Saturday, July 25, 2015

How Do I Love?

It is so easy to seek out fleshly efforts to "please" God and also easy to make legalistic efforts to "please" God, but what has He asked from us? He wants us to love others. Why do we prefer works over love? Why do we prefer the law over grace? Why do we always seem to be looking for another way to salvation than through the shed blood of Christ?

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 
Galatians 5:14

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

A Pharisees asked Jesus 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:35-40

So now we know that regardless of how religious we may be with our "good" works, if we don't have love for one another we have deceived ourselves.
We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:19-21

But how do we do it? How do we love others? Well we know that love is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. God is love. It is not our love that we are seeking to walk in but Christ's love.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
So, how do we get the fruit of the Spirit in our lives? I think we have to: seek God and draw near to Him. We need to wash our minds in the word of God, think on God's word, make our thoughts line up with His thoughts, meditate on His word, be kind to one another, deny our flesh, do good works etc., but all the while seeking His direction that we be with Him and in Him and not our own way. We need to be one with Him in the Spirit. We may want to do one good work when our heavenly Father may have a completely different good work for us to do. His good work may not seem as glamorous and as fruitful and productive as the "good work" we chose for ourselves. We need to surrender our all to Christ and trust Him and follow Him wherever he leads. Today let us seek to truly love one another in Christ as He has loved us. Let us draw near to Him.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Take His Hand

I think it's about walking out our faith in fear and trembling, and also letting go and trusting God.  (Philippians 2:12) Though they don't seem to go together, I think they do. Fear, because there is nothing else to fear but God. Everything is under His power and control. To fear something other than God is to exalt that thing or person above God. The beginning of wisdom is to fear God. (Proverbs 9:12)

We tremble because if we are not alert and we give into temptation or fall into the snares of the enemy then we are not walking with Christ and we may not even know it. (Jude 1:24; Psalm 23) We tremble because we see our brother or sister fall and we know how easily we could be lifted up in pride and do the same or worse ourselves. If we don't know this than pride has already taken more than a foothold in our lives. We need to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6-7) and seek Him and His will for our lives. We need to lay down our will and do God's will.  If we are not going to do the will of our Father then we need to make sure we are not standing in the way of His dealing with others and correcting His children. God will get to us and He will deal with us, but let us not stand in the way of our Father's work. It will not go well for us if we do.

We may be walking in a way that seems right to us rather than walking with Christ. (Proverbs 14:12) Some people live their whole lives walking in a way that seems good and is good by earthly standards, yet they are going their own way. Let us seek God in all our ways, even (and perhaps especially) in the ways that seem right to us.

We must seek God with our whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13) We must draw near to Him and get to know Him so that in that day when we stand before Him we will not ashamed. (John 2:28) Let us trust God to guide us in the way we should go and not lean on our own understanding. It is God who will bring us through all of this and it is God who will bring us home; but like a child we must stay close and hold His hand. If we wonder off we will get into all sorts of trouble and we will certainly answer to our Heavenly Father. He disciplines those He loves and though we do not like it He disciplines us for our own Good. If He allows us to wonder off perhaps we are not His? Perhaps He doesn't know us? Let us today seek to know God. Let us walk with Jesus and hold His hand.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Praise of Man

“How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
John 5:44

I think this may be one of the foundations to actually living a surrendered life to Christ… giving up our own glory and seeking God’s glory. Talk about a major “paradigm shift.” Before regeneration our focus is on our glory, but a surrendered life to Christ crucifies self on the cross with Christ and takes up His cross and FOLLOWS Him. It is no longer I, but Him. We truly die to self and selfish ambition. It is only at this point that we truly bow down and worship our creator. Up until this point of recognition and understanding of the scriptures it is all about us. But when we bow down and lift up Christ truly seeking to glorify Him and not ourselves can we say we are living for Christ.

“For they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
John 12:43

Oh, what a piercing scripture this is. Let us each from our own heart ask ourselves this question: Do we love human praise more then the praise of God? Heaven help us if we do and Lord help us to surrender our hearts to you completely that we would not seek our own glory and praise and that we would not give glory and praise to another. You alone are God and to you alone belong all glory, honor and praise.

