Carl Stevens Devotions page 6

Plan or Provision?

What are you occupied with—God’s plan or His provisions? Not once did God command, require, request, or even suggest that we be concerned with His Plan. Our responsibility as Christians is to be occupied with His Provisions.

Whenever a person allows his mind to center on God’s Plan, he enters into an area of thought beyond his own. It is of no consequence to us whether or not we know God’s Plan for our lives; only that we fulfill it through His provisions. “Which of you by taking thought could add one cubit to his stature” (Matthew 6:27)?

Occupation with the plan can result only in a mind full of questions. Occupation with the provisions makes all my thoughts declarative. Could you, as Abraham, go forth into a strange land, not knowing whither you were going, or would you require a detailed geo-physical map of the way and the land to be seen? An egg does not need to know the details of the recipe in order to be fulfilled in the cake. Likewise we need not know the details in God’s recipe for life in order to be fulfilled by our part in the Finished Work.

Christ is my Provision. With His life, I am fulfilled and am a partaker of the Plan of God. My thoughts are continually occupied with the Master. I concentrate upon receiving all that He is for me in this moment. Being occupied with His provisions is the aspect of God’s plan for my life in which I allow my mind to take an interest.

Cause and Effect

When we look at the universe through either the telescope or the microscope, we see the beautiful and orderly flow of God’s design. Certain specific laws govern and guide the spiritual dynamics and soul of the believer. Nothing happens in our lives by chance; all is part of God’s will to conform us to Christ’s image.

People have a time and chance philosophy that leads to anxiety, despair and instability. But today, believers can rejoice that not one detail of life they experience, has not passed without God’s approval. “Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34a), not just the chance occurrence of a chain of events. The believer will be blessed according to how receptive he or she is to God’s gracious provision. Hebrews 12:4-11 teaches that chastisement is an effect that has a cause: negativity to God’s plan. Blessing will come when the soul prospers through obedience to Bible doctrine (3). God will not prosper a carnal believer because it would not be the orderly thing that His perfect nature would dictate.

Remember, “…the curse causeless shall not come” (1). Our own free will determines to what degree God will bless. Choose life!

The Order of Faith Obedience

Jesus’ life is an example that is not beyond us, because He is alive in us. This is the way to live. First I get to know the Master, then I can trust Him, and then I can obey Him. That’s the order. It doesn’t matter what I am dealing with.

The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:12b, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.” Paul knew the Master.

Once we know Him, we can trust Him for the worst situation in our marriage.

Once we know Him, we can trust Him to deliver us from any kind of mental confusion, emotional problem, or physical sickness.

It all rests on getting to know Him. As we trust Him, as we act in faith because of knowing Him, we desire to obey Him. As we enter into faith obedience to His Word, He imparts to us the very authority of God.

Conditional Compliments Anyone?

Romans 10:10

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.

Exodus 32-34

Built Up in Christ

Colossians 2:6-7

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

Lessons in Dark Places

Psalm 25:8

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.

Response in Faith

Ephesians 2:5 and Luke 8:4-8

The fourth hearer became the first because he received the Word as though it were personally addressed to him. He did not agree with the message for others, but lived it for himself. Every new word from God demands an immediate response of faith from man. The fourth man was divinely conditioned to experience faith. He was honest with what he heard and sanctified by what God said. The moment a person lingers in his response of faith, he is holding up the operation of God. He leaves open the way for unrest because he has not entered immediately into the rest of faith. As soon as a person does not believe God as He reveals truth, he stops being honest. He may think he is humble because of his attitude toward himself, but in reality he is assuming an attitude of iniquity instead of attending unto mercy.

Instead of keeping yourself in view, lose sight of yourself and focus on God´s Word in faith. The hearer that makes it keeps the Word. Even his failures bring him back to the Word. God intends the Word to become a source of conviction into the life of Christ. So many times people, instead of being quickened by the latest revelation from God, withdraw into memories and feel that God is rebuking them. The Word of God convicts us into conversion. Conviction is a bearer of life. The conviction of what we are becomes the conviction of what He did and who we are in Him.

Exodus 28-3

The Divine Creativity of the Master

Luke 19:1-10

Unfortunately, most people do not understand why they cannot properly evaluate anything from their own human resources. God has a creative provision for every detail of life. It is His method of approaching sinners.

Luke 19:1-10 is a beautiful illustration of this principle. Jesus passed by the sycamore tree. Notice His creative approach! He stopped underneath the tree and looked up at the little, crooked tax collector. Jesus said "Come down from that tree. I have an appointment with you for lunch today at your house." What a beautiful, creative way to approach a "wicked old" tax collector. Jesus went to this little fellow's house. He ministered unconditional love to Zacchaeus, never telling him to repent. After receiving the Lord into his home, he quickly turned from his dishonest ways, promising to restore fourfold whatever he had unjustly taken from others.

"And Zacchaeus stood and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham" (Luke 19:8-9).

May the Lord teach us how to be creative in our approach to lost souls so that we do not condemn them, but rather motivate them to repent and serve God.

And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. - Luke 19:1-10

Fellowship with Love and Mercy

Psalm 23:6

What a great thing it is to be moved by faith: for a husband to be moved to love his wife because of reverence for God; for a wife to be moved to love her husband with unconditional love. How great it is when children and teenagers are moved to love God and their parents.

Have fellowship with grace and Truth. Fellowship with love and mercy. Let the presence of God begin to impress your soul and give you personal illuminations. The Word will begin to dwell richly in you. Faith´s substance will be revealed as you focus upon the character of Christ and the transforming power of His love. Faith believes without wavering; it knows without seeing. It is a very beautiful and sacred thing to realize the potential of faith. Neither Satan nor sight can limit it. Senses and feelings cannot deprive it of the nurturing provision of power as the capacity for hearing the Word of God is developed in the heart and soul.

Knowing without Growing

Luke 8:4-8

Our mind may receive truth, the conditions we are in may be relieved by truth, but unless we hear truth mixed with faith it is of no eternal avail. The parable in Luke 8 is about four hearers, all receiving the same opportunity. What three of them heard was not followed by Who God is.

Many people may hear and understand. Many may hear and be released. But how many hear and then live with the eternal results of those words? The first hearer received knowledge of the Word, but then the Word or the substance it produced was taken by the devil. The hearer did not act in what he heard. He may always know but he never will grow because he lives life without divine application. He does not appreciate the Word of God enough to agree in total obedience. When the Word is pleasing to himself then he accepts it. He will not face God unconditionally with obedience.

The second hearer heard and responded until the Lord tested him. As soon as the test came, the joy stopped. He was not rooted in that which he had heard. The Word was aborted before it could be delivered. Truth was for his daily state and not rooted in his eternal standing. He heard truth to be blessed by it, but not to let it dwell in him that he might bless others. Truth did not find habitation in him because he chose not to abide in it when God´s time came for it to be revealed.

Exodus 21-24

His Eternal Plan

Ecclesiastes 3:14

God has a purpose for our lives. It is designed only to bless. He wants to promote us in His Kingdom as we get to know Him through situations. He has a perfect provision for everything we go through. In Psalm 138:8, God promises "to perfect that which concerns me..."

The situations in our families are in the plan of God. Details in marriage are in His hand. If we can accept God's plan in these areas, His provisions will soon follow. We will also receive maximum blessings, because instead of reacting to situations, we respond to God's resources.

Understand that whatsoever He does, He does forever (1) and that "He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). He has designed inward conformity to His Son to come through outward circumstances in His plan of grace. As we grow in Christ, we experience His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His omnipresence. His faithfulness, His finished work, His mercy, and His compassion are all there to support us. "He will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).

His plan is perfect. His thinking is right, and His design is beautiful. One day we will see that everything truly did work together for good, just as He promised!

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. - Ecclesiastes 3:14

The Triumph of Resurrection

John 11:42-44

Standing near the grave of Lazarus, Jesus asked that the stone be removed.

"What?" they asked Him. "Surely, the body stinks." Behind the stone was a rotting, smelly corpse. The Lord wanted those people to get close so they could get a good idea of what sin smells like and what happens when bodies die and decay.

"Come close to the grave," Jesus was saying here. "Get a good look at what sin does to a body of death."

Finally, Jesus spoke, saying to Lazarus, "Out! Now!" That is exactly what He said, according the original Greek text.

At that moment, life came back into Lazarus, and he came forth from the grave. Jesus then told the people who stood there in amazement to help him get out of his grave clothes. The Lord brought in resurrection life and released the grip of death.

Truth or the Spirit in Truth

Romans 10:17

Our capacity for power is in direct proportion to the faith that the Word of God produces in our lives. We can obey the letter of the Word and yet not live in the Word. We can serve one another and yet not be in submission to God because we are not serving in the love life of God´s grace through obedience. Our obedience is more than keeping the letter; it is being kept in submission that we may serve a living God. Many people obey the truth of the Word, but never follow the execution of the plan of the Word through the Spirit.

Obedience to the letter may keep a life from overt sin, but it is through faith that comes by hearing that we are inwardly transformed. Many are so transfixed by keeping the condition of their own spirituality that they never hear the Word of God. The Word lives only when it is spoken from the mouth of God.

Some people spend a lifetime without God´s faith because they never truly hear the Word. Without the faith of Christ, they never can execute anything without evidence, so they spend a Christian lifetime confined to the limitations of what they see. They speak the Word in confession, and yet they never hear the Word of conversion. They grow stagnate in the place that the letter brings them, never realizing the voice that speaks from Heaven. They are blinded to the single eye of a living faith, which is directed and executed by He Who is the Word of God in the flesh.

Exodus 18-20

True Friendship

John 15:12-15

Friendship is a blessing and a provision, but it must never be permitted to replace the priority of Christ's Lordship. The test of true friendship is whether it honors the Word. It does not lead to compromise, but builds up both believers in the faith and in the Body of Christ (the church).

Friendship is not to be used as a support system, but as a communication of love. True friends may be separated for long periods of time, yet enjoy a closer fellowship than people who are together every day. Friendship does not compromise obedience to the cross, but encourages the daily appropriation of the truth of the finished work! Rather than a relationship centered around self-gratification, true friendship expresses the burden and heartbeat of Jesus Christ to redeem believers to Himself. Subjective, personality rapport relationships are destructive, but godly ones will result in doctrinal rapport around the principles of truth.

Lonely people often seek gratification and fulfillment through friendship, but this is a selfish motive based on temporal needs. Friendships that are premised upon eternal values bind the hearts of men in spiritual oneness (2). This type of relationship is only possible because of the grace of God functioning in the heart of man. This is through identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus, we see that the Word of God is the basis for true friendship.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. - John 15:12-15

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. - Ephesians 4:16

The Winter Season

Revelation 22:1-2

Think of how trees seem so barren in the wintertime. Nothing on the outside of the tree indicates life, and yet on the inside the tree is very alive. That is when the sap (much like blood to our bodies) is being produced. This is when it is moving and bringing a life flow to every branch and twig.

Then spring comes, and the trees turn beautiful with blossoms and leaves. All of the life on the inside is now flowing out. Do not underestimate the winter times. Life is at work in the destitute, dark, and gloomy moments.

Remember that when times seem their darkest, life is building up from the deep places. Soon, just as the trees blossom and create the beauty of spring, summer, and fall, the time of prosperity will come. When we see everything prospering around us, it is easy to think only of how great and how wonderful that is. But remember this: During the times of prosperity, all the life is flowing out. That would not be possible without the life that is developed deep within, during the dark winter seasons of life.

Faithfulness of God’s Mercy

Psalm 108:4

Mercy must be given before the glory of the Lord can be revealed. Righteousness and truth go before us as an offense, while mercy and goodness follow as the defense. The Body of Christ confronts people in the world today with the truth about mercy and its resulting goodness. The Body of Christ has received righteousness in the Person of Jesus Christ.

We obtain mercy simply by being chosen as God´s elect (Romans 11:30-32). Therefore, mercy continually ministers to us and becomes the revelation of love revealed in truth as a joyful sound. We are walking in the light of what mercy provided in righteousness (Psalm 89: 15-16).

Mercy is the source of all provisions. The seed endureth forever ( Jeremiah 33:11). God´s plan for us as members of the Body of Christ is to restore health and to reveal the nature of His abundant peace and truth ( Jeremiah 33:6). God has established us as the Bride in the covenant of mercy that He swore unto David.

That He shall never leave us nor forsake us means that God cannot divert us from what He has established us in. The throne of mercy is built up (Psalm 85:4) because the sprinkled Blood enabled the Father to create a new creation, the Bride of Christ.

The nature of God´s mercy is for us to live in victory, receive grace that abounds toward us, love one another, submit to the authority of God, have quietness and confidence as our strength, be careful what we hear, and fear the Lord.

Exodus 14-17

Think Now

Revelation 20:11-15

Christians often lose their motivation for winning the lost to Christ. Let us take a moment to look at what eternity has in store for the unsaved.

Those who have died without Christ are already in hell, but they will be brought forth in the resurrection of the unjust (2). They will appear at the White Throne Judgment for their final sentences (1). The saints will be gathered there in glorified bodies. The Word of God records that Jesus is so holy that the people who will be judged cannot stand before Him. Briefly, they hear the final words that they will ever hear from the Son of God. They will see faces of redeemed loved ones for the last time.

Imagine what it would be like not to see a loved one ever again because he rejected the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his sins. Think of people at your place of work who do not know Christ as their personal Savior. Imagine what it would be like if they looked at you for the last time before they were cast into the lake of fire. You are saved and they are on their way to a Christless eternity. Does this motivate you to win the lost while there is still time? It is no wonder that God will wipe away every tear (3). Continue to think and pray for those who are unsaved. Think now before it is too late.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. - Revelation 20:11-15

And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. - John 5:29

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. - Revelation 21:4

Exposing the Heart

Matthew 13:22

God shapes our circumstances as a helpful discipline. Circumstances, whatever they may be, can never change what´s on the inside of the man. If God gave us the best circumstances in the world, they would only bring out what we prefer. "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceiveth not in him the lips of knowledge" (Proverbs 14:7). If someone doesn't reflect doctrine as the premise for fellowship, go from him. The Bible calls him foolish.

Every Scripture exposes something about our heart, whether it is humble or established in self-response. Weights are external temptations, evil habits, and evil associations. Sin is the inside power of the force of Adam controlling some part of the soul. Lay aside every single weight, every area of sin that is the most besetting, and every clever sin that could encircle you.

How do you lay aside sin? Does it take time? How do we deal with anything that impedes progress? What should our attitudes be toward it? Lay it aside or get rid of it. As weeds have to be rooted out of the garden so they will not flourish, even so the things that choke the Word of God have to be dealt with in our lives (Matthew 13:22).

Confessing Truth

Ephesians 4:21-24

Truth is not in confessing present situational conditions. Truth is set apart from situations. Your confession is what Christ confesses about you in your new nature. Don't confess the accusations of your Adamic nature. Adam separates us from the life of the new nature.

At salvation, we receive the most precious possession needed to live. Jesus Christ is this precious possession. God gave us His only begotten Son, demanding nothing in return. He gave to meet our need. His motive was to love.

Truth is available to us through its source in the Word of God. We are the object of truth. Love is the motivation for truth. We confess truth on the basis of what the Word of God confesses about us. We receive truth as the liberty to receive life. Life challenges our Adamic nature, the realization of self.

Truth reveals the heart of love which breaks the yoke of bondage to the fear of death. In response to fear, we turn to self. Truth takes self and destroys it in the name of love.

Love is given without expectation of return. Love's only stipulation is that we establish a foundation for God to build upon. Love has no conditions. It is freely given and has redemptive power. Your life confesses what truth has given so that love can create a fellowship with no conditions. Your confession is the life that you present without demands.

Exodus 11-13

Idle Words

II Corinthians 3:5-6

God is in heaven listening every time we speak. Our speech is often vain and empty, demonstrating our inability to evaluate. Again, listen to these words "not that we are sufficient in ourselves to evaluate anything, this evaluation originating from ourselves..." It is impossible for the Word of God to be more clear on this vital point. It is so simple, yet so profound. No human being has the slightest capacity to analyze anything. How many of our daily evaluations come directly from our own limited viewpoint? Whenever our thoughts come from God, our words on earth will always be few. Much of our conversation is filled with opinions expressed about life, stemming either from personal experience or subjectivity.

This is a fantastic principle. Usually, when someone evaluates a subject or a person, his opinion stems from his own resources because of personality, experience, temperament or education. Many times he lacks the proper education and passes judgment out of ignorance. Let us keep in mind this key verse: "But our sufficiency has its source in God who also made us sufficient as those who minister a testament, new in quality, not of the letter, not of the law, but of the Spirit, for the letter and law kills but the Spirit makes alive" (II Corinthians 3:5b-6 Kenneth Wuest).

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. - 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

Laying Aside the Weights

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The narrow road is rough on the old sin nature. If the old sin nature has any part in controlling the mind, sermons are rough on it. There is only one thing God wants to do with the old sin nature, and that is to crucify it. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).

If you are not running the race, you will not notice the weights. Did you ever start exercising and all of a sudden realize what poor physical shape you´re in? It is a true principle that the moment we start running the race, we see the things that begin to hinder us like a swelling of superfluous flesh. The Lord gives us definition in dealing with the weights.

Always remember, a weight is anything that takes time and strength away from God´s appointed duties. The weight is anything that binds the mind to earth and makes us in bondage to ourselves. Real, legitimate duties are not to be construed as weights. These would be responsibilities such as our families, friends, and jobs.

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8a).

Distillation of Love

Galatians 5:22-23

Of the nine fruits of the Spirit presented in Galatians 5:22- 23, love is first, the first cause, and the remaining eight fruits are the effects of Love. God's essence or substance is love. The quality of that substance is in its effects.

Christians try to experience spiritual effects through the overt expression of natural ability and, in this striving, blind themselves to God's provision that reveals His plan for their lives. They substitute works for faith, hoping to experience satisfaction in their minds and emotions.

Distillation is the process of extracting the essence of a substance. Love is our substance. Therefore the Holy Spirit distills in us the effects of God's purpose towards us which results in our becoming the products of His being.

The essence of God is extracted from substance by obedience to the truth of God's Holy Word. The Word of God is the energy used by the Holy Spirit to extract essence, conforming us into His image and perfecting us in His character. We reveal divine activity as we become occupied with the first cause, Jesus Christ. The resulting character of His Person illuminates the effects: joy = calm delight; peace = quiet prosperity in God's order; longsuffering = fortitude revealing patience; gentleness = the quality of God's compassion; goodness = the quality of God's character; faith = the substance of truth; meekness = humility in terms of availability to resurrection life; temperance = ability to control our Adamic nature.

Exodus 8-10

Guarding Against Disunity

I Corinthians 1:10

Constantly, Satan does everything in his power to divide the unity of the members of the body of Christ. First, he tries to divide the believer's heart (2). Then, he tries to divide the mind. He knows that if a man has two masters or is double-minded, he will be unstable in all of his ways (3).

The devil will always have a counter-plan to attack and hinder the unity of God's people. It is recorded in Acts 4:31-33 that after the priests and Sadducees threatened their preaching, the disciples returned to the upper room to pray. They spoke the Word of God with boldness because they had been with Jesus, and "great grace was upon them all" (verse 33).

God made a provision for this kind of oneness among His people, "now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10).

When we go to the cross as sinners, and ask for God's divine provision in prayer, it pleases God. It is His desire that we continue in one heart, one soul, one mind, one vision, and one faith, while using the diversities of gifts each one has been given.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. - 1 Corinthians 1:10

Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. - Hosea 10:2

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. - James 1:8

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. - Acts 4:31-33

Occupied with Christ

1 Corinthians 10:1-5

In Deuteronomy 8, the children of Israel became familiar with the blessings God had given them. They forgot about how He had delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians.

There are times when we forget about the "horrible pit" that He has dug us out of (Psalm 40:2). How careful we need to be that we do not forget what the Lord has done for us. When we lose sight of His hand upon our lives, we grow weary and become lukewarm in our walk with Him. God gives preventive medicine for this in His Word. It is filled with promises that give us hope, and it reminds us of what Christ has done for us. "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4).

At times we feel as though we are so far from the Lord, and it seems we do not have the strength to draw near to Him. But just remembering Him and where He has brought us from brings deliverance to our lives. This motivates us to change our minds and allow God to do the work in our hearts. We begin to relish repentance, for it is God who brings us to that place. Keep in mind, we reveal what we are occupied with. Therefore, let us be occupied with Jesus Christ.

Plan or Provision?

