NEVER GIVE LESS THAN 100%…


Spiritual Blog 100%

Ecclesiastes 9:10 – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”  NKJV

My father and grandfather both used to tell me, “Anything worth doing is worth giving it your all or doing it right.”  I believe that and find that the man listed as the wisest man to have ever lived aside from our Lord Jesus Christ declared, here in Ecclesiastes, that very thing.  However, he puts the twist to it that it is only while you are alive that you can accomplish anything for once you are gone you are gone, so far as accomplishing things on Earth is concerned.

I’ve worked with people in various fields of endeavors who gave it their all no matter what it was and I’ve worked with people who were half-hearted about what they did.  They put little effort into the task and produced shoddy work and results.  They took no pride in their labors and never made the commitment to own the task.  They went through the motions and it never seemed to bother them.  My attitude has always been if I am going to be involved I am going to be involved with my whole heart otherwise I’m going to bail out or refuse to be a part.

I served the devil with vigor and I serve God with greater vigor.  Oh, understand I did not realize I was serving the devil but in serving myself I was doing just that and I was the best at it I could be.  Once I became a Christian I gradually transitioned to becoming a Pharisee and became the best Pharisee I could be.  I held onto my list of rules and regulations grading or comparing everyone and everything to that list and how I stacked up against them, in my mind.  Once the Holy Spirit arrested me and made me realize that I was a Pharisee I repented and have worked with a whole heart to be a Christian free of Legalism.  I serve God with all that is in me and like most everyone else I come up short on far too many occasions.  Yet, that does not deter me and will not cause me to stop giving 100% to whatever task, the Lord places before me whether that is spiritual, social, commercial, or political.  I refuse to give less than my best.  I played sports that way, I served in Vietnam that way, and I have ministered that way and worked on secular jobs with that attitude.  Has it always been appreciated, No, but I don’t do it for the recognition of men I do what I do as unto God.

Like Job, I realize that man that is born of woman is of “few days” and truly life is filled with difficulties that must be overcome.  I realize that only in the time I have here on earth can I accomplish the purposes of God in my generation and I work while it is yet day because the night is coming when no man can work.  So, I encourage you that no matter what the task or assignment Give it Your Best!   Never give less than 100%!

May God be with you as you go through your day!

TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS OR DOES IT???


Spiritual Blog - Time

Genesis 50:15-21 – “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ” What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17’Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 “So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” NASU

 

I guess if you only read this part of the entire story of the “Life of Joseph” you might think that the old saying, “Time heals all wounds” was accurate but if you read the entire story you will see something you probably missed.  It is my simple hope in this brief devotional to point you to a “higher revelation” that Time Heals Nothing and yet there is the opportunity for Total Healing of the Total Man in the Finished Work of Jesus and His Unconditional Love!

I would suggest to you that “time” outside the Finished Work of Christ is an ENEMY, not a Friend.  I only ask that you hear the conclusion of the whole matter before rendering a judgment about what I am saying.  That will require you to go back and reread much of the history of Joseph and Israel in the Bible.  It will take time but it will be a journey that is both interesting and beneficial.  It is my desire that I can somehow get you to see “How” to live out in everyday life the Unconditional Love of God amidst all the “Hurts/Beatings/Wounds/Fears/Anxieties of Life.”  I’m talking about Total Freedom and Total Healing for the Total Man which is something that many do not even believe is possible much less possess.  So my question is, “Are you interested in Total Freedom?”

A BRIEF BACKGROUND:

If you remember the story of the teenaged Joseph with his special treatment from his father, his dreams, and visions you will recall how horribly mistreated he was by his brothers to the point that they “sold him” as a slave while fabricating a story of his death to their father.  Once Joseph arrived in Egypt he receives promotion and problem after promotion and problem until he is elevated to Second in Command in Egypt.  Years later we come to the timeframe of our text and his brothers stand before him in fear and trembling.  They were petrified because the “boy” they had sold into slavery was now the second most powerful man on earth as they knew it and held their lives in his hands.  What if he holds a grudge as they were positive he would?  They expected him to Get Even.  Then their father Jacob dies and they fabricate a story to tell Joseph to try to save their own hides and Joseph responds basically saying, “Do you realize what you are saying?  You are afraid I will Get Even!  Am I in God’s place?  Oh I know what you did to me!  You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”  That is Incredible!  How would you have responded?

