Daily Discovering the Blessing

Loving God. What does that look like? What does that mean? There are many who reverentially acknowledge His existence, many who receive in faith the saving work of Jesus the Christ, and many who step further into receiving His grace through the baptism of the Holy Spirit – so that God the Father and Jesus the Son actually “dwell, settle down abide” and make their permanent home in their hearts (Ephesians 3:17). There are many who try to honor the truth of His existence by attending to the careful application of His Word in their daily lives, correctly understanding its worth, and that obedience to his Lordship is the necessary first step to pleasing Him (Hebrews 10:28).

But there is a life-changing, spirit-maturing dimension of our relationship with God the Father when we understand His wanting “to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loves us.” (Ephesians 2:4), and to love Him in the same way.

Because of Who He is, growing in this love for Him is a never-ending story. There is so much there to discover and to love! I was once taken aback by a statement made during a Bible study when the woman sitting next to me said, “People always talk about a God of love, but He is also a God of wrath.” Not for me! And not for those who determine to give Him first place in their lives. Anyone aware enough of the Word of God understands that the wrath of God, His withholding of the blessings of His covenant with men and the reality of the curse, will be manifested in many lives. {That’s where the concept of the fear of God comes in (2 Corinthians 7:1). But that’s for another entry!}. Those who honor and love Him dwell in His care and in His love.

Our Father is “the Living One Who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). “I have been fully and clearly known and understood {by God}” (1 Corinthians 13:12). It will always:

be well with those who {reverently} fear God, who revere and worship Him, realizing His continual Presence. (Ecclesiastes 8:12) {Emphasis mine}

He is our Nourisher, our Shepherd, and He carries us forever. (Psalm 28:9). And with His children, born again into His care, He earnestly remembers us and imprints and fixes us indelibly on His mind. (Genesis 19:29).

Look at the stark difference between the following two heart attitudes:

The Lord is my Strength and my {impenetrable} Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him. (Psalm 28:7)

compared with:

...for some of you have not the knowledge of God {you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God’s Presence and all true knowledge of Him.} I say this to your shame. ( 1 Corinthians 15:34) {Emphasis mine}

In each life God is meant to be:

…all in all {be everything to everyone, supreme, the indwelling and controlling factor of life} (1 Corinthians 15:28)

He is meant to be our first thought, our first cause, our first love. Everything else takes second place to our love for our Father. He “cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully (1 Peter 5:7).  We are to return that love in kind.

The sixteenth chapter of Matthew offers us a powerful lesson in what is important to God, and how our love for Him can be so easily derailed through fleshly concerns. At first Peter is praised for His spiritual insight and understanding. Jesus asked the disciples if they knew who He was. Peter’s response, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” received the Lord’s great approval. Further, Jesus said that this inspired confession of faith in Him was the rock upon which His church would be built. However, when Peter then attempted to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem and to His death, he was abruptly rebuked:

Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way {an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me}; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men. (Matthew 16:23)

We are always to know and attend to what partakes of the nature and the quality of God. That knowing is our safe place, our peaceful place. It propels us forward into the life God has for each of us to live. Love for our Father is our firm foundation, and, ultimately, that love defines us and makes us the best we can be in Jesus.

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Use Your Words

The process of learning effective communication is a life-long endeavor. Productive listening, learning, and speaking are truly skills that elude many. So very often we use language incorrectly – to our detriment. We should be thoughtfully cautious. The spoken word is a powerful tool!

Many parents remember the season in their young children’s lives when the phrase “use your words” was a daily, often an hourly, occurrence. They were teaching their little ones, still struggling with communicating their needs and desires, to forego pointing, whining, and “tantrumming” by utilizing their growing vocabulary to achieve desired results.

Yet in our “grown-up” years have we further developed the needed insight to truly respect the power of the spoken word? That understanding is still undiscovered territory for so many.

Quite recently I woke early one morning to hear the Holy Spirit say, “Use your words” -a gentle reminder, an exhortation to correctly approach the issues, requests, and prayerful petitions I had before the Lord at that time. Now I have been growing in my faith walk for 40 years, I have been blessed to sit under powerfully correct Gospel teaching, I have even published a book on the subject entitled Heavenspeak.  Still, I was missing the mark and allowing my words to report on the seen rather than using them to usher in the as yet unseen promises of God.

