Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Life in the Spirit’

A Better Covenant

Plumbing the depth of any verse of Scripture is the process of allowing the Word of God to transform us into His image; to re-create our perception of what it TRULY means to be a child of God – protected, loved, and knowledgeably handling the Truth and authority of the keys of the Kingdom (Matthew 16:19).

God’s Word is “alive, active, energizing, and effective” (Hebrews 4:12).  It changes situations, attitudes, misconceptions, and the purposeful, evil intent of the enemy. There is a self-fulfilling power in the Word spoken forth in faith (Isaiah 61:11- AMP). The faithful application of God’s Word into this physical realm is the altering force for good (Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 55:11, Jeremiah 1:12).

Taking our Father at His Word “makes tremendous power available {dynamic in its working} (James 5:16).  And so, as we continue to look at Psalm 91:13 we embark on another opportunity to adjust perceived reality in favor of Kingdom Truth.

 You shall tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:13) 

Throughout the Old Testament our Father’s promises to His people, His covenant with Israel, involved loving provision, protection, and prosperity:

…no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper… this {peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition} is the heritage of the servant of the Lord {those in whom the Ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced}… (Isaiah 54:17)

And throughout the history of their rebellion and disobedience against His rightful place as Creator and Lord (Isaiah 31:6), His response was always forgiveness and the re-establishment of covenant (Isaiah 30:15). Our Father’s desire has always been to extend mercy and “satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4).

So we “own” the promise of Psalm 91:13 and add to it the praise-worthy, supernatural work of the cross. In the Old Testament covenant a man’s faith in God’s promises, His Word, enabled Heaven’s response of protection from harmful forces. Trust and reliance on God’s ability, and obedience to the covenant’s expectations, received the promise of protection from harm.  Through our new and better covenant (Hebrews 7:22) a believer’s faith in all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf demonstrates the recognition that evil, and all of its accompanying woes, has been utterly defeated. Satan has no ability to, in any way, harm us. Trust and reliance on the sacrificial work of Jesus establishes that reality.

{God} disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it {the cross} (Colossians 2:15)

…by {going through} death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death – that is, the devil- (Hebrews 2:14)

Jesus has given us absolute authority in this:

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and {physical and mental strength and ability} over all the power that the enemy {possesses}; and nothing shall in any way harm you. (Luke 10:19)

Think how life changing and perception altering this truly is. Trusting and relying on God through the old covenant meant they were enabled to trample on and defeat the enemy. Within the new and better covenant he is already defeated and our faith and trust in that truth seals the deal! The enemy may harm and hinder, “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) the lost, but his ability to harm God’s children – those who trust in the saving work of Jesus – is forever undone.

We know {absolutely} that anyone born of God does not {deliberately and knowingly} practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him {Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil}, and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch {him}.  We know positively that we are of God, and the whole world {around us} is under the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:18-19)

 

  

 

 

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Angels Among Us

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12)  { Part Two}

Because the Word of God would have us enlightened as to the presence of angels among us, it is a topic that deserves our closer attention. I offer here an excerpt from my woman’s devotional, God’s Beloved Daughters.

   The realm of the Spirit is a Christian’s focus, but the angel beings that inhabit it often seem only a Christmas focus, and otherwise tend to be overlooked. And yet, they are everywhere present.

A young woman disembarked from a bus in a major city.  As she left the bus station to walk to her destination, a tall young man engaged her in conversation. They discovered that they were headed in the same direction and so headed out together. Soon they saw, approaching them from the opposite direction, a group of three rather ominous looking men.  They might have troubled her had she not been accompanied by her companion from the bus station. The evening was darkening and she sensed their evil intentions. As the three men passed them and she saw that they were finally a safe distance away, she turned back to thank him.  He had disappeared!

