Daily Discovering the Blessing

Archive for July, 2012

Our New Life

Colossians 3:3-4 – You have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, Who is our life, appears…

When I think back to the person I was before God found me and think now on the woman He has created me to be (and continues to create!), there can only be rejoicing, grateful thanksgiving, and loving acknowledgement of His handiwork.  And I wonder, looking out upon the world of men, how many others, not yet in Him, have that true life to discover.  Knowing that our Father desires for all to come to saving faith (Ezekiel 18:32, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9), we’re talking about vast numbers of people who have yet to understand their “true life”!

We do not just become a more enhanced us, only now filled with an awareness of God, now filled with the Holy Spirit, now assured of eternity with God.  We become entirely new people.  The woman that I was – her motivations, her thoughts, her emotions, her belief systems, hopes, dreams, and desires – no longer exists at all!  When the underlying premise of what life is all about dissolves under the purpose and power of God’s Word, there is nothing left behind to build upon.  God does not build on the errant foundation of our misconceptions; He does not add His addition onto the life house we had been designing.  He does not accommodate men’s traditions, philosophies, or politically correct attitudes.  He recreates in Christ.

If you will take the time, every day, to get quiet before our Father, to recognize, as a born-again daughter of God, that He lives in you (Ephesians 3:17) and establishes His purposes in you (1 Thessalonians 3:13),  if you will allow the Word of God to renew and transform your thinking (Romans 12:2), and the Holy Spirit to daily form and fashion the woman He knows you to be according to Heaven’s design, you too will look back in wonder at who you were and who you now are becoming!  Do not let yourself down in this.  An amazing life of blessing is there for you to step out into.  The woman that God has for you to be, and the lives He has for you to bless, depend and wait upon your willingness to submit and expect in faith.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Ephesians 2:10              Colossians 3:3-4

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On the Ground of Your Word

George Muller a brother in Christ of great faith and the head of an orphanage, prayed faithfully each morning for the children’s daily bread (Matthew 6:11).  He relied fully on God to supply all of their needs (Philippians 4:19).  One particular morning he was informed that there was no food or money for the children’s breakfast.    He did what his daily habit had always been – he went to prayer thanking the Lord for the food they were about to eat (Matthew 6:31-33, Luke 11:3).  The “reality” was that there was no food, but Muller did not regard that issue as worthy of notice!  A knock at the door as he completed his prayer revealed a local baker who was there in response to a dream he had experienced the night before.  God had told the baker in the dream to bring a good supply of bread to the orphanage and he was there with enough bread to last the week.  In addition a milk truck had broken down right in front of the orphanage and the driver was asking Muller to take his entire supply of milk and serve it before it spoiled.

In Luke 5, Peter gives voice to the underpinnings of faith.  Although his all night fishing trip had produced no results (“we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing”), at the Lord’s direction he went fishing again with entirely different results.  He said to Jesus, “On the ground of your Word” I will do this.  George Muller and all of God’s children who operate daily in faith and “receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36) do so on the ground of His Word.  It is a heart attitude concerning the faithfulness of God and the integrity of His unchangeable character and His constant adherence to the covenant which He has established.

On the ground of Your Word” is faith speaking.  It is the key that unlocks the door to full manifestation of kingdom blessings in a life.  It reveals total heart acceptance of God’s goodness and the reality of the spiritual realm and its profound implications for, and impact on, our day-to-day lives.  “On the ground of Your Word” is the spirit’s acknowledgement that our Father always, without exception, means what He says and says what He means.  It establishes entirely new parameters within which we comprehend life.  It reframes our actions, decisions, and word choice.  It relinquishes all personal throne sitting; it demolishes all ideology, philosophy, and political correctness that might attempt to deify men; it recognizes the correct order of all things!

Time in the Word of God finding out all that is in there will give you that new ground to stand on.  It truly will reconfigure your reality and strengthen and mature your faith.  Accept nothing less than God’s highest and best for your life.  Delight yourself in the Word and Presence of God.  Then you too will say, in the face of all circumstances, “On the ground of Your Word”.  And the resulting testimony will feed and guide many!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Malachi 3:6             Luke 5:4-10             2 Timothy 2:13

Because of What Jesus Did

You’ve heard the phrase “too good to be true!”  It seems so jaded, doesn’t it?  And yet many operate under its influence.  Most of us don’t awaken to face the new day filled with the anticipation of goodness coming our way; with the assumption that all will be well today.  We don’t joyfully bound out of the bed filled with an expectation that every moment, every encounter, every path taken will bless us exceedingly.