Who do we long to hear praise from? Who or what are we following after? Do we twist the understanding of scriptures to fit with our deception, our pride? Did we exchange the truth of God for a lie? Are we even following the one true God or are we following a deceiving spirit, one who appears as an angel of light but is in fact an impostor?

“For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’”
2 Peter 1:17

Is this the kind of Glory we crave? The praise from God that comes from being obedient to Him or do we praise the glory from man for what our flesh can accomplish?

The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.
John 7:18

If we are truly walking with God then we do not get ahead of ourselves, but we do the things we see Him doing and He gives us His words to say.

Thought provoking scriptures:

“I do not accept glory from human beings.”

 John 5:41

“Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
John 5:40

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.'”
Revelation 19:1

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Do You Know It Was God?

A friend recently asked me: "How do you know you heard from God? How do you know it was not an imposter?"

That is such a good question. I decided to ask that same question in a Facebook group. So many people in this particular group have had visual and audible experiences with Jesus and also demonic spirit manifestations. So I decided to ask them how they knew which spirit was which. Certainly demonic manifestations can be obvious, but not always.

We do know that Satan appears as an angel of light. He is not (the light) and he is not (the angel of light), but he appears (as) an angel of light. 

So we can expect Satan to appear as light, to appear as a good thing, and not as something we can easily recognize. It is our pride that makes us feel secure and believe we would (just know) because we have such discerning abilities.

Satan deceives and he is the master of deception. If he reveals himself as darkness, where is the deception? But Satan appears as a light, he gives us a false confidence, a false comfort, a mimicking of the holy things of God. He convinces people he is God and that they are on the right path. Many will even perform miracles in "god's name" but Jesus will say in that day, "Depart from me; I never knew you you." Matthew 7:23

 The Bible tells us to test every spirit to see where it is from. We are admonished to NOT believe every spirit.

So, how can we know the spirit that manifests itself to us is from God?

Is it the really good and comforting feeling we get from this spirit? The feeling that says "this is all good, listen to this person or me for that matter? That "knowing" feeling, where you "just know."

Is it because we feel special and loved possibly for the first time? Is it because we see a glow or aura that we believe this is a sign or confirmation from God?

So many times too we hear people making statements such as, "I prayed about this and this is what I think or how I am going to respond" as if to imply that their actions or words are from God when even a small amount of understanding of scripture would make it obvious that God was not in their actions or words.  If we will be judged for every idle word how much will we be judged for implying we are speaking or acting for God when we are actually being self serving and acting from our carnal nature?

We may think that good and evil seem simple enough to discern, but Satan is the deceiver. Satan has a veil over the mind of unbelievers; it is only through Christ this veil is removed and there are many who believe they are saved yet the veil (of Satan) is coving their eyes and ears. They believed a lie from the deceiver who most likely appeared "as an angel of light."

The Wide Gate
It is an easy way. It doesn't require any repentance or confession of sin, and certainly no turning from sin. You don't even have to see or pass by the blood of Jesus.

The Narrow Gate
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

We need to know the word of God and recognize ANY no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential we may think it is... If it deviates from scripture, it is a lie and it is major! Back away from that spirit. It is NOT from God! It is the tiny lie (twisting of truth) we need to look out for, not the obvious lie.

Let's look at what the word of God says regarding these spirits:

Test all things; hold fast what is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 1 Corinthians 14:29

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:19-20 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, …
Matthew 7:15

17 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.… Matthew 7:16-17

The Works of the Flesh
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Fruit of the Spirit
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

When You have Been Marginalized

It is difficult to comprehend the effects that being marginalized can have on someone until it has happened to them. To be treated as if you are of no consequence and have no matter or purpose can be quite devastating. We all have a sense of needing to belong somewhere; and when we have been shoved off or possibly never allowed onto this foundation it can really make us question if we even have value or worth. It will certainly make us feel alone, isolated, and unwanted. 

It is so important that we have our foundation in Christ; and trust in Him for our worth and purpose. We need to surrender completely to Christ in our pain and allow Him to do the work in our lives that this pain is surely working to bring about. This most certainly allows for a dying to self which allows for a renewing of our minds through Christ. "Yet not I, but Christ Who lives in me." Galatians 2:20

I want to go all the way with God. I want to be completely sold out to Him. I want the "Yet not I, but Christ Who lives in me" scripture to be me.