The key, I believe, is that long before Joseph arrived in Egypt He Handled This.  I mean he settled it with God.  If you study the timeline of his life you will realize that it is quite likely that he heard the story of Abraham from his grandfather Isaac while sitting on his knee.  From the time of his youth, he had heard the Story of Covenant and He Knew God!  Moreover, he trusted God and knew that for God to fulfill His Promises that God would take care of Him so He was able to curl up in the Unconditional Love of God and Forgive!  He was able to Release his anger, the pain, and any bitterness he had and I believe he did it before he got to Egypt or he would have died a bitter old man in slavery in Egypt and we would never have heard of him again.

It wasn’t Time it was Love that Healed Him!  Time only enables us the time to become calloused to the wound and live through the pain it Never Removes It completely.  That is something that Only love, forgiveness, and releasing it can do.  It takes the Agape Love of God to Heal this kind of wound!  So if you are dealing with something and hoping that “Time will heal it” turn it loose and run to the arms of God and His love.  It is there that there we find Healing and Deliverance!

May God be with you as you go through your day!

WHOLE-HEARTED TRUST…


Spiritual Blog - Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” NASU

Another rendering of this is “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” NKJV  So whether He makes my paths straight or directs my path I know that If I “trust” with All My Heart and “resist the temptation” to follow my own understanding, perception, and perspective while “acknowledging” Him in All My Ways I can totally depend upon His guidance, care, and keeping.

This is the passage that opened the door to “forgiveness” for me and allowed me to enter into the delight of Salvation.  I was convinced that I was Lost and equally convinced that I Had Done too Much to ever be forgiven.  That is a classic example of leaning to my own understanding and a reflection of how little I knew of God, His nature, or His character.  As I read that passage at near midnight on a Saturday night in Palestine, Texas I looked heavenward and opened my heart, mind, and soul to the Lord and in sincere repentance received His Grace and my life has never been the same!  Thank God for The Word of God and Praying People who loved God and people enough to not give up on me!

I cannot say enough about “whole-hearted trust.”  Without that kind of trust in the Lord, we will find ourselves questioning His character, actions, and the events of life.  We will second guess our decisions, those of others, and even those of the Lord and find that we are prime targets for deception, depression, and rebellion.  However, if we learn to give God Our Whole Hearts, in trust, we will find The Peace that Passes All Human Understanding and Calmness in Life that so many fail to know.  You only see the “now” and the “past” but God sees the End from the Beginning.  God sees the now, the past and the future and He is diligently working so that “All things, Work Together for our good.”  Not that all things are “good” but combined and compiled they produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness and His divine purposes in our lives.

God has demonstrated so many times, in my life, that He is completely Trustworthy I have no problem giving Him my “whole-hearted trust” at all times and in all things.  Sometimes, I scratch my head and wonder what He is up to or even why He would take the path that He takes but in the midst of all that I Trust God with a Whole Heart!  As the disciples said when Jesus asked if they too would leave Him – “Lord, where would we go for with you are the Words of Eternal Life.”   Where Could I Go But To The Lord?  I do not want to go anywhere but to Him!

May God be with you as you go through your day!

TEMPTED BY GOD?


Spiritual Blog - Tempted

James 1:13-16 – “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”  NASU

I had read this for years and thought, “no one would think that God is tempting them to do wrong.”  I was wrong for just the other day I had someone describing a situation in which they were considering a questionable business deal and actually said, “God is tempting me with the easy money.”  I paused for a moment and then spent the next hour discussing this with that individual and explaining some clear biblical truths about temptation and the very nature and character of God.

This passage was one of the ones that I referred to.  Sadly, the person left our conversation still believing that it was God who was “tempting” him as a “test”.  I was unable to change his perspective and his basic explanation which was that even if he failed it would be okay because God was the one that put it in front of him for the purpose of either tempting him or as a way of taking the “wealth of the wicked” and giving it to the righteous.  My attempts to explain that unethical and even illegal business deals did not qualify as Righteousness.

