Daily Discovering the Blessing

Archive for August, 2012

A Prosperous Spirit

I recently spoke with someone very dear to me who was sensing a change of direction in her life – a crossroads experience – and she felt very unprepared to correctly assess the direction she should take.  She spent much time alone- forced time alone due to injury – and, never having practiced listening carefully to her heart, did not trust the process.  Even if she felt a leading, how could she know that  she was either hearing correctly or being misled by her own preconceived ideas of where her life should go?  She shied quickly away from any reference to God – His willingness to carefully and lovingly direct her path and life decisions,  the reality of His Being as presented in Scripture which she had been very purposefully avoiding, and the clear-cut call to obedience which the Word requires.  She welcomed a generic, “I’ll pray for you”, but when she sensed any step toward a discussion of God’s covenant promises to His children, when she understood that the conversation was veering toward the inevitable discussion for or against the Lordship of Jesus, she shied away and brought the conversation to a close.  And yet through today’s Scriptures (God’s Word on the subject) we understand that there is no life outside of God, for nothing is independent of Him.

In His book The Power of the Blood  Covenant  Malcolm Smith writes:

“The problem with defining death is that those who are in the state of death are doing the defining and are convinced that they are alive!  From their perspective, they are alive now and death is what happens at the end of physical life;  but the Bible plainly says that ourside Christ they are not alive now!  This is the world of the walking dead who do not live but exist.”

My daughter Carly was recently sharing in an e-mail some Scripture passages that she felt would significantly help a young friend who was also dealing with life decisions after a path which she had taken ended in disappointment and seeming defeat.  The girl responded that, yes, those were Scriptures which she enjoyed and appreciated as well.  But Carly felt that the awe and wonder and the excitement and joy were not there in the girl’s response.  For, if that was God’s promise, His living Word, His covenant guarantee to His faith-filled children, then the Word should be latched onto with great expectation and gratitude to our Abba.  How wonderful, how assuring,  how success-filled is the Word!  For He does not lie – he is faithful to His Word!

A prosperous spirit is established firmly in this realization.  A prosperous spirit lives on “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).  A prosperous spirit relies on the Truth that our Abba extends to us “age-enduring love and kindness…compassion and mercy…a covenant of peace and completeness.” (Isaiah 54: 8, 10)  A prosperous spirit rests in peace.  A prosperous spirit recognizes and fully depends upon that covenant relationship that Jesus restored through the shedding of His blood; a covenant that God will never ever break.

He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, {I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you or let you down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 3:15)

God’s Word on the subject:

Lamentations 3:22-23                John 1:3-4              John 15:4-5

Hebrews 13:5

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Be Healed – Part Two

   When you first begin to understand what the Word has to say about health and healing, the process of walking in that Truth can be challenging.  After all, we’ve had years of practice in the acceptance of bodily ailments.  As children, we have, most likely, been pampered and gently nursed through times of illness, and we feel so inclined to treat our own children in the same loving manner – TLC through the “rough spots”.  We have “learned” to accept the progress of illness – that it must run its course – and the treatment of illness – medicine, bed rest, etc.  We have learned the accommodation of, the saying, “Yes” to, the welcoming in of sickness.

   Saying, “NO!” to sickness is the result of a well-fortified faith walk.  You build yourself up in your most holy faith – sitting under Gospel teaching that fully holds to and preaches the Truth and reliability of the Word of God, reading books written by men and women who do not compromise God’s intention towards us, listening to CD’s of the same character, practicing your faith in big and little ways – viewing God’s Word as your final authority.  It is God’s Word that will change you and enable you to stand for your health. 

   I always ponder the incredible length of prayer lines at churches where teaching and preaching along the lines of divine healing has gone on for years.  Sometimes half of the congregation – hundreds of people – go forward for prayers for healing.  Yes, we certainly are told to pray one for the other (James 5:26), and to call for the elders of the church to anoint us with oil “and the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick” (James 5:14-15).  And the prayer of agreement is a powerful scriptural principle with the promise of certain success:

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything} they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in Heaven.  For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My Name, there I AM in the midst of them.(Matthew 18:19-20)  [Emphasis mine]

   Interestingly, the James 5:14-15 Scripture begins with the question, “Is anyone among you sick?” suggesting that it might be an unusual occurrence!And James 5:16 continues with:

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

   God intends for His children to mature in faith, growing up in and evidencing the reaped benefits of taking Him at His Word.   For it is that assumption of the manifestation in a life of all that God has accomplished on our behalf that preaches the Gospel more powerfully than a hundred sermons.