1 Corinthians 2:16

What are you occupied with God's plan or His provisions? Not once did God command, require, request, or even suggest that we be concerned with His Plan. Our responsibility as Christians is to be occupied with His Provisions.

Whenever a person allows his mind to center on God's Plan, he enters into an area of thought beyond his own. It is of no consequence to us whether or not we know God's Plan for our lives; only that we fulfill it through His provisions. "Which of you by taking thought could add one cubit to his stature" (Matthew 6:27)?

Occupation with the plan can result only in a mind full of questions. Occupation with the provisions makes all my thoughts declarative. Could you, as Abraham, go forth into a strange land, not knowing whither you were going, or would you require a detailed geo-physical map of the way and the land to be seen? An egg does not need to know the details of the recipe in order to be fulfilled in the cake. Likewise we need not know the details in God's recipe for life in order to be fulfilled by our part in the Finished Work.

Christ is my Provision. With His life, I am fulfilled and am a partaker of the Plan of God. My thoughts are continually occupied with the Master. I concentrate upon receiving all that He is for me in this moment. Being occupied with His provisions is the aspect of God's plan for my life in which I allow my mind to take an interest.

Exodus 5-7

Natural Preference Prevents Unity

Proverbs 19:1-2

Another factor which prevents unity in the body of Christ is natural preference which includes every desire that originates outside of the Word of God (1). This limits a person's vision for God, and causes him to privately interpret the Word of God in order to complement the desires of his natural heart. Following the natural desires of the heart allows the Christian to choose a lifestyle contrary to the perfect will of God.

A believer will begin to rationalize truth with his human reason, without supporting his reasoning with a foundation of divine precepts. Natural preference always promotes self-centeredness. He can overcome this way of preserving his life by allowing the cross of Jesus Christ and the liberty of the Holy Spirit to fill him so that he can go from glory to glory (2). A believer must yield to the divine guidance of the Bible and to the absolute will that God has for his life. Psalm 115:3 declares that God has an absolute will, "...our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased."

We must heed the Word of God and be led by the Holy Spirit into the absolute will of God. Jesus Christ will always root out natural preference through His Word.

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool. Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth. - Proverbs 19:1-2

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. - 2 Corinthians 3:18

Forward to Victory

Romans 12:2

One of the most important things any of us can learn is the principle of forward motion. For certain, every believer experiences difficult times. But these seasons are very crucial to our spiritual growth. They teach us to see the reality of Romans 8:37: "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

The phrase "more than conquerors" appears as one word, hupernikao, in the Greek. Huper, a prefix of preposition, means "over; above." Nikao is a form of nike or "victory." This is a tremendous truth! Our victory is not an earthly one, dependent upon performance or production. No, it is through Jesus Christ and His blood that we have triumphed!

Consider the day Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9). It was the final opportunity for Satan and his fallen host to mount an offensive against Christ. Their efforts were fruitless, and Jesus made an open show of them according to Colossians 2:15: "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

Certainly, He will cause us to triumph in any circumstance!

The Order of Life

1 Corinthians 14:40

Order is the key to the Father's administration of life. Anything that violates order is not in the Father's plan. Order is not structure. Structure is a false concept of order which actually violates the basic precepts of order. Order is found not in organization, but in life. That which comes under the authorship of God's life is in order, and that which rebels against life is anarchistic and chaotic even if organized.

God's order is the progressive out-flowing of life descending from the Throne. The Throne is above, and life descends from that Throne. The oil ran down from Aaron's head to the skirts of his garment, as dew descends upon Mount Hermon. Structure tries to organize life which is below in an effort to be like that life which is above. Authority is best defined as authorship. As an author fills his book with his thoughts, so God has the authority to fill our lives with Himself.

There is no life outside of order and no fullness outside of the authority of Christ's headship. Order is achieved by allowing God to be the author who fills the blank pages of our biographies with His descending life.

In the order of life is the authority of life. The first Adam remained a mere living soul because he violated order. The Second Adam has authority to give spiritual life because order was the very object of His submission.

Exodus 1-4

God’s Prescription for Unity

Exodus 29:7,21; 30:23

The anointing with oil is a divine prescription for unity in the body of Christ. In Exodus 29 and 30, the oil was so unique and so very special in its ingredients that it healed as it spread over Aaron's robe. When we study this principle, we learn that there is a healing power in the oil. There is always healing through love, unity and oneness. Coldness, fear, resentment, and bitterness are destroyed when believers dwell together in unity.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:2 that we should forbear one another in love. Ephesians 4:3 says "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." The Spirit-filled believer who derives his life from Jesus Christ and the Word of God will forbear the brethren. He will endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit which has already been established in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:32 instructs us: "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Never give up on people; they deserve to receive the kindness and compassion of Christ. Herein lies the oil of healing, the power of God, and the love of God which motivates us to forgive others without measure. When believers dwell together in this kind of unity they can expect a tremendous blessing - God commands it!

Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. - Exodus 29:7

Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, - Exodus 30:23

Renewing the Mind

Proverbs 23:7

It is very important to understand the necessity of hearing the Word. Thoughts form lines in the memory center. The depth of these lines is determined by how long and how frequently we ponder something. This is not forced upon anyone. Our free volition determines the intake of our memory center.

In essence, Proverbs 23:7 tells us that we are what we think. Our actions will eventually reveal the content of our thoughts. Therefore, if we want to be like Christ then we need to have His mind (1 Corinthians 2:16). He has not left us in the dark, for His thoughts are recorded in the Bible. Therefore, as we are faithful to hear and study the Word, our lives will be transformed.

Paul encourages us in Romans 12:2: "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." The word "renewing" is anakainosis in the Greek text. In the context of this verse, the word refers to a continual process of renovation. Our minds are constantly being renewed. As we receive more of His Word, we reflect more of His character.

Let us purpose to hear and reflect upon His Word today so that we might become more like him.

Take My Yoke

Matthew 11:29-30

There is a yoke which all who wish to be known by the Lord as His disciples must bear. It is the yoke of humility that Christ Himself bore. Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself " ( John 5:19). He laid aside every claim to grandeur and submitted to the Father in all things. He said, "For I am meek and lowly of heart" (Matthew 11:29). For Jesus to act independently of His Father, even if His actions were perfect, would have been less than perfection. He taught as one who had authority because He knew how to submit to the Father in meekness (transferal of rights) and lowliness of heart (humility of esteem).

Christ´s only demand is that we take His yoke upon us. "I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me . . . bringeth forth much fruit for without me you can do nothing" ( John 15:5). A voluntary submission of both our capacities and our incapacities is demanded by discipleship. "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). The Lord assured us that He is the author and finisher of our faith and that He will bring to completion the good work which He has begun. Our only responsibility is to be receptive. A true disciple is one who allows Christ to be his total supply, never seeking elsewhere for his provisions. When we submit to Christ, then His faithfulness is the only factor upon which our success depends. We transfer to the Master our right to life and trust that His heart is far greater than our own.

Genesis 47-50

God’s Adequacy

I Corinthians 1:26-29

Gideon is an example of a person who was not prepared for the call of God. He was from a poor tribe of Manasseh (2), and he felt that God was a god of yesterday. He remembered how God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, yet he really thought the Lord had forsaken the tribes of Israel during his time. Gideon did not merit the call of God. I Corinthians 1:26-29 describes how God calls the weak, foolish, base, and despised things of this world "to bring to nought the things that are". This is a principle that should be a premise for the call that God has for every believer.

God told Gideon that the issue was not that his family was poor, but that the Lord's presence would be with him. Gideon had his natural thoughts of inadequacy converted to God's adequacy. The blessing of the Lord never depends upon a believer's adequacy in himself to feel like he can make something happen. Consider the life of Gideon: God took a man and used him in such a mighty way to bring a great victory for the children of Israel. God wants to use you to win a tremendous battle in your life today. Please let Him. "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32b).

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. - 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. - Judges 6:15

Positioned in the Kingdom

Matthew 6:33

Many people do not know how to adjust properly. They go through long periods of mood swings. The next thing that happens is a mental attitude of negativity. Proverbs 23:7a says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Yet, many fail to guard their hearts with the proper divine substance.

The unguarded heart lives at large. This person operates without a proper orientation to the mind of Christ. As believers, we have been translated into the kingdom of God´s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). We are inside a government, a divine authority, a divine kingdom, and a divine system. We are inside the kingdom of God positionally, but to function inside the kingdom means to function inside a divine authority, a divine system, a divine organization, a divine provision, and a divine establishment. Our sources and resources for life come from that system, that establishment, that government, and that authority given by the Word of God.

Strangers in the Land

Hebrews 11:8-10

God calls us to be strangers in the land of His promises. We are continually called to go out into a land not knowing whither we are going. The challenge of Christianity is to live as a stranger constantly.

Every step we take should be on soil which we never have trod before. Joshua was promised that wherever he placed the sole of his foot the land was to be his. Christians so often do a spiritual jig upon the same soil day after day, never expanding their horizons, until the soil is hard-packed, dry, and fruitless. It may be familiar soil, but it is only an acre of the whole earth that God has given us.

We need today as never before to live as strangers, to venture out upon the Word of God into areas never before explored.

Abraham chose to dwell in tents for this reason: a tent has no foundation. He wanted to remain mobile until God revealed the City. Our City is the Corporate Body, and we cannot afford to settle down before we find her.

As we travel in the land of our inheritance, let us explore every coast and claim it as our own. Let us never be satisfied with part of our prize, but go on in the adventure of faith. We must enter into lands where we are strangers. That is how new territory is claimed. Columbus had no claim to America until he stood upon her shores. Christians have no right to promises until they stand upon them by faith as strangers in the land.

Genesis 43-46

Knowledge in Action

I Corinthians 1:30

We are commanded in the Word to buy wisdom. "Buy the truth, and sell it not, also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23). It is more precious than rubies (2) and blessed is the man who finds it (3). But there are so many Christians who never live in wisdom. They have knowledge, but they never carry it out in their everyday life. Talking about knowledge for days does not accomplish anything - it must be experienced.

Wisdom always carries out what it believes. We can say we believe in prayer, but if we do not pray, we do not have the wisdom of prayer. If we say we believe in God's promise to take care of our life, but do not live in peace, then we are not experiencing wisdom. "It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God" (I Corinthians 1:30, NIV). God did not just speak His Word, but it became knowledge in action. Love always starts with an attitude, which is revealed in an action.

There are rewards for people who fear Him, and carry out wisdom. "For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased" (Proverbs 9:11, NIV). The wise man lives longer, happier and beyond his natural capacity. And, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise" (Proverbs 13:20a).

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: - 1 Corinthians 1:30

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. - Proverbs 8:11

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. - Proverbs 3:13

Advancing in the Kingdom

Philippians 3:7-14

In Philippians 3:8, we see that Paul counted everything "but dung" if it interfered with the call of God on his life. He determined to put the things of yesterday behind him. If only Christians could have this attitude!

The past is a great instrument used by Satan to affect the present. People often bring up negative occurrences from their past lives and dwell on them unnecessarily. They allow those experiences to dominate their minds, and as a result, they live in anxiety and subjectivity.

In Philippians 3:13, Paul forgets "those things which are behind." With this mindset, we can continue on, "reaching forth," advancing to grasp the things that God has in store for us. It is what we are becoming in Christ that stirs us up, and we become single-eyed.

It is where we are going that counts. So, we "press toward the mark for the prize." We overtake it by continually pursuing it. What is the prize? It is the "high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Through the process of pressing on in God´s Kingdom, we experience the call of God.

In Defiance of Defense

Acts 7

Stephen, the deacon of the Book of Acts and the first Christian to die a martyr´s death, gave a stunning example of defenselessness. A Christian who is full of the Holy Spirit need never defend the faith.

Truth is never threatened by challenges. Only the faithless feel a need to defend their beliefs. The operation of the Holy Spirit is varied and diverse, however, a defense of truth is never part of it. Truth is progressive because it is rooted in Life. Truth is revealed progressively through the Corporate Body and confirms the life that we have been given. For us to defend Christ´s life is needless.

Christians full of faith can afford to be offensive with the truth of the Life that they have. Given an opportunity to defend himself, Stephen laid aside defense and took up the sword of the Spirit. The blow of truth he dealt cost him his life, but that was of no consequence to him because, throughout his ordeal, he beheld the One Who lives.

When you refuse to defend your faith but rather express it, you open a door through which the conviction and loving power of the Holy Spirit can flow.

Stand in defiance of defense. Never answer the devil´s questions. Run him through with the sword of the Lord. An attack is conquered not with defense, but with counterattack. Be offensive in your presentation of truth. Either you are in truth, which is absolute, or you absolutely are not.

Genesis 40-42

Fruitful Year

Psalm 2:11

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (2). To fear the Lord means to go to Him first about anything. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you should speak to God first, before you react in any way. This is not fear with a negative anxiety or psychological fear. Rather, we are referring to a full respect or awe of Deity.

Every day, we find ourselves in circumstances in which we need to rely on God. Many times Christians do not stop and pray for God's wisdom, but apply earthly wisdom instead. The Word of God says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).

What we need to do is to wait on God, by stopping and asking God for His mind for the situation before we react. We need to fear by appropriating God's knowledge through all the details and situations of our life. That is the reason we are to "Serve the Lord with fear" (Psalm 2:11a). Not fear with anxiety, but fear that brings forth fruit by appropriating God's wisdom in every day life.

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. - Psalm 2:11

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10

My Opinions Vs. God’s Mind

Isaiah 55:7

We must not think in terms of our opinions. When we do, we will enter into an opinionated process of thinking that is very clever. For example, some will say, "I examine everything, I prove everything, and I make sure that circumstances do not steal my heart. I do not want to lose my individuality by letting something take me over." All of it sounds relevant because it is relevant. But, the tremendous problem is that God never gets that heart.

In fact, what they are saying is, "God, You are close to getting my heart. But, come on! I can't be me anymore." Many times, people who pride themselves in their intellectualism are prone to this attitude. Consequently, because they have never given their hearts to the Lord, they keep their hearts from a complete takeover by God. They magnify every distraction under the sun when the Cross begins to take over their hearts. They are afraid that Bible doctrine will take over their thinking; so, they avoid being saturated with doctrine. They don't want their opinions and viewpoints to be taken over by God´s mind.

What they are missing, however, is the opportunity to access the authority and wisdom that God gives to men and women who have been delivered from self.

A New Name

Isaiah 62:2

"And you shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name."

By what name are you called? Every person in Christ has the privilege of being called by a new name continually. A name is a descriptive title. Moses asked the Lord, "What is Your name?" and the Lord said to Moses, "I AM THAT I AM," the only name that could describe the "eternal is" of His character.

Christ said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

As you live by every word from His mouth, your name, the description of your life, is constantly new. As love and tenderness proceeding out of the mouth of God become your portion to minister, Love and Tenderness are your name. When God speaks patience to you, then your new name is Patience, and on it goes. As long as God is new every moment in the I AM of His life, then you are continually called by a new name. It can never be predicted who you next will be but it is sure that "As he is so are you in this present age."

When a man and a woman become man and wife, she ceases to call herself by her father´s name but takes on her husband´s. So, too, with Christ and His Bride, the Church. Whether He be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, or King of Kings, that becomes the Church´s name as well.

Genesis 37-39

The Four Strengths

Isaiah 40:31

There are four specific kinds of strength a believer receives as he waits upon God, according to Isaiah 40:31. He is given inward strength through God's process of renewal. He can "run and not be weary" refers to outward strength. He mounts up with "wings as eagles" speaks of upward strength. And the fact that he can "walk and not faint" means he now has onward strength.

The Christian can be sanctified in each of these areas of strength by simply waiting on God. Those who do not wait upon Him will not obtain these things. They will grow weary, faint and at times, will react to others because they have not learned the secret of waiting.

No one who learns to wait upon God ever gets frustrated with His grace. No one who waits on Him feels unloved, because he receives love as he waits. He will not feel empty, because he is filled with God's fellowship as he waits.

It does not matter what sin we have committed in the past, or how guilty we feel. If we have appropriated I John 1:9 by confessing our sins to God, He considers them to be buried in the deepest sea (3). Our guilt is removed (4). We can wait upon God and receive inward, outward, upward and onward strength.

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

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

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. - Micah 7:19

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. - Romans 8:1

The Supply of Love

2 Corinthians 9:11-12

Somebody once said, "If you have someone who would love you under all circumstances, who would never betray you, who would come to you privately and cover your sins and never repeat them, who would weep because of what you're going through, that is love." This love is available to us, according to the Word of God. But how many people will do that for a lifetime? Sadly, revival has not come to many churches in America, and this is evident by a lack of godly love. The crowd that can't get along has never experienced God's love. They don't know that it takes God's love to bear a cross, to be a cross to others, and to take up a cross. Living in the devil's territory, we need God's supply. But God will never supply His people beyond their capacity to respond to His Word and the filling of His Spirit.

God's supply is given according to our capacity. He has a supply for every believer, for every detail of life, according to our capacity to respond to Christ by faith.

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Matthew 3:1-4

"Repentance" is a subject some Christians try to avoid. We need not fear repentance when it is viewed in its proper perspective. John the Baptist preached a message of repentance as it never had been preached before. Perhaps this is why Christ said about him, "There hath not risen a greater born of women" (Matthew 11:11). "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Isaiah 40:3).

Contrary to what many believe, repentance is not ceasing from evil works and turning to good, which is only preparing the way for self to do good. John cried to those in the wilderness who could not find their way. He did not cry "come out of your wilderness," for they did not know how. He cried, "Christ has come to seek and to save that which is lost. Prepare ye to receive Him. Prepare ye the way of the Lord."

What is the way? "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" ( John 1:47). Grace and truth is the way of the Lord. Do not go about in an effort to establish your own righteousness. If you do, you have not repented from self. Make straight, in the desert of your life a highway for our God, a way for God to enter your parched soul. True repentance is turning from self effort unto God´s program of grace. "With Him will He not also give you freely all things." All things are gifts from God; to be experienced, they must be received. Repentance is a gift we are blessed to receive.

Open the Storehouse

Matthew 10:8

"But if I say, I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name, His word is in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot" (Jeremiah 20:9, NIV). Jeremiah knew if he did not speak the Word of God it would be as a burning fire trapped in his bones. We, too, have the Word of God stored inside of us to share with others. "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Matthew 13:52, NIV). We have the treasure of the Gospel. Therefore, we need to be like Jeremiah - we should not contain it, but share it.

Trials come our way because God wants to reveal His riches in us. He believes we are mature enough, so He places a trial before us so that we can have the privilege of manifesting God. Many times, we do not endure the trial, and God's riches are not seen. Often, we keep the treasure for ourselves and God is not glorified. True discipleship is manifesting God. "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8b).

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. - Matthew 10:8

God’s Provision for Us

John 6:51

In John 6:35, Jesus said to the disciples, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Christ is revealed to us through His Word, and therein we find all of the fulfillment and satisfaction we need in life.

When our desire is in the Word of God, the Lord will not withhold any blessing from us! He will give us every provision we need to study, to work, or for any situation. When we truly live with Christ as our "everything," we do not put the Scriptures aside and live in want. We trust Psalm 23, which says that the Lord is shepherding us. As we bank on His Word, three things will characterize our lives:
1) The peace of God will rule our souls.
2) The truth of the Word will become internalized in our souls.
3) Everything we do will be in the nature of God´s name as we are totally dependent on His indwelling provision.

An Invisible Cornerstone

1 Peter 2:4-10

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people." What other group freely admits that their lives, their philosophy, all that they are or ever hope to be are built upon a foundation, the cornerstone of which cannot be seen? The peculiarity is not so much that we build upon this cornerstone, but that we profess to perceive its presence and that we prove its reality in the solid construction of our temple.

The world lives by faith, but never will admit it. People have faith in every sort of natural law and systematic procedure, yet they cannot perceive the basis or foundation of the world in which they believe. Science can only speculate when asked what is larger than the universe and smaller than the atom. They can offer only vague conjecture as to why birds fly south in winter and babes know how to breathe when they are born.

We are a peculiar people because we are rational about our world. By faith, we see that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that things which are seen are made of things which do not appear. By faith, we lay hold upon the One Who did it. "Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious" (1 Peter 2:7).

Our lives become either a foundation upon which others can build or a stone across which they stumble. We are a peculiar people; that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Genesis 30-32

The Unseen Audience

I Peter 1:12

There are many things that take place in the invisible realm of which we are unaware. "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (I Corinthians 4:9). Our every move is observed.

As Job faced many hardships, he did not know that he was being watched, nor did he realize that Satan had accused him before God (2). Satan and his angels had been roaming through the earth (3), and were paying close attention to God's children. They were trying to mock God and His servants.

