“But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the Holy Spirit of God really dwells within you to direct and control you. But if anyone does not possess the Holy Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]” ~ Romans 8:9, AMPC.
When we truly belong to God, Galatians 2:20 tells us “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. He does that by the power of the Spirit working in us to make us more Christlike (godly), more what God intended from the beginning of creation when He made man and woman to bear His image. The Holy Spirit moves in to direct our lives to bear His image, but He will not force us to follow His dictates. We still have choice. By choice, we must choose to surrender our fleshly ways in order to lay hold of and possess the Spirit within who instructs and empowers us to live God’s way.
One passage that tells us what that looks like is Galatians 5:22-23, where we are told the fruit born in us, as we possess the Spirit through surrender to His lead: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. One example of our possessing the Spirit is in our love walk. Through scripture, we learn that God is love. His love is not dictated by how happy He is with our behavior, but it is dictated by who He is: He is love. Though we fail Him, His love toward us continues, because He is faithful and He cannot deny Himself (1 John 4:8; Romans 8:31-39; 2 Timothy 1:13).
As we possess the Spirit of God, who brings His image to us and empowers us to possess His nature, we too will love because we are as He is: love. Scripture teaches us how to possess this love through a few “Let love” passages, love being one flavor of the fruit born out of one who possess the Spirit of God and is possessed by Him.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good” ~ Romans 12:9, NASB.
This verse, to me, speaks the call of God for our love to be like His, not dictated by the actions of others, but dictated by our possession of His Spirit, as we allow the fruit of His Spirit to grow strong in us.
“Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1, NLT.
To love as God loves is the greatest goal we can have, empowering us to deny self and serve others’ needs without hypocrisy. One teaching on Galatians 5:22-23 says that love and self-control are bookends that hold all the other flavors of the fruit of the Spirit in place. Without love as God loves and without self-control, we cannot truly possess joy or peace, as every evil that strains love and self-control will rob us of it. We cannot practice patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, or gentleness without a love like God’s love that, by self-control, denies self and chooses to practice these glorious attributes toward others, even when they are not being as we think they should be toward us. Love with self-control as powered by the Holy Spirit fully possessed in us, enables us to maintain joy and peace while continuing to minister patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness to others, even when they struggle to do the same in return.
“Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]” Hebrews 13:1, AMP.
God is love and He requires us to love others in likeness to Him. For us to truly accomplish that goal, we must deny self, possess the Holy Spirit of God, and cooperate with Him in bearing the fruit that proves He lives in us with full authority. That authority is twofold: God saying, “Yes, that is my child. Fill them to overflowing, pouring Yourself through them”; us saying, “Yes, I choose God through Jesus and surrender to Him. Fill me. Be mine, and make me His. Empower me to bear His image by pouring Yourself through me.”
Whether by way of practicing and possessing the fruit of God’s Spirit in us, or the gifting He gives for our service and ministry, our unity with the Spirit of God is vital. That unity is a symbiosis, us possessing Him who possesses us. He will not force on us His right over us, but He will fully fill and spill Himself out of one willing vessel, ready to possess all He has to pour through us.
“So it is with yourselves; since you are so eager and ambitious to possess spiritual endowments and manifestations of the Holy Spirit, concentrate on striving to excel and to abound in them in ways that will build up the church” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:12, AMPC.
(NOTE: My husband’s chemo finished, we are recuperating and getting back into a more routine life. Hopefully I can get back to a regular posting here as we do. Thank you for hanging in with me. BLESSings, Darlene)
God desires unity for His people, that we may be one as He is One. Our flesh, the ways of this world and demonic influences constantly work against that unity, seeking to destroy the work of God in and through us. The Apostle Paul calls the solution to our relationship issues, the “still more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:11), the way that fulfills the law of God (Romans 13:8). Last post, we left our series with the following thought:
“But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” ~ Ephesians 4:15.
Realizing and walking in the truth brings healing to one’s own life and makes us more like Christ. Walking in truth accomplishes His work in our situations.
Series on topics like this are difficult to address as we don’t always like seeing the truth about ourselves. We live in a day when many focus on God’s love and grace to the point that we tend to shun any words used of the Spirit to point to sin issues in need of change. This series is disciplining me on my own issues seen in the course of the study, but the blessing of coming into agreement with God in a way that helps me adjust to Him far outweighs the struggle. When my struggle helps others in the process, that fruit born in others is glorious!
Controversy between people is like the old quarters with the gold colored strip in the center. There are two sides to every situation between two people. The truth is in the gold strip between them, found only in seeking God, who knows the heart of each involved. He faithfully leads us to know our habitual responses that promote separation. He helps us to work our way to the gold strip where unity and peace reside. I am thankful for the truth God is teaching me about myself in this series; and I am watching for His word to come to pass that He highlighted for me in promise for the produce of this series:
“This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” ~ Psalm 102:18.
I read this promise and I see families, friendships, and churches working their way to healing that will have an effect on future generations, leading to their worship of God. Thus, we continue today to our conclusion.
Have you read the scripture that talks of iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17)? When we have a habitual sin that causes trouble and separates us from God, as well as from others, God often puts people in our lives that rub that area raw. His purpose is to help us let go of old ways of the flesh and walk in the new, testing / proving our obedience. The question is, will we realize God’s purpose and cooperate with His Spirit in taking off the old to dawn the new?
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart” ~ 1 Peter 1:22.
Truth purifies the soul, making us fertile soil for God’s love to produce a crop through us. There are two things I find God constantly working on me to accomplish: one is my ability to forgive as He forgives. The other is my ability to love as He loves.
The ability to forgive is vital to a love relationship that lasts. Forgiveness must be from the heart as God forgives. God, our example, taught me long ago to forgive “for my own sake” as He does (Isaiah 43:25 Note that Israel was unrepentant when God professed His grace toward them).
The purpose of choosing forgiveness “for my own sake” is so we can move on in life, be all God desires, accomplishing His work as one who is truly able to love even those who hurt us. Our choosing to forgive protects from bitterness, anger, and other emotional snares that hinder love, destroy relationship with God and people, and rob of effectiveness in ministry.
God is our hope and help in every relationship issue. He desires our unity, especially with those who are brothers and sisters with us in Christ. Our true enemy is our own sin nature that opens us to the influence of demons and principalities that work against God, separating brothers, and destroying our witness as God’s people.
In any discord between people of God, we see that battle continue when we fail to realize the true enemy and wind up fighting against each other. The enemy of our soul realizes our fleshly impulses that lead to discord and makes sure, when relationship issues come, our minds keep returning to “what they did to me.” Therefore, when we have a habit that makes us vulnerable to God’s enemy, God puts iron in life to sharpen and hone our character.
The love God calls each to possess as His child is a type we can freely give even to those we struggle to get along with. That love desires what is best for those we love, seeking to help them achieve all the great potential God places within them, leading them to God, and encouraging them to come up higher in Christlikeness. That love is unconditional: not hindered or harmed by insult. It is also incorruptible: it does not act unbecomingly toward the object of love, nor lead the one loved into sin. The very heart of a factious nature seeks to lead others to disunity for ungodly reasons that oppose love.
The love God calls us to possess in likeness to Him does not keep a count of all we believe a person has done to hurt us, bringing that back into play every time a new situation arises. Love, coupled with forgiveness given for one’s own sake, deals with the situation at hand, puts it to rest (RIP), and wipes the slate clean. This is healing, and this series pictures a love-walk God can use for His glory.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” ~ Jude 1:24-25.
“[As for] a man who is factious [a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions], after admonishing him a first and second time, reject [him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him]” ~ Titus 3:10, AMP.
Answering the question, what do we do about a person that we love when a factious mindset threatens the relationship? How can we reject a contentious, divisive fellowship without leaving the relationship? To answer that, I think of the things God taught me over many years of dealing with my sweet daddy.
In his later years, my daddy suffered depression and paranoia common to aging. He was hard of hearing and often misheard or misinterpreted things. That fed his paranoia, leading to discord with family members. His actions and attitudes became factious, as he freely shared his beliefs about “what people are doing to me”, based on his misunderstanding of truth. There was no consoling him, and no changing his mind about the things he believed. It was very difficult some days to be around him. But I love my daddy, who is now with the Lord, and through that time of dealing with him, God taught me another way to reject the factious fellowship.
- First, realize the truth of the person’s mental, physical, and emotional state. What is going on in their life that is wearing them down? What is going on that may have them constantly meditating on the false information, further feeding the falsehood? Put yourself in their shoes and get a little compassion flowing toward them.
- Try to speak truth to the situation if you know it, in an effort to console, impart wisdom, and give peace, with hope of correcting the misunderstanding. Point to God’s ability to reveal truth and heal the situation.
- If they will not be consoled, try to change the subject.
- If they keep returning to their complaint and you cannot get them off the subject, excuse yourself with promise to return another day.
- Do not participate in a lie that is feeding discord. We tend to want to let one sharing their contentions have their way and pretend to agree with them hoping they will go on to some other topic of discussion: I.e., saying, “Yeah, that was horrible for them to do that,” when we know the other person did not do the stated deed. That just gives fuel for a factious spirit to use in breeding more discord.
Dealing with people in my dad’s situation, where they truly do not realize what they are doing and the harm it is bringing to relationships can be difficult. Those who do not have a mental issue causing them to behave factiously can be even harder to cope with; but if you want to maintain relationship without taking part in the divisive misinformation, knowing when to leave the conversation and change the subject is crucial.