Temptation as James describes arises out of our “carnal desires” and when allowed to come to fruition give birth to sin and when sin is accomplished it produces death – Spiritually and ultimately Physically since the cause of death since the Fall of Man in the Garden is Sin or Disobedience.  Adam and Eve missed the mark of obedience and in their cosmic rebellion of disobedience brought about the Fall of Man.

It is not God testing you that tempts you it is the devil attempting to play on your lusts or desires and get you to stray from the path of righteousness that God would have you travel.  It is not for your good that the temptation is there it is to bring harm.  All of us face temptation and if we succumb to it that is not the end of the world if we will turn to God in genuine repentance and Repent.  There may be repercussions that are irreparable in this life with other people but with God, we will have placed the Sin and Situation under the Blood Covering of His Grace.  Infidelity may cost you a marriage but you can be forgiven by God.  Theft may cost you years of freedom but you can be forgiven by God.  Lying may cost you friends and the trust of others but you can be forgiven by God.

So, when temptation comes do not blame God for it recognize it as a scheme and attempt of the enemy of our souls to do you harm and draw you away from the path and life that God would have for you.  Resist the devil and he will flee!  Entertain him and he will get into your heart and your head and cause great damage in your life and relationships.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

A QUALIFICATION FOR LEADERSHIP – – Service…


Spiritual Blog - Servant

Mark 10:41-45 – “Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.  43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;  44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.  45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  NASU

 

This comes out of one of the many examples that demonstrate the earthly mindset of the disciples.  They truly believed that Jesus would set up His earthly kingdom in the flesh and they would hold high positions in that kingdom.  It took a long time for them to transition from the temporal to the eternal and in this case, James and John were asking for prime positions and the others got jealous and perturbed at them over it.  A division was beginning to develop and Jesus took control of the situation immediately and in this passage brings us a message that Every Potential Leader must hear.

Jesus contrasted His Kingdom to that of the earthly kingdoms of men and the drive for power and position in earthly government and power structures.  He told them, “This is not the way we operate….”   He went on to tell them that IF you want to lead then you have to serve and identified Himself as the prime example.  In the most simple of terms, Jesus identified that an immediate disqualification for a person seeking leadership was one who Would Not or Did Not serve!  That is true no matter if it is spiritual, church government, family structure, business, or politics.  It is LIFE!

The only real way a person can ever receive the Power of God is to develop a “Servant’s Heart” else that power would corrupt and be abused.  It seems that every time I’ve ever talked to God about “Spiritual Power” He talks to me about “Spiritual Purity.”  Every time I’ve talked to Him about a greater role in the Kingdom He talks to me about becoming more of a servant.  I’ve learned that promotion in God should only come to those with a Servant’s Heart.  A Pastor who does not have a servant’s heart will seek to develop an ecumenical hierarchy that elevates him and lowers those whom he or she is to serve.

Jesus demonstrated His willingness to serve on so many occasions but none as great as His willingness to go to the Cross for us.  He washed the disciple’s feet, cared for the masses, looked out for the poor, healed the sick, caused the blind to see, and made the lame to walk but His Sacrifice on the Cross is the ultimate demonstration of service and love!  May God help us to develop a servant’s heart so that we might be of greater and greater use in the Kingdom.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

MY MEDITATION and MY FOCUS – Part Three…


Spiritual Blog - Kingdom

Matthew 6:9-15 – “Pray, then, in this way:  

‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  10′ Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  11′ Give us this day our daily bread.  12’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 ” For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” NASU

 

What is the will of God, in heaven?  What are the conditions existing in heaven?  God does not want to make robots out of His children.  We are not pawns of His purpose but co-laborers together with Him.  He has given us the ability to choose, and in that choice, we demonstrate obedience, trust, and faith.  The Original sin is and was Disobedience or Rebellion.  We focus on the acts we call sin and develop a mentality of performance rather than relationship.  I am not suggesting that the things we call ‘sin’ are to be overlooked, excused, or justified, they are not.  They should break our hearts and we should avoid them and resist them.  However, far more impactful is our disobedience and distrust that we demonstrate when we turn to the arm of flesh, our ability, our knowledge, our talents, etc.

