Saturday, May 20, 2017
The United States is a Christian nation with separation of church and state, which means that the government doesn't dictate how the church is run. Churches have the right to operate free from governmental interference, and what that really means, is that the people have the freedom to live their lives in worship and obedience to God without the government passing laws that would oppose. In fact, the government is to protect the right of the people to live, work and speak as they believe.
The church is the ecclesia, or governing body of the Lord in the earth. The constitution was written to protect the church and the freedom of the people to worship freely. People are allowed to worship freely in their homes, their churches, and in the "public square" and business. These freedoms were given to the church at its founding. It was presumed that we would always remain a Christian nation.
So what do we do when an ideology which opposes both the church and the constitution, calls itself a religion and tries to claim the same freedom that the constitution provides to the church? Our government should recognize that these attempts are direct attacks on our freedom and oppose them. It should not open its arms to "religions" who oppose the constitution, such as Islam's Sharia law. Their goal is to remove and replace the church in America, not simply get in on the freedom of worship, and they will do that by force if it comes to the point where they feel they could.
As the ecclesia in America, the responsibility of the American church (or American Christians) is to prohibit anything that opposes this freedom from infiltrating or gaining a foothold in our land. Some of this is done spiritually in prayer and proclamation, yet as Americans who have both the right and responsibility to vote and hold our legislatures accountable, we are to take action through "non-spiritual" means as well.
In the Old Testament, we see that God's people got into trouble whenever they wouldn't tear down "the high places" or when they would allow those who worshiped false gods to remain in the land after He told them to go in and possess it. In the same way, if we allow those who oppose the Lord to promote their ways, and increase in both number and influence, then we are removing the protection and blessing that He has placed over us. Our own actions (or inaction) will be the very thing that becomes a snare and takes us down.
Compromise is not the answer. Political correctness is not the answer. This isn't even about immigration or refugees. It's about protecting the Judaeo Christian values that we were founded on, and not being so naive as to think that we are somehow immune from having enemies who hate us, just because we're "nice." Do we love our enemies as Jesus said? Absolutely, but we love God more, and work to build His kingdom, defend the faith, and the land He's entrusted to us.
Friday, April 7, 2017
It's Spring time! It's time to examine our soil and prepare for a new season of seeds! This is a spiritual season as well where we need to allow the Son to warm the soil of our hearts, so we can nurture the seeds He desires to grow within us. Both the written and spoken Word are destiny seeds planted within us that will cause us to be fruitful in everything the Lord has planned for us in His great garden! (Matthew 13:19).
The challenge is that the enemy will try and plants seeds within our heart as well. Seeds of resentment and a host of other related seed get thrown at our hearts through various ways. As a means of self-protection, the temptation might be to harden the ground of our hearts to keep the bad seed out. However, this keeps our soil in a frozen, winter state--a barren place where the good seed cannot grow either. Instead, we need to allow the sun to warm and soften our heart-soil, so we can nurture the fruitful seed of the Spirit within. (Galatians 5). So how do we protect our soil from bad seed?
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Once seed is planted, you don't dig it up. If you try and dig up the bad seed, you will dig up the good seed with it. It does no good to dig through the soil trying to separate good seed from bad seed. By the way, you don't want to dig up the good seed to try and examine it and see what kind of seed it is either. You need to nurture it, and let it grow or it will never bear fruit! You will see the fullness of what God has called you to as long as you nurture the seed, keep your soil soft, receive the sunlight and water necessary for growth!
You need to catch the bad seed before it even hits the soil or has a chance to penetrate! However, the enemy makes it very difficult at times, throwing seed at you from several directions, when he does, we don't want to harden our hearts. We want to continue to nurture the good seed, properly caring for our heart-soil, remaining on guard over it, so we recognize any seedlings of the enemy that might have gotten through as soon as they spring up. In this stage, they can be easily pulled out, root and all, as long as our soil is still soft. The softer our hearts, the surer we are that all the seedling is removed.
We must not neglect the guarding of our heart, because we don't want any bad seed to get the chance to develop a root system. If it does, it requires much more working of the ground to remove the root, which delays the growth of the good seed, and the fruitfulness that will come from it. Happy gardening!