So is watching oneself to be sure you are not inadvertently adding to the problem by talking with others about the situation with your loved one, inadvertently participating in the battle with a factious spirit of your own. In another situation where a person would not believe I did not do the thing accused of, they shut me out of their life. In my own hurt, when people would ask me how that person was doing, I would respond, “I don’t know.” Dependent on who it was, I would tell why I did not know, “They believe I did something I did not do and have shut me out of their life.” Then one day God inspired my heart to quit telling people about the other person’s insult to my heart or talking about the problem. He instructed that in doing so, I was hurting their reputation and relationship with others, and the reliving of the account was keeping the scab ripped off my own wounds. Following God’s instruction freed me to work toward loving that person anyway.
In another situation, I thought the other party was hearing me incorrectly. Then I realized that I said just what they said I did. With that revelation, it was time for a very sincere and heart-felt apology, first to God, and then to them. God reveals the truth. When He does, we must be ready to deal with it appropriately so that healing and restoration can begin.
Beloved, in whatever situation you find yourself, seek the wisdom of the Lord in dealing with it. Find truth as God sees it. Realize people’s life situation and their tendency to return to old coping mechanisms when wounded. Give yourself that same courtesy, realizing that we learn coping mechanisms over time, and may be walking in old ways that fail to glorify God. Find the truth as God reveals it and walk in the fellowship of His light, learning new ways of coping and dealing with such trouble. Be a peacemaker where you can, shining the light on God and His word, coming into agreement with Him. And most importantly, remember, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8).
“Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]” ~ 1 Peter 4:8, AMP.
“The Lord, the Mighty One, is God! The Lord, the Mighty One, is God! He knows the truth, and may (God’s people) know it, too! …” Joshua 22:22, NLT (author’s translation).
“Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned” ~ Titus 3:10-11 (read verses 1-11).
Factions form around controversy. It is human nature to pick a side and stand on it.
There are situations in which God calls His people to separate themselves from others. Jesus said in His prayer in John 17 that we are to be a people who, though we live in the world, we are not of its mindset and ways. There is to be a difference seen in us from that of the world around us. As Christians, God calls us to represent His interests, standing on His side of every issue. So, factions form because of sin that stands in opposition to God, but we are not to be a factious people. What is the difference? I believe it is a heart issue.
We have all had times when misunderstanding, hurt feelings, disagreement, etc., causes a problem between one and another. What, in such times, reveals a “factious man”? God is showing me a vital, defining characteristic of someone who is taking actions in a factious spirit or mindset. The realization God is leading me to causes me to evaluate my own reasons for mentioning a controversy to parties who are not part of the situation. We do it for affirmation, wanting others to approve us and disapprove the opposing side.
As people, we often need affirmation. Seeking affirmation from any but God, however innocently, can often lead to fractured relationships. The factious spirit begins by leading a person’s heart and mind to want others to tell them that they are right, and the other side is wrong. The problem is that, when we do that, we put the people we call on for affirmation in the position of feeling they have to pick a side. Only God truly knows all sides and only He can reveal the righteous stance.
When lack of peaceful relations and discord come, seldom are any fully standing with God in the controversy. Asking other people to tell us what only God can know places them in a position of possibly lying to us about what they truly think as they try to placate and pacify our need for affirmation. When they do take our side, we cause a breach in their relationship with the other party. Even if they don’t pick a side, it can still fracture their relationships with the parties involved as they try to avoid them so they are not dragged into the war.
God’s Word encourages us to seek sound counsel and to comfort one another. Sharing controversy with those goals as the heart of our desire is good. However, a teachable spirit must accompany our seeking of counsel and comfort: we must possess a heart to receive instruction, and walk in the sound counsel and comfort given. Also, we must take care that the person we share with is able to give the comfort and counsel without feeling they must choose a side in the controversy.
Today I present the subject matter, the factious spirit that seeks to separates friends and family, causing a breach that puts all in danger of a fall. Over the next several posts, we will cover things God is revealing we must do to counter and protect against a factious stronghold coming between us in an ungodly way.
“But He knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls’” ~ Luke 11:17.
Yesterday morning, I had a vision that I believe to be from God. Lying in bed, hoping to go back to sleep, eyes closed, in that darkness I clearly see our bedroom filling with white smoke. Immediately following my asking the Lord, “What’s going on?” two angels step into the smoke and lift holy hands to God. I cannot hear what they are saying, but I sense worship in the air and step forward, joining the angel’s song. As I do, the image changes. I see many scenes of people all over the world, running in a panic from something. I get the strong sense that whatever is causing the fear and panic is allowed or sent by God. My heart of worship continues and the vision ends.
Last night, thinking on the vision from yesterday morning, I sought God for greater revelation. As I considered the scene of the Angel’s song, God pointed my heart to the position from and to which all occurred. Noting the position of things, I recognized the smoke, coming from the west, is the sacrifice of praise and worship coming from God’s people. The Angels came up into that worship from the southeast and turned to face due east. All the hosts of God’s creation who believe in and seek Him, were watching for and working to be ready for the King’s arrival.
I said above that I stepped forward to join the Angel’s song. I did not see myself do that. I was not seen in the vision, I was part of it, physically joining in the worship going on. It was a heart movement as I mentally and emotionally turned my focus to the East and began to worship God with full control of my very alert faculties.
As soon as I did that, the scene literally swiped away from the southeast where the Angels came from, to the northwest, being replaced as if seeing the screen of a video swiping up to replace the view of those worshiping God, changing to many scenes in a collage of views from everywhere on the earth.
The first, most evident scene was a woman, climbing a big hill or mountain covered with huge boulders, panic stricken, moving north. The next was a couple in a well-groomed, middle class neighborhood, running in a panic, the man looking over his shoulder to the west where the worship was coming from, dragging behind a woman with a panicked expression. Another had city skyscrapers surrounding many people on the run, with all I can recall seeing looking back as if to escape some approaching enemy, having facial expressions of panic. I vaguely remember scenes including a Japanese style building (a pagoda and huts), forest or wooded areas, and there was more my mind could not focus on before the vision quit.
God told me yesterday that the meaning of the vision would be found in my next portion of scripture reading. I finally got to focus on my reading last night, which was 2 Thessalonians. There, in chapter 1, verses 3-10, God reveals it.
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD AND FROM THE GLORY OF HIS POWER, WHEN HE COMES TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS ON THAT DAY, AND TO BE MARVELED AT AMONG ALL WHO HAVE BELIEVED—FOR OUR TESTIMONY TO YOU WAS BELIEVED” ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10.
Those who believe God run to Him in every avenue of life, their very being expressive of the true worship of God. Those who do not believe God run from any evidence of His presence and fight against the knowledge of God that makes Him evident.
I believe God is calling all who truly seek Him with a whole heart, desiring and recognizing His presence, to be more overt in our worship of Him in every way that the Scriptures reveal to be the true and evident heart of worship (1). Every part of our being must seek to possess and remain in the presence of the Lord through a holy life that truly and sincerely worships and honors Him as Lord. Those who do not want to know His presence will flee from us because they recognize and do not want the presence of the Lord. We are not to turn from worshipping God, as man pleasers, but as God-seekers, our focus is to be on the presence and power of our soon returning King.
Every act of our worship reaches out to Him as the savory aroma of the sacrifice of praise. Glorify the Lord with every breath, for the day of His return is nigh (very near to us, quickly approaching).
A few passages that instruct in the true worship seen in the saints of God: Isaiah 58; John 4:22-24; Romans 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Philippians 3 (esp. AMPCL).
Reading Genesis 11, the story of Babel, I note anew the reasoning of the people as they plan to build and the rebellion against God found there. In verse 4, the people proclaim:
“Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Here they are talking about pooling their resources together to build a permanent residence where they can dwell under one name and stop roaming over the earth. They refused to scatter over the whole earth, choosing instead to become great as one people under one name. This is rebellion against God who told Adam, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]…” ~ Genesis 1:28, AMP.
God repeated this command with Noah, “And GOD pronounced a blessing upon Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’” ~ Genesis 9:1.
These people refused the will of God, deciding instead to set themselves up in one place, become great in stature together, and stand deliberately against the call to scatter over the earth, subduing it and making full use of its resources. In God’s response to this rebellion, we see Him doing what it takes to force the hand of the people and set them back on the path He laid out for them.
“And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city. Therefore the name of it was called Babel—because there the Lord confounded the language of all the earth; and from that place the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” ~ Genesis 11:6-9, AMP.
Beloved, God has a plan and a purpose for each of us on the path of life. Part of that plan, the key piece, is that we rely on and seek after Him and His will first, desiring Him above all, and fulfilling His purpose. Anytime we choose self-reliance over trust in Him, we leave the path of God’s desire for us, and fail to fulfill His purpose. God cannot let that stand. He must act as God and be God in the situation; and He is not above doing whatever it takes to set our feet on the path of His choosing.
Is there a difficulty in your life that has you stumbling about in confusion, frustrating your efforts to do what you want? Stop and seek the Lord to discern where you are on the path of life. Are you with the Lord on the path of His choosing? Then fear not. The trouble has a purpose and God has a plan and provision for dealing with it. Have you deliberately walked away from God, going your own way in your own strength to do your own thing? God does not leave us, but we can walk away from Him through rebellion that sets us on a path He cannot allow to succeed.
Holy Habitation with God requires that we get our bearings lined up with His as His people, called by His name, so we are on the path to fulfilling His purpose for us. Take a moment right now to check your position. Are you with God on the path, or have you slipped away?
“He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:6-10.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” ~ Romans 8:28.
Who of God’s people have not had opportunity to trust the promise of God that He will turn our troubles to a good purpose? The question is, do we have the right to claim this promise?
John Piper, in his revised version of “Future Grace” points out that many of God’s promises to us are conditional. This is one such promise. God does work all things together for good, conditionally, “to those who love God” and “to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Qualification 1) God works all things to good “for those who love God.”