A pastor was taking his daily solitary stroll in the woods. It was his habit to walk, read, and pray on this same route every afternoon.  Suddenly, a former parishioner appeared from behind some bushes, glared at the pastor and then walked away in another direction.  This troubled parishioner had nursed a long held grudge against the man of God and many times had threatened his life. Later the man admitted that he had followed the pastor to the woods to harm him.

“Why didn’t you then?” he was asked.

“Because of those two tall men who were accompanying you,” the man answered.

One pastor who has studied the subject quite extensively has said that he is amazed we do not have more reports of angelic visitations (Hebrews 1:14). In her book God’s Will is Prosperity, Gloria Copeland writes:

Hebrews 12:22 tells us that their numbers are innumerable… Revelation 5:11 speaking of angels says, “And they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands.” Hilton Sutton shared with us recently that as near as he can figure that would be one hundred trillion angels!  A trillion is a million million millions… I believe that is enough to establish God’s covenant in the earth.  There is no shortage of angel power.  Brother Sutton says, “If there were 5 billion people on earth and they all got saved, we would still have twenty thousand angels to minister to each of us.”   Brother Sutton’s arithmetic helped me to realize just how many angels there are.  To me, that is exciting.”

When my daughter Carly was 5 years old, I was traveling one day far away from our town and her school.  While driving I was speaking with the Lord about my concerns at being so far away from her. Several moments later I was suddenly seeing a picture of Carly’s classroom in my mind.  Standing directly next to her desk was a huge being, at attention! Leaning against the wall by the classroom door was another – at rest. Angels on duty!  This was not conjured up by me for my peace of mind.  It was not wishful thinking or creative imaginings.  I absolutely knew in my heart that this was God’s message to me – a glimpse into the spirit realm concerning what was truly going on in Carly’s classroom.  After all, included in my prayers for her every morning was that she was continually surrounded by ministering angels!

The woman from the bus station, the pastor in the woods, and the story from Carly’s classroom are all truthful, personal testimonies of encounters with angels.  The word tells us that for the most part we will be unaware of their ministry on our behalf.  But God shows them to us throughout His Word.   There are angels among us – Angels on assignment.  Yet another reason for praise!

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

 

Angels on Assignment

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12) {Part One}

From Genesis to Revelation we learn of the ministry of God’s angels.  Scripture speaks of “countless numbers of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) and “ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11). It appears their numbers are so vast as to be beyond counting.  2 Peter 2:11 teaches that they are “superior in might and power”.

   Throughout His Word our Father instructs us concerning the reality of the spiritual realm and of the activity “behind the scenes” – for both good and evil – generally unseen, but always touching and shaping the physical realm. There are approximately 200 references in the Old and New Testament to God’s angels {as well as numerous mentions of those angels who rebelled along with Satan and are now referred to as demons} (Jude 6). {There are also numerous, separate and distinct, references to “the Angel of the Lord”  in the Old Testament which appear to be references to the Lord Jesus Himself}. But God’s angels definitely attend to His orders and purposes throughout His Word.

We, too, are spiritual beings.  We have a soul and we live in a body, but our “spirit man” is who communicates with God, our Creator. The more mature our spirits grow, and the more attention we give to this Truth, the better able we are to comprehend the realm of the Spirit. It is obvious that God wants us to understand the reality of this spirit realm, and His purposes for the creation of, and ministry of, His angels. Understanding why they exist, understanding their purpose, helps us to realize why He created them, and helps us to see more clearly what His intentions are and how He works; how His kingdom functions.    Both the Hebrew word for “angel” in the Old Testament (mal’ach) and the Greek word in the New Testament (angelos) means “messenger”.  “One who executes the purpose and will of the one whom they serve”.