“Use your words.”  With that short phrase the Holy Spirit again redirected my thinking and speaking.  The spoken word is so powerful. We need to get that. The spoken word is how our Father created all that we see (Genesis 1). The spoken prophetic word was the necessary first step to ushering in the plans and purposes of God throughout the Old Testament. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus, our Savior, Master, Teacher, Redeemer is the Word of God. When we speak the powerful, alive and active Word of God (Hebrews 4:12) into our situation, we are applying Jesus and all He represents to it (John 16:23 – Amplified). Our Father teaches us, expects us, to put Him in remembrance of His promises (Isaiah 62:6) and to “keep not silence“! The Word of God teaches us and warns us how powerful our words are:

You are snared with the words of your lips, you are caught by the speech of your mouth. (Proverbs 6:2)

But I tell you, on the Day of Judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced. (Matthew 12:36-37)

What is an inoperative, non-working word? Any words spoken that will not apply the Word of God to the issue; that will not acknowledge that God has an answer for the “problem” and His answer is always good. Words that acknowledge and accept the enemy’s unlawful entry into our faith walk (“I always get sick during flu season”, “We can’t afford that”, “I just don’t know what to do”, etc.) are inoperative and non-working as far as kingdom realities are concerned. But be mindful, words that report things seen (that might be contrary to the promises in God’s Word) do snare us (Proverbs 6:2); they do work – they do condemn and sentence us to receive what Satan desires for us. Our Father wants us to use our words to receive everything Jesus purchased for us through His death and resurrection. He purchased back the Promised Land for us and all that signifies. Satan also wants our words – words of defeat and acceptance of his destructive tactics.

The Word assures us that God is alert and active, watching over His Word, spoken out in faith, to perform it in our lives (Jeremiah 1:12). His Word prospers and achieves its purpose in our lives (Isaiah 55:11). It is an ongoing life practice for us, this resolve to apply the Word of God to every life situation – to effectively defeat Satan’s purposes and to walk in the abundant blessings God intends for His children.

We honor our Father, we please Him when, with His Word on our lips, we walk forward expectantly that what He says He means, and it must be in our lives. Let us all mature into sons and daughters of God who correctly use our words to His glory.

There are, and I am sure there will be, questions waiting for answers in our lives. It is the “character of our waiting” that matters.  I remember hearing a man of faith speaking of our faith stand as being even more pleasing to God than the actual receiving of the blessing asked for (Hebrews 10:38). Our Father delights in the prosperity of His servants (Psalm 35:27).  He is a Giver and gives us all things richly to enjoy:  wisdom (James 1:5), material blessings (Mark 10:29-30), life direction (Proverbs 16:9), healing (Exodus 15:26, Matthew 4:23), everything that “pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) are ours through our Father’s care in Christ Jesus. The character of our waiting determines our receiving.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is born hither and thither and tossed by the wind.  For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything {he asks for} from the Lord.  (James 1:6-7)

But the just shall live by faith {My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it}; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.  (Hebrews 10:38)

These seem like stern words, but, in actuality, they are Heaven’s encouragement to our faith walk.

Just recently I fully experienced faith stand coming to fruition and the reality of God’s Word fulfilled in my life..  Hebrews 10:35-36 speaks to us of the need for “steadfast patience and endurance”  in order to “perform and fully accomplish the will of God and thus receive and carry away {and enjoy to the full} what is promised”  {Emphasis mine}.  After a surgery and a prolonged regimen of antibiotics, my physical well-being was quite severely compromised.  My digestive system had been thrown off kilter by the strong antibiotics, and for a period of about three years foods that I had previously enjoyed seemed off limits.  (Dairy seemed the main culprit and dairy is everywhere in our diets.) My food intake was severely curtailed as my family and I had to accommodate dietary restrictions.  My flesh seemed to be dictating my days, not my spirit. This also directly curtailed activity away from home.  This was hardly abundant life!  (John 10:10)  I was faced with a choice here – either receive this new, limiting “reality” or stand on the Word of God. Either accept less-than and poverty of health or insist that God’s Word must be!