 

God’s Word on the subject: 

James 5:14-16 

Be Healed – Part One

When you give more credence to the complaints of the flesh rather than the developing understanding of your maturing spirit steeping itself in God’s Word, you need to be aware of who and what is being glorified.  We don’t often take that next commonsense step into thoughtful, Spirit led pondering, being too distracted with our symptoms to look away long enough to recognize the correct response, and to realize who we are submitting to – our own flesh and the enemy.

I remember watching a youth group, given the opportunity to present the Gospel message at a Sunday morning church service. As they danced around the stage, “preaching” through hip-hop moves and rap music, loudly rhyming and energetically bouncing about, I endeavored to hear the Gospel message through their chosen medium.  But the significance of the message was outweighed and over-ruled by their emulation of worldly strategies and their unintentional (I truly believe) but inevitable upstaging of the Gospel.  And I heard the Holy Spirit clearly ask me, “Who is being glorified here?”  They were the stars of their own show.

We must regard symptoms of illness and disease in this very same way.  “Who is being glorified?”  Because this is our purpose –“To do all for the honor and glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) and because we “have been destined and appointed for the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12), to permit our flesh to accommodate sickness does not honor His Word or reflect Him accurately.  It becomes more than just putting up with a cold or the flu; it is more than just personal inconvenience and a few uncomfortable days. It’s your witness to the world of who you are in Christ.

If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.  When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine. (John 15:7-8)

If the Word of God dwells in you richly, whatever you ask (according to His Word) will be done for you, and the production of that fruit will honor and glorify God and prove to the world that you are a follower of Jesus.  Fruit is the production in a life of the promises of God.  Fruit is godly children raised in a godly home. Fruit is the positive results of effective, Spirit led evangelizing.  Fruit is the direct result of a strong “vine life”.  Fruit is the result of a life walking daily in the knowledge and love of God.  Be always healed!  For that testimony will honor and glorify our Father.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

1 Corinthians 10:31                Ephesians 1:12

While the World Waits

Romans 8:19For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].


   How we perceive the people of the world, how clearly we understand the reality of the two spiritual kingdoms, and how consistently and joyfully we embrace our identity daily as God’s representatives, Heaven’s ambassadors, profoundly impacts our daily words, actions, and purposes.  If we, for example, head out today with our spirits accurately informed  about the world we walk out into we will see things differently, hear words differently, and have a more effective role in  revealing our Father and His kingdom to a waiting world.

Bringing the healing touch of Heaven, speaking God’s Word into the lives and issues we encounter, seeing spiritual realities where others see only expected worldly standards, and recognizing God’s leading and Holy Spirit counsel throughout every daily moment will positively impact everyone we meet.  We are meant to be a people led forth by Heaven’s agenda.  That father who berates and injures with thoughtless words, that teen who speaks and acts disrespectfully toward a parent, that friend whose words of fear will eventually come home to roost, that family whose daily dysfunction will send out emotionally crippled children into the world to duplicate the error over and over again, that coworker who does not yet know and, therefore, speaks disrespectfully of his or her Creator, that believer whose faith walk is based on misconceptions concerning God  –  are so in need of your touch, your words, your prayers; in short, your ministry.  The world is waiting.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.  We know Who He is and we know who we really are: Father and children. (Romans 8:15-16  – Message Bible)

It is that knowing that profoundly alters our approach to the world and our walk through it.  We are walking out among the citizens of darkness. (Matthew 6:23).   I remember so clearly the thoughts and attitudes that defined my life before I was born again.  The light in me was darkness.  It was very real to me, and totally accepted by me, and so alien to God’s ways of doing and being right. God had no place in my thoughts; His standards had no place in my “enlightened”, worldly reasoning. I was so very far off the mark, daily joining the chorus of the rebellious, and walking further and further down the path of destructive disregard for my Creator.  Someone came, sent by my Father, to shine a light into that darkness.  When someone lights our candle (Proverbs 20:27) it is our job, our joy, and our fulfillment to pass that light on.  So many are lost in darkness.  The world is waiting.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Mark 16:15              John 17:18                   1Corinthians 1:17-25             

Extending God’s Love

1 John 3:17This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed His life for us.  This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves.  If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love?  It disappears.  And you made it disappear. [Message Bible]

God has so much to say to the world, but the world is not listening. Our Father has so much to speak into individual lives, but often His children who should be attuned to the Holy Spirit are not listening.  There are messages of salvation, hope, encouragement, and exhortation that go unspoken for any number of reasons – too busy, too intimidated, too politically correct, too self-involved.  It is through men, through His born-again children, that God interacts with the world.  It is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believing child of God that courses are set aright, misconceptions are corrected, and a joyful walk in the Spirit is firmly established.  Many today will miss the blessing because as God’s representatives we are too busy elsewhere.

