Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Life in the Spirit’

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.

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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.)

Carefree

“Carefree” is a word and a concept that has been percolating in my spirit recently. It is an attitude that is foundational to faith, and the Holy Spirit has been directing me to understand what it looks and feels like and to recognize all of its implications.

Most of us have been raised up to appreciate and exhibit self-sufficiency; to admire and even attempt to imitate strength of character that achieves success and determined goal-setting that produces prosperity. Part of the fallen human condition is the driving sense that unless we do it ourselves it will not be done well. Satan employs this tactic to diminish our understanding of our need for God. We grow up plotting our paths, planning our futures, and daily strengthening within our hearts the self-identifying concept of personal responsibility. It is a prideful failing.

My recent Holy Spirit “assignment” to ponder carefree living has truly focused His Light on how elusive that heart attitude can be. How ironic that it is not easy to be carefree! Years of training in the other direction have caused us to forget, or abandon, the child-like quality of carefree living. Normally children do not worry about provision; it is always there for them. Loving parents provide all that is necessary – an image God wants us to hold on to as we understand more and more the “blessed life of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:26).

Our Lord Jesus, with His words, so very often disrupted our rational thoughts, our logic, and our well-entrenched worldview.

Matthew 16:24 – If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself { disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself, and his own interests}…

The carefree life is not irresponsible. It is simply more responsive to “the nature and quality of God” rather than to man’s expectations (Matthew 16:23). The carefree life is:

…the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. (2 Timothy 3:15)

The carefree life so pleases our Abba. It demonstrates faith in His love, His goodness, and His promises to us. I have no care concerning the needed (and desired) provision in my life for Jehovah-Jireh is my abundant Provider. I have no care concerning healing and health for He is Jehovah-Rapha, my loving Healer. I have no care concerning the wisdom I need to succeed in life (James 1:5), the path I am to walk ( Isaiah 30:21),the seed I am to sow (2 Corinthians 9:10). God’s Word is on the line here! He will see to its manifestation in your life as you see to the carefree, faith end of things.

Men and women of faith, born-again children of God, still find this challenging. Joyce Meyers tells of a time when a particular issue in her life was seemingly insurmountable. Having done everything she knew to do to resolve it, she finally collapsed on her bed and cried out, “I give up, Lord.” Right away she heard the Holy Spirit say, “Really!”, in a way that indicated that He had been waiting for her to stop working at this so God could intervene and solve the problem. To the degree that we handle our own issues, God is limited to help.

Practice being carefree. It is surprisingly challenging at first but oh so rewarding. And most wonderful of all – it pleases our Father.

Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you. (1Peter 5:7– Message Bible)

Love – The First Cause Part One

1Corinthians 13 is a familiar text known to believers and non-believers alike. It is a well established practice at weddings to read this ode to love, and in so doing, to proclaim its powerful foundational role in the establishment of a successful and long-lasting marriage. And yet love – God’s establishment of the principle of love in our lives – is meant to saturate every aspect of living. Love is,in fact, the most powerful force in the universe.

Because our Father God is the most powerful Force in the universe, and God is love (1 John 4:16). Love created our world – love created us! We are made in His image and in His likeness (Genesis 1:26); “…as He is so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Love is how we were built to operate. As our Abba’s creation, His children, love is the force that keeps our lives in successful working order.

Anger, judgment, fear, stress, hatred, selfishness all cause physical and emotional distress, sickness and disease. We were not built (created) to accommodate such things. Satan’s tactics have no place in God’s creation. His disruptive devices are deadly to our lives. It is that serious. Like wrong puzzle pieces they simply do not fit into our created bodies. They cause us to break down; they are disabling forces that disrupt, sicken, and eventually kill. We were meant to live, move, and have our being through love (Acts 17:28).

Our Abba, in the Old Testament, called His people Israel back into His care over and over again. To this reluctant, self-involved, rebellious nation He continued to send prophets and teachers to warn and woo them back into His loving care, provision and protection. He knows how we are made. He knows what we need to live and succeed. He knows that we thrive on love; love for Him and for each other, and love for ourselves. Love is the healing balm, the peaceful place; love is our spiritual DNA.

In the New Testament love is central; love is the key. Love caused God to sacrifice His beloved Son for us (John 3:16), and love sent Jesus to the cross (John 15:13; Hebrews 12:2).Love is what activates and energizes faith; faith works through love (Galatians 5:6). Since faith is the currency of God’s kingdom, we need to be sure we are operating in its driving force – love. Love for God and each other keeps us blameless and above reproach before Him ( Ephesians 1:4).Knowing our need for Him, love caused God to live in us in the Person of His Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) to enable us to succeed in life living for Him.

Ephesians 3:17 – May Christ through your faith {actually} dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.

When you look out at the world that He created for us, when you look at your neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers, when you look in the mirror – let your first thought, your first inclination, be love. It is the God honoring,
God reflecting, God glorifying response.

1 Corinthians 12:13 – And so faith, hope, love abide…these three; but the greatest of these is love.