When we relegate God’s Promises to some other era and deny both His Power and Willingness to be, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” we hurt God’s heart.  I am sure He is grieved when we fail to trust Him, take Him at His word, and seek to implement His promises and purposes in our lives.  Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “…but with God all things are possible.”  Then in Mark 9:23 He declared, “All things are possible to him who believes.”  He gave His disciples and all believers, as is revealed in what we call the Great Commission, both Authority and Power over all the power of the devil.  If the directive or command to take the Gospel to the entire world in every generation is true, then the entire directive is valid and applicable today.  Refuse to be short-changed and refuse to allow the devil to steal a part of God’s Covenant, Promise, and Kingdom, from you today!

If we learn to live in a conscious state of awareness of Who God Is and learn to pray without ceasing and to maintain a praise in our hearts toward Him our world will be altered dramatically.  If we recognize and come to believe that it is both possible and the desire of the Father for His Kingdom (rule and reign) to be manifest and experience on earth we will view life, people, prayer, and even God differently.  No challenge will be insurmountable, and we will begin to view problems as possibilities and opportunities for God to demonstrate Who He Is to the world.  What an evangelism tool!

In that atmosphere when we ask, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We ask more than just our food and financial blessings but WHATEVER WE NEED to pursue the purposes of God.  Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4) Jesus told the disciples in John 4:34, “My meat (food) is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.”  Lord, what do I need today to fulfill your purpose for my life today?  That’s what I ask for.  I don’t ask for riches to consume upon myself.  I don’t ask for ease so I will have no opposition.  I ask for faith to believe, boldness to do, the courage to dare, and the ability to bring your presence into the lives of those I meet.

Then He addresses what many would put at the top of the list, FORGIVENESS.  I believe that one of the reasons He placed this toward the end of the prayer not at the beginning is that God wants us to learn to live with the mindset of “Being Forgiven.”  His pardon is complete, and you do not have to keep begging God to forgive what He has forgiven.  If we, believers, could learn to live with the Peace that comes with Pardon so completely that we view ourselves as He views us we would have a far greater impact on our world.  We cannot see others through God’s eyes until we see ourselves through His eyes and the grid of forgiveness.

Forgiveness, as is revealed in this prayer, is two-fold.  It is forgiveness from God, something we receive and forgiveness from us, something we give.  Give and you shall receive. Forgiveness and the awareness of that condition make the next request even more powerful to me.  “And do not lead us into temptation…”  First, God does not tempt us, but He may allow temptation to tempt us.  However, if temptation is overpowering then He provides an avenue to escape that and an open door to run to Him.  That’s where “deliver us from evil” comes into focus.  We live with a confidence that God has provided a way of deliverance and a life of victory “In His Kingdom” for us.  Don’t make that heaven or you will live a miserable life on earth.  Heaven will be victorious but the victory that we are to win and enforce is lived out here on earth, manifesting Him and doing “the works that He did.”  It is being who He says we are!

The sentence in brackets ties it all together, [For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen] Then in verse 14, He reminds us of the power of forgiveness and the danger of unforgiveness.

I am on a quest for “More of God!”  I am learning after fifty years of serving and loving Him just how Good He Is and How much He wants to bless His children.  I am learning that He not only desires but expects us to Trust and Obey Him and seek Him first and pray for His Kingdom and the manifestation of Heaven’s Atmosphere to be realized here on earth.  God is the God of the miraculous and miracles are not only benefit and blessing they are powerful tools of evangelism and weapons to ‘destroy the works of the devil.’  I want all of the devil’s works destroyed!

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him! 

 

MY MEDITATION and MY FOCUS – Part Two…


Spiritual Blog - Prayer.jpg

Matthew 6:9-15 – “Pray, then, in this way:  

‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  10′ Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  11′ Give us this day our daily bread.  12’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 ” For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” NASU

 

Yesterday we began to dive into the waters of God’s Life and I shared some of those things that have been birthed in my heart as I study this prayer.  I want to state, up front, I do not know it all, and the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know much at all.  However, I have a heart to Know Him and the more I pursue Him, the more He reveals Himself to me.  I’m sure you have realized the same thing and therefore, it is my desire to learn to live in His presence and to encourage you to do the same.

