Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Standing on the Word’

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)

Advertisements

Dreams- From Half-Formulated to Fully Realized – Part Two

Kenneth Hagin has preached often on this story of the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22). He readily asserts that his ministry for the Body of Christ, given to him by the Lord, was to preach and teach faith, and throughout his decades in the ministry, that was his focus. He has said that the Lord told him that if anybody anywhere would put the four steps this woman took into practice, they would receive what they were asking for. We have already covered steps one and two – “See it” and “say it”. But there is more to this faith walk than seeing and saying.

Do it – The woman with the issue of blood could have spoken continually concerning her faith to be healed, but until she then acted on that faith, on her spoken assertion, her words were useless. Saying, “If I only touch the hem of His garment” but not acting on it, her medical condition would remain unchanged. Once you have that sure knowledge that God is willing this dream to be – act. Act on the direction of the Holy Spirit.

James 2:17 – So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up) by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead)

James 2:24 – …a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith {through works of obedience as well as by what he believes.}

This woman’s faith was followed up with action; it is through the action that the faith can be seen.

Receive it

Mark 11:24 …whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will {get it}

Notice that for this step, faith is also the determining factor. In faith we realize the God-given dream in our hearts, in faith we speak forth the Word believing that God will bring it about, in faith we act on those spoken words as led by the Spirit, and in faith we “carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36). Believe that you have received. The Word defines faith as:

The assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things {we} hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality {faith receiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses}. (Hebrews 11:1)

This step is perhaps the one which is the most alien and frustrating to those who have years of practice in daily trusting in the five senses – all of us! It is this step that causes many to say, “This speaking forth faith simply isn’t working for me! I’ve seen it work for some but it’s not working for me.” Realize here that in speaking those words, your words are coming to pass! Speaking doubt and unbelief is establishing that particular reality that “this faith stuff” doesn’t work for you. How do we remedy that?

God has given us everything we need to overcome the perceived difficulty in this business of receiving the promises for ourselves. First, His Word. How you view His Word is of paramount importance in this process of walking and living in the Spirit. He tells us of its “self-fulfilling power” (Isaiah 61:11). He tells us that His Word is “alive and full of power… active, operative, and energizing, and effective” (Hebrews 4:12). He tells us that He watches over that Word to perform it in the lives of those who speak It forth in faith (Jeremiah 1:12) and that His Word never returns to Him void without accomplishing the thing for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11). He also tells us that while the Name of the Lord is to be revered and feared and worshipped, He holds His Word in even higher estimation!

You have exalted above all else Your Name and Your Word and You have magnified Your Word above all Your Name! (Psalm 138:2)

Now the choice to believe is yours. God has given us that choice. His exhortation to us is to choose life in Him (Deuteronomy 30:19), but you choose! The authority and reverence with which you receive His Truth will determine your success in this step of receiving all that He has promised. To honor God by believing that what He says He means, is to be a consistent recipient of the promises.

Further, He has given His Holy Spirit to be received as our Guide, Teacher, Advocate, Enabler, Strengthener (John 15:26), and to reveal to us His purposes and plans for our lives (John 16:13). He has sent Jesus, His Beloved Son, to reconcile us again with Him and to restore the relationship that was lost through Adam’s actions. How we receive all of this Truth determines how we receive our full inheritance in the kingdom of God.

Dreams – From Half-Formulated to Fully Realized – Part One

Jesus tells us that you can locate a man’s level of faith and trust in God and His Word by the words of his mouth (Luke 6:45).

How does one get from dream to reality? I am speaking here of God-given dreams; those beautiful pictures He has placed in your heart, those extraordinary accomplishments for the Kingdom, or those manifestations of our Abba’s blessings – those promises in the Word fully realized?

