Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Reflecting God’

Psalm 91, Verse Two – (Part Two)

For “on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I {confidently} trust!” This closing phrase of Verse 2 summarizes faith for us; faith in His Word, His love, His purpose in each of our lives. Speaking forth your certainty that God is reliable, trustworthy, and faithful to His Word (Romans 3:3; Hebrews 10:23) ushers in the covenant realities of the remainder of Psalm 91.

How often we read Scripture without the wonder, the awe and reverence it deserves. There is a familiarity with our Father’s Word that so very often undermines its power and compromises its life-changing, spirit-impacting purpose. God’s Word is Truth (Psalm 119:160); it is His bond. All of His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

For as many as are the promises of God, they will find their Yes {answer} in Him {Christ}. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God, through Him {in His Person and by His agency} to the glory of God.

We say we honor the Lord. We say we love Him and serve Him, and yet in our day-to-day lives the full manifestation of His promises is often missing. Our days should be characterized by an expectation that God will always fulfill His Word. He expects that kind of faith from His children (Hebrews 10:38); a mountain-moving faith in His power, His love, and His promises (Mark 11:22-23).

But the just shall live by faith {My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it} and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. {Emphasis mine}

It is that “conviction”, that “holy fervor” spoken of in Hebrews 10:38 that lives in and enjoys the covenant promises of God. As you read Psalm 91:3-13 let these promises of God feed, strengthen, and establish you in His care. This is our Father’s part of the covenant and He will see to it according to your faith in His Word. You have resolved to dwell stable and fixed in His secret place (verse 1), and you have, from your heart and with your spoken word, acknowledged His Lordship (verse 2). That is your part of the covenant.

Then come these wonderful words – “For {then}…“{Amplified} (The NIV begins verse 3 with “Surely”) – and God reveals to us what we can expect from Him. He expects us to hold Him to His Word, for that is truly the faith that honors Him and that gives Him first place as our Lord.

I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who will never hold their peace day or night; you who {are His servants and by your prayers} put the Lord in remembrance {of His promises}, keep not silence.  (Isaiah 62:6) {Emphasis mine)

Our God fully expects, requires from us, total trust in and reliance on His Word. When we read the Word but don’t expect every bit of it to be fulfilled in us, when we don’t speak it forth as Gospel Truth for our lives, are we not in some way questioning His veracity and diminishing His power and authority?  Faith believes the Word, speaks it forth, and receives the promises (Hebrews 10:35-36). This Truth is God established.  Faith receives the promises.

Many hold that God is sovereign and whatever happens is His will.  The Word contradicts that opinion!

Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect {the authority of the Word of God through your tradition which you in turn hand on… (Mark 7:13)

And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief… (Matthew 13:58)

And He was not able to do even one work of power there…And He marveled because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in Him)… (Mark 6:5-6)

So now read these verses in Psalm 91 with the awe, wonder, gratitude, and the spirit-strengthening ability they deserve! Thank Him! Praise Him! Honor Him by believing and, therefore, expecting His Word to come to pass in you.

 For the Lord will…take into favor His servants {those who meet His terms of separation unto Him} (Psalm 135:14)

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

 

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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)

Tender Mercies

It is easily observable that children thrive when raised in a family whose parents have demonstrated to them from the moment of their birth that they are greatly loved.  How a person’s heart, their spirit, their sense of self-worth, is powerfully shaped by this enabling understanding of being greatly loved!  The personal sense of being cherished, of being of great value, when instilled in the heart of a child is an enabling force.  A complete understanding that they are truly and unconditionally loved establishes a peace that welcomes in possibility, and a strength to overcome any attack on their self-worth.

As with everything in this world we live in, there is a parallel spiritual truth.  When we truly know the heart of God toward us, when we believe His Word, trust and rely on His loving intentions toward us, we thrive.  Nothing can shake that peace He has given to us (John 14:27).  Nothing can overwhelm or defeat us.

For this to be reality we must settle some Gospel Truths beyond any doubt in our hearts.  Throughout His Word our Father speaks of His tender mercies and loving-kindness toward us (Psalm 103:4, Psalm 145:9, Luke 1:78).  He is love (1 John 4:16), and that love sent our Lord Jesus to the cross (John 3:16, Galatians 2:20). We are of great value to Him.

You were bought with a price, {purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own}… (1 Corinthians 6:20)

He has given us the safety and shelter of His Word to stand on in faith and He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide, counsel and encourage us (John 14:16).  Allow these truths to recreate you (2 Corinthians 5:17); to renew your thinking ( Romans 12:2).  When you look out upon your day established in God’s Truth, identified through His love, trusting in His tender mercies, relying solely on His affectionate and watchful care of you ( Peter 5:7), then you are “safe in His inaccessible place” ( Psalm 91:8).

Faith in these truths establishes their reality in your life.  That’s our Father’s expectation – that you believe Him (Hebrews 10:38).  Faith believes that it receives all of these wonderful promises at God’s hand (Mark 11:22-24).  It is as simple as that (and in its simplicity it becomes quite difficult for some!)  When asked what the greatest Bible Truth he knew was, one pastor said, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.  “Have faith in God constantly” (Mark 11:22) seems to be a challenge for many believers.

