Daily Discovering the Blessing

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give 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.} (emphasis mine)

John 14:20 – …I am in My Father, and you {are} in Me, and I {am} in you.

John 14:30 – {Satan} …has no claim on Me. {He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.} (emphasis mine)

Following the progression in the above Scriptures, we are encouraged and instructed through this good Word to receive and constantly evidence deep abiding peace – always. No matter what the day’s circumstances bring, peace is to be a defining characteristic in the life of a Spirit-filled believer. Through the Holy Spirit God lives in us. Jesus lives in us. There is nothing that we will encounter that diminishes that Truth. We see here the overcoming force of the believer obeying and working with the Lord – through His Spirit Who lives in us. Synergy – two working together.

Each believer must own the Truth of these verses. When we, without reservation, without the diminishing power of unbelief, fully accept God’s Word as true, when His Word is more dear and defining to our lives than any other idea or circumstance or attention-grabbing issue, then peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is the inevitable result.

First, in Verse 27, we understand that Jesus has given His peace to us. When the enemy, the world’s attitudes and troubles, and the concerns and ailments and longings of the flesh try to hinder your faith walk (that’s what the world offers us), Jesus tells us that He has already given us, bequeathed to us, His peace. Knowing that, believing and receiving that, agitation, disturbedness, fear, intimidation, unsettledness have no place to live in us. Our Lord’s instructions to us that help us maintain this peace are very clear. “Stop allowing!” We have a role to play here. The role is to believe that our Lord speaks Truth. His peace is ours, and everything else that falls short of that Truth may not stand in our lives. We need to recognize when our heart peace is being challenged and stolen.

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)

In verse 20, the extraordinary, awesome way in which our Creator determined to interact with His children is revealed. Knowing our frame, our weaknesses, He enables us to realize all of His benefits by living in us. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each believer to teach and guide and come alongside and counsel and strengthen us (John 14:16). The divine interaction of Jesus in God, and us in Jesus and God in us reveals the heart and the love of God for His creation – you! And with this holy impartation, there must be peace. How do we “stop allowing” anything at all that would try to diminish that peace? Faith in the Truth and reliability of God’s Word. True faith in our Father’s character and in His Word exhibits peace.

Finally, in verse 30, the Master speaks of his complete separateness and immunity to the devices of the enemy. “He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.” Because He lives in us, the same is true of us. The life of God, the Holy Spirit, fills us. There is no place in our lives for the machinations of a defeated foe (Colossians 2:15), the “dictates of the flesh” (Romans 8:1), or the errant philosophies of the world (Romans 12:2). Never-ending, unshakable peace is the heritage of God’s Spirit- filled sons and daughters.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:7 – Message Bible)

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Faith-Filled Words

In John 10:17-18 Jesus speaks in advance of His death and resurrection:

… I lay down My {own} life – to take it back again… I am authorized and have power to lay it down (to resign it) and I am authorized and have power to take it back again…

With His spoken word He established – He spoke prophecy to – future events. He made His future outcome – death and resurrection – inevitable.

From Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 we are instructed about spoken word power. God raised up prophets throughout the time period of the Old Testament to speak forth that which would inevitably be. His spoken word (“And God said…) created all that we see (Genesis 1; John 1:3), and His Word is “upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe” (Hebrews 1:3). He established His plans and purposes for the nation of Israel, the surrounding nations, and individual lives through the words He gave to His prophets to speak. And those words of prophecy, uttered in obedience, with the sure conviction that they were God-ordained, became reality.

Those prophetic words spoke of the judgments that would come in response to Israel’s rebellion, and, in the manner prophesied, they did come as indicated. They spoke of the coming of the Messiah (with specific arrival time – Daniel 9:25), the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior (Isaiah 53), The outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29), end times events, and the ultimate establishment of His kingdom. From “And God said…(Genesis 1:3) through the admonition to honor “…the predictions and the consolations and admonitions pertaining to them) in this book…” (Revelation 22:18) our Creator is teaching us about the character and effective operating procedures of our world. The spoken word establishes reality (for good or for evil – Proverbs 18:21; Matthew 12 :37).

Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), is our Lord and Savior. It is in Christ, in the Word of God, that we have our identity, our salvation, our authority, our example in all things. The eternal God, the Creator of all that we see, established this Truth: faith-filled words, His Word proclaimed – coming forth from the hearts and mouths of His redeemed people – establish His purposes on the earth and our future days (Hebrews 11:3).