Having opened my heart to the first sentence of the prayer, “Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” I am brought to a sense of humility.  How could this God, the One True and Living God, the Creator of all things, care enough about me to invite me to come into His presence?  How could He be willing to give us His Son to redeem us?  How could He be so loving, compassionate, kind, longsuffering, forgiving, and good that He would invite us to ‘Call Upon Him?’  That is Amazing, to me!  That’s who our God Is!

Once we have recognized and revered Who He is in our prayers and engaged in the directive and patter of David and Israel in Psalm 100:4-5 we can move to petition.  I dare not just mention that Psalm without quoting it in its entirety.  “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.”  As I type I am in Awe of His Goodness and His Infinite Love, Mercy, and Grace!  He is Mighty, Sovereign and yet He loves us and enjoys our Praise!  The Bible says in Psalm 22:3 that God “Inhabits or is enthroned on the Praises of His People.”  What can I say but Hallelujah?

The petition begins both a recognition and a request.  “Your kingdom come.”  Three words linked together that reveal something incredible for mankind.  Jesus is instructing those who heard Him and all who read His directive and pattern to both recognize there is a reality called “God’s Kingdom” and that reality can be realized on earth.  Some will reject that and insist that the Kingdom is future and when we get to heaven.  If that is the case, then why would Jesus offer the next sentence?

I believe He was instructing us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come to help us understand the Will of God on earth and heaven.  I believe it is the desire of the LORD that we walk in the fullness of God’s will and purpose and that would also include His power on earth.  Jesus came, according to I John 3 to “destroy the works of the devil.”   Destroy the works of the devil regarding sin, sickness, bondage, etc.  He can to destroy the works of the devil and set man free!

What is the atmosphere of heaven?  We have sung ‘Camping in Canaan’s Land’ for decades and many have made Canaan a type of heaven, but I have long contended that is inaccurate or incomplete.  In Canaan, they had to dispossess the enemies that were occupying the Land or the Place of Promise.  In heaven, there are no enemies possessing anything.  I believe that crossing the Jordan was not talking about physical death but death to the flesh and entering Canaan was not heaven but entering into the Place of Promise.  It represents life on earth for the believer.  It represents a land flowing with milk and honey now.  It represents victorious life on earth.  It represents manifesting God’s presence in our present world.  It represents bringing the atmosphere of heaven into our surroundings and enjoying the fullness of God’s Life, Love, and Purpose.

He said, following the directive to pray for God’s Kingdom to come to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  That means involvement and co-laboring with God as well as discovering His will individually and collectively and obeying.  God’s will is not mysterious and something He hides from us and makes difficult for us to discover or discern.  What purpose would that serve Him or us?  If you tell your children or a subordinate, “I have a plan and desire for you, but I will not tell you what it is and I’m going to make it a mystery but if you don’t discover it and do it, I will punish you” what purpose would that serve?  No, you want them to know what you want and even want to share in their fulfillment of that will.  So, does the Father!

I want to stop here and discuss this more tomorrow.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will begin to give life to the seed that I’m trying to sow into your lives and in mine.  “LORD, help us to see and believe that You truly want us to experience your Kingdom on earth and want us to both know and fulfill your will and plan for our lives.”

 God bless you as you enjoy this beautiful day in Him!

MY MEDITATION and MY FOCUS…


Spiritual Blog - Meditation

Matthew 6:9-15 – “Pray, then, in this way: 

‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  10′ Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  11′ Give us this day our daily bread.  12’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

 14 ” For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” NASU

My heart has been drawn to this prayer repeatedly over the past few months and I will share my musing, mediation, and focus with you.  If it is a blessing to you I am thrilled, if not it may give you some idea how to pray for me.  Either way, good will be done and hopefully the Kingdom and you will benefit.