Times spent reverently and quietly in His Presence will have filled your heart with these pictures. Our Abba, through your times alone getting quiet before Him, places dreams, a direction, a ministry, a goal in your life. There is a richness there – a wealth, a provision, a life-defining purpose. Then, through prayer, your daily conversation with God, you speak of what you believe you are receiving. You request confirmation, clarification, strategies, and plans of action. For it is a combination of your faith and willingness along with the Lords power, provision, guidance, and fulfillment of that which He has called you to do and receive that will get the thing done. There is always growth in God; there is always more. Our Father is always more than enough (El Shaddai). God works synergistically (two working together) with His children. As we submit, He works through us. As we speak forth His Word He brings it to pass. As we see to the faith end, He sees to the accomplishment. Hebrews 13:21 says that it is God Who works in you to:

strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and to 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}.

Our faith in the promises found in God’s Word says that we trust that what He has said is fully realized – is already accomplished.

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things {we} hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality {faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.} (Hebrews 11:1)

And so, in faith, we walk confidently in the direction of our God-given dreams, recognizing that it has already been established for you. And “Heavenspeak” – our words both acknowledging what we have received from Heaven and God’s Word, His promises that back it up – reflects that understanding. We have such a beautiful, instructive picture of how to get from dream, or “hope so”, to reality, or “know so” in Matthew 9:20-22. It is the story of the woman with the issue of blood who had been suffering with that medical condition for 12 years.

For she kept saying to herself if I only touch His garment, I shall be restored to health.

She kept saying! She was using her Heavenspeak! She no doubt had heard that Jesus was healing people – the word concerning Him had gone forth. In faith she told herself that she too could be healed. She kept saying, and then she acted. She reached out and touched Him and she received her healing. Jesus said to her:

…daughter, your faith has made you well.

Heavenspeak was the second step in receiving her blessing! The steps taken by this woman inform our faith lives today. First she conceived it in her heart and what her heart saw her mouth spoke. Believers today take the very same steps:

See it – What you conceive in your heart, responsive to and controlled by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 6:1 – Amplified), is the initial step. Take this step seriously. Once assured that the dream is God-given, attend to it. Once aware of the dream in your heart, nurture it, speak of it, embrace it with faith words. Speak with the Lord about what you are sensing. In his book No Limits, No Boundaries, Jerry Savelle writes:

“Limitations and boundaries take place first in the mind. There’s nothing you’ll ever do that isn’t born first as a thought… you have to have a vision of the extraordinary life on the inside of you. You have to have a picture on the inside of you of what living that kind of life would look like…How you see yourself on the inside is how it’s going to be on the outside. Once again, the extraordinary has to take place on the inside before it can ever take place on the outside… you have to be able to conceive it in your heart.”

Proverbs 23:7 – As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

The important foundational truth here is that God wants to bless His kids, to fulfill His covenant with us. He wants His kids to bless the world. As we hold fast to His Word, believing in, relying on, and trusting in it, He holds fast to His covenant promises, and the world sees in us what life in Christ looks like. To truly know that is an enabling force as we consider the dreams in our hearts.

Luke 1:37 – For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

Look upon those God-given dreams in your heart as what will be. Step away from hope and into certainty. Consider well the dreams in your heart. Live in the reality of their manifestation.

Say it – God established this spiritual principle in the very beginning. Our Father spoke this world into being (Genesis 1) and throughout Scripture we are instructed in the power of words:

Romans 4:17 – God…speaks of the nonexistent things that {He has foretold and promised} as if they already existed.

Ephesians 5:1 – …be imitators of God {copy Him and follow His example} as well-beloved children {imitate their father}

John 12:50 – …whatever I speak I am saying {exactly} what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions.

The vast majority of people, including many believers, are dangerously unaware of the power of the spoken word.

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}
Proverbs 18:21

We choose life ( Deuteronomy 30:19) when we speak God’s Word over every situation we encounter that needs the help of Heaven, for our Father watches over that Word to perform it in our lives (Jeremiah 1:12). We choose death when we ignore that authority which we have been given to proclaim our Father’s Word in faith in order to move any hindering mountain (Mark 11:23) and instead speak with worry and concern about the “problem”. Never speak the problem – always speak God’s solution.