Saturday, March 18, 2017
There are things that happen in the natural that reveal what is going on in the spiritual realm. Currently, President Trump is building up the U.S. military, which had been downsized over the last several years. There's a valid reason for strengthening the military. When the military of a "good" country is strong, evil is kept in check. If a bully is going to pick a fight, he won't normally choose the biggest kid on the playground to fight with. Strength is a deterrent. In the same way, when the power of God is known, it puts evil in its place.
Public display and acceptance of evil has been increasing rapidly in the United States, especially in the last 20+ years. This is the result of a decrease in the church's knowledge, release, and display of the power of God. In the 1940's and 1950's there was a great healing revival which displayed the power of God, resulting not only in healing, but salvation as well. (See link here). The Jesus Movement of the 1960's and 1970's, along with the Charismatic Movement, brought both "hippies" and many from denominational churches into a born-again, spirit-filled life. The power of God in the church accomplished much for the kingdom, and evil was kept down.
The Decline of Power
During the healing revival, and beyond, we had the Word of Faith Movement which, in spite of the good it did for the body of Christ, eventually led to many who were immature in the faith to distort the message, causing a pursuit of worldly goods, rather than building the kingdom of God. Eventually came the Hyper-Grace Movement, which, once again, takes a vitally important aspect of God and distorts it into a slap in the face of the Lord by not taking a stance against sin. While faith and grace are both important to salvation, healing, and all of the blessings of God, the enemy brought an influence into the church which distorted both. Many in the faith movement who had been "burned" by the message, turned against faith altogether and took the opinion that "whatever will be, will be." They felt their prayers were ineffective, and they turned away from speaking powerful words of faith or prophetic declarations.
The Rise of Idolatry
While this turmoil was going on, Islam and socialism were rising in the United States, and our kids began being indoctrinated in the public schools. As the power of God declined in the church, these weeds were planted, and we're seeing the result of their growth today. Of all the immigrants and refugees who have come to America, none have desired to change the core foundation of beliefs of the U.S. like Islam. Of course, many of these people are pawns of those who will use whatever means they can to take America down, yet, this too is a symptom of what is going on in the church. The church has committed adultery, worshiping idols in place of the one true God, causing a compromise of the Christian faith, and of course the power of God.
What do we do? We stay close to the heart of God, seek Him daily, and take our place as both priests and prophets in His kingdom.
In the days of Joshua, Israel entered the Promised Land after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Yet they didn't walk right in without a fight. There were many battles involved in possessing the land. The Lord told them at times to kill all the inhabitants.1 This sounds so cruel, yet it was necessary to keep the nation holy. (I'm not saying to kill anyone, I'm relating this to the spiritual battles of today!) When pulling out weeds that have infiltrated, we need to do a thorough job. This is what has been happening, and needs to continue, in the church. We are beginning to see its effect in the natural realm in our government. Keep praying!
The Priestly Assignment
There are two things we need to do to possess the land God has called us to. First involves a priestly assignment. As a priest, we can intercede and repent on behalf of the church. We can repent of having a form of godliness, but denying the power. We repent of not allowing the power of God to be fully displayed in and through us. Whether its because of fear, unbelief, or complacency, we repent and turn from it. We also repent because of our compromise and failure to surrender our heart completely to the Lord. Putting other things as a higher priority than Him. Being afraid of hurting people's feeling we turned to political correctness, trying to be "nice."
When we function as a priest, repenting on behalf of all, we are interceding. Jesus is the greatest example of an intercessor. He came to take our sin on Him so we could be forgiven and our relationship restored with the Father. He stood in the gap, taking our sin on Him. In the same way, we repent of all of the sins of the church, examining our own heart, but praying on behalf of all. Our prayers will benefit the entire church, and the country.
The Prophetic Assignment
After repentance comes the prophetic. As we prophesy the will and Word of God, by His Spirit, we are planting new seeds into those areas that were infiltrated by weeds. Our intercession removed them, but new, godly growth needs to occur. The barren land needs to be inhabited by the righteous so the enemy does not return even stronger. Those who hear, and believe, our prophetic words can run with this, cultivating the seed, and building the kingdom of God in their region.