While there are so many references to angels in God’s Word, there still seems to be very little awareness and understanding of this spiritual reality and of their  activity around and among us.  This is not surprising. They inhabit the unseen realm, and, for the most part, we are cognitively unaware of the activity that goes on there. So we look to the Word for our tutorial on God’s angels:

  • Angels cannot be seen by humans unless God “opens” a man’s eyes to reveal them (Numbers 22:31, 2 Kings 6:17)
  • Angels can appear in bodily form to be clearly seen and heard by men (Matthew 28:2-5, Luke 1:11, 26-30, Hebrews 13:2)
  • God sends out His angels to protect us (Psalm 91:11-12, Daniel 6:22), to comfort us (Acts 27:23-24),to patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:10-11), to serve us (Acts 5:19, 12:7, Hebrews 1:14), to guide us correctly in our area of ministry (Acts 8:26, 10:3-8), to bring messages of revelation (Daniel 9:21-22, Revelation 1:1), to carry our His judgment (Matthew 13:39, 24:31, Acts 12:23, Revelation 16:1), to carry out His Word (Psalm 103:20), and to proclaim the birth (Luke 1:26-31; Luke 2:9-14) and return of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The Word tells us that there are things hidden that belong to God, but those things which are revealed are for us and our children to know (Deuteronomy 29:29).  As we become more aware of, attuned to, and informed by all aspects of the spiritual realm as our Father instructs us, be ever aware that through His loving care, angels are on assignment on our behalf.

Are not angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service {of God for the assistance} of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

Faith Speaks

Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. (Psalm 91:6) {Part Two}

Pastor Willy George, known to many as Gospel Bill, tells of a vacation he was taking with his family to the Grand Canyon. On the plane, flying to their destination,  he was led by the Spirit of God to pray in tongues, which he did quietly in order to not draw attention to himself from people who would not understand the concept.  The next day while viewing the canyon, he heard the squeal of brakes and turned to see that his young son had barely escaped being hit by an oncoming vehicle. In asking the Lord why his son almost died when he always covered his family with protective prayer, the Lord said, “He was protected.  We covered that yesterday on the plane when you prayed in your prayer language.”

Being quick to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, being faithful to seek the Lord daily as we walk through this place of spiritual darkness, recognizing our mandate to always yield to His guidance and expect His Word to come to pass in our lives – that is who we are as children of God. Faith receives all that our God has provided for us and speaks and acts accordingly.  That is God’s expectation for His children. Again, we consider why so many of His born again children are not experiencing the blessed life, the protected life, the carefree and fear free life He offers and extends to all who would believe.  We go to the Word for our answers.

Remember that Verse 2 of Psalm 91, our part of the covenant, requires that our words speak forth His Lordship.  We are to say and believe that He is our refuge, our fortress, our protection. Our words come forth from the overflow of our hearts (Matthew 12:34). And if we truly believe what we say, our actions, our responses, our character will reflect our spoken word. Remember, Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

And what is the will of our Father?

Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He sent {that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger}. (John 6:29)

Our demonstration of faith in God and in our Lord Jesus is evidenced by the words we speak.

The psalmist asks in Psalm 15:1-2, “Who will dwell in Your tabernacle and on Your holy Hill?”   In other words, who will find favor with You, Father?  Whose life will give evidence of Your blessings?  The answer is:

He who walks and lives uprightly and blamelessly, who works rightness and justice and speaks and thinks the truth in his heart.” {Emphasis mine}

Every promise that God ever uttered and extended to His children is dependent upon this expectation of our faith in His goodness and trustworthiness. Speaking and thinking His Truth in our hearts – only.  So many believe they are in faith and yet do not see the full manifestation of a God-directed, God blessed life.  God directs us, encourages us, defines us as people who will not be afraid of any possible harm – pestilence, destruction, sudden death; people who recognize the attacks of the enemy and counter them with the eternal promises of God. Then, in faith, that is who we are.  No tactic of the enemy will concern those who operate in and out of faith.  In that place of resolve we mightily please our Father and defeat the enemy. Faith knows peace.  Faith knows the God of peace.

 

Psalm 91, Verse Two – (Part One)

I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely and in Him I {confidently} trust!

