Daily Discovering the Blessing

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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.

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Behold What Manner of Love…

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

Daily Renewal – Part Three

We come now to a second aspect of our faith walk that needs instruction, understanding, and mind renewal according to the Word of God – tithing. There are so many aspects of the tithing covenant – the obligation and associated blessings of tithing – that much of the church is missing today. Heaven speaks, but many are not listening.

Because of the rebellious attitudes prevalent and growing today, “obligation” is a tough word for many to receive. This is true not only in the world, but, sadly, in the Church as well. When churches preach and pronounce as an aspect of their beliefs that tithing is an Old Testament concept, under the law, which we no longer need to attend to for we have a “more excellent and more advantageous covenant” {Hebrews 7:22} through Jesus, they are taking it upon themselves to re-structure God’s established covenant for prosperity and protection. Many in the church today give generous offerings to God – some consistently over and above 10% of their income. However, it is being given and received without the underlying acknowledgment that the tithe – 10% of their income – is always the Lord’s. To regard the tithe as simply a now discarded Old Testament requirement is not only an indication of lack of correct teaching in this area, it is, more significantly, a rejection of God’s expectations, His system of financial prosperity for His children, and His continuous plan regarding kingdom living.

This dismissal of Old Testament teaching, and God’s revelation of Himself throughout the Old Testament, is harmful to our faith walk and our deep and intimate knowledge of Him. The Holy Spirit, through the writers of the New Testament, consistently referred back to the Old Testament whether to acknowledge fulfillment of prophecy, to explain spiritual realities, or establish profound eternal truths. Jesus proclaimed:

Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the law or the prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. {Matthew 5:7}

And indeed, He does just that in the area of the tithe. The first mention of the tithe in the Old Testament occurred centuries before the law was established. In Genesis 14, after returning from a successful battle, Abraham tithed a tenth of all the spoils of battle to Melchizedek.

Melchizedek king of Salem…he was the priest of God Most High. {Genesis 14:18}

There are only two things we know about Melchizedek from the Old Testament – he received Abraham’s tithes and he blessed him. In the New Testament Jesus is called “a High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:10, 6:20, 7:15, 17, 21). When the Word says something once, it is important for us to know. To say something a second time, we truly need to sit up and take notice. When it is said over and over again, God is truly trying to get our attention! To ignore the relationship here in the area of tithing is to willfully reject God’s established plan to bless His people. The very first thing God said to Abraham after he tithed to Melchizedek was:

Fear not Abram, I am your shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great (Genesis 15:1)

. Our Father, in Malachi 3, the chapter which speaks uncompromisingly about the requirements of the tithe, says:

I am the Lord, I do not change. (Malachi 3:6)

With that awareness, look at God’s expectations concerning the tithe:

Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? {You have withheld your} tithes and offerings. You are cursed with the curse for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation. (Malachi 3:8)

And all the tithe of the land…is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord…the tenth shall be holy to the Lord. (Leviticus 27:30, 32)

There is the obligation. God claims the tithe as His; to ignore this expectation is to rob from and defraud Him! As with all of His covenant promises – our part is obedience, His response is blessing.

Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes… (Malachi 3:10-11)

In Joshua 6:18 the Lord warns:

…keep yourselves from the accursed and devoted things…

The word “accursed” in the Hebrew is “cherim” which means “to be separated unto God’s own use, devoted unto the Lord”. In his book From Just Enough to Overflowing Bob Yandian further explains Joshua 6:18 by saying:

“God is saying …This is separated unto Me, so don’t make it a part of your life. Give it to Me so I can work with it and bless you through it… When we hold on to or tamper with what God says is His, we are separating ourselves from Him, which is a cursed place to be”

Finally, a story I heard firsthand from a pastor working among believers in an African community. There had been much hardship in the land due to continuous drought. The people were poor, with no end in sight to their hardships. When in prayer on their behalf, the Spirit of God said to this pastor, “You have not told these people about My tithe.” In obedience to the prompting, he began teaching and preaching on God’s commandment and expectation of the tithe. They responded in obedience and despite continuing poverty all around them, they flourished – their crops, their livestock, their prosperity were a clear sign to themselves and to all who witnessed it of the blessing for the tither and what God in a life looks like.

