer may be suffering because of unpleasant circumstances at work, a bad marriage, problems with the children, or any situation that is characteristic of tribulation. Adverse circumstances, however, cannot affect the person who lives from God’s inward resources in the soul. The Christian who is living in divine resources possesses emotional stability because he lives in a kingdom that cannot be affected or altered by the events that take place on the earth (2).
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: – Hebrews 12:28
I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark. His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. – Job 16:12-13
Living clean isn’t “hard”-I never could understand why someone would say that, especially a Christian. Sinning is hard. The way of the transgressor is hard (Proverbs 13:15). The way of God is not hard. His yoke is easy, His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
Never say, “I´m doing all right, but the Christian life is so difficult.” No! No, it is not difficult to live godly. It is not hard. Going the way of transgressors is hard. The way of Christ is easy.
Because His yoke is easy and His burden is light, you can find rest without shame, without guilt, and without condemnation. You will find peace that is perfect by yoking up with Christ. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).
Deceiving the Great Deceiver
How do we turn previous defeat into victory? How do we recover lost ground? We spend more energy living in defeat than we do believing in the pure Word of God. We present a logical case why we do not believe and then condemn ourselves for our unbelief. Instead, we should redeem time and turn it into a marvelous blessing.
In Joshua 7, the Israelites were defeated totally, but in Joshua 8 they had success through obedience. The Israelites had taken Jericho, yet they were defeated in Ai. Why? It was because they did not go to battle as one. The only way to reach conquest in our Canaan land is to march in oneness attuned to the government of God´s Body.
After defeat at Ai, obedience to God´s man brought Israel to a valley of retreat. The enemy thought they had retreated because of defeat. However, to God´s people it was a valley of rest where they saw a promise. Defeat does not drive saved people into panic but into a valley to receive a promise that reveals the devil´s defeat. In the valley, the Israelites received the plan concerning how to deceive the enemy in order to take Ai in victory.
We should learn from God how to deceive the devil. A truce with Satan should not be made in a defeat. Many are so down to earth with the devil that they never lay an ambush. We obey the Word in the valley so that the last defeat is the devil´s downfall in the victory today.
How Will They See?
II Corinthians 3:2
When we become Christians, many things happen to us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17, NIV). We have a treasure inside of our bodies. He causes us to shine as lights in darkness (2) and to be perfected in our weakness (3). This is the way God works! We are to fix our eyes on the unseen and not the things which are seen (4). It pleases God for us to live by faith (5).
Our purpose is to show Jesus Christ to this world. How will they, who walk by sight, see our treasure which is hidden inside? God breaks our natural man, our clay pots, by allowing trouble on every side (6). Then His Son is revealed through us! We have the honor of showing life to this dying world and of revealing freedom to those in bondage.
Will you refuse this honor? Allow yourself to be placed in circumstances that crush the natural man, that allow our eternal treasure to be seen, so this world may know what our hope is. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27, NIV).
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: – 2 Corinthians 3:2
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
The Mystery of Christ
The eternal purpose of the Lord Jesus for our existence is that we will experience the mystery of Christ as a particular member of the Body of Christ. The mystery of Jesus Christ, “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” The only way the mystery will ever be revealed is by the Holy Spirit.
There is one thing that the Holy Spirit always says: Draw near. Draw near to the throne of grace. Draw near to mercy. Draw near to godly people.
Draw near to the Body of Christ. Instead of having fellowship with iniquity in the communion of demons (1 Corinthians 10:20), we need to experience the fellowship of the mystery in the Body of Christ.
This mystery is seen in the way God uses His people and His Church to reveal who He is in this world. This is the age of grace when God, through Christ, has made it possible for all to partake of His promise in the Gospel.
Appointed unto Praise
If we wait for time to provide us with a provision to praise God, then we will not be able to praise God at all times. Time only measures situations so that Adam can keep track of his inconsistencies. Eternity has immeasurable grace to fill those time slots with Life. The makeup of a situation does not have divine content, but it is constructed that we may be the divine substance that remains content within its walls. No matter what horizontal walls are providentially placed around us, we see Jesus above us to finish every situation with faith.
In 1 Chronicles 16:3 every Israelite was given a loaf of bread, a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. We are given a Body in which to be hid (Colossians 3:3), a portion of Christ through which to minister (Romans 12:6-8), and a container from which to receive Life. When we realize that eternity has provided an immutable provision, even before time airs her presentation of situations, we are prepared to bless the Lord.
We are appointed to praise God (1 Chronicles 16:4). Either we receive the grace to reveal truth about Christ, or the grace we have received brings truth into our lives to make us a testimonial revelation of God´s workmanship. If we are yet young babes in Christ and the Word is yet only sparsely inhabiting our inward parts, we bless just as much when we boast in what God has done. When humble ears hear of the joy of salvation, they never cease to be glad.
The Quiet Voice of the Father
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). Think about the fast pace of our society today and the tendency toward loud music, and continuous noise. How does this compare with the nature of God’s voice? “Be still and know that I am God.” Your heart, faculties and mind must be still if you are to recognize the voice of God. I Kings 19:11-12 describes the appearance of the wind, the earthquake and the fire – none of which revealed God. Only after these had passed was God heard, in a still, small voice.
You cannot receive Christ and know that He is God unless you are sensitive to His still, small voice. When a pastor preaches in church, he prepares and studies, but he has to trust God for the message. God brings in a message, and the Holy Spirit directs. The leading of the Holy Spirit is so sensitive that it is easily interrupted. Concentration is required. Worship is concentrating on the Word of God like it is the last word you will ever hear.
God so longs to speak to us but because we do not pull ourselves away from the hustle and noise of life, His voice is muffled. Jesus constantly withdrew to commune and hear the voice of the Father (3). May we come away to a quiet place to commune with God and hear His voice.
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. – Mark 6:46
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. – 1 Kings 19:11-12
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. – Mark 6:46
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12
Liberated from the Snares
2 Timothy 2:26
A snare is a trap. Most of have us have laid traps for mice or other pests. Satan lays traps designed to get Christians caught up in self-destructive patterns. He takes people captive at his will whenever he wants.
This is why it is so important to learn how to live in spiritual autonomy. To operate in spiritual autonomy is to function with God in truth in all situations. Pride, arrogance, or withdrawal from fellowship with spiritual Christians will not become a problem for us when we are living in the truth of our convictions.
Thank God for His provision to break down the devil´s strongholds. Instead of the old lying tongue of Adam, we have been given a silver tongue of redemption, to speak truth into the face of every lie we encounter.
The only faith worth having is Holy Faith. Natural faith relates to natural phenomena. Supernatural faith gives us living substance without any evidence in the natural. Faith in His promises is what we use to build ourselves up in God.
We should not entertain anything outside of God´s love, and we will be kept by the eternal qualities of love. We can be released from problems in a moment if we build ourselves in love and faith. A confrontation with an obstacle is no longer a temptation but a test. God does not tempt us with the devil. A test only becomes a temptation because we do not meet it with faith. Temptation leads to doubt unless testing is met with faith. We should not equip ourselves with doubt. We shall only be wounding ourselves as we add sin to sin.
Through divine strategy, temptation could not even arrive on the scene because of how we handle the weapon of faith. We shall be so busy being translated from faith to faith that we do not have time to be found in defeat. We just keep being built up in faith. What an asset we have to work with in God. It qualifies us to live in God, like God. We build up ourselves in the redemptive qualities of God so that we become a wall of promise (Song of Solomon 8:9).
We stand on our own wall as watchmen waiting to embrace situations with the Life of a promise. Then the fire of testing only reveals a life built on and kept in by the eternal components of God.
Grace that Flows Freely
The Bible states, “Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare” (Ezekiel 16:7).
When we believe on Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Savior, grace and unmerited favor flow toward us. God gives a mandate of free grace, which we cannot earn and in no way deserve. The Lord performs forgiveness, bestows mercy and unleashes the power of regeneration through the Holy Spirit. This is the performance of grace. God seeks the sinner who has gone astray. It is all and only God who is able to purchase us from the slavery of sin and from eternal damnation through the literal blood of Jesus Christ, our substitute, who paid the penalty for our sin. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, but the royal word came, “Live.” Live without treaty. Live without condition. Live without bribes. Yet, live because you believe! According to God’s Word, it is through the non meritorious action of believing in Jesus Christ that we live (2). It simply means that God gives you something you do not deserve because you have believed on Christ.
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. – John 6:29
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. – Acts 16:31
Turn On the Power
Look at an electric lamp. If it is on, there is obviously electric power going through the light bulb or it wouldn´t give off light. Because power is going through the lamp, there is illumination. When bulbs are burnt out; they have no light.
Those who make provisions for sin are Christians who give forth no light (that is assuming they have really received Jesus Christ as their Savior). A believer is known by his fruits. A Christian is a communicator of dunamis-God's power.
Just as when the current effortlessly flows through wires bringing power to an electric lamp and light into a dark room, the Holy Spirit flows through us, and we become lights to the world. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy [Spirit] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Then Did I Eat It
Many listen to the Word of God, but their problems are not alleviated because they do not eat what they hear. Sooner or later in the ordained plan of situations, God will cause us to eat what we listen to through sending causes upon our doorstep.
The Word of God produces its own life, and Adam´s knowledge breeds its own death. What we eat through our spiritual digestive tract will produce life or death where we are in time. The results of knowing how to live, but not experiencing what we know, leave us with a frustrated capacity and a dulled appetite toward the Word of God.
If we hear the Word without eating it, we are left with the responsibility of producing our own energy to live in what we heard. Sooner or later we will have hunger pains, and through situations, God will cause us to eat. It may be sweet to our mouth, but it will be bitter to our soul. We have reaped within what we ate without.
The result of eating from other trees has left us void of God´s Word but filled with waste. Yet God´s Word does not return void, and it reproduces the responsibility of its character when allowed entrance. The knob of faith opens the Door, Christ Jesus, because of what we see through the window of promise. When we eat a meal, we must have God´s meal in our pot (2 Kings 4:41) so that faith can operate to clear out human waste and to fill our bowels with the delicacies of God´s Word.
Hope for the Hopeless
In Psalm 58:3, we are told that we go astray as soon as we are born, speaking lies. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We must understand the principle of Romans 5:12, that even before we personally sinned against God by choice, we had the sin nature of Adam imputed to us. The inherent nature of sin is passed down from generation to generation. In the eyes of God, mankind has no redeeming qualities that would cause Him to reach down and become involved in our lives.