And yet, according to Scripture, why not?  As God’s beloved daughter, filled with His Spirit, you have stepped over into eternity.  Your focus is different.  Your perspective is changed.  You are that “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) in Christ Jesus.  You have inherited “glad tidings” (Acts 14:7), “the fresh and new has come”.

Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name.” [Emphasis mine]

Now there’s an attitude to wake up with in the morning!  A heart filled with such gratitude colors your every action, your home life, and your representation of what life with Jesus is all about.  When the heart of the home is filled with such assurance and understanding, you are truly building a heavenly atmosphere. Because of what Jesus did we are in right standing with our Father.  Because of what Jesus did sin no longer defeats us (1 John 2:1), health is our birthright (Mark 5:34) and daily provision a promise we can expect to be fulfilled (3 John 1:2, Joshua 1;7-8)  Because of what Jesus did the power of our enemy, Satan, is disarmed (Colossians 2:15), vanquished (Ephesians 4:8), and brought to nought and made of no effect (Hebrews 2:14).  Because of what Jesus did we walk in freedom (Romans 8:21)

Galatians 5:1 –“In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].”

Because of what Jesus did!  If you will keep your heart and mind resting on this truth, if you will cast down (1 Peter 5:7) every thing in your life that lifts itself up against God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5), you will certainly disprove “too good to be true!”.

Our Father is always only good to His children (Psalm 34:8, 1 Peter 2:2-3).  Whenever a care, anxiety, or fear presents itself, turn immediately and consider Jesus – His love for you, His faithfulness, His power  – “He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully”  You are no longer your own, entirely responsible for the outcome of your days – you are His, bought with a precious price (1 Corinthians 7:23).  You are under His care now.  It is so good and it is all true!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Psalm 34:8                   2 Corinthians 5:17          Galatians 5:1

Hebrews 13:15

Relinquishing the “What-If’s”

Just recently, in my 32nd year of walking with the Lord, the Holy Spirit gently revealed to me an underlying measure of fear and unbelief that colored my thoughts.  At this point half of my life had been living and growing in the Spirit as a daughter of God.  And while I knew the reassuring certainty of looking at life through the Truth and authority of the Word, and though I had the experience of 32 years in the Lord to rehearse in my heart – every instance of provision, healing, stepping out on the promises of God and finding them always reliable – my walk was still being hindered by occasional fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

What did this fear and unbelief look like?  It was the process of paying attention to the “what-ifs”!  Following thoughts down a path toward the possibility of negative outcome; when someone I loved was late in arriving home, when a medical condition in a family member was not immediately righted, when a season of financial challenge disturbed my sleep, my thoughts and imaginings entertained evil reports.

How do we overcome the enemy’s tactics in this (his insidious whispers) as well as our own fleshly inclinations?  First, we have the wonderful ministry of the Comforter.  The Holy Spirit, as our Teacher, will help us make the crooked places straight (Luke 3:5), if we listen. He will show us errors in thinking and judgment that compromise our life and ministry. Here He was pointing out to me that I needed to take the negative mental wanderings captive, for they were not God-honoring or Word asserting.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5– For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,  [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God;, and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

 The Message Bible says it this way:

…fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ… and building lives of obedience into maturity.

Notice that while the leading into God-life is His, the work at capturing our thoughts is ours.

Secondly, we remind ourselves that God always gives us the means of escape from any situation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We speak out His Word, His promises, over any and every issue that arises.  The Word heals, protects, and provides, and these provisions have already been made.  In faith we receive what He has already given.  Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! (Psalm 37:4, Philippians 4:4)– it is His admonition and weapon against unbelief.  Praise, praise, praise! – for there God is honored, there peace prevails (Philippians 4:7). When praise is our lifestyle we cannot at the same time entertain the evil report or the fearful thinking.

Hebrews 13:15 Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name. [Emphasis mine]

Once we have spoken God’s Word over the issue, it is settled.  Do not allow yourself to become unsettled by watching that film in your mind of the possibilities of outcomes contrary to the Word.  Fear is a bondage (Romans 8:15), doubt rejects the blessing (James 1:6-8), and unbelief curtails the promises of God (Matthew 13:58).

God, through His Holy Spirit, lovingly guides and corrects His sons and daughters.  He frees us from the corrosive, faith-sapping effects of the “what-if’s”.  Smith Wigglesworth has said, “There is a place in the Holy Spirit where we will not allow unbelief to affect us”.  I pray that as we “build lives of obedience into maturity” we will all abide in that God-honoring place.