The same thing goes on today. Satan appears before God night and day to accuse us (4), as the angels watch to see how we will respond. There is nothing the devil can accuse us of that has not been taken care of by the blood of Christ. Do we rely on God's power and overcome according to the provision revealed to us in the Word of God? When we are placed in the furnace, we must remember that it could be an angelic conflict (5). As we hold fast God's Word, Christ is revealed through us as we go through the trial, and consequently, Satan will see the glory given to God.

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. - 1 Peter 1:12

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? - Job 1:9

And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. - Job 1:7

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. - Revelation 12:10

And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. - Daniel 3:20

Having the Mind of Christ

2 Samuel 14:14

We are told by God Almighty how to be mentally stable for the unknown of God´s plan. With souls all over the world going to hell, why would anyone want to join the crowd, to participate in just any activity, unless the whole motive was to win the lost, to grow, and to have the mind of Christ? The key issue in this life is not just having a good mind or a good life, but it is having the mind of Christ.

Thousands of believers do not know how to function in the mind of Christ; therefore, they do not know how to experience the love of God or appropriate the grace of God. Love in its true sense is so misunderstood today. Consider for a moment how Abraham felt when Ishmael was cast out of the family. He watched as part of his flesh and blood went out of the door forever. Consider how Abraham felt when he was about to offer his son Isaac on the altar. Think of how Jacob reacted when he thought that his son, Joseph, was dead.

Many people do not know their own hearts. Something down the road could prove that they have never understood true, pure, godly love. We need to experience God´s grace to function in God´s love.

Dost Thou Wash My Feet?

John 13:4-10

Often a wrong concept of the Word of God prevents the glory of the Church from being seen. Christ Jesus proposes to present to Himself a spotless Church. He will accomplish this by the washing with the water of the Word. How do you conceive of the Word of God today? Christ´s authority as the Word always was found in His willingness to love. Are you willing to allow His authority to reign by letting Him love you or are you too busy serving Him? Let him that is to be greatest among us be the servant of all. Christ rose from supper, laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. He was preparing to be the servant of all. "But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:7). Will you allow His administration of the Word to cleanse you?

"Then cometh he to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto him, Lord dost thou was my feet? 'Thou shalt never wash my feet'" ( John 13:6, 8). Through false humility, Peter denied Christ his right to serve and thereby subverted the eternal plan for the Corporate Church. You cannot serve the Word of God. The Word is a Master desiring only to serve and to cleanse. "Now you are clean," Christ says, "through the words I have spoken unto you."

Allow the Word to wash you with purity, to become your servant. It will serve you well. Dost thou wash my feet? Yea Lord, for if He wash me not, then no part of Him am I.

Genesis 27-29

Language of the Lost

Romans 9:2-3

Everything in God's creation has a language behind it. Because man is a part of creation, He too has a language. The Bible has much to say about the language of the soul. "A happy heart makes the face cheerful" (Proverbs 15:13a). "Why art thou cast down, O my soul?" (Psalm 42:11a) Our very soul speaks a language of its own.

There is a language that the lost communicate, and we must understand it if we are to effectively share Christ with them. Now, this does not mean compromise. It simply means relating to them on their level.

Jesus practiced this principle with the woman at the well and Nicodemus. They related to salvation on a physical level rather than spiritual. Nicodemus spoke of entering back into his mother's womb (2), and the woman at the well spoke of drawing real water out of the well. Jesus helped to bring their worldly concepts into a spiritual one through investing with creativity.

We must learn to communicate with the lost by sharing their burdens. Paul did this in Romans 9:2: "That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart." He was burdened to the point where he wished to exchange his salvation for the people's sake, even though he knew this was impossible (3). We need to pray that we develop this same understanding of the language of the lost.

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: - Romans 9:2-3

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? - John 3:4

For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: - Romans 9:3

Not By Bread Alone

Deuteronomy 8:3

Picture Jesus on the mount of temptation, and Satan is tempting Him. He has been baptized, and the Father has said He is pleased with His Son (Mat thew 3:17), but Satan contests the Father´s declaration.

Satan tempted the Lord when He hadn't had food for forty days and nights. He answered the temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. "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).

Do you refer to the Scriptures precisely as Jesus did? 1 Peter 2:21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." Or do you say, "I don´t have to go to the Scriptures all the time"? Are you greater than God is? At the weakest point in His Humanity prior to Calvary, Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God." Bread is a necessary detail of life. It was His great need at that moment. Yet, Jesus said we shall live by every single word that comes out of God´s mouth. Measure yourself and your faithfulness by every word of God. It is written, and it is still in force and it stands today.

Unconditional Life with No Conditional Changes

2 Kings 4:1-7

If you lost all you had that was precious, would you be motivated before anything was restored? If you take certain things away from certain people, you find that they hold only conditional qualities of peace and joy. You should not have to have one single thing to make you happy. If you have conditional happiness, it will be revealed when God changes your conditional situation to an unconditional one. When the man in 2 Kings 4 died, he left his family in conditional circumstances. He, being dead, was in an unconditional state where he could not change their conditions. Get to know God unconditionally when your needs are not met. The devil may accuse and say you owe something to the situation; but if you live in an unconditional state of death, the Cross has taken away your ability to pay the devil´s wages. God´s instruction to the woman in 2 Kings, who was supposed to pay a bill, was that she go and borrow as many vessels as she could find. Though her conditions did not change, God told her to minister the life that was not affected by conditions. She borrowed all the empty vessels in the neighborhood and filled them with her small supply of oil. This refers to triggering off the flow of life with our own meager supply. For those who had needs worse than hers, she borrowed them from their conditions by imparting to them the unconditional Throne experience of victory.

Genesis 23-26

Personified Wisdom

Colossians 1:26-28

Jesus Christ is the supreme example of manifested wisdom. He took on a human body and became a house of wisdom (2). "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14a). This person, Jesus Christ, is the possessor and dispenser of wisdom. "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom" (Proverbs 8:14).

As we learn of His wisdom through the Word of God, walls of doctrine are formed in our souls. A house of wisdom is being built inside of us. "Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding is it established; and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches" (Proverbs 24:3-4). "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21b). It is a kingdom which cannot be shaken (3).

The house of wisdom teaches us to decrease as He becomes greater (4). We learn to take up our cross daily (5), and to lay down our lives for others (6). God is pleased as we reveal to the lost the mystery which was hidden for so long. This is the mystery of His grace - Christ, perfect wisdom within us. "In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22).

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: - Colossians 1:26-28

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: - 1 Corinthians 1:30

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

He must increase, but I must decrease. - John 3:30

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. - Luke 9:23

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. - 1 John 3:16

God’s Love Comes First

1 John 4:19

Some of us find it very difficult to let God love us. Perhaps we feel unworthy or undeserving of such affection. What we need is to recognize that God is the only source of love. It was He who initiated love toward us.

1 John 4:19 explains, "We love him, because he first loved us." This affection was expressed to the highest degree when He permitted His Son to become sin for us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16a). The precious blood of Christ fulfilled every requirement of justice and thereby enables God to love us even though we are sinners.

Allow God to love you and creatively make you a relaxed, secure believer. Set aside time today and give the Father the opportunity to express the kind of love that compelled Him to send His Son to the Cross for you. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

Performance or Expression?

2 Corinthians 8:7, 11; Romans 5:17

Christianity is not difficult to perform. It is a flow which expresses. One either acts in terms of knowledge or lives in terms of God. Your confession will betray your experience if you are living in terms of knowledge. Others will hear a confession of knowledge but will not see the transforming power of love coming forth. The nature of God gives freely all that man must strive to achieve. When man tries to put on that which God would give, he limits himself to his own acting capabilities. When we accept Christ, God always gives us life to grow, forgiveness to cover, grace to abound, and mercy to stand in. "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" ( John 7:38). In Christ we are not acting; rather, God´s life is revealing His divine action. We see the throne through supernatural revelation. We see God fill us with the expediency of His power. No longer are we resigned to striving for Godlikeness, but we are faced with God and are transformed into His likeness. See the throne first and you will not have to face the death in yourself. God will execute the sentence experientially as He fills you with the Spirit which is before you. Be awe stricken with its beauty. Do not look at yourself in comparison to the King. Only consider Him as the substitute for your own life. Instead of acting according to what is expected, live accepted in Christ by the life of grace.

Genesis 20-22


Hosea 4:1-6

"Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land" (Hosea 4:1).

God said the land was lacking three things: categorical truth, finished work mercy, and no specific conviction about the truth of God. The consequences of a nation living in this manner were swearing, lying, killing, stealing and the committing of adultery (verse 2). These external things occurred because the people of Israel did not first think with God in categories of doctrine. Unfortunately, this condition produced a mourning in the people. They rejected what the priests tried to teach them through the Word (verse 4). God then made this pronouncement to them, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me" (verse 6a).

The key thing that believers can learn from these verses is the vital importance of knowing and obeying God's thoughts in their daily lives. Do not stop obeying God's Word! An example of this would be on the job. Every Christian should be an example of Ecclesiastes 9:10a to his employer. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." May God challenge every Christian to become firmly rooted in the Word of God, to be grounded in God's finished work mercy, and then to develop convictions that they will live by each day.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. - Hosea 4:1-6

Jesus Wept

2 Corinthians 2:4

Picture Jesus Christ the Nazarene as He comes upon the mountain overlooking Jerusalem. Luke 19:41 says, "And when as He approached He saw the city, He wept over it."

What would it be like to hear Jesus Christ, who was God in human form, audibly weep? John 11:35 says, "Jesus wept." The Greek word here is dakruo, which indicates that His physical body vibrated because He wept so deeply. Matthew 23:37 says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

Millions of people, each of whom God created, are upon the heart of Jesus. He wants to love each and every one. He longs to forgive everything anyone has ever done and give the gift of eternal life. Just by believing, anyone can receive His salvation. But many will not receive Him. As Jerusalem did when He was on the earth, many people reject Him. Still, He longs to gather them into His Kingdom. Is it any wonder that He wept audibly over Jerusalem and was so overwhelmingly burdened for the lost?

Act in Knowledge or Be Stimulated by Life

Romans 13:14

Instead of allowing God to clothe them, people try to costume themselves according to what they think they should wear in a situation. A person needs love, so he acts in love. A trial comes and he wants peace so he acts peaceful. When patience is needed he acts "the soul of patience." Such lives are made up of what people want for God. They act according to what they think they need instead of allowing God to stimulate activity through His life. God may see a need differently from the way we do. When God does not meet a need, then we often step in according to our evaluation of the situation by sight. We feel we must provide with our provision. God always meets our needs in His timing. He sees the needs but may allow us to experience faith before fulfillment. Many people play a role and get by in a situation. They act in love in order to be true to Christ because the situation demands it. However, situations exhaust our natural grace toward others. Mere acting produces strife. When God demands certain action, He always will provide the energy for it and the action will result in harmony. When you live according to knowledge, you may end up knowing that you ought to forgive, but despite this knowledge be lacking in the life power to reproduce the patience of grace. Do not act in Adam, responding to knowledge about God.

Genesis 16-19

Let Your Words Be Few

Ecclesiastes 5:2

We must let our words on earth, about every subject, be very, very few! Let us carefully examine the biblical view of how to properly evaluate situations. II Corinthians 3:5, according to the Kenneth Wuest translation, reads "And not that we are sufficient in ourselves to evaluate anything..." This principle applies to all of us, for we all fall under the category of being insufficient because we are sinners. We are guilty before God, but if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart (2). Our guilt is not the issue that keeps us from evaluating situations properly. The real issue is our lack of sufficiency.

The Word of God clearly magnifies this truth; within man there is no criteria to correctly evaluate any subject. In his natural state man thinks subjectively, rather than objectively. Too many people speak from their own limited resources, using idle words that do not originate from the mind of Jesus Christ. Instead of allowing their words on earth to be few, many people freely give opinions without thinking "with God" concerning the details of life. Whenever a person speaks from his human resources, it is not correct scripturally because it is not a divine provision. Therefore, he is speaking idle words. Idle words include all words that originate from our frame of reference in Adam. "Therefore let thy words be few" (Ecclesiastes 5:2b).

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. - Ecclesiastes 5:2

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. - 1 John 3:20

God Wants Our Hearts

Matthew 20

God brings in tests. He gives us love. He gives us grace. He gives us mercy. He gives more love, more grace, and more mercy. Then He says, "I´m going to test how you use what I give you." Because He gives the grace, the love, and the mercy, and does it all freely, we don´t have legalism as an excuse. Instead, we can only respond through unmerited favor through divine favor.

In Proverbs 23:26, God says to each of us, "I want all of your heart." Is that fair? Don´t we have our own rights and options to consider? After all, we have things we want to do with it. He might say to someone, "Would you give Me your heart? I´m not going to tell you what I plan to do with you. You will have to trust me with it." Is that fair? People are afraid to lose their lives. They want to, they´d like to, but some are not going to do it.

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (I Peter 2:21). If you have fears, you haven´t given the Lord all of your heart. Could this mean that I might not have a place to lay my head if I give Him all my heart? The answer is yes. But the rewards far outweigh the cost.

God Is Driving

Hebrews 11:31

How do we drive out the enemy? It is by receiving his spies in peace. We do not have to have physical contact with the enemy if we have spiritual communion with God first. So many people discuss their trials instead of talking to God and testifying about His life in their trials. Time is redeemed through spontaneous faith and not through extensive rationalization. God never asks us to present a solution, but only to experience Him as our solution. There are no answers to temporal problems outside of an eternal Christ. If we waited to figure out the reason and the purpose for every problem, we never would take the option of spontaneous faith. We must revenge our natural tendency to explore in self-analysis with obedience to faith in the Lordship of love. As this revelation of the Lord is being revealed constantly, our enemies are being driven out little by little (Deuteronomy 7:22-23). That is what we see from the human, experiential, optional, volitional viewpoint. We do not experience the impartation of imputation all at once. We learn little by little or a beast of the field would take us over. That beast is pride. If we were perfect in all our weaknesses, we would not know what it is like to taste grace. Little by little God drives out our enemies. Then He starts the process of the faith of righteousness. Faith is a walk, and life is a process of growing in grace.

Genesis 12-15

Sinai or Zion?

Hebrews 12:18-22

There are two unique approaches to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is the concept of coming to the Lord on Mount Sinai. When God spoke on the mountain, the people of Israel feared (Hebrews 12). It was a mountain of judgment and condemnation. Unfortunately, there are many believers who operate from Mt. Sinai. They judge and condemn other Christians. No man is holy or righteous enough to live on that mountain. It was definitely a place of death!

"For they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart. And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake" (Hebrews 12:20-21). Thank God, there was another mountain for believers to approach. It was called Mt. Zion. "But ye are come unto Mt. Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (1a). The law of Sinai is faithful in us on Mt. Zion. Romans 8:4 says, "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." God's righteousness is fulfilled in us, not by us. Every blood bought child of God does not have to come to a mountain filled with the smoke and blackness of Mt. Sinai. God has given to His people and the whole world a throne of grace to which we can come boldly (2). It is up to each individual to decide daily which mountain he wants to dwell upon.

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, - Hebrews 12:18-22

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16

The Holy Spirit´s Building Process

Acts 9:31

God uses the Bible to build up His people. It is the Word of grace, objectively building us up. Having this as our premise, think of your soul as a basic structure and the Word of God as the substance that the Holy Spirit uses to build upon it.

The prerequisite for this structure is the filling of the Holy Spirit, consistent with Ephesians 5:18, which says that we are to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit. We produce the action with our free volition by going positive toward the Word of grace. As a result, we can keep being filled with continuous action. That is the prerequisite for any godly soul structure that reflects God´s nature. There are many tremendous verses on the subject of building up the soul: Acts 9:31; Ephesians 3:17 and 19; Galatians 4:19; Colossians 2:6; and 1 Peter 2:5. And even when the structure is complete, the building process doesn't stop there.

According to Psalm 16:5-6 and Psalm 23:5, my cup runs over. That means that the capacity of my soul runs over. I will not be living in self-pity or self-induced misery. I will not be living with the wrong soul structure. Instead, I will have a tremendous capacity to live and to pour out life to others.

A Robe to Express a Person

Isaiah 61:10

You have God´s righteousness in position before you experience it in life. God gives you substance without evidence before you become a promise to Him in substance. God has clothed you with salvation garments. You are covered by, involved with, and enveloped in Redemption. You never can take off your garments. You may put fig leaves over them through deception, but you still are dressed in righteousness no matter what apparel you wear in your situation.

He covered you with love so that you could experience the effects of the garments. First came the robe of love; beneath that covering are the garments representing love in its different ministries of: joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Each is in accordance with the needs of different situations.

The robe of love encloses you with all that God is before you become all that He is. You have the clothing of divinity while you live in your humanity. Voluntarily receive what God has provided in Christ. In the spontaneity of grace He makes you a son of God. If you are not experiencing the provision of Redemption, you are in a robe of imputed righteousness, but are not growing in the Person of imparted righteousness. You have the provision which makes you more than just a positional revelation. You are an experiential revelation of a Person.

Genesis 10-11

Learning to Love

I John 3:16

Many times people get involved with loving someone and then become hurt because of rejection. They seem to place a limit on their love because they feel they have been used. But we must stop and understand that there is Someone who loves us so much that He will never leave us for one moment. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5b).

We can love people the way Jesus Christ does, for He will love them through us. Loving is not characterized by what we can get out of a relationship, but what we can give someone. It is not what we need, but what we can share. Does it make a difference if our love is not returned? "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).

How can we effectively serve our enemies if we withdraw our love from our own friends (2)? "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Let us learn to be imitators of God and live a life of love. "Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us"(Ephesians 5:1-2).

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. - 1 John 3:16

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; - Matthew 5:44

Keep Yourself in the Love of God

1 John 2:5

Jude 21a says, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." The love of God is produced and shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Still, the Word of God exhorts us to keep ourselves in that love.

What does it mean to "keep yourselves"? The word "keep" is tereo in the Greek and it means to watch over, to preserve, and to keep. Believers keep themselves by understanding and using positive volition to mature as they advance into greater grace. The prerequisite to keeping ourselves in that love is to have an expectation of mercy from the Lord.

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy [Spirit]" (Jude 20). "Beloved," agapetos, refers to those who are dearly beloved of God because of the grace of Calvary. This passage is written in an imperative mood, giving a divine command to pray and to build up ourselves continually.

As the beloved of God, we are commanded to watch over, guard, preserve, inspect, and keep our own souls through positive volition. That way, we can keep ourselves continually in the power of the Holy Spirit, who brings in the love that is shed abroad in our hearts.

Construction Site of Grace

2 Corinthians 13:10

We are given unto edification. That, in itself, is an art of the Holy Spirit. We design and outlay a plan that others may be built in Him. There is no work of destruction before we are constructed in grace. As soon as we step momentarily in faith, the middle walls of partition are broken down.

There is no choice in our construction site. If we agree with forgiveness then we all simply have the opportunity to be built up. When we say things outside of the art of edification, it reveals that our motives are not right. If there are some people of whom we think highly and others of whom we do not, then we must find the lowly place of the Cross and receive repentance.

Though we may have closer fellowship with some people, we can love all people even those not properly adjusted in grace. Our responsibility in love is not to correct people outrightly nor to implicate them indirectly, but to pierce them through the tenderness of His nail-scarred life with a penetration of God. We are not to be occupied with what they owe in payment for their sin. We become a testimony to them and the confession for them of God´s individual application of His blood.

Our work schedule in other people´s lives never will be cancelled due to conditions or circumstances in their experience. No matter what the weather report forecast for their life by sight, we construct for them in faith a foundation that they may be a home of God´s promises.

Genesis 6-9

Counseling from an Eternal Viewpoint

Isaiah 50:4

Isaiah 50:4 imparts God's viewpoint on counseling. It is better not to use constructive criticism whenever it may hinder the individual's spiritual growth. In all cases it is best to apply "wisdom" from the Word of God as well as impart the unconditional love of God; both of these principles work beautifully together to accomplish a unique work in the soul.

The individual needs to be "built up" within the assembly of believers; he needs to understand the great privilege God has given him to function within his calling as a "member in particular". Counsel must always be limited to eternal viewpoint from the Word of God; it must never involve subjective evaluation on either side.

As the counselor inclines his ear toward heaven, just as Jesus Christ listened intently to His Father (2), he may confidently advise a believer (while creatively applying grace and love) according to specific definition from the Word of God. This is the key to divine creativity: draw Christ's life from the individual, build up his soul with the Word of God specifically in the place of need, and edify him in areas of strength, so that he will be motivated to serve God with all of his heart. Remember this principle: never counsel or constructively criticize from your own human resources - instead apply the Word of God as your only frame of reference in problem solving.