Incorrect teaching concerning the tithe is blatant disobedience according to the Word, for it presumes to present a new way to interact with God concerning our finances. Being “generous” toward God, even giving abundantly into kingdom work, but rejecting the first principle, the process, the God-ordained, God-established system of tithing, and teaching this to others, proclaiming this as New Testament truth, is an ignorant rejection of what God has established and proclaimed over and over again in both the Old and New Testaments. When churches misrepresent this all important kingdom principle they are not effectively equipping their people to receive the blessing associated with the tithe. And whenever any spiritual principle is compromised, whenever God’s expectations are mishandled, we are not walking in the fullness of His will for our lives.

(For further and deeper insight into this, I refer you to Keith Moore’s teaching “Tithing Today” at MooreLife.org under “Free downloads – Series List”)

Daily Renewal – Part Two

We continue addressing the vitally important, life-altering practice of speaking God’s Word and His Truth into our days -spiritual realities transforming the physical world. We renew our minds and our situations with the words we resolve to speak.

Keith Moore, pastor and teacher to the Body of Christ shared two powerful stories along these lines. Always remember that when you hear such testimonies- this is the will of God concerning you as well. for He is no respecter of persons and what the Truth of His Word has accomplished in one life it will accomplish for all through faith in His stated Word, His revealed will. (Ephesians 6:9)

A man came to Pastor Moore actually quite hopeless concerning his addiction to nicotine. He said that he had been prayed for many times to be able to stop smoking with no success. He had often thrown away packages of cigarettes only to go in search of them again. Pastor Moore counseled him to say, every time he bought a package of cigarettes, “I don’t need or want to smoke.” Every time he took out a cigarette and lit it up he was to say, “I don’t require nicotine any longer.” In between puffs he was to speak out, “I don’t need cigarettes.” With some surprise the man warily agreed to these instructions. After a few weeks he came up to Pastor Moore amazed and joyful, testifying that one day he went to have a cigarette and simply did not want it anymore. He was free! The words of his mouth changed his outcome.

Pastor Moore also tells of a daughter of God who was extremely ill with stomach cancer. She had been a missionary, teaching and preaching the Word of God in Central America, but was now “bedfast”, reduced to skin and bones. How disease robs us of our vitality and our work and witness for the Lord! This sister in the Lord could keep no food in her stomach; whatever she ate came right back up again. She was so weak she could barely be heard when she spoke. Pastor Moore leaned in close to hear her whisper, “I am so weak I can’t keep any food down.” He heard in his spirit, “Let the weak say I am strong.” (Joel 3:10) He told her to repeat after him, “I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”. Slowly at first, very slowly and almost inaudibly she spoke those words. For forty-five minutes he and she spoke those words until her voice could be heard outside by all who passed by, praising God and speaking in faith. Pastor Moore instructed her to say when she tried to eat and couldn’t keep it down, “I have a ravenous appetite. I eat in health and my body receives in health.” He further instructed her never again to say, “I am so weak and I can’t keep any food in my stomach.” Every time she threw up (in other words when visible physical symptoms still seemed to prevail) she was to wipe off her mouth and say, “I eat in health and my body receives in health.” Two or three months later she was up and about the work of the Lord, gaining weight and walking in health.