Jesus said, “Pray, then, in this way…”  I am fully convinced that our LORD was not offering a formula or a rigid step by step prayer but a direction of prayer with certain key elements of focus.  If Jesus is our pattern, and I believe He is, then for me to grasp the fullness of this directive I must examine His prayer life.  I won’t go into what I have seen there, in detail but suggest that His focus was always on the Father and His Will.  His focus was always on the Kingdom and its manifestation.  His focus was always on man and his need.  In short, the prayers of Jesus were seldom focused on Him, even in the Garden when He said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) His prayer was on the desire and objective of the Father which was on man, the creation of God and our redemption.

When I read, meditate on, and consider the first line of the prayer I am overwhelmed.  We are told to pray “Our Father…”  Not my Father but our Father.  This, I believe is a subtle reminder that we are not islands to ourselves but part of the Family of God and members of the Body of Christ.  We are ‘living stones’ being fitted and framed together into the Building or House of God.  We are His manifestations to the world and we work together and need each other.  We are not to be exclusionist, isolationist, or individualists but Body Parts each needing something from and offering something to the other parts.  In a sense, it is Body Life.

‘Our Father’ also brings to mind the sovereignty of God.  He is our Father!  A father sires’ children, else he would not be a father.  He is God and we are His creatures.  His creation.  His offspring.  I love what I heard another preacher say, “God has no grandchildren, only children.”  He is Our Father which speaks to a personal relationship available to us and enjoyed by us.  No wonder the Bible in Romans 8:14-16 reveals the picture and gives the reality of our relationship in which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  The Holy Spirit births in our hearts that we are Children of God, heirs of God, and joint or fellow heirs with Jesus!  He is Father!  He is God!  He is Creator!  He is Almighty!

Then, I am melted even more when I consider the next phrase, “…who art or who is in heaven.”  God reigns in heaven!  That speaks of His sovereignty and His domain or Kingdom.  Heaven is far more than simply a place we go when we die, it is the center of God’s Domain and the Capitol of His Kingdom.  It is not a place of escape from the cares, trials, and tribulations of this life and a place where we are shielded from the devil’s evil works.  It is the Abode of God and where His Kingdom and Authority are fully and completely manifest and demonstrated.  He identifies that He has a Kingdom before He directs us to pray regarding that Kingdom.  What is the atmosphere of heaven?  What is present and absent in heaven?  Let that get deep into your spirits and I believe it will explode into a revelation and impart a dream that will totally transform your thinking, ministry, life, and view of the present and eternity.

‘Hallowed by Your name.’  The word hallowed in virtually any dictionary and with any definition will use words like, “made or make holy, concentrated, greatly revered, and honored.”  It is giving honor to God and it is an expression of our recognition of Who He Is!  We cannot make Him Holy, He is Holy.  We can, however, revere Him and express our reverence to Him.  It is far more about doing something in us that in Him when we “Hallow His Name!”  Worship brings about a sense and state of humility that can be experienced in no other way.  Praise ignites a fire inside our hearts, minds, and spirits that causes all impurities to rise to the surface and allows the Holy Spirit to skim them off and purify us.  This beginning recognition of Who God is and our active investment in Praising and Worshiping Him sets the stage for the prayer and what ensues in the answer to that prayer.

For the sake of time and space, I will pause and hope you will join me again tomorrow as I share my meditation and focus through studying the prayer listed in Matthew 6.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will being to birth something new in you and create a hunger that can only be satisfied by pressing in and crying “More LORD!  More of You!” 

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

 

 

 

WHY NOT NOW? WHY NOT TODAY?


Spiritual Blog - Why Not

Mark 16:14-20 – “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, ” Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  16 ” He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.  17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  

19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.”  NASU

Why do we live, as one preacher said, “Unbelieving Believers?”  That might sound a bit confusing but what he was talking about was people, in Church, and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, sometimes believe for salvation but not any of the other promises of God, especially miracles, signs, and wonders.  Most Christians that I talk to pray for God’s miraculous but many of them do not really expect it to happen and if God does something supernatural they are surprised.  I’m not trying to elevate myself or put down any other believer, we are all living in the understanding we have and have developed our belief systems largely by the influence of whatever doctrinal views to which we have been taught or exposed.  I am simply asking, IF and that is the issue that must be settled in our hearts.  If Hebrews 13:8 is true and Jesus is the same, past, present, and future then “Why not now?  Why not today?”