Patient Endurance

The life of faith, the life choice that pleases God, is very often needful of patient endurance. Along with that, in order to pray and speak out effectively, we first need the assurance, the certainty, that we have been given such authority.

Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all nations…
Matthew 28:18

And as My Father has appointed a kingdom and conferred it on Me, so do I confer on you [the privilege and decree].
Luke 22:29

One cannot walk in and operate in the wondrous and life-changing benefits revealed through Scripture until he or she truly understands that they are theirs by birthright. It is that deep, inner knowing that produces mountain moving faith. It is that sureness within the spirit of a born again believer that insists on seeing the promises of God manifest in a life. It is the absolute transference of allegiance, the unquestioned recognition of “new creature” status, and the “know-so” realization that God’s Word is the superior and ultimate reality that begins the walk in our Father’s ways of doing and being right. The pre-eminence of the Word of God in our hearts is the powerful foundation that transforms reality for the believer. When we reach the point of understanding that the Word of God must be our final authority, our blueprint for living, we begin to receive and accept nothing less than His ways of doing and being right.

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness {His ways of doing and being right}, and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. Matthew 6:33

Hebrews 10:35-36 is a powerful place to begin, a firm foundation for our preliminary understanding of effectively developing this new language of “Heavenspeak”:

Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word “endure” as “He or that which continues long, to remain, to abide; to last, to continue in the same state without perishing.” This is our new dwelling place as born-again believers. This is our forever lifestyle, our firmly established mind set. We live here now! We settle into the understanding that God’s Word and His promises must be, because He said so, and we patiently expect the full manifestation in this physical realm.

How do you receive these words of our Lord in response to the withering of the fig tree in Matthew 21:21-22?

…Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.

Faith receives those words and allows them to fundamentally transform our perception of this physical life and our expectations for answered prayer. Faith is our currency in this life to be able to receive from God all that His Word promises. This is a huge blank check! “Whatever” covers unlimited territory – with the proviso that you are operating out of faith, which greatly pleases God (Hebrews 10:38), and that you are praying according to His Word. For that patient endurance always receives and carries away and enjoys to the full what is promised (Hebrews 10:36). You have God’s Word on this! Smith Wigglesworth has said:

“God rejoices when we manifest a faith that holds Him to His Word.” ( Smith Wigglesworth Devotional – p. 292)

As little children gradually grow into a mastery of their native language, so we, too, must practice our Heavenspeak until mastery is attained. Answered prayer, seeing the manifestation of God’s promises in a life due to faith in His Word, is a powerful life lesson for future success in Heavenspeak. This is not done on our own. God has provided all that we need to be successful in the faith-filled language of the Kingdom. His Word and His Spirit are the firm foundation upon which we stand. It requires a “firm relying trust”.

Patient endurance has the potential to sound a little tedious! “How long must I wait?” we wonder. In point of fact, patient endurance is not so much a season of waiting as it is the choice of a lifestyle; the transfer of allegiance. It is the recognition that as God’s child and friend (John 15:15), as Jesus’ disciple, and as Spirit-filled believers, our reality has been altered, transformed. Patient endurance calmly expects the Word of God in its completeness to be manifested in our lives.

Isaiah 30:15- For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: in returning {to Me} and resting {in Me} you shall be saved; in quietness and in {trusting} confidence shall be your strength…

Patient endurance speaks forth prayers in confidence that they will be accomplished. Patient endurance is eternity minded and it interprets all events in life through the lens of the Spirit. It is a new way of seeing and understanding; it comprehends both realms (spiritual and physical) and fully acknowledges the manner in which the realm of the spirit holds sway and influence over the world of men (the physical realm).

We so often rely on our senses to guide us through this life. These tools of the flesh speak so loudly to us from the moment of our birth. We give authority to them; we conduct our days, plot our course, and even determine our doctrines and belief-systems according to what we see and hear. And yet the Word counsels us differently:

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting) but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.
2 Corinthians 4:18

What we see is subject to change if it compromises or contradicts the Word of God. Health issues, financial worries and poverty thinking, confusion, fear, inner turmoil – all of these woes often accompany life lived out in the flesh. But if you purpose to dig deeply into God’s Word, you will discover that they were never meant to be characteristics of a life lived in, through and by the Spirit of God. They find their remedy in the Word. And they are demolished through the fine, godly art of patient endurance.