I too, along with so many others, have experienced a season of physical attack. For truly, that is how we must view such encounters. One brother in Christ has said, “I consider a splinter in my finger as an assassination attempt.” Smith Wigglesworth has said:

If it is only a finger or a tooth that aches, if it is only a corn on your foot that pinches you or anything in the body that detracts from the higher spiritual attainment, the kingdom of Heaven is dethroned to a degree. Disease or weakness or any distraction in you is a power of violence that can take the kingdom of Heaven in you by force. The same spiritual power that will reveal this to you will relieve you. On the authority of the Word of God, I maintain that “greater is He that is in you” (1 John 4:4) than any power of Satan that is around you. How much more would be done if you would inwardly claim your rights and deliver yourselves.” {Smith Wigglesworth Devotional}

For many months an infection requiring surgery kept me unable to walk. I was at first wheel chair bound and spent a month in hospital and at a rehabilitation facility, followed by months at home seated on the couch. During this process I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes. From the very outset of this physical attack I knew two things – God is my Healer and I needed to speak that Truth every day, all day. I listened to healing tapes concerning healing. I read Keith Moore’s book on Healing. Gloria Copeland’s books on healing promises and God’s Will for You, and Bosworth’s Christ the Healer. I fed on God’s Truth concerning healing. I spoke God’s Truth concerning healing. I called my body strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. I spoke to my pancreas – spirit taking authority over flesh – and said, “My pancreas is strong and healthy and it produces just the right amount of insulin for the nutrition I give my body.” I said, “Diabetes is a disease under the curse of the law (Deuteronomy 28:15, 61), but Jesus has redeemed me from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). I called my circulatory system strong and healthy and my blood pressure normal. I called my immune system strong in the Lord and healthy. In fact, for many weeks I daily went through an inventory of all my body parts and systems- brain, heart, lungs, digestive system, etc. – calling them healthy and exhorting them to perform their functions and to fulfill their purpose the way the Creator God made them to perform.

I came home from the hospital with medication for every physical issue the medical community had discovered. I checked my blood sugar four times each day as instructed and gave myself insulin shots, all the while saying that this was a short lived phenomenon. I checked my blood pressure every day, as instructed (there was a pill for that too). I was given sleeping pills and stomach acid pills and pills for nausea. I had no appetite (all the while calling my appetite strong and healthy) and often gagged and threw up due to the regimen of pills and the toll the infection had exacted from my physical well-being. I called my digestive system a healthy receiver of good food.

When I truly just wanted to share with others how awful I was feeling – weak, nauseous, and yes, sometimes discouraged –I spoke only what the Word says about me instead. I remembered a similar testimony from Barbara Arbo, a sister in Christ whose prayer ministry at The Sanctuary – a New England place of prayer in New Hampshire that is such a blessing to the Body of Christ. Barbara says that when well-meaning friends asked her how she was feeling after a serious and painful injury, her answer was always “I am getting better and better and stronger and stronger every day.” That became my mantra as well. Every day I spoke praises to God for His love and goodness to me and for the reality of and the manifestation of my full healing. When I weakened in this – and I did – my wonderful faith-filled daughter encouraged and exhorted me to stand on His promises only.

One by one, every issue and the associated medication for that issue was gone. My appetite is no longer compromised, no blood pressure medication is needed; no insulin is needed for my blood sugar levels are within normal range. I am the healed of the Lord!

Jesus said, “Take no thought” about physical issues. (Matthew 6:25). Consider not (Romans 4:19) the concerns and limitations and hindrances of the flesh. Speak only what God speaks about you.

When the church does not teach these Truths, the Body of Christ suffers and is weakened. We must encourage each other into mountain moving faith. We must exhort each other to “have faith in God constantly”. We must give each other firm footing in all of the promises of God. Take great care with what you are hearing and speaking.

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)

Daily Renewal – Part One

I recently attended a church which represented itself to potential, new members through a group meeting entitled “Who We Are”. Much of their stated doctrine was in line with the teaching in the Word. However, in three areas the “caution” light went on for me. The leading of the Spirit not only warns of “misconceptions ahead”, but He instructs us always in the way we should go; He strengthens our resolve in holding firmly onto the teaching we have already received and He illuminates our understanding when Gospel compromise is being presented.
Whenever man’s reasoning tries to influence or “explain” the Gospel message to make it more palatable, more politically correct, or even more “enlightened”, the Word and the Spirit will instruct us, will renew our thinking, and will demolish those beliefs that set themselves up against the Truth of the Word (2 Corinthians 10:5). In this particular case the Gospel realities of healing, speaking in tongues, and tithing were compromised. But so subtle a difference that one might believe it could be overlooked to reap the benefit of good fellowship among believers. And certainly misconceptions can be corrected, and the Lord will often send in His servants to do just that.