This love we are to have for God, 1) holds love for Him first above all else; 2) proves itself through obedience; and 3) is incorruptible.
We are called to love God first, above all else. My husband knows there is only One I love more than I love him, and that is God. God gets my first and best. Without this, I cannot truly love, nor can I do any good, for God is love, and He alone is good. Only in abiding relationship with Him can I hope to love as He loves or do any good thing. God is the source of true love and we can only accomplish the truly good with His power supplying. That is a good thing for my husband, because, as I keep God first in my affections, then my love for him flows out of my love for God. If we have anything positioned in our life above God, we fail to love God in a way that causes Him to work His good in our lives.
Jesus made it clear that proof of our love for God is seen in our obedience to follow Christ (John 14:15, 23-24; 15:10), practicing the obedience He exhibited as example for us (John 5:19; 5:30; 8:28; 8:42; 10:18; 12:49; 14:10; 16:13; Galatians 2:20). We prove our love for God through our obedience in following Him above all others. A love that keeps God first and obeys Him at all cost is incorruptible and everlasting, not falling away to falsehood or any evil thing. God knows those who love Him in this way will continue to love Him despite every difficulty. He knows they will seek to have His viewpoint for every situation they face in life and that they will watch for the good God chooses to do through those circumstances. He knows they trust Him because they love Him and they know His love always does what is best. So their love remains steadfast even when the outcome of life’s challenges takes turns they may not see as a good thing at the time.
Qualification 2) God works all things out to a good conclusion for “those who are called according to His purpose.”
If we choose to do something God does not call us to do, He is not obligated to work good out of it; thus it is vital that all we do be done in and by the calling and equipping of God. To do less means we do so in our own strength, which will fail us. Doing something even if called to it, but going outside God’s purpose and plan for us, thus walking in disobedience, nullifies His obligation to work good out of our circumstances. Loving obedience within the confines of God’s call to and equipping for us is required if we are to see the promised good from God that this Romans 8:28 promise of God holds for us.
I don’t know if you have ever been on a mission trip, but there are several things I find common to those who go in the calling and equipping of God. Great strength pours through the body of one who goes in the will of God, having God as first love. That power pours forth to accomplish great things, from reaching the masses with the gospel message and love of Christ, to ministering to the physical, spiritual, mental, and social needs of the masses. We often see the miraculous as God’s power pours forth through us, granting us the privilege of experiencing Him as His instrument in ministry. Then we get home and that anointing of His power for that specific time and purpose lifts. Strength seems sapped because that power is not as evident as when on the field for a season of ministry. At the same time, the joy and excitement of the experience spurs the desire for more of the same on the home front.
I believe the disciples, in our Mark 9:14-29 passage for this series, were in this post mission exuberance. They wanted to be God’s instrument for healing the boy, but their faith was resting on their past experience of God’s calling and equipping. They failed to seek God out of love for Him, entering into His equipping for this opportunity in front of them. They were not moving out of the calling and equipping of God, but out of their desire to do the miraculous. They fell to loving the experience of His power instead of truly loving Him, and out of that love, letting His power have control. They came off the mission field too big for their britches, forgot their first love, and found they had only a little power, which proved to be insufficient for the need.
For God to fulfill His promise of working His good into our lives, we must have hearts attuned to Him as our first love: our most vital need and necessity for life. We must also walk in the calling and equipping of God for current situations, with faith firmly resting in what He can and will do through us and for us. Anything less and the good of God may not reach us, His obligation to act on our behalf voided by our failure to fulfill His will through obedience that keeps Him first in our affections.
Listening prayer is a lifestyle of ceaseless communication with God; making every step and every breath an act of obedience flowing from a living and active relationship with Him as our Lord, our very breath of life. This lifestyle is vital to our function in this age in which we live and to our ability to overcome the challenges of a world that is daily moving farther from Him. In closing out this focus today, I am reminded of the purpose and goal of such a vital, God-breathed lifestyle of prayer.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6.
The goal and purpose of listening prayer is to make all our being and all we do and think acknowledge God as Lord, knowing that He is our first and most vital need. He is our Treasure: our eternal Inheritance. To be still within, lifting every breath to Him, the One in whom we place our trust, acknowledges His right as God over us, and our need of Him in all our ways. Here in Proverbs, God promises that, as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will make our paths straight.
As I read this proverbs passage today, I found myself praying for God to reveal anything at the heart of my life that fails to acknowledge Him as Lord; anything hindering my seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Shortly after that prayer, a book I am reading led me to Deuteronomy:
“The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” ~ Deuteronomy 30:6.
Circumcising the heart is the removal of all that separates us from complete allegiance to and relationship with God. God reveals the things we lean on or want more than we do Him, and He begins the work of removing from our lives all that hinders our relationship with Him. Some things God graciously removes with hardly any notice of it or work on our part. We just suddenly lose all desire for that thing that interfered with our communion with our Beloved. However, there are some things where God will reveal the interfering offender and then tell us, “Circumcise your heart” (Deuteronomy 10:12-21 *vs. 16). Some things God requires us to do the work; He wants us to choose Him as much as He chooses us.
God holds us as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). He loves us so much that He made a way for us to have relationship with Him by sacrificing His Son on our behalf (John 3:16). God’s desire is for us, not wanting ANY to perish, but ALL to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Repentance means to let go of one’s own way, aligning self with God and His ways, so that we walk beside Him in unity of mind and heart, fulfilling His purpose and plan. That requires us to love and desire Him as He does us.
The question is, do we hold Him as the apple of our eye – the center, most prominent treasure we seek to obtain and hold dearest to our heart when possessed? Do we desire relationship with Him so much that we willingly deny ourselves, and, taking up our cross of self-sacrifice daily, determine to follow Him at all cost (Luke 9:23, see AMPC)? Do we truly see God in all His triune essence as our first, most vital need and necessity, so that we choose Him above all else?
The goal and purpose of this call of God for us is that we may grow to love Him and desire Him above all else, fully possessing the eternal relationship He purchased for us. The love He calls us to grow in our possession of as we practice a living, life-giving, listening-prayer life that fully relates with and works alongside Him is best expressed in these words of Paul:
“Grace (God’s undeserved favor) be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and INCORRUPTIBLE LOVE” ~ Ephesians 6:24, AMPC.
Loving God with a love so strong and sure, eternally binds us to Him. Nothing can draw us away from relationship with Him, corrupting our walk, when we come fully into this living, breathing walk of love with Him.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.
“But when the Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes from the Father, He, Himself will testify regarding Me” ~ John 15:26, AB Classic.
Yesterday we covered the provision of God found in His Spirit, that His Spirit is the teacher, equipping us to know and understand the truth of God and His word. He empowers us to discern God’s will and way so we can pray in agreement with God’s opinion. Now, John 15:26 in the classic Amplified Version of scripture adds to our understanding of the work of the Spirt.
God’s Spirit is in us, living in us on behalf of Father and Son, being for us the Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Strengthener, and the Stand-by-you Presence of God Himself with us. God, in His Spirit, comforts us in our sorrows and counsels us on our path, which implies a form of clear communication. He helps us through equipping, strengthening, and providing our every true need; and walks with us, always near at hand as we travel through this life, which implies some ability to realize His reality. I have experienced all of these works of God’s Spirit in life, but most recently, the work of God’s Presence as Advocate. It was amazing as I prayed what to do about the situation, the Spirit advised, “Be still. I’ve got this.” Very quickly I heard back from the person expressing their realization of truth. Problem solved, and I did not have to say a word.
There are two ways the Advocate helps us in this life. One: when our flesh, this world, and the demonic seek to knock us down, destroy our sense of worth, or knock us off path, it is the Spirit who helps us recognize ungodly thoughts, desires, and ideas. He corrects us with the truth stored in us through His Presence and gets us back up and going in the right direction again.
When I was an immature Christian, I got involved with a religious group that I since then learned is a cult. Now I was not raised in Church, but an aunt took me when she could, and I read scripture off and on from the day I prayed to receive Christ. I did not know much, but when a friend headed back further into the church building after service, and I asked where she was going, the Spirit used what little I knew to get me out of that group. My friend, responding to my query, said she was going to a bible study. I said, “Oh, really! I love bible study. What are you studying?” Her reply surprised me, “I am studying to take the test so that I may be saved.”
I did not know much, but I knew that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life required for coming to God; the only door to salvation (John 14:6; John 10:9). I knew that belief in who Jesus is and what He did for us coupled with a repentant heart that recognizes our need of His work on our behalf, and a willingness to be transformed by Him through the baptism – indwelling of His Holy Spirit is the path of salvation. It is between the individual and God, not to be determined by some test given by mankind. The Spirit bringing what I knew to contrast what I was hearing led me to leave that place and not return. The Advocate protected me from a path leading to destruction by His work as the revealer of truth. This communication as we seek God and He responds through the work of the Spirit in us is prayer in all its glory.
Two: when a person falsely accuses us because of misunderstanding our words or intent, it is the Spirit of God who moves on our behalf to lead them to a true understanding. Sometimes He speaks through us and gives them ears to hear. Sometimes, when they won’t hear us, He simply leads them to discern truth by some other means.
The main work of the Spirit is to testify to our hearts the truth regarding the Christ. When God draws us to know Him and have ever-deepening relationship with Him, it is the Spirit of God who equips us to hear, see, know, and understand the call of God to relationship. He unites with us, enabling us through a Spirit of willing obedience to respond to Jesus calling, “Come, follow me.”
John 16:7-15, in the breakdown of scripture below, further instructs in the work of the Spirit to help us to an ever-deepening relationship with Father and Son.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. …”
The Spirit of God is necessary for us to understand conviction concerning sin. Convict means to make aware of one’s sinfulness or guilt. Sin separates from God. Sin reveals that we disbelieve that God is all that He says He is and that He does all He says He will do. We cannot experience the fullness of unity with God when walking in habitual, rebellious sin.