The Practiced Life

These are challenging days for the maintaining of Gospel peace, and the practice of, and commitment to, walking in righteousness. The resolve to “get it right” before God is a daily, hourly, sometimes moment-by-moment attention to His ways of doing and being right – never our own notions, personal feelings and sensibilities, or emotional responses to issues and current events.

I’m sure this has been the case throughout history. Every generation must contend with Satan’s efforts to distract focus, diminish effectiveness, and destroy peace. There is nothing complicated about the antidote to all this. And yet the simplicity of it eludes many. Obey God. Trust and rely on His Word. Attend to the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God Who lives within you if you have been born again (John 3:5-7; 1 Corinthians 3:16) is our daily Teacher, Counselor, and Helper (John 16:13-15). He points out for us areas that need fixing – areas in which we are falling short of the glory of God. Jesus taught us:

…He {the Spirit} will take the things that are Mine, and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:15)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit helps us “get it right” before God.

Of late, I have found myself becoming more and more agitated, irritated, and judgmental about the state of American politics. It is so easy to get caught up in the world’s turmoil. (I am reminded here of Smith Wigglesworth, English evangelist, who invited a visitor into his home but insisted that the newspaper the visitor was carrying remain outside!) This process even catches up members of the family of faith as we either condemn or justify the words and actions of our leaders.

Factions and divisions are a part of the human condition. In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul speaks of such dissensions entering into and disturbing the spiritual well-being of the church at Corinth. If these tactics of the enemy can trouble Spirit filled believers, he can succeed in directing us away from God’s expectations, His commands.

This is My commandment: that you love one another {just} as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

And so, because I was incorrectly attending to current worldly affairs, because it was disturbing my peace, because I fell into practicing the judgment of many, and vigorously reviled and denounced those I disagreed with, the Friend, the Counselor, my Advocate intervened! God’s Word is “alive, operative, energizing and effective…exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) And God’s alive and active Word in Luke 6 “exposed and judged” that which was hindering my peace. Reading verses 27-37 , I was clearly expected to repent, relinquish, and readjust. Here were my instructions in righteousness:

– whatever you want men to do for you, you must do exactly that for them (verse 31)
– love your enemies, act nobly toward those who hate you; pray for them (verses 27-28)
– be like God Who is “ kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked” (verse 35)
– JUDGE NOT and you will not be judged (verse 37)

These instructions from the Head of the Church are undeniable. This is how He expects us to think and act. Add to that the admonition to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1) and the caution to us concerning the tongue in James 3:9-10:

With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so.

Faith in God’s Word is demonstrated through unconditional obedience. As the Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture for our attention, there must be a willingness to give it first place in our hearts and our corresponding actions. We cannot call Jesus Lord is we do not put into practice what He tells us. (Luke 6:46). It is always only for our benefit. It is where peace lives.

Never-Ending, Unshakeable Peace

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)

John 14:20 – …I am in My Father, and you {are} in Me, and I {am} in you.

John 14:30 – {Satan} …has no claim on Me. {He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.} (emphasis mine)

Following the progression in the above Scriptures, we are encouraged and instructed through this good Word to receive and constantly evidence deep abiding peace – always. No matter what the day’s circumstances bring, peace is to be a defining characteristic in the life of a Spirit-filled believer. Through the Holy Spirit God lives in us. Jesus lives in us. There is nothing that we will encounter that diminishes that Truth. We see here the overcoming force of the believer obeying and working with the Lord – through His Spirit Who lives in us. Synergy – two working together.

Each believer must own the Truth of these verses. When we, without reservation, without the diminishing power of unbelief, fully accept God’s Word as true, when His Word is more dear and defining to our lives than any other idea or circumstance or attention-grabbing issue, then peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is the inevitable result.