John 12:49-50 – …I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders {concerning} what to say and what to tell… whatever I speak, I am saying {exactly} what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions.

In a timely manner, while writing this entry, I received a partner letter from Kenneth Copeland Ministries with the title “Faith-Filled Words Created All Matter”. In it he writes:

“We live in a word-created, word-upheld, word-dominated environment…You, me, and everyone else are living today in the environment we created yesterday with our words. The only thing that will change it is to change what we are saying.” (emphasis mine)

Determine today that what always comes forth out of your mouth is the positive, powerful Word of God. Honor Him by speaking our His Word in faith (Isaiah 62:6). With your Father’s Word, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit you create your tomorrows.

A Peace Filled Heart

Psalm 34:4-5- I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him {of necessity and on the authority of His Word} and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

It is through peace that the Son of God is revealed in your life. A peaceful, quiet, confident spirit is tuned into God’s frequency.

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give 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.} (Emphasis mine)

“Do not permit!” Stop allowing the tactics of the enemy to touch your heart. Recognize his “modus operandi” immediately. Satan’s sole intention is to compromise your walk before God; to sow his negative influences of fear, worry, concern, intimidation; to knock you off balance in your faith walk, and to reduce God’s powerful, alive, and active Word (Hebrews 4:12) to a place of ineffectiveness (Mark 7:13) in your life.

Tuned into Satan’s frequency – he is the god of this world order (2 Corinthians 4:4) – we cannot at the same time tune in and yield to our Father’s Truth. And the enemy is often very subtle in the strategic placement of distraction in our lives. Caught up in (ensnared in) worldly issues – financial, political, familial, social – we are submitting to and yielding to an unsettledness that does not honor God. We – His children! – bicker and argue and waste precious time proclaiming the rightness of our opinions on various issues when we are meant to be “busy with His business” (John 9:4). Let’s follow our Lord’s example in this. When faced with something seemingly insurmountable, the news of a death, He remained unaffected – “overhearing but ignoring” (Mark 5:36).

Our Lord’s instructions in John 14:27 teach us to be persistent in looking to Him – His peace, His constant loving provision, His Word. The steadfast look to Jesus – attentive, expectant, a “steady and absorbing gaze” (Numbers 21:9), considering no other viewpoint (Romans 4:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:18) – is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38), receives all of the promises (Hebrews 10:35-36), and disables the negative impact of Satan’s tactics. Our thoughts become aligned with His thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), our words speak only His Word (John 15:7), our days are filled with and focus on Heaven’s purposes, and we flow, unhindered, in Kingdom rhythm.

It is not surprising, living in this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), that true heart peace can seem to be elusive; carefree living not easy to achieve. I exhort and encourage you this day to place yourself fully, without reservation, in the care and keeping of the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Look only to our Lord and Master Jesus. Submit only to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Honor God with your joy, reflect Him with your peaceful heart. Jesus gave and bequeathed to us His peace. Purposefully practice it!

What do You See?

In the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, the Lord asks His prophet, “What do you see?” (verse 11 and again in verse 13). And as Jeremiah’s words spoke forth what he saw in his spirit, as he gave utterance to the heavenly vision, God’s plans and purposes were established and eventually manifested for the nation of Israel. “What do you see?” It is a question I have heard quite often from the Holy Spirit during recent times of quiet listening. Along with this question I have received continuing instruction in the profound importance of the thought life. The Word of God instructs us over and over about how powerful the thought process is in our lives.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.

Proverbs 23:7 – …for as he thinks in his heart so is he.

Luke 6:45 -…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

What we see in the Word of God is a picture of who each of us is meant to be – God’s promises and provision for our healthy, prosperous, purposeful lives through faith in our Lord Jesus, and all that He accomplished on our behalf. The Holy Spirit is constantly retraining us to understand and walk in kingdom reality -not worldly reality. Through His guidance, yielded to it, we become the person we see in the Word. What do you see? What we see through our faith in the absolute Truth of God’s Word, and our trust in His faithfulness to His Word (Hebrews 10:23), directly and profoundly informs our thought life. And, in turn, our thoughts inform our words, and our words create our future days (Hebrews 11:3).

Does your thought life assume blessings, well-being, answered prayer? Let there be no poverty of attitude in you- never speak beggar, never allow your words to utter a negative report. Let the Presence of the Holy Spirit in you color every moment with divine audacity! It is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). God’s constant love reaches out to us, encouraging us to fully own our redemption; to fully and joyfully and confidently receive the extraordinary benefits of our salvation through Jesus Christ.

