Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Life in the Spirit’

Obedience Releases Blessings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)
.
…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 Four

A third misrepresentation of the Gospel message quite prevalent in the Church is the practice of speaking in tongues. Since Pentecost and the days of the “early” church – as seen in the book of Acts – the gift of tongues has been clearly linked with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And yet so many born again children of God are attempting their faith walk – this life in the Spirit – without this powerful “tool”. It has been explained away as only a phenomenon in the early days of the church; it has been shied away from as strange and weird and excessive. As with every other blessing extended to us by our Father, if it is not taught, if it is not consistently heard, there will be no faith established in the lives of believers to receive and practice it (Romans 10:17). And yet praying in the Spirit – speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance – is available to every believer.

We are speaking here about the Body of Christ stepping up into the fullness of what the Bible says is ours in Jesus. When various churches teach and preach a message that downplays, entirely ignores, or even condemns vital aspects of our faith walk, when what God has equipped us with is shunned and misrepresented through incorrect teaching (or no teaching at all) we do not walk fully in the abundant life God has for us. And whenever God’s blessings, His gifts to us, are diminished in any way, we have played right into the hands of the enemy whose ultimate goal is to disprove God and HIs Word. Misrepresentation of our Father’s plans and purposes for His children deserves such strong words.

The practice of speaking in tongues is spoken of throughout the New Testament. We must hold God’s Word to us – His instructions to our spirits – as more dear and more true than information from any other source. When we see it in the Word we must appropriate it for our lives.

In the book of Acts we observe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was always accompanied with the gift of tongues {Acts 2:4, Acts 8:5-18, Acts 10:45-46, Acts 19:6}. Eight years after Pentecost {Acts 8:5-18}, ten years after Pentecost {Acts 10:45-46|, and twenty years after Pentecost {Acts 19:6} when believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit, the initial evidence of that was speaking with other tongues. As you read these passages, notice that in every instance speaking with tongues was the proof, the convincing demonstration to all, of Holy Spirit baptism and indwelling.

In Mark 16:7 Jesus said:

And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe; in My Name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages.

The Young’s Literal Translation, The King James version, and the New International version have Mark 16:17 as “they shall speak with new tongues”.

But what is the purpose of this “new language” in the believer’s prayer life? What is our Father’s loving intention in this? First, we build up and strengthen our faith walk (our spirit).

He who speaks in a strange tongue edifies and improves himself.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines “edifies” as “to give constant increase in Christian knowledge and a life conformed thereto”. Strong’s Concordance defines “edifies” as “to construct or build up”, which agrees with Jude 20:

But you, beloved, build yourselves up {founded} on your most Holy Faith {made progress, rise like and edifice higher and higher] praying in the Holy Spirit.

How do we know that Paul is referring to speaking in tongues in Jude 20 when he says “praying in the Holy Spirit”? Look at 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 –

For if I pray in an {unknown} tongue, my spirit {by the Holy Spirit within me} prays, but my mind is unproductive {it bears no fruit and helps nobody}. Then what an I to do? I will pray with my spirit {by the Holy Spirit that is within me}, but I will also pray {intelligently} with my mind and understanding.

So there is praying in the Spirit (tongues) and praying in the natural (intelligence).

Kenneth Hagin has written:

“God is a Spirit. When we pray in tongues our spirit is in direct contact with God, Who is a Spirit. We are talking to Him by a divine supernatural means.”

Secondly, the Spirit is helping us pray what He knows we need to be praying about. 1 Corinthians 14:2 says:

For one who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to man, but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning because in the Holy Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things {not obvious to the understanding}.

Weymouth’s Translation says “he speaks divine secrets“. The Message Bible says “sharing intimacies just between you and Him“.

When in our limited understanding we are unable to pray effectively, the Holy Spirit prays through and for us (Romans 8:26-27). When we yield our tongues to the Holy Spirit we are refreshed in our spirits (Isaiah 28:11-12). We are honoring God’s gift to us and acknowledging the truth of His Word when we submit to the Holy Spirit in this way.