   Psalm 91 powerfully demonstrates that our covenant with God, while dependent upon certain faith actions on our part, is only and always for our benefit and our ultimate good. Our Abba (Mark 14:35, Galatians 4:6) is a Blesser! He delights in our prosperity and well-being (Psalm 34:10, Psalm 35:27); “affectionately and watchfully” He sees to our safety, our concerns, our every step. (1 Peter 5:7)

The steps of a {good} man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way {and He busies Himself with his every step}.  (Psalm 37:23) {Emphasis mine}

Verses 1 and 2 in Psalm 91 instruct us in our role; the actions we must take to consistently receive covenant blessings. We are to see to it that we dwell, remaining stable and fixed, in His secret place (verse 1), and from our mouth, with our faith talking, we are to speak forth that truth (verse 2).

I will say of the Lord”! Into every circumstance, at the beginning of every day we are to proclaim and rely on our allegiance to the King. We are to speak forth His Lordship. We are to honor Him with our lips “affectionately and gratefully” (Psalm 135:19-20). Our words acknowledge our location in the Spirit. Our spoken word – coming forth from the overflow of a faith-filled heart (Matthew 12:34) – creates for us the reality of our placement in Christ and all that means. God’s spoken Word created all that we see, and as imitators of our Father (Ephesians 5:1) we understand the importance, the significance, and the power of the words we speak as well.

We are creators together with our Father over our future days when we speak forth His Word into every circumstance we encounter.  “I will say of the Lord.”  I will speak to mountains that attempt to stop me! I will speak to symptoms that do not belong in my body! Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I will command, decide and decree a thing and it will be established for me, and the light of God’s favor will shine upon my path (Job 22:28).  God expects His children, in faith, to speak forth that which He has promised and ordained.  Like parents who are so pleased when their young children begin to speak their language, our Father delights in His children speaking forth His Word when it is accompanied with the faith that says He is honored and trusted.  As we become proficient in the language of the Spirit He is greatly pleased (Hebrews 10:38).

God has established the power of the spoken word – for good or for evil (Proverbs 18:21).  Kenneth Hagin has taught and written:

“Simply having faith will not get you healed, filled with the Spirit, or any of God’s blessings…the Bible teaches that you believe and say something – not just because you believe.”

{We need to be taught, encouraged and trained up in this truth, because it doesn’t come naturally to us.  We have learned throughout our growing up years to report what our physical senses are telling us.  Until we learn otherwise, through strong Gospel teaching and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to be held captive through the tyranny of our physical senses and the errant words of our mouths.  We cannot speak life and death at the same time and expect positive results. We say “My God will liberally supply and fill to the full my every need” (Philippians 4:19) and then complain that we will never be able to pay all of our bills, or we can’t afford something, or we’ll never get out of debt. We say “God is my Healer” (Exodus 15:26) and then use our mouths (that creative force the Lord has given us) to list all of our troubling symptoms and complain to those who will listen and commiserate with us about how weak and ill we feel.  We say that we have the mind of Christ and the wisdom of God, and then say “I just don’t understand,” or “I am so confused about what to do.” The transforming influence of the Word, The indwelling Holy Spirit, and strong and correct Gospel teaching will cause us to grow up into mountain moving faith!  God has given us every tool we need to be over-comers.}

He is my Refuge and my Fortress“; my Place of Safety, my Stronghold (Proverbs 18:10)

 You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble. You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah (pause, and calmly think of that)! (Psalm 32:6) {Emphasis mine}

I will say of the Lord that He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I {confidently} trust.

I confidently trust in His Word, in His faithfulness to that Word, in what Jesus has accomplished on my behalf.  I confidently trust in His love for me, and I trust and rely on the Truth that as my mouth speaks forth His Word in faith, I will walk in those blessings which I receive as mine. When we say in the face of anything we encounter in our days (any device of the enemy, any worldly or fleshly hurdle) “I have taken refuge in God – I am safe here in God’s fortress” – nothing, nothing can reach you successfully there. Pause, and, in faith, calmly think of that! Faith speaks out those words with “great conviction and absolute certainty” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

Let your words today speak of the blessing.  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in this. Speak out His Word over your day in faith that He sees to the results.