First, in Verse 27, we understand that Jesus has given His peace to us. When the enemy, the world’s attitudes and troubles, and the concerns and ailments and longings of the flesh try to hinder your faith walk (that’s what the world offers us), Jesus tells us that He has already given us, bequeathed to us, His peace. Knowing that, believing and receiving that, agitation, disturbedness, fear, intimidation, unsettledness have no place to live in us. Our Lord’s instructions to us that help us maintain this peace are very clear. “Stop allowing!” We have a role to play here. The role is to believe that our Lord speaks Truth. His peace is ours, and everything else that falls short of that Truth may not stand in our lives. We need to recognize when our heart peace is being challenged and stolen.

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule {act as umpire continually} in your hearts {deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state} to which as {members of Christ’s} one body you were also called {to live}. And be thankful (appreciative), {giving praise to God always}. (Colossians 3:15)

In verse 20, the extraordinary, awesome way in which our Creator determined to interact with His children is revealed. Knowing our frame, our weaknesses, He enables us to realize all of His benefits by living in us. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each believer to teach and guide and come alongside and counsel and strengthen us (John 14:16). The divine interaction of Jesus in God, and us in Jesus and God in us reveals the heart and the love of God for His creation – you! And with this holy impartation, there must be peace. How do we “stop allowing” anything at all that would try to diminish that peace? Faith in the Truth and reliability of God’s Word. True faith in our Father’s character and in His Word exhibits peace.

Finally, in verse 30, the Master speaks of his complete separateness and immunity to the devices of the enemy. “He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.” Because He lives in us, the same is true of us. The life of God, the Holy Spirit, fills us. There is no place in our lives for the machinations of a defeated foe (Colossians 2:15), the “dictates of the flesh” (Romans 8:1), or the errant philosophies of the world (Romans 12:2). Never-ending, unshakable peace is the heritage of God’s Spirit- filled sons and daughters.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:7 – Message Bible)

Faith-Filled Words

In John 10:17-18 Jesus speaks in advance of His death and resurrection:

… I lay down My {own} life – to take it back again… I am authorized and have power to lay it down (to resign it) and I am authorized and have power to take it back again…

With His spoken word He established – He spoke prophecy to – future events. He made His future outcome – death and resurrection – inevitable.

From Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 we are instructed about spoken word power. God raised up prophets throughout the time period of the Old Testament to speak forth that which would inevitably be. His spoken word (“And God said…) created all that we see (Genesis 1; John 1:3), and His Word is “upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe” (Hebrews 1:3). He established His plans and purposes for the nation of Israel, the surrounding nations, and individual lives through the words He gave to His prophets to speak. And those words of prophecy, uttered in obedience, with the sure conviction that they were God-ordained, became reality.

Those prophetic words spoke of the judgments that would come in response to Israel’s rebellion, and, in the manner prophesied, they did come as indicated. They spoke of the coming of the Messiah (with specific arrival time – Daniel 9:25), the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior (Isaiah 53), The outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29), end times events, and the ultimate establishment of His kingdom. From “And God said…(Genesis 1:3) through the admonition to honor “…the predictions and the consolations and admonitions pertaining to them) in this book…” (Revelation 22:18) our Creator is teaching us about the character and effective operating procedures of our world. The spoken word establishes reality (for good or for evil – Proverbs 18:21; Matthew 12 :37).

Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), is our Lord and Savior. It is in Christ, in the Word of God, that we have our identity, our salvation, our authority, our example in all things. The eternal God, the Creator of all that we see, established this Truth: faith-filled words, His Word proclaimed – coming forth from the hearts and mouths of His redeemed people – establish His purposes on the earth and our future days (Hebrews 11:3).

John 12:49-50 – …I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders {concerning} what to say and what to tell… whatever I speak, I am saying {exactly} what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions.