God’s Word on the subject:

1 Corinthians 10:            2 Corinthians 10:4-5               Hebrews 13:15

“Never Let the Mountain See You Cry”

“Never let the mountain see you cry.”  What a wonderful statement. It is not mine. It is found in what I consider a “must-have” primer on prayer called Secrets to Powerful Prayer: Discover the Languages of the Heart by Lynne Hammond and Patsy Cameneti.

For thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: In returning (to Me) and resting (in Me) you shall be saved; in quietness and in (trusting) confidence shall be your strength.  But you would not.(Isaiah 30:15)

What is the first thing you do when a “mountain” tries to get a firm foothold in front of you?  A mountain of debt, symptoms of illness, perplexity and confusion over a particular situation, concern over children, or a troubling decision.  There are any number of possible responses to this (but only one right one!).  Those not trained in kingdom realities might accept the problem as a normal occurrence in life and deal with it to the best of their own ability and human understanding.  Those growing in their understanding of kingdom principles and spiritual realities might jump into action.  But:

“…the next time you get a bad report, don’t jump up and start shouting at the mountain.  Don’t chant at it and start flailing around trying to push it down.  Don’t even try to pray real hard…Don’t bawl and squawl while you’re telling Satan to flee from you.  Don’t ever let him see you like that.  When you deal with mountains and devils, you act like a victorious son (daughter) of God. You come at him as more than a conqueror.”  (Hammond/Cameneti)

Those who have established their lives and understanding on God’s sovereignty, reliability, and authority in all situations will go to their Source of peace, provision, and success. They will speak to the mountain from a place of calm, and authority.  Connected vitally to the vine – they speak words of power from a heart that knows God; a heart so filled with the purposes of the Holy Spirit of God that mountain-moving becomes a joyful certainty.

From the Lord one morning:

“Speak the Word. Speak it into situations, into dead places, into seeming hopelessness.  Throw it at strongholds.  Demolish evil works with it.  You have been given mountain-moving faith.  See with the eyes of your spirit.  Speak what you see in the Spirit and believe for manifestation.  From this quiet place, this quiet time with Me, you walk out to change your world – to rearrange – to create.  The time with Me is the significant piece – the foundation – on your own in this endeavor there is danger of the misdirected step.  Allow Me to show you what each day holds.  Not everyone prays the same, not everyone hears the same directions – all purposes flow from Me but they are all unique.  You simply need to quietly assume that what you are hearing and what you have heard is true and accurate.  No amount of straining – no effort on your part will accomplish this – just quiet knowing.”

 

God’s Word on the Subject:

Isaiah 30:15                     Matthew 17:20             Mark 11:22-24

John 5:19                          John 15:5, 16                          

Avoiding Spiritual Deafness – Part Two

Again from Kenneth Hagin, whose entire ministry was firmly based on Holy Spirit direction:

“”If you begin to move in a certain direction and you get a check in your spirit, then stop! That check or unrest in your spirit is a stop sign from the Lord, and although you may not understand it at the time, He has good reason for you…You see, God knows the future and He’ll give you a check in your spirit if he sees you moving in a direction that will cause you harm or that will hinder you from fulfilling His plan for your life…when the Lord gives you a check in your spirit, it’s of utmost importance that you seek God until you know what it means…Some…continue to flounder in life and ministry because their wrong move made them start doubting their own ability to hear God correctly…Seek Him until you’re sure you’re hearing from Him – if you miss it, we need to keep trusting Him to teach us how to hear Him more accurately next time.”

Although it might take ongoing practice to clearly discern the voice of the Holy Spirit in the everyday matters of life, I have learned that a check in the Spirit is more easily perceived.  An uneasy sense in your heart concerning an upcoming decision, a planned change in direction, a career choice, a marriage choice – God cares about all of these and, having given the reigns of your life over to Him, He will give warning if missteps are about to happen.  You will experience a sense of unease, a questioning, a lack of peace.  I love what Colossians 3:15 counsels us:

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]…  [Emphasis mine]

When I felt the leading to step away from my administrative position at a Christian school, I experienced that check.in my spirit about continuing at that post. As Kenneth Hagin advises in today’s quote, I sought God until I knew what the check meant.  I prayed and spent quiet time with Him asking if I was discerning correctly.  Our Father will give warning when His kids are about to take a misstep; He will send confirmation, He will close and open doors spiritually speaking.  Again, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is so vitally important in out lives that we must avoid spiritual deafness at all costs.  Therein lies success.  Do not simply plod on through what might seem to be your routine path, or your next presumed step.  Listen to the Spirit and recognize the checks.  That’s honoring the ministry of the Holy Spirit and keeping you out of trouble.