How can I do that? 

There is so much of me that needs to die; so much flesh and worldly thoughts and beliefs. So much doubt and unbelief. So much judging of others. And in the death of my sins/self replace my thoughts with His thoughts (whatever is godly and pure and true etc). I need to allow His Word to become alive in me. I need to walk in the Truth with my eyes focused on Jesus and not on my circumstances.

Now is a time of trial and testing; but I think I recognize my need for this. I have been praying fervently to be completely surrendered to Christ. I've prayed that when I stand before God I don't want to see a vision of God's glorious plan he had prepared for my life if only I would have surrendered and trusted Him. 

But, I want to hear Him say, with open arms: "I know you well! You have followed me diligently and have believed on ALL that I have said without doubting! You have been such a joy to me! I love you. Come here to me!"

I really do want Him to say that to me. And surely this is possible. Surely this is something He desires to say to all of us, right? Would He have created a perfect plan for us to walk in victory if he didn't desire and know we could achieve His plan? We know that He is working in us to desire to do His will; and we know that it is Him doing it and not us, right? Because if it was about me I wouldn't bother to try. But it is not me; it is Him working in me. I just need to take all my idols one by one and renounce them. I need to repent. I need to accept this complete dying to self without doubting God's most gracious provision for me to be a new creation in Him.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

I need to surrender and renounce the old self and be completely clothed in the new clothes Christ has for me. And I need to do this without doubting and through faith that my Heavenly Father really loves me and has glorious plans for me. Plans far better than I can imagine. I know that in my earthly frame I cannot understand the beauty that comes from suffering. But I have seen the effects. God does work righteousness through our suffering.

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's a Choice

When I think of my choices and my uncertainty when I don't know what to do, I think of Moses seeing 3-4 millions Egyptians coming towards him and his people, and 2.5 million Israelites looking at him like "What have you gotten us into?" 

Did he doubt? Did he think perhaps he wasn't listening and didn't hear from God completely? Was he reviewing all his past actions and thinking what he should have done differently?

We are not given any reason to believe he doubted. In fact, it seems like when the people came complaining to him saying Moses should have left them alone in Egypt, that they would have been better off serving the Egyptians, and now they would surely die in the wilderness, Moses received an immediate word from God regarding Pharaoh and his army. "Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13

We have such a contrast between the faith of Moses and that of his followers. They saw the same miracles Moses saw, so that couldn't be it. What makes the difference. Why do some stand in faith and others right next to them fall into doubt and unbelief?

I think I know the answer.

Doubt and unbelief are sin. They are no different than any other sins. Doubt and unbelief are a choice. Moses chose to believe God.

"Choose this day whom you will serve." Joshua 24:15

"You cannot serve two masters." Matthew 6:24 

Exodus 33:13 gives us a glimpse of Moses humanity. Moses asked God to show him His plan; he wanted to avoid the uncertainty, the unknown. But God said no. He said "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Our Love is Increasing

I believe God would use more people to bring healing and nurturing to a hurting damaged world if He could just find them. But so often we harden our hearts and go our own ways with little regard to God's commandments. It was after all, His design that the world would recognize Christians by their love. Yet it seems hard for those in the body of Christ to find loving and nurturing people even in the "church." We may go on Sundays but do we pick and choose who we will love? Do we love one another? Do we forgive others their wrongs against us?

2 Thessalonians 1:3 says " We must always thank God for you, brothers and sisters this is only right, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love that everyone of you has for each other is increasing."

I am repenting of my lack of love. I know that true Love comes only from God...for God is Love. I cannot judge others for their lack of love because I also stand condemned. But now I repent. And though it seems impossible that God could even use me as a vessel of Love, I know that He has called me to be that vessel. He has called us all to be that vessel. God does not command us to do something that we cannot do. We may not be capable of being a vessel of Love. But with Christ IN us, as surrendered vessels, we will be vessels who do His good will. Because it is God who completes the good work He began. It is Him doing it, not us. He is faithful; He will do it. Let us surrender ourselves to Him today, completely. Let us not quench  the Holy Spirit.