In a timely manner, while writing this entry, I received a partner letter from Kenneth Copeland Ministries with the title “Faith-Filled Words Created All Matter”. In it he writes:

“We live in a word-created, word-upheld, word-dominated environment…You, me, and everyone else are living today in the environment we created yesterday with our words. The only thing that will change it is to change what we are saying.” (emphasis mine)

Determine today that what always comes forth out of your mouth is the positive, powerful Word of God. Honor Him by speaking our His Word in faith (Isaiah 62:6). With your Father’s Word, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit you create your tomorrows.

The Tender Place

Very often we come to the Lord with prayer requests and personal concerns that are so close to our hearts that our words with Him are halting and timid and tear-filled. The bold decreeing that characterizes our prayers for others is often absent when we speak to Him of our own concerns. We’re touching a tender place. Whether we are speaking to Him about healing for our bodies, a much needed provision, or wisdom and guidance for our life’s journey, these requests speak to our personal relationship with our Father and His care of us. We can pray for the needs of others, we can prayerfully address a disaster situation somewhere on the planet and call forth Heaven’s help, we can intercede for the salvation of acquaintances with faith-filled words. We are, after all His instruments here on earth to call forth Heaven’s purposes in the lives of others. God expects His people to speak forth His powerful, alive, and active Word (Hebrews 4:12), and to expect results.

Matthew 9:38 – So pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

John 16:24 – …ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.

Matthew 18:19 – Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree {that is, are of one mind, in harmony} about anything that they ask {within the will of God}, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven.

John 14:13-14 – And I will do whatever you ask in My Name {as My representative}, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My Name {as My representative} I will do it.

(See also John 15:16, John 16:23-24)

So there is no doubt- in this world, as kingdom representatives, as imitators of our Father (Ephesians 5:1), we are expected to exercise our faith in His faithfulness to His Word and to His compassion; we are to speak forth, decide and decree (Job 22:28) and expect that what we say will be established. Faith speaks! That is the faith that pleases God (Hebrews 10:38). That is the faith stand that brings about Heaven’s purposes here on earth. (Which makes you wonder about the end results when God’s people keep silent and do not speak forth His Word in faith.)

We can exhort and encourage others to stand on the Word and expect that Word to manifest. Yet when the need touches our own lives, when our heart’s desires are involved, personal sensibilities often override or weaken our faith stand. Ministries have crumbled, churches have split apart or closed, God’s calling on lives has been reduced or even eliminated. I am not in any way discounting Satan’s role in all of this, but when we understand that he is a defeated foe, we need to recognize that our personal sensibilities often dictate louder than allegiance to our Father’s plans and purposes in a life.

And our Father knows this:

Proverbs 13:12- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.

So how do we both acknowledge and honor those tender places in our lives but not let them speak louder than our Father’s Word to us and our understanding of His loving, attentive, and watchful care? By making the purposeful decision to hold His Word and His Person as more dear, more precious, than any personal issue.

Psalm 37:4- Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

By immediately exchanging thoughts of lack, concern, or worry with thoughts of love and honor and praise for the One Whom we serve.

Quite recently just such thoughts of a personal nature would rise up in my mind to try to steal my peace. Questions about why certain prayer requests were taking so long to manifest. Immediately, and I truly emphasize “immediately”, the Holy Spirit redirected my thoughts. Thoughts of love and trust for God’s intentions in my life, thoughts of praise and thanksgiving that I am His daughter, thoughts encouraging my understanding that our Abba’s Word is settled and absolute, replaced the heaviness of negative questioning. The enemy can try to diminish our moments, but he is no match for the work of the Holy Spirit in a yielded life.

And be encouraged. It is the tender heart, the tender place where our dreams and desires reside, where the Lord reveals how special and unique our life in Him truly is. Our giftings, our motivations, the call of each heart, when placed in the care of our Father will yield extraordinary blessings. As His children we ache and yearn for those things because He placed them there.

Ephesians 3:20 – Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the {action of His} power that is at work within us, is able to {carry out His purpose and} do superabundantly, far over and above all that we {dare} ask or think {infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams} – To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

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.