Daily – many times during the day to confront incorrect thinking – I spoke God’s promises over my body.  I said, “I can eat all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).  I spoke God’s life and promises to my digestive system (Jesus is our example in this – He spoke to wind and waves, fevers and fig trees with good result!!)  I called my digestive system strong and healthy in Jesus’ Name.  I said, over and over “I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Proverbs 18:10, Ephesians 6:10).

It seemed a long season.  Often I “permitted” thoughts that I should simply accept this new reality.  But I purposed not to verbalize those thoughts.  Thoughts will come to try to influence our spoken words.  I spoke God’s Word and His promises. Today, all of those dietary issues, those limiting factors, are in the past. I am eating and enjoying in health all of those foods again.  It is a rejoicing place to be to be living in the answer!

Philippians 4:9 speaks of our Father as the “God of Peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being”).  That’s what I was seeking (insisting upon) during that season of “dietary confusion”.  God’s Word is meant to be our standard in all things.  We have an enemy who works very effectively in the lives of many to disprove God’s Word and to derail our faith in our Father’s promises.  He traffics in chaos and deception.  Untroubled, undisturbed well-being is quite the opposite – it is where we are meant to live.

I want to encourage and exhort you to keep your eyes on Jesus and on God’s promises to you and refuse to consider anything that does not line up with and agree with our Father’s sure and true Word.

I often think of a quote from Smith Wigglesworth when I am in conversation with the Lord, seeking wisdom and understanding on a certain subject – “God wants to answer even more than you want to ask!” One of the most encouraging and productive aspects of our spiritual life is a true understanding of our Father’s heart. He is for our success (Joshua 1:8). He is the Blesser (Proverbs 10:22) – He wants to provide for us abundantly (John 10:10). He loves us with a great and wonderful and intense love. (Ephesians 2:4) And it is that loving relationship that we are meant to share with the lost, dead ones in the world. They are meant to observe, in our daily lives, what God in a life looks like; what our loving God is all about on behalf of the children of men! Our Lord Jesus made this a very simple equation:

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. (John 13:34-35)

And, Jesus Christ, we know, is the direct representation of God the Father:

He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)

And as “the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature” He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s influence (Acts 10:38). He brought light into the devil’s darkness. In love He paid the penalty we deserved and restored us to all of the benefits and blessings of life in our Father’s kingdom. As His disciples, as the believing Church, that is our calling as well. We are to deeply and correctly know God so that our lives reflect His goodness and so that all may look and see that God is good!

...For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, (Ephesians 1:17) (Emphasis mine)

We are to “spread and make evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). The only way we can correctly reveal the character of God to the lost ones is to know and understand Him correctly and intimately ourselves. Is that possible? God’s Word says that it is.

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. (John 17:3) (Emphasis mine)

And he said, The God of our forefathers has destined and appointed you to come progressively to know His will [to perceive, to recognize more strongly and clearly, and to become better and more intimately acquainted with His will], and to see the Righteous One (Jesus Christ, the Messiah), and to hear a voice from His [own] mouth and a message from His [own] lips; (Acts 22:14) (Emphasis mine)

That is what we have to offer the lost world – not judgment, harsh criticism, or self-righteous condemnation. Just love. We are safe within the care of our Father. It is a care-free place, this realm of knowing God; of understanding our Father’s heart. Safe and secure in the care of the Lord, guided and taught daily by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, we understand that in Jesus we are worthy of the Father’s intimacy and love:

But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. (1 Corinthians 8:3)

So the fundamental question for each born-again child of God is “How well do you know Him?” Are you growing daily in “the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord?” (2 Peter 1:2) Does Scripture – God’s holy, unchanging, uncompromising Truth – inform your expectations in life. Trust and unwavering reliance on God’s Word relies upon your relationship with your Creator. In the book of Romans Paul speaks to the compromised faith walk of many:

I bear them witness that they have a [certain] zeal and enthusiasm for God, but it is not enlightened and according to [correct and vital] knowledge. (Romans 10:2)

Look at this wonderful promise from God:

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19)

Allow the Truth of God’s Word to give you a hunger to daily become more intimately acquainted with your Father. There are wonders to understand about what being a child of God means. There are privileges and blessings that God extends to His own. And it pleases His heart when His children take Him at His Word (Hebrews 10:38).