Now, what would constitute God to notice our desperate condition? Picture the newborn child in an open field in Ezekiel 16. Available to every prowler and stranger that passed by, the child would, no doubt, perish. This child is an illustration of the hopeless condition of man without the redeeming grace of God. The sinner is helpless without Christ. Ezekiel 16 exhibits to us the overwhelming compassion of God and His limitless capacity to love us, despite the sinful state of our souls. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
Thank God, He redeemed us from our helpless state by the blood of Jesus Christ. Now we must allow ourselves to be sanctified and cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word of God (4).
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. – Ezekiel 16:1-13
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. – Psalm 58:3
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: – Romans 5:12
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, – Ephesians 5:26
Everything is determined by the conscience. We have a compromised conscience when we are only partially living by God´s truth, and we deceive ourselves because we talk ourselves into the wrong information. We can believe something that isn´t true and have a defiled conscience conditioned by our own interpretations.
God wants us to be set apart in His Word because His Word is truth. He is saying to us, “Have a pure, godly conscience as the determination for your norms and standards for thinking-for deciding, for communicating, and for behaving through My precious love that is freely given to you through the Holy Spirit.”
I have never sensed such a crucial hour in the history of the world. We have an opportunity to enter into a life of being Spirit-filled and to have the Word of God flowing in us as we obey from our hearts. We have the privilege of praying as we have never prayed, loving as we have never loved, giving Christ to others as never before. We have this great privilege of going forward as witnesses as we have never gone before-with joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and with amazing peace (Isaiah 26:3).
Keep Your Eye on the Fullness
1 Samuel 16:7; Colossians 1:19
David´s heart was fixed (Psalms 57:7, 108:1) not upon what appeared to be good, but on that which is truly perfect, righteous, and holy. The appearance of some might be comely in countenance and in the manner of their behavior toward the life they live, but the life they express will be determined by whom their eye is fixed upon.
The Lord explicitly tells Samuel (1 Samuel 16:7) not to look on the countenance or stature because the Lord looks upon the heart. When your heart is fixed on peace, the Lord looks on the order of His own mind. When your heart is fixed on perfect righteousness, the Lord looks down on that which sustains you (Isaiah 59:16). When your heart is fixed on holiness, the Lord looks on what he has made you to be through grace.
If you keep your eye single, it will be full of light to reveal that which stands against you in darkness. You have all the fullness in Him in whom the Father is well pleased (Colossians 1:19). When your eye is fixed on the fullness, the life you inherit will consist of all that makes up Who the Son is. We are conformed to His image through beholding the very substance of fullness the Father invested which is now in the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23).
By the Blood we are reconciled unto Him wherein all fullness dwells (Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 2:13). Every area of our lives will reap the effectual substance we behold in the fullness of Him that fills all in all.
One of the first gifts God gave to man was that of free choice. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
God takes no delight in robots. He never violates man’s free will. He will lovingly convict through the Holy Spirit (2), but the choice is ours after the options are presented. Will we decide to be constrained by love (3), to abide in the vine (4), and to take up our cross (5)? Will our choice stop short of obedience unto death (6)? Will we count everything as dung that we might gain Christ, the One Who was despised and rejected (7)? We must make up our minds each day whom we will serve (8).
Remember – we are a product of our decisions. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: – Deuteronomy 30:19
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; – John 16:8-9
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: – 2 Corinthians 5:14
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. – John 15:5
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. – Matthew 16:24
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:8
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. – Isaiah 53:3
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15
The Need to be Filled
There is no soundness in us, from the soles of our feet to the top of our head, which includes the mind (Isaiah 1:6). That is a humbling thought. It means that we have to be Spirit-filled every day.
We must choose to be filled with God every morning. We have to decide to let the Spirit fill us with God´s viewpoint, God´s attitude, and God´s power because there is absolutely no soundness in us.
When I am filled with the Holy Spirit, I don´t have to consciously choose to love. The Holy Spirit sheds the love of God abroad in my heart (Romans 5:5). Then, the Spirit takes that love and manifests it through me.
We need to choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit. God is love. His Spirit is love. So, when we are filled with the Spirit, even though we have to make constant voluntary choices to do it, we love. If we stay filled with the Spirit, we love. That is the secret to loving. It is the secret to loving God, the secret to loving yourself, and the secret to loving one another in the Body of Christ.
“Passivity,” according to Webster´s Dictionary, is the state or quality of being the object of action or of being acted upon from without. Passivity can be more easily defined in terms of the mind as the state of being non-active but acted upon.
Passivity is any thought outside the objective Word of God. Passivity starts by giving a place to a spirit that leaves your mind in a state of sluggish, slothful dullness. Christians not rooted in the Word of God (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7) use passivity as an escape rather than facing the Cross and becoming true disciples. They would rather live in the convenience of passive thoughts that appease their emotions than live in God´s thoughts that produce equality in their emotions through a crucified will.
Satan uses passivity as a counterfeit for the comfort of 2 Corinthians 1:4. Satan´s goal is to occupy Christians´ minds with thoughts about the good times they had with Adam. Then he amplifies the memories to lead them onto amplifying the good of Adam over the One New Man.
Passive thoughts demoralize the Christian and demolish the very image that God´s thoughts reproduced in them ( Jeremiah 29:11). They break down the possibility of learning obedience and patience through longsuffering. Passivity says longsuffering does not fulfill our joy. Passivity leaves us in a state of being slothful and forgetful and of forsaking the promises.
In the Foundation
In today’s society, it is very common for men and women to try to establish a business, a career, or a lifestyle that will remain throughout their lifetime. As Christians, we often seek to establish what we prefer, hoping God approves of it. Hebrews 12:28 instructs us to receive a kingdom which cannot be moved.
As believers, God wishes us to be hidden inside of this kingdom. How do we accomplish this? Psalm 1:2-3 tells of the righteous man who meditates on the Word day and night. His continual source of life was from Christ.
Christ has raised us up with Him (4), and He wishes for us to be hid with Him. Despite this fact, many continue to be occupied with the worries of this world. Are there worries or distresses that trouble us? We must receive the kingdom that cannot be moved! Pressure will not be so great when we realize we are hidden with Christ. The Lord will fight for you in your troubles (5), and He wishes us to cast all our cares on Him (6). “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28).
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrews 12:26-29
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: – Hebrews 12:28
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. – Psalm 1:2-3
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: – Ephesians 2:6
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. – Exodus 14:14
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
More Than Feelings
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, blood came through His pores as He agonized alone in prayer. On the Cross, the Lord Jesus was naked as He hung there, mocked and despised by those in the crowd who were watching. His face was disfigured and His body was scarred from the beatings. Do you think He felt love for those people? No, He did not.
Do you think He felt love for anyone at that point? No, He did not.
Do you think He felt love toward God the Father?
No, He did not feel love for God the Father.
Did He love the Father? Yes.
I fear for those who have only great feelings about their love affairs. I am not denying that feelings are involved. Of course they are. But feelings are changeable, depending on circumstances. True love, however, is a fact. It is the nature of God-it is who God is.
Gone Away Backward
When God brings a trial, Satan counterattacks with a lie to bring us into occupation with the trial instead of with the purpose of God. If we accept the lie because we feel it is truth, then we keep the situation corresponding to a lie. We consider truth according to sight and lose sight of the purpose of God which is revealed through faith. We feel that it is only fair to think it over. We give place to Satan instead of to the Word. We give him time instead of eternity. We give him human possibilities instead of divine truth. We give him religion instead of Christ.
We give him our capacity to change instead of God´s provision through our capacity which makes our victory changeless. We respond in accordance with his initiation. We forsake the Lord in the trial. Instead of bringing grace and life out of the trial, we bring the effects of our emotions as they have been regulated by Satanic projection. We are not even considering our Master´s crib, the place where He rests in the situation. An ox knows his owner by instinct better than we allow ourselves to know God by simple faith. Instead of Psalm 42:7, God´s people forsake faith, the promise, the Word, and the Lord. The deep cannot call unto the deep and create a depth in them. We provoke the Lord to anger by living in mental derangement, something less than the mind of Christ. Do not go away backward from grace, but get in gear in faith and go forward in Christ.
More Precious than Gold
Do you realize that the very Bible you have contains the words of the Almighty God? They are words that the heavens were framed by (2), and words that will stand forever (3). We have in our possession something more precious than gold (4).We have the opportunity to write the Word of God upon our hearts (5), and to allow it to give light to our path (6). John 3:5b says that we must be born of the Word to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Except a man be born of water (the Word) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
After knowing these things, what importance will we place on the Word of God today? Will we esteem it more than our necessary food (7)? Will we love it as much as the psalmist did when he said, “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72)?
Christians have the privilege to store the Word of God inside of them. This word is a life-giving force (8), a saving power (9), a defensive weapon (10), and a source of hope (11). It is ours! Will we place it at the top of our priorities today? It is absolutely trustworthy and will not fail (12). The Word is God’s, the opportunity is ours.
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. – Psalm 119:12-16
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. – Psalm 33:6
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. – Isaiah 40:8
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. – Psalm 119:127
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: – Deuteronomy 6:6
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. – Psalm 119:105
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. – Job 23:12
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. – Ezekiel 37:10
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: – Ephesians 6:17
Have Eternity in View
Familiarity toward God, His Word, and His Body is the major temptation people face today. Don´t be haphazard with decisions that affect your eternal destiny. To enjoy eternity, you need to have an eternal purpose through an eternal provision: eternal life with grace and love.
Every moment, we must make the choice to live with eternity in view. Someone will die today at age 18. Someone else will die today who is only 25 years old. Neither one thought he would die so soon. We would be shocked if we knew how old some people really are, according to God´s timetable.
With this in mind, we should realize the importance of making proper choices for God. Our choices reveal our value system. A person with a godly value system will always want the truth and will follow that truth in the way he makes his decisions.
Stronger than the Devil at Your Weakest Point
2 Corinthians 12:9
When we are tempted in a situation, do we live by the dictates of the air or by the Spirit-quickened Word that proceeds from the mouth of God? Jesus Christ was not forced to battle when tempted by the devil (Matthew 4). He was sensitive to a voice that had declared its victory over the prince of this world. Jesus did not even enter into battle, for the prince of this world has nothing to do with Him. The devil earns no recognition from a Christ Who is familiar only with His Father.
Christ gave the devil the substance of divinity against his projection. Christ did not even live in His own purposes or power but in the Father´s protected victory. We do not have to keep our victory, for it is kept by an eternal, unchanging faith that works by love. The Father´s purpose, plan, provision, and power is Christ´s substance. Christ did not rationalize how to handle Satan. He did not go through analysis to find out where He was in relation to the temptations.