It is the child of God who understands and receives His love and tender mercies that walks out every day in a peace that profoundly colors every moment, defines their days, and overcomes the world (1 John 4:4).

 

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)

A Peace Filled Heart

Psalm 34:4-5- I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him {of necessity and on the authority of His Word} and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

It is through peace that the Son of God is revealed in your life. A peaceful, quiet, confident spirit is tuned into God’s frequency.

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.} (Emphasis mine)

“Do not permit!” Stop allowing the tactics of the enemy to touch your heart. Recognize his “modus operandi” immediately. Satan’s sole intention is to compromise your walk before God; to sow his negative influences of fear, worry, concern, intimidation; to knock you off balance in your faith walk, and to reduce God’s powerful, alive, and active Word (Hebrews 4:12) to a place of ineffectiveness (Mark 7:13) in your life.

Tuned into Satan’s frequency – he is the god of this world order (2 Corinthians 4:4) – we cannot at the same time tune in and yield to our Father’s Truth. And the enemy is often very subtle in the strategic placement of distraction in our lives. Caught up in (ensnared in) worldly issues – financial, political, familial, social – we are submitting to and yielding to an unsettledness that does not honor God. We – His children! – bicker and argue and waste precious time proclaiming the rightness of our opinions on various issues when we are meant to be “busy with His business” (John 9:4). Let’s follow our Lord’s example in this. When faced with something seemingly insurmountable, the news of a death, He remained unaffected – “overhearing but ignoring” (Mark 5:36).

Our Lord’s instructions in John 14:27 teach us to be persistent in looking to Him – His peace, His constant loving provision, His Word. The steadfast look to Jesus – attentive, expectant, a “steady and absorbing gaze” (Numbers 21:9), considering no other viewpoint (Romans 4:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:18) – is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38), receives all of the promises (Hebrews 10:35-36), and disables the negative impact of Satan’s tactics. Our thoughts become aligned with His thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), our words speak only His Word (John 15:7), our days are filled with and focus on Heaven’s purposes, and we flow, unhindered, in Kingdom rhythm.

It is not surprising, living in this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), that true heart peace can seem to be elusive; carefree living not easy to achieve. I exhort and encourage you this day to place yourself fully, without reservation, in the care and keeping of the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Look only to our Lord and Master Jesus. Submit only to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Honor God with your joy, reflect Him with your peaceful heart. Jesus gave and bequeathed to us His peace. Purposefully practice it!

What do You See?

In the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, the Lord asks His prophet, “What do you see?” (verse 11 and again in verse 13). And as Jeremiah’s words spoke forth what he saw in his spirit, as he gave utterance to the heavenly vision, God’s plans and purposes were established and eventually manifested for the nation of Israel. “What do you see?” It is a question I have heard quite often from the Holy Spirit during recent times of quiet listening. Along with this question I have received continuing instruction in the profound importance of the thought life. The Word of God instructs us over and over about how powerful the thought process is in our lives.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.

Proverbs 23:7 – …for as he thinks in his heart so is he.

Luke 6:45 -…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

What we see in the Word of God is a picture of who each of us is meant to be – God’s promises and provision for our healthy, prosperous, purposeful lives through faith in our Lord Jesus, and all that He accomplished on our behalf. The Holy Spirit is constantly retraining us to understand and walk in kingdom reality -not worldly reality. Through His guidance, yielded to it, we become the person we see in the Word. What do you see? What we see through our faith in the absolute Truth of God’s Word, and our trust in His faithfulness to His Word (Hebrews 10:23), directly and profoundly informs our thought life. And, in turn, our thoughts inform our words, and our words create our future days (Hebrews 11:3).

Does your thought life assume blessings, well-being, answered prayer? Let there be no poverty of attitude in you- never speak beggar, never allow your words to utter a negative report. Let the Presence of the Holy Spirit in you color every moment with divine audacity! It is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). God’s constant love reaches out to us, encouraging us to fully own our redemption; to fully and joyfully and confidently receive the extraordinary benefits of our salvation through Jesus Christ.

What do you see? How you see yourself in your heart is the person that you are. That is faith (or lack of it) creating your reality. Your thought life creates your reality – positively or negatively. Thoughts of “less than” in any area of your life are not kingdom thoughts. Your thoughts released into words are a powerful force.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it {for death or life}.

That is why we are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to:

…refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the {true} knowledge of God, and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Step up into a way of approaching and walking through your days that honors God and your placement in Christ. When you see it in the Word, expect it in your life. Treat this with the seriousness it deserves. Whenever and wherever you see something that does not line up and come into agreement with the Word of God, speak to it; speak with authority (Luke 22:29).Capture every thought. Yielded to the Holy Spirit, what we see, what we think, and what we say will bless your days and honor the Lord.