Psalm 91,Verse 1 – (Part Two)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty {Whose power no foe can withstand}.

Now we come upon the promised result.  When we purpose to dwell in His secret place our lives and our future are stable and fixed.  This stability and fixed foundation are ours when our faith is in our God; when we purposefully place ourselves in His care.  He assures us that this is so.  Always be spiritually attuned to the Truth that all Scripture is God speaking to us.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction… (2 Timothy 3:16)

For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it {to do so – it never came by human impulse} but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

God promises these results as we lean on Him and trust absolutely in His care. Our work is faith in His Word, in the “great and wonderful and intense love” He holds for us (Ephesians 2:4), and in all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf. His work is to see to the fulfillment of His promises. We “shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty”.  In other words, He is your covering, your safe place.

over everything the glory will be a canopy.  It will be a shelter and a shade from the heat of the day and hiding place from the storm and rain.  (Isaiah 4:5-6)

Protected here, no enemy can harm us for there is no foe, no hindering force that can overcome the power of our God.  The Greater One lives in us (1 John 4:4) and sees to our well-being. There will be attempts to unsettle us, but our faith in His covenant promises and His faithfulness to His Word is the overcoming force.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary.  (Psalm 107:2)

When we dwell in God’s secret place, when our faith holds us there, no enemy can get through His defenses to harm us.  I once heard a preacher speak of this verse in Psalm 107, emphasizing the last word.  “Let the redeemed of the Lord say SO!”  “So, you think you can harm me??”  “So what if disease is going around? It can’t come near me.” So what if a storm is trying to overcome me?  I will not be moved!  I am safe in my Father’s care.” “So what! You can’t intimidate me! You are no match for my Father.  In fact, you have no power here. You have been defeated.”  When you’re saved and you’re secure and you know it, no weapon will prosper against you. (Isaiah 54:17).  That is your heritage, your security, your right as a faith-filled child of God.  And while to many this seems too good to be true, according to the Word of God this place of refuge in His care defines our days.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord (and His Presence) shall be my dwelling place. (Psalm 23:6)

Psalm 91 – Introduction (Part Two)

In Gloria Copeland’s book God’s Master Plan for Your Life there is more evidence of God’s watching over His Word to perform it.

“Another amazing example of divine protection came from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.  Dan and Ann Stratton, pastors of Faith Exchange Fellowship, a church located in an office building across from the World Trade Center, had for 17 years confessed Psalm 91 daily and taught their congregation about the power of confessing this Psalm.  The congregation knew the power of God’s Name and how to believe in and dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

“On the morning of the attack, from the church office, a Faith Exchange Fellowship member could see and hear the second plane hit and feel the concussion of the impact as the tower exploded into flames.  People were falling or jumping from the building.  As he left the church office and went out into the street, the building which housed the church was being hit with debris and large building parts from the Twin Towers.  Its whole front was torn off by the explosion.  The air was so hot, he felt as if he would burn up.  People were screaming.

“When he realized he was walking on body parts in the street, the man was tempted to panic, but the Lord told him not to look to the right or to the left, but straight ahead of him.  When he did what the Lord told him, he said God lifted him up above the street.  He felt like he was in a bubble.  Though debris was flying through the air, and choking clouds of dust, ash, and smoke swirled around him, he was totally protected.  Somehow, the next thing he knew, he was across the river and in New Jersey, unharmed.  When he got home his wife said his shirt was cleaner and whiter than when he had left for work that morning.  Not even the smell of smoke was on him.”