Jesus walked as a son under the guidance of His Father. He set aside His divinity and lived in His humanity to experience trust in the Father´s life. He thought the Father´s Word and quoted the Father´s thoughts. He communicated Words the Father said and the Word produced substance. He gave Satan the substance of God´s strength. Christ´s weakest point of humanity was stronger than Satan at his strongest moment, because of the substance of the Word.
The Path Marked for Us
People like to have a leader, someone’s footsteps that they can follow. Teenagers generally have someone to look up to. Businessmen are sure to have the latest gadgets and inventions that their co-workers have. Everyone is looking for someone to follow. Jesus Christ was sent to be our servant and redeemer – Someone for us to follow. “For even to this were you called – it is inseparable from your vocation. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you (His personal) example, so that you should follow in His footsteps” (I Peter 2:21, Amplified).
Jesus Christ is our model of a faithful servant, and He is the only One whose footsteps we are to follow. Yes, we are to follow the one who washed the disciples’ feet (2), ministered to the outcasts, and laid down His life for the guilty (3). He is our leader, and our very identity is to be in Him.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and follow on the path He has marked for us with His precious, incorruptible blood (4).
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. – John 13:13-16
After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. – John 13:5
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: – 1 Peter 1:18-19
Walled In by the Fire
1 John 5:18
We have a wall built by God that surrounds us. We can walk into the arena of conflict with a smile and frustrate the devil.
To have a wall of fire around us is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. God´s ministry to us causes us to be surrounded and protected by a wall of doctrine. We receive the Word of God, line upon line, line upon line- each line connecting with new applications based on the old landmarks (Proverbs 22:28).
We are kept by the irrevocable, absolute truth of God that has always been with God. It is an awesome thing to consider. What we believe and what we are celebrating on the inside is producing the manifestation of the Word and the Spirit on the outside. Satan cannot break through that wall. It is the Living Word, the written Word and the Holy Spirit's power with the Word, in us. Because we have internalized God´s words, doctrine becomes our wall, and we rest secure in a fortress of faith.
Silencing the Rooster
The rooster that crows reveals the security we´ve obtained without Jesus Christ as our life. Peter can be so thankful to Jesus Christ for the sound of the rooster. The prophetic utterance of Jesus Christ tells Peter about a situational revelation to strip him of his self-confidence.
Peter, who walked in the boldness and self-confident attitude of his own natural design, soon realized that he could do all things only through Christ. Any attempt outside of God´s life sooner or later would produce the crowing of a rooster to his own heart. He was checked by the all-knowing authority of God to have all things through Christ. Everyone´s performance, everyone´s ministry, everyone´s dedication, faithfulness, and devotion must be through Christ. God has ordained that, or else, as He has told us already, the rooster will certainly come.
What is Peter´s privilege? To draw near. To discover His life by situational faith. Situational faith is the faith I choose to exercise in any given situation. Thousands of people never discover their experiential salvation. Rather than fainting in the weariness of striving, or living continually in the restlessness of an abstract experience, we fill the vacuum with situational faith. Our life is to be lived by a faith that works by love. Rather than attempting to succeed in a different method, only to hear the rooster crow once again, let us silence the rooster by embracing Him by faith in the trial at hand.
Pride, the Great Deceiver
Satan fell from his position as the messianic cherub. Ezekiel 28:17 reveals that his “heart was lifted up” because of his beauty. Cast down to the earth, Satan lost his heavenly position and now rules over the world’s system. Since humans are made from the dust of the ground, we should not be surprised at the initiations of the satanic kingdom to deceive and keep us from experiencing Christ’s life. Satan’s chief method is the projection of pride into the soul of the believer.
James 4:6b says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Therefore, the proud person is excluded from having a capacity to receive grace. Proverbs 6:17a says that God hates a proud look. Pride imitates the humility of Christ. Without the love of Christ, it cannot identify with the lowly. Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly of heart” (Matthew 11:29b). Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and told them to wash the feet of one another. The proud person has no desire to serve; he sheds no tears for the pain of others. Have you ever seen an effective soul-winner who lived in pride? Jesus looked at the multitude and felt great compassion (2). He looked out over Jerusalem and wept over the city (3). Only when we are humble, can Christ share with us His burden for the lost.
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. – Ezekiel 28:17
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. – Matthew 9:36
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, – Luke 19:41
Empowered by the Word
By the power of God´s ability in us, the Word goes into our frame of reference and becomes a part of our vocabulary. It becomes the basis for the norms and standards of our thinking, for our confession, and for our decisions.
Then, the Word becomes a part of our production, application, and the manifestation of what we have received. Doctrine becomes our divine viewpoint, and we are able to manifest Christ in the fellowship of this mystery, letting all men see it.
Every day of our lives, we can purpose to let others see Christ in us. Instead of being angry or reactionary or bringing up problems, we can purpose to edify others. This can only be accomplished by building walls of doctrine in our souls. As we increase in the knowledge of the Word, we are fruitful in every good work, strengthened with His might, according to His glorious power, and filled with patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:10-12).
A Love that Draws Near
Peter cursed himself when the rooster crowed. When we live in the curse of Adam, the rooster crows. When we twist and turn and have no peace, we hear the crows of the rooster. The rooster is always ready to crow. Though Peter withdrew, Jesus Christ drew near to Peter. Peter saw the eyes of love draw near because he had withdrawn.
Our withdrawal does not stop Jesus from drawing near. We allow Him to cause us to draw near so that the rooster does not crow for us. Love drew near again as they were in the boat fishing, as it prepared coals of fire for cold hearts and cold bodies. The two that were on the road to Emmaus (the road of wandering) met a Stranger. The Stranger was drawing near even though they had withdrawn in their hearts. The Apostle John, tired and old, on the Isle of Patmos, received a marvelous revelation because Christ draws near.
To know a God Who always will draw near is to know a God Who has a perfect plan. We are confident that He will perfect the work in us because He will always be faithful to draw near, even after we withdraw. In our frailties, weaknesses, and failures we can always rest in an eternal Lamb; One Who will always meet us where we are at as a Shepherd Who will never forsake the flock.
Even after the crow of the rooster, we see Christ as a faithful Shepherd. He is eternally the same as the Lamb, sitting on a Throne, with the humility to draw near and the power never to fail.
Losing Our Lives for the Sake of Christ
The secret to experiencing Christ’s life is selflessness and complete surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. John 12:25 says, “He that loveth his life shall lose it.” In contrast, “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).
This begins with the realization of personal depravity. Man is born with a natural, fallen disposition. But through brokenness and humility, the heart becomes eligible to receive grace’s provision for victorious living. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Continual death to the desires and cravings of the flesh ushers in the desire to please the Father: “I have been crucified with Christ – (in Him) I have shared His crucifixion; it is no longer I who live, but Christ, the Messiah, lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith – by adherence to and reliance on and (complete) trust – in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20, Amplified).
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
From Trouble to Triumph
God´s light is inside of every Christian. The question is, who can see it? A lot of people do, because many Christians have let God break them.
God breaks the vessel. When the vessel is broken, the light shines for others to see. God commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and He shined this light in our hearts to “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
What does God use to break the vessel? He uses trouble. We are troubled on every side, yet not in distress. We are perplexed, but not in despair. We are persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
Why does God allow times of trouble? So that the life of Jesus may be made manifest. When we are hard pressed, we hang onto every word of truth we have received. Sufferings and trouble can make us mature, established, strong, and settled (1 Peter 5:10).
Difficulties can cause us to draw near to Him. The narrow way leads to life.
A Purpose Beyond
John 5:19; 17:21
Jesus is our example. We should follow in His steps. What did it take for Jesus Christ to love us personally? It took not being involved in His own self-desires. Satan tries to make us think of self before receiving a self-sacrificing love from God that would fulfill His desire for us to have the same love (Philippians 2:2).
Through all earthly persecution and demonic attack, Jesus Christ could have reacted, but He endured shame because of the joy that was set before Him: the opportunity to give selfsacrificing love to the world. His only desire is to love, and His love is in no way conditional on the basis of response.
Time and time again, Christ came to touch people with His personal love. They reacted to Him in fear, meeting Him with anger, hatred, unbelief, and ridicule. How could He continue His ministry when He was without earthly support, agreement, and encouragement? He was supported and empowered from Heaven, in agreement with the Father and encouraged because of faith in a Plan.
His Plan went beyond the end result of the acceptance of His ministry. His Plan was to be one with the Father no matter what the result. Christ´s love did not stop with the declaration and obvious state of humanity. His love goes beyond knowledge and washes the feet, even of the guilty one, with that personal touch of love. Christ gives to us an eternal conviction of His personal love.
His Compassion Toward Us
Jesus Christ is both High Priest and Savior to those who believe upon Him. He “seeks to save that which is lost,” and His compassion toward us is unfailing. His identification with sin was absolutely necessary for Him to take the position of High Priest, and it was more painful than we can imagine, for “in all their affliction, He was afflicted…” (Isaiah 63:9a).
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). It was “according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5), and “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22).
In Ezekiel 16, we find an illustration of the Lord’s compassion toward us. This example is primarily applicable to the nation of Israel, but we shall see that it also reveals the nature of God’s love toward His church, the Bride of Christ. God desires “that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had aforehand prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:23), so “that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). We know that God loves the sinner, although He hates sin. Ezekiel 16 reveals this vital principle of God’s amazing and wonderful love toward us.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. – Hebrews 4:15
Light Out of Darkness
2 Corinthians 4:6-10
God commanded light to shine out of darkness. He commanded it, and that light has shined in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God “in the face of Jesus Christ.”
God wants us to reveal the face of Jesus Christ, so that when people see us, they see the character of God. Knowledge of God´s Word brings in light (Psalm 119:130). If God has His way, we will reflect the face of Jesus Christ at work, in the home, and wherever God has called us.
There is only one kind of Christian God can use- the broken Christian. Before anyone can be effective in the Kingdom of God, the treasure of God within must be released. For that to happen, He allows circumstances that will break us and let His light shine forth.
Could this Be the Son of God?
There He is-the Son of God. Oh, but He is lying in a manger. The scene does not seem appropriate for a King. How can it be so? The scene was a sign for us to follow. It was a scene in time, but represents an eternal principle. As we see the representation, we experience the truth. The Son of God was born in lowly surroundings, and yet within Him was a heart that was rooted in Heaven.
As we move forward with God in the midst of the Body, our priorities change from ambition in the world, to being the amplification of what is in eternity, from living for ourselves, to losing ourselves in God that others might live, from considering the gain in this world as it benefits us, to counting all but loss for the benefit and advancement of the expression and establishment of God´s Kingdom.