The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. - Isaiah 50:4

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. - John 5:30

His Word Is Truth

John 17:17

When you listen to the Word of God, you must listen without any presuppositions. Never allow people, personalities, or circumstances to interfere with hearing. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

The key to a successful ministry is in having a pulpit that preaches and teaches the Word of God clearly, giving it to the people just as it is written. John 17:17 says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Truth, here, means the absolute, ultimate authority of God. The Word of God is His absolute authority. The writer of Psalm 138:2b says, "For thou has magnified thy word above all thy name." The word "magnify" in the Hebrew is gadat, and it means to make great, to be or become great, big, larger, or greater. The Lord magnified His mercy over allowing Lot to be judged in Sodom and Gomorrah. He magnified Isaac´s ministry in Genesis 26:13. He magnified Jacob in Numbers 23:21. He magnifies His grace to reign beyond sin.

God Is without Demand

Hebrews 10:25

Exhortation is not mercilessly pouncing upon a person in order that he might turn from that which you personally dislike. A person has no power to repent, and yet so many people command that he do so.

As the command comes, man tries to meet the demand only to end up in the frustrations of his own inadequacies. God never demands, but only directs man to a place of resource. A command may cause man to let go of that which is unnecessary, but it never stimulates man into any kind of works. God´s orders never have to be filled by man. With an order from God comes its own place of fulfillment.

You never are left spiritually naked without a covering. You have an imputed covering even before imparted righteousness has extended itself into your life, though it directs itself toward your life because of your free choice. That righteousness allows God to see you in life and keeps the devil from seeing you at all. A covering lets God in and keeps the devil out. Forsake not the outlaying of God´s covering. To forsake the Corporate Body is to forsake Jesus Christ. In following the Shepherd, you always will be accompanied by other sheep. God´s heart is poured out in a corporate manner, though it fulfills each individual design.

To exhort is to call one near with an invitation of grace. It is not to demand that one leave sin, but to draw one close through the love of grace.

Genesis 3-5

The Oil of Blessing

Psalm 133

In Psalm 133, the word "descend" is used three times in order to emphasize the vital point. This particular passage refers to Mount Hermon. The dew descended upon both the low and high places. No matter how deep the valley, the oil will descend there to permeate the land with the life of God.

Notice that people who live in the valley receive the dew. Every believer, at one time or another, falls into the valley of weakness or despair, but if he calls upon the Lord, he will receive the precious "dew of Hermon." Symbolically, the dew represents the believer's help from above in times of distress.

The oil of blessing descends upon the precious Body of Christ. A church that honors this principle will have God's prosperity and manifold grace in the midst of trials, and will experience abundant life. There are eternal benefits when believers dwell together in unity. Therefore, forbear one another in love and keep the unity of the Spirit.

Receive the oil of God's special empowerment for His specific tasks. Let the oil descend into the valley of your life. The oil will cover you when you are abiding in your particular calling. His blessing is upon any ministry that exalts the principle of unity because He has called us to one Body, to one united purpose: to glorify the Son "forevermore."

A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. - Psalm 133:1-3

Establishing a Vision

Proverbs 29:18

Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Vision, here, speaks of a redemptive gaze, focusing our energy toward the purpose of God. Most of us can say that we have trouble getting things done unless we plan to do them. We live in a goal-oriented society. Athletes go for trophies and gold medals; salesmen aim for high sales and subsequent bonuses. It seems as if our nature requires that we have a target. The same principle applies in our spiritual lives, as Proverbs 29:18a attests. If necessity is the mother of invention, then vision is the impetus of spiritual maturity. Paul, the apostle, was a man of vision. In Philippians 3:14, he wrote, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The mark was always before him.

A Christian with a vision is a joyful, mature servant. Having a vision keeps us from being distracted, which is Satan´s primary tool to disrupt a Christian's growth. Urgent details seem to crowd our lives, but we must set our priorities and go forward in God´s plan. Let´s have David´s attitude, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise" (Psalm 57:7).

Things which Are Behind

Philippians 3:13-14

A Christian´s life is not built upon things which lag behind. The frailty of many is that they live off past success. The ruin of many more is living in past failure. As we begin a new year, or as we begin a new day, a new hour, a new moment, now is the time to forget those things which are behind.

A life in Christ depends solely upon who Christ is in that life at the moment being lived. Yesterday´s greatest success can become folly today, and likewise yesterday´s greatest flop can soar with wings of victory at a touch from the Master´s hand. A large, lively church yesterday won´t insure one for tomorrow.

The standard of Christ must be met anew each day.

Certainly a foundation of learning and growth is valuable, but mountains of learning don´t amount to molehills if the freshness of Christ in spontaneity is absent.

A successful life can be measured only in terms of Christ, never in terms of accomplishment. A housewife who ministers Christ to her family is a greater spiritual success than a religious leader who is lifeless and dry.

Were you successful yesterday? Thank God if you were. Be successful today by receiving fresh from Christ, today´s portion of life; yesterday´s won´t do anymore.

Were you an utter failure last year? Forget it and allow grace to be sufficient for now. If you missed supper last night, would you refuse to eat today because of it?

Genesis 1-2

Putting God First

Judges 7:1-8

Let us consider why God did not use nearly all of the 32,000 Israelites in the battle against the Midianites: 31,700 men failed the "water test" in Judges 7. They put the natural desires of the flesh before their desire for God. They were selfish. This is the reason why many people are never able to fight against the Midianites in today's spiritual battles. Yet, because three hundred men dwelled together in unity, they destroyed the Midianites. Think of it - 31,700 put their natural desires ahead of God's provision.

The greatest desire of every believer's heart is to be united with God's people who are seeking His kingdom first (2). Proverbs 8:17 says, "They that seek me early shall find me." Those who seek God's kingdom first from the time they awake in the morning, will be given mercies and compassion that will be new every day. They are then equipped to put the needs of others before their own, and as a result God will command a blessing.

Three hundred men continually put the cause that God had given to Gideon ahead of their own personal needs. Let every child of God learn from the example of these men. May the cause of Jesus Christ come before anything else that tries to distract the attention of our lives. God will then be able to give a victory that will truly be His, and He will destroy the Midianites of our lives.

Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley. - Judges 7:1-8

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. - Matthew 6:33

Be Ready to Hear

John 14:26

The Word of God has so much to say about hearing. "Take heed to what ye hear" (Mark 4:24a). "Take heed therefore how you hear" (Luke 8:18). "Be more ready to hear" (Ecclesiastes 5:16).

Why does God speak so much on this subject? It is because He has a call for each believer´s life. In the messages to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus said to be careful to hear what the Spirit has to say to the churches. Seven times He said it. The whole premise for a Spirit-filled life is based upon Spirit-filled listening. We must learn how to discern what to listen to and how to hear from the Holy Spirit. He is the One who will bring to remembrance all that we have been taught (John 14:26).

As we start today, we need to come before God and tell Him that we want the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, our emotions, and our will. Then He will initiate authority in our lives, and we will be able to hear His voice clearly.

Respond to God’s Initiation

Song of Solomon 5

As the Bride of Christ grows in maturity, God continually provides her with a new depth and sphere of fellowship with Him. In Song of Solomon 3 and 4, He gives her a clear picture of her protected position: she is a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. The devil cannot touch her in her Finished Work position. As Christ revealed her position in Him, she could have responded to that revelation with an increased capacity to receive more of His love and a desire to give back to Him and to others all that she had received. But she didn't. She became self-satisfied and complacent. She lost the spontaneity of response. She became temporarily insensitive by allowing her new knowledge to paralyze her potential to respond.

Her Beloved put His hand upon the door; the hand that embraced her, held her up; the hand that had been nailed to the Cross for her. The door was locked. She was slow to respond, so He stopped initiating in order to show her what she had done. He didn't condemn her, but left the sweet smell of mercy lingering upon the lock. Her slowness to respond had affected her Beloved's initiation, thus she was moved and rose to find Him.

Let us never take our positional perfection for granted and became insensitive to His daily initiations toward us. True love never has a locked door. Rise out of yourself and your self-complacency. Christ is waiting to meet you in an ever-fresh communion of love.

Revelation 19-22


John 19:30

Let us consider why God did not use nearly all of the 32,000 Israelites in the battle against the Midianites: 31,700 men failed the "water test" in Judges 7. They put the natural desires of the flesh before their desire for God. They were selfish. This is the reason why many people are never able to fight against the Midianites in today's spiritual battles. Yet, because three hundred men dwelled together in unity, they destroyed the Midianites. Think of it - 31,700 put their natural desires ahead of God's provision.

The greatest desire of every believer's heart is to be united with God's people who are seeking His kingdom first (2). Proverbs 8:17 says, "They that seek me early shall find me." Those who seek God's kingdom first from the time they awake in the morning, will be given mercies and compassion that will be new every day. They are then equipped to put the needs of others before their own, and as a result God will command a blessing.

Three hundred men continually put the cause that God had given to Gideon ahead of their own personal needs. Let every child of God learn from the example of these men. May the cause of Jesus Christ come before anything else that tries to distract the attention of our lives. God will then be able to give a victory that will truly be His, and He will destroy the Midianites of our lives.

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

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2

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

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. - Revelation 13:8

A Great Future with Jesus

1 Corinthians 16:13

At a place called Worthly Pond, God gave me a vision of what our ministry would become. That vision included radio and TV programs, Bible colleges and Christian schools all over the world, churches that would be packed three times a week, and missionaries sent into all the world. I had a vision of these things, and the power of God honored a simple seed of faith at a time when I was just starting out.

Each day with Jesus is as fresh and exciting as it was back then. We have the love of God that passes all knowledge. We can be filled with all the fullness of God. When we are filled with His Spirit, God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think. Let's respond to Him, grab hold of the promises, and enjoy the great exploits of our great future. We are part of a great, big, amazing work of God. Let's get a vision of victory, of expanding our coasts, for doing more and more things in God, and for our own lives.

Let's go forward in the power of the omnipotent God, in the mind of His omniscience, in the reality of His omnipresence. Let's just have a ball and celebrate our victory in Christ.

Divine Conviction

Revelation 3:14-18

If we lack the purity and the sincerity of the Holy Spirit's convicting power, we will find it very easy to become comfortable in our Christianity. A lukewarm Laodicean spirit characterizes the church of today. The fervency and fire of many has already waxed cold.

Don't be a lukewarm Christian. Do not compromise with the Cross by allowing small sins to become a part of your life. Christ challenges us to do away with our pretenses of Christianity. We're either to go and join the world, proving where we are really at, or truly join His people and get burning hot for God. God wants a Church with character, full of divine conviction. Who cares if you are not living in some terrible, overt sin? If you are taking your salvation for granted and ignoring His claims on your life, then sin, separation from His purpose, does characterize your life.

Christ wants to vomit when Christians won't respond to the burning of His Holy Spirit as He desires to manifest His life through them to the world. So many churches and believers refuse to get involved in what God is doing today. They choose to remain in a lukewarm state, neither for Him nor against Him. Ignoring His salvation call as an individual means a sentence of eternal damnation. Ignoring His call as a Christian means allowing thousands to go to Hell through our own negligence of His voice.

Revelation 17-18

Blessed Memories

Proverbs 10:7

Memories can be either a blessing or a curse for the believer. The memory of the just is a blessing because it is kept by the Word of God. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God" (Hebrews 13:7a). We have sweet memories of all of those who have taught us the Word and disciple us. It is an encouragement to think about other Christians whom God has placed in our paths. "The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot" (Proverbs 10:7).

However, bad memories may arise if a person does not have the Word of God in certain areas. He may remember past sins, and allow the thoughts to plague his mind. This believer needs to have the Word of God reigning in his soul. Through God's Word, the Holy Spirit will remind the Christian that his sins are forgotten (2).

As we begin to secure the Word in our souls, our memory will call to mind past mercies (3), the wonderful works of God (4), His deliverance (5) and the teachings of the Gospel (6). It is then that our memories will be a blessing and a joy to us.

The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. - Proverbs 10:7

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. - Hebrews 10:17

Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. - Deuteronomy 32:7

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. - Psalm 77:11

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, - Luke 4:18

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. - 2 Peter 1:21

Big Ideas … From God

Colossians 1:27

Surely, some of you have heard the story of R.G. Le Tourneau, a successful industrialist. After he nearly died in a car accident, he began to consider the purpose of his life. Eventually, that led him to receive Christ as his Savior. He established a company that manufactured special construction vehicles. Seventy percent of the earth-moving equipment used in World War II came from his company.

As the company began to make money, Mr. Le Tourneau started giving 10 percent of the profits to his church. Later, God impressed him to give 20 percent, then 30 percent, then 40 percent. Eventually, he was giving away 90 percent of his income and living off a tenth. His donations were used to start missions in Africa and South America. He said that the 10 percent he kept was more than he needed. He still had millions of dollars.

R.G. Le Tourneau did great exploits, and a town and a college were named in his honor. But the greatest honor will come when he stands before God face-to-face.

Get some ideas from God in prayer. Think big. Pray big. In humility, act big. In every realm, continue on with God and do big things for God as Jesus Christ empowers you.

Great things happen when God is involved.

Strength in Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9

In the midst of an experience of weakness, many of us pray for God to take the weakness away. We feel confused because though we love God and believe His Word, old weaknesses continue to make grand appearances in our lives at very strategic times. We need to realize that weakness can be our greatest asset in Christ, and that it is our natural strength that is really our greatest problem.

Moses was a great servant because he was a weak man who allowed God's strength to be his life. God loves to use the insignificant things, so that only He will receive the glory. He took the dust of the earth, breathed into it and man became a living soul. He used Balaam's animal to reprove Balaam, who was operating in his own natural strength.

Many people have come to the Cross and have identified with Christ's death, yet they have never experienced the flow of His resurrection which would give them God's own effectual life to empower them in the midst of their weakness.

Deuteronomy 7:22 tells us that God will drive out our enemies, not all at once, but little by little. He doesn't want us to be established in our own sense of human achievement, but rather He desires that we grow gradually in victory through the grace and knowledge of His Person.

Be glad, like Paul, when you are weak. Know that it is in the transparency of your weakness that the strength of God will be magnified.

Revelation 14-16

God’s Lifestyle

Philippians 4:12

The walk of a believer in Jesus Christ is a process in which he begins to mix faith with what he hears from the Word and it begins to profit his life (2).

The apostle Paul communicated this truth in Philippians 4:12, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Paul chose God's lifestyle. Though it is paradoxical, it is also real, practical and filled with conviction. He knew that he wanted God's process instead of his own progress. He wanted something more than a superficial system of beliefs that would crumble if he were abased by circumstances. He did not want to quit God's process even if it did bring in a time of abasing, rather than abounding. Never would he allow his sight to speak more loudly than his faith. He would not even limit God's importance in his life to a certain amount of time each week. He sought after God, knowing that "everywhere and in all things" he would be instructed.

Paul knew he wanted to allow God to use him unconditionally, so he did not hold back in any way. God wants to do the same thing in your life today. Do not hold back, but rest on the promise of God and you will make an unimaginable impact on this world.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. - Philippians 4:12

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. - Hebrews 4:2

Seek the Lost

Luke 19:10

The Bible says that believers who witness, minister, and preach the Gospel introduce people to the prospect of an eternal destiny with God. The seriousness and the reality of hell should motivate us to live a serious Christian life. Daily devotions should be a practice in the home. Prayer and evangelism should be priorities in our schedules. We should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We need to be bearers of the Good News. Knowing what we have been saved from should cause us to be occupied much more with Jesus Christ.

For this reason, so many Christians are dedicated to serve God. Many are willing to give their time and to go out seeking the lost, not counting the cost but esteeming the value of a soul. This is why Christians need to be more than Sunday morning Christians. We need to take our walk with God very seriously, allowing it to affect every area of our lives.

Jesus Christ cannot lie. Hell is real. I thank God for those who are saved. May God bless you and motivate you in your call. Don't be condemned by these words. Receive them. Be thankful that you know the truth about hell, and let this truth transform your life.

First Cause Love

1 John 4:19-21

All behavior is caused. Every cause has an effect and every effect is motivated by a cause. Many live in the wrong effects because they are ignorant of what is causing them. Trying to change outward effects without dealing with the inward cause is completely useless. Secular psychiatry and the social welfare systems simply attempt to manipulate the effects that sin has made upon the world without even knowing what has produced them.

Society lives in the effects of Adam's cause, and it is going to take more than carefully planned reform programs to cause it to change. All emotional disturbances result from receiving the wrong stimuli. Counseling won't change the effects of a bad marriage, but changing the motivating cause of that marriage will.

God's love toward us causes us to be born again. The effect of salvation is a springing up of love for God and for the brethren. As God expresses His first cause of love toward us, His life within us becomes the effect. He continually initiates on the basis of that love, never on the basis of our own merits or the effects of our own human nature. This is called the election of grace. God doesn't want our lives to be merely a result of our own efforts, but rather the reflection of His first cause of love toward us. God's love produced kingship in David's life and apostleship in Peter's life. In spite of all the residual effects of our old Adam nature, God has already predestinated our lives to reveal all the eternal effects of His first cause of love.

Revelation 10-13

Islands of Hospitality

III John 5-6

"And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara" (Acts 21:1). On his return voyage home from his third missionary journey, Paul met disciples nearly everywhere he went. At Tyre he said, "And finding disciples we tarried there seven days;" at Ptolemais he "saluted the brethren" and the next day he was off to Caesarea where he entered into the house of Philip the evangelist (2).

There are three points to be made here. First, the Word had spread so effectively throughout the civilized world that it touched islands and pockets of people. God was planting truth in hearts, causing man to turn from idols and all the immoral practices that went with it. The truth was so profound that news spread quickly. New liberty was found in the small groups, in major cities and on islands dotting the western coast of Turkey. Secondly, when Paul entered a city, he made every effort to contact the brethren, eager to see how the "vine had flourished" and "whether the tender grape had appeared" (Song of Solomon 7:12).

What a marvel to meet the brethren today anywhere in the world, to break bread as brothers and sisters, and have the sense of unity and love that entered our hearts though Christ Jesus. Lastly the people of God are admonished to be hospitable.

- 3 John 5-6

And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. - Acts 21:4,7-8

Set Apart for Christ

Matthew 15:28

"Sanctify" means to set apart, to make holy. When a person, place, or thing is sanctified, it becomes completely dedicated to God, for His purpose alone. God takes what is His and makes it holy. Our sanctified faith pleases God. When we come to Him and believe that He is, He is greatly honored by our faith. Without faith, we cannot please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Every one of us has a calling. Certainly, we can "adjust" and become successful in the eyes of men anywhere in life. We can win souls anywhere. We can love God anywhere. We can be effective anywhere, and God will bless us if we are right with Him.

But we must remember that our calling is holy and heavenly. It is very crucial that we understand the sovereign, operational, geographical, and permissive will of God. God uses us according to our calling in dedication to His service.

We become mature as we learn to set apart our lives unto God. By praying as we begin the day or saying grace before we eat, whatever the task, no matter how insignificant, those are opportunities to sanctify details to God for His keeping.

Patience Through Faith

Romans 5:1-5

How can we give glory to God? By offering up to Him the very life that He has so freely given. God purposefully sends us times of testing to release what used to be our concept of God into a living reality. Foreknowing our needs, what our response will be, and what the trial will produce, God works tribulation into our lives. He uses the fiery furnace to activate that which lies residential within us-the life of His Son.

When trials come, we can either faint or pray, quit or learn obedience, live in Christ or remain in our own bankruptcy. If we refuse to allow Christ's nature to be revealed in the tribulations which are appointed unto us, we end up frustrating the grace of God and never become mature in His plan. We'll never be able to give back to God the qualities that He has imparted to us. But if we trust God in times of tribulation, patience will be produced. We will experience faith as we enjoy standing in grace, rejoicing in the hope of Christ being revealed through us.

The trial of our faith is actually more precious than gold because God is producing in us something that will never pass away-the eternal nature of Christ. Love desires to be expressed and experienced, to be released through us, and to be shed abroad to others. We don't need to know all the "whys" of our tribulations. We can be confident in the character of love, satisfied with the One initiating to us in every situation and responding through us to reveal His life.