We Hold These Treasures

Kenneth Hagin often told a wonderful, amusing, and informative story about his interactions with old friends after his born-again experience. Although he had been raised in the church all of his life, it was only after many years of serious illness which weakened him to the point of being bedridden, that he grabbed onto the Truth of the Gospel and the authority of the Word of God and was miraculously healed and gloriously born-again.

Quite often after that he would be in conversation with friends who would try to reminisce with him about boyhood pranks and trouble they had gotten into in earlier years. “No, I don’t recall that,” he would say. “I’m a new creature!” Throughout his years of powerful ministry to the Body of Christ, teaching us how to live by faith, the hallmark of his message was always how God’s Word must define us and transform us. We must allow it to instruct us about our true identity. His response of, “No, I don’t recall, I’m a new creature” was directly informed by 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if any person is {ingrafted} in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old {previously moral and spiritual condition} has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come. (Emphasis mine)

That was what the Word taught him and that was what he determined would be!

God has extended to us something wondrous and life-transforming through the ministry, death and resurrection of His Son, and through the Gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). Jesus bought back Kingdom living for us – a continuous Year of Jubilee; residence in the Promised Land! He offers priceless treasure for us to receive and to pass on to others. Like our brother-in-Christ Kenneth Hagin all we have to do is honor Him by taking Him at His Word. How often we overlook, underestimate, or misinterpret the gifts our Father freely gives.

Extraordinary, really, that God would entrust us with such treasure:

However, we possess this precious treasure {the divine light of the Gospel} in {frail, human} vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7) {Emphasis mine}

The Gift of His Son, the gift of His covenant with us, the gift of His alive and active Word (Hebrews 4:12), the Gift of the Holy Spirit are the treasures we hold. God Himself has chosen to live in us, and even more bewildering, He waits for us to invite Him in (John 1:12, Romans 10:9)! He gives us free will and a choice in the matter of whether or not to permit Him entrance into our lives. To stand on the Truth of God’s Word for every area of your life, to determine that the Word of God defines and shapes your thoughts, your actions, your outlook on the day – this is freedom. This generates moment-by-moment peace and joy (Romans 14:17). And yet so many opt out of the blessing.

Andrew Wommack writes:

“If we continually thought upon this with all of its implications, how could we ever be lonely or discouraged. We couldn’t! Depression and self-pity would cease! What would it matter what others think of us if we truly understand what Jesus thinks of us? Our attitudes and fears reveal that this revelation of “Christ in us” is not a well-established fact in most Christians. {Colossians 1:27-28} makes it clear that our Father wants to make “the riches of the glory of this mystery” known unto us. We should all be seeking a greater revelation of this truth.” {Emphasis mine}

How often do Christians accommodate less than when all the while our loving Father – the Creator of all we see, Almighty God – is living in them, seeing to the fulfillment of His Word in them (Jeremiah 1:12, Isaiah 55:11), directing their steps (Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 16:9)?

We hold these treasures, received and acted upon by faith. This is rich, rich, life-giving treasure that teaches us who we are and Whose we are as we look into the mirror of the Word of God. Meditate on these truths:

And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. (Mark 4:24)

Take great care with this God-given treasure that is within you. Attend to it. Let God’s Word only be the determiner of what can and cannot be permissible in your life. In this world there is the curse and there is the blessing (Deuteronomy 28). Where there is less than, sickness, poverty, confusion, depression, and every other woeful condition, the curse is in play. But because our Lord Jesus removed the penalty of sin and redeemed us from those obstacles to God’s blessings, we have every right to refuse them entrance. The abundant life that Jesus came to give us (John 10:10)  is thoroughly laid open for us throughout God’s Word.

 It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63)

To honor our Father by believing His Word is truly owning these treasures, and allows others to see what God in a life looks like.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Moment by Moment

We often overlook, or leave unpondered, the beauty of our moments. In truth, every second of our life holds the opportunity to reflect God, honor Him with our choices and our thoughts, and determine that His love will guide our outlook. In contrast, every moment that is colored by the world’s ways and the enemy’s attempts to diminish or redirect or disfigure and compromise the life the Lord has given us robs us, to a degree, of our heavenly identity.