Meanwhile, there was a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, who came to Ephesus. He was a cultured and eloquent man, well versed and mighty in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and burning with spiritual zeal, he spoke and taught diligently and accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he was acquainted only with the baptism of John. He began to speak freely (fearlessly and boldly) in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him with them and expounded to him the way of God more definitely an accurately. (Acts 18:24-26)

When the misdirection in presenting the Gospel is so subtle, it can be an unexposed stumbling block for the believer. Faith comes by continually hearing God’s Truth fed to our spirits so that we can mature into well-trained disciples. (Romans 10:17). So when a growing and maturing spirit comes across teaching that seems reasonable, and seems to be honoring God, it can actually stunt and limit our walk of faith. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three doctrinal areas.

Heavenspeak on Healing

…you have become dull in your {spiritual} hearing and sluggish {even slothful in achieving spiritual insight}. For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, for he is a mere infant {not able to talk yet}! But solid food is for full grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

Healing is the children’s bread (Matthew 15:26-28). When the Church dilutes that message it is taking a stand in opposition to Gospel Truth, misrepresenting God the Father to the world and to His born again children, and seriously compromising His power and ability, and His revealed character.

So for the sake of your tradition (the rules handed down by your forefathers), you have set aside the Word of God {depriving It of force and authority and making It of no effect]. (Matthew 15:6)

There is a malaise throughout the church brought about by incorrect teaching and only half-hearted seeking for God’s Truth. We are to “mine” the Word as if mining for silver and gold. (Proverbs 2:4-5) We are to search the Scriptures to establish what God says is correct for our lives (Acts 17:11). When ill health tries to gain a foothold in a person’s life don’t allow it to establish a doctrine to follow! For a church to state and stand on the false idea that healing does happen “if it’s God’s will” is to put our experience in this physical realm above the already established blessings in the spiritual realm. The devil, Satan, God’s enemy thoroughly enjoys such twisting of the Truth for it disproves the Word.
Those who weakly acknowledge healing if it manifests but will not flex faith muscles to “receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36) have quite effectively removed faith from the equation and to perpetuate that falling short, they teach others along the same lines.

If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. (1 John 3:17) Message Bible

It is all too easy, it is ignorant, and (worst of all) it mischaracterizes our heavenly Father when we place on Him the responsibility of when healing happens. It seems honoring to God to say that He is sovereign and holy and all powerful so He will do what He wants and we will not always understand, doesn’t it? But, we do not ask God to do what He has given us to do. For if, according to the Word, we receive all of His promises (all of what Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection) through faith – since faith is the currency of His kingdom – how can we stand in faith and receive in faith for something that may or may not happen depending upon God’s willingness to answer our prayer. God is not capricious. He doesn’t waver in the things He has promised (Hebrews 10:23). If He has stated that faith receives the promise, that is the rejoicing and receiving place. Because faith flourishes when the will of God is known. when a large part of the Church teaches that God will heal is He feels like it, or if that particular case is His will, faith becomes weakly ineffective. Why would we need faith if everything is up to God? For God to say:

But the just shall live by faith… and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38)

For we walk by faith {we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk} not by sight or appearance. (2 Corinthians 5:7),

but then reserve the right to determine whether or not the prayer will be answered is unfair and unjust. Neither of these attributes characterize our Abba. Our faith work is to edify, encourage, and exhort ourselves and one another in this walk of faith. The word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11),the words we speak to ourselves and to each other is an overcoming force – “Here’s what God says”, Here’s what God has done for me”! Our Heavenspeak! I offer up, exhort, encourage, and edify with the alive and active Word of God:

If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey all His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you. (Exodus 15:26) (Jehovah-Rapha)