After all of this, we must be diligent to maintain the land. Weeding the weeds (intercession), and planting the seeds (prophesying) are to be an ongoing part of maintaining the land. To do this, we must stay in the presence of God, in His Word, surrendering our hearts to Him always. Don't think your part is too small. When you cut off a weed root, it affects the entire plant. You're cutting off the "supply line" to an area, and many will be made free by your diligence to pray. However, don't forget to seek the Lord for the prophetic word, and plant the seeds in this area!
1 For example, Joshua 6:17-27, Joshua 11:10-12
Friday, March 10, 2017
This is the story of Jack. Jack was the youngest of four boys. He didn’t have an easy life growing up. His dad was an alcoholic and his parents divorced when he was three years old. Jack lived with his mom and brothers. They never had a lot of money, and his mother never seemed to stay at one job for very long. She was depressed often.
Jack’s older brother Zach constantly picked on him, making fun of him and sometimes beating him up. At first, Jack would hide from Zach, always afraid when he was home. But after a while Jack learned to fight back. The harder Jack fought, the more Zach left him alone. Pretty soon, Jack started fighting with anyone who disagreed with him at school. He was always in trouble and eventually dropped out of high school. He began drinking and using drugs, and turned to a life of crime to support himself and his habit. At age 16 he left home and took to the streets.
Inwardly, he longed for attention and acceptance, but he never let his guard down. If he softened just a little, someone would take advantage of him. When Jack was 37 years old, he was in prison for murder. He had been in jail before for drugs, theft, weapons, assault, and even rape, but this was his longest sentence so far.
One day, he was told he had a visitor. Surprised, because no one ever visited him, he went into the visiting room to see a smiling, old lady waiting for him. He stopped for a minute, wondering what she could possibly want from him. Curious, he went and sat down across from her. The woman was probably about 70 years old with white hair, deep eyes, and a smile that never stopped. Jack felt a warmth come over him, but pushed it aside. “Don’t be soft.” He told himself.
She introduced herself as Carol and said the Lord sent her to talk to him. Jack said he wasn’t interested and their conversation was very short. After she left, Jack couldn’t shake the warm feeling and wondered if he should have listened to her more.
Weeks passed and Carol visited again. This time Jack listened longer and enjoyed the warm feeling a little more. As time went on, Jack began to look forward to Carol’s visit, her smile, their Bible studies and the warm feeling when she prayed. One day, Jack gave his heart to the Lord. He was amazed that God could forgive him of the horrendous things he’d done. Carol assured him He did, and after a while, Jack believed it himself.
Jack loved God with all his heart, forever grateful for His love and forgiveness. One day, Jack had a new cellmate named Ron. Ron said he was a Christian and Jack was happy to have a Christian cellmate. Yet, he wondered about him. Ron said he didn’t do anything that bad, and couldn’t believe God let him get arrested. When Jack talked to Ron about God’s great forgiveness, Ron said he was happy for Jack, but he had lived a pretty good life and didn’t have much to be forgiven of.
Jack invited Ron to come see Carol with him, but Ron refused. Jack also noticed that Ron never read the Bible and didn’t seem all that interested in spending time in prayer.
One day, after Ron called Jack a Jesus freak, Jack laid on his bunk and opened his Bible. He loved the fact that he no longer wanted to beat someone up for disagreeing with him. He came to Luke 7 and read:
36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”
Jack looked up from his Bible as he realized that he loved the Lord so much because he was forgiven of so much. Yet, Ron did not love the Lord very much. It wasn’t because he didn’t have much to be forgiven of, but because he didn’t see that he had a lot to be forgiven of. Ron was a sinner, just like Jack was, but Ron saw his sin as “not so bad.” “We all have a lot to be forgiven of,” Jack thought to himself. “Some people just don’t know it.” Jack took a moment to pray for Ron, that he would realize the depth of forgiveness available to him through Jesus Christ, and then he continued reading:
44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”Jack thanked God for his forgiveness and wept tears of gratitude.