As with every blessing our Father has extended to us, we receive as we act in faith. And our faith gets stronger through attending to the Word of God on the subject. Through hearing and hearing and hearing our spirits are edified and we claim as ours what God has established for our blessing. Ask Him to teach you along these lines, for it is clear through Scripture that our Father’s desire for His children is that we speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.

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.}

Extravagant Asking

What a marvelous, miraculous, awesome, life-altering Gift the Holy Spirit is to us. When we sincerely attend to His placement in our lives, when we understand “the surpassing worth and supreme advantage” (Philippians 3:8-Amplified) of being “baptized with (placed in, introduced into)” (Acts 1:5) the Holy Spirit, joy, peace, power, and the strength of the Lord can define our days.

In Isaiah 11 the Lord prophesies concerning Jesus:

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the reverential fear of the Lord – (Verse 2)

And that same prophesy speaks of us – His born again children, filled with the Spirit of God.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever – the Spirit of Truth…you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you (constantly) and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

At that time you will know {for yourselves} that I am in My Father, and you {are} in Me, and I {am} in you. (John 14:20)

Jesus answered, If a person {really} loves Me, he will keep My word {obey My teaching}; and My Father will love Him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. (John 14:23)

God lives in us through the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13). In the Spirit, through His ministry, we can walk in wisdom and understanding, the counsel of God, and the sure safety of His might. We too, through faith, do not “judge by the sight of our eyes” or “the hearing of our ears“. (Isaiah 11:3) There is such freedom with the recognition of that privilege. Yielded to the Spirit’s tutelage, we stand on what the Word proclaims, not what the world presumes to be true. For a child of God, whatever is in our lives presently that does not line up with, agree with, His Word cannot stand. When we do not willfully or fitfully wander from His precepts we order our conduct and our conversation, our thoughts and actions according to God’s revealed will (Psalm 119:2-3). We “hear It, receive It, love It and obey It”. (Psalm 119:5) We become extravagant speakers and askers!

Watch now! This is weighty. We are told in Hebrews 10:38 that as His children we must live by faith which is:

conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it.

And if we fearfully draw back from walking by faith, God “has no delight or pleasure in us.”Further, Psalm 119:6 promises:

Then shall I not be put to shame {by failing to inherit your promises}

So, walking yielded, submitted, to God’s Holy Spirit, facing each moment of every day with the correct attitude of faith, we please our Father and will never be put to shame concerning the hope we stand on because we are inheritors of all of His promises (Hebrews 6:12, Hebrews 10:35-36) Our lives reflect His faithfulness, His goodness, His love and His good pleasure. And being instrumental in bringing about our Abba’s good pleasure is such a lovely place to be!

Yielded to the Holy Spirit daily, moment-by-moment, we think God’s thoughts, speak forth God’s Word, accomplish God’s purposes. We operate so far above the natural inclinations of this world. We are in Kingdom rhythm, we discern Kingdom sensibilities, we represent Kingdom standards, we receive Kingdom blessings.

“Move beyond your human mind, your human measure, your own strength, and all your resources – and let inspiration take charge of you entirely, and bring you out of yourselves into the power of God… Begin to believe in extravagant asking, believing that God is pleased when you ask large things.”

Smith Wigglesworth

Bubbling Over With Hope!

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing {through the experience of your faith} that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. (Romans 15:13)

Joy and peace in believing! That is the attitude and character trait that should demonstrate your faith walk. Is there an excitement in you – an expectation concerning your reliance upon the Word of God? The wonder, the awesome promises, the supernatural power and reality of what God has spoken and what Jesus has accomplished for us, once truly realized and relied upon, will create such excitement and expectation. In fact, if you are not excited today, if you are not joyfully expectant, you need to take your faith temperature.

What causes a believer to “exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy”? (1 Peter 1:8) Trust. Trust in our Father – His character and His Word. For if you truly believe that what He says He means; if you truly believe that everything Jesus came to fulfill and accomplish is yours now; if you allow the Holy Spirit to fully represent our Father in your life – to establish His ways of doing and being right as your standard and plumb line – then joy and expectation and excitement will overtake and overcome spiritual malaise.