– …Lord, if You are willing, you are able to cleanse me by curing me. And He reached out His hand and touched him saying, I am willing; be cleansed by being cured. And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed. (Matthew 8:2-3)

– …Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well. And at once the woman was restored to health. (Matthew 9:22)

– How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with strength and ability and power, how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by {the power of} the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts10:38)

– Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing. (Mark5:36)

– And Jesus replying said to them, Have faith in God {constantly}. Truly I tell you whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will {get it}. (Mark 11:22-24)

– …O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31) When Peter started sinking after initially walking on the water

It shall be done for you as you have believed. (Matthew 8:13)

– Do you believe I am able to do this? They said to Him, Yes, Lord. Then He touched their eyes saying, According to your faith and trust and reliance {on the power invested in Me} be it done to you. (Matthew 9:28-29)

– …Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. (John 14:9)

– …By His wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

– The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance) to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10)

– I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)

When we dig diligently and deeply into the Word of God we discover the role faith plays in our successful walk in the Spirit, and the dangers we could encounter when we entertain spiritual teaching that does not stand firmly on His Word of Truth.

Transforming Reality

First Thessalonians 1 is so very rich in encouragement and demonstration of the process of walking in faith and strengthening our understanding and ability to overcome the tyranny of our senses. Every day we are in the business of translation. What our eyes see and what our ears hear is quite often contrary to what God’s Word says. What we sense with our physical being seems to be the reality of the moment. But what God expects of His children is for them to measure and compare what we are observing, or hearing, with what His Word says. (His expectation is also His blessing, for what we find in His Word is so far superior and beneficial to us than what we find in the world.) And what pleases our Father, and mightily benefits us, is our decision to exalt His Word over our present feelings, experiences, and observations. We translate the “reality” in front of us with the Word of God spoken in faith. If what we are seeing, hearing, or feeling does not conform to God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5) – we speak to the mountain and the mountain must move (Mark 11:23-24). For God’s Word is our ultimate authority and reality.

God established all that we see through the spoken word. The Genesis 1 account and John 1 teach us that what God spoke became reality – and that spoken Word is Jesus (John 1:3). Made in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:26), we are to be imitators of our Father in this (Ephesians 5:1). What we speak forth is always our faith, or lack of faith, talking. When we speak forth what we see or feel – for good or evil – we are either blessed or snared with the words of our mouths (Proverbs 6:2). God created this world through His spoken Word. He established its parameters, its functioning principles, and the manner in which all things work together. Instead of speaking forth what we see, when we, in faith, speak forth God’s Word, aligning our energy, our focus, and our confession with His ways of doing and being right, we set in motion the power and will of God on our behalf. We restructure our reality with the Word of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 – Our preaching of the Gospel came not only in word but also in {its own inherent} power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty {on our part}.

Faith in God’s Word (Jesus), in God’s promises to us {which are all “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20)}, is powerfully transformative for it “receives and carries away and enjoys to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36). When founded on “great conviction and absolute certainty” God says it will produce. God helps us in our faith walk by assuring us throughout Scripture that His Word has “its own inherent power“.

In Isaiah 61:11 He speaks of the “self-fulfilling power of His Word“. In Isaiah 55:11 He says:

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.

In Hebrews 4:12, He tells us that His Word is “alive and full of power {making It active, operative, energizing, and effective“.

Finally, returning to 1 Thessalonians, let all of the work that we do, and the words that we speak, be “energized by faith” (Verse3). Let us welcome the message of the Word with joy (Verse 6). Be excited and anticipatory for the manifestation of God’s Word – all of His promises – in your life, for this is such a strong indicator of faith in our God. Lean “your whole personality on Him, in complete trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness.” (Verse 5) Spend much time in the Presence of your Father. Enjoy His Presence for He truly enjoys yours! Allow the sense of peace and well-being in His Presence to show you how cherished you are by your Abba. And hold as absolute Truth and reality the wonderful message of Verse 10:

…Jesus…draws us to Himself {investing us with all the privileges and rewards of the new life in Christ, the Messiah.}

Separate and Set Apart

What separates the church of Jesus Christ, the believing church, the obedient and set apart church, from the attitudes and beliefs of the world around us; the watered-down morality and compromising, politically correct standards of the world system within which we live? Throughout church history, right up until the present day, there have been those who mistakenly, or intentionally, negatively impact the power of the Gospel in the lives of individuals, entire congregations, or large segments of the Christian community.