Our “First read” Scripture today from the Message Bible very dramatically and correctly explains the end result of inaction concerning spiritual “responsibility”. When we neglect our assignment as ambassadors for Christ, when we neglect the daily practice of tuning in to Heaven, when we set aside our understanding concerning our role in the well-being of others, God’s love disappears from the equation and we made it disappear!  A smile, a hug, a fitly spoken “word in season to him who is weary” (Isaiah 50:4), “a message of wisdom…a word of knowledge and understanding” (1 Corinthians 12:8), a healing through the faith filled laying on of hands (1 Corinthians 12:9), the sharing of testimony, the sharing out of our abundance, the application of God’s Word to a lost or troubled or fearful soul – all of these powerful and potentially life-changing actions involve extending God’s love into the life of another.

We are children of a giving God and we share that testimony of the goodness of God when we extend that goodness out in love to others. What we have to share is never a mystery for the Holy Spirit tells us ahead of time if we are willing to listen.  She needs a listening ear and these Scripture verses of encouragement, he needs provision for his family and you are to give…, she needs to understand the covenant of healing for her life and you are to share your testimony and the Scriptures that I bring to your remembrance, they need this word of knowledge for their future path, he is ready to hear the Gospel concerning salvation.  Stop and think how many Holy Spirit directives go unheeded because tuning in to Heaven has slipped in order of importance as we prioritize our days.

Purposefully establish, or re-establish, the daily practice of quiet time with our Father, carefully listening to instructions for the day.  You, and the world around you, will be mightily blessed.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

1 John 3:17            1 John 4:7-11

Rebellion’s Legacy

In Isaiah and again in Jeremiah the Lord speaks of the blessing missed, the harmful results of foolish, poor choices, and the self-delusionary aspect of rebellion:

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus says 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. [Emphasis mine]

Jeremiah 6:16 – Thus says the Lord:  Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.  But they said, We will not walk in it.

We are further told that the iniquity of the fathers will be visited upon their children to the third and fourth generations (Deuteronomy 5:9). There is peace, quietness, trusting confidence, and rest for our souls when we choose God’s way. But the rebellious say, “We will not.  We choose our own way.”  It bears repeating that today’s popular cry of “Question authority” inevitably rejects our Ultimate Authority.  And the generations suffer. An abusive father raises future abusers.  An adulterous parent whose life mocks marriage vows potentially produces future adulterers.  Bigotry reproduces itself through the generations.

Spiritual rebellion is Satan’s ultimate goal and so many fall victim to its snare.  But it doesn’t just produce one lost soul; it enslaves entire families, generations, and cultures.  Refusing God’s way, intentionally sidestepping His established purpose and plan, not only adversely affects the life of the one choosing such rebellion; it sets the trap for others as well.

…they always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.  (Hebrews 3:10)

Daily decisions to represent our Father well, to seek Him early for our “marching instructions”, to learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit, to dare to speak out what we hear into the lives of those He brings across our path, to discern what is going on in the realm of the Spirit, and to step fully and without reservation into our ambassadorial role interrupts this generational rebellion and sets people on the eternal path, where the good, old way is.  What a responsibility!  What a joyous job description in our Father’s kingdom!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Deuteronomy 5:9             Isaiah 30:15             Jeremiah 6:16

Matthew 11:29

Walk Out in Your True Identity

I’m sure that you have probably observed the manner in which those born into royalty act.  They are a set apart group of people.  They receive special privileges; they walk in a manner that indicates a clearly defined and honored position among men. Their lives are dedicated to the country they oversee; the entire purpose of their days is determined for them.  Their children are trained and prepared and raised up to accept the responsibility of complete allegiance to their duties as befits their position in life.  Duty trumps personal desires, obedience to their life’s assignment supercedes any other path, and dedication to country is their life’s calling.