I always ask people to hear the conclusion of the whole matter before throwing away a presentation or dismissing a position.  I encourage people to be like the Bereans and ‘search the scriptures’ to see if the position or presentation is true.  I also encourage you to be completely open and honest with scripture rather than filtering everything through your present doctrinal dogma.  You may be right, and you may be wrong.  You may have complete understanding and there might be something in which your understanding is incomplete.  That’s not easy for most to acknowledge but is a path that I’ve been on for several decades.  I want Truth and I want God.  I want to live in His Presence now and experience as much of His fullness as I can stand.

If Hebrews 8:6 is true and Jesus is truly the mediator of a Better Covenant, which has been enacted and established on Better Promises I ask, “Why Not Now?”  If Isaiah 55:11 is true and the Word which goes forth from God’s mouth, and I believe the Bible is just that, God’s word; and that word does not return to Him empty but accomplishes He desire, then “Why Not Today?”  If what Jesus declared in Matthew 19 is true and All Things Are Possible with God and His declaration in Mark 9:23 that All Things are Possible to those who Believe, then “Why Not Now?”

If the commission of Matthew 10 can be carried forth and applied to All Believers that our commission is to go and take the Gospel to the world, heal the sick, and even raise the dead, then “Why Not Today?”  I believe that according to Matthew 28 and Mark 16 the commission is to each of us who believe.  How do we contend that it is only to preach the Gospel but not the rest of the provisions and promises of God?  If in the Old Covenant there was healing, economic blessing, deliverance, guidance, protection, etc. how is it a Better Covenant with Better Promises if we do not enjoy the full benefits of His New Covenant.  Consider Isaiah 53’s description of the Atonement and 1 Peter 2:24’s reflection to that occurrence.  Look at the directive of Praying for the Sick in James 5, and the report of Mark 16 that God confirmed the Word, not the individuals, with ‘signs and wonders following’. 

If John 15:7 is to be deemed true and applicable for believers in all generations, and I believe it is, then we have the promise that if we abide in Him we can ask regarding anything and expect to receive the petition.  We dare not ignore the warning of James 4:3 that if we are asking but not receiving the cause could be because of wrong motives and a wrong heart.  Not because God does not desire to bless His children and provide for them whatever they need and even grant their desires.  Desires that reach for Him and seek to advance His Kingdom on this earth.

We should not forget the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:33 to “Seek First the Kingdom and Righteousness of God.”  We should not forget the directive of what is called the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 seeking for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Our hearts should be God first, God second, and God third and when we seek Him with a whole heart, he will guide our paths and all the things we need in life are part of His covenantal provision in the New Covenant.

I totally agree that the greatest need of any person is JESUS!  It is Salvation, the forgiveness of our sins.  It is being born again and being adopted into the family of God.  However, I also believe that God is concerned about every detail of our lives and that His repeated directives to seek Him, pray for the miraculous, and seek His Kingdom and will on earth are not pie in the sky for the sweet by and by carrots dangled in front of our faces.  God is not that kind of God.  If He tells us to pray for something, He wants to grant it.  If He says we have authority over all the power of the enemy, we have it and need to learn to live in it.  If He says, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us, we can.  If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever then whatever He once did, He can and wants to do today.  He has not changed and His desire to provide for us has not changed.

I conclude with Ephesians 4:11-13.   “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as  evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”    Why?  To equip us for service and to build us up in Him.  How Long?  UNTIL.  Until we all attain the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God and spiritual maturity (Fullness in Christ Jesus).  Have we achieved those?  Then I suggest they are still available for today and God wants to confirm His word with signs and wonders in our lives and equip us to reach the lost, minister to the hurting and set the captives free as Jesus declared when He quoted Isaiah in Luke 4:18-19.