Our hearts have changed, our minds have changed, our affections have turned, and our attitude has submitted. We no longer look for a life for ourselves, but we live in a fellowship with God that we may be a life for others.
We may lie in a manger, repudiating the world´s conceptual social religion. We may possess nothing but what eternity gives us. We may not be listed in the records of worldly prestige. But though we be persecuted, though we be cast down, we are never forsaken. We are children clothed in eternal righteousness. Though you lie in the manger of humble situations, know that you were sent by the Father.
He Will Keep You
II Timothy 1:12
Everything that happens to us as believers is for our sake. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV). You have given your life to God, and he is able to keep you. “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (II Timothy 1:12b, NIV).
Do not become defensive, or allow fear and negativity to come in when you face battles in life. Remember that you are a child of God (2), a royal priest (3), more than a conqueror (4), and God has already finished the work (5). You represent a kingdom in which the devil has been defeated and your sins are paid for. You are God’s child now and He will only plan things to happen for your ultimate good. “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (II Corinthians 4:15b, NIV). Let thanksgiving flow out of your heart as you rest secure in the arms of God. He will uphold you with His righteous hand (6), and strengthen you with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have endurance (7).
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. – 2 Timothy 1:12
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. – 1 John 3:1
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: – 1 Peter 2:9
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. – Romans 8:37
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. – John 19:30
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. – Isaiah 41:10
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; – Colossians 1:11
The Cross Brings Identification
2 Timothy 2:12
Joseph de Veuster, a Belgian missionary priest, had a brother who was called to be a missionary in Hawaii. When his brother became ill, Joseph, known in his church as Father Damien, went instead to minister to a colony of lepers. Preaching to them each morning and every afternoon, he would begin every message by saying, “My fellow brethren.”
One day, as he was preparing to preach, boiling water spilled on his feet, and he noticed that he couldn´t feel any pain. When it happened again, he knew in his heart that he, too, had leprosy.
The next morning, this priest began his message by saying, “My fellow lepers.”
Jesus identified with us. He became a man and lived as a man, with all the needs of a man. He had to sleep and eat; He wept and had His heart broken.
In losing our lives, we find Christ´s life. It is a life of surrender and identification with those who are diseased, those who are desperate, and those who are in need. It is a life lived at the Cross.
The Present “Now”
Exodus 2:11-14; Exodus 3:5, 14
It is not possible to go on in success in Christ if you are self-appointed. Moses learned this lesson. In Exodus 2, Moses attempted to deliver God´s people by the strength of his flesh. He failed. He was self-appointed, motivated by self-determined need and not by Christ.
Can Adam rise to the occasion because of a self appointment? Or, is his answer a Cross because of a living Body? If we have a Calvary, we shall be resurrected in a Corporate Body. If we are members of His Body, we shall be sent. The effectiveness of our ministry will be seen in terms of His life and not in terms of our individual appraisal of the need and our attempt to meet that need.
We must learn, as Moses did, that the need doesn’t constitute the call. The call from God constitutes the need. After Moses spent 40 years in the desert, he realized he didn’t have what was needed to set the people free. God showed him the burning bush. Moses was now being sent by fire and not by his flesh.
Moses´ strength was in the God Who lived in the present. Moses’ past or future evaluation of that which lives in time could never be the deliverance for Israel. When he knew “I AM THAT I AM,” then Christ was his source of life and his dominion over time. God lives in time in the present. The answer for Israel´s deliverance was the Spirit of God that lives in the NOW.
A Rewarder of those who Diligently Seek Him
Christ operating through the believer is the highest expression of human life. It is the only life that will please the Father, because it is a life of faith: total reliance of the human personality upon the nature and character of God. II Peter 1:4 explains that it is in reliance upon the promises that one is able to partake of the divine nature of Christ, because therein he escapes the corruption of the world through lust.
Each believer should examine his heart and cast away everything that hinders the flow of God’s life in his mortal body, through the humility and brokenness of conformity to Christ’s mind. We are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us in due time (3). Jesus has promised to be the Author and Finisher of our faith (4). He dwells in our hearts so that we might know Him intimately, having the “richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself” (Ephesians 3:19b, Amplified). Jesus has promised to be the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him by doing “superabundantly, far over and above all that we (dare) ask or think – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.” (5).
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. – 2 Peter 1:4
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: – 1 Peter 5:6
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, – Ephesians 3:20
Victory at Calvary
The Cross: It is what Satan hates most, because it represents his ultimate defeat. The Cross stands for the Finished Work, which Christ Himself completed at Calvary. Therefore, more than anything, Satan tries to make Christians avoid the Cross through his tool-temptation.
The devil tried to tempt Jesus repeatedly, working to get the Son of God to venture outside of the will of the Father in His humanity. Jesus had to make it to the Cross in order to win the victory. Satan, knowing that, did everything in his power to keep Jesus from it.
The Cross is the door to resurrection life. It is where Jesus conquered death and removed its sting. The grave can no longer claim victory, and we no longer have to live in fear, even of death.
The Mercy of the Father
2 Corinthians 1:3
The Father is always giving us the best and the most. He doesn't hold back because we are unworthy. He will give to us when we are in our worst state. Abraham gave Isaac. His very best was Isaac. The father gave the prodigal love. He gave his best. He did not want to show the prodigal law or to assert his authority over him. The father´s heartbeat was to show his love rather than to reveal the nature of justice through the law.
Now that mercy rejoices over judgment, the Father´s heart is readily expressed to us. Judgment would say, “My nature is perfect. I can know no sin and never can look upon it. Man must be cursed and die for his sin; that is righteous judgment.” But the Father is always giving. He gave His Son and that revealed His mercy. His heart allows us to know Him beyond the letter of a concept and to live in the very present of our fellowship.
The Father receives when we respond. He receives what we accept when He gives. The heart of the Father receives pleasure from the triumphant experience of His own.
Possessed by God, hid in a Body, fervent with a vision, directed in purpose, expanding in a life, and growing up in a love that brings us deeper and deeper into the heart of God-and how can we experience all of this? How can we look toward the future with great expectancy? Because mercy will forever follow us through the heart of our Father, always extending grace that our experience may be Christ.
The Life of Peter
The topic of natural disposition is not complete without including the life of Peter. But let us not be too harsh on him until we take a closer look at his spiritual progress! Like so many people, Peter had something to say about every situation. He was naturally impulsive, and his speech was often contradictory and presumptuous. He is most noted for his cowardice, since he denied Christ in the midst of His suffering. Matthew 26 shows the conceit and rashness of Peter’s disposition as he utterly failed to keep his promises of faithfulness to Jesus.
Man’s natural disposition is proud, arrogant, self-seeking and self-preserving. Therefore, the natural man can never bear the reproach of Christ. Yet, something beautiful and unexpected happened to the man who failed so miserably on his own and denied the Lord Jesus Christ. He had a heart after God, and he wept bitterly after realizing how incapable and insufficient he was to follow the Lord. Upon receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter was endued with boldness to preach the Gospel to the Jews. He healed the sick, raised the dead and revealed the presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. What happened to the profane, boisterous fisherman? He was so transformed by the indwelling Christ that his shadow healed those who passed through it (2). May we be humble before the Lord and allow Him to control us by the indwelling power of the Spirit and the living Word of God.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. – James 4:10
Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. – Acts 5:15
Safe from the Storm
Song of Solomon 4:12-13
When the storms come, it is vital that we know where we are. Song of Solomon 4:12 says we are “a garden that is enclosed, a spring that is shut up, and a fountain that is sealed.” What a great place to be! The next verse says, “Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits” (Song of Solomon 4:13a).
This is the picture: Every seed in a pomegranate has the potential to reproduce another pomegranate. Each fruit is filled with many seeds, and if one has a hundred seeds, it could produce a hundred pomegranates. So, the believer who is hid with Christ in God will bring forth much fruit. Therefore, we must not sow the Word of God among thorns. “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns” (Jeremiah 4:3).
The Word of God says that if we sow in God´s righteousness, we shall reap in mercy. It is time to break up the fallow ground. Just keep doing it until the Lord rains His righteousness upon you (Hosea 10:12).
The Exchange of Personal Life
Thousands of people are living in an impersonal world. They live in shadows and theories. They may go to church, but their standards keep them from being personal with God. They know God as a standard bearer or commander with rules and disciplines to be kept. They hear of all they are to live in, and yet they never have the life of a Person to fulfill the request.
Christ is the end of the law, so there is no longer any law for us to keep. We are kept in love by our response in faith. It is Christ Who loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). It is He Who first loved us.
Standards and rules do not promote personal love between members of a church. Instead of an unconditional love, they project their own standards toward one another. They cannot be personal with one another because there is no humility of trust. They cannot get to know each other in heart, or exchange their own person in the reality of light. They are forced to be impersonal towards God, and this leaves them without the Person of Christ to share with others. They are shocked into a superficial environment that does not touch the substance of humble reality.
Jesus was a personal well of everlasting life to the woman at the well. Jesus touched blind Bartimeus with a personal love that took him out of a blind impersonal world. God´s plan is to take people out of impersonal quantities and to put them in the personal quality of His mind.
Live in Divine Temperament
Consider the change that took place in the life of Moses. He was characterized by an outrageously explosive temper, but he was transformed by God and was later called the meekest man who ever lived.
Moses murdered an Egyptian who had beaten a fellow Hebrew. Then he fled to the wilderness to escape punishment. During his forty years in the wilderness, God appeared to him and revealed His plan – Moses would be used to deliver the children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. Although at first he was insecure and reactionary toward the command of God, he made decisions that enabled God to raise him up to a position of great leadership. Moses, the man who literally brought shame to God by the expression of his natural temperament, eventually became a parallel, or figure, of the life of Christ because he was obedient to allow God to work in his life. He learned the secret of choosing faith instead of fear, and humility and submission to the plan of God instead of a high position of rank in Pharaoh’s kingdom. God desires us to reveal His disposition in our lives; He does not want us to react in our adamic dispositions. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we can learn to be sustained by the grace, mercy, and power of God, and to continually make positive decisions for the Kingdom.
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. – Hebrews 3:5-6
Beauty for Ashes
Here is the great exchange: Beauty for ashes. Where are the ashes, the residue of the offering made for our sins? They are in a clean place, separated- according to the principle of purification for sin as related in the book of Leviticus. And what does God give us? Beauty for ashes. But that is not all. Because we don´t feed on ashes, He gives us the oil of joy for mourn ing.