What do you see? How you see yourself in your heart is the person that you are. That is faith (or lack of it) creating your reality. Your thought life creates your reality – positively or negatively. Thoughts of “less than” in any area of your life are not kingdom thoughts. Your thoughts released into words are a powerful force.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it {for death or life}.

That is why we are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to:

…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).

Step up into a way of approaching and walking through your days that honors God and your placement in Christ. When you see it in the Word, expect it in your life. Treat this with the seriousness it deserves. Whenever and wherever you see something that does not line up and come into agreement with the Word of God, speak to it; speak with authority (Luke 22:29).Capture every thought. Yielded to the Holy Spirit, what we see, what we think, and what we say will bless your days and honor the Lord.

The Tender Place

Very often we come to the Lord with prayer requests and personal concerns that are so close to our hearts that our words with Him are halting and timid and tear-filled. The bold decreeing that characterizes our prayers for others is often absent when we speak to Him of our own concerns. We’re touching a tender place. Whether we are speaking to Him about healing for our bodies, a much needed provision, or wisdom and guidance for our life’s journey, these requests speak to our personal relationship with our Father and His care of us. We can pray for the needs of others, we can prayerfully address a disaster situation somewhere on the planet and call forth Heaven’s help, we can intercede for the salvation of acquaintances with faith-filled words. We are, after all His instruments here on earth to call forth Heaven’s purposes in the lives of others. God expects His people to speak forth His powerful, alive, and active Word (Hebrews 4:12), and to expect results.

Matthew 9:38 – So pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

John 16:24 – …ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.

Matthew 18:19 – Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree {that is, are of one mind, in harmony} about anything that they ask {within the will of God}, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven.

John 14:13-14 – And I will do whatever you ask in My Name {as My representative}, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My Name {as My representative} I will do it.

(See also John 15:16, John 16:23-24)

So there is no doubt- in this world, as kingdom representatives, as imitators of our Father (Ephesians 5:1), we are expected to exercise our faith in His faithfulness to His Word and to His compassion; we are to speak forth, decide and decree (Job 22:28) and expect that what we say will be established. Faith speaks! That is the faith that pleases God (Hebrews 10:38). That is the faith stand that brings about Heaven’s purposes here on earth. (Which makes you wonder about the end results when God’s people keep silent and do not speak forth His Word in faith.)

We can exhort and encourage others to stand on the Word and expect that Word to manifest. Yet when the need touches our own lives, when our heart’s desires are involved, personal sensibilities often override or weaken our faith stand. Ministries have crumbled, churches have split apart or closed, God’s calling on lives has been reduced or even eliminated. I am not in any way discounting Satan’s role in all of this, but when we understand that he is a defeated foe, we need to recognize that our personal sensibilities often dictate louder than allegiance to our Father’s plans and purposes in a life.

And our Father knows this:

Proverbs 13:12- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.

So how do we both acknowledge and honor those tender places in our lives but not let them speak louder than our Father’s Word to us and our understanding of His loving, attentive, and watchful care? By making the purposeful decision to hold His Word and His Person as more dear, more precious, than any personal issue.

Psalm 37:4- Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

By immediately exchanging thoughts of lack, concern, or worry with thoughts of love and honor and praise for the One Whom we serve.

Quite recently just such thoughts of a personal nature would rise up in my mind to try to steal my peace. Questions about why certain prayer requests were taking so long to manifest. Immediately, and I truly emphasize “immediately”, the Holy Spirit redirected my thoughts. Thoughts of love and trust for God’s intentions in my life, thoughts of praise and thanksgiving that I am His daughter, thoughts encouraging my understanding that our Abba’s Word is settled and absolute, replaced the heaviness of negative questioning. The enemy can try to diminish our moments, but he is no match for the work of the Holy Spirit in a yielded life.

And be encouraged. It is the tender heart, the tender place where our dreams and desires reside, where the Lord reveals how special and unique our life in Him truly is. Our giftings, our motivations, the call of each heart, when placed in the care of our Father will yield extraordinary blessings. As His children we ache and yearn for those things because He placed them there.