God’s Spirit reveals to us the sin in our life, not all at once, but little by little. As we possess greater righteousness, He takes us deeper in our discernment of our sin issues. He teaches us the righteous ways of God, how we are to be and look like Him, and He empowers us to walk free of our sin. Holy Spirit makes us to understand the judgment already set for those who refuse to unite with Him and walk the path He walks, so we can avoid that outcome and learn gratitude for His deliverance.
Besides showing where we are living in sin and delivering us from it, this same work of conviction helps us to evaluate the crossroads of life. He inspires us to recognize a path leading away from God, walking in separation from Him (sin) and the one that keeps us side by side with Him, accomplishing His purpose (righteousness). The Spirit inspires understanding of the consequences of the choices set before us (the judgment of good or evil, prosperity or adversity, blessing or curse). Holy Spirit empowers us once we have this information to make the choice that is God’s will for us.
Beloved, the Spirit of God unites us with the Father and our Savior, empowering us to walk closely with Him so that our lives transform, influenced in positive ways by this relationship, making us as He is in image and practice. The communion we have through this work of the Spirit is the greatest form of prayer available to us.
We will pause here to keep this from getting way longer, and finish up on the work of God’s Spirit tomorrow. BLESSings, Beloved!
“For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:4-5, NLT.
God calls and equips us to listen as His disciples, having His provision for our ears to hear and our mind to understand and our heart to stand in agreement so-as-to fulfill His plan and purpose for our being in this time in history. There are two main things God supplies us to equip us for success in our journey as His disciples: The Spirit of God and the mind of Christ. For these two resources to have full sway in accomplishing God’s will in us, we must understand their work in us, and BELIEVE! Today we look at the work of The Spirit of God in the lives of His children.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. …These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” ~ John 14:16-17, 25-26.
Jesus tells us a lot about the work of the Spirit in Scripture. Here we see the PROMISE from Jesus that He sends His Spirit to help us. The promise is that we will receive the Spirit and KNOW Him. We can and must as God’s children discern when the Spirit is speaking to us, doing His work as Helper. What is that work?
The Helper empowers us to understand the truth of God and His word.
We cannot fully comprehend the truth of God and His word to us without this work of the Spirit, so when understanding comes, that is not ours to brag about. All credit for our ability to understand the Holy Writ belongs to Spirit-God.
By the same right, when we set under the teaching of our church leadership, they must share with us what the Spirit taught them. The Spirit uses their teaching to take us into deeper understanding, and it is the Spirit of God that raises an “amen” in our Spirit when we hear His truth.
The Spirit is our Teacher and our Brain of Remembrance.
Think about what it takes to teach. There must be clear communication between teacher and student / disciple. The Spirit of God instructs our hearts and enables us to understand the teaching so-as-to apply it to our daily lives. When we forget some instruction, the Spirit is the one who brings it to our remembrance.
Though it may seem to us that our thoughts are our own, that is not always true. The Spirit is God’s response to the prayer of Jesus that we be one with them as they are with each other. Every good and true thought that leads us to the good God desires is from Him in the power of His Spirit that unites us as one with the Father. We cannot take credit for any good that comes to our understanding and actions.
The scriptures tell us two things about God that lead me to this assertion. One, God alone is good, and every good and perfect gift comes from Him (Mark 10:18; James 1:17). Two, when we ask for wisdom, believing and trusting Him to give it, He answers (James 1:5-8).
There is a true and good wisdom available for our possession in the power and equipping of Spirit-God. That wisdom is a gift from God in the power of His Spirit. It is not our own. We can take no credit for it. (James 3:13-18)
I believe this truth is why Proverbs describes Wisdom as if speaking of a person (i.e.: Proverbs 1:20-33). The Spirit of God is true and good Wisdom.
Often people will hear me proclaim, “God said to me” or “God told me”. These truths that I believe are why I do that. Every true and good understanding of truth that comes to me from Him is His speaking to me the instruction needed for life more abundant and full. Giving Him credit for it keeps me mindful that such good is not my own, but His.
I believe He speaks clearly to my heart because I have heard Him. He, many times has told me what is about to come; He gives understanding of what is going on, and truth I need to remember. It comes as a clear thought rising up as my own, but clearly not from my physical mind. Such thoughts always prove to be truly from Him and they lead my feet surly to the path of His choosing (Jeremiah 28:9; Ezekiel 33:33; Isaiah 30:21). I dare not take credit for it.
There is much taught concerning the work of the Spirit in scripture. We continue our journey tomorrow.
“Follow what is altogether just (uncompromisingly righteous), that you may live and inherit the land which your God gives you” ~ Deuteronomy 16:20.
Other nations of people have long looked to the USA as a beacon of hope, a pattern for freedom as a Christian nation that they long to see in their own lands. However, they now see our nation moving farther from its roots and looking more like their own to the point that many pray for our Christian people to come under persecution so that we will rise up to fight the good fight and take our nation back to be that beacon anew. Is that what it will take before we will rise up, possess our land, and fight to keep the inheritance our ancestors passed to us? Something as simple as one vote chosen as the people after God’s own heart can make a world of difference. Will we use that opportunity to save our land, or lose it through laziness, lack of commitment, and feelings of despair?
Today, as I read one of my devotional books, this thought stood out to me: “Those who place their hope in Me (God) will inherit the land and will live in peace (1).” With that thought came reminder of Jeremiah’s instruction to the people of God, held captive in Babylon. He told them in Jeremiah 29…
“Thus says the Lord …, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare. … You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile’” (vs. 4-7, 11-14 2).
Holy Habitation Actively Waits for the Lord:
Many passages of scripture encourage us to wait upon the Lord and He will move on our behalf. Waiting upon the Lord is not an inactive, sit-back-and-see-what-God-will-do word. Waiting upon the Lord takes action as His people to possess His good gifts to us and make the best of our situations while waiting. Waiting upon the Lord does not twiddle thumbs. It goes forward to live to the full while trusting the Lord, obeying His lead, and watching with earnest expectation and hope for the time of His movement.
America is moving away from its Christian roots day by day. Whose fault is that: The unbelievers who act according to their nature? Or is it the fault of a sleeping church that fails to use it rights in possessing the land of our inheritance? Is it the fault of Christian individuals with a ‘why bother’ philosophy, believing all is lost and Jesus is coming soon? Have we Christians in America laid down the gauntlet rather than do all we can to dwell peacefully and fruitfully in this land?
The Christian vote is vital to the way our country will go in the days to come, but statistics show most professing Christ do not get out to practice this right of choice. Many who do choose to practice their God given right do so without seeking His opinion, but rather go the way of the world to do their own thing. Are we so busy waiting for the end of all with weary thumbs that we fail to possess our inheritance, failing to live fully for the good of our land and make sure our leaders are those who will do the same?
Repeatedly in scripture, God promises that if we seek after and live for Him in ways that possess His provision for us, making wise use of His blessing given us, seeing the truly good found there as coming from His hand, He will heal and restore our land. When do God’s promises expire? Because the days are evil, should we lay down as if dead in doubt and fear, and roll over to let others take possession, increasing the evil?
God is not dead. Neither are His promises. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; thus His Word to us is still good, “yes” and Amen. Even if it is the last days, we should live as possessors of all the good God gives us, using our remaining time to the full as a godly example to those in our sphere of influence, realizing, as the first paragraph shows, our American-way reach is worldwide.
We live in a land that is different from any other in its freedom and provision of individual potential. If we fail to possess the land by living in it the way God desires for us and by taking part in the political process to put in office people who will protect what God has given us, we will lose it.
Church, it is never time to roll over and play dead. As long as God is, we are; and we are alive with Him. It is time to rise up and possess the good land of our inheritance. We can begin by getting out the vote, making our choice known.
“TRUST in the Lord and DO good; DWELL in the land and CULTIVATE faithfulness. DELIGHT yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. COMMIT your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. REST in the Lord and WAIT patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity” ~ Psalm 37:3-11.
- Daily Declarations for Spiritual Warfare by John Eckhardt, day 11 of February.
- Read full Jeremiah 29 passage.
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’” ~ Matthew 6:9-10.
There are seasons and situations in this life that are just hard, and that can be stating it lightly. Can I get an “amen”!
In such times, it can be difficult to know even how to pray. That is when God most often leads me to the Model Prayer outlined for us by Jesus. Today, as He leads me anew to this format, I note that the first three parts of our outline all point us to realize who God is: His attributes, nature, reality, faithfulness, and sovereignty. Just as the names of God point us to all we can know true of Him, Jesus reminds us to remember these things ~ first and foremost ~ before ever considering our daily need.
Holy habitation remembers:
God is our Father ~ Jesus tells us that He is a Father we can trust to give us that which is best for us (Matthew 6:25-7:11). Believing this true, I know that when hard times come to our lives, there is a purpose from Father that we may not understand until we come through the fires to see His glory. I also believe the author of Hebrew, who tells us in chapter 12, verse 10, that our Heavenly Father disciplines our lives “for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”
The scriptures are one source of God’s discipline, being “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Discerning the truth of His word is vital to our ability to walk through life and weather its storms.
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). God is Father, doing what is best for His children, so that we are not condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32).
God is in heaven above ~ This truth reminds us that as we enter into the intimacy of relationship with God as Father, we must always remember that He is Sovereign, Lord of all. Nothing in life happens without His notice, and all that happens He works to fulfill His purpose (Romans 8:28-39). When things get rough, it is not the time to fall short in our faith that God is Sovereign above all, working in and through our lives to bring us to His holiness. That is when we most need to look to Him for discernment of the work His hand is producing in our lives.