Be bold to stand on God’s Word, and believe that what He promises, He will also fulfill, “for He Who promised is reliable and faithful to His Word” (Hebrews 10:23).  Find out for yourself what God’s promises are to you as a child of His.   You can only appropriate from God’s Word what you know to be in there!  The Lord tells us that His people, not the unbeliever, the mocker or the scorner, but His people, perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). The process of digging into God’s Word for yourself, of holding it as the dearest treasure of your life, will bless you, guide your steps, and save your life

When I discovered the richness and power of Psalm 91, it became a daily ritual to speak it out in faith, in its entirety over my family.  I went through the process of memorizing it, but really, because I spoke it out every morning, the memorization process was not overly challenging.  Its promise of protection from plague, from slander, and from accident; its promise of peaceful dwelling places and long life, so truly reflect what our Father desires for His children.   But we must dwell there.  We must make Him our refuge.  We must set our love upon Him.  With God there is an “if you… then I” clause; the establishment of a covenant relationship.  And the “if you” (our part) is always if you trust Me, if you seek after Me, if you set your heart to understand and obey My ways of doing and being right, if you submit to My Word as your standard, if your faith rests entirely on Me. And every single one of those “if you’s” is always and only for our benefit and blessing.  God said early on in his demonstration of covenant:

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.  (Deuteronomy 30:19) 

I want to caution here a proviso which I heard long ago from my pastor.  When you hear these things, simply parroting them because they work for other people will never do.  Early on in your walk with the Lord, when you are a “baby” in the things of the kingdom, trying out what you hear others say about walking with God may well bring about desired results, and you will see some promises fulfilled.  But even as we expect our children to mature and gradually take on adult responsibilities, so too in the Kingdom walk.  Throughout the Amplified Bible faith is defined as “The leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute faith and confidence.”  (1 Timothy 1:4 is one such example.)  Speaking forth God’s Word effectively eventually requires the understanding that our God will “watch over His Word, and hasten to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:12).

And so, daily, I spoke this wonderful Psalm over my family.  One day, my husband arrived home with an amazing story.  He worked at the time as a mail carrier, and in the process of delivering mail on a rural route he had driven into a driveway on a small, narrow country road to deliver a package to the customer’s door.  As he was backing out of the driveway to continue along on his route, he looked down the road to be sure the way was clear.  Looking to his left he saw a small sports car coming in his direction with great speed.  He intended to put his foot on the brake to allow the car to pass but mistakenly placed his foot on the accelerator, which quickly brought him out into the middle of the road.  Not knowing what else to do – the oncoming car was just too close – he braced for impact.   There was no room on or off the road for the car to avoid him. He closed his eyes and hunched down over the steering wheel.  He waited and waited but nothing happened.   No squealing of brakes, no crunching of metal upon metal! Opening his eyes, he looked in the direction from which the car had been coming and saw nothing.  Looking down the road in the opposite direction he saw the car, still speeding, traveling away from him down the road.  Jim said that the only way that could have happened would be that as the car approached his mail vehicle in the middle of the road it dematerialized, drove through his car, and rematerialized on the other side! I said to him, let me show you what I have been praying every morning for us.  He read the entire Psalm and said, “Don’t stop praying that!”

There is “self-fulfilling power” in all of God’s Word to us (Isaiah 61:11).  It is “…alive and full of power {making It active, operative, energizing, and effective}… (Hebrews 4:12}. There is, therefore, creative power in speaking forth God’s Word in faith.  He is faithful to His promises (1 Corinthians 1:9). In the very same way that our Father created this world (Genesis 1) by speaking it forth, we imitate our Creator (Ephesians 5:1) by speaking forth His covenant promises into our lives.  Psalm 91 gives us such a rich and powerful representation of the life our Father means for us to experience.  Let’s “dwell” there for a while and as a result, “really come to know {practically, through experience for ourselves} (Ephesians 3:19) God’s loving provision and protection for His family.