According to today’s  Scriptures  (“God’s Word on the subject”), we too are born into royalty.  As God’s children, children of The King, “the King of kings” (1 Timothy 6:15), and heirs to His kingdom, we are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation” (1 Peter 2:9).  Romans 8:17 informs us that:

…those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as king’s in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). [Emphasis mine]

You walk in “the unmerited favor and blessing of God” (1 Corinthians 15:10); you are one of the “purchased, special people” (1 Peter 2:9) whose very life’s purpose is to daily:

set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

How does that translate for you in terms of the manner in which you conduct your daily affairs?  We may not have been raised up from birth into a mindset of royalty with all of the expectations of behavior and demeanor that characterizes worldly regal bearing.  But we have, from the moment we are born again, the Holy Spirit of God training us up, instructing us in the royal behavior that befits our heavenly calling. We are a set apart group of people with special privileges that come with our heavenly citizenship!  We are a people dedicated to God’s kingdom and if we will be obedient to the heavenly calling, the entire purpose of our days as Heaven’s ambassadors is determined for us by our Father.  We are on heavenly assignment.  We raise up our children to understand that Truth; we train and prepare them to understand that calling.  Duty, obedience, and dedication define our days.

See yourself thus.  Walk out today with the clear understanding that according to the Word of God you are royalty.  As His daughter, walk in a manner that pleases Him and notifies the world that something marks you as different and set apart – your words, your appearance, your responses all emanating from that understanding that in and because of Jesus Christ, you are a daughter of God and you are royalty!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Romans 5:17           Romans 8:16-17              1 Corinthians 15:10

1 Peter 2:9               Revelation 1:5-6

Life-Giving Words That Change Hearts

Words are powerful things!  Words either correctly or incorrectly represent our Lord.  I speak here not only of Scripture but of “everyday” words and conversations.  As ambassadors for the kingdom we carry a weighty responsibility. As His daughters we  need to recognize our authority and our assignment – God making His appeal to the world through us (2 Corinthians 5:20).  “We speak not to please men but to please God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Words are so often carelessly flung about.  We do not, most of us, take some thoughtful time to realize how powerful our words are.  We are admonished in James 1:19 to be quick to hear and slow to speak.  It is a learned realization.  From our earliest years, as we utter our first syllables, and begin the process of verbal communication, we are not informed of the innate power within the spoken word.  With proper training we understand that some words and phrases are unacceptable in polite company, but that this God-given gift of language is a creative force – for benefit and blessing or detriment and death – we received no instruction in that!

The Word instructs us in this, though.  Measure your words carefully, we are told (James 1:19).  Allow the Spirit of God to speak for and through you (Matthew 10:20).  Don’t be careless in your conversation, but let it be characterized by lovingly expressed truth (Ephesians 4:15), showing unqualified courtesy toward everyone (Titus 3:2).

Language is a tool useful for sending out life-giving words to change hearts.   (They can also be harmful and ungodly, adversely affecting and shaping lives.)  Thank God for His Holy Spirit Who leads us always into speaking and thinking righteously.  Allow Him to teach you along these lines.  Allow Him to restructure your assumptions about your words, for He will lead you according to the Word of God.  And then you will truly step into your God-given assignment of ambassador, correctly reflecting your Abba.

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the Name of the Master. (Colossians 3:17 – Message Bible)

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Matthew 12:34-37             Ephesians 4:15              1 Thessalonians 2:3-7

James 1:19

Fearing God – Part Two

Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but (reverently) to fear the Lord your God, (that is) to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your (mind and) heart and with your entire being.

There’s the Lord’s definition of fearing Him.  It means to walk in His ways, to love Him, and to serve Him with all of your mind and heart and with your entire being.  Deuteronomy 17:19 elaborates upon this a bit, indicating that “keeping all the words of the law and these statutes and doing them” reflects the fear of God.

Jesus calls this the “great (most important, principle) and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38, Amplified)  Because God’s primary motivation is love (1 John 4:16), what does obedience to the command of God to fear Him establish in our lives?

– It prolongs our days (Deuteronomy 6:2, Proverbs 10:27)

– It gives us instructions in wisdom (Proverbs 15:33)

– It leads to life and resting satisfied (Proverbs 19:23)

– It brings riches and honor (Proverbs 22:4)

– It causes us to be safe and set on high (Proverbs 29:25)

– There is no want (Psalm 34:9)

– It blesses our children’s children (Psalm 103:17)

Hebrews 3:18-19 –  “And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His Word and who refused to be compliant or to be persuaded]? So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest] because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].