Revelation 6-9

An Overcoming Walk

Proverbs 10:9

As Christians, we are to be very careful to watch for our adversary who is continually seeking to destroy us (2). He accuses us day and night (3), constantly setting a net for our feet. "Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me" (Psalm 31:4a). Our deliverance from the devil and his plan is simple. It is based upon our walk with the Lord, which keeps us from the evil plans set against us. "He who walks uprightly walks surely, but he who takes a crooked way shall be found out and punished" (Proverbs 10:9, Amplified).

The word "uprightly" is "tom" in the Hebrew; and it is used with a special emphasis on the mind, or in other words, having integrity (mental excellence) of the mind. In order to overcome the mastermind of evil, we must walk uprightly with mental excellence. We must contain a goal in our minds and consequently, fulfill that goal. We must build the categories of the Word in our soul so that we can walk uprightly and make our way sure, confident and extremely secure. Then, we will truly have an overcoming walk and not be overtaken by life's pressures.

He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known. - Proverbs 10:9

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: - 1 Peter 5:8

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: - Revelation 12:1

Manifest Faith

Ephesians 3:19-20

As a born-again believer, you have a brand-new position of faith. You are loved with a love that will never give up on you. You have a brand-new manifestation, a brand-new savor. Get together with others and pray. As you turn to intercession, you will learn to overcome things that you have never been able to overcome.

We are more than conquerors. We can do things through Christ. God will supply all our needs. God has put a limit on Satan, and we will not be defeated. When circumstances cause us to be discouraged or depressed, we must exercise faith. We will experience God's unlimited grace and mercy when we trust Christ and His victory at Calvary.

We are here on earth to manifest exactly who God is, to manifest the savor of His knowledge. Live so that the world and the angelic realm can witness God's forgiveness, love, grace, mercy, and patience manifested through us. Let's allow people to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit through our lives.

Our God wants to bless us beyond anything we can ask or think. Let's manifest a personal faith that exalts Him and recognizes the fact that He has made us more than conquerors.

All Things Work Together for Good

Romans 8:28-31

God's purpose is love. Those called according to His purpose are those people who desire to follow after love. God's promise is that no matter what happens in your life, if you are following after love, He will make it all work together for good. Because God knew who would receive His life into their hearts, He prepared a plan for those people. This plan would makes everything that happens to them work together to conform them to the image of His own Son.

Not a thing can befall us that He cannot use to call us into a deeper walk with Him. Loneliness certainly is not good. Personal tragedies and heartaches certainly are not good. But although we experience the tears and a longing to be free of these things, we can know with a sure confidence in God's character of love that He is working every single thing together for good and that every single experience is contributing to our capacity for God.

God envelops His plan in grace. He has already justified us; He sees us just as if we never sinned. He has glorified us in the Finished Work vision of His mind's eye. Because of love, God didn't even spare His own Son to deliver us out of death. How much more, with the Son now abiding within us, will He now work all things together to provide us with His life?

If God be for us, who can be against us? It is never too late for God to turn the mistake or the tragedy into something good. Because of the love of God, the best days of our lives are ahead.

Revelation 1-3

What do You See?

Matthew 10:39

What do you see when you look at the Cross? Do you see ugliness, or something that deprives you of your rights? Maybe you see an instrument of death. Or, do you see freedom and life? The Cross is a place where we see that God loved the world. He died for the sins of the entire world, knowing many would still reject Him. The Cross is what makes us clean: it is literally our life.

God brought peace by it, "Having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20a). He abolished the Old Testament ordinances so that we could live under the law of life. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). It blotted out all our sins (2).

The Cross is a place where we receive something. It is a place where God wrapped up His gift to us - eternal life. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23b). When we look at the Cross, let us see life, for "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:39). The promise of life is in Christ Jesus (3).

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. - Matthew 10:39

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; - Colossians 2:14

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, - 2 Timothy 1:1

This One Came to Save Us

Isaiah 7:14-15

Thousands of souls are in hell today who exchanged gifts at Christmas and celebrated the day, but who never recognized that Jesus was born to die for their sins. Thousands of well-intentioned people observe Christmas by attending religious ceremonies. But, while they follow their obligations to the letter, so many miss the heart of Christmas.

Jesus Christ came into the world with a gentle and meek spirit, willing to be born in a stable. This Man, brought up in the poverty stricken city of Nazareth, showed us what it means to be a servant. He could have complained about His Father's plan. He could have asked for so many things. But He did not.

This One who cared for the little children said, "Let them come to Me, for such is the Kingdom of God."

This One visited common people like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus because He lived as a common person.

This One, of whom it is said, "there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2), now condescends to come to live inside of our hearts. This One indwells our lives with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

This One, born on this day, is Jesus, Savior of the world.

Owe No Man Nothing but Love

1 Corinthians 13; Romans 13:8-9

When the Champion of Love made His entrance upon earth's stage of human performance, He taught us the true debt of life. Today, so many people are concerned with their debts, and they run here and there in an attempt to appropriate funds to pay them. Then, there are others who are in a position of lending. They run here and there trying to collect what is theirs. Many church groups make the Law their standard, and if a person breaks a law he is told how to pay the debt. If you feel you are indebted to someone, or feel that someone is indebted to you, remember to owe no man nothing but to love one another.

Christ came to earth and was rejected. Instead of enthroning Him, people crucified Him. He didn't write out a bill, but He said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." We owed Him everything because He paid our debt of sin with His Blood. He expected nothing in return. Don't go around today always thinking someone owes you something, trying to collect what you think you deserve-recognition, position, appreciation. Don't keep a mental account of who owes you what, or think you owe everyone else something. All accounts went out of the window of Calvary when Perfect Innocence paid for all sin. How can we make everything fair and square when Calvary's concept of justice is giving everyone what they don't deserve by grace? Allow Christ to borrow who you are, so love can pay the debt.

2 John, 3 John, Jude

What Time Is It?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

"To everything there is a season." The mature believer can discern just where the plan of God is taking him. What sometimes happens to a Christian who is disoriented to specific truth is that a devastating sense of indifference comes in to paralyze his effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. This is brought about especially during the times when the Lord is preparing him - the times of growth and development that precedes fruit bearing.

Psalm 31:15a says, "My times are in thy hands." David wrote this when "he heard the slander of many" and said "They devised to take away my life" (Psalm 31:13b). But because he knew God's character and the reality of His involvement in is life, David could say with the poise and relaxation of a Spirit-filled life, "my times are in thy hands." David not only saw "God's hand in the glove of history," but he also saw that the time was ripe for the situation to enter his life. God does all things with perfect timing. Galatians 4:4 says that Jesus was born of a virgin "when the fullness of the time was come." Before Bethlehem, was the time of preparation for His coming. The resurrection would bring a time of fruition in the future, and each event of our Lord's life had a specific season and purpose for its occurrence.

Yours may be a time of adversity, but always remember, it is a time for heaven's purpose.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

What Are You Thinking?

Jeremiah 29:11

There are many reasons why some individuals do not have good expectations for the future. Often, a negative outlook is the result of having a wounded spirit. So much may have happened at different places and times of their lives to cause deep wounds. Because of those wounds, many people become deeply troubled, emotionally and mentally.

Just what are you expecting from God? Perhaps you are a Christian, and you are going through a trial. You serve the living God. He has made you in His image, and His thoughts toward you are of peace and not of evil. Therefore, He desires to give you hope for your final outcome.

Are these the thoughts you are thinking? Or, is your expectation one of defeat? Are difficulties and circumstances keeping you from seeing what God wants to do in your life? The God we serve has a great plan, and He wants to bring good things into our lives. When our expectation is from Him, we will not be disappointed.

Trust in the Lord. Believe all of His promises. As the psalmist said, "...the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11). Get ready! Something good is going to happen.

Frankness Before God

Hebrews 4:16

Times of need are divinely designed into our lives to bring us to the Throne of Grace. Many people do not acknowledge their need, and therefore they never become acquainted with grace. They remain strangers who try to be what they know they should be, but live in dishonesty about who they really are.

Jesus Christ invites us to come boldly, with much assurance, to speak out frankly and candidly before Him. He desires a people who will have the confidence in love which allows them to be open about their failures or needs. This does not mean we go about cataloging our sins all day, nor does it mean we murmur or complain before God. It means we come as we are and simply say, "Lord, I have a need." No one has ever been turned away who comes before God with an honest heart.

The reason the Pharisees were such enemies of Christ was because they had a mental block against grace, an emotional barrier against love. They had the pride of life, which caused them to love their own humanity, refusing to see themselves as stained by sin. They would never allow love to penetrate or light to dispel that darkness. Their deeds were evil and the darkness had become comfortable to them. In 2 Peter 2:13, we are warned not to "sport" with God in self-deception. God desires a people who will not play games with Him in self-righteous hypocrisy. He wants us to love truth and have a confrontation with reality. Mercy will never be withheld from a person who, in the security of grace, is simply transparent with God.

1 John 3-5

Objection Overruled

Romans 4:5

The natural man deems it objectionable that God would justify the ungodly (1) who simply believe in Christ (2).

Often, we as believers in Christ, who have had His light sine into our hearts, begin to subtly object to the glory of that grace and to lean on our own understanding, or our human energies or merit. Though, the light has shone into our hearts, it is hindered from radiating out to others. We fall into the trap of representing a message without manifesting our Master.

As we appreciate His magnificent and eternal grace, the light of the glory of God shines into and out of our hearts and radiates to others with the knowledge of this glory (3). God commands this light to shine forth from the believer who continually assimilates finished work truth. He also commands a blessing on the assembly of believers who dwell together in a united appreciation of all that Christ is and all that He accomplished (4). Only then can we as a royal priesthood show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (5).

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. - Romans 4:5

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. - Romans 3:26,28

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

A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. - Psalm 133:1-3

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 marvellous light: - 1 Peter 2:9

Let the Lord Comfort You

Romans 1:20-21

Every person has the potential to be comforted by the Spirit, to have his waste places comforted, to have his wildernesses made like Eden. Desert places can be made into gardens of the Lord, having God's gladness and joy flowing through them.

People may not know the God of redemption, but they can see the evidence of His character through creation. If, however, they do not come to receive Him as the God of Creation after He has revealed Himself, then their imaginations become vain and their foolish hearts are darkened. By their own choices, these people remain in the dark and refuse to accept His salvation and the comfort that comes with it.

When we choose to let the Lord comfort us, we find something we may have never known: true godly joy and gladness with thanksgiving. Something special can be found in everyone who responds to God. The Holy Spirit brings in an attitude of thankfulness and praise to the Lord.

God’s Sacrifice Releases Mercy

Matthew 9:9-17

Many people offer sacrifice to God in order to receive His mercy. There was a time when God did demand a sacrifice for sin to satisfy His Holiness. But in order to meet God's demand for perfect justice, that sacrifice also had to be perfect. One who knew no sin had to be offered. Christ's death on the Cross met God's demand for perfection, so that unconditional mercy could be released toward man.

As we accept Christ's payment for our sin, we become new creatures, perfect in Him, available to a new life from above. He crucified the old that we might become new. Only as we operate, by faith, in the truth of who God has made us to be can we experience His life. New wine cannot be poured into old bottles without bursting them. New cloth cannot be sewed onto an old garment without bringing damage. We cannot purify our own vessel through self-sacrifice in order to deserve God's mercy. We cannot strive to attach a concept of Redemption onto the old garment of our Adam nature. We must accept God's imputed righteousness toward us in order to experience His new life in us.

Are you tired of self-effort and religious striving? God says, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Come into the throne room of mercy where the Blood has already been sprinkled and the veil of the flesh has already been rent. Come and receive a love that you don't deserve; receive your new heart, a new start and a new capacity to be activated by God Himself.

1 John 1-2

Chosen by God

Numbers 17:1-9

Did you ever go through periods in life when you felt alone? Maybe you thought God has forgotten you. During the conflict and trial, you may have been engaged in deep searchings of the heart; yet, you found that the only things that could sustain you were the promises of God.

Picture Aaron in Numbers 17. He has great honor bestowed on him through God's call (2). The call was authentic; yet, it did not go unchallenged. Murmurings, rebellion and evil hearts contested his call until God intervened. God told all the tribes to put a rod in the tabernacle, each rod representing a tribe. Overnight,the rods lay ion the tabernacle in the presence of God. The next morning God ended the envy and strife by confirming Aaron's calling. As the rods were taken out, only one bloomed and showed fruit: Aaron's rod. God was faithful to bless His servant at the time it was most needed. Numbers 17:5a says, "...whom I shall choose, shall blossom."

God promises to bless those He chooses and God's choice always receives the choice blessing. Let us not yield to the many temptations as we wait on God. Stand fast in God's call on your life.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod. And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you. And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. - Numbers 17:1-9

And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. - Hebrews 5:4

Everlasting Springs

John 4:13-14

When we come to Jesus and drink from His well, rivers of living water flow from our emotions. We become like fountains with our attitude of praise. In my first church, I kept visiting one particular house for three years. A seven-year-old girl who lived there came to our Sunday school, but her parents had yet to come to church. Well, that little girl was such a sweetheart. After service every Sunday, she would pass me a note asking me to pray for her parents.

One day I stopped by and the mother motioned for me to come in. That had never happened before. "Don't say anything," the woman said to me as she got her husband. They took me to the door of their daughter' s room. The girl was on her knees, and her mother said to me in tears, "My daughter is praying for her pastor."

That couple got saved right then and there. Later, we baptized the whole family, and they became one of our very faithful families.

The little girl did not know I was coming at that moment. She was just seven, but she was praising God Almighty for her salvation and praying for her pastor. That little girl was a fountain of life for her parents.

The Way, the Truth, the Life

Psalm 95:10-11; John 14:5-6

Not understanding God's way causes many to wander about in unbelief never finding true rest. The Israelites grieved God's heart for 40 years by not accepting His way. Thomas questioned Christ, professing ignorance of that way. Christ's answer to him was, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

Don't get familiar with God's way for your life. Allow Christ to draw you even closer to Himself. Don't be occupied with the passing scenery or disheartened because of need. God's way leads us into need, not out of it. Christ, as the Tree of our life, wants to be our very provision. His life can sweeten the bitter waters and be the bread that sustains us through the famines of a trial.

Don't approach life any other way than through Christ. We need not be occupied with our walk when Christ is our way. His life as our provision will give us the joy, the peace, and the victory we need to overcome every mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical handicap that we may have. Jesus Christ is more than our salvation. He is our deliverance, our experience, our very life. Every morning we can receive Him anew, and every day, in this fresh revelation, we can learn to reveal more of Him to others.

Israel followed the cloud by day and the fire by night. Christ's own life shows us the way to grace, mercy, and love. Don't settle for anything less. Worship Christ in His fullness and let the Spirit reveal the Life that dwells within you.

2 Peter 1-3

Separated and Holy

II Corinthians 6:16-18

We have the privilege of being separated unto God. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). We are separated unto God completely. Our bodies and spirits are not ours to use as an outward expression of this world. They are God's, and must be used to express only His nature. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

God has chosen us to represent Him on this earth and He is our God (1). We are His people, His bride and will be married to Him for eternity. We have been cleansed, washed white by the blood of the Lamb and we must guard ourselves against anything unclean (2). If we are faithful to obey, God will receive us into fellowship with His nature, "and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Corinthians 6:18). "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Corinthians 7:1).

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. - 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Give Thanks in Everything

Ephesians 5:20

If Christ's life is flowing out of my emotions with praise and thankfulness, then that should take care of any problems I have. This is the best preventive medicine for sin. It also becomes a tremendous ministry toward the people around me.

When I give thanks in everything, then I am not living in my self. The Holy Spirit is being allowed to glorify Christ in me as I grow into a Christian who will reign for all eternity. All I have to do is accept God's provision.

There is a fountain flowing inside of me. It's source is the Word of God that I have guarded in my heart. The Holy Spirit is glorifying Christ in me and through me.

If you are thirsty, just come and let the Holy Spirit comfort your waste places. God will make your wilderness like Eden, the deserts in your soul will become gardens of the Lord. You will have gladness and joy and melody with thanksgiving springing up within you-a fountain you never knew you had. It will spring up to glorify God, and a river will flow from you that will bless everyone you see.

The Release of Faith

Romans 10:17

Have you ever been perplexed by people who listen to God's Word and who appear to receive it, yet never manifest the fruit of God's blessing in their lives? It is because that which has been received has never been released. Instead, the Word has been hidden, remaining dormant inside of the heart. Power is accumulated, but it is never allowed to release itself into energy.

What every Christian needs to learn is how to release faith so that supernatural substance will characterize their lives. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Hearing is different from just listening. Hearing is receiving with the intent to act upon what is heard. This produces a potential of faith. Next, we obey what we hear without needing evidence to substantiate our obedience. Then, the Word actually becomes the substance of our actions.

Obedience to what I hear from God's Word releases faith, the substance of things hoped for. In Joshua 3, the priests were commanded to step into the water while it was still high. They heard God's Word and obeyed, and the obstacle of the water was removed.

As you are motivated by God's love for you and by the promises He has made to you in His Word, practice stepping out by pure faith knowing that the things which seem to hinder you from going forward will soon be removed. In Mark 4:35, Jesus says, "Let us pass over unto the other side." Faith will take you there.

1 Peter 3-5

Perception vs. Reception

Matthew 10:8

The average believer has more knowledge then he needs. He could freely diagnose any situation that comes into his life. Although he may know much about the Lord, he has not truly received it until he starts appropriating it in his daily life.

Matthew 10:8b says, "Freely ye have received, freely give." The Christian will know that he has received something from God when he begins to give it out to those he contacts each day. For example, there may be a husband who knows that he should love his wife and teach his children the Word of God, but he will not do it. Why? Because he has perceived the Word, yet has not really received the saying in his heart to a point where it is a fine conviction by which he operates. "The hand of the diligent maketh rich" (Proverbs 10:4b). Diligence means that a child of God has sharp convictions in what he believes.

Diligence is the fruit of proper receptivity from the Lord. Consider the things that God has given to each blood-bought believer. It is God's good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (2). He always causes His children to triumph (3). He has made us more than conquerors (4). He has seated us together with him in heavenly places (5). The Lord has not held back any spiritual blessings from His people. May they freely receive and give it to those who so desperately need it.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. - Matthew 10:8

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. - Luke 12:32

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. - 2 Corinthians 2:14

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. - Romans 8:37

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: - Ephesians 2:6

True Repentance

Jeremiah 31:18-19

There is little proper repentance today among believers. Yes, repentance is a gift of grace, but like the gift of salvation, we need to act upon it. Ephraim cried out, "Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned." Then, after he was turned, he repented, and was ready to receive instruction.

Ezra spoke of repentance. "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to look into Your face. My iniquities have gone over my head. My trespasses have reached unto heaven." He said, "I cannot even look at You."

"Repentance" means to work out what God has worked in by the Holy Spirit and the Gospel through rebound. It means to turn from sin to a living God.

A family wrote a beautiful letter, thanking us for sending soul winners into their neighborhood. "There are five of us in the family, and we cannot even tell you what it means to us that people from your church visited our home."

She said, "We were fighting. We were drinking. We were screaming. Our kids were wild. And every one of us came out to visit your church, and every one of us got saved. We have been the happiest household possible during the last five months."

That is genuine repentance.

Regain Lost Territory

Isaiah 55:1-12

Territory that has been lost is territory that was once conquered by Christ. Isaiah 55 tells us exactly what this means. Ai is a classic illustration of losing territory. The churches of Revelation 2-3 had many wonderful things said about them, but they also had lost territory, just as the church of Ephesus had lost its first love.

This territory is easily lost and you can lose it in many ways. Throughout church history, we see that the church has lost territory. One area of loss relates to disobeying God's order. If God's order is not understood then territory is lost. For example, certain individuals can never get victory to build up the Body of Christ and flourish in the Word of God.

Imagine a Christian who has been granted grace, but loses territory by living under the Law. Think of a Christian who at one time had been flooded with joy and abounding in faith; however, soon he found himself with no joy and in bondage to fleshly drives.

The order of God is extremely important in establishing the redemptive hand of God upon the earth. Every place where our foot goes, we buy back from the enemy territory that has been lost ( Joshua 1:3). The order is that grace has the preeminence over the Law. The Spirit is our liberty through faith, and Christ has established His throne forever over all things. He has purchased territory and granted us the victory over it all. Now, we walk in the power of Redemption's order to appropriate and live in the land of promises.

1 Peter 1-2

Christ – Our Total Savior

I Corinthians 1:30

The Christian community is divided into two categories of people - those who seek to establish their own righteousness and those who are resting in Christ's righteousness (2). First, there are those who believe that salvation is only initially based on Christ's righteousness, and who then strive in the energy of the flesh to maintain a righteous standing. These will not and cannot enter into God's desired rest for them (3).