Ephesians 3:20 – 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} – To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

Your level of true success in life, which ultimately means your level of success in serving God, is directly related to how you regard the realities of the spiritual realm; how your daily heart knowledge informs your head knowledge that the realm of the Spirit – God’s domain – not only exists, but that it instructs and determines our physical reality. The unseen directly effects that which we see. When that understanding guides us, then and only then are we in full kingdom “rhythm”. While there are many choices we could make in life, many paths we could walk down, many goals we could pursue, there is only one path that holds and releases all the blessings that are ours in Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Those blessings, those promises God has made with His covenant people, are not automatically released with the new birth. They are received through our faith in the reality and the authority of the heavenly realm.

I have heard many cautionary stories of brothers and sisters in Christ who have veered off their “appointed course” (Hebrews 12:1) – those who willfully disobeyed the leading of the Spirit; those who received promising prophetic utterance over their life and ministry which was never fulfilled; those who let the stumbling block of idolatry {and that manifests itself in so many forms, but simply put, it refers to holding anything or anyone as more important than God} overcome their first love (Revelation 2:4). But each and every one of these failures, these falling-short-of-glory-stories, can be simply diagnosed as not requiring God as their “first and vital necessity” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Obedience requires first listening to the Spirit and then acting on what we are told. Careful and correct listening requires the resolve to spend time with God. The determination to spend time alone with God requires the acceptance, the acknowledgment, that GOD IS, and that He is my first need in life.

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come {near} to God must {necessarily} believe that God exists and that He rewards those who {earnestly and diligently} seek Him {out}. (Hebrews 11:6)

When you “search diligently for Him and regard Him as the foremost necessity of your life” (Zephaniah 2:3), when that heart resolve defines us, then obedience to His Word and to His guidance becomes our very reason for being and our vantage point. And when we know that our hearts are right before God in this way, our faith in our Father’s Word, unhindered by doubt and self-condemnation, receives the promise (Hebrews 10:35-36).

Physical beings walking around in this physical world, strongly influenced by the tyranny of our physical senses, need mind renewal (Romans 12:2) and spiritual rebirth (John 3:3) to overcome the influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Knowing this, our Creator gave to mankind the life of Jesus to imitate, the teachings of Jesus to obey, and the Gift of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the realities of His kingdom. True faith receives this new way of seeing what life is actually all about, submits in love and trust to His Word, yields to and obeys the Spirit’s guidance and walks in full manifestation of His promised blessings. Only God living in us could accomplish such a transformation (John 14:23; John 17:21). Daily experiencing this world through the eyes of the Spirit instructs us in the reality of the spiritual realm. Released into His care, relinquishing any personal notions of what we think should be, in order to honor and seek His plans and purposes, is our daily calling. Anything short of that compromises God’s plan for our lives.

Obedience to all of these truths ushers in the blessings of God – all that His Word says is ours. And they are extraordinary blessings. Life lived in the Spirit, yielded to the Spirit, is filled with our Abba’s watchful and tender care and all of the blessings He says are ours in Jesus.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians3:20-21)

1 Chronicles 28:9 speaks of the life-altering decision, the foundational imperative, the divine mandate to know God:

…{have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with and understand Him, appreciate, heed, and cherish Him} and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind…If you seek Him {inquiring for and of Him} as you first and vital necessity you will find Him…

Within Scriptural context this is David exhorting Solomon, but within biblical, spiritual understanding, this is our Father instructing us. Paul exhorts the Ephesians (and us too!):

…try to learn {in your experience} what is pleasing to the Lord {let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him} (Ephesians 5:10)

The expectations that we encounter in God’s Word are our road map to successful living before Him. This is our instruction manual! And through the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit, understanding and appreciating and firmly grasping and accomplishing God’s will (His plan and purpose for each of our lives) is not only possible, it is God ordained, and, yielded to Him, it will be!

God does not reveal Himself as wanting to be intimately known if we could not achieve it. He does not, like an unfair, unjust taskmaster, develop a long list of unreasonable requirements which we could never fulfill. That’s Satan’s misrepresentation of Him! Like a loving parent raising up children, our Abba shows us the right path to take, the correct way to think, speak, and act, and the manner in which He is to be known and understood. With extraordinary love He grants to us:

…a spirit of wisdom and revelation {of insight into mysteries and secrets} in the {deep and intimate} knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)

Because being intimately known, and therefore honored and cherished, by His children is the desire of God’s heart, the enemy has thrown many roadblocks in our way. Satan’s aim is to distort Truth, disrupt progress, and diminish God’s standards and revealed will in our lives. When you entertain the idea that God is unknowable and unreachable, that we can never truly interact with Him and hold conversation with Him, you are listening to the enemy’s lies and not attending to God’s Word or His Spirit. When we explain away Scriptural Truth as “not for today” or really only spiritual concepts not valid in this physical realm, we give away His established blessings and reject the full life Jesus accomplished on our behalf.