For the time is coming when {people} will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction. but, having ears itching {for something pleasant and gratifying} they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold. And will
turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

…because of false brethren (some men who were Christian in name only) who had been secretly smuggled in {to the Christian brotherhood}; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage. (Galatians 2:4)

In Revelation 2:13-15, speaking to the church at Pergamum, Jesus warns of believers “clinging to the teaching of Balaam…” and “to the teaching of the Nicolaitans” both serious stumbling blocks to their faith walk. We are to cling to and hold fast to His Name and to the standard of set-apart holiness that God requires. We are to stand uncompromisingly on “every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) The enemy will always attempt to infiltrate, deceive, and overcome the power and authority of the church. He sows distraction to the flesh, “the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit”.(Romans 8:3 – Amplified) Today, in this present end-times climate, this is profoundly important – impacting our faith walk and our set apart heart before God as the rapture approaches and Jesus returns for the church.

I distinctly remember hearing a pastor, whose walk before the Lord I greatly trust and admire, prefacing his teaching on end-times prophecy saying that he was at first reluctantly obedient to preach the message because he did not want to be known as a “prophecy nut”. The Holy Spirit, he said, had clearly led him to teach on the subject, but he recognized the reluctance and aversion many of his listeners had to these particular biblical truths.

I approached this writing with similar concerns. The purity and the sanctity of Christ’s church in these last days is the issue which so many do not want to hear. Jesus warned His disciples to be on the lookout and beware of “the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:11); beware of rules and traditions and teachings that would compromise and even nullify the Word of God; “depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect”. (Matthew 15:6)

Our Lord Jesus:

…loved the church and gave Himself up for her. So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word. That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things {that she might be holy and faultless}. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Satan’s initial purpose is to keep people blinded concerning their need for God – to keep them from submitting to the Lordship of Christ. Failing that in the lives of many, his Plan B is to disprove the Word in a believer’s life; to so weaken Bible Truths and our Father’s covenant promises that entire churches operate within the parameters of a compromised Gospel. Millions of Christians around the world – saved and Heaven-bound – have no idea of the authority and blessed life that is theirs in Christ. The world system we live in has, to a large extent, infiltrated the church. The warning of 2 Corinthians 2:11seems turned upside down. For many do not seem aware of Satan’s tactics; they appear “ignorant of his wiles and intentions” and he is gaining an advantage over them.

Paul’s letter to Timothy sets the right standard:

Hold fast and follow the pattern of wholesome and sound teaching which you have heard from me, in {all} the faith and love which are for us in Christ Jesus. Guard and keep {with the greatest care} the precious and excellent adapted Truth which has been entrusted {to you}, by the {help of the} Holy Spirit Who makes His home in us.(2 Timothy 1:13-14)

When you see it in the Word, expect it in your church. So many receive Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. What is the difference? Savior is what He accomplished for us. Lord is the position He is meant to hold in our lives.

“Too often the church today has offered a good message of salvation apart from Lordship. For the sake of not deceiving people, for the sake of any who might otherwise someday hear ‘depart from Me'{Matthew 7:23}, for the sake of the strength of the church, for the sake of truly walking in the blessings of God, let’s forsake our inadequate ‘good’ Gospel message and return to the tree of life – the biblical message of salvation.” (John Bevere – Good or God?)

Judgment’s Legacy

I would like to revisit the characteristic of a carefree walk before God (May 30th blog entry) with a subject that may seem unrelated but is actually quite instrumental in our successful achievement of carefree living. I am speaking here of the very subtle trap of judging others. This seems especially relevant during this political season in our country when so many find it the natural outcome of a democratic system to mock and condemn those whose politics annoy them.