Then there are those who rest in a total salvation, seeing Christ as their salvation from start to finish, not just initially. These believers learn to place no confidence in the flesh (4). They enter His prescribed rest (5) and into a life of godly production (6); (7). Christ is our salvation all the way! In I Corinthians 1:30, God has made Him our righteousness by way of justification when we first believed. He sanctifies us as we progress in personal holiness by the Word (8). Then He is our salvation through the redemption of our physical bodies in glorification (9).

Seeing Christ as our salvation all the way from start to finish, from time to eternity - seeing Him as our total Savior, is the key to entering into God's rest, into an enjoyment of our position, and an anticipation of our certain inheritance (10); (11).

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: - 1 Corinthians 1:30

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. - Romans 10:4

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, - Hebrews 3:7

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. - Philippians 3:3

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. - Romans 6:19-22

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. - John 17:17

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. - Romans 8:23

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

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, - Ephesians 1:5

Oh, Forgiving Savior!

Romans 11:33

Grace is unsearchable, unfathomable, and inexhaustible. Man cannot comprehend it, because God's ways are past finding out.

Unlovely as we are, we were saved while we were yet sinners. In all of our sinfulness, God so loved us that He died to save us. Still, we sometimes ask, "Why me, Lord?" In a spirit of frustration, we wonder why God has allowed certain things to happen to us. We forget that each breath we take is purely a gift of grace. This grace is a great mystery, and our fellowship in this mystery will continue throughout eternity. I pray that you will see the unsearchable, inexhaustible, unfathomable grace that is ours. It is grace that has gone out to the chief sinners, to those who are less than the least. It is grace that prompted me, many years ago, to write these words in a song:

The pain of my sin, the grief of my trials,
Heartaches and sorrows and guilt all the while;
I felt so unworthy, in human disgrace,
Then came the glory of God's loving grace.
Oh, Forgiving Savior! Master of Peace,
You stilled the tempest, and my guilt has ceased.
I found Your favor; by faith I can see
That Calvary's Blood is also for me.

Enough has been Said

Romans 6:1

After a most amazing display of truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Romans 5:7-21, we read in Romans 6:1, "What shall we say then?" With a heart full of love and touched by the grace of such an Almighty God, Paul pens those words, "What shall we say then?" After explaining the security that sinners have in the hands of our God and the grace that wraps us in the bundle of eternal life so that it is impossible to be plucked out of His hands, Paul writes, "What shall we say then?"

To the one who has grasped the message, there is need for nothing more to be said. Enough has been said. Perhaps, after Paul wrote these words, there were moments of praise and love toward God as he communed with Him through the Holy Spirit and the truth of this mysteriously wonderful love. How can we add to it? Enough has been said. We can search for words to explain and expound this truth. We can pray that God grants us utterance as we preach the Gospel to allow us a view into the unsearchable riches of Christ. But by reason of God Himself controlling our human spirit, affecting our mind, emotions and will, we simply bow in adoration and love in fellowship with a God so faithful. It doesn't make us want to live in sin or to go away from God; it prompts us to respond in love. These words are the result of what has been sufficiently communicated to a heart that is after God.

James 3-5

Victorious Words

II Chronicles 32:1-8

All too often, a believer becomes the product of his negative confessions. When confronted with the opposition of a trial, he begins to operate in sight evaluation instead of responding by faith initiation. Thus, his vocabulary is characterized by words of disappointment and defeat. His confessions begin to magnify the impossible, as he becomes near-sighted to the faithful promises of God. Soon, this expression of negativity results in a lack of godly ambition and divine motivation.

When one's expectations are from God (2), he often expresses words of victory despite an array of opposition. This is exemplified in II Chronicles 32:1-8 where the Assyrian army is ready to unfold an attack against King Hezekiah, who boldly spoke forth "comfortable words" unto the people. These words, in the Hebrew meaning, were words that "strengthened, refreshed and revived." They were words of victory that encouraged the people to stand fast and prepare for battle. This divine confession kindled a fire of faith, for the people "rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah" (2 Chronicles 32:8). That day, the Lord destroyed Assyria, and saved Hezekiah along with inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Today, our positive words of faith, in many cases, afford God the opportunity to conquer overwhelming opposition in our lives. Therefore, we will find that the measure we confess victorious words from heaven will be the measure we possess victories on earth.

After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself. And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him. So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water? Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. - 2 Chronicles 32:1-8

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. - Psalm 62:5

The Power of Consistency

Psalm 16:8

With conviction comes consistency. To be steadfast means that we determine to go forward without change or equivocation. There is no hesitation but a determination to do right.

I thank God for everyone who is steadfast. It blesses a pastor when he sees people remain steadfast as an army in the Finished Work. Steadfast people don't leave the devil much room to play with them.

Another thing conviction does is make us immovable. "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Psalm 16:8). Finances, health troubles, domestic problems-none of these things can move me because the Lord is before my face. Consider someone who is immovable because of conviction and conversion; one who has humility in agreeing with God no matter what is happening.

Those who are steadfast and immovable always abound in the work of the Lord. If I am abounding in the Lord's work, then I am occupied with Christ. When I am occupied with Christ, then I enter into faith-rest.

Resting in God's love by faith is the greatest manifestation of maturity we can ever have.

Favor vs. Life

Proverbs 31:30-31

I may give my body, but that is different from my life. Favor is deceitful, a woman's beauty is vain; but a woman who trusts in the Lord shall be praised. Let the fruit of her hands and her works praise her in the gates. It's not her beauty, but what she produces in Life that shall praise her. "Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me" (Mark 14:6).

Favor is deceitful, but love isn't. What I do may be favorable, but deceitful. God may have people doing Him favors night and day for a number of years. How favorable, and also how deceitful! The plan of God is to be established in love, so that in the midst of a crisis love stands while those who have established favor are deceived. The beauty of losing all for the cause can never be likened unto a love that establishes works through Christ. These people do not go beyond the knowledge of good and evil to reveal Christ in the crisis. The only testimony that passes the test is the one with the quality of an unconditional love to reveal something more than a good dedication. Love goes beyond the temporal favor of goodness into the living revelation of God's plan for time.

Be faithful to God's cause through trusting in the Lord every step you take. Go beyond yourself regardless of your goodness and reveal works that praise you in the gates of God. We boast in the Lord.

James 1-2

Cause and Effect

Proverbs 26:2

When we look at the universe through either the telescope or the microscope, we see the beautiful and orderly flow of God's design. Certain specific laws govern and guide the spiritual dynamics and soul of the believer. Nothing happens in our lives by chance; all is part of God's will to conform us to Christ's image.

People have a time and chance philosophy that leads to anxiety, despair and instability. But today, believers can rejoice that not one detail of life they experience, has not passed without God's approval. "Righteousness exalts a nation" (Proverbs 14:34a), not just the chance occurrence of a chain of events. The believer will be blessed according to how receptive he or she is to God's gracious provision. Hebrews 12:4-11 teaches that chastisement is an effect that has a cause: negativity to God's plan. Blessing will come when the soul prospers through obedience to Bible doctrine (3). God will not prosper a carnal believer because it would not be the orderly thing that His perfect nature would dictate.

Remember, "...the curse causeless shall not come" (1). Our own free will determines to what degree God will bless. Choose life!

As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. - Proverbs 26:2

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. - Hebrews 12:4-11

- 3 John 2

Convictions and Conclusions

1 Corinthians 15:58

Every single matter has a conclusion. As we get alone with God and let the Holy Spirit minister, we realize that in every area of our lives we need a conviction for a conclusion. We have to continually ask ourselves, "If I keep making these decisions, where will they lead me in my conclusion?" As a pastor, it is most difficult to watch seasonal Christians throw their lives away. I feel so helpless watching isolated individuals make a series of decisions against convictions. No longer do they respond to the Word of God because they have established their own Christian philosophy, void of the whole truth.

It is so crucial that we do not react negatively when God allows us to face verbal or physical challenges in our lives. We must not respond in self-defense and self-preservation. As we abide in faith-rest, filled with the Holy Spirit, God will operate freely through us. We will reveal His character in the situation.

God wants us to have a conviction of what sin is. God wants to have the conviction of judgment because the prince of the world is judged. He wants us to have the conviction of God's righteousness and Satan's defeat. God's righteousness is our righteousness, and that takes away any possibility of satanic victory in our lives.

System vs. Attitude

Hebrews 11:6

Jesus Christ is not glorified in a system of perception, but in an attitude of faith that derives its substance from the Gospel. God wants people to come out of the system and to live in an attitude. A system is an absolute way of doing things because we know how it works, through reasoning. People's lives are made up of systems that they carry into Christianity. Instead of experiencing a faith that works by love, they add a system of works to salvation. Because they cannot logically understand an object receiving unmerited favor, they institute systems outside of Truth.

The mind of Christ perceives by the Word through faith. Faith is an attitude that produces life, which is grace. Christ desires man to live perceiving faith by the Word. Living in the order of God's Word will then produce the life of Christ's Spirit. Our mind no longer evaluates and reasons, but instead works by unconditional love. We do not forfeit the opportunity to express Christ to people simply because of our own system of evaluation causes us to hesitate and voids the supernatural spontaneity of faith in terms of grace.

Faith perception brings us trust in a trial, peace in the storm, victory in temptation's midst, and Christ for every person ignorant of grace. Attitude, not the system. Under the system of sight, you do not dare to love those living below your standard, but the attitude of faith is derived from a Word that dares you to do something without sight.

Hebrews 11-13

Walk Before Me, and be Thou Perfect

Genesis 17:1

The words, "walk before me, and be thou perfect," are spoken by God to the patriarch Abraham; yet, they are applicable to God's children everywhere and at all times. When we first encounter these words in the Scriptures, we are prone to question this mandate rather than to obey it. How can weak, feeble, sinful creatures walk before God and be perfect? The answer to this question, and many like it, are found in the statement just prior to the command: "I am Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1b).

For the first time in the Scriptures, God reveals Himself as the Almighty, or in Hebrew, El Shaddai. Ell Shaddai is the name of God which sets Him forth primarily as the strengthener and satisfier of His people. A better translation of this Hebrew word might be the "All-Sufficient" One. The apostle Paul said that we are not sufficient in ourselves, nor are we to think anything of ourselves, "but our sufficiency is of God" (II Corinthians 3:5b). Abraham was 99 years old when the Lord appeared to him. Yet, when faced with such great natural improbability as the fulfillment of the promise, God speaks once again and says, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14a). To know that God is all sufficient is to be able to walk before Him wholeheartedly. God assures us that when it is our desire to walk before Him by faith, no good thing will He withhold from us (2), and all that is required will be provided by El Shaddai.

Blessings Are on the Way

John 6:63

Something good is going to happen to you, Happen to you-this very day. Something good is going to happen to you! Jesus of Nazareth is passing your way.

I love that chorus. It says to me that God is always waiting to be gracious to us.

Believe in the law of faith. Continually be filled with the Holy Spirit. Refuse to let anything cause you to doubt. God wants to bless you. You can be blessed in your health. You can be blessed financially. God wants to prosper you. Think beyond where you are now, even if you are in a "good" place. Think beyond your present circumstances. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Paul had lived a victorious life in Christ through the policy of grace, and he was ready for the next step.

God is for you. None can be against you. You are under the policy of grace where God takes frail believers and uses them to glorify His name. Let Him teach you how to walk by grace through faith as you grow in His nature. God is waiting to bless you. Just reach out to Him and say, "Thank you, God! I accept Your blessing, and I am going on by faith."

Love: It Is or Isn’t

1 Corinthians 13:3

Charity never fails, and anything outside of it never really succeeds. The charity of God's message is always quite clear. In Him is life, and the life is the Light of the world. The Light shined in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Either we reign, or else we are reigned over. Either we are the tail, or we are the head. There is nothing in between the head and the tail. Either we are in or out. With God there are no shadows, only light. Love from God is likewise clear. Either love is pure in its motivation, or else it isn't love. Either love gives because of itself, or it isn't love at all, but "half-love."

Would you judge a person's spirituality on the basis of the fad that he gives his life as a sacrifice for Christ? There are thousands of people who identify with His death, but do not live in His life to establish His identity. What does it mean to identify with His death but not establish the identity of love? It means I can give anything I have or "bestow all my goods to feed the poor" and never succeed in my call to live in love. It must be a love through God. It isn't difficult to get some people to sacrifice in death, but it is difficult to get the same people to love in life. We can reveal Christ or have dedication without Him. Dedication isn't always spirituality, but spirituality will always have God's commitment, dedication not simply in the things it does, but with the heart that beats through Him in Life.

Hebrews 8-10

Seeing With a Heart of Love

I Thessalonians 5:21

This verse instructs us to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." The word for "prove" is dokimazo, which means to examine or scrutinize a thing to see whether or not it is genuine. Matthew 7:20 states, "By their fruit ye shall know them."

As sinners, we so often call attention to the faults and weaknesses of others. It is very easy to find things to condemn when examining someone's life. But, the Bible teaches that we are to know no man after the flesh (2), and that we will know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren (3).

Love is one of the key fruits that we should look for when inspecting the fruit of a person or ministry. The principle is that man always looks on the outward (4); (5), whereas God always looks on the inward condition of the heart. Has your heart been filled with God's love? Would this loved die for those whom it is accusing? We prove all things, and then hold fast to that which is good. "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity" (I Corinthians 13:13).

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

- 2 Corinthians 5:

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. - 1 John 3:14

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. - 1 Samuel 16:7

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

Walk the Right Way

Proverbs 14:12

A young boy stole a watch. He didn't have a very good vocabulary, but he was magnificent at manipulating the truth. So, when he had to go to court and face the judge, he did such a good job of lying that even though he was a suspicious character, the court could not find him guilty. The judge called the boy before the bench and explained to him the dangers of a life of lies and thievery, the importance of being honest and getting a good education, and that someday he was sure to be caught if he didn't change his ways. Then the judge looked him in the eye and said sternly, "You are exonerated."

The boy looked up, puzzled, and said, "What?" "You are exonerated!" the judge repeated. To that, the boy replied, "Does that mean I have to give the watch back?"

That was a funny story. But the truth is, if we do not choose the right way, we will walk in the wrong way.

Be encouraged today in the way of God. Let the Holy Spirit minister the truth to your heart. Stand firm on the old path that leads to eternal life. When Satan tells you to get out of the way, you can resist him by standing your ground.

Wounded Love

Zechariah 13:4

God's love can be wounded. In Psalm 41:9, there is a prophecy about Judas being a familiar friend. In Zechariah 13:6, there is also a prophecy about Jesus being wounded in the house of His friends.

We are wounded in different ways. Our soul can be wounded and the love of our natural man can be wounded, in which case our emotions suffer. But these sentimental, soul-ish wounds are different from the wounds of Jesus in the house of His friends. A Divine Love wound is spiritual and suffers because that person or God loves you. It does not suffer because of itself, but it suffers because it came to love you. The more perfect love is, the more easily it is wounded.

Judas became familiar with Jesus, but he never understood His love. To Judas, Jesus was a "good or familiar friend," but Judas never understood the fellowship and power of Divine Love in the heart of Jesus. Consequently, Judas kicked up his heal against Him. Love was wounded. The disciples, like sheep without a shepherd, were scattered, also wounding the love that they had not yet fully comprehended.

After Peter denied Christ, Jesus looked upon him with wounded or hurt eyes (Luke 22:61). The eyes said, "Why are you denying Me? Why are you hurting Me? Why did you withdraw? And why don't you understand My heart?" This is the heart of God's love. Love wants us to do things because of its desires and not because of its commands. Love feels so deeply a wound because of what it is.

Hebrews 5-7

More Than Bread

Job 23:12

Let us picture Jesus. He is on the mountain where Satan is tempting Him. He has been baptized and the Father has said He is pleased with His Son in Matthew 3:17, "And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Satan contests the declaration of the Father by tempting Jesus, who had not had food for forty day and nights. "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). Do you refer to the Scriptures precisely like Jesus did? I Peter 2:21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." Here is Jesus, God's only begotten Son, and Deity at His weakest point in His humanity prior to Calvary. He says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Bread was His greatest need at that moment. It was a necessity of life; yet Jesus said we shall live by every single word that comes out of God's mouth. Measure faithfulness by every single word. It is written and it is still in force and stands today.

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

Real Wisdom

Psalm 103:7

It is up to us to know the way of God. But there is no way to know God's way unless we have doctrinal wisdom. Doctrinal wisdom is knowing God's mind through categorical doctrine in every realm of life. Doctrinal wisdom gives manifold faith for manifold trials (1 Peter 1:6-7), manifold grace for the details of life (1 Peter 4:10). Doctrinal wisdom also gives manifold wisdom for everything we face, as it provides for every detail of our lives (Ephesians 3:10).

In these perilous times, we as believers must recognize our heavenly position. We are seated together with Christ, above all that is going on in the cosmic system, which is the way of the world. Christ's Finished Work-His death, burial, and resurrection-prepared the way for us. Our faith in Christ has placed us on the right road. In His time, God will bring us home to heaven. Until then, we walk by faith and not by sight in the way of God.

We have not found the way of works, nor the way of legalism, nor the way of condemnation. We have found the way of love-a way that creates a capacity to honor and obey God, to love His doctrine, and to follow Christ by grace through faith.

Substance that Produces Action

Luke 22:61

Jesus called Peter in Galilee. Peter walked with Jesus from that time forward. Peter saw the small portions of bread and fish feed the hungry multitudes. Peter saw his mother-in-law healed, the lepers healed, people delivered from devil possession, and the dead raised back to life. Peter did much with Jesus and yet Peter still did not know Him, with the exception of his famous revelation and declaration in Matthew 16:16-17. It wasn't until Luke 22:61 that Peter truly saw the amazing love that Jesus had for him. Never had Peter denied Christ before this. They had done much together. Peter had the privilege of witnessing and observing the words and actions of Jesus, among the disciples and among the multitudes.

After Peter had denied Christ three times, we have the record of Jesus looking upon Peter. When Jesus looked at Peter we do not see the angry rebuke that discredits Peter. Neither do we see a display of flesh that demands from Peter reconciliation, retribution, or something done or given for making amends. We see a personal Christ.

The Life of Christ goes beyond action into substance. That substance produces action. Jesus came to love, to show His love, and to be loved. He looked at Peter with His whole heart and communicated this message, "You are hurting My love." Jesus would not speak words of rebuke but looked with His eyes, and Peter wept bitterly.

Titus 1-3, Philemon

Human Proposition

Colossians 3:16-17

Anytime a child of God lives in human proposition, his resources become very limited. Difficulties are magnified above the provision, and the pressure from the problem if felt more than the presence of Christ within. Natural solutions can never deal with the source of the problem. Psychology teaches us to patch up the human personality with abstract remedies that only mask spiritual bankruptcy. The only answer to the dilemma of man is the divine provision of the Word to transform the soul inwardly.

The magnification of the Word of God in the soul makes the difference in the experience of God's children. There is no problem or weakness in man that God is not able to transform through the divine impartation of His life and provisions of grace.

The manifestation of Christ's virtues, mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance and forgiveness is an indicator that the life of Christ is operating within the heart. It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who is able to keep us from the evil occupations of subtle propositions. "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Romans 13:14).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. - Colossians 3:16-17

Death Is Defeated

Hebrews 2:15

Temptation, when answered properly, can help build spiritual muscles. It enables us to use the Word of God more skillfully.

As we glorify God and edify one another in the Body of Christ, we are part of a solution not part of the problem in this world's system. If you are part of the problem, come to Christ, become involved with a Bible-believing church, and you will find the solution and become a part of it. Satan is defeated on the death issue; he brings temptation after temptation, ultimately trying to make us fear death. Now he can no longer hold it over our heads.

The issues of death belong to God. The Scriptures clearly state that believers will not taste death. Once we go through the shadow of death, Satan can no longer tempt us. Not that we should be reckless with our lives, but when we go up, he is through. Isn't that good news?

Don't misunderstand: I do not want to die. I want to live for as long as I can. But it is a great comfort to know that death has lost its sting. Rejoice in that fact! Praise Him, and let all the angels and all of our loved ones in heavens see it.

Let’s Make a Deal

Esther 3:8, 7:10

The flesh takes us on trips and then leaves us hitchhiking. Our flesh presumes to be our best friend and then denies us. The flesh never keeps its bargains. Haman in the book of Esther speaks so clearly about the changeable and unpredictable nature of the flesh. People make covenants with their flesh with the belief that they can successfully cooperate with it. This is an assumption that establishes people in a lie. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Lust produces sin and sin has its payday. The price is death. To be carnally minded, by accepting such an agreement, is death (Romans 8.5).