There are obviously some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you {with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel} and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) {into something which it absolutely is not!} (Galatians 1:7)

From Genesis to Revelation God extends to mankind the Truth that He wants to be known, and known intimately. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that ability has been given. Our part in this relationship with our Creator is to seek after Him as our “first and vital necessity”; to give Him, His Word (Jesus), and His Spirit first place in our lives; to cherish Him as our very reason for being; to love His Word as our most precious possession; to daily honor Him with time spent in His Presence (getting to know Him and to recognize His voice); to imitate Him:

{copy Him and follow His example}, as well-beloved children {imitate their father} (Ephesians 5:1)

Then no false gospel, no teaching contrary to His Word, no thoughts contrary to Gospel Truth will compromise or diminish your faith walk. The blood of Jesus which won our salvation and our testimony of our Father’s goodness and loving-kindness will define our days.

So I intend always to remind you about these things, although, indeed, you know them and are firm in the truth that {you} now {hold}. I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle (tent, body), to stir you up by way of remembrance.(2 Peter 1:12-13)

The most valuable, effective, and life-changing gift we can offer each other is the reminder of the Truth concerning the faithfulness of God, and of the love He cherishes for us.

…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)

Faith receives that Truth and is built up and strengthened. This is God, through Paul (2 Timothy 3:16), revealing Himself to His children. This is our Father providing us with a firm foundation for our faith. How revealing of our Abba’s character and His affectionate and watchful care of us (1 Peter 5:7) that He expects faith from us (Hebrews 10:38) and then gives to us everything we need to please Him and accomplish this faith. Through His Word, His indwelling Holy Spirit, and the fellowship and encouragement of the Body of Christ, we are equipped to operate in mountain-moving faith. That is His expectation, but it is also His enablement.

Having faith in God constantly (Mark 11:22) is our kingdom mandate, and throughout His Word, His expression of covenant with us, we are reminded of His character, we are encouraged concerning our value to Him; our relationship with Him. Loving parents, in so many ways, express and extend love and provision and protection and guidance to their children. That care flows out of hearts so filled with loving attention to their well-being, and each child responds with absolute trust in their understanding of their importance to their parents.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with her mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me {ceased from fretting}. (Psalm 131:2)

“Ceased from fretting” is a wonderful description of faith based on trust, and that absolute trust is reliant upon the understood and unchanging character of God.

…He remains true (faithful to His Word and to His righteous character) for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

God is not a man that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man that He should feel repentance or compunction {for what He has promised}. Has he said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

Our daily walk of faith before Him is entirely defined and fashioned and strengthened by “the faithfulness of God and His fidelity to His Word” (Romans 3:3). We are to establish our lives on our understanding, our acknowledgment, and our absolute trust in His power, wisdom, and goodness. We are to daily, moment-by-moment if need be, renew our minds with His Word.

…Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind {having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude} (Ephesians 4:23)

Speak and think the Truth in your heart” (Psalm 15:2). When you do, when that becomes your “default position”, you will overcome every obstacle, counter every thought contrary to His Truth, and quickly recognize and diffuse any situation that sets itself up against the Word of God. The attitudes of the world and the tactics of the enemy are ever active “inventing errors to mislead” (Ephesians 4:14). But they are easily overcome from the vantage point of our faith in our faithful Lord, and uncompromised reliance on His alive, active, and powerful Word. (Hebrews 4:12)

Faithful is He Who is calling you {to Himself} and utterly trustworthy and He will also do it {fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you}. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen {you} and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil {one}. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Rut, Rot, or Revival

I recently read an excerpt from a book by A.W. Tozer entitled “Rut, Rot, or Revival” in which he speaks of the “dictatorship of the customary” and the “psychology of the usual”. These issues were purposefully directed to the sometimes woeful state of the Body of Christ in relation to our incorrect representation of life in Christ. He correctly asserts that we are often in danger of slumbering in our complacency (rut), we are in a state of satisfied sameness (rot), and we have gratefully accepted comfortable status quo. That hardly demonstrates:

…constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another.
2 Corinthians 3:18

How can the worldwide Body of Christ effectively offer to the lost the powerful ministry of reconciliation back to God when we are hardly alive ourselves to the energizing ministry of the Holy Spirit? Smith Wigglesworth has suggested that if you are not daily growing in the things of God than you are in a back-slidden state! While some may consider that an overstatement, it is, in fact the call of our Father, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, that we “grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18), “with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19). Luke 1:30 (Amplified) extends the meaning of grace with the words “free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving kindness”. That’s what our Abba extends to us on a daily basis. There is never ending growth in God. We are never finished!! There is always more to know, to learn, to become.