Imagine it! The Christian who has exchanged beauty for ashes has the oil of joy instead of mourning and the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. When a believer who has this kind of doctrine in his soul goes home to be with the Lord, we have a victory service. We don´t call it a funeral, thank God. A believer who is absent from his body is present with the Lord. That´s reason to rejoice.
Feast on the Lamb of God. Partake of the love of God, the joy of God, the peace of God, the purity of God, and the power of God. Just eat the Word of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and stop feeding on the ashes.
Where Will Humility Bring Us?
Christ was willing to be nothing so that the Father could be all. He accepted the Father´s plan to make Him nothing, so that He could experience the truth of the way the Father wanted to be made for all.
When we allow Christ to bring humility back into our lives, we are relieved of tension, fear, and striving. Be willing to be nothing that God may be all.
“Go, Son, and face the Pharisees,” said the Father. So He did. “Wash the disciples´ feet; go into the garden and identify with everyone´s sins and go through six trials. All of this will take humility. Then be hung upon a tree.” The Son pleased Him and did it. Then the Father said, “Love those who crucified you and pray for them.” The mind of humility was back on the earth. The Son pleased not Himself. He had made a covenant with the Father -a covenant of love, grace, obedience, submission, and peace. He was all that in His own Person.
If humility was brought back, how many church splits would there be? How much insecurity would exist? How many people would live in need when they could humbly submit to a provision of grace?
The plan always personally provides when humility is brought into the heart by Christ. Man can be armed in his mind, set in his affections, and willing in the wisdom of God, because of humility brought through the Word and the Spirit. Humility came back to the universe with Christ.
Transformed by the Word
Examples of people who were transformed by the indwelling Christ are seen throughout the Word of God. In Mark 5:15, the demon-possessed maniac became a calm, quiet disciple. John, once a vindictive Jew, was supernaturally transformed into the apostle of love. The Samaritan woman of ill repute met Jesus at the well and instantly became a proclaimer of the truth to her home town. The cold-hearted jailer was converted and became a sympathetic friend to the apostles.
The testimony of the apostle Paul speaks loud and clear that this zealous murderer and bloodthirsty persecutor of those who followed Christ could only bow in reverent submission to the One he had previously disdained. Paul became a compassionate propagator of Christianity to the Gentiles (3), and his gifts were so completely given over to the control of Christ that he was used to pen a great deal of the New Testament. Paul was so consumed by the truths revealed to him when he was lifted up into the third heaven that he spent the rest of his life attempting to communicate them to the world. Yet his life was characterized by humility and brokenness. He called himself the “chief of sinners.” Paul understood that it was God working in him, and therefore, counted all other endeavors a loss so that he could “win Christ” (4).
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2
And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. – Mark 5:15
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: – Galatians 1:16
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, – Philippians 3:7-8
Searching the Depths
1 Corinthians 2:10-12
The reason that many of God´s people are not consistent-though they are beautiful Christians in terms of integrity and desire-is this: They become forgetful hearers and lose what they hear in sermons.
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). This is not about people who do not fail but about those who love Him. Those who have sinned much, love much (Luke 7:47). Furthermore, we don´t even begin to know how much God loves us and how much He has prepared for those who love Him.
The Holy Spirit Himself “search eth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” No one can know God except by the Holy Spirit. We have not received the spirit of this world, but the Spirit of God, that we may know the things freely given to us by Christ.
He Brought Humility
Consider the mind of God in Philippians 2. Jesus Christ took a position as a human creature. Though limited in humanity, He never once reacted. He was never bound, because His liberty always depended on the mind and thoughts of the Father from Heaven. In His earthen vessel, He was liberated continually by heavenly thought. Instead of reacting against earthly limitations by sight, see the purpose of God in your situation by faith so that you stand fast in a liberty that always makes Christ your experience.
Jesus Christ acknowledged the Father in every step He took. He walked softly and slowly, with no tension, relying always on the Father´s wisdom with no confusion. He relied on the Father´s plan. He wouldn’t be taken over by lust, but relied on the Father´s purity. He would not be occupied with sorrow, but was filled with the Father´s joy. He would not be occupied with human knowledge, but lived by faith in the Father´s wisdom. He would not be occupied with pleasure, but lived in the pleasure of God´s Right Hand.
Temptations will come, but when one is steadfast in his occupation, one is always entering into liberation in God´s provision. God´s provision counteracts the devil´s temptation. One never has to go against the devil by battling with temptation in the flesh. He simply receives a life that will always go against the temptation that it has already overcome.
Transformed by Grace
There is no more prolific example of the conflict between the natural and divine dispositions than illustrated in the life of Jacob. A brief summary of his character would include craftiness, cheating and conceit. Jacob was a man of incredible weakness. Even his name denotes his personality, for it means “supplanter.” Despite his shortcomings, he was a chosen vessel in the divine plan of God.
A study of Jacob’s life reveals a history of deception. His own love relationship with Rachel was spoiled by the deception of her father. As a result, Jacob suffered the results of polygamy, having two jealous wives and a manipulative father-in-law. His ten sons lied to him regarding their brother Joseph. The rest of his life was characterized by one domestic disappointment after another.
The mystery of Jacob’s life was that in the midst of his unhappiness and family struggles, the transforming power of his communion with God eventually brought him to a point of victorious faith. Throughout his life, God revealed himself to Jacob in many ways. Jacob resisted and fought with the angel of the Lord. However, his natural disposition was crucified, and his name changed from Jacob the “supplanter” to “Israel” or “prince of God.” Jacob is listed in Hebrews 11:21 as a man of faith. If Jacob the supplanter could have his natural viewpoint transformed by the power of God, there is certainly hope for all of us!
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. – Numbers 23:21
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff. – Hebrews 11:21
Christ: Our Provision
It would be difficult to be in deep waters and have to row the boat all the time. We would get so tired. How much better it is to have a boat with a motor!
We have Jesus Christ as our power source; He moves the boat. And all we have to do, basically, is to switch our faith in our own ability into faith in Him. Many have been in a place where they have asked God why He allowed certain painful situations in their lives. They would say, “Why are they hurting me? I have never done anything to them, as far as I know. Why is this happening?” And Jesus would say, “I want you to be like Me. And you can be like Me if, in this storm, you will come to Me, yoke up with Me, learn of Me, and get to know Me.”
We can hear that still, small voice say “Come.” When we come to Him, we get a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. We have a rest with Jesus Christ- a provision of peace that keeps us in any storm.
God calls for people to awake from their sleep. People go to sleep mentally and emotionally; not stirred up, but settled down into their own structure of faith, refusing to enter into true purpose. They remain the same, never progressing in life. They study and train, yet they never produce the fruit of the teaching. They have yielded to a covenant made with death and Hell.
Death is separation from God in the physical. Hell is separation from God in the soul. The physical body makes an agreement to live in the cravings of its own need. The soul makes a covenant to live in soul power and self-consciousness, accepting its own way of life. Instead of building up others, a person in such a covenant is reactionary because his own need is not met. The person may seek for love when love is not what he needs. He enters into a human relationship where he becomes bound to the demands of the personality of another.
Such people think they need love, but what they need is life. They seek love and do not find life. They enter into relationships where they live in bondage to each other´s personalities instead of experiencing the life of God as their reality.
Satan has many tricks to get people to live in the conflict of their own human dilemma. He comes on the horizon of the scene to produce in horizontal exchanges the kind of mutual phoniness that produces instability in the responsible situations in which we must discover life.
Mounting Up as Eagles
The eagle described in Isaiah 40:31 is a very important illustration. The eagle makes its nest in inaccessible places. It dwells in the cliffs (2). Proverbs 30:19 states that his way is in the air. It flies without effort and soars without exerting any energy at all. The eagle is the only bird that can look directly at the sun and not injure its eyes.
The application is this: God wants us to be as the eagle. He wants us to wait in the inaccessible places. He wants us to hide ourselves with Him. Then, He will enable us to mount up. We will soar effortlessly above extreme trials and difficulties. We will be faith-rest Christians who will not be anxious in our minds and emotions. This kind of believer can look straight at the Son of God and live in pure faith, soaring high and flying far above the world system. A Christian can experience this renewal when he feeds on categories of doctrine, makes decisions through God’s grace, and enjoys grace as it is revealed in His Word.
In Matthew 14:23, Jesus departed to a mountain and prayed in a solitary place. The Son Himself went to wait upon God the Father. If we really want to have abundant lives, then we must learn how to wait upon Him.
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. – Job 39:28
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. – Matthew 14:23
Heaven Is for Us
In these perilous days, are you more interested in a church picnic than in the prayer meeting? Many are more occupied with social events than with an evangelistic outreach. Many of us, however, realize that spiritual battles are intensifying.
Today, the Church of Jesus Christ has all the fiendish demons of hell arrayed against her. They attempt to choke and quench the ministry of the Holy Spirit and destroy our Christian liberty. Even though all hell is against us, praise God, we can rejoice that all heaven is for us! Soon the trumpet will blow at the Rapture to summon those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ into His presence.
I eagerly await that trumpet sound to bring me face-to-face with my Lord. Then, I will be able to worship Him without the limitations of my lethargy, without a wandering mind, and without any of the distractions of life here below.
Have You Heard?
The measure of which you listen will be the measure of which you receive. The measure of which you receive will be the measure of which you experience what you heard. The measure of which you exercise faith will be the measure of which you enjoy that which produces faith. The measure of which you express and share redemption will be the measure of which you will have the power to be used to redeem. Our life is summed up in value in terms of what we receive, what we experience, and what we share. That is how valuable we are in the redemptive plan of grace.
Our biggest need is to train listeners. A man will have no problem with preaching if he has learned how to listen. Concentration which produces response, which gives me a capacity for initiation, becomes the ultimate goal of my relationship to Christ. Be swift to hear ( James 1:19). The greatest judgment we as believers will receive, not in terms of penalty, but in terms of suffering loss from what we could have had, will be our inability to listen in the concentration of a divine flow.
Our emphasis is on hearing, not on doing, being, or knowing. Christ knew that a man could not have a single eye with God unless he heard what a single eye was in Christ. Be careful how you hear and be careful what you hear (Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18). Be ready to hear (Ecclesiastes 5:1). How many problems have prevailed because people refused to be listening children?
Waiting is Training
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). We are God’s children, and it is His responsibility to train us. Waiting on God teaches us to trust Him implicitly, expressively, and without anxiety or frustration. God abolishes the mental weariness of Adam. He eliminates the attitude of negativity in the old man. The faint spirit of the flesh is erased by waiting as He builds us up through Words of life (2) and grace (3). In the end we are quickened, renewed and revived with life from above.