Every Word of God is filled with power (Hebrews 4:12); is self-fulfilling (Isaiah 61:11) and watched over by God Himself to be sure it is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12). When you know beyond all doubt that God loves you (1 John 4), that He desires to be known trustingly and intimately by you:

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

and when you understand the work of the Holy Spirit in teaching kingdom living and expectations; when you cooperate with Him in yielding to His guidance and instructions, then you are walking in a kingdom rhythm whose life force is the exultant joy and expectation that demonstrates absolute faith in Him.
This is faith – in God, in our Lord Jesus, and in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord constantly taught on the importance of rejoicing, and maintaining peace, and refusing to fear. For because faith is the currency of the kingdom, because it is faith alone that pleases God, anything less than these positive spiritual attributes is the precursor to doubt and unbelief. Joy and expectation are the identifiers of strong faith.
The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us – His love, His provision, His watchful care, His expectations and His joy. Allow His ministry and the realities of kingdom life fill you with an expectancy that honors and glorifies our Abba.

The Leaven of Accomodation

There is such a wonderful liberty in a life lived in the Spirit. That is our Father’s intention for His kids – a released life, a peaceful spirit. And within His Word is found the counsel we need to avoid shackles that impact that liberty.

Compromised truth – half-realized heavenly standards – comfortable accommodation of worldly standards within our faith walk all adversely impede our life in the Spirit.

A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump {it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church} [Emphasis mine]
Galatians 5:9

Early on in my walk with the Lord I was considering becoming a member of a large well-known church in the Boston area. While attending membership classes I heard the speaker say, “During service we do not, you will not, raise your hands to God [in praise]. We do not want to offend those around us.” The admonition was, apparently, acceptable to the people listening. I determined to seek another church! Lifting up holy hands in praise is honoring to God and a heavenly admonition to His people (Psalm28:2, Psalm 63:4, Psalm 141:2, 1 Timothy 2:8). It has nothing to do with personal preference or church dictate. It is the correct attitude of faith and pleases our Father. To lift up hands in gratitude and submission to God reflects a heart filled with praise and an understanding of His Lordship. This church had established behavior standards for its congregation outside of the will of God! For an entire church body to be so instructed “misleads the whole church”.

In a similar manner a gathering of many churches joining together in an effort towards unity in the Spirit, established the principle that speaking in tongues during the services was not to be done. A similar reason was given – “So as not to offend others.”

Now am I trying to win the favor of men or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).
Galatians 1:10

The intense love our Father has for us, the fulfilled lives He has for us to live, the ongoing, life-giving, spirit-maturing work of the Holy Spirit in us can be curtailed by the leavening agent of accommodation to misleading teaching. It is a harsh truth that “a slight inclination to error, a few false teachers…perverts the whole conception of faith” and “misleads the whole church”.

We want to walk in His fullness in a “manner worthy of Him and pleasing to Him” with a full, deep, and clear knowledge of His will and complete insight into His ways and purposes. (Colossians 1:10). When you discover it in the Word, expect it in your church.

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?)

Vitally United

In Isaiah 28 we are told what causes times of true refreshing. It is our full and complete reliance on the Lord – not on our own abilities and understanding (Proverbs 3:5), not on the teachings and traditions and doctrines of scholars and religion (Isaiah 28:13; Mark 7:13; Colossians 2:8), not on what those in the world around us accept and expect (Mark 7:7). Our Father, our Creator, encourages our absolute reliance upon Him throughout Scripture and condemns the half-hearted, lukewarm (Revelation 3:16), and even dismissive approach to Him ; keeping Him at a distance in the guise of reverence and the mistaken sense that we can never truly know Him.

Isaiah 29:13 – And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition {without any thought as to the meaning}

Success is life submitted to the purposes and plans of our Creator. Worshipping our Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) means that we are vitally united to Him.