Hallowed be Your name ~ No matter the trouble we face in this life, we can trust God to be holy: to be who He says He is, doing all He says He will do. In times of trouble, I too easily see the trouble and think God is somehow losing the war. Yet true faith to believe God “is” and that He is the reward for those who seek Him, continues to trust, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”
God is working an eternal purpose. He has more than the fleeting time we have in this life at heart. We may not fully understand His purpose for allowing the fires of testing or our times in the lion’s den, but He has eternal purpose with eternal perspective that is working for our good, not our harm. Failing to believe and trust Him when things get hard is to fail to know God.
“Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own” ~ Philippians 3:12, AMP.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” ~ John 1:5.
In this passage, Apostle John gives Jesus the descriptive name of “The Light”. One responsibility Jesus had in His time on earth as a man was to correct misconceptions people had regarding God and the truth of His will and way. Reading this passage in The Message Bible the other day, Eugene H. Peterson’s interpretation grabbed me with renewed fervor and comprehension.
“What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. …The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. ‘…my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize Him (The Life-Light) as the God-Revealer’” (says John the Baptist) ~ John 1:4-5, 9, 31, MSG.
Here, John the Apostle describes Jesus as the Life-Light, the one who makes true life in God known. He quotes John the Baptist as proclaiming Jesus as the God-Revealer. This is the work of The Light. Jesus made God known and brought His reality into view for all to see.
Beloved, Jesus calls on us as His ambassadors, to do the same. In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus passes the responsibility on to us who follow Him out of the darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9): “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We, the called of God, are to be The Light, shining out to dispel the darkness of this world by being His representatives, equipped as God-Revealers in the likeness and fervor of Christ. Later in the reading of this John Passage in The Message bible, John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to some of his followers. Two of them followed Jesus. Getting His attention, Jesus invited them to see where he was living.
“They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day” ~ John 1:39, MSG.
As people seeking to live in Holy Habitation with God, it is vital that we develop a relationship with Jesus, The Light, who reveals the truth of God to us in our daily situations. Only then can we be Light that rightly represents Him. When we stay with Him throughout our day, in close union with Him, He shines through to reveal Himself in us.
Jesus calls us to be His Light in the world. Light must have a power source. Plug into Him every day and stay plugged in so His Light may continue to shine. Do not hide the Light or fear its brightness dispelling the dark and exposing things hidden in blackened corners. Shine bright in this day and glorify the Father in the name of the Son.
“… So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. … Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. …” ~ Exodus 17:8-16.
Over every nation I know of flies a flag representing that country. That flag flies over capitals and government buildings. Displayed during special events or during governmental addresses, it inspires national unity. It goes with that nation into battle: whether in war or in sporting competitions. Everyone, from governing officials to the people of the land, desiring to show their allegiance, displays the flag of their nation. Often the displaying of it speaks hope of all the good that nation desires coming to completion.
The same is true for the Kingdom of God and in Exodus 17 we see that the Lord is that banner. Here in this account where Moses reveals a new name to memorialize God and the victory He brought to Israel, Moses uses the words “Jehovah-Nissi”: the Lord our Banner. When we lift God High for all to see His sovereignty in our lives, we align ourselves with His Kingdom and purpose and see His hand move, leading us to experience His victory. In Holy Habitation with God, we acknowledge His right to reign over us and we align ourselves with His desires, goals, and purposes, to accomplish His plans that build for Him a Nation of glory. Under the Banner of God’s Kingdom, we find inspiration to represent His interests as ambassadors of Christ. Inspired when looking upon our Banner, we find strength to trust His supply.
We lift Him up as our banner when we bring every thought to obedience in Christ, take every step at His command, breathe the breath of His presence and glory into our daily lives and encounters, acknowledging our need of Him first and foremost with assurance of His supply for every need and good deed. Through Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord who says to us, “I AM your Banner”, we walk continually in Holy Habitation with God, bringing a glory to His name that He uses to inspire others to come in under our Banner with us.
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
Happy New Year, beloved. I pray your Christmas was indeed blessed and that you are ready to press forward with God for another year of partnership with Him in the work of Life. As we begin our journey anew to develop a life in Holy Habitation with God, let us begin today with the glory of God seen in His proclaiming His name before us.
Beloved, to understand the importance of this aspect of God’s glory revealed to us, we must understand how vital the name of God is to us and how His name over, in, and through us empowers our lives. Before peeking at the proclamation of God’s names as seen in scripture, let us understand the purpose and power found there.
To begin, realize, beloved, that Jesus never taught us to pray to Him, but to the Father in Jesus’ name. “Our Father who art in heaven…” is the model Jesus gave us to follow in praying to God. And He instructs in John that we are to ask in His name: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23-24; See also Matthew 6:9; John 14:10-14, 26; 15:16).
Here is the thing about our prayer life and holy habitation with God in Christ Jesus, beloved: all that we do, all that we pray, all that we say, and every thought we think is to be in Jesus name, as rightly and truly represents Him and His interests. There is power in the name of Jesus as we realize our call to be His ambassador’s, representing His interests and kingdom purpose in our lives, thoughts, prayers, and ministries. God grants power to those sent forth in the name of the King to do kingdom business. This is what we are, ambassadors with the authority of the King behind us.
Jesus is our example who tells us that He came and lived in the name of the Father, representing Him in the world: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).
He calls us to this same unity of life and purpose:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” ~ (John 16:18-21, 23-24).
Jesus came to teach us of the Father. He did so by being a representation of God’s nature, purpose, work, and interests, in the power of oneness with the Father. He, as our example, calls us to do the same in representing Him and His interests, thus proclaiming His name in the world. Living, breathing, speaking, and moving in the name of Jesus is the power of God toward us, doing His work in the earth through us.
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, NASB.
I don’t know if you have noticed – LOL, but there is much hardship in the world today. On the news of late, we see stories of ISIS movements and war that touches the entire world, a scaffold collapse in Texas, mudslides in California, and fires in forests across the nation. On Christian circles, Prophets of the day predict major disasters in nature and in our economy. I, too, see these things, and heart quakes.
For several years now, God warns my heart that a major earthquake is coming. It will stem from a major fault line in the North West and will trigger smaller fault lines that will hit our nation from there “toward, but not reaching to this daughter of God.” I also see with this the triggering of volcanic activity. It is coming and earth scientists know it. Those who watch such things have developed technology meant to help them warn when it is about to happen so people can have a chance to get out of harm’s way. Likewise, as we watch the news and hear the warning call of the prophets, we must receive the warning so we can be prepared; but we must also take care how we respond, lest we move in ways that are self-fulfilling actions.
For example, many warn of economic collapse in America. If this happens, let it be in God’s hands, not by our own. If we, out of fear, sell all our stocks and bonds to get what we can and try to protect and provide for ourselves, failing to trust God who is our provider and protector, we can cause the very thing we fear. Therefore, we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves as we see the signs of the times and hear the prophetic warnings and decide the course of life. God does not send such warnings to bring panic to the heart of His people, beloved. God means them to call His people back to Him and lead the world to the knowledge of Him.
How did I get here from the focal scriptures? I don’t know, except that as I prayed about where to take the thought God inspired through the passage to the point He would make, this is where He told me to start. We are in hard times and these days require sound wisdom if we are to be part of the solution and not the cause of the problem. These hard days also require that we come together to encourage one another.
Consider today, beloved, the people around you. Are you surrounded by voices of God that encourage and help you to wise choices, peace of mind and heartfelt hope, or are they voices of panic, fear, and foolish instructions? If the latter is true for you, find better associates so-as-to surround yourself with godly voices. If the former, give thanks to God for the good support you have in His people.
How are you using the gifts of God given to you during these days? Are you one who encourages and helps others to wise choices, peace and hope? Or do you fall into the rut with others to add your voice to the panic, fear, and foolishness of our day? Beloved, no matter how bad things get in our lives, God is the same at all times and we can trust in Him. He is our hope in the day of trouble and our boast in the day of plenty. As long as we are seekers of His face, working to be the people of God, He will be with us to help us weather the storms of this life.
We need God, godly voices in one another, and peace, faith and hope if we are to weather the storms of this world. Decide today the voices you will listen to and the voice you will add to the lives of those around you. Let us help one another to find firm stance on the solid Rock and to know wisdom so we can face the day of trouble with the strength of God’s supply. Jesus prophesied trouble in this world, devoid of hope in God, but with that, He promised peace that passes understanding to those who trust in God through Jesus, Christ, our Lord. And wisdom for every trouble is promised those who seek the Lord for it with unwavering faith.
The days are filled with trouble, but our God is the Rock beneath our feet. Let us stand together on Him and face each day with strength.
“By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE Lord’” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:31, NASB.
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord” ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24, NASB.
“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]” (Isaiah 50:4, AMP).
When I pray having this verse of scripture in heart, I pray, “Speak, O God. Your daughter is listening. Grant me ears to hear as a disciple so I may speak as a disciple.” Today, as I pray that oft desired heart, thought comes regarding the word spoken about Peter when he denied Jesus three times. Standing around that campfire, warming himself, watching to see what would happen with Jesus, people ask him if he is one of those who run with Jesus. One person there says, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away” (Matthew 26:73). Peter’s accent and speech told the story of his heritage.
People who spend time with Jesus, seeking Him as a disciple, desiring to learn of and know Him as a child of the Living God, these hear Him and the things they hear effect the way they talk. Their speech is cleaner, refusing to dishonor God through cursing. They are not bitter, filled with anger, wrath, malice, and slander. They do not use smooth and flattering speech meant to gain approval, being deceptive or manipulative. Nor is their speech abusive, killing the soul and destroying destinies.