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

      “In order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loves us“! Now that’s an understanding to carry into and to inform our moments. In Christ, you are loved by your Father with a great and wonderful and intense love. Before any other understanding in our relationship with God, this is paramount. It is defining. This colors our moments. It settles our hearts into peace when we fully embrace and own this Truth.

The first thing [is] wisdom — get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) {Young’s Literal Translation}

The heart that understands this Truth operates in the peace and joy which define God in a life (Romans 14:17). “Get understanding” about who the Word tells you you are. And let that understanding about what a life hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3) looks like fuel your moments. The Word is filled with God’s covenant promises with His people. We are to search God’s Word for that wisdom (Proverbs 2:4). And we are to stand uncompromisingly on those promises. But even before gathering to ourselves and owning the wonderful promises that are ours through Jesus, we are to know the Person and the love of our Father. He not only tells us Who He is through His Word, He graciously lives in us to allow that knowing to grow and flourish (2 Timothy 1:14, 1 John 3:24). Knowing God and desiring to please Him with our moments is the calling of every child of His. This takes resolved practice. Thoughts will come, issues will arise, opportunities to fall away from peace and joy will attempt to color your moments with the dreary “less-than” often experienced by those “In the world without God”  (Ephesians 2:12). But our Father’s Word says that, safe in His care, those issues will not hinder us.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:7-8)

And these moments build upon one another. Once you’ve settled the matter and have insisted that as far as you’re concerned this moment will honor God and receive the peace and joy that is yours in His care, the very next moment will follow in the same manner. For when peace rules as umpire in your heart (Colossians 3:15), you will recognize when you fall away from that secure place. As I said, it takes concerted, purposeful practice to both recognize who you are in Christ and to also recognize when that identity is being compromised.

[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), (2 Corinthians 10:5)

When our moments honor God and His Word to us we are pleasing our Father (Hebrews 10:38). When moment-by-moment we determine that the Word defines us and not the world, we reflect Heaven’s standards (Luke 12:32). Safe in our Father’s care (Psalm 91:14-16), we are a powerful witness to those around us of what God in a life looks like (Joel 2:27).

The Process of Receiving

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Power, ability, efficiency, and might“. How many of us would recognize themselves in that description? Receiving anything from the Lord is a faith proposition and our faith walk is entirely informed by our knowledge of what the Word says and our understanding of Who our Father is. Look at this wonderful picture of Who the Lord wants to be in our lives:

And I thought how [gloriously and honorably] I would set you among My children and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage, the most beautiful and best [inheritance] among all nations! And I thought you would call Me My Father and would not turn away from following Me. (Jeremiah 3:19) 

What a beautiful expression of our Father’s heart toward us; His desire for each of His children to occupy the Promised Land. For so many of His children, though, their vision of what the Promised Land looks like is misinformed or diminished through lack of understanding, incorrect teaching, or an unwillingness to fully accept the wonder of it all! When we daily operate from the vantage point of, the safe place of, our Father’s love for us, we are at the receiving post of every promise that is ours through Jesus:

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, (Ephesians 2:4)

How good is our Father! How much goodness from God will your faith accommodate today? Let the Word redirect your outlook today. Let it transform you through the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2); let it establish new and correct attitudes concerning what this walk of faith is all about. When you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are loved by God with a wonderful, great and intense love. When we receive that Truth in our hearts and let it direct and inform our daily outlook and expectation, our faith in His goodness and faithfulness receives the promises.

How does His loving-kindness manifest in our lives? He came Himself to die on our behalf, to fulfill the demands of justice, to satisfy His expectation that sin would not overcome His creation. But there was an inability in His creation to overcome the sin nature – only He could do that on our behalf. Jesus won back our redemption, our restored placement within the relationship God desires with men. And then, still knowing that even with all that Jesus accomplished we would fall short of the glory He desires for us, He equipped us with His Holy Spirit. He calls us to excellence and holiness and then provides us with the ability to accomplish that expectation by coming to live within each believer.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). (2 Peter 1:3)

