Daily Discovering the Blessing

Archive for the ‘Developing Character’ Category

The Two Minute Warning

I have of late been truly drawn to, been intent upon, writings explaining Scriptural prophecy concerning the Last Days. I remember hearing a pastor at my church, who has often very effectively taught on the subject of Last Days prophecies, say that although this subject intrigued him and although he was drawn to study the topic – he did not want to come across to his listeners as an “End of the World” fanatic.

But throughout His Word God speaks of the last days. Throughout the writings of the Old Testament prophets (Daniel, Joel, Isaiah), in the Gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), Thessalonians, and, of course, Revelation) we are told of the inevitability and the severity of the End Times.

There are so very many helpful sources we can look to in order to better understand the times we are living in, to recognize the fulfillment of prophetic utterances in our day, and to be spiritually prepared for the Second Coming of our Lord:

– Joseph Morris is a traveling evangelist and teacher who the Holy Spirit has equipped to edify the Church on End Times events. His website – the End of Days Update provides weekly video updates on current events that are clearly tied in with Biblical prophecy. It is quite an eye-opener to realize the abundance of fulfilled prophecy occurring day in and day out in these last days. (http://edu.josephmorris.com)

– Jonathan Cahn has written two very powerful books regarding Biblical prophecy and Israel’s role in End Time events – The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah. Both are truly must read books for every Christian. The Lord expects us to be prepared (Matthew 25:1-13, 1 Corinthians 1:7).

I will not attempt here to teach on these aspects of End Time prophecy. God has gifted and instructed others to .build up and edify the Church in this regard. I strongly urge you to take advantage of the above mentioned sources. We:

…wait and watch {constantly living in hope} for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and {His} being made visible to all. (1 Corinthians 1:7)

Make yourself aware of God’s purposes in these days, of His prophetic utterances concerning the times we are now living in. Attend and be watchful. Let your increased understanding of the times instruct you as you seek to honor and obey God daily. For I do know this. Through my studies, and with the help of brothers in Christ like Joseph Morris and Jonathan Cahn, there is very little doubt that we are privileged to be the generation to see the return of the Lord. Not only are we to make ourselves aware of these things, it must be informing our day to day behavior and pursuits. Petty irritations, self-involved pursuits, controversies that “foster strife and breed quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23), anger, resentment, unforgiveness – who wants to be found stuck in the sludge of any of these emotions upon the return of our Lord?

Let us look always to our Lord Jesus and seek to understand God’s purposes for our lives. Let that take priority over all else that would distract. The time is truly short. Live each day as if this is the day Jesus will return for His Church.

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The Salve of Heaven

In Proverbs 22-23 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 vigilence and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

Maintaining and cultivating peace is a healing salve that will profoundly alter your life. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines salve as “a remedial or soothing influence or agency”.

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.

Peace in our hearts, in our daily lives, in our interactions with others is an informed choice, based on our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. And that informed choice is undergirded through practice and experience. For once we have tasted the heart benefits of the peaceful response to 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 then peace is its “Amen – so be it”. Peace in our hearts is the acknowledgement that in everything we encounter 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 positive outcomes, we 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.

When any negative, disruptive influence tries to infect your days, apply the healing salve of Heaven. 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.

God’s Word on the subject:

Isaiah 26:3 Matthew 5:9 Romans 14:17 Colossians 3:15 1 Peter 3:11

The Character of Faith

“Faith deeply believes God will do what He says and it subsequently produces words of agreement and actions of obedience. The corresponding words and actions are simply evidence that our heart has laid hold of what God has spoken.  That’s it, plain and simple, yet so hard for so many to grasp.” (John Bevere – Extraordinary, the Life You’re Meant to Live) [Emphasis mine]

Corresponding words and actions.  That’s the character of faith.  The definition is simple, but the carrying through is the ongoing challenge.  Released to the indwelling Spirit, The character of faith is more easily seen in a believer’s life.  Having walked up several rungs on your faith ladder (See April 20), having experienced the goodness and reliability of God’s Word, the ability to walk by faith and not by sight increases (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Ultimately, the Word has been extended to all, the wonders of the Gospel message are given to all, and yet so many do not take on the character of faith – there is no benefit to them because their hearing is not mixed with faith (Hebrews 4:2).