The flesh in its insecurity and inadequacy will continually struggle for survival and preeminence. It will find its life in any form of security that will permit its existence. It lives at the expense of others. It has love, but this love also operates at the expense of others. If the consequence of its "love" establishes itself in more security in the eyes of people and the world, then this "love" is a good investment for its own gain. This business partner will leave you hitchhiking.

How different it is from the love of Jesus. Jesus makes an agreement because He loves you. It is for your gain. It is Life for you at His expense. He will never leave you, even if you leave Him. That's at His expense. He will never change, even if you do, and that's at His expense. Love always endures and heals and forgives so that in Him you have the preeminence, also at His expense. He is our faithful business partner.

2 Timothy 1-4

The Works of God

Philippians 2:13

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification..." (I Thessalonians 4:3a). The Lord may have a work for us to do, but not "works." "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). We cannot save ourselves by works, neither is our sanctification by works, but "God imputeth righteousness without works" (Romans 4:6b). Even our election is based upon the grace and mercy of God and not upon any good thing we have done (2). We are not to be occupied with our own deeds, but to "work the works of God," as Jesus did in John 6:28 and 9:4. "For it is God who works in you, to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13, NIV).

It is important that the only thing that will stand is what the Lord Himself has done. He wants to use you as an instrument to carry out His plan, but if you are too busy in your own deeds, you will not be available to Him. So, let us go on to perfection, letting Him who is perfect work in us and through us, performing the will of God.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) - Romans 9:11

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? - John 6:28

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. - John 9:4

The Planting of the Lord

Song of Solomon 4:12-14

When the storms come, it is vital that we know where we are and what we are. Song of Solo mon 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."

Every seed in a pomegranate reproduces another pomegranate. So, the believer who is hid with Christ in God will bring forth much fruit. Therefore, we must not sow the Word of God in thorns. "Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns" (Jeremiah 4:3).

My life is sealed, my spring is shut up, and my garden is enclosed; it is the Lord's garden, the Lord's spring, and the Lord's fountain. When He died, He paid for every sin, every wrong thing, so there cannot be any charge to God's elect (Romans 8:33). Now there is no condemnation, no separation, and there is only one place for us to grow. We are like "trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD" (Isaiah 61:3).

A tree just grows straight up. There is not a single thing between the tree and God but the air and the sky. As trees of righteousness, we stand upright toward God, and we walk tall to glorify God.

Afar Off?

Psalm 10

"Why standest thou afar off O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?" This is a description of a certain class of people. Many people have gone through these times. Perhaps, they haven't given their problems this kind of definition, as the Psalmist; nevertheless, it is in God's program to teach the life of faith. The Psalmist follows this verse with a description of another class of people. Those in this class have seared their consciences and now walk independently of God's love and power. They sin all they want. They persecute the poor, boast of their heart's desires, bless the covetous, and adopt a philosophy that there is no God. It appears that the Psalmist, after becoming bold in his prayer and saying, "break thou the arm of the wicked," receives a spiritual truth about himself. He realizes that he was not humble. He realizes that the Lord is King forever and the heathen are perished out of the land. He knows now that the Lord has heard the desire of the humble.

What a message! God hears the humble. It is no wonder we are to be absolutely oriented to the Word of God. Every other form of evaluation is deceptive and self-confining. It is so vital for every believer to know humility. Some people put their business above and beyond their service to God. We should even as businessmen humble ourselves in the sight of God. A true servant is humble before people, and God takes care of His servants.

1 Timothy 4-6

The Blood Avails for Us

Exodus 12:13

The actual blood of Christ is essential to man's salvation. Without appropriating the true value of the blood of Christ, a Christian is left with an anemic Christianity, one of mechanics without the mystery of God's life. The literal blood of Christ is indeed precious.

In (2), even Judas Iscariot recognized the "innocent blood" of the innocent substitute - but only with mental assent. And Satan himself knows the blood's incredible significance, but despises it, because the blood does not avail for him. It is not surprising that one of Satan's foremost projects has been to veil the minds of men from the value of the blood, and to inspire false teachers to deride true Christianity as a "slaughterhouse religion" (3); (4).

The blood of Christ is precious. It avails for you. It is incorruptible and innocent. The Father is satisfied when He sees the blood (5). Even beyond this, the blood of Christ is divine. Listen to Paul as he charges the elders of the church at Ephesus, "Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood" (Acts 20:28b, NIV). The blood of Jesus is precious because it is divine! Its true power can not be reckoned upon by the natural mind. It can only be the cause for eternal worship of the Lord Jesus in total gratitude for His infinite love expressed in the shedding of His own blood for us.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. - Exodus 12:13

Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. - Matthew 27:4

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; - 1 Timothy 4:1

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 2 Timothy 3:5-7

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. - Exodus

Amen and Amen

Mark 11:22-23

A fifty-nine-year-old woman, her face wrinkled and pale, was in the fourth stage of cancer. She prayed, "God, I'm not ready to die. I don't want to die now. And I don't believe you are giving me grace to die now."

She began a regimen of eating cancer-fighting foods, taking medicinal organic supplements, and drinking eight to ten glasses of water every day. In three months, her cancer was gone. Today, she is completely healed.

Do you know what she and her husband are saying all the time now? "Amen, Amen! We have faith in His nature. Everything is fulfilled in Him and by Him. Every promise is clothed with conviction of truth. All the promises are yea, and in Him, Amen!"

God's Word is full of "Amens."

Jesus told us to have faith in God and that faith would move mountains. The mountains in our lives are subject to our prayers. A simple "Amen" can make all the difference.

Let's hear the Word of God, be built up in our holy faith, and trust Him to help our unbelief so that we can answer every situation with "Yea, and Amen."

Eating Jesus Christ

John 6:47-58

Jesus Christ wants people always to acknowledge reality and truth in their lives. It is the privilege of the Corporate Body to be built up and edified in truth, acknowledging every good thing that is in us in Christ Jesus (Philemon 6). The messages from the pulpit cover us and give our heart discernment through the power of the Word (Hebrews 4:12).

God wants us to acknowledge and realize the territory that has been lost in our lives. If people are inclined to emphasize one specific trend, then it is possible that they are losing territory without the just balance of God to meet their needs for now. God knows our needs and so effectively ministers to them to meet the redemptive plan for His Body.

God's heart is to always see the communication of Christ in and among His people. Many times what a Christian experiences is a result of Satan's lies and manipulation. God always builds us up in truth and faith. This is the purpose of the ages: that all of Christ be in His Body.

We need to agree with the healing power of love and walk onward by faith. We never stop and evaluate what has been lost without the wonderful conviction that it is working together for our good, and that it is instantly redeemable by our walk of faith in the power of Redemption. Now we are witnesses for God, prayer warriors, leaders, and Body edifiers; we readily acknowledge what we have lost through truth and then eating Jesus Christ in the midst of that situation.

1 Timothy 1-3

Promise for Life

Hebrews 12:1

Sin is responsible for death. God is responsible for life. When we truly understand these two statements, we will realize why it is so important to throw off everything that hinders us from running the race that God has set before us (1). Since God is responsible for life, we should immerse ourselves in God's thoughts (2) and constantly be filled with the Holy Spirit (3). "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6, NIV).

So many times we find it hard to do this because we have been caught in the web of our natural thoughts and plans, which will come to nothing. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purposes that prevail" (Proverbs 19:21, NIV). We cannot bring anything of ourselves into the plan of God. We must completely take on God's nature. "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2a).

We have the privilege of partaking of His divine nature by being transformed. This produces life. The opportunity is there for us because we are new creatures. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). This is our promise for life.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, - Hebrews 12:1

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

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; - Ephesians 5:18

More Than Conquerors

Romans 8:37

A real Christian delights in his victory. God always causes us to triumph and manifest the savor of His knowledge always and in every place. For some we are the savor of death, to others the savor of life (2 Corinthians 2:16), but we are always a sweetsmelling savor to God.

We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. If I can communicate this truth so you can receive it in your heart and mind, you will walk in love, walk in faith, and walk in grace. Walk in mercy, forgiveness, power, and peace. Walk in joy. Walk in intercession. Walk courageously in the midst of the battle, knowing that the battle is the Lord's. If you will let God control your emotions, your emotions will be very happy when your lips speak the right things (Proverbs 23:16).

Thanks be unto God who gives us not victories but the victory-because it has been won. We have an overwhelming victory. "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." We are not only conquerors but more than conquerors! He doesn't cause us to triumph just "sometimes" but all the time. We manifest the savor of His knowledge in every place we go when we understand that we have a victory that cannot be revoked.

Permissiveness is Not Accepted

Proverbs 5:3-7; Galatians 6:7

We walk in the integrity of Redemption. God has never given us permission to sin. There are certain kinds of love that God does not permit. Never has God ordained a fleshly relationship. He only ordains godly fellowship. In Heaven, only Holy Spirit fellowships exist. A carnal, fleshly love that is permissive in its actions, thoughts, and feelings may be assuming that God is permissive, but be sure your sin will find you out and you will reap what you sow.

The foolish woman of Proverbs speaks so loudly about permissiveness through presumption. Have you ever presumed a relationship to be right with God despite your permissiveness to love, act, feel, and think without Christ? When was the last time you were wounded? Was it a wound because of self-pity and you felt so poorly about yourself and that no one else seemed to care? Water came to your eyes and you felt completely wounded in a sentimental relationship with Adam in yourself to produce Adam feelings of self-pity. Or, have you been wounded because you never got what you wanted from the Lord in your soul? You felt that the Lord had not honored your decisions, that He had not blessed you specifically because He was not meeting you with what you thought you needed in your soul.

All of this is because you have been living in a permissive relationship with God. God's love allows us to live in godliness, power, and life-permissive to nothing, but all things come through Calvary.

2 Thessalonians 1-3

Quickening – An Encouraging Provision

Psalm 119:93

There are many Christians who serve God faithfully, but at times they become weary. It is such good news to hear that God has made a provision for this. It is called quickening and it is done according to God's Word (2). It is executed in the standard of God's thought patterns of thinking with God. This is a great provision to human life for it will bring passivity into obedience quickly.

The system of the world constantly tries to weigh us down. "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way" (Psalm 119:37). When we are constantly exposed to emptiness, out minds will become empty. We must guard ourselves from this by giving our lives into God's hands so we get quickened to keep His testimonies (3). Daniel prayed three times every day and God quickened him each time. Let us look to Daniel's example and see the provision there for us today. God will provide in our time of need.

I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. - Psalm 119:93

DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. - Psalm 119:25

Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth. - Psalm 119:88

Everything Is Under Our Feet

Joshua 3:15-17

Rebellious emotions rob Christians of godly thinking, causing us to enter into cycles of wrong feelings. Our feelings could all be in the flesh if they are not derived from the Word of God.

For the river to part to let Israel into the Promised Land, the priests had to put their feet in the water while there was a flood going on. Furthermore, they had to stand there until every Israelite had "passed clean over" the Jordan into Canaan. It happened because of their walk. The priests stepped on the head of the devil and crushed his rebellion, which could infect their emotions. "Thou madest [man] to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Psalm 8:6).

The Father gave all things to the Son, who is the head of the Church, and put all things under His feet. Who has His feet? The Body of Christ. Where is everything today? Everything is under our feet. So with every step we take with God, we crush Satan's purpose, frustrate his plan, and embarrass a supernatural being.

What does Satan do when we do this? He flees. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Blessing the Blessed One

Genesis 12:1-3

The subject of God-ordained leadership is extremely crucial. Adam does not like to obey it. Personality clashes have difficulty accepting it as a principle of living in Christ, and it produces misunderstandings and problems because of Adam's cursed condition. This subject goes beyond the misunderstandings of Adam's humanity and takes us into the truth of God's provision. Many leaders do not dare teach this subject and other subjects as well because they are insecure about the consequences. This subject is a method or means by which God will bless a person.

In Genesis 12:1-3, we read three key verses that deal with God blessing and choosing a person as well as using a person as an instrument to bless other people. "I will make you a great nation. I will bless you. Your name shall be great, and you shall be a blessing." God is emphasizing the person, Abraham. This was a great personal promise; it was not given to 500 like Abraham, but it was given to Abraham. Furthermore, God continues and says, "I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee." People must realize the divine specifics in this personal principle of God's program. Notice, there were no conditions based upon Abraham's life. Abraham became a blessing because of God's election to grace through foreknowledge.

We also are to be aware of such true principles because they are likewise reiterated in the New Testament. Are you floating in independence, without truly receiving and blessing the one God has sent?

Colossians 1-4

Discerning Satan

Ephesians 6:11

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12, NIV). Believers would be surprised at the spiritual activity that goes on behind the daily battles that they encounter. Many Christians are not even sensitive to the fact that there are two kingdoms functioning behind everything that occurs. There is a kingdom of light and one of darkness (2).

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (3) to prevent God's people from detecting his trickery. He loves it when believers make statements that blame flesh and blood for things that he has caused. Satan is the accuser of the brethren (4) and the father of all lies (5). He is a thief and a robber (6). He knows he has but a short time (7). This is why he definitely does not want God's people to discern his tactics.

The apostle Paul teaches us how to discern the two kingdoms. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).

Do not begin your day with an attitude of passivity. Begin it with prayer and the Word of God, for by doing so you will be able to "gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you" (I Peter 1:13).

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. - Ephesians 6:11

The Preciousness of Mercy

1 Peter 2:7

William Shakespeare wrote, "The quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; It blesses him that gives and him that takes." It could be that he understood something about this amazing provision of God to sinners. When mercy becomes a reality in the heart of a Christian, that person's life becomes a beacon to people who are struggling.

Many of us are trying to stay afloat by our own strength, playing the part of "good Christians" yet feeling defeated at every test. In fact, the main purpose behind every trial is to conform us to Christ's image. A significant part of His essence is the manifestation of mercy.

Mercy is one of the most releasing characteristics of the nature of God. Without it, we could never receive all the benefits of His love and grace, since we would always be trying to measure up to His standards. Only a broken vessel can be made available to this ministry of mercy. And only one who has received mercy can rest with the Lord in the midst of the storm.

I am so overwhelmed that our precious Lord is like this. No wonder the Bible says, "Unto you which believe, He is precious."

The Servants of God

Genesis 47:7

Some people are so insecure about following a man, they follow their Adam nature and call that God. Adam gets a little knowledge and then he gets morally upright and imagines that he is in the will of God. He imagines he is producing fruit and is productive for the Kingdom. He believes he is led by God. He rationalizes situations, reacts against true spirituality, and calls it his right to live.

True leaders of God should teach this subject and make it ring loud and clear. God has granted grace to certain people so that they receive a ministry from Him. God has chosen them for Himself. As God was with Moses, so is He with these. He will never forsake them. No man shall be able to stand before them all the days of their life, and God will never fail them. These are the God-given and elected servants of God by grace. They carry with them the power to bless. How a person is related to them determines how God will treat that person. They may become old like Jacob, with dim eyes and dull ears, but they carry the power to bless. Joseph brought Jacob to bless Pharaoh because Joseph knew the order of the government.

This was God's order. God has established a particular order and elected whom He will to serve in His order. It is never our place to establish the order of God or live independently of it. It is our place to walk properly through Christ, which means through the anointing, through power, through love, and through discernment to know the hand of God upon His people.

Philippians 1-4

Balancing Your Emotions

Psalm 119:165

Emotions are a part of every man and woman, and they play a legitimate role in life. The emotions cannot think; however, they are intended to appreciate and respond to truth and the eternal plan of God to save souls. There will always be negative and positive environmental stimuli to which the emotions will respond. They were never intended to be the guiding or ruling authority in life. Yet, because of the strength and impart of emotional responses, only the Word of God can deliver the believer from their control.

The key to having balanced, healthy emotions is simply making yourself available to hear the Word of grace every day. God always honors the believer's availability to the Word. We are always left vulnerable when we neglect the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (2). Upon failure, rather than withdrawing into the defeat of self-condemnation, we recover immediately by confessing our sin to the Father (3) and become instantly available to His Word. This is a process of allowing the mind of Christ to be formed within your heart, whereby rest will be produced in your soul.

A Friend, through Thick and Thin

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times. God loves us at all times; that is certain. Is there ever a time that you or I could have stopped God's love? No, because He loved us when we were yet sinners. He loved us when we didn't respond. He loved us when we failed, and He loved us dearly and sweetly. And after all of that, He loved us out of our failure. But if we fail again, He will keep on loving us.

In the end, God's love keeps us from failing in the same way, over and over again. God is not a "fair weather" friend. He never remembers one sin you or I have ever committed. In Jeremiah 50:20, people tried to search out the sins and iniquity of Israel and Judah. But He declares, "they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve." In other words, neither Israel nor Judah have any sins according to God's record. Is that our attitude toward ourselves and each other? It is what God Almighty says. That is the Word of life. That is the Word of grace. That is the Word of God.

Oh, I thank God today that one of the dearest, most sacred things on earth is friendship-not conditional friendship but true friendship. I am so thankful for that.

The Pudding-Tested

Colossians 2:17-19

When a man of God is called and speaks truth in God's place through the sovereign hand of God, then that individual carries with him power to bless. He is given as a gift to the Body, to edify and build it up and to be a blessing through Christ to the people. If God has sent him, then of course he is not the issue. But the fact that what he says is said through God, that is the issue. Blessing and cursing does not deal simply with the Spirit of God in my own personal relationship with God, but it is definitely determined by how I receive the person whom God has sent.

The Holy Spirit always moves us to submit in love and to be completely in oneness with the one He has sent. We are to be specifically under a government. The government of the Holy Spirit guarantees us a real life without being beguiled of our reward. We could easily be led into a subjective experience without a flesh and blood encounter with the one whom God has sent to test the validity of our experience. It is easy to be humble voluntarily (Colossians 2:18). But the proof of the pudding is in how we have received the Body and God's messenger? We cannot assume we live in humility until that humility brings us to the feet of the brethren. God has guaranteed that this is not a light thing. This is so true that just now people are experientially suffering because of not receiving the one whom God has sent.

Ephesians 4-6

Nothing Mundane

I Corinthians 10:31

It is selfish to overlook what God has given to us. People take many things for granted. They do not realize that when God is in something, it is sacred. A place can become sacred as well as a relationship.

How do we get to the place where all things are sacred? Proverbs 1:7 tells us that in order to have knowledge, we must fear the Lord. This is how God's character is brought into our lives; without it, things have no meaning or significance. Think of it, we reverence the Lord and all that we do becomes sacred. This includes serving and going about our daily schedule. All that we do, we do before the Lord. The Spirit-filled believer who has God's knowledge realizes that nothing is mundane. There is no common thing. The simplest thought or prayer can become sacred. When we have God's character we see that time is limited, and it becomes sacred (3). When we see how sacred people are to us, we will treasure their investment. Why? Not because of the people, but because their care is in Christ.

This all starts with honoring the Lord. Do not wait to treasure things that are sacred. Do it now before they are gone.

Our True Friend

John 15:13-15

The most sacred relationships are friendships that have gone through the Cross. Many people do not have real friendships because they haven't allowed their relationships to go through the Cross.

Often, marriages lack the quality of friendship. For example, a wife who is very insecure because of wounds from her past may need lots of attention. Yet, if her husband has not established or maintained a godly friendship with her, he will react instead of understanding and covering her when her emotions flare up.

The Bible says that the greatest friendship is manifested when someone lays down his life for a friend. Jesus said to His disciples, "You are my friends if you do what I tell you. I will no longer call you servants, for a servant doesn't know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends because I have told you every single thing that My Father has told Me."

Think of it! Jesus Christ knows everything about us. There is not one thing hidden from Him; yet, He desires to be our personal friend.

You talk about having a friend? We have One! We have the dearest, truest, kindest friend in all the universe: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thank Him for that, and praise Him.

In Nothing Am I Ashamed

Philippians 1:19-21

God said that He has made us righteous. God will make us to become what He has already made us to be. When sin abounds, does judgment abound much more? When sin abounds, does the law and our attempts to do better next time abound much more? Or, when sin abounds, does God's wrath abound much more? Is this the covenant that we have been called unto? No, not at all. The Bible teaches that we reign through thick and thin. Grace is always over us as well as under us (Romans 6:14, 5:2). Righteousness has been imputed to us and now we are always on the road to regaining lost territory.

The Bible teaches that as sin has abounded, grace does much more abound. Christians are always to regain lost territory. Win Christ and experience soul-winning when you don't know how to soul-win. Win Christ and experience praying when you are tired, weary and weak. Win Christ and experience building up the Body when you are easily intimidated, prone to withdrawal, shyness and insecurity. These territories are won back when we are inexperienced or have failed over and over again.