We are responsible for how much we receive from the unending supply of our Father’s love and goodness. Faith receives God’s favor, His grace (Romans 5:2). Faith in His Word, belief that what He says He also means, is how His blessings are received in a life. Faith grows. It’s a spiritual muscle to be flexed and strengthened. As born again believers we are all given “the measure of faith”(Romans 12:3 – KJV) What we do with that measure of faith determines our outcome. How we grow our faith determines our ability to accept and receive the great plans and purposes of God for each of our lives:

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] (Ephesians 3:20)

That superlative description of life in the Spirit seems beyond the reach of so many, and yet it is God’s will for all of His children. Continuous faith in God’s Word is a powerful force that most believers seldom tap into. According to the Word of God, mustard seed sized faith moves mountains (Matthew 17:20). Jesus spoke of Peter’s inability to continue walking on water as having “little faith”(Matthew 14:31).

How good is our Father? What are you expecting and excited about today? Is He a “just-enough-to-get-by God or a God of abundant overflowing life (John 10:10)? How big is God in your life today? Is He a help-me-get-through-this-illness-with-grace God or your Healer? Taking the faith step to believe God’s Word uncompromisingly is the path to “infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams”.

Speak the Word, Only

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.(Matthew 8:8 KJV)

During my “growing up” years in beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit and God’s ways of “doing and being right” (Matthew 6:33 Amplified, Classic Edition), blessed through the encouragement and exhortation from faithful teachers of the Gospel, I came to understand that effective prayer involved speaking the Word of God into any and every situation I encountered. For my husband, my children and now my grandchildren, over our health, our finances and our future days, and for people the Lord placed on my heart – the most powerful and productive praying I, or anyone, can do is to simply speak forth what God says.

Scripture teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh:

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us… (John 1:14)

Throughout the creation story in Genesis 1, it was the Word spoken by God that made manifest all that we see (“and God said…” over and over again as He formed the world and all that is in it). John 1:1-3 reveals the foundational understanding that Jesus (the Word) was with God at the beginning – the creation of all things – and that everything we see was made through Jesus.

All things were made and came into existence through Him, and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. (John 1:3)

These truths feed our faith and receive God’s intended purposes in our lives. For when we know the Truth, that Truth will indeed set us free (John 8:32). Our prayers become more powerful and effective when we understand what God’s Word tells us about His Word!

God’s Word has “self-fulfilling power” (Isaiah 61:11 Amplified Bible), when spoken out in prayer, with a faith that understands it must produce as He promised that it would.

– God watches over that Word spoken in faith to perform it in our lives.
…I am alert and active, watching over My Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12)

– God promises that His Word will produce the results asked for:
So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: It shall not return to Me void {without producing any effect, useless}, but It shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and It shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

– God’s Word is alive, active, and energized:
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power {making it active, operative, energizing and effective… (Hebrews 4:12)

– Our Father is faithful to His Word and to His covenant promises (Hebrews 10:23, Deuteronomy 7:9)

This is a primer for us on effective prayer. Throughout His Word God lovingly teaches us how to operate within His established parameters for success! We are to take our Father at His Word. As little children accept and trust the word of loving parents and without hesitation accept as true and reliable the words they speak, we are to unquestioningly and unwaveringly trust our Father’s Word and promises to us (Luke 18:16-17). On this foundation, faith receives. For according to His Word, our Father is obliged to do what He said He would do. That statement may seem presumptuous and irreverent, but look at 2 Timothy 2:13 as expressed in several versions of the Word:

...there’s no way he can be false to himself. (2 Timothy 2:13 – Message)

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (NIV)

…If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (King James)

…If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself. (Amplified)

On this understanding, faith receives our Father’s promises.

Jesus exhorts His disciples, and us, to “Have faith in God, {constantly}” (Mark 11:22 Amplified Bible). He then goes on to say:

whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will {get it}. (verse 24)

Our faith matures and strengthens and receives as we come to understand and “own” these God-given Truths. His Word does not fail. His Word is ever true. His Word is His bond; His covenant with His people, with you. His Word is Jesus. When you speak forth that Word in faith, it will be done for you (Mark 11:23). This is not, “Wouldn’t it be nice” or “I hope this works”! This is taking God at His Word and making a demand on His ability, His promises, and His integrity. We have such a clear picture of the rights and privileges of faith in Luke 8:

And a woman who had suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years and had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, Who is it who touched Me? When all were denying it, Peter and those who were with him said, Master, the multitudes surround You and press You on every side! But Jesus said, Someone did touch Me; for I perceived that [healing] power has gone forth from Me. (Luke 8:43-46)

I especially like the 20th Century Translation of this last verse. When the woman with the issue of blood touched Him, the Lord said, “Someone has made a demand on My ability” .