Faith produces a character whose first desire is to please God (Hebrews 10:38). Faith looks on storms and tempests and is never shaken (Matthew 8:26 – and Shakespeare!).  Faith knows that God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and that without Him we can do no good thing (John 15:5).

John Bevere’s opening quote lines up with Hebrews 4:2.  Why is it so hard for so many to grasp the character of faith that God not only expects from us but also enables us to accomplish through the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and then blesses us by as we step out into its territory?  Poor teaching on the extraordinary and far reaching implications and blessings of the Gospel message; unwillingness to step away from already established comfort zones, habit patterns and apparent worldly delights; and the tactics and devices of an enemy who wants to keep as many as he possibly can in bondage – these are the prevailing causes which diminish the character of faith in a life.  And how is the character of faith firmly established – time in the Word holding it in your heart and mind as your one true authority,  time spent in God’s Presence, learning to recognize His voice, and continuing to hear strong, uncompromising Gospel teaching.

Let the Word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16).

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Romans 3:28              Colossians 3:16                Hebrews 4:2

The Last Bastion – Part Two

Re-read “From Father one morning” from yesterday’s entry.  There is in it the sense of being “sold out” for the Gospel, of being completely released into His care which might be intimidating for some.  You may have heard the saying concerning “being so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good”.  But our Father is earthly minded in the sense that He desires His creation to turn from the debilitating struggle for independence fostered by Satan’s deception and turn to Him for wisdom, individual purpose, and the true fulfillment of resting in His Truth and receiving His unconditional love– Creator to created.

There are many strongholds with which Satan can clutter up a life.  As we allow the Holy Spirit to show them to us, and as we receive and obey heavenly instructions concerning how to rid ourselves of those spiritual limitations, we step from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18), from one level of freedom to another (Galatians 5:1); from lost to found in every area of life.

To dabble in the pursuit of understanding and knowing God is self-defeating.  That is what the Spirit was sharing with me that morning.  So many believing Christians, born again children of God, limit the degree to which their faith informs their life choices and decisions.  They know that God is, but they place barriers around certain areas in their lives into which He may not travel; they separate the spiritual and the civic, the spiritual and the academic, the spiritual and the scientific, the spiritual and the social, the Sunday mindset and the Monday through Saturday reality!   And that truly is the last bastion that needs to fall.

A politician says, yes I’m a Christian, but my faith will not, may not, inform the legislation I vote for or against.  A teacher says, yes I’m a Christian but I will not carry my faith into the classroom.  A young woman says, yes I’m a Christian but who I date and why is my own business; the social scene has nothing to do with faith.  Young parents say, yes we’re Christians, but weekend down time is too important to relinquish to church attendance.  A board member or business man says yes, I’m a Christian but heavenly principles don’t translate into bottom line economics.  A scientist says, yes, I’m a Christian, but Biblical truths may not interfere with scientific observations and theories.

Psalm 14:2 says:

The Lord looked down from Heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understood, dealt wisely. and sought after God, inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him [of vital necessity].

Our Abba knows us intimately, better than we know ourselves because He knows where we are capable of going in Him, what we are capable of accomplishing, all of the amazing and fulfilling horizons that each of us is uniquely suited to.  The woman that you truly are is hidden  in Christ.  The discovery of that beautiful daughter of God unfolds as you step fully away from entertaining life in the world and step into complete life in the Lord.  Let that last bastion fall!