For me personally, the cry of my heart is “More Lord!  More of You Lord!  Help me to take up residence in Your Presence and learn to fully trust You and live fully obedient to you!”  I am not seeking to stir up controversy or cause anyone to feel that I’m questioning your love for, or relationship with Jesus, simply I hope to encourage us to seek All That He Is and Receive All That He Has TODAY!

God bless you as you enjoy your journey in Him!

ACCORDING TO HIS WILL…


Spiritual Blog - His Will

1 John 5:13-15 – “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”  NASU

There have been many times in my life and in ministry that I have prayed for something that did not happen.  I wish I could say, there have been a few times, but many is a far more honest and factual statement.  I cannot explain how God works in all things, but the bedrock conviction of my heart is that “God is Good and Good All the Time!”  It is also my conviction that God’s Promises are absolute and His desire to bless His children is immeasurable.  His Love is Unconditional and Everlasting!  He is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to eternal life.  However, I cannot ignore the fact that there are those who perish and do not enter into eternal life through Salvation.

That brings me to the point of this devotional, “according to His will…”  This passage is a promise and a directive for believers in our prayer lives and in our expectation.  One of the stated objectives is to give us confidence before Him.  It also expresses that we are not to come before Him with doubt, fear, trepidation, and simply human hope that maybe, just maybe He will do what we desire.  It is designed to give us confidence and, if you will, a boldness.  The writer of Hebrews addressed this in 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”  The KJV translated the word “boldly.” 

Grace to help in the time of need is not simply offering us comfort so we can manage our difficulty and cope with the problem.  Grace, as used in most places in Scripture, is not just favor and that unmerited, but ‘divine enablement’ to do.  Isaiah 61:1 informs us that the Spirit of the Lord God is upon Jesus (us too because we are one with Him and in Him) BECAUSE of the anointing.  The Anointing was for a purpose, not a feeling or even to endorse the person but for purpose or ministry.  God has purposed for us and given us both authority (exousia) and power (dunamis) over all the power, authority, and ability of the devil.

When Jesus sent out the twelve one of the commands He gave them was in Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.”  He did not say, “Go pray for them but heal them.”  In our text passage, John reminds us of the Promises of God and the extent of those promises.  John 14:13-14 are powerful planks in our belief platform for it is there that we find the words of our Lord, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14 If you ask ANYTHING in My name, I will do it.”  (emphasis mine).

How do we know the will of God?  The first and foremost source of discovery is the Word of God. What did He say?  What did He promise?  What did He do while on earth?  What did He direct His followers to do?  Those will give exposure to His Purposes and His Will.  If we construct all our prayers with “if it be thy will” we will open the door to defeat, doubt, and disappointment.  Of course, we want His will to be done, but if His word indicates something is His will to pray that is to cast doubt on His Goodness, Faithfulness, Truthfulness, and Power.  I am not suggesting presumptuousness but simple Confidence in His Promises and His Pattern.

When we pray according to the will of God, this promises says that no matter what we request, we know that we know that we know the prayer is heard.  If the prayer is heard, this promise is that the request is granted.  There is no maybe there!  There is no attempt to be humble and pious, there is simple confidence that is expressed in Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”  This is anchored in Isaiah 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Virtually all Christians believe God can.  Unfortunately, too many believe that He has stopped doing some things.   Some believe that God could if He wanted to but for some reason, He does not want to do what He promised and fulfill His covenant.  If Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and He is.  Then, I would contend that if He identified something in His word, His work, His walk as being His will why would we not expect Him to do the same today?

If the Promises of Jesus in Luke 12:22-32 are true, and if verse 32 can be deemed valid then it is God’s desire and pleasure to “Give us the kingdom.”  That makes me want to shout and I say AMEN!  So be it, LORD!  Let it happen.  Connect that to the Prayer of Matthew 6, the Lord’s Prayer where He instructs us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and your expectation level should rise and thereby your faith level and your confidence in Him and His Promises soar to new heights!

I am hungry for God!  I have served Him for 50 years and have seen His hand move powerfully in many situations including my own life in miracles and yet today, I cry “More, Lord!  More of You!”  Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.  Get Hungry my friends, get hungry!

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!