Speak in faith over your health, your prosperity, your future days. Be bold and, in faith, in obedience, make a demand on His ability! It is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). It gives our Lord great pleasure when His children take Him at His Word. We truly live by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). We are to be imitators of our Father (Ephesians 5:1) who “speaks of the nonexistent things as if they already existed” (Romans 4:17). This is how our Father establishes His kingdom in the lives of men. Through the spoken word, His Word spoken in faith, will a thing be established. For your children, your family, your health, your prosperity, your future, take this seriously – it is life to you!

The Salve of Heaven

…salve to put on your eyes that you may see. (Revelation 3:18)

{Salve – an ointment used to promote healing.}

In Proverbs 4:22-24 God tells us that His Word is medicine for all of our flesh. He then commands us to:

…keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.

How do we keep and guard our hearts? By letting peace rule as umpire!

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]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. (Colossians 3:15)

Maintaining and cultivating peace is a healing salve that will profoundly alter a life. When we look out on the world, and our own lives, from the vantage point of peace, that is the faith stand our Lord expects from His children. Seeing the world from that peaceful place profoundly alters the reality of the moment; it thwarts the enemy’s attempts to compromise the Word of God; it colors the day with the confidence and the beauty and the successful overcoming that characterize God’s highest and best for our lives. The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom” which means “nothing missing, nothing broken”. Peace is a fruit if the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and a direct result of unbroken connection to the vine. It is also a choice to be obedient and improves and strengthens through practice. Our Lord Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). In Christ we have nothing missing, nothing broken, and that understanding should color our words, our thoughts, and our expectations. In John 14:27 He encourages and admonishes us:

Peace I leave with you. My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled}.

That peace in Jesus, that peace of Jesus, is ours as we resolve to remain firmly connected to the Vine (John 15:1). Notice that while He has assured us that His peace is ours, that He has given it to us, it is our responsibility to believe it and maintain it. We must always apply that salve of peace to our eyes so that we can see and expect correctly. All of our Father’s Word comes with the proviso that it is ours according to our faith. We are not to allow negative feelings to weaken our connection to Him. In fact, knowing us so well, our Creator instructs us in successful living by showing us where to look and what to see:

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

We know the Word, we believe the Word, and we assume always that the alive and active Word (Hebrews 4:12) is life and Truth to us. It is faith in the powerful Word of God that runs interference with fear and the associated feelings it dredges up. Imagine a branch on a healthy tree, a tree abounding with life and flourishing. But that particular branch is very concerned that, unlike all of the other firmly connected branches, it will not be taken care of by the life-giving sap coursing through the tree. It is fearful and unsettled, agitated and disturbed that it will not remain safely and firmly connected to the tree’s strength; it does not trust in the tree’s care and is concerned for its very life. Yet the life of the tree is there in the branch, and continues to offer all of its goodness to the branch. What a foolish waste of energy and emotion! For all the branch needs to do is rest in its placement on the tree, assured of the tree’s care and commitment to its branches.

We can sense when disharmony in any form attempts to interrupt our peace. That continuous peace (harmony, undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions and moral conflicts -1 Peter 3:11) that is meant to be a defining characteristic and a nurturing force as we grow daily in this walk in the Spirit. We are admonished to search for peace, to seek it eagerly, to pursue it (1 Peter 3:11). Truly, all that means is that we are to  take God at His Word and walk in the peace that He has already given to us through the Person of His Son and our Lord.