 

God’s  Word on the subject:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5                Ephesians 1:17-23

The Last Bastion – Part One

From Father one morning:

“You must keep your eye on Me – your heart on Me – always.  You have allotted Me a certain time slot, and then given the rest of the day over to former things.  Why step away from life in Me to entertain life in the world?  This is the last bastion – let it fall.   The woman you desire to be is hidden in Me – that self-confident and spirit-controlled woman.  You are allowing yourself to be robbed. Step up into your fulfilled self.  From this moment forward – all that had perished in misdirection, misunderstanding, and poorly defined identity – all is restored, recreated, refreshed, redefined, refined.  See yourself as I see you.  Accept nothing less.  Your future in Me hinges on this willingness to allow Me to transform your moments.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines “bastion” as “a fortified position, a stronghold”.  Through the years of my faith walk there have been many moments when the Holy Spirit pointed to a particular issue or lingering idolatry in my life, leftover remnants of my life before Christ, and instructed me concerning the need and the method to be rid of it.  Once, early on in my faith walk, His light shone on the Beatle albums that I had been collecting and treasuring over the years.  I was clearly led to throw them all in the trash – and the collection was quite extensive!  When I share this story and the Holy Spirit leading with others I am asked why I didn’t sell them rather than destroy them.  The answer of course is, “Because that’s not what the Holy Spirit directed me to do.”  It was not just a matter of removing them from my home in whatever manner I chose, it was the recognition that this particular idolatry needed identification in my life as trash; it was a heart issue.  Some would call that foolish and some would turn that into doctrine and say, “Well if He asked you to do that, I had better do that too.”  The trash was where my albums belonged because they represented idolatry in my life.  God’s Holy Spirit carefully tends and lovingly guides each one of us.  This is not a one size fits all.

It profoundly matters to God what we fill our heart with.  He is a jealous God on our behalf (James 4:5).  He knows how we are made for He made us; He knows how Satan has attempted to diminish or destroy our faith walk and He has the perfect antidote in each case; He knows the potential people each of us can be and how to help us reach that level of maturity and accomplishment and complete peace.

The Message Bible so very beautifully expresses today’s Scripture (“God’s Word on the subject”):

The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.  We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.  Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Knowing Him Personally

But let him who glories, glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.  (Jeremiah 9:24) [Emphasis mine]

Smith Wigglesworth speaks of the call upon the life of every child of God:

“That He might be made so manifest in us that the world will see Him.  We must be burning and shining lights to reflect such a holy Jesus.”

A woman whose interactions with others are always defined by confidence, peace, and an unflappable certainty, tempered with loving acceptance of those she encounters, correctly reflects our Lord.  Her eyes display no judgment, censorship or condemnation.  Instead, others grow in their own estimation through her careful Spirit-led attention to their words and their needs.  Her words offer not just solace and comfort, but power and peace – “fitly spoken and in due season” (Proverbs 25:11), they are “a word in season to him who is weary” (Isaiah 50:4). Her walk of faith “warns away fear, doubt and mistrust” (Proverbs 31:18) in her own life and as an emulatable trait for others.  It is her daily calling to come to know Him personally, for that is the answer for the sin-weary world.

Mountains move, evil strongholds dissolve away, and Heaven’s purposes prevail in her submitted life,  for she knows Him Whom she has believed “…and she is [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted…” to her and which she has committed to Him (2 Timothy 1:12).Her heavenly assignment is to know God – His Word, His Spirit – for those He sends along her path, whether they know it yet or not, hunger after righteousness (right standing with God).

There is a “priceless privilege”, an “overwhelming preciousness”, a “surpassing worth, and supreme advantage” in knowing God (Philippians 3:8); our God Who takes up residency within us and desires to be truly known by His children.  As with all things which concern our Father there is an overflowing abundance to this process of coming to know Him more and more. Not only are we blessed, but God within, the Holy Spirit, always desires to extend that blessing outward to the lives around us.  To come to know our Father more personally, deeply, and correctly is our daily occupation – all else pales in comparison – for we are the light bringers.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Jeremiah 9:24              Philippians 4:8

The Love of God Impels Us

How many of us truly walk in the knowledge of, and, much more importantly, daily experience the love of God, the power of His Word, the Truth and manifestations of His promises?  That’s where the joy comes from!  And that joy is a large part of our testimony.