Jesus taught us, in no uncertain terms, that judgment toward others is extremely harmful to our spiritual well-being – our walk before God. In fact, the mercy of God in our lives is contingent upon our obedience to Him in this area.

If you have anything against anyone forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go) in order that your Father Who is in Heaven may also forgive you your {own} failings and shortcomings and let them drop. (Mark 11:25)

In Matthew 18:21-35 to illustrate the negative end result of judging others, Jesus shares the parable of a king and his attendant. While the king forgave his servant much (the equivalent of 10 million dollars), that servant did not extend the same mercy to his fellow servant. When the master heard of this, in his wrath, he called him “contemptible and wicked” and:

…turned him over to the torturers (the jailers) till he should pay all that he owed. (Matthew 19:34)

Jesus instructs us that this is the standard of God’s kingdom (Matthew 19:23). God will deal in similar fashion to those of us who do not extend forgiveness – who dare to judge and condemn others rather than love and forgive.

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourself. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you {use to} deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

Through Jesus, our Abba extends to sinful men grace and mercy and forgiveness. When we accept His Son as Savior and Lord all of our indiscretions and rebelliousness are forgiven. That is a vast debt, a heavy weight of sin, which is simply wiped out. We are cleansed through His blood. We are fully and completely and entirely forgiven. Be always aware, grateful and filled with thanksgiving concerning the overwhelming preciousness, the supreme advantage, the undeserved gift from our Father of the blank slate when it comes to our offenses. Our Lord Jesus has taken them for us – we are in right standing with God because of Jesus. We receive mercy instead of judgment, grace instead of punishment.

We, in turn, are to extend that blessing to others. We are to be imitators of our Father in this (Ephesians 5:1).He sacrificed His Son so that we could be restored to His grace. How can we now presume to pass judgment on anyone (James 4:12)? Remember, with the measure you deal out it will be dealt back to you. Is there enough personal pleasure in being able to judge someone’s actions or words that will outweigh sacrificing your right standing with God?

The Lord very often directed our attention to this issue because we fall victim to its trap so easily. We so quickly entangle ourselves through this device of the enemy. God judges; we may not!

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you {yourselves} may not be judged… (James 5:9)

Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10); we ought not to be!

Our focus, our kingdom work, as children of God, as citizens of His kingdom, is to demonstrate to the lost, dead citizens of the world what God in a life looks like.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves {his fellowman} is begotten (born) of God and is coming {progressively} to know and understand God {to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him}. (1 John 4:7)

When we love others we “perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him“. When we judge we please only the enemy and opt out of grace and mercy. Judgment has no place in the heart of God’s child. It is the presumptuous, prideful attitude and demonstration that we are “better than”. In Jude 1:9 we see the ultimate argument against anyone expressing judgment against another.

But when {even} the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, judicially argued (disputed) about the body of Moses, he dared not {presume to} bring an abusive condemnation against him, but {simply} said, the Lord rebuke you!

If the archangel Michael dare not condemn Satan, we dare not condemn each other!

Judgment replaces our harmony and peace and carefree walk before God with a prideful arrogance and a disobedience that seriously mars our faith walk. Love for others and a desire for their well-being and salvation will overturn and overcome judgment’s penalties and restore peace.

New Realities

“I guarantee there is not a person in the whole world who could be nervous if he or she understood 1 John 4. Believe that God loves you.
Smith Wigglesworth

For the child of God, everything that God has promised through Jesus is within reach (2 Corinthians 1:20). For the born-again believer, the ability to “receive and carry away {and enjoy to the full} what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36) is our guaranteed inheritance. For those led by the Spirit of God, kingdom provision and kingdom realities become manifest, by faith, in this physical world. That’s God’s promise!

Jeremiah 1:12 – Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My Word to perform it. (Amplified Bible)

Jeremiah 1:12 – I will make every word I give you come true. (Message Bible)

Gently lean back onto the everlasting arms! He is your refuge and your dwelling place (Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 91:2). Come to know, practically and intimately, through personal experience, the love God has for you through Jesus (Ephesians 3:19). Come to know Jesus through quality time in the Word. For you cannot come to know Him with love and trust, you cannot receive promises you are not yet even aware of, unless you feed on the Word. God’s Word is His guarantee to us that when our faith agrees with His Word we receive.