Peace in our hearts, in our daily lives, in our interactions with others is an informed choice based on the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word (Matthew 5:9). And that informed choice is under girded through practice and experience. For once we have tasted the heart benefit of the peaceful response in any and every situation we might encounter, once we choose peace rather than agitating passions, once we step out on the authority and absolute reliability of God’s Word and surrender to trusting in Him unconditionally, we have placed ourselves on the path of eagerly pursuing that continuous state of peace that will nurture us, sustain us, define us, and utterly defeat any attempt by the world, the flesh, and the devil to shatter that heart calm.

If faith is the currency of the kingdom peace is its Amen – so be it. Peace in our hearts is the acknowledgement that in everything we encounter as believers, as citizens of the Kingdom, God is totally in charge and He wants to do us only good (Psalm 86:5; Psalm 145:9). We choose to think peaceful thoughts and to take part in peaceful interactions. We choose to respond with peace to any temporary (brief, fleeting, and passing away) storm, for within that unflustered state we are nurtured, and with our eyes gazing intently on our Abba – His love and His promises – we are teachers to all who witness our joy in the midst of the storm (Isaiah 26:3).

When any negative disruptive influence tries to infect your days, apply the healing salve of Heaven; the life coursing through the vine. From the vantage point of a peace-filled heart, every moment is not only do-able, it is a stunning success and an opportunity to apply the beauty of Heaven’s standards to worldly affairs.

{After all} the kingdom of God is not a matter of {getting the} food and drink {one likes} , but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and {heart} peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

Nature shows us the result of a branch whose connection to its tree has been compromised in some way. It hangs lifelessly, its leaves withered or dead; the life force of the tree no longer feeds it. Garden flowers whose stalks have been bent or severed in some way exhibit comparable results. Similarly, lives unconnected or loosely connected to the Vine (John 15:1) exhibit troubling symptoms. Those not connected at all are dead – in the world without God (Ephesians 2:12). Those loosely connected – filled with misconceptions about God and His Word, or permitting the weeds we spoke of previously to remain in their garden – reveal diminished and often bankrupt lives; the promises of God unable to make the difference in their days that He desires for His children. Vine life has some amazing repercussions in a life; the stipulation being that we must make ourselves aware – or be made aware – of all that is ours in Christ.

Recently a friend told me of her brother, a believer, facing a very serious, life-threatening diagnosis. I immediately suggested the book Christ the Healer by F.F. Bosworth as an effective tool, a life preserver really. My friend ordered the book that day and sent it to her brother. She later shared with me that upon hearing my suggestion she knew she had to act on this information – in her spirit she recognized this was not to be put off. She reported that he could not put the book down – that he was “flying high” with the wonderful Gospel message of God’s will for our health and healing. He was, in fact, joy-filled with what he was learning about this aspect of Vine life.

I often reflect on how frustrated and saddened our Father must be at half-lived Kingdom lives. This man, my friend’s brother, had been a believer, a Christian, a Christ follower,  for many years and yet the Gospel message in Christ the Healer was completely new to him – it redirected his spirit, overcame misconceptions, and led him out into joy; the joy about Jesus and all that He accomplished on our behalf that we are all meant to daily experience and share.

When we accommodate depression, illness, anger, resentment, poverty, or any sort of brokenness, to the extent that we accommodate those woes we compromise God’s Word and our connection to the Vine – our oneness with Jesus.

When she told me of her brother’s joyful reaction to the book I smiled in remembrance of my similar reaction in discovering Bosworth and the glorious message of Christ the Healer. I too had a negative diagnosis spoken over me long ago. I too was once filled with fear until God’s Word miraculously and forever changed my understanding regarding healing and health. Darkness and fear are transformed into light and joy upon the entrance of God’s Word, His eternal promises, into any situation that life and the enemy of God can throw our way. These Genesis moments are a direct result of honoring and believing God’s Word.

As His children we honor Him, glorify Him, and represent Him well when every day we:

“…exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.” (1 Peter 1:8)

And that life transforming joy is the direct result of daily being purposefully plugged in to the Vine.

We are responsible for maintaining our connection to the Vine (John 15:2-8). As we live in Jesus, as we attend faithfully to His Word, as we allow no compromise with the world to alter our placement in Him, and as we live daily in the faith in God that we are called to, life attached to the Vine becomes a flourishing, vital force that transforms our daily reality, blesses us and those who observe us, and ushers in the promises of God.