So many women that I have met and known acknowledge their faith in God, but do not walk in the power, or the joy, of that knowing.  They allow their faith to inform their moral selves, but not to set at liberty their spirits.

Dry and lifeless, unfruitful and stagnant.  How can these words describe a daughter of God?  God’s Word is always so full of plenty: “rivers of living water” (John 7:38), abundant life” (John 10:10), “Rejoice, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32), “More than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), “prosperous” (3 John 1:2) and “overflowing with joy” (2 Corinthians 7:4).  The Amplified Bible continually tells us that we are “blessed, happy. fortunate and to be envied”.

Rather than fighting for your right to be sick, poor, disillusioned, defeated, or confused by attending to, and tuning in to conditions in your life – attend rather to God’s Word, tune in to the Holy Spirit and His guidance, teachings and admonitions.  That will dramatically alter and re-focus your days.  It is God’s love that impels you.    See yourself reflected in the mirror of the Word (2 Corinthians 3:18). See yourself today joyful, complete, loved and lovable, fruitful and peaceful – your life hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)

 

God’s Word on the subject:

2 Corinthians 5:14             Colossians 3:3

Work in the Days of Blessings

What are you doing today to ward off future symptoms of dis-ease?  What will you accomplish today to enhance preparedness for any future attempted ambush of your rights in Christ?  This is not being alarmist, it is being prudent.  When all seems smooth sailing, when not one worry blots the horizon, that is the time to build yourself up in the Word.  Too often we neglect pursuit of our present “duties” when, due to present blessings, we do not attend to the daily growth and strengthening of our spirits.

When days of challenge come it is the Word that you have hidden in your heart, it is your practiced recognition of the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit, and it is your day in and day out building of an intimate relationship with God (Ephesians 6:10) that will sustain you and cause you to withstand and triumph.  Do your homework ahead of time; don’t try to cram at the last minute!  Healing has been our focus lately, but, of course, we need to have a firm foundation, a firmly relying faith (1 Peter 1:7) in all of the areas of life.  Approach God’s Word with the sure conviction that it is Truth (God does not lie – Deuteronomy 23:19).  It is your lifeline and your ammunition in the face of anything that dares to rise up against it in your life.

One must daily work at kingdom citizenship. The sensory world speaks very loudly.  The mouth of the unbeliever speaks very loudly.  Fellow Christians not rooted in the Word speak very loudly.  Your soul, your intellect and your flesh will be in control unless you purposefully and resolutely “feed” and exercise your spirit.  Your future days, and the people around you, will reap the reward of your diligence in the days of blessings. Selah!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Ephesians 6:10        Hebrews 6:12        1 Peter 1:7

There is No Persona in Prayer – Part Two

I heard from the Lord one morning:

Be aware that I am a part of this “conversation”. I am here, hearing your every word. Picture that.     Go deeper – step deeper – don’t skim the surface of our relationship – don’t be satisfied with shallow knowing.  The more you spend time in My Presence – the more you are changed “from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)  Exchange your weakness for My strength – your weakness for My certainty – your uncertainty for confidence in Me.  There is beauty, profound peace and joy there. Time with Me is always transformational time.  The world, your sisters, need the strength of faith and the sureness in Me that My transformed daughters have to give.  Let go of preconceived ideas of what this time with Me is meant to look and feel like.

Whether you have just understood that God is real and are beginning your walk with Him or have years of experience in the matter, God joyfully welcomes you into this daily conversation.  And daily it becomes transformational time.  We are changed daily in the Presence of the Lord, submitting gladly to Holy Spirit guidance and teaching.  The process of changing into the fuller and deeper realities of who you are in Christ is most smoothly accomplished by just being you.  Persona in prayer robs you of the peace that time with God should bring because it’s not truly you interacting with Him.