 

God’s Word on the Subject:

Acts 16:6

Avoiding Spiritual Deafness – Part One

In his book Following God’s Plan For Your Life, Kenneth Hagin writes:

“Spiritual things are just as real as material things.  In fact, the spiritual realm is even more real than the natural realm because God, Who is Spirit, created the material, natural realm.  So if you are successfully going to follow God’s plan for your life, you need to become more Spirit-conscious than you are mind-conscious or body-conscious.

He goes on to say that when you are more “sense-conscious and body-ruled” you “often become spiritually deaf”.  We need to develop our comfort level with spiritual ears.

1 Peter 4:7- …keep sound minded and self-restrained and alert therefore for [the practice of] prayer.

Each of us has the responsibility to understand and diligently continue to seek God’s direction for our lives.  His desire is to have a personal relationship with you.

One of the things that my daughter and I often express when we are sharing spiritual things and what we feel the Holy Spirit has been speaking to us is “I’m not sure if this was me or the Holy Spirit”.  I am willing to bet that most of you with even years of experience in the Lord have wondered that same thing.  “Is this me or You, Holy Spirit?”  Because the leading of the Holy One within does not come with trumpets blaring and a loud, “Thus sayeth the Lord”!   It is a quiet and gentle leading.  What He says always lines up with the Word.

He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:14)

Jesus tells us that we will recognize and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit  (John 10:27).  That becomes our daily practice, our daily calling – recognizing the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit.   In The Master is Calling, Lynne Hammond offers good counsel on how to learn to discern between Holy Spirit prompting and personal desires:

“I will note, however, that I spent a great deal of time reading and meditating on the Word of God.  And the more I did that, the more easily I could tell when some prompting or thought was not from God.  I could discern the difference between my mind and my heart because the Word was helping me to divide the two (Hebrews 4:12).

Developing spiritual ears involves the practice of a lifetime.  Some have occasionally heard an audible voice, but in my experience those instances are few and far between.  It is cultivated over quiet time spent in His Presence.  Tuning out the world and tuning into Heaven will not only become easier, it will become a desired experience.  Set aside time today to sit and listen with thanksgiving and expectation. He will fulfill His ministry in your life.  It is not only His assignment, it is His great desire.  You are loved by God.  You are loved by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Isaiah 55:9           1 Peter 4:7

Watching in the Spirit – Part Two

“Watching is the very first step to Spirit-led prayer.  It’s praying to pray.  It is tuning into God and purposefully searching out the promptings of the Spirit.  It is looking for His leadings so you can follow them and pray about things of which you have no natural knowledge.”  (Cameneti/Hammond – Secrets to Powerful  Prayer)

Isaiah 62:6 I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who will never hold their peace day or night; you who [are His servants and by your prayers] put the Lord in remembrance [of His promises].  Keep not silence.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit to God’s children includes announcing and declaring to us things that are to come (John 16:13).   Watching in the Spirit, with the Spirit, establishes the partnership that God intended.

“One reason the Holy Spirit is so eager to help us watch is because that’s what He is doing.  He is constantly watching over the world longing to move on it in power, and carry out the will of God. But He cannot do that apart from the prayers of the body of Christ.”  (Cameneti/Hammond) [Emphasis mine]

They are quite right in saying that while the job of the Holy Spirit is to carry out the will of God, He cannot without the cooperation and the prayers of believers.

Notice in John 16:14 -15, we are told that the Holy Spirit “will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.” It is then our job to pray out (“to keep not silence” to “put the Lord in remembrance [of His promises]”).  The authority and the responsibility are now ours.

Because this is His ministry, His purpose, when we determine to “watch and pray” with Him (Mark 13:33) He will communicate to us what it is we need know, what situation we need to speak God’s Word into (even situations we know nothing about!)

It is foolish and even harmful to ignore the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is short-sighted and self-defeating to ignore the practice of watching in the Spirit.  Jesus told us that it was for our benefit that the Holy Spirit was sent. (“It is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous” – John 16:7).  His guidance ushers in Heaven’s purposes for you, and your watchfulness establishes God’s purposes on the earth.

Now that you have God’s Word on the subject, step into the reality of His Presence in your life as a born-again believer.  Watch with Him.  In great expectation allow Him to fulfill His ministry in your life.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Isaiah 62:6               John 16:7-15

Watching in the Spirit – Part One

In Mark 13 Jesus admonishes His disciples, and us, to be in a position of readiness for His return – “give strict attention to, be cautious, active, and alert”.  In fact the command to watch is given 4 times in Verses 33-37.  In Luke 21:34 He teaches what would keep us from effective watching:

But take heed to yourselves and be on guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or noose.