Friday, February 24, 2017
I was with some people in a place outside somewhere. It was just beginning to get dark out and we were heading towards a body of water. We were going to investigate something that we'd heard others talk about. We came to the edge of the water and a huge monster type thing rose up out of it. Everyone ran, but I stood there for a minute wondering if I should take authority over it in the Name of Jesus. I felt that I should stand and fight. The monster seemed small at first as I contemplated this, but then as it rose up higher out of the water I could see that I was no match for it. Yet I still considered staying and fighting in the Name of Jesus, but then felt the Lord say I should not stay and fight. I needed to take cover.
We ran into a hollowed out tree. It was a big tree, with enough room for all of us. Besides myself, there was four or five other family members with me. We all got inside and I was standing by the door. It was an actual door that was over the opening in the tree. I shut the door. There was a light on inside too. The monster was making a lot of noise outside, looking for us, and it came close to the tree. I was thinking once again about praying out loud, taking authority over him, but then considered that the noise would attract him. I knew that he was going to give off a deception which would affect anyone who was outside overnight. It didn't matter who it was, if they were outside they were going to be deceived by this monster. I just said 'Jesus' very quietly.
A couple of my family members began to get noisy because they were afraid, and I looked at each one, making a "shh" very quiet sound with my finger over my lips. I looked at each one to make sure each one understood they had to be quiet. The thought went through my mind that it looked like I was trying to take charge, but I couldn't be concerned with that right now. It was vital that we all were quiet.
Finally, the beast got quiet and people slowly started talking but I told them to shh. One of them said, "She can hear something." And it wasn't so much that I could hear something but I knew we needed to wait a bit. I felt a bit distracted by the others with me in the tree and at one point I felt that if I were too worried about trying to keep them quiet, I would lose my perspective/perception for what was going on outside the tree. I couldn't physically see what was going on outside. I was relying on my perception by the Spirit of God. I needed that perception to help keep us safe, so I couldn't get too distracted by them.
At a certain point in time, I sensed it was starting to get light outside, so I shut off the light inside the tree and started to open the door. I didn't want the light inside the tree to call attention to us as I opened the door, but when I shut the light off, one person started making a lot of noise, he was scared--claustrophobic. I knew it was uncomfortable for him, but I also knew I had to keep going and slowly open the door. I knew he would see what I was doing and that it would be O.K. I couldn't take the time to stop an explain it to him, I just had to show him.
We went outside and the monster was gone. It was just before dawn. It had spread its deception throughout the night to whoever was in the street. We ran up the street, aware that we could be a target for something else--from one of the deceived.
We entered a building. It was kind of dreary building, and more like a partially outdoor hallway. It appeared to be a central station of some sort--people were coming and going in all directions. There were a lot of people around who were dressed the same. They were all saying or singing something that sounded like words of praise and worship to the Lord. But I knew by the Spirit that some of these were fake Christians. They did not have the Spirit of God in them. I told everyone very seriously not to just follow anyone but to make sure they had the Spirit of God in them, and they would only know that by the Spirit. You could not tell outwardly. Once again, I thought it sounded like I was trying to take charge but the message was so important that I had to make sure they knew. I knew that anyone of them could perceive this for themselves, but because it was so important, I didn't want to assume that they had.
Thoughts regarding the dream:
God prepared a safe place for us. We needed to get away, out of the influence of this spirit. This spirit influences and deceives the whole world. We needed to get out of its path and not try to fight against it. Arrogance would have had us try and fight against it and we would have been squashed. As it was, I felt that at any time we could have been squashed by this thing while inside the tree. I had to have faith and trust in the Lord. I could have been fearful for not being able to see outside the tree, and it was tempting to open the door, but I had to rely on faith in Him instead. It was important to wait and listen. To be quiet and listen. To not be anxious, or fearful, or arrogant, or get into disputes. The tree I believe represents righteousness--our righteousness in Jesus.