Long ago I ran a day care business in my home.  One young boy, about 4 years old always resorted to a high, whining voice to get what he wanted.  Each time this happened, I said to him, “You need to speak to me in your real voice.”  He had so mastered the manipulation of whining that he needed to work at finding his real voice!  He would stand before me and make several attempts to locate his true voice.

So, too, I think with peace in our hearts and the ability to use our “real voice” with God.  Having allowed negative emotions to hold sway in our lives, it might seem unlikely ever to be led by peace – to comfortably walk before God in the reality of who we are.  Fear, doubt, and even misconceptions build walls and create “persona”.  And so our prayer life is built upon false premise from the start which makes it singularly unfulfilling;  “…in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) is how we are to worship Him – how we are to approach prayer.

If peace seems far from you today – allow, submit to, rely on God’s Spirit to identify and then help you release roadblocks to peace.  And once back in that peaceful place to which we all are called – guard your heart.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

2 Corinthians 3:18              Colossians 3:15              1 Peter 3:11

There is No Persona in Prayer – Part One

Continuing on applying our literary analogy to spiritual matters we come to “Persona”which is a bit more subtle and tricky for young readers to discern.  It is a bit more insidious and abstract.  The dictionary definition which fits this literary device is “The mask or façade presented to satisfy the demands of the situation or the environment and not representing the inner personality of the individual”.  It is what John Bevere refers to in his book Extraordinary, the Life You Were Meant to Live as “a projected image”.  It is a false identity created by a character.  It is a misleading image through which a person desires to portray his or her self to the world.  You can see why identifying “persona” might be challenging to young readers. First, it takes a thoughtful, engaged approach to their reading.  Secondly, it is wrapped in shadows – not openly stated.  Detecting ‘persona” requires first a firm grasp of truth. And obviously persona has no place in our walk in the Spirit.

How do you approach prayer in your life?  Do you understand its importance but don’t seem ever to embrace it joyfully?  Is it more a mandate than a pleasure for you?  It could well be that our lifelong observation of others “in prayer” have made our own experiences with prayer stilted.  I grew up in a church where prayers were predetermined according to the day or the order of service.  Certain prayer “speeches” for certain days.  And while I believe that the original intent of this was honorable – for, indeed, they are praying God’s Word – the result seemed cold and lifeless – a script to be read.

Simply and truly, at its very heart, prayer is having a conversation with our Father.  Recognizing in your heart the wonder of Him!  Acknowledging your total reliance on Him, and your deep desire for that to be true.  Spending daily time with Him, speaking and listening.

It is difficult to speak in a heartfelt manner to a stranger, and therein, I believe, lies the biggest hurdle. (God speaks of His people going into captivity because they “have no knowledge of God” – Isaiah 5:13).  The act of prayer is meant to be your heart – that which makes you, you; the deepest, most honest reality of you – speaking with God.  Speaking “in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:23Prayer becomes easier and more natural, more true and life-changing,  more satisfied and assured, the more you understand the character of God.

In all honesty and in all simplicity getting to know God is what assures great satisfaction, great joy, and great accomplishment in prayer.  For He makes you “exceedingly glad with the joy of His presence” (Psalm 21:6).

From the Lord one morning:

There are so many who feel that following Me is a dreary giving up, rather than a joyful receiving.  Life in Me is beautiful, and the rewards are tangible as well as eternal.  I am a giver – the Giver – and I give wisdom, beauty, peace – good measure.  Prayer persona offends me.  Be real with Me.  Tell Me what you need, what you desire – I am your All in All.  Why are you reluctant to speak forth what you desire?  Do you think it’s too big?  Too wonderful?  For Me? Miracles!!

Psalm 25:14 – The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them his covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.”

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Psalm 21:6            Psalm 25:14           Isaiah 5:13

John 4:23