Renewing our Minds

One of the most reassuring, and encouraging aspects of our walk with God is the assertion that “There is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him”. (Ephesians 6:9) If one is blessed in receiving what is promised then all can be. If one successfully operates in kingdom principles and demonstrates kingdom authority in spiritual matters, then all can. Along with the blood of the Lamb, it is the word of our testimony that causes us to overcome – to walk in victory. When we hear of a person who received a miraculous healing, or much needed provision, or a timely word to correctly and powerfully address their situation, or teaching and guidance from the Holy Spirit which brought wisdom and clarity, or success in spiritual warfare – we can assume that those same blessings can be ours through faith as well. When we share with each other what God is doing in our lives we are encouraging their faith walk and strengthening their practice of “Heavenspeak”.

Revelation 12:11 – We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony

I say again, the primary intent of the enemy is to disprove God in the lives of nonbelievers and believers alike. He works at leading astray, offering counterfeit worldviews, and sowing misinformation about the One True and only way to get to God. There are two fronts that we are to battle him on – proclaiming Jesus to the world (letting our light shine and our lives reflect spiritual Truths) and daily renewing our minds to kingdom realities.
We become more “fluent” in our Heavenspeak, more effective in the formation of faith-filled words and pronouncements, as we daily renew our minds with our Father’s Word. When we see something in the Word but are not experiencing it in our lives, how do we remedy that? How do we live fully within our rightful place as citizens of His kingdom? How do we fully experience the Truth that it is our Father’s “good pleasure” to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32) and all that signifies? Our testimony, our speaking forth the Word of God into each and every situation we encounter, and the testimony of others is the overcoming factor. As we hear and learn and faithfully apply we conquer! (Romans 10:17).
In the book of Acts, there were several instances when Paul was about to be flogged as he traveled preaching the Gospel, but as he claimed Roman citizenship he was instead treated with respect. Those in authority were quite concerned that they had overstepped their bounds and had not treated a Roman citizen with the respect due him.

Acts 22:29 – Instantly those who were about to examine and flog him withdrew from him; and the commandant also was frightened, for he realized that {Paul} was a Roman citizen and he had put him in chains.

Paul knew his rights as a citizen of Rome. All of the world at that time understood the value of Roman citizenship .As a matter of fact, the commandant who had arrested Paul said that he had purchased Roman citizenship as a valuable investment for a great price. (Acts 22:28). Paul responded that he was born Roman, and with authority, demanded that he be treated with the respect due a citizen of the Roman Empire. He knew his rights and he insisted upon them!
This is a very effective picture for us as we grow to understand and walk fully in the spiritual counterpart. Paul knew his rights and privileges as a citizen of the Roman Empire, and we are to know and understand our rights and privileges as citizens of the kingdom of God. Those who attempted to silence and harm Paul, to persecute and silence his message, were unable to touch him because of his protective citizenship. He proclaimed and demanded his rights; he stood his ground and insisted that he be escorted from town by the authorities. (Acts 16:37-39). In the very same way we are to stand our ground on the rights and privileges of the kingdom. Had Paul remained silent and thought, “Well, this persecution and danger must be God’s will so I will walk through it without complaint. I’ll simply accept it and put up with the problem”, the significance of the lesson of citizenship rights would have been lost to us. There’s a reason it is in the Word of God!
Renewing our minds daily with God’s Word creates extravagant transformation and the understanding and establishment of spiritual authority. I heard first hand a similar story to that of Paul’s claim of citizenship rights which occurred in the life of a more recent believer. Called to help an inmate in a Central American prison, Lester Sumrall, a traveling evangelist, discovered a demon possessed woman behind bars, demonstrating personal physical abuse and emotional turmoil. In His earthly ministry, Jesus encountered similar situations (Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:27-35) Sumrall prayed with and for her, commanding the spirits to depart from her. Having cast out the evil spirits, he left her in a restored, peaceful state and traveled back to his hotel. In the middle of the night he was woken abruptly as his bed was being shaken so much it was moving out into the center of the room away from the wall. Through Holy Spirit wisdom he understood immediately that this was demonic activity in retaliation for the miracle that had happened at the prison earlier that day. With authority he said, “In the Name of Jesus I command you to stop this shaking and go!” The bed stopped shaking at his word. A moment later he said, “Wait! Put this bed back where it was and then go” and the bed moved back to its original position against the wall.
This brother in faith, this man of God, understood the authority that is ours in Christ (Matthew 28:18, Luke 22:29, John 16:33, Colossians 2:15). That authority not only brought about the woman’s deliverance, it stopped the enemy’s response to that miracle in its tracks. We please our Father when we daily pick up that mantle of authority and walk through our days establishing His kingdom principles, all that Jesus has won for us, wherever He leads. We are transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2) into those faith-filled children of God who will change their world, and the lives of those they encounter, to the honor and glory of God.

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.

Judgment’s Legacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Response Time

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

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

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

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

O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

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

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

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

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

John 14:27 – Peace I live with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled}

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

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

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

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

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