John 15:4-5 – …neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me…apart from Me {cut off from vital union with Me} you can do nothing.

Nothing! Without His guidance, without our absolute submission to His Word and His Spirit, we do nothing of lasting, eternal, God-pleasing value. It is God in us Who works to:

Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will {while He Himself} works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ… (Hebrews 13:21)

Jesus is our example in this when He said:

I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave for Me to do. (John 17:4)

We glorify our Father when we submit, listen carefully, and truly pay attention daily to His leading, so that we too can complete the work that He has for us to do. The Holy Spirit has teaching and instructions, guidance and strengthening for us every day. He will, if we will carefully attend, help us build a character pleasing to our Father, witness to those who need Heaven’s touch, establish our own unique ministry to the world, and daily give evidence to the peace and joy that are ours in Jesus (John 14:27; John 15:11).

In Acts 9, God calls on Ananias,a disciple in Damascus, to go lay hands on Paul that He would regain his sight. At first Ananias is very concerned about approaching Paul for he knew of Paul’s reputation in severely persecuting Christians. But on God’s leading, at His command, Ananias obeyed. Smith Wigglesworth says of him:

“Ananias…lived in a place where God could talk to him. His ears were opened. He was one who listened to the things from Heaven.”

Ananias is a brother-in-Christ for whom it could be said:

…on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherin I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You. (Psalm 143:8)

Take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself to His keeping (Acts 16:31). Stay vitally united to the Lord.

…for the Father is seeking just such people as these for His worshippers. (John 4:23)

You’ve Slept Long Enough!

I recently read an essay by George Otis Jr. entitled “Transformational Revival”. The foundational premise was that unless and until an individual, or a group of people, truly recognize a strong conviction of need, there will never be a desire for change; they will never see or experience revival. Deep spiritual hunger ushers in the move and ministry of the Holy Spirit. When man’s sense of need – of necessarily relying on God for everything pertaining to his life – interacts with God’s desire to manifest Himself to us – revival (resurrection life) happens. Anything short of that is spiritual rebellion.

A. W. Tozer has written:

“We do not seem to sense the tragedy of having almost completely lost the awareness of His Presence.”

Smith Wigglesworth says:

“God is more eager to answer than we are to ask.”

Our Abba is self-revealing. He wants to be fully and intimately known. His desire, for the well-being of His children, is to be trusted, relied upon, and taken at His Word. True worship acknowledges that Truth. When we purposefully pursue God, when we recognize that without Him we can do no good thing (John 15:5), when our heats urge us toward truly knowing Him, that is where He meets us.

“It will be a great moment for some of us when we begin to believe that God’s promise of self-revelation is literally true: that He promised much, but promised no more than He intends to fulfill.” A. W. Tozer

But, when we, in large and small ways, prefer confidence in our own abilities to cope and succeed over submission to God, when we admire and operate in self-sufficiency rather than yielding to the guidance of the Holy Spirit – we are in rebellion against our Creator. Rebellion in its full manifestation is prideful arrogance that we can do without God. But please be open to the “lesser” symptoms of rebellion. God wants our full attention. He wants to guide and bless and heal and provide for our every need. He wants us to cast every care on Him (1 Peter 5:7), seek His path and purpose for our life, and demonstrate to each and every person we encounter the joy that is found through life in Him. He wants to work through us every moment to accomplish His purposes. He wants to:

Strengthen (complete, perfect)and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out is will; {while He Himself} works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah)… (Hebrews 13:21)

We are permitted, we are granted, according to His grace and through the blood of Jesus, to have daily, hourly, moment by moment access to the Creator of everything we see. He lives in us (John 14:23). He loves us (1 John 4:16, 19). Give Him first place and wake up to this Truth.

“At the height of the Hebrides Revival, meetings lasted into the wee hours, and crowds often spilled outside the church buildings. On one such occasion, a neighbor woman approached a church elder to complain about the noise. Full of the Holy Spirit the elder replied, “Woman, you’ve slept long enough!” (George Otis Jr.)