Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Standing on the Word’

Our First and Vital Necessity

1 Chronicles 28:9 speaks of the life-altering decision, the foundational imperative, the divine mandate to know God:

…{have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with and understand Him, appreciate, heed, and cherish Him} and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind…If you seek Him {inquiring for and of Him} as you first and vital necessity you will find Him…

Within Scriptural context this is David exhorting Solomon, but within biblical, spiritual understanding, this is our Father instructing us. Paul exhorts the Ephesians (and us too!):

…try to learn {in your experience} what is pleasing to the Lord {let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him} (Ephesians 5:10)

The expectations that we encounter in God’s Word are our road map to successful living before Him. This is our instruction manual! And through the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit, understanding and appreciating and firmly grasping and accomplishing God’s will (His plan and purpose for each of our lives) is not only possible, it is God ordained, and, yielded to Him, it will be!

God does not reveal Himself as wanting to be intimately known if we could not achieve it. He does not, like an unfair, unjust taskmaster, develop a long list of unreasonable requirements which we could never fulfill. That’s Satan’s misrepresentation of Him! Like a loving parent raising up children, our Abba shows us the right path to take, the correct way to think, speak, and act, and the manner in which He is to be known and understood. With extraordinary love He grants to us:

…a spirit of wisdom and revelation {of insight into mysteries and secrets} in the {deep and intimate} knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)

Because being intimately known, and therefore honored and cherished, by His children is the desire of God’s heart, the enemy has thrown many roadblocks in our way. Satan’s aim is to distort Truth, disrupt progress, and diminish God’s standards and revealed will in our lives. When you entertain the idea that God is unknowable and unreachable, that we can never truly interact with Him and hold conversation with Him, you are listening to the enemy’s lies and not attending to God’s Word or His Spirit. When we explain away Scriptural Truth as “not for today” or really only spiritual concepts not valid in this physical realm, we give away His established blessings and reject the full life Jesus accomplished on our behalf.

There are obviously some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you {with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel} and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) {into something which it absolutely is not!} (Galatians 1:7)

From Genesis to Revelation God extends to mankind the Truth that He wants to be known, and known intimately. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that ability has been given. Our part in this relationship with our Creator is to seek after Him as our “first and vital necessity”; to give Him, His Word (Jesus), and His Spirit first place in our lives; to cherish Him as our very reason for being; to love His Word as our most precious possession; to daily honor Him with time spent in His Presence (getting to know Him and to recognize His voice); to imitate Him:

{copy Him and follow His example}, as well-beloved children {imitate their father} (Ephesians 5:1)

Then no false gospel, no teaching contrary to His Word, no thoughts contrary to Gospel Truth will compromise or diminish your faith walk. The blood of Jesus which won our salvation and our testimony of our Father’s goodness and loving-kindness will define our days.

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.

Daily Renewal – Part Three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Joshua 6:18 the Lord warns:

…keep yourselves from the accursed and devoted things…

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Renewal – Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And He said to them, “Be careful what you are hearing. The measure {of thought and study} you give {to the truth you hear} will be the measure {of virtue and knowledge} that comes back to you – and more {besides} will be given to you who hear. (Mark 4:24)

Daily Renewal – Part One

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

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

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

Heavenspeak on Healing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

Settled by Grace

While in the process of relocating to another state and experiencing the “unsettledness” of selling our present home and searching for our new home – a long distance treasure hunt involving mainly online searches – I have realized anew the assurance, and the necessity, of our Father’s constant and promised care.

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

When our days are characterized by a peaceful sameness, an established and comfortable routine, a predictable pattern, we allow that rhythm to chart our daily course. But when that steadiness is disrupted by dramatically changed circumstances, when the unknown and the uncharted begin to define your future days, that is when your reliance on your heavenly Father “to establish and ground you securely and strengthen and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10) becomes your anchor.

Our Father wants our trust and total reliance on Him to be our defining, moment-by-moment life compass. Whenever life appears to become unsettled – a new career direction, health challenges, financial issues, whatever complications intrude upon your peace – start with the understanding that in Christ Jesus you are settled by grace. God’s Word, His promises, are forever settled (Psalm 119:89).

{According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

-“settled” means placed, established, determined, composed, adjusted

-“grace” is favor, good will, kindness; the favorable influence of God in a life}

There is no uncertainty with our Abba. He has made His care, His provision, His healing covenant, our prosperity abundantly clear and available to us through the Truth and power of His Word. Settle down into the truth of that. No need takes Him by surprise and it is according to and through our faith that we “receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)

I do not yet know where our new home is, but I have spoken with my Father about my trust in His knowing that. And because He has promised to guide us and because He has prepared our paths ahead of time:

“that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live” (Ephesians 2:10),

my heart is at peace expecting His goodness in every area of our lives. He is such a good and loving Father! I have told Him that I am so excited to see the home that He has set aside specifically for me and my family. We are settled (placed, established) in Him and by Him, and I have this truth settled in my heart, and the resulting peace and joy and excited expectation is the faith in Him that pleases my Father.