Instead, they talk with hope for the future and gratitude for the present. They are bold in speaking truth, showing care for the listener’s eternity and their here-and-now relationship with Holy God. They are uplifting, having words filled with grace, as though seasoned with salt, knowing how to respond to each person, able to “speak a word in season to him who is weary,” imparting discerning wisdom with truth and love.
Beloved, when standing in a crowd, does your way of talking give you away as being different, as being a disciple of Christ? Does your speech make it clear to others that you have been with Jesus that day as a faithful follower, His Kingdom representative? Do people tag along with you because of the inspiration flowing through your mouth and lifestyle?
Speak, O God. Your child is listening. Grant me ears to hear as a disciple so I may speak as a disciple.
“I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” ~ Philippians 1:19-20.
The Apostle Paul was, and still is, a big man in Christendom. He is the example of one who follows hard the example found in Christ, taking every opportunity to glorify the Lord, “whether by life or by death.” As we begin our study to find the heart-song of godly promotion, what better place to begin than with Paul. Promoted by God as the best-known apostle of Jesus Christ, his road to fame was full of opportunity, but not of ease.
Paul wrote 2/3s of what biblical scholars deemed worthy books to include in the New Testament portion of the most published historic chronicle of our day. The Holy Bible is the go to authority for those desiring to follow Christ Jesus as Lord; and Paul was the number one, exemplary leader in teaching the way of following Jesus.
Because of his heart for God, Paul was highly promoted by God, but not in the way that we too readily tend to look for it. Paul often wrote from a jail cell or while in chains as a prisoner awaiting trial. He often relied on financial supply from those supporting his work and never, to our knowledge, had great, earthly wealth. Not much of a promotion in this worlds standard of measure, is it? Yet even here, in this letter written during one of those imprisonments, we hear his heart as he speaks of seeing the place he was in as an opportunity to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. Later in Philippians, Paul writes of learning the secret of being content. The secret he professes is that of seeing every situation in life as opportunity to trust in, rely upon, and glorify the Lord as his source of strength and supply (Philippians 4).
Paul was so successful as a follower of Christ, taking every opportunity to bear witness of Him, that people were jealous of his success as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We see that in his testimony in chapter 1:12-15.
“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will.”
Others, seeing Paul’s example of faith in God despite circumstance, received inspiration to take every opportunity to share their own testimony of faith in God through Christ. Paul tells us that some preached Christ out of envy, hoping to cause trouble for him, but that did not bother him as long as Christ received glory in their sharing (1:16-18). These preaching out of envy are a picture for us of those who desire promotion with an ungodly mindset. They do not have as their greatest desire the promotion of the cause of Christ. Instead, their greatest desire is to achieve the prestige they see in others. These may have made a name for themselves in the earth; we don’t know for sure as they are not named, but these are an example to us of promotion sought after from a wrong mindset and heart-song. These desire prestige for self rather than the furtherance of Christ.
On this journey we walk in Christ, our promotion may not look like a good thing when viewed from a world viewpoint. Promotion as the people of God’s Kingdom, stationed in this world as ambassadors of Christ, God’s Holy Priesthood, truly effects our Kingdom position and eternal reward. Promotion from God’s viewpoint requires that we recognize every opportunity to take a step up for the glory of God, even when it may lead to our own momentary discomfort. The promoted and successful in Christ follow God and His will, accomplishing Kingdom purpose at all cost, knowing He is our supply, being content where we are, with faith that God is working His plan in and through our lives.
Each step toward higher ground with God only goes up when taken with a right and true heart attitude. Success on the journey requires we have a mind set to please God alone with a right heart attitude, so we successfully participate in His fulfilling eternal, Kingdom purpose.
Next post we begin the journey of discovering the reasons for Christ’s promotion and the instruction God gives us who are the called, equipped by Him to come up higher as His Kingdom representatives.
“Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves” ~ AMP.
I am saddened today as a result of losing a friend because of my problem. Here is my problem: I believe fully and completely every word within these covers…
The Bible of Christianity is not a “politically correct” book in our day. Essentially, it says this…
“There is Only ONE”:
- One TRUE God
- One Savior, the Son of God, Jesus
- One Spirit who unites believer to Father, Son, and each other for all eternity
- One truth
- One Righteousness
- One pathway to heaven
- One gate to the…
- One kingdom of God
- One Door to the Father of all eternity
- ONE and only ONE
I believe these things, not because my momma told me to; not because of the circles of people I run with; not even only because it is what I choose to believe. I believe this word…
…because I have experienced Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a way that compels my belief and strengthens my faith through the experience. It is what gives me courage to speak up and risk rejection, persecution, and alienation.
This word instructs me to understand that the greatest love is to deny fear of losing a friend so-as-to share these things I believe true with those who I do not know have ever heard; and to encourage the faith of those who struggle to believe. From my standpoint, the greatest act of hate is to remain silent about this faith I possess in this truth I believe because, from my understanding of these pages, there is only ONE.
If the Atheist is correct and the truth is, “There is no God, no heaven, and no hell,” we don’t have to worry about it. One day we will die, turn to dust, and be none the wiser that we were following the wrong truth. If the Pantheist is correct and there are many Gods and many ways to heaven, we don’t have to fret. We are each on a path and will meet up in eternity. However, if this word is the ONE…
…dare I be silent when given opportunity to say, “I believe…because…”?
It is my understanding that every devil behind every false belief has one goal: to keep as many as possible away from the ONE way, truth, and life.
As one who truly and fully believes the God of Holy Bible is ONE and only ONE, showing us the way, the truth, and the life, I cannot stand silent about what I know. I try never to push my beliefs on others, though my excitement and commitment may come across that way. Pushing would do no good, for God says we each must choose. However, I do have to share my beliefs as opportunity comes, for to do less is to participate in someone being separated from ONE for all eternity. If there is no interest in what I share, they made their choice and I move on to love them anyway, being the best friend I can be in the situation. If my sharing my faith insults another, I hate the insult, but I love the person too much to fail to share what I can.
One of Elvis Presley’s brothers spoke at a conference I attended. There he shared complaining to Elvis about his girlfriend continually telling him about Jesus and trying to get him to go to church with her; to which Elvis’ reportedly replied, “Brother, if someone loves you enough to tell you about Jesus, they REALLY love you!”
If my sharing plants a seed of truth that God later uses to help even one person find the path, I win a brother or sister. For me, as one believing the things I believe to be true, remaining silent is the true “hate crime”. In light of this, though I hate losing friends, I make no apologies for the faith I believe and proclaim because I truly love each one I am privileged to meet.
Beloved, God positions us at His side with eternal purpose, empowering us for success on the journey of life. The supply of our position, empowered first by growth in surrendered living that is dependent on Him and His supply for life, is abundant and full.
As we grow in our ability to surrender to and trust Him, He moves us to His right side where our apprenticeship as His servant-child begins. There we grow in our stability as His followers, coming up higher to understand our role as part of His royal priesthood and our responsibility in His royal court as stewards gifted with authority for His Kingdom purpose. Growing strong as His representatives, equipped as His ambassadors, we grow in our victorious journey as His lights, being in the world while living as people of His Kingdom, charged with power to fulfill His purpose in our day. As people who understand our responsibility in our left and right side stance with Him, we are…
Empowered and Endued with Authority to Accomplish His will in His way
“Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name” ~ Isaiah 63:12.
Moses was the visible instrument in the hand of God, through whom His power flowed to produce miracles in the world. As we stand to God’s right side, in the position of responsibility with authority to act, God feeds us with full power to do all He calls us to accomplish in His name. With His resources flowing to our left hand side, the side of dependence and trust, He empowers and supplies all we need for stretching out our right hand of action and obedience, equipping us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. With Him empowering our right hand through our left hand dependence on Him, all things are possible for us who know and trust that nothing shall be impossible with God.
In understanding this power, I love the picture seen in the animated movie, “Lion King” where King Mufasa, standing behind his baby, Simba, adds his roar to his sons. Simba, facing an enemy assault, takes a posture of authority and power, letting out a roar to send the enemy off in fear. The king, knowing Simba was too small and weak to have any real influence against the assault, takes a stance behind him, roaring out in unison with the son. The kings roar added to Simba’s gifted the son with the authority and power necessary for the son’s actions to be effective.
That is an awesome picture of our stance with God in Christ. Anything we accomplish of God’s kingdom purpose where we stand is His power flowing through us to make us effective. That power is ours to possess as we learn to thrive at God’s side. I see this dependent supply and empowered action pictured in the following passage:
“Then the priest shall take the one male lamb and bring it for a guilt offering, with the log of oil, and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. Next he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, at the place of the sanctuary—for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour it into his left palm; the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the Lord. …The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his left palm; and with his right-hand finger the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times before the Lord” ~ Leviticus 14:12-16, 26-27.
Blood pictures cleansing and oil pictures renewed relationship with God that anoints with authority and power for life made new in Him. Note the bowl of blood and the hand full of oil is in the priest’s left hand, showing supply from God. The work of ministry He pours through the priest’s right hand of obedience.
The priest then applies the blood of cleansing to the right ear, hand and foot of the person anointed for service to God. Right ear, hand, and foot shows left-sided dependence on God to make one clean and ready for right-sided service to Him. The anointing of the oil he sprinkles on the person as a whole, empowering them for service that depends on God’s supply.
Right ear hearing: That service flows to ears made ready and empowered to depend on God to make Himself heard. Given the ear of a disciple, to hear as a disciple, we then take that word to others made ready to hear God’s word sent through us.
Right hand working: The right hand cleansing pictures a person made ready to reach out with power to fulfill the will of God in ways that minister to those we reach to with His gracious supply. God then uses us to empower others to come to His side in likeness to our example, made ready to serve Him.