How often do you get bored with your life? Children get tired while they wait. Do you answer before thinking? Talk without faith? Move without grace? Evaluate without discernment?
God trains us through waiting so we will not be weary. He wants to give us renewed strength to speak, to think, to act and to endure. The word “strength” is “kowach” in the Hebrew. It refers to strength not only in the emotions, but in the physical body as well.
God imparts strength from His presence through His word to “they that wait” (Isaiah 40:31).
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. – Philippians 2:16
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. – Acts 20:32
Faith and Faithfulness
God told me years ago that the more I heard and received the Word of God, the more I would be used. He told me the more I went to church, the more I would be promoted. He told me to put Jesus Christ and His Kingdom first and to be faithful to the truth by faith.
God is faithful to the end, to everyone who has failed. He is faithful to provide for us above what we are being tempted with (1 Corinthians 10:13). He is faithful to cleanse us from every sin we confess (1 John 1:9). He is faithful to uphold us. He is faithful never to leave us. He is faithful to perfect us. God´s faithfulness is great, and He always covers us.
Without reservation, Jesus Christ gives us everything He is, and He will never leave us. Not a single gift from God can be taken from us, because all we have was given by grace.
Reaping What One Has Sown
Does a person commit sin because he has the freedom to execute his own rights? Sin is the result of bondage to the flesh. Those who are living in the bondage of Egypt reveal what they are reaping by not living in rest. They reap the result of human flesh that rebelled and would not submit to God´s Cross. They are reaping a kingdom that confuses them with many spirits. They are in bondage to the devil, who will not quit. They live a life of reaping instead of fellowshipping with God´s grace. What looked to be good is only self-bondage. What looked to be freedom is only superficial liberation.
Join Christ at the Cross and accept that Cross personally. God will give people the right to stay in the wilderness. Their occupation is with murmuring and need and though in the wilderness, their hearts never left Egypt. God would not take them into Canaan when their hearts were in Egypt.
Let God take you out to bring you in. You are going to battle with the flesh. God says, “I crucified it.” You are going to have a battle with an army. God says, I have translated you into another Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Don´t go back to a temper; go back to Christ. Don´t go back to resentment; go back to love. Don´t go back to remembering; go back to forgiveness. Don´t go back to need; go back to God´s fulfillment. Don´t live reaping what your forefathers taught you to sow, but live sowing what God´s Word gives you to reap.
Waiting is Expecting
II Corinthians 9:6
Waiting upon the Lord is characterized by several things. To wait means to expect God’s help. It never implies inactivity. Suppose a farmer said, “I’m not going to farm this spring. I’ll just wait upon the Lord and see what happens.” He did not plant. He said, “I’m just going to trust God for the crops to come up.” When harvest time comes, he goes out to the field and there is nothing there. Why? He did not sow, therefore he did not reap (1). He waited, but he did not expect.
Waiting upon God implies confidence and faith in His Word in spite of consequences. A Christian who patiently waits with expectancy manifests his faith in God’s character. By waiting, we exchange our mind for His thoughts. We are renewed and strengthened. As we are filled with His Word, we become more confident in our faith despite our human weaknesses. The Word promises us rewards for waiting. In Acts 1:4, Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem and “Wait for the promise of the Father.” They did as He told them to, and in Acts 2:4, they received the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 91:1 says, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Abiding means waiting, resting with expectancy. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. – 2 Corinthians 9:6
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. – Acts 2:4
Seek for Wisdom
1 John 2:4-5
There is one thing that I am seeking as I am growing older, and that is wisdom. All of us need it. The one thing that is so crucial in knowing God is wisdom. I can´t begin to tell you about how many men I have met who are very gifted. They are very bright and very smart-people love to hear them talk, and love their sharpness, but their wisdom is lagging way behind their gift.
As a young pastor, I learned the value of prayer in asking for wisdom. I would go to God and pray every day. I said, “Whatever You give me, I will preach. I study hard; I am obedient to your mandates; but I don´t have wisdom. Please give me wisdom.”
Please remember this: Knowledge is subordinate to wisdom because wisdom is the living Word, Jesus Christ, manifested by the written Word of God with the Holy Spirit applying the knowledge of the letter. Knowledge must submit to wisdom. When this is understood, then wisdom shall be the stability of our times, bringing a godly fear or reverence for the Lord.
The Law Is Fulfilled
1 John 2:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24
When thinking of commandments, think of this: Jesus fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17). He was the end of the law for righteousness (Romans 10:4). What do these things mean? The law of the Spirit of life has overcome the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). It is not just a law. The principle is the Spirit of life.
The Holy Spirit sheds love abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5), and we walk in love as His dear children (Ephesians 5:2). The commandment Jesus is talking about is a Finished Work commandment. He is saying to us, “I finished making a way for you; I am available to you. I am faithful to call you, and I will do what you desire according to my word as you execute your faculties to make choices to believe and obey the truth in your own soul.”
Jesus´ commandment is that we would walk in divine love, and that commandment is not grievous (1 John 5:3). It does not cause sorrow. It is not difficult because God does it.
Conformed to His Image
The transformed believer enjoys tremendous freedom. II Corinthians 3:17b says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” This liberty comes as the Christian is freed from his natural disposition, with its inevitable anxiety and loneliness, and is transformed into the image of his Lord. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18).
It is in this manner that the child of God is able to function in the Kingdom of God. He is transformed by the image of Jesus Christ functioning and operating in his human vessel, bringing every thought and imagination into the obedience of Jesus Christ (2). As the believer presents his body as a living sacrifice to the Lord, he will experience the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (3).
Rather than conforming to the world and its system, the believer is inwardly changed and transformed to the image of Christ by the power of God (4). Anxiety, cosmic loneliness, and its undefined consequences are dealt with and resolved in the transformation.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. – Romans 8:29-30
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; – 2 Corinthians 10:5
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:1-2
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:29
Living in Egypt while Owning an Inheritance in Canaan
2 Peter 2:19
What does it mean to live in a life of bondage? We are bound when we come under a system, and that system, exploring all the possibilities of its execution, forcibly produces all the effects of its own cause. This was the story of the children of Israel in the Book of Exodus. These people had never repented. They received grace but they never turned from self. They received unconditional love from Joseph but never repented of their attitude to destroy him. The Church has many members who thank God for grace but have never turned from self. It is a problem for the Spirit, Who has brought grace upon saved people but must contend with their self-life in bondage to another system, another social and economic structure.
God wants to bring people out of bondage into Canaan.
Egypt is the land of independence. Canaan is the land of dependence.
Freedom from bondage brings dependence on God, not independence in Adam. Adam can never be free because until he receives the life of Another; he is always enslaved to himself and his own inadequacies. Independence is the amplification of man´s right to be who he is, using his education, his culture, his experience, his refinements, and all his attainments to progress in soul power apart from a Living God. As long as man sows independently against the Cross, the Body, and his leaders, he is sowing the seeds of destruction and hardship. The place where he lives -Canaan or Egypt-will have an effect upon who he is.
A Specialist in the Truth
2 Timothy 1:9
Do not live in false humility toward the call of God, shrinking from His voice because you believe you are worthless. Neither live in self-confidence, not honoring the Head of the government of God. Joshua lived in self-authority until Joshua 5. He obeyed orders and gave commands, but did not honor the Head of the government, Who is Christ. He was usurping the authority of a stolen throne, even though the duty he performed for the throne was delegated to him.
Life comes to us as we recognize the Person of the call and keep sight of the Person while in service. Your provision is always a Person. You see yourself in Him when you are called and you live in Him during the call to be provided with all you need to fulfill the plan of the call.
What does it mean to be called by God? It means to respond to the truth of who you are in Christ and to allow God to expand you in the life of His plan so that you are ever growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord. Everyone is called by God; called to a life, a plan, a vision, a purpose, a heartbeat, to a Body – the actual manifestation of the Person Christ.
You will be a specialist for Jesus Christ. You will arise to God´s intended goals. When you see no capability, no natural potential, no human strength, and no eloquence to communicate, then fill that valley full of ditches (2 Kings 3:16) and watch God give you enough water to overcome anything. You dig the ditch by faith and God fills you with the provision.
Righteous Only Through Him
I John 1:5-10
The depravity of the human heart must be reckoned with: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Modern man is very reluctant to acknowledge his unrighteousness. He turns from God’s provisions to self-defense mechanisms and support systems to prove he is “not really so bad.” In doing so, he departs from the very truth that will set him free to live in the victory and power of faith in a living Christ. An honest reckoning with depravity enables a believer to be in right standing with God. The recovery principle in I John 1:9 makes it possible for the believer to grow continually in the application and power of truth, even though he is, by nature, an undeserving sinner. The provisions granted to the believer, by virtue of his standing in Jesus Christ, are the indwelling Holy Spirit (3), adoption into the church, the royal family of God (4), and the many promises from the Bible that become the guiding premise for the child of God (5). The Word of God is the source of objectivity which is able to deal with the subjectivity of the human mind (6).
We cannot comprehend the awesomeness of the Word of God to not only expose sin and reveal motives, but to bring refreshment and specific guidance in life. Matthew 4:4 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1:5-10
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:14
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:5
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. – Psalm 119:105
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
Respond to His Name
John 16:13, 15:26
I cannot begin to share with you the sacredness, the value, and the preciousness of what it means to be a Christian walking in the Spirit of the Lord´s name through faith in His name. As we drive our cars, as we listen to songs, as we minister to the Lord, we are ministering to something about His nature, something about His attributes.
The Holy Spirit is in our midst as the Spirit of truth. Let's begin to walk in the truth of a promise, in the truth of a relationship, in the truth of fellowship, and in the truth of His nature. As we begin to be moved by God, there isn't a single thing in this universe that can even compare to submission, obedience, and responding to the nature of Jesus Christ's name. Jesus Christ now allows us to be called by His name. It is a brand-new name. It is “Not I, but Christ.” That is now our name, and the world and the demons know it. As He is in heaven, so are we on earth.
Forsaking Brings a Blessing
Will we pay the price of discipleship? Or do we want to serve Christ independently of a Cross and separated from the covering of the government? As a spiritual representative, Adam stands for the Body before the Fall. Eve acts as independent Christianity, going outside of Adam, her head, and fellowshipping with that which is beautiful, but deceiving. Satan is not obvious in his attacks. His projection is tempting to those walking by sight. When one is walking by faith, his gaze is fixed upon Christ. Outside of Christ, he sees only himself and his potential in Adam. A double mind gives him a vision of opportunity at both parts of the Tree of Knowledge. He ends up in deceit because he did what was right in his own eyes instead of being directed by the single eye of Christ´s headship.