The Inevitability of Seasons – Don’t Despise the Journey – Part Two

As we speak of the seasons in our lives, allow a little instructive side path here! Our Father is the God of revelation knowledge.  Throughout time in His interactions with men He discloses things to come.  In fact, prophetic utterances are necessary to the unfolding of His will. Throughout the Old and New Testaments He communicates with His chosen people concerning things to come through the voices of the prophets.  Through them He speaks His will into being. Without that spoken prophetic word there is no heavenly vision, pronouncement and manifestation. Think of how many prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah fill the books of the Old Testament. This is how God established the operating principles of this world.  Starting in Genesis (“and God said” over and over again) and continuing through the prophets right through Jesus and into the book of Revelation.  Although these words are spoken by Jesus, they could well be spoken by all the prophets: 

This is because 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 do. And I know that His commandment is [means] eternal life.  So whatever I speak I am saying [exactly] what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions. (John 12:49-50) 

When a child of God receives revelation knowledge about things to come in their lives that is not necessarily the moment to rush out and try to accomplish it. The Holy Spirit may be speaking of five seasons down the road on your path.  How many stories have been told along these lines!  The wisdom of people who waited on God’s perfect timing is an example for all of us, and the foolishness of those who ran out ahead of schedule in an effort to accomplish what they heard is a cautionary tale. When God reveals future seasons to you it is the time to cherish it in your heart, speak of it to your Father, ask the Holy Spirit for the steps to take (if any at this time).  It is the time to use your words of faith to speak forth the vision – to trust His timing and obey each leading as they come; to take the steps He tells you to take when He tells you to take them.  That is honoring the seasons He has established for your life.

As I have related previously, when I was serving God as Headmaster of a Christian school I received just such revelation knowledge a year in advance.  It became clear to me through times of prayer that I was to step away from that position – that particular season was coming to an end. I sensed in my spirit that there was a new and different direction I was to take.  Had I submitted my resignation the moment that I heard his, I would have been running ahead of God’s purposes.  I would have been out of His will.  I would have been rushing the season. That which He showed me did eventually come to pass, in His time and at the right season.

Correctly discerning the times and seasons of our lives is not a difficult assignment or an overly challenging ability.  Relinquished into His care, trusting in His leading, and acknowledging that God’s plans and purposes for you are so much better than anything you could come up with by yourself is the proper vantage point.  It is that attitude of trust and faith that greatly pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). There is a peace about the seasons of our lives when that understanding is in evidence through our words, our actions, and our gratitude to the One Who knows us best and loves us with a “great and wonderful and intense love” (Ephesians 2:4).

{Excerpt from the upcoming book Mornings in the Garden}

Him We Preach

Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ  (the Anointed One).  (Colossians 1:28)

Him we preach! Truly, that is our daily calling – our mandate. In our activities and interactions, our words , our demeanor – we are to preach Jesus. As born again children of God, it is our reason for being (Ephesians 1:12).  We preach outwardly, but also inwardly.  Scripture tells us that the word of our testimony is an overcoming force (Revelation 12:11).   Our words reach out to speak to others of His love and the reality of spiritual things.  We exhort, encourage, proclaim – yes, we even warn.  The same holds true as we preach inwardly as well.

Him we preach as we oversee the maturing of our own spirits; as we determine to live in, and be defined by, His Word.  When we rise to face the events and challenges of the day, we are successful when we do so from the vantage point of recognizing that we are not in charge.  We were “bought with a price {purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own} (1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Corinthians 7:23).  We are representatives, ambassadors, of God’s kingdomministers of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Our life’s purpose is to glorify our Lord, and without Him, without fully leaning on and relying on Him, we can do no good thing (John 15:4-5).  And so, Him we preach inwardly as we establish priorities according to His standards, obey Holy Spirit guidance, prayerfully consider life choices, and practice His Presence.  When we:

…work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) {our} own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ}.  (Philippians 2:12)

we warn and admonish ourselves into maturity, into a “full-grown, fully initiated, complete and perfect” stand in Jesus.