Also, there were two or three generations in the tree. We must teach the next generation both wisdom and courage. If you have wisdom without courage you'll know what to do, but buckle under the pressure and become paralyzed with fear. On the other hand, if you have courage without wisdom, you'll be willing to die for your faith, but may end up dying needlessly when you should have stayed alive and continued your work here! Wisdom comes from listening to the Spirit of God.
It was important not to call attention to ourselves while we were in the tree, for this would attract the monster. Fear will cause you to cry out and when you do, you are calling attention to yourself. The same is true with disagreements. Also, the light in the tree, or our own light, opinion or illumination on things, will also call attention to ourselves. We need the light of the sun (Son) to see clearly, and to walk in the humility which will keep us safe. We need to wait for the dawn--enlightening from the Sun.
Once outside the tree, waiting to hear the Lord was important then too. We could not rush into following a certain group or forming relationships. We couldn't use reason to determine why we thought one group was better than another and follow them. We could not tell by outward appearance who was truly a Christian and who was fake. Everyone looked alike and sounded alike. We couldn't use comparisons etc. but instead we were to follow and wait on the Spirit--the true Holy Spirit.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
"By faith we understand..." Hebrews 11:3
If we don't understand the Word of God when we hear it, it won't take root in our lives. It becomes seed sown by the wayside as described in Matthew 13:19, so understanding is important. Understanding not only involves the ability of the physical ear to hear, but the brain's ability to interpret the words. So, understanding is a two-step process of physically hearing the sound, and then interpreting the words/language. Pretty simply--the words find their way to you, and you know the language so you understand. However, to properly understand the meaning of God's Words, we need to learn His language and definitions so we interpret them correctly. His thoughts are not like ours."So faith comes from hearing..." Romans 10:17
For example, you might define patience as an intense time of suffering through a difficult situation. You come up with that definition based on past experience and what you've been taught. Yet, another person may define patience as stepping out of the limitations of time and into God's eternal realm where the things that are not yet seen are accessed. Two very different viewpoints.
Paul told the Corinthians if a bugle sounds and the tune is unfamiliar to the soldiers, the hearers won't know to prepare themselves for battle. We too, need to learn God's language so we may properly understand the meaning of what He's saying, and live accordingly. Learning the language of God involves reprogramming our brain to think like Him.
This reprogramming or renewing of our mind means that not only do understand His language, but we also accept His thoughts as truth, and judge our prior thoughts and experiences according to His truth. Normally, your brain will judge what it hears according to what it (you) already accept as the truth. It will judge according to the "pre-existing conditions" that influence your thoughts. If what you hear conflicts with what you consider to be true, you won't accept the "new" truth UNLESS you are humble enough to admit you may be wrong about something, and seek the Lord for understanding, being willing to accept His thoughts as truth.
From the time you were in the womb, you could hear the sounds around you. Words were spoken which, as you grew and experienced life, defined your understanding of those words. Often, we come to false conclusions because of erroneous teaching, misconceptions, and misunderstanding of events. With these kinds of deceptions lodged in a person's mind, they will reject what is contrary, even if it's the truth. It takes a heart willing to surrender to the truth in order to live free from deception.
To live in the ways of God, we all need a renewal of our minds after we are born again. Daily meditation of the Word will reprogram our brain. Even after that, there may be times we discover strongholds/deceptions that need to be pulled down out of our thinking. But for that to happen, we must be willing to surrender to God's truth. Praying in the Holy Spirit also helps to keep us from rejecting God's words and overcome misconceptions.
But there's more! Not only do we flush out the old, erroneous thought patterns, we also learn how to partner our thoughts and memories with the Holy Spirit to access the eternal realms of heaven where fresh new memories replace the old, deceptive strongholds. How do we do that? Not only with our heart, but with our memories.
When you dream, you create memories. The same thing happens when you activate your imagination--you create memories. These memories are just as powerful as ones created from experience. All memories are powerful. They are eternal. They are the substance of the heart. Like faith, they are the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit brings things to our remembrance, and shows us things to come--memories of the past and the future. These memories are outside of the defines of time. They are in the eternal realm. The thing is, we can intentionally access this eternal realm. We use our thoughts and memories/imagination to do so. We're told to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Rather than waiting for God to do something for us or to us, we can take the initiative.
Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine a room of your home (that you are not sitting in). Envision the walls, doors, windows, furniture, floor and get as detailed as you want. Now do the same thing with a Scripture. For example, Revelation 21 describes the New Jerusalem. In Revelation 22 he describes the river coming from the throne of God. Read these Scriptures and envision what it looks like. In the same way, you can close your eyes and behold the Lord. As you do, you are changed into His image as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Learning to do this will cause you to live an overcoming life. Don't think that the battles you face are not important. Every time you overcome a personal battle in your life, it affects the spiritual climate around you--you are weakening strongholds of the enemy. This affects your life, but also what is around you and what you are praying for--your family, workplace, community and nations. We need you to learn to access the heavenly realm for the kingdom of God! Remember that 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
Other Scriptures: Isaiah 55:8, 2 Corinthians 4:1-4, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-13, John 14:26, John 16:13, Hebrews 11:1, Joshua 1:8, Jude 20, Ecclesiastes 3:11
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
In the Bible, we read that Daniel was shown in the end time, there would be a period of great distress, but everyone found "written in the book" will be rescued. The angel who told him this then said:
"Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." Daniel 12:3Jesus also said that in the end time, after the wicked (tares) are removed:
"Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father..." Matthew 13:43Those who have insight, and the righteous, will both shine in the end. The righteous are meant to have insight, for the righteous hold to the truth. Concerning the Day of the Lord, Paul told the Thessalonians:
"But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;" 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5As children of God, we are children of light who are meant to shine. When light shines, there is an effect upon darkness. It disappears. As long as we stay in the light, we will overcome. When the clash between light and darkness occurs, we want to stay in the light. We don't want to give in to a dark spirit--hate, fear, revenge etc. We may feel the emotion, but we don't react in sin. Instead, we continue to shine with truth and love.
There will be temptations to respond to accusations made against us, or to get sidetracked with the distractions thrown our way, or to take things personally and fight back personally. But, instead of giving in to those temptations, we continue to shine. We shine with the Light of God which has substance and power.
Recently, on Facebook, I got into a discussion where I was accused of being full of hate, narrow minded, knowing nothing, insane, racist, a fool, ignorant etc. I could have responded with personal attacks in return, but I would not shine with the light if I did. The people making these accusations feel that their opinion is truth, where in reality, only God is truth. The truth is what I had to shine with if I really want what is best for them.
We're not in a battle of opinions, it's a battle of light vs. dark; truth vs. deception. We shine with the light and do not allow the darkness of other people's hearts to invade or influence us. Similar to a four year old throwing a temper tantrum and saying all sorts of mean things, we don't get on the floor with them and throw a tantrum back. We stand up and speak the truth. Truth is the only remedy for deception.
"...they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12Those who do not love and believe the truth will be sent a deluding influence so they will believe what is false and be judged. The only remedy for this deception is for them to repent of their wickedness, and to love and believe the truth. This is what we must shine with--the truth. We must love and believe the truth ourselves, and then shine with it to others so perhaps they might receive it.
This deception Paul spoke of to the Thessalonians is sent from God Himself. There is also a blinding that comes from the enemy which he puts upon the minds of the unbelieving so they won't see the light of the gospel of Christ.
"...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4Whether it's the enemy blinding their minds, or a delusion that comes because of their rejection of the truth, the answer is for us to remain in the light and shine. We love and embrace the truth ourselves, more than we want to prove we are right. More than we want to prove they are wrong. More than we want to take revenge. We shine in a way that glorifies our Father in heaven.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Stay in the light. Live in the light. Walk in the light. It's time to shine!
Monday, January 23, 2017
"But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart."
Jesus, John 16:6
Jesus said these words to His disciples after telling them He was leaving them. He also told them what they would have to suffer because of knowing Him. They would be kicked out of the synagogue, they would be hated, and some would be killed. Because He said these things, sorrow had filled their heart.
He mentions that none of them had asked where He was going (vs 5). They were thinking more about what would happen to them and how His departure would affect them, rather than taking on a heavenly perspective of what was happening. They didn't stop to ask, what was God doing?