Do not be deceived into thinking that Christianity has outward glamour. Christ calls us to forsake all and allow Him to be our priority (Luke 14:33). Whether we obey the message of those words or not will show our destiny on earth. Will we win favor with men or win souls for Christ? Will we become disciples by the Cross or will we decipher our own concept of Christianity? Will we abide comfortably in our choice resting place or will we, as Christ did, have nowhere to lay our heads? You will not need God if you have security on the earth. We brought nothing into this world and we will bring nothing out ( Job 1:21). Forsaking all will bring a hundredfold blessing (Mark 10:29-30).
Since the inception of the church, Christians have struggled with the dilemma of representing the infinite God to mankind. The process of theantric action is the only provision whereby Christians are able to manifest the true nature of God in their mortal bodies within the Body of Christ and to a lost and dying world. The word “theantric” comes from two Greek words, theos – God, and anthropos – man. Theantric Action is the fullness to overflowing of God’s divine nature in the human vessel, which is surrendered to the plan of God. Many Christians never experience this, because they ignorantly live in the effects of the fall of man, expressing the character of the old adamic nature by fulfilling selfish and vain pursuits.
When the personality of the Father is operational in the believer’s life, through the filling of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, the possibilities of experiencing Christ’s victory are limitless. Concerning the Father, Jesus said, “For I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29b). Therefore, the Father’s disposition was totally manifested to the world through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9b). Jesus, in His humanity, was the exact reproduction of the image of God (2). Describing His disposition, Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29b). We will only manifest the power of Christ when we take on His disposition.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father? – John 14:9
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; – Hebrews 1:3
Christ’s Word in Us
1 Kings 5:5
The new man always lives in quietness and he always experiences peace. Why? Because he is living in Christ, and Christ lives in the new man, filling his humanity to reveal His purpose, provision, power, person, and peace.
David said, “I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress” (Psalm 17:3). Solomon, in 1 Kings 5:5, purposed in his heart to build God a house. In Nehemiah 8:4, a pulpit of wood was built for a purpose. The pulpit has only one purpose: to be used to preach the Word of God. It has no other purpose.
We go to work in the morning on purpose, doing what we do with all of our might, loving what we do, and fulfilling God´s purpose, whatever it is. Whatsoever we do, we do it with all of our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). “Whatsoever” takes everything into account.
A Purpose From Above
No one can have a purpose in reality unless his heart is fixed with confidence toward God. If you understand the importance of God´s purpose and the great principles involved, then you know what it means to have your mind fixed on things above (Colossians 3:1-2).
Though we need to be occupied with the job, our life is not derived from a job. Instead, it comes from the things above that God has made to dwell in me.
If we set our minds on things above, then no one can offend us. No one can make us insecure. We don't need to react in any situation. Our flesh doesn't have to be supported. People without Christ may need to do these things, but we do not because we are in God's purpose, operating by God´s purpose, and working for God's purpose.
Conversion in the Light
Conviction by the Word of God is for conversion into the character of Christ. Light always will reveal areas where we are not walking in truth. That light is not for the purpose of ushering in condemnation, but for establishing us in the correct truth of God´s mind. Under the right kind of conviction, we will grow deeper in every word and not revert to the guilt of Adam. What is the worth of a message if it does not convert and conform us to the image of Christ?
Its value would be the same as any human criticism or flattery, bearing no eternal fruit. If we experience conviction every time we hear the Word of God, then every message transforms something within us from darkness into light.
Where did the light of God leave Job? His three friends told him that he was not right with God, but God saw him as mature ( Job 42:5-6). Many people give advice that is not backed by God. Though Job was not perfect in experience, God looked at him through the Blood. Job then saw himself in the light. The light did not leave him in depression, but caused him to grow in the reality of the Finished Work. The entrance of the Word gave light and the light converted him.
Daniel felt weak and frail as he saw his unworthy state in the light of God (Daniel 10:8-10). We may be walking in the light, but we are only as mature as we are now until we get another glimpse of God. We will see God and be humiliated but receive His touch, giving us a greater measure of growing up into Christ.
Making a Difference
II Peter 1:1-8, 12-15
There are thousands of church services throughout the world that honor Jesus Christ, glorify God, and preach the truth. Many men and women serve God diligently, and sincerely love God. But there is a great lack of warmth today in the church of Jesus Christ because many believers do not keep their hearts on fire. Many churches do not keep their hearts on fire. This is one thing that characterizes much of Christendom - its coldness of heart.
One of the most vital ways to keep your heart warm is to keep in touch with Calvary. Let the eye of faith show you Jesus Christ taking your place on the cross. Consider that every personal sin was transferred to Him. He was perfect; He never sinned. He loved you when you were guilty. You cannot think of Calvary in the power of the Spirit without having it break your heart.
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference" (Jude 21,22). Godly compassion makes a difference. When you find your heart growing cold, stop and gaze at Calvary. Not only will your heart be warmed, but you will have godly compassion for those around you because your frame of reference will be brought back to its correct position - the cross of Calvary. It will make a difference in your life.
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2 Peter 1:1-8
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. - 2 Peter 1:12-15
The True Light
Morality is vital to our society. It preserves national entity and protects individual freedom, personal rights, and property. But when moral light is allowed to replace divine light, it becomes a hindrance to spiritual transformation.
Christians must be challenged to live in spiritual light, going beyond inspiring messages, stimulating thoughts, and scriptural beatitudes.
When a crisis arises, too many people are quick to make evaluations through moral light, and they call it integrity. Weeks later, they are still discussing the situation because they were not transformed by God´s viewpoint, God´s mind, and God´s will.
Unless we live in God´s eternal light, which issues from His uncreated life, it is impossible for us to experience His unconditional love. Eternal light reveals that God, who has no beginning and no ending, saw us as spotless and blameless before the foundation of the world.
His Vessel of Tears
II Corinthians 5:14
In John 11:33b, it is recorded that Jesus “groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” Though He was about to perform the great miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, still He wept at the grave site (2). Luke 19:41 states that when Jesus “approached he saw the city (Jerusalem), He wept (audibly) over it.” Jeremiah, in a time of anguish, cried out, “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a reservoir of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people” (Jeremiah 9:1, Amplified). Paul wept day and night for the duration of three years. Acts 20:19 says that Paul, in humility, served the people in tears. Isaiah also wept bitterly for God’s people in the “day of trouble” (4).
Why do the Scriptures contain so many verses on the subject of weeping? God notices the tears that are motivated by His love for the sake of truth and puts them in a bottle (5).
Have you ever wondered how believers can learn about such sacred topics, and yet weep so little? Many servants of God are so cold and proper in their presentation of truth. In order to produce results, God’s Word must be pondered over, identified with, and experienced in His unconditional love. We must be constrained by the love of God (1) as we learn to think with God in a disciplined way.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: – 2 Corinthians 5:14
Jesus wept. – John 11:35
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: – Acts 20:19
Therefore said I, Look away from me: I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people. For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains. – Isaiah 22:4-5
No Permanent Station
A Body that has a vision has a Cross that comes before the sight results of faith. Its whole purpose in seeing is to discover the location of those blinded from reality. Many still want the privileges of seeing their own achievements instead of counting all but loss for the gain of the Corporate Organism.
Peter, James and John were brought apart to see Jesus in all of His Glory. Peter liked it so much that his mental faculties immediately went about planning. He wanted to be stationed in this position permanently and to acquire Christ in a stable position where he could have a hold on his place. The Lord said let us move to the next place. God never tells us to hire a van to transport our goods and belongings. He just says forsake all. Don´t enter into Canaan with the mental attitudes of Egypt. Though you may be counted outwardly, it is only when the Kingdom is within that your life takes on value. You are always valuable to God because of His love. To men you are valuable when God´s life has become your only asset.
Jesus took Peter, James and John from the mountain into a world of need. Their first meeting: a man whose son was vexed by the devil. When we move with God we will discover that He is saving, healing, delivering, building, and going into all the world. Do not appreciate what you see in Christ from afar off and never draw nigh to follow Him into the valley. What you observe in Christ should cause you to participate in faith.
Keeping Pace with God
1 Corinthians 2:14
Can you imagine functioning in the letter while the Spirit has moved forward in the plan of God? We lose our understanding in the light when we are persuaded to be stationary and stagnant in our own plan. People actually stay behind God when God has moved on. God needs you to walk with Him so His revelation will agree in example with the quality of life you express. You are the display that others can be when they bring nothing to purchase all God has paid for in Christ.
Those who stay in their places never can determine what God is doing in His place. The flesh separates them from the eternal mind of God. They choose to live in the unexpected end of time instead of the unexpectedness of a plan that expects only God. Don´t expect anyone to show up to give you praise or glory in the plan of God. Let God be your only audience.
Your plan will be corrupted as God´s plan goes on incorruptibly in life. Men agree that one should not be hasty in expansion because they do not realize how far behind God they are. To catch up with God takes only a second in grace after total repentance. But when churches lose their direction from God, they lag very far behind in His plan. Jesus wants you to leave your place with the same velocity you would if a bomb were about to be dropped in your midst. Place your feet in the steps of faith and you always will hear the good news in God´s next place.
The Prepared Path
“Order my steps in thy Word: Let not iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133). It is so important to start the day by praying about our schedules. The Lord goes before us and prepares the way (2), but we must be careful to follow that way and not allow sin to distract us or “have dominion” over us.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). “Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his step” (Psalm 85:13). Abraham walked in the steps of faith (3). Our ways are divinely appointed and every step is planned ahead of time. One way to keep on the path is to meditate on the Word.
Job said “When I washed my steps with butter” (Job 29:6). Churning milk is a process which produces butter. As we meditate on the Word of God (or churn it in our minds), it becomes a part of us. We are occupied with His thoughts, and we are led by the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Let the Word of God be your meditation today and He will prevent your feet from straying away from the path He has for you.
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:21
Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither. – Deuteronomy 19:3
And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. – Romans 4:12
Nevertheless I Live
I present my body to Jesus Christ as a living sacrifice through the resurrection power of God. That is how I present it – through Him. I don´t present my body as if I am trying to die. I present it as one who has already died.
As I present my body to Him, I make sure there is no place for the devil to take over with any need or want. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” wrote the Psalmist (Psalm 23:1). I died with Christ at Calvary, but I was also raised with Him from the grave. And now, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
We are delivered through death, not unto death. Until I understand this as experiential truth, I need to keep confessing the positional truth that I died with Christ and that, nevertheless, I live in His resurrection. My experience in victory will come. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. I live as more than a conqueror, and I know He always causes me to triumph.