Grace guarantees us success. As sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Never do we yield to lost territory or its effects. Instantly recover the death of lost territory by standing in its midst with Life. As my sin abounds, grace and life regains the territory I lost. I become redemptive in every step of my life and in absolutely nothing am I ashamed.

Galatians 4-6

Love for All Men

I Thessalonians 3:12

In I Thessalonians 3:12, Paul's prayer for the Thessalonian converts was that the Lord would cause them to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men. The basis of our love for one another in the Body of Christ is our mutual union with Him by virtue of the baptism of the Holy Spirit of which we, as believers, are all partakers (2). As we recognize our union together in Christ, then the righteousness of God in Him causes us to love one another in spite of personalities, likes and dislikes.

But what about loving all men? On what do we base this? We base our love for all men, women, teens and children on the fact of the unlimited atonement, which renders all men savable. We perceive all who are saved as "in Christ" and therefore new creations (3); however, we must view all who are not saved as candidates for the saving grace of Christ (4) because He is the propitiation not for our sins only, but "for the sins of the whole world" (5). Jesus, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man (6). Therefore, we are debtors to love all men and to reveal to them the Gospel (7) which is the very power of God unto salvation (8). The Father, indeed, desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth (9).

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: - 1 Thessalonians 3:12

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. - 2 Corinthians 5:17

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. - 2 Corinthians 8:9

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. - Hebrews 2:9

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. - Romans 1:14-15

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

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:4

Glorify God

Psalm 50:23

To be effective Christians, we must be filled with the Spirit continually. We must walk in the Spirit. The foundation of our entire life must be the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God dwelling richly in us. My purpose on earth is this: "Whatsoever I do, whether I eat or drink, I do all to glorify God" (see 1 Corinthians 10:31). This is a great and holy privilege.

So many are doing this as they minister overseas. Many here in their home areas, as they work so hard, minister diligently. Let me encourage you to pray for each other, and always remember that "whosoever offereth praise glorifies God."

Glorify God in the fire (Isaiah 24:15). When you are in the fire of sickness, the fire of need, or the fire of pain and rejection, glorify Him. When you have prayed, and still you go through the fire of not experiencing your heart's desire, glorify Him. When you are suffering because you are a Christian-like many others who have given their lives for Christ-glorify God (1 Peter 4:16).

Glorify God for the mercy He has given (Romans 15:9). God will help us to exalt Him, magnify Him, honor Him, and reveal Him for the mercy He has given. Let's glorify God with one mind and one mouth (Romans 15:6).

Revival Now

Romans 5:17, 6:3

We read that every believer has received two extremely valuable things. First, he has received the abundance of grace; and second, the gift of righteousness. Both of these reign in Life. All too often believers are confined to an experience without reigning because of being born after the order of Adam's curse. But by receiving One, Jesus Christ, we are granted reigning Life. We have the abundance of grace that overcomes all, and a gift of righteousness that guarantees our stand before God to give us a provision in time and a standing in eternity.

Revival sometimes is known by signs and wonders; but to the Spirit-filled Christian who is living in a renewed mind, revival also is receiving revelation in the Word of God about God's grace extended toward him-a sinner. This grace gives us a life that goes beyond our deepest imagination.

Miracles and signs may come, and they do, but we follow Him because of His Word. We are stimulated and thrilled because His Word is breathing life into our spirit, quickening our soul and its faculties to know Jesus. This is revival. It is no wonder Paul never prayed that we, God's people, might live through signs and wonders. Rather, he prayed, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17). A revelation revival so that we reign through grace unto eternal life.

Galatians 1-3

Admonish One Another

Romans 15:14

Many believers are well acquainted with the principle of biblical edification. When we think of edification, we begin to ponder on those things that build up our souls, thoughts that impart positive incentive for the maturation of the saints. There is also contained in the Scriptures, along with the command to "edify" one another, the principle of "admonishing one another" (2).

What does it mean to admonish one another? The word, as defined, indicates the idea of gentle or friendly reproof and counsel or warning against fault or oversight. The word "admonish" in the New Testament Greek language is noutheteo, which is simply interpreted, "to put or place in the mind". It speaks of believers imparting instruction and warning to one another. Proverbs 27:5 says that "open rebuke is better than secret love." Many times, we have only developed a capacity for those messengers who "always build us up." But if we are to be well-trained Christians, then we must be as willing to receive words of admonition as words of education. "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth" (Proverbs 3:11-12).

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. - Romans 15:14

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. - Colossians 3:16

Reveal a Living Faith

Galatians 1:15-16

As Christians, the solution to the problems of our nation begins with us. Jesus Christ said, "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32), speaking of how His death on the cross would glorify God and fulfill His eternal purpose.

God has called us by His grace to reveal His Son in us. When the Cross of Christ is lifted up in our lives, we acknowledge who He is and we manifest His life. This brings Him glory and ultimately wins the lost.

Each member of the Trinity shares absolute unity and authority that leads by example: loving, giving, honoring, and serving one another. When we receive the nature of the Trinity and allow the Lord to manifest His life in us, God is glorified.

God desires to speak to us heart-to-heart. Each of us has a solemn and sacred responsibility to communicate what is inspired from heaven. Only God, however, can illuminate what He has inspired. He must reveal in us a living faith that recognizes His authority. By the living Word, which is the quick and powerful two-edged sword of the Spirit, we are changed from living in soulish self-consciousness to living in God-consciousness in our human spirit. Let these thoughts permeate and penetrate as you hunger and thirst after God.

Without the Camp

Exodus 33:7; Hebrews 13:13

"And Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation."

We have heard so many representations of what it means to go without the camp; however, one seems to be most consistent. There is a camp that pervades all that is human and originates with the first Adam. That camp is naturalism, the realm of natural-as opposed to spiritual-things. Men in the quest for meaning have grown to be very dependent upon natural things. Natural worship and religious systems profligate and many are carried away.

While Moses was upon the mount in a spiritual exchange with God, the children of Israel below engaged in an abandoned worship of a golden calf. They could see the calf, they could touch it; it was something natural.

Today, there is much the same situation with many natural forms of religion, but only one place of spiritual growth. Moses pitched the Tabernacle of the congregation without the camp. This speaks of the Corporate Body of Jesus, Christ. The Body of Christ is a spiritual place afar off from all that is natural. We are besought to go forth unto Him without the camp, to forsake that which is natural for the life in the Corporate Body of Christ. This does not mean leave your church; it simply means leave your attachment to those things which are natural.

2 Corinthians 10-13

Communion of the Holy Spirit

II Corinthians 13:14

II Corinthians 13:14 describes the blessings from God that are always present. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."

The Word of God reveals the thoughts of God, concerning all aspects of human life. It follows, therefore, that communion between the believer and the Holy Spirit must be centered upon the Word of God. The Holy Spirit can in no way contradict the Word, for He is sent to bear witness of its truth (2). That which is contradictory to the Scriptures is not the fruit of communion with the Holy Spirit, so the Word is always the criteria for determining the nature of that which is in question. Emotional feelings, personal preference, or any other aspect of the natural disposition cannot be used as the criteria to determine whether or not something is of God.

The eternal communion and divine participation of the Trinity is shared with each believer and by the Body of Christ in "communion with the Holy Spirit." Having communion with the Holy Spirit means thinking with the same thoughts according to God's Word and doing the same type of activities. This sharing and fellow shipping together solidifies the bond between the participants and brings joy into the heart because of righteousness.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. - 2 Corinthians 13:14

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. - John 16:13

Don’t Quit

Philippians 3:20

When you receive a call from God, but you see no way to fulfill it, determine that you will not be a quitter. Stay with God and be filled with the Living Water of Christ at the fountains of grace. Do not be a coward who backs off with excuses and becomes a spiritual wimp with a Laodicean attitude. Some people leave their call and think they are going for something bigger and better. They will never find it!

What does the Lord desire for us? Salvation? Yes. But Jesus Christ wants all men to be able to think with God's thoughts and God's ways, from a divine viewpoint. He would have all men to come to a knowledge of doctrine by experience through learning, believing, receiving, and living it out.

When the living God controls your thirst, then you share Him with others. The river flows from the heart, in the mind, to the emotions, and then it goes out. Not down, but out! And the spring goes up, because you are always satisfied. Is it any wonder that in Psalm 42:2, the psalmist said, "I thirst for the living God"? Is it any wonder that Matthew 5:6 says they that hunger and thirst, and continue to thirst, after righteousness shall be filled continuously?

Guide Our Feet

John 13:14

Ruth lay down at the feet of Boaz (Ruth 3:7). Mary anointed Jesus' feet ( John 12:3). The Disciples grasped hold of His feet and worshiped Him (Matthew 28:9). We are seated above because of His nail-pierced feet. We have Life from above because of the cleansing of our feet. One gives a position above, the other receives power below.

Ruth offered her body as a living sacrifice to be covered by the righteousness of her Redeemer. She waited in the intimacy of her personal rest with God. Before she walked in the light of the morning hour when the world would see her, Ruth first received direction from her Redeemer. The steps of her horizontal walk were now supplied with power from her vertical fellowship. The Prince of Peace now guided her. Boaz gave purpose to Ruth with his words and power in giving her six measures of barley, speaking of the Resurrection Life of God in human capacity. She arose, saving the secret of her communion until the manifestation at the appointed hour.

Our hands have been cleansed so that we no longer have to labor to pay the wage for our sins. We have been established in the Throne to allow the Throne to establish our feet in God's way of specific discipleship. As we wait in submission, grasping hold of our Savior's feet, He will "shoe" us with purpose and power as He directs our walk. We are guided to the feet of others to anoint them with the Glorious Gospel that they may walk through the storms of life.

2 Corinthians 7-9

The Great Pearl

Matthew 13:45-46

It is very interesting how a pearl is formed. It starts as a grain of sand in a foreign place - the oyster. The oyster takes this piece of irritating sand and transforms it into a pearl. Thinking of this, we go to the parable of the pearl of grace price in Matthew 13:45-46. The pearl here is the Church. We are strangers here on this earth (2), but God is transforming us into the image of His Son (3). We, as His Church, have been purchased with the blood of Christ. There is great pain involved in producing the pearl, as Christ went through great pain to produce the Church.

We are guaranteed that one day we will be like Him (4). We must preach the Word of God and not allow anything to distract us. We must stay devoted to prayer (5) and our purpose to seek and to save that which is lost (6). We need to prepare ourselves for the trials we will face, realizing that we are being changed into His likeness. Just as the pearl is brought forth in its splendor, so we, the Church, will come forth and glory will be revealed in us (7).

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. - Matthew 13:45-46

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; - 1 Peter 2:11

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. - 2 Corinthians 3:18

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. - Philippians 3:21

Pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. - Luke 19:10

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. - Romans 8:18

The King in His Beauty

Isaiah 33:17

When King Hezekiah became seriously ill, the prophet Isaiah was sent to him with a message: "Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live" (Isaiah 38:1). Hezekiah had been a great king. He broke down all the idols, removed all the other gods from the land, and brought in the proper sacrifices for the Lord. Now he was ill, and the nation was filled with the fog of fear, the haze of helplessness, and the war of despair.

After Hezekiah pleaded with God, Isaiah was sent to him again with a message (Isaiah 38:5-7). The Lord comforted Hezekiah and the nation of Israel by telling them they would see the king raised up in his beauty.

In the midst of strife and fear and struggle, the Lord spoke through Isaiah: "Israel is in serious trouble. Yet although she has had wrong foreign alliances, the king isn't going to die. He is going to live. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty."

Be encouraged! Because one day, no matter what you are going through now, your eyes will see the King in His beauty-the One who was crushed for our sins, the One who wore a crown of thorns. Yes, we will behold the King in His beauty. And glory be to God, we will have a crown of glory!

But For Glory

John 11:4

Do we look unto a veil so that we are not able to see the glory of God in a situation? Have we set a standard before us instead of allowing God from above to cover us with love enabling us to be hid in Him? If we see no fresh revelation of Christ to transform us with power, then we are left to search introspectively in order to please God. If there is a veil over God, then sovereignty has lost its place. There is no liberty to experience God for the moment if we are trying to attain in the experience of the preceding moment.

Sickness is not to enter into the death of condemnation. When the concept of faith fails in healing, there is a strong tendency to enter into guilt because of a personal lack of faith. Yet, faith is not a product of man, but an impartation from God. The result of tribulation is not to behold our natural man and to condemn him for failure. Natural faith was not designed to meet supernatural need. A person may hear the Word, but never be a doer because he is void of God's operation of faith.

Faith must mean nothing in terms of man, so that God can operate in terms of His faith. Christ will be lifted up with drawing power when we signify the death that He died. Instead of self-achievement for faith, we enter into crucifixion of self to live by God's faith. The pathway to glorified faith is to humble ourselves on a Calvary trip. We will humble ourselves in God's sight that He will raise us in His faith available to be transformed by the glory we behold.

2 Corinthians 4-6

The Pleasure of Serving

Galatians 5:13

Selfishness is an enemy that robs us from being servants unto God. Many people are servants today, but not unto the Lord. "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13). " 'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered 'May it be to me as you have said' " (Luke 1:38, NIV).

A true servant performs his duties as unto the Lord. He does not operate in the energy of the flesh. He truly loves God, and derives his strength from the Word of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit. He has faith which works by love to serve others (1), and is willing to lay down his life for the brethren (2).

It is very important that we learn this principle because a servant knows what he is to do and does not easily fall into serving men based on their personalities. In order to have an effect on the world, we need to become servants to the Lord Jesus Christ.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. - Galatians 5:13

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. - 1 John 3:16

Delivered in a Moment

Psalm 26:12

During the war in Vietnam, a second lieutenant in the Vietnam army was told to take eight prisoners and execute them. His superior told him to take them three miles from the base and shoot them. The officer took them to a place not far from Saigon, and he began speaking.

"I am going to tell you the greatest story of your lives," he said. "Jesus Christ loves you. He died and shed His blood for you. He was buried and rose again. He has paid for every one of your sins. Now, will you receive Him and be saved?"

They all got saved-some of them I am sure were thinking that they had better get saved before they were shot.

Then, he said, "See that road to Saigon? Get going. Live for God, get on your knees every day, and read the Bible. God had for you this day a Christian who would not shoot you any more than he would shoot himself. Now get out of here!"

Once a year, those eight people get together for an old-fashioned prayer and praise meeting. They were truly saved, and they will be God's trophies of grace for all eternity. They are His masterpieces. Thank God for that.

Mercy Endures Forever

John 7:24

Our judgment must reign through death unto Eternal Life. We live with a false balance in our mental attitude until the weight of the Cross bears upon the situation. The outward man in the pressure of time may appear to be perishing, while the inward man is being quickened with the character of God. Steps in time are insignificant to the one step Christ took at Calvary. Moments spent justifying a man's failure or acting as a judge of condemnation are time slots that are void of eternal value.

True value is found in the riches of His grace. Corruptible thoughts are passed down by man, while that which is incorruptible is raised up by God.

If we have passed through the Red Sea, let us pass clean over Jordan. First, Christ died for us, giving us hope for eternity. Then, Christ died as us, giving us faith for life in time. We experience the fellowship of the Son in time, yet time does not limit fellowship in our experience. If failure knocks at our door and is given reception into our home, must we wait for the arrangements of death to be executed? Is there a temporal waiting period of burial before we are raised to Eternal Life? No, for mercy rejoices against judgment. When we were dead in sin, through mercy He loved us. Being no longer aliens but sons of God, we live in the mercy that endures forever to give us strength over the law of sin and the power to reign by the Spirit of Life.

2 Corinthians 1-3

Thinking in Grace

Hebrews 8:12

Forgiveness is so important for the believer in Jesus Christ. When someone mistreats us or sins against us, we have the hardest time forgiving him, let alone forgetting as God does (1). "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (I John 1:9b). Then, why should we not forgive others? "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8b). God has poured so much grace and mercy on us, so we too need to show grace and mercy to others.

Satan tries so persistently to remind us of past differences we had with others, but we must be firm and choose with our will to forgive. There is nothing involved but our will. He tries to stop us because when we do not forgive, we can never advance in the Kingdom. We need to develop a forgiveness that instantly forgets. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34b). This takes more than a half-hearted following of Christ, but it takes the power of God - the mystery of Christ in us.

God wants to teach us how to live and think with the Lord. Only then will our conversation be godly. "For our conversation is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20a). We will live in a state of repentance for ourselves and others because we will be thinking with God in His mercy and grace.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. - Hebrews 8:12

Spoiling Principalities and Powers

Colossians 2:15

I would have liked to have seen the faces of Satan and the demons of hell when the Lord Jesus came out of that grave. When He ascended, every single fallen angel tried to stop him from going up to heaven. The Lord Jesus rose past them, but, of course, they couldn't touch Him. He spoiled the principalities and powers and a made a show of them openly. The elect angels witnessed Christ's victory and Satan's defeat (Colossians 2:15).

Recently, we knocked on a door and led a woman to Christ. In an instant, she was saved forever, baptized into a union with Him. She was sealed with the Spirit and regenerated by grace through faith in Christ and not of herself. Instantly, she was seated in heavenly places and made a member of the royal family of God.

None of us, especially when we know how guilty we are, can readily understand this. But before God, that woman never has to face judgment from God-no matter what she has done in her life.

How is that possible? Perfect justice was satisfied by the Blood. His Blood speaks of His triumph over sin and death. Satan couldn't keep Jesus down and he cannot keep us down, either. Jesus spoiled everything the devil tried to do, and He made a way for me and you.

God’s Hour of Miracle

John 2:4

Do we enter into a natural resurrection of Adam, or do we wait for the hour of Christ to come? Tribulation does not have to have a natural supply of provision when we have been given a supernatural faith from God. Instead of naturally supplying a need which is by sight a reality, we should empty the vessel of its capabilities and stay upon our God. The letter of the Word naturally resurrects Adam to serve God. The wine at the wedding quenched the thirst of the guests only for a time. The letter of the Word has a limit to its appeasement of the moral conscience.

If tribulation works patience first (Romans 5:3), why are we anxious to shed the light of our own evaluation? A natural answer is desired only to justify self as an escape from situations. Tribulation works Divine attributes in us instead of self-realization. God works in tribulation instead of us working out of it.

God has a sovereign plan not based upon the time when the natural man calls His attention to a need. No man can lay his hands on God ( John 7:30) until the hour of God's appointment. We arrive first at the nullification of our own rights to demand of God something other than a promise. Then, in the choice hour of miracle, we who are set in human depravity are quickened as a lively stone. Filled first with the water of the Word and then transformed into Life by the Spirit, we offer God's best in the midst of a situation.

1 Corinthians 13-16

Our Personality, His Life

Colossians 3:4

Repentance is the first fruit of knowing God. We must be careful that we are constantly seeking to know God because our old lust patterns are ready to creep back in if we allow them. Anything outside of God's will is lust. "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). We must be careful that we stay on that narrow path and not be drawn away by lusts.

One way lust patterns can slip into Christians' lives is when they pride themselves in their personalities. It is important to know that we are not to live in our human personality. If we do, we are living in what is commonly called "the flesh." We should reveal Jesus Christ. The only true way to discover ourselves is through the Cross, and by allowing Christ to control us (2).

The basis for our personality should be, "I no longer live but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20a, NIV) and "Christ, who is your life" (Colossians 3:4a). By taking up our Cross, we will allow Him to live in us.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. - Colossians 3:4

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. - 1 Peter 1:5

The Riches of His Kindness

2 Timothy 1:9

In heaven, God will show us the exceeding riches of His kindness toward us throughout all eternity- all because we met mercy on the road to hell. God does not give us what we deserve. "It is not of works but of grace," He says. "If you accept My way, I will make you My trophy and My masterpiece."

One day God will restore the earth to the paradise it once was (Revelation 21). The children of Israel will be perfected in their land. People will come from all over to visit God's trophies who live in the New Jerusalem, which will be suspended above Mount Zion (Isaiah 2:2). They will come to see the royal family, Jesus Christ's masterpieces, whom He created and saved.

Grace cannot be argued with. Satan tries to pollute the gospel message by using some abstract interpretations of verses taken out of context. But God speaks in this world system through us representing Him as ambassadors of heaven and believer-priests in the world. What we are becoming has already been given forever. By His provision, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once and for all!

He does it all. Everything about our lives is Him. We believe Him, we receive Him, and we confess Him. That's it! Grace upon grace upon grace.