Right foot moving: With God’s supply that cleanses our feet, He makes us holy, setting us on a righteous path. We become His witness wherever He sets our feet to walk.
We no longer kill the fatted lamb; Jesus is that lamb for us, and He is the priest, reaching out His hand to touch us with His blood of cleansing and empower us with His anointing oil of gladness, making us one with Him in purpose and service. God, through Jesus, supplies our left hand and empowers our right.
“When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’” ~ Judges 7:20.
Note that in these last two passages for this post, as we thrive at His side, our lives meld into His. We become one with Him, our left hand as His own, filled with His supply, and our right hand moving with His, effective in ministry. The left hand of God is the place of His protection and provision; our left hands hold His supply. The right hand of God is the place of His authority, power, victory, and wisdom; our right side flows forth the revelation of His right hand power in us.
When God sets us on His left, grabbing us by our right hand, all is His to do as He leads us safely through this life. When God sets us on His right hand side, He shows us what we have authority to accomplish while empowering us to do so. There, He grants us wisdom to know and do our part as His representative in the world. There we have His authority as if we are His signet ring on His right hand (Jeremiah 22:24). There, we become His instrument for victory, His pouring forth to and through us with the power He gives us to win the day in His Name and to His glory.
In life lived for God, we truly are seated on both sides at all times, dependent on Him and moving in unison with the authority He pours through us at all times. At the right side of God, with the trust of His left side supply, we become His swords in the earth, rightly dividing the word of truth and influencing the world for good. Fully dependent on God, as good stewards trusting His supply, we live out our days as His instrument, accomplishing Kingdom purpose where we live.
But wait! We have an ambidextrous God…
“You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted” ~ Psalm 89:13.
As I look at verses describing God’s arms and hands, I note that the right hand of God makes His strength and stability available to us. We are strong and stable at the right side of God.
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me” ~ Psalm 63:8 See Psalm 37:24.
God orders His creation. There is order found to the right and to the left side of God. He determines at any given moment the side on which we stand according to His purposed plan, our need, and His authority over our lives. He is the creator God who is Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, the first and the last. All provision is in His hand and He teaches us to prosper at His right side.
At His right side, as we learn of Him, we gain strength of body, character, soul, and mind. As we grow strong in knowing our God and trusting in Him, we grow stable, able to stand firm in Him even when the earth quakes beneath us, shaking up our lives, and tempting us to question and doubt our God, His faithfulness, His love, His power. Knowing God as an apprentice at His right side, He equips our…
Stability ~ Empowering Strength
“Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself” ~ Psalm 80:17.
In my dream shared in the introduction to this series, revealing the place of God’s positioning for me to possess, He has me at His right hand side, facing Him, having a throne of authority and responsibility that is just my size. All my concerns are before Him, all the people and things I seem impotent to influence in life. His positioning my throne to face His, Jesus makes it clear that there are things I must trust Him to deal with, trusting His “I’ve got this”. As I trust Him with all the things that concern me and rob of strength, keeping my focus on Him as my throne faces His, He empowers me to know the things for which I do have authority to influence, strengthening my stability and stance as partner with Him in His Royal Court. At His right hand, we learn to know our part and the power and authority He grants for doing our part in His will and way.
“Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together” ~ Isaiah 48:12-22.
God is the Perfect Coordinator of all things. He placed the planets in their orbit. He gave the birds their distinctive song. He knows the plans He has for us; plans for good and not for evil, to give us hope and future (Jeremiah 29:9-14). Trusting God’s direction equips us to stand with those who stand firm in Him, accomplishing His purpose and plan in our day. Trusting Him and following His instruction for life enables us to live eternity now as we prepare to enter His eternal Kingdom for all time. Trusting God stabilizes us while we walk in this world as people of His Kingdom, representing Him and His interests for eternity.
“…behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. …the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” ~ Luke 17:21; Romans 14:17.
“Now what I mean is that as long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave, although he is the master of all the estate; but he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father. …But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” ~ Galatians 4:1-2, 28, AMP.
Reading Galatians 4 this morning spurs further thought regarding our apprenticeship as people positioned as children of God, Heirs of Promise.
In my journey to understand this position in Christ, I began with the understanding that I am no longer slave to sin, but slave to Christ. Under the guardianship of God’s Spirit, having teachers entrusted as trustees of my growth, I learned to no longer allow myself to be slave to lusts of the flesh or to demands of others, but to do all as slave of Christ and slave to righteousness (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:5-6; Romans 6:16-19).
Once I understood my need to surrender myself to God in all things as a slave to a Master, God began teaching me the difference between a slave and a bondslave (Exodus 21:1-6; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 2:16). The difference between the two is subtle. A slave is a slave that wins the heart of the Master, receiving His favor by choosing obedience out of realization of one’s need to please the Master so as to receive the benefits gifted for a service well done. A bondslave is one who falls madly in love with the Master. Trusting that he is better off as a slave of God than without Him, and having as one’s greatest desire that of pleasing and tending well to the business of the Master despite any difficulty that may mean for the bondslave of Christ, they surrender themselves to His ownership for life. Love and trust trumps trouble, and surrenders to the Master for all eternity.
Once I understood slavery to Christ for life because of loving trust, God led me to understand that I am a child by His choice, child of promise through Christ.
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” ~ Romans 8:16-17.
“We, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” (Galatians 4:28). We are children of God and heirs with Christ forever. Learning that, now, finally, from age 58-60, God is bringing fuller comprehension of the responsibility and authority I have as child of God and heir with Christ. We are children in the Royal Court of God and His Kingdom, having full authority in Christ and responsibility under God to represent the interests of His Kingdom in our here and now life and throughout eternity. As we discover our heritage as children, we understand that we are no longer slaves, but owners of the Kingdom with Christ. Our responsibility moves from that of ones commanded, to ones who possess and protect the Kingdom of our heart. We are in the world, not of it, for we are child-heirs, part of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom, fulfilling Kingdom purpose for Kingdom prosperity to the glory of Father God and King-Ishi. Thus, we are…
Positioned as Children
In this Galatians 4 passage, we learn that our training in Christ leads us to understanding of God as Father and our ability to draw near to Him as a beloved child climbs into the lap of her daddy.
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (vs. 6-7).
The goal of God in our apprenticeship under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit is to equip us to make this transition from “slave of God in Christ” to “Heir apparent”. Having full assurance of our security in Christ, we realize our position in the Royal Court, fully possessing our authority to carry out our responsibilities as His representatives where He has us stationed in the world.
“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” ~ vs. 9.
God is God, all knowing and all-powerful. He knows who we are, but this scripture instructs that as we serve Him well, that service catches God’s attention, growing the closeness of our relationship with Him as we draw nearer still to Him, and making us one He knows with a favor that makes us stand out as His representatives in life. I am sure you know a Christian whose relationship with God inspires you to know Him better. Those who know God well, trusting Him fully, not being easily swayed by false doctrine or the desire to please others, and that He draws near to because of that close, personal relationship stand out as His children of Light (Ephesians 5:7-10).
“…you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself” ~ vs. 14b.
The one who is heir with Christ realizes that many will only come to know Him for themselves as they see Him in us and experience His presence through us. We are conduits of all that represents God, His will, way, purpose, and Kingdom. When we come into this position of letting Christ live through us, we are near to the heart of God, well known by Him and recognized by others as “having been with Jesus” (Galatians 2:20; Acts 4:13).
“So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” ~ vs 16-20.
Children of Light, Heirs of God in Christ, grow in stability, following God’s truth, having full faith in Him. Here we see that those who were speaking religious legalism to the children were luring them away from the truth of God. Paul reminds them that it is good, being sought after commendably. To me that means we are to be that example of Christlikeness that draws others to seek us as teachers, examples worth following, as they seek Christ for themselves.
However, these followers of Christ found themselves sought out by those wishing to draw them into religious legalism that denies faith’s assurance in Christ. Instead of trusting Christ fully for saving-grace and the path to son-ship, growing strong in their relationship with God, pleasing Him, they fell back into the old covenant of law, trying to add Jesus plus works of the flesh as necessary for true salvation, seeking to please those religious leaders. That leads to constant struggle as we try to balance the pleasure of other people with pleasing God. Assurance of our position in Christ is difficult to realize when wavering between relational-faith that produces the fruit of the Spirit and good works that make one a pleasure to man’s ideology.
Paul reminds them that those true children, filled with the Spirit and following the dictates of God in the Spirit’s power do not need legalistic ritual added to their salvation. We are free in Christ to be God’s children, but if we choose to believe salvation through law, we must keep all the law without fail (Galatians 3:1-14). We cannot claim trust in Christ and the earning of our way into God’s kingdom. Instead, our trust in God through Christ, as empowered by the Spirit, produces in us the good works of God’s desire for us. Works of a righteousness of our own making do not save us. Our salvation is in Christ who is our righteousness, and through that, we are empowered to live righteous lives for the glory of God as pleasing Him. This is the heart of the one who understands their position as a Child of God and Heirs with Christ.
“Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. … you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise” ~ vs. 21-31.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” ~ Ephesians 4:14-16.
The hour is near for Christ’s return. Time grows short for us to shine the Light of God so all who will enter into this Kingdom life with us may come. It is time for us to grow up in full understanding of who we are in Christ, heirs with Him, given charge to represent Kingdom interests wherever God stations us in life. God positions us as children with Kingdom purpose where He places us. Some of those places are hardened soil, challenging to our holy feet, but we must grow strong in knowledge of Him so we may live in ways that make us known as His lights, children of God’s favor.
“And as her soul was departing, for she died, she called his name Ben-oni [son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin [son of the right hand]” ~ Genesis 35:18, AMP.