Built Up in Christ
Take a look at Paul's words in Acts 20:32. "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."
How are we "built up?" We are "built up" by the letter of the Word of God, in the power of the Spirit of grace, ministered in love. We are not to be concerned with knowledge alone, for only the Spirit of God can convey the truth about knowledge.
Before we effectively minister to others, we must first learn to keep ourselves in the love of God. "Expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 21, Amplified).
Build yourself up in the most holy faith (2). Keep yourself in the love of God, and unconditional love will produce pure grace in transitional processes. Continue to pray in the Holy Spirit and look for God's mercy - always look for mercy! Build yourself up in the Word of Grace.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. - Colossians 2:6-7
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, - Jude 1:20
Conditional Compliments Anyone?
Many people try to legislate faith instead of receiving it through God´s delegation of life. Because of pride and their rebellion toward authority, they produce words in order to demonstrate faith. One may temporally deceive others with this display, but he never will be eternally affected when he touches the attire you wear in your spiritual life.
Words without power are a confession without Christ. The only way to witness faith to others is to receive faith toward yourself. You cannot believe in God with your whole heart unless you receive grace in unconditional love, knowing that God has done the changing.
Many find it easy to compliment Christ but hard to confess Christ in faith. Compliments attend things that are pleasant to the senses. Confession comes in accordance with the Word and the Father´s will. You are pleasing God with no outward gratification, and therefore you are well pleased with your life. Compliments suggest we are outwardly agreeable, but confession brings us inward transformation.
Faith comes by the Spirit when we meditate upon the thoughts of God. We are kept by the substance of our own confession. Those who find the Word hard to keep in the face of temptation and not adequate to overcome it are those who, when they heard what was necessary to have faith through the Spirit´s manifestation, did not hear with an honest heart.
Lessons in Dark Places
Many people refuse to be taught lessons of faith when they don´t understand God's plan beyond what they can see. In John 6:66, those who stopped following Jesus would not go beyond what they perceived with their senses. They trusted only what they saw and felt in their minds and emotions.
When we walk in darkness and have no light, we are to keep our minds stayed upon Him. Very few Christians have allowed themselves to be taught how to do this. If the average church today went through a trial, the majority of its members would leave almost instantly.
People get alone in dark corners because they have never been Spirit-taught. They do not know how to apply knowledge through faith in the midst of darkness, and they don't have the power to walk in a faith that works by love (Galatians 5:6).
Let us consider this: He is the light of the world.
Fulfilled by His Ability
Christianity is concentrated work. The infilling of life comes by faith in a promise, but the outpouring of substance requires a work of investment. Your provision to provide others with life is no work, but the details of the play to give others a capacity for life is a (fruitful) labor. If we take an ox into our stall there is work to be done in feeding, watering, and caring for its needs. It takes your whole life; and as you invest energy in it, its life takes you over.
As a Christian, you are constrained by love to be faithful. No longer are you sent by legalism to fulfill a commission but you are centered in a constraining commitment which by its own life expression, commissions others to Christ. Your occupation becomes the lost condition of others and their potential to live.
Everyone can have an ox and care for it. The love that keeps us keeps the testimony sure. The response we give in labor allows the release of God´s ability to fulfill the given responsibility. As we guard and keep Christ, He makes us a light. We agree with the throne, and the life of the throne makes us the light of the world. We become the substance of Who Christ is through the Corporate Body. The Body keeps the testimony sure by the steadfastness of its life in Him. We live in the success of love. The quality of that love keeps us and keeps the nature of love as a testimony. When we keep ourselves in His love, He is responsible to us for fulfillment with His abilities.
God’s Divine Mix
II Corinthians 4:15
An elderly man once prayed "God, I do not like salt. Dear Jesus, I hate baking soda. I hate shortening, Lord. And dear God, I cannot stand the taste of flour. But, dear Jesus, put them all together and put them in the oven and I love biscuits."
It is a simple illustration, but the truth here is vital. A Christian may not like certain things that happen in his life. By themselves, the situations do not taste good. But combine them and the end result is God's perfect plan!
Who, but God, could take the disarray of a life and work it together for good? Everyone was deceitful at times as a little child because of the inherited sin nature. When a believer thinks back to some of the things he has experienced and about where he is now, he can see that God's hand truly was at work in his life.
Jacob swindled his brother out of his birthright, and Paul rounded up Christians to persecute them, but God intervened. He made something beautiful out of their lives.
Maybe a Christian is in a situation right now. It is like salt, shortening, flour or baking soda. God has not mixed it in yet, but He will.
The elderly man was right - none of the ingredients are a good meal by themselves. But when put together, the believer can enjoy the biscuits they produce.
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:15
Substance From The Word
The Bible remains the most precious book in all the world. It´s still the best seller after all these years. It is precious because 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God."
In light of this, we must take heed what we hear and how we hear (Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18). What we listen to must be consistent with what the Word of God speaks. "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
These are words from the Bible. We do not live by what our spouses may say or what society may expect of us. We are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Many people desire to have a life that is based upon faith. Yet, that faith must rest upon something. And that something must be the Word of God, which tells us "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
Face to Face
2 Corinthians 3:18
Longsuffering is not suffering long periods without the activity of faith so as to identify with those outside of God experientially or at present in eternal standing. One would have no qualities to express if he identified totally with those void of life.
Your sentimental concern for a situation can bring about no reconciliation without the provision of God´s plan. The search for a solution is impersonal when inquiries for decisions are made without the Person, Jesus Christ. We need to have the characteristics of Jesus because His personality is derived from the reality of truth. Otherwise our counsel is based on a lie and has no substance in life. Outside of the Finished Work of Calvary, everything is manufactured and not created in Jesus Christ. With our humanity, we can only enter into the sufferings of others. To help them, we need the attitude of divinity.
Man has imaginations of who he wants to be. God has a life portrait of who He has made you to become. Man has to strive to be what he desires through a mental image. God conforms you to who you are to be through a living Christ. As a Christian, you live in face-to-face communion with One Who dealt with your sins at face value. He not only removed the fruit, but the root also. There is no more source of sinful cause. Though we still have a sin nature, it does not have us. Instead of striving in the mental imaginations of time, we grow in the eternal image of Christ.
The Bema Seat
I Corinthians 3:10-16
Many believers allow their hearts to become cold because they serve God through duty. This often occurs when people allow familiarity to creep into service or work.
If this is happening in your life, think of the Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema Seat). Ponder the fact that every blood-bought child of God will be there. Jesus Christ will determine in righteous judgment whether any service or good deed was done in the energy of the flesh. "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (I Corinthians 3:13).
One day we will see Jesus face to face. Every person will stand alone before God in a glorified body. The Bema Seat warms your heart as you think about it. No one wants to be ashamed or to suffer loss of rewards on that day. Until the Bema Seat Judgment, "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Then you will be able to hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21a). Examine yourself (2). May God through His grace teach us all to keep our hearts on fire in our service to Him.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? - 1 Corinthians 3:10-16
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? - 2 Corinthians 13:5
The Necessity of Meekness
The Spirit-taught Christian is the Christian who is always comforted. Amy Carmichael, lifelong missionary to India, wrote that to be comforted means to be strengthened by God´s indwelling illuminations at all times.
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3).
God has given His written Word "that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). No one is Spirit-taught unless he is meek, living by the words of 1 Corinthians 13, the great "love" chapter. Any person may have some know ledge and yet not be Spirit-taught. The meek believer thinks no evil. He believes all things. He rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the Truth. He bears all things and hopes all things. He edifies with every word he speaks. This is a meek person. This is one who has been taught by God.
Gaining in Grace
2 Peter 3:18
Many believers do not grow in the grace of knowledge, and therefore never grow in the grace of God´s mind. They have preconceived ideas about Christianity and they forfeit the privilege of growing in the mind of the Lord. They fluctuate in their own mind as it conceives God through Scripture without the description of the Spirit in life.
Life, to some people, is just a promise in eternity. Identification to them means suffering with Christ. They are against those who find joy in the life of Christ now.
Why be one with the mood of the devil? When people react defensively to his stimulation of suffering, they come to a place of oneness with him. What people defend they must cover up in protection. Those who have lost themselves are hid in Christ and have no thought for reputation. The best defense is offense. The only way to fight a battle is to rest in Christ.
Rest brings refreshment in the Spirit and strength to move on in God. Do not be at a standstill when you are attacked. Be in the place where you have no vulnerability to the devil. You are hid in Christ and He is One Who has made Himself of no reputation by choice. His choice becomes your gain in freedom. It is not what you attach to your name that gives you fame, but what your life proclaims through One Who has given you grace in the disgrace of sin. We expect no more honor than that which is found on the Cross of Calvary.
His Heart in You
True men and women of God will recognize genuine compassion. A Christian has the capacity to love a stranger because Jesus Christ’s love constrains him (2). He is able to show kindness toward the unlovely, the sick, or the hurting because in Christ, there are to be no respecters of persons (3). It is only through His love that a person can experience legitimate tears of compassion.
It is His presence inside of us that motivates us to have these tears of compassion. As born again Christians, we have the indwelling Spirit (4). Also, consider the fact that the Holy Spirit uses us continually to edify the Body of Christ and to win the lost. We should acknowledge His presence several times each day. It is very important to understand that God will empower us for special responsibilities and tasks. Believers have access to the constant filling of the Spirit (5).
One facet of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life is to impart an awareness of the magnitude of the love of Christ for the lost, as well as His great concern for the needs of man (6).
Many times God’s compassion is expressed through the life of the believer when he is abiding in the Spirit and motivated by divine love. Allow God to express His heart through you by constantly acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:5
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: – 2 Corinthians 5:14
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: – James 2:1-3
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? – 1 Corinthians 3:16
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; – Ephesians 5:18
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:5
Victory is Normal
God wants us to be whole, free from the dominion of sin and delivered from the power of sin; living in the power of grace, loving in the power of righteousness, following Christ in the power of the Spirit, listening to the Word of God with concentration, and following Jesus Christ in the application of truth.
God wants us to understand that victory is continual for a child of God; a life of victory is the normal way to live. Confessing the truth about Christ is normal. Building people up in Christ is normal. Believing God is normal. But Satan takes away the normal (which is really supernatural) and tries to stop the application of truth, so he deals with people in the natural realm.
Living clean is normal, now that I have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. For me, to be healthy and well is normal. For me, to have power over sin is normal. For me, victory in prayer is normal. I am the child of a supernatural God who is Number One in my life.