Fear of the Lord is keeping His commandments, seeking Him, loving Him – trusting in His goodness and faithfulness to His Word.  Entering into His rest!  The opposite is also true.  If the Lord commands His people to tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22-23, Malachi 3:10) and we are not tithing – there is not fear of the Lord in that area of our lives.  If He commands us to honor our marriage vows (Hebrews 13:4) and we are not living chaste and holy lives- there is not fear of the Lord in that area of our lives. If He commands us to raise up our children in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6)  and we are more readily buying into worldly standards rather than heavenly standards in raising our children – there is not fear of the Lord in that area of our lives. If we are not seeking in His Word for His promises, His commands – if we are not intentionally growing in our knowledge and understanding of God – then there is not fear of the Lord in that area of our lives.  Where there is slack in a particular area of your life in terms of obeying God, there will be lack.

Occasionally as a teacher I needed to deal with instances of cheating or plagiarism.  The most significant message I needed to deliver to those students was, “You are basically saying that in that area of your life, at that moment of poor decision making – God does not exist.”  That was the material point; that was what they needed to understand.  We need to carefully examine our lives and choices, holding them under the scrutiny of God’s Word and expectations, living in the fear of God – there lies the way of peace and blessings.

God loves us!  His requirement of fearing Him is only for our benefit.

God’s Word on the subject:

Deuteronomy 13:4                 Proverbs 10:27, 15:33, 19:23, 22:4

 Matthew 22:37-38

Fearing God – Part One

Psalm 111:10 –  The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill (the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet); a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do (the will of the Lord).  Their praise of Him endures forever.

In my Bible classes, for both the junior high and high school levels, “the fear of the Lord” was a difficult concept for my students to own. Trying to grasp that a God of love was to be feared seemed a confusing combination.  Often my students would claim that they understood it, but couldn’t explain it in words.  My response to that statement, in any class that I taught, was “If you are unable to use your words to explain it, then you truly don’tunderstand it.”  Fuzzy thinking, the unwillingness to “dig in” and encompass the meaning of a thing, is a wide-ranging symptom in today’s world.  So we would dig in.  We looked to a good dictionary for a definition, and we looked to the Word for an explanation.

Fear – to have a reverential awe of God, to be apprehensive, to have a distressing emotion aroused by the awareness of impending danger, to have reason for alarm.

Why would God command us to have a distressing emotion aroused by the awareness of impending danger; to be apprehensive and to have reason for alarm in our relationship with Him?  Why are we to fear God Who identifies His Being, His primary characteristic as love (1 John 4:16)?  Because of that love, Jesus came to die for us (1 John 4:9, John 3:16, Galatians 2:20).  We are controlled, urged, and impelled onward by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14).  As God loved Jesus, so He loves us, tenderly (John 16:27 Amplified). We are to trust in His love, base our faith on His love.  His entire Word is a letter of love to us!  God is for us, for our success and prosperity, our health, our peace of mind and heart.  All of His commandments, His stated expectations of us, are for our benefit.

Deuteronomy 6:24 – And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to (reverently) fear the Lord our God for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day.  (Emphasis mine)

To fear Him is to realize that life without Him is not only unsuccessful and incomplete and unfulfilled, but dangerous.   To fear Him is the recognition that to walk in a way other than His way (of doing and being right) places us in harm’s way – open and susceptible to the enemy’s devices.  To fear Him is to acknowledge, by word and action, that wisdom chooses what He requires, because the alternative is sin/ disobedience (Exodus 20:20) , and therefore a choice to walk away from the protection of His promises, guidance, and provision.  Fearing God is our life-preserver, our righteousness compass, and, ultimately, our reason for being.

Look at Proverbs 1:7 in the Amplified version:

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and the choice part of knowledge (its starting point and its essence); but fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction, and discipline. [Emphasis mine]

Attend to that definition.  The underlined words truly instruct us in the significance to our lives of the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 111:10 (Message Bible) – “The good life begins in the fear of God – do that and you’ll know the blessing of God.  His Hallelujah lasts forever.”

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Exodus 20:20               Deuteronomy 6:2, 24                 Proverbs 1:7

1 John 4: 16-19