While Jesus was with them, they were safe. Yet, He says it was to their advantage (and ours) that He left (vs 7). Because of His death and resurrection, all who believe in Him may receive the Holy Spirit. The benefit of this is that many believers can spread throughout the world, preaching the gospel of the kingdom with signs following.
Jesus living here as one man could only do so much, but with many filled with His Spirit, the fruit of His life multiplies. This is fundamental to how the kingdom works--a seed is sown and much fruit results.
Are you sorrowful? Try looking at your situation from a heavenly perspective. Ask the Lord "where He is going" or where is He leading you right now, rather than focusing on the difficulty you are experiencing.
Replace the sorrow in your heart with the joy of what His resurrection accomplished. Ask Him about your place in preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Then get ready, because those filled with His Spirit will do the works that He did, and greater works because He left the earth to go to the Father (John 14:12). This is not a time to allow our hearts to be filled with sorrow, but a time to stand up, brush ourselves off, and get to work!
Saturday, January 14, 2017
God gives us treasures. He does. He provides for His people. An abundance is available for us. However, He doesn't pour liquid gold from Heaven (usually) to get them to us. He gives us hidden treasure. It might be like an ugly rock with a beautiful gem inside. It might be like a grain of sand inside an oyster. It might be like a lump of matter that needs high heat and pressure to turn into a diamond. God gives you your treasure in a uniquely hidden form, and there is something you do to access it!
How? First, you need to identify where your treasure is hidden. It may not be the most obvious place. If it's in the ugly rock, it might be the thing you keep tripping over. If it's caused by the grain of sand, it might be the thing that is irritating you the most. If it's the lump of matter, if might be whatever is giving you the most stress right now. Ask the Lord to show you where He has hidden your treasure!
Then, you have work to do. In order to access or create your treasure, you need the right tools. The tools to mine our treasures are not earthly tools. These are tools of the Spirit. If you try and labor in the flesh for your heavenly treasure you won't get very far. Our equipping comes from the Spirit of God. The fruits and gifts of the Spirit are tools you use to mine the treasure that's been given to you.
However, what often happens, is that people get angry that their needs weren't met as they expected. They might get mad at the Lord and accuse Him. They might become stingy or greedy, becoming selfish and unkind. They might become depressed and hopeless, and even do things they know they shouldn't. All of these attitudes are contrary to the fruit of the Spirit. Faithfulness, patience, peace, self-control, love, kindness, gentleness, joy, and goodness are tools we use to access our treasure. We need to become kingdom-minded, and think like God does.
Not only do you access your treasure by the fruit of the Spirit, but by the gifts of the Spirit. How has He gifted you? As you begin to labor in the Spirit, you are mining your treasure. You are working in the kingdom and will produce kingdom results. Don't get mad at God, depressed, or discouraged and stop the flow of the Spirit of God! If you do, you are stopping the mining process. If you give up--whether in attitude or function--you will not produce the kingdom treasure in your life that God so wants to give you!
God has given you treasure. Is it an ugly rock, a grain of sand, a lump of matter? A seed that needs planting and care? Do you see it? You see it by faith. We walk in the kingdom by faith. Consider what Peter said:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.1 Peter 1:3-9
Your faith is more precious than earthly gold which will perish. The outcome of your faith, is the salvation of your soul. This salvation is more valuable than any earthly treasure we could possibly acquire. That alone makes our faith the most precious asset we could ever own. While here on earth, our faith is tested by fire so it will be found honorable at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Whatever we go through here on earth to test/strengthen/purify our faith is worth it! However, in the process of our faith being purified, we receive treasures here on earth as well. As we learn His ways, we begin to access the eternal realms of heaven where we will live forever with Him.
Jesus said to Martha that if she would believe, she would see the glory of God. Her brother Lazarus would be raised from the dead. (John 11:40). As we believe, we too will see His glory here in the earth. We will begin to access the treasures buried in our midst. Take another look at those irritating, lumpy, stresses in your life and look at them with the eyes of faith. Your treasure is waiting!