…He wakens me morning by morning. He wakens my ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught].
Isaiah 50:4

As members of the Body of Christ that is our daily calling – to grow in grace, to crave to know more about our Father, to enter into this most extraordinary walk in the Spirit. We are to:

..teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom {in spiritual things…(Colossians 3:16)

And we are to approach our Father and our walk with Him according to the leading of the Spirit:

…in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things… (Colossians 1:10)

Ruts and rots are boring and nonproductive – something our Father never is! Ruts and rots stifle growth and accept quiet mediocrity. Ruts and rots allow the attitudes and accepting standards of the world into our approach to God – both individually and corporately. We are not to allow the world’s standards and the world’s way of doing things to compromise, to infect, our growth in the Spirit and our accurate representation of God’s ways of doing and being right. The people of the world who have yet to know Christ need to see how gloriously “otherworldly” life with God is meant to be!

As we attend to the daily ministry of the Holy Spirit, as we welcome in growth in our own spirits, we enhance the Body of Christ. We boldly speak of what we are learning and sensing and bless others. We demonstrate the peace and confidence and joy which is a direct result of life in the Spirit and enable and invite our brothers and sisters in Christ to see possibility! We revive others as we daily and steadily “grow and increase in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance and recognition] (Colossians 1:10). And energized and revived believers have a profound effect on the local church. We look for what the Word promises and are no longer satisfied with the “dictatorship of the customary” or the “psychology of the usual”.

When my son Gary was young – 4 or 5 years old – he had a best friend whose mother would very often say to him, “What does it feel like to be you and be so loved?” Wonderful words for a child to hear! Children flourish and thrive and become their very best selves when in their hearts they understand the truth of how very loved they are.

The Holy Spirit has been impressing upon me how vitally important it is to meditate on, and to own as truth, how loved I am by God. No past experiences, no human inadequacies, no self-judgment, no tactics of the enemy can diminish or call into question God’s love for me. If and when every moment of the day is steeped in that knowing, peace and absolute trust and rejoicing prevail and define our character, our interactions, and our faith walk. And we become our very best selves in Jesus.

Our spirits need to feed on:

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 2:1)

…I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Colossians 2:20)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should become children of God. (1 John 2:1)
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…The love God cherishes for us. God is love…We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:16,19)

…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Our deep and intimate knowledge of Him comes not only from careful time in the Word, which is the revealed will of God and a revelation of His character, but also from the indwelling Holy Spirit informing our heart attitude concerning its acceptance of and expression of Scripture’s absolute reality. Heart perceptions profoundly fashion our walk of faith. What we understand our Father to be ultimately directs our steps.

It is our faith in His goodness and faithfulness to His Word (His promises to us) that pleases our Father (Romans 10:38). Galatians 5:6 teaches us that our faith walk – our trust in God – is “activated and energized and expressed and working through love“. Our love for God is our expression of thanksgiving and gratitude for His love for us (1 John 4). When we truly understand and, when our hearts in childlike trust, receive the wonderful, affirming eternal Truth that our Creator deeply loves us affectionately and watchfully (1 Peter 5:7) there is no place in our thoughts for fear or anxiety or concern. And that love is not just for the Body of Christ as a whole. It is for us individually.

God expects faith from His children, but first He pours out and surrounds us with His love. We are to submit and be obedient to His will and leading, but first He assures us of His wonderful care. Many times throughout each day pause and consider how greatly you are loved by God. For truly you have never lived an unloved day in your life. Think back over all of your past days – the mistakes, the worries, the willful and sometimes self-involved actions. God was there loving you all along.

I pray God’s Words to you:

{That you may really come} to know {practically, through experience for yourselves} the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge {without experience}. (Ephesians 3:19)

“Oh, if only I had known God’s plan in its fullness. I might never have had a tear in my life. God is so abundant, so full of love and mercy; there is no lack to those who trust in Him.”
Smith Wigglesworth