Kingdom ways (the culture and principles of God’s realm) challenge our observations and experiences in this physical world. We need to relearn reality; we must entirely reconfigure our understanding of how this new life works. God’s kids are to approach Him boldly and confidently (Hebrews 4:16) yet humbly (James 4:10).We are not to believe what our ears hear or our eyes see if those two senses contradict God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5). Spiritual eyes, trained through time in His Word and the daily practice of Holy Spirit guidance, attend to the unseen, rather than what our physical eyes see (2 Kings 6:17, 2 Corinthians 4:18).

The very best, the safest, the surest place to be is living in the confident assurance that God’s Holy Spirit lives in us (John14:23). The heart’s understanding that we are no longer a part of this world’s system (John 15:19), that we have been transferred (translated) into the realities of God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13), is the beginning of the training of our spiritual eyes, and the starting point of a faith walk that so pleases our Father.

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning {to Me} and resting {in Me} you shall be saved; in quietness and in {trusting} confidence shall be your strength…

“Oh, if by the grace of God we could only see that the blessings of God’s divine power come to us with such sweetness, whispering to us, ‘Be still My child. All is well’…What would happen if we learned the secret of asking once and then believing?”
Smith Wigglesworth

Our Response Time

Whenever we experience challenges, and we will, our response time reveals the level of faith we are operating in. Our response time is profoundly effected by our purposeful resolve to dwell in our Father’s care (Psalm 91:1). When our hearts hold steadily to the Truth that “He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (1 Peter 5:7) our response, to any and all situations, will be immediate and powerful and faith-filled.

In Matthew 14:24-27, Jesus responds to the disciples’ fear:

But instantly He spoke to them, saying Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!

Later in Verse 31, when Peter’s initial success in walking on water was compromised and defeated by his fear of the storm, Jesus teaches us all through His words:

O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

In Luke 8:49-50 our Lord again schools us in tis powerful lesson:

… a man from the house of the director of the synagogue came and said {to Jairus}, your daughter is dead; do not weary and trouble the Teacher any further. But Jesus, on hearing this, answered him, Do not be seized with alarm or struck with fear; simply believe {in Me as able to do this}, and she shall be made well.

The implication being that Jairus played a role here. His faith in Jesus, or his fear for his daughter, would impact the result.

Where are you situated? What is your perspective when you encounter unexpected, seemingly negative circumstances? Is there an attentive, expectant, steady and absorbing gaze toward Jesus (Numbers 21: 8-9) or fearful regard of the problem?

John 14:27 – Peace I live 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}

This is kingdom citizenship 101! This is our Abba instructing us in the life-giving art of overcoming the enemy’s attempts to derail our faith. Love of and trust in God casts out all fear. Fear puts an abrupt cessation to the power of faith in your life. Fear is the enemy’s weapon – it is insidiously evil because it accuses God of lying! Fear (worry, concern, anxiety) in your heart proclaims that God and His Word cannot be relied upon – cannot be trusted.

Over and over again in the Old Testament God expects (requires, commands) trust and reliance on Him from His people. In the book of Ezekiel there is an often repeated phrase:

I am the Lord {the Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service}.

In the New Testament we are born again – new creations (2 Corinthians 5:7). God lives in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 16:7). He enables us (John 16:13-15) to walk in peace (John 14:27) – a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Our wonderful Abba, our awesome Father, not only instructs us in the correct heart attitude which we must cultivate to receive His blessings, He lives in us (2 Timothy 1:14) as our Enabler to accomplish it.

Be quick to recognize and cast away fear. It is a spirit (2 Timothy 1:7) that hinders and diminishes your faith. Every answer that you need – every healing, every provision, all wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. Let your response time celebrate and honor that truth – with thanksgiving.