Him we preach inwardly as we honor and love each other in order to please and obey our Father; as we determine to attend to the Holy Spirit within; to align our thoughts with God’s thoughts; to look out on this world, this day, through the authority and Truth of the Word, only; to see ourselves through the mirror of the Word (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Him we preach to ourselves as we establish His Truth only in every area of our lives – our health, our finances, our decision making, the raising up of our children, our spirit’s maturity.  Every moment of every day we are spiritual beings encountering challenges to our authority (Matthew 28:18, Luke 22:29) and our determination to get it right according to God’s standards (Matthew 6:33). Released into Holy Spirit care, firmly attached to the Vine (Matthew 15:1), casting every care (1 Peter 5:7), and living carefree before our Father, is to be our constant dwelling place:

Casting the whole of your care {all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all} on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7)

We preach ourselves into obedience and constant heart peace. Our Father instructs us to allow that peace to rule as umpire in our hearts, being the balm through which we settle all of life’s issues and questions (Colossians 3:15). We need to immediately recognize when that peace is being compromised; when we have stepped away from its influence. Pursue peace (1 Peter 3:11).  It is in that peaceful place that we effectively hear Spirit guidance and honor our Father – there is where faith prevails and our effective witness to the world and to ourselves is accomplished.

Him we preach!

 

The God-Fashioned Life

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), {fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs}, but be transformed (changed) by the {entire} renewal of your mind {by its new ideals and its new attitudes}, so that you may prove {for yourselves} what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect {in His sight for you}. (Romans 12:2)

One often encounters a poverty of faith among believers gathered together in His name; gathered together to study God’s Word and purportedly to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Gospel; gathered together to encourage and edify and exhort each other in faith. Their spoken words often negate God’s Word as they reference illnesses and an inability to truly know God and His ways. One dear sister in Christ, when asked to identify someone who was a great spiritual example in her life spoke of a friend who calmly and peacefully glorified God in her life through a severe illness that He had seen fit to put on her. Those listening nodded wisely, commiserating with an all too familiar situation!
The opening two verses of Romans 12 exhort us to dedicate our lives to God – our bodies and our minds. We are a family of faith. Our every moment, our every thought, our very identity given over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. What our Father says in His Word is our plumb line in life. His Word and His promises usher us into kingdom living.
When He says “I Am the Lord Who heals you” (Genesis 15:26), when Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) as He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38), when we fully understand that what God has promised He will do (Hebrews 10:23) through the application of our faith to the Truth of His Word, and that “there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him” (Ephesians 6:9) – what He has done for one we can expect He will do for us – then health and healing belong to us!
When our Father says that “He delights in the prosperity of His servant” (Psalm 35:27), when He teaches that to sow generously is also to reap generously (2 Corinthians 6:9), when His ways of doing and being right teach us to prosper and be successful in all that we do (Joshua 1:8), we are to take Him at His word. Unbelief mocks prosperity. Faith believes it, speaks it and receives it with joy!
The words we speak either activate or nullify the promises of God in our lives. We are made in His image, He spoke this world into being and we speak our tomorrows into existence. It is either our faith or our doubt and unbelief that fashions our future days.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)

In Hebrews 4:2 Paul identifies the cause of a powerless Gospel.

The message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness)… (emphasis mine)

Romans 10:2 carries a similar message:

I bear them witness that they have a certain zeal and enthusiasm for God, but it is not enlightened and according to {correct and vital} knowledge.

They are impressively energized concerning God – but they are doing everything backward. (Message Bible version)

Don’t speak what you see in front of you – what your physical eyes observe or what your physical body feels. Speak God’s Word, His promises concerning you. Don’t allow the natural to take precedence over the supernatural. For as a born again child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit and eternity minded – you are to be well-versed in the supernatural. A God-fashioned life is fueled by and focused on His Word to us. That Word transforms us. It re-creates us into the likeness of His Son, and it greatly pleases our Father that we trust in and rely on that Word for our every need in life (Hebrews 10:38). It establishes us in peace and under girds our every step.

Take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life – a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you. (Ephesians 4:22-24 –Message Bible)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12: 1-2 – Message Bible)