While the process of watching in the Spirit is not only about preparation for and expectation of the return of our Lord, that facet of its purpose should profoundly shape our daily lives.  Throughout the centuries our fellow believers have awaited His return, not knowing the day or the hour:

But of that day or that hour not a [single] person knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  (Mark 13:32)

Watching in the Spirit in anticipation of His return adds a transformational dimension to our days.  Think of a dinner party you might be planning or a special event you are looking forward to attending.  Don’t the details of preparation for such moments fill your thoughts and dictate your actions?  As you count down to the event, you put in place, first mentally and then physically, all of the steps necessary to a successful outcome.  But these worldly concerns are not usually character-transforming.

For a Christian, though, for a daughter of God, watching in the Spirit for the return of the Master (Mark 13:35) our life’s focus, our heart’s priorities, our growth in the Spirit are Heaven-directed and transformational in the light of that expectation.  When you think that it is possible that our Lord might return today don’t all other cares of this life pale in comparison?  What would you straighten up, what relationships would you quickly mend, what heart attitudes would you carefully inventory and alter to bring your life into compliance with God’s expectations?

As with all of our Father’s commands, Jesus’ imperatives in these verses are life-giving,  resulting in our benefit.  “Watch…be on your guard…be cautious …active … alert”.  It is another aid in directing our sight heavenward.  It is guidance toward successful kingdom living. It is another heavenly tactic in overcoming the devil’s devices.  Heaven-directed expectation of our Lord’s return establishes our daily gaze into the Spirit realm and our understanding that while we may be in this world, we are not of it (John 17:14-16; John 15:19).

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Matthew 25:1-13           Mark 13:32-37             Luke 21:34-36

Sowing and Reaping

The concept, or scriptural law, of sowing and reaping has everything to do with our prosperity, but is not simply limited to our finances.  Our actions set this law in motion.  Sowing and reaping is not only an established and provable pattern in our physical world, it has its counterpart, in fact its origin, in the spiritual realm.

We sow corn, flower, or any other vegetative seed and we reap corn, flowers and vegetables, all according to their kind (Genesis 1).  But there is also the observable phenomenon of other human activity reaping predictable results.  Sow purposeful study, reap wisdom, knowledge, and good grades!  Sow “trouble and mischief reap the same” (Job 4:8).  “Sow righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) and you “shall have a sure reward [permanent and satisfying]” (Proverbs 11:18). Sow friendship and loving ways and reap the same.  Sow anger and dissension and reap these evil twins right back into your days. Sow laziness and slack in certain areas and reap lack.

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled: God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside).  [He inevitably deludes himself by attempting to delude God.]  For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. (Galatians 6:7) [Emphasis mine]

This is a precept that God has set in motion and its operation and outcome is absolutely predictable.  You reap what you sow – that and that only.  In the realm of the Spirit, sow time in prayer and the study of God’s Word, reap wisdom, spiritual growth, and peace.  Sow time given over to ministry for your Father, reap time multiplied back to you.  Sow money into the work of the kingdom, reap a generous reward. Sow sparingly, reap sparingly; sow generously, reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).

I have heard some say that because we are clearly instructed to tithe (giving 10% of our income to the church) they would tithe not ever expecting a return.  In fact, they continue, to tithe expecting a return is tithing not done with the correct humble attitude.  It is, they indicate, a grabbing, selfish action – to give expecting to get.  What they have effectively done is shut off their faith for the receiving of God’s prosperity in their lives.  For His precepts are being set aside.

God’s Word tells us that He has set up this system whereby those who sow generously will reap generously.  “Prove Me now”, He says.  Tithe, and see “if I will not open up the windows of Heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10).  He goes on to say that He will rebuke the devourer on our behalf, and all of the nations of the earth will look and see and call us blessed.  Faith accepts the blessing He has provided.  Faith that our Father is true to His Word looks for and receives prosperity.  For that is what He has promised, and He delights and takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants (Psalm 35:27).  God-provided prosperity without tithing is unscriptural.  Tithing without expecting prosperity is unscriptural.  God has set the law in motion – what you sow you will also reap.  We honor Him when we obey and tithe and when we have faith for the prosperity that follows.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Malachi 3:10            Luke 12:32             2 Corinthians 9:6-10