I believe that God calls those who truly desire to surrender to Him as child and partner in Christ “The son / daughter of My right hand.” There is great significance to our placement at the right hand of God. We are heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, called and equipped to serve along His side in fulfilling Kingdom purpose. Our position as heirs, people of the Royal Court of God, begins with that left sided surrender, receiving from His hand of supply, trusting His care, protection and provision. In that place of trust in God, we find Him preparing us and moving us to the position of apprenticeship at His right side. Once we truly understand His trustworthiness, He places us at His right as His instrument for use in our days. We are each in training for our role in His Kingdom …
Positioned for Instruction / Understanding / Discernment
“Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me” ~ Psalm 139:10.
When God’s right hand lays hold on us, His hand places us to His right. The right hand, as we will see throughout the remainder of this series, is the place of action. While placement at His left side is the position of dependence, protection, and personal supply – the relational position of His ministry to each individual of us, the right hand of God places us in positions of usefulness and authority – the place where His supply pours out through us to affect those around us. There we are in training for the purpose of ministry and the fulfillment of His plans for us in our lifetime. His right hand flows all that we need to accomplish His will in His way with power and authority to be His instrument in our day.
“As is Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness” ~ Psalm 48:10.
It is at the right hand of God that we learn righteousness. In this position, God begins the process of transformation, changing us from the inside out, beginning with our way of thinking. Scripture instructs us to understand that transformation begins in our minds, equipping us to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6). Our thoughts effect our heart attitudes and desires, and from the heart flows the produce of our lives (Proverbs 4:23). At the right side of God we learn to recognize the difference between the wisdom that is false, coming from the flesh, the world, and demons, and that that is from God. Learning the true, right, godly, pure, excellent, worthy of praise thoughts that lead to good, righteous, and peaceful outcomes, changing the fruit of our lives, is the goal of our right hand position with God (Philippians 4:6-9; James 3:13-18).
“And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You awesome things” ~ Psalm 45:4.
The right side of God is the fruit bearing side that effects life where we are living as in the world, but not of it. Experience is the greatest instrument in the hand of God for our training. As we experience Him at work in and through us, we grow strong of faith. As we learn to receive the instruction that comes to us at the right hand of God, we learn His ways that equip us to accomplish His eternal purposes where we are in life. As we live in agreement with His way of thinking and being, we see victory, truth, meekness, and righteousness in our day. The “awesome things” of God become our joy and song of praise to Him and that that brings His favor to us. Through that experience, His right hand flowing to us to affect the work of our right hand, we grow strong in Christ.
Apprenticeship through Christ makes us partners with God, set to learn His ways so we produce the good works He planned for us from the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10). This surrender of “Yet not my will but Thy will” is the beginning of our journey to walk in the authority of Christ for His Kingdom purpose in us.
Positioning the Bride
Read Psalm 45
“Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir” ~ Psalm 45:9.
Before looking at what all is going on when God positions us at His right or at His left, we first need to realize that we who are His through Christ are the Bride of Christ, the queen at His side. Endued with power and authority as the queen Bride of Christ, we work Kingdom purpose at His side. This study is to help us understand what it means for us to stand beside our King-Ishi (Husband).
“Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; at Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. …” ~ Psalm 45:9-13.
First, we stand beside the King in gold from Ophir. We are not an ornament on His arm, with no intrinsic worth besides that of belonging to Him. We are the apple of His eye, valued as worth the price of relationship. He cherishes us and He nourishes us, not only meeting us at our need, but enriching our lives, empowering us to become all He designed us to be. He not only stands us beside Him as a show of ownership, belonging to Him as His wife, but He nurtures the good He places within us, equipping us to use the gifts and abilities He supplies with the authority we hold as ours to possess at His side.
Nurtured and empowered as we listen to Him; inclining our ear to receive instruction from His teachings and authority from His commands and promises, we live as His companion and helpmeet for Kingdom building.
“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]” (Isaiah 50:4, AMP).
As queen at the side of Christ, we work with Him to accomplish His Kingdom purpose in life here and now. We accomplish this best as we learn to not only listen, but to bow down to Him alone. We honor our parents as commanded by God, but there comes a time when the bride leaves the home of her father to join her husband in making a new home. We must leave our child-like submission to our parents and the authority they have, the opinions of other companions and the pull they have, to surrender ourselves fully to our King-Ishi. Our beliefs and practices no longer come from desire to please others, but we grow to develop our own beliefs and the practice of His ways based on personal relationship and surrender to Him.
God can use other relationships to instruct and teach and help us become His bride with strength, but we bow to the King at work through them, not allowing other relationships to have greater authority and power over us than He holds. No relationship should lead us away from bowing to His right of authority as King-Ishi. As we bow to Him, receiving His teachings and instruction, we join in agreement with Him to do our part as His companion in building the new home He desires to have with us.
“…The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor. The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold” ~ Psalm 45:9-13.
As we, the people of God, bow down and surrender to the Lordship of the King, recognizing Him as Husband, and receiving the authority He gives for us to stand at His side and help Him in His work, God gives us favor with others. The more we grow in likeness to His heart desire, the more others seek us out in their journey to become His bride, partners with Him in the building of the Kingdom in which to dwell.
Jesus makes us all glorious within, able to bear His image as our outer adornment, representing Him and His interests in the world so that we become lights to draw others into the Kingdom with us. This understanding and surrender to Him as King is the first step in our journey to understand what it means to stand side by side with Him.
We thrive at God’s side as we bow down to the King, working with Him as queen Bride, having His heart desire as our own, accomplishing His desires in the authority He gives.
Read John 17
“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. … Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”” ~ vs. 18-25.
Sent In Jesus Name
Concluding this look at John 17, desiring to be His people, His response to this prayer of Jesus for us, we acknowledge His work in us. God sends us into the world in Jesus Name to be a people sanctified by and set apart to live a life of truth, being in agreement with God, His will, and His way. God sends us into the world in Jesus name to be His image bearers, making His love known to all: For God so loved the world. Finally, today, God sends us into the world in response to Christ’s desire that we be…
Set in His Presence to Make Him Known
Jesus prayed that we may be with Him where He is and that we may see His glory. Yes, that is a prayer for us to join Him in the Kingdom He prepares for our eternity, and for us to see Him as He is, in fullness of glory. However, I also think of these words of Jesus regarding His work with the Father in the world:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” ~ John 5:19.
Jesus knew the presence of God in His midst as He walked through life in the world, but not of it. He recognized the glory of God as He realized the work of God in His path. Jesus joined the Father in what He did in the world where He served Him to accomplish His purpose. Jesus is our example for life. I believe that as we surrender to the leadership of the Spirit, we too can know the presence of God in our midst and see the glory of His hand moving so that we can cooperate with Him to accomplish the purpose He has for our being in this age of the history of this world.
Beloved, God sends us into the world to contrast the character and nature of God against that seen in the world. He sets us apart to be a people of truth, led by and living in agreement with all God says is true, right, good, and worthy of praise. He sends us out as recipients and conduits of His love, making the love of God known in the world. God sends us into the world, but He does not send us out alone. We have the Spirit of God who gives us eyes to see His glory, ears to hear His instruction, and a heart made ready and willing to accomplish His purpose.
Father, You send us into the world to represent You and make You known, therefore we are not to be of this world philosophy, acting in the ways deemed true by its wisdom and priorities. We who live for You, knowing Your presence and following Your lead, are Your response to this prayer of Jesus. Make us to know You that we may walk in Your ways and make You known, being a people after Your own heart, united as one in the power of Your Spirit at work in and through us. In Jesus, amen.
“I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence” ~ Acts 2:25-28.
As I watch the news today, my heart breaking for our nation as it steps farther from God, I find myself praying, “Here am I, O God. Help me to know how to be a Christian, in love with and serving You, being one who is in the world, but not OF the world.”
Today in this nation, same sex marriage gains approval in the court of human appeal. As one who believes God means it when He tells us that marriage is one man to one woman, having purpose in that union, it makes my heart sad to see this decision come to our nation. However, the thing that God reminds me of is the fact that God’s ways and Laws are given to distinguish those who are His from those belonging to the world. We are People OF His Kingdom, on assignment IN this world, charged not to be OF its system. Beloved of God, this world is dictated by a different wisdom and principles than God leads us to possess.
The world has every right to be the world. That is the nature of THE BEAST. Why are we so shocked when the world in which we live behaves in agreement with its nature? Our challenge is to remain in the nature God calls us to possess as people of His Kingdom.
The travesty is that too many of our children are going the way OF the world. That breaks my heart still more. However, Beloved, like it or not, this is their right of choice, given them by God.
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes AND HIS JUDGMENTS, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” ~ Deuteronomy 30:15-20.
Our children and all those in each age have right of choice, to choose whether they will believe God, love Him and adhere to His ways, or whether they will serve the god of this world. What is our choice and responsibility as Kingdom people who are in the world, but not of it? As Paul said in his days of challenge, so must we say, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge” ~ Acts 4:19. We are responsible before God to make our choice and set an example for our children to follow. In so doing, as parents we are responsible to give our children the seeds of truth they need to possess so they can make their own, well-informed decision.
It is vital that we make a distinction between the ways of this world and those given us by God. Our children need to realize the choices set before them and the consequences when making them. They need to know that to choose God is to choose not to be of this world and its ways. They need to understand the difference available to us in God’s Kingdom. If we fail to help our children have understanding of what it is to be of God’s Kingdom, Children of the Royal court, tasked with eternal purpose, we will lose a generation of our children.
Watching the way of the world unfold and take hold in our nation is scary to me, for it signals failure to choose God and His way, which signals consequences that will come in behind those choices. That fear makes me want to lock my children and grandchildren away and protect them from this world. I want to make their choice for them to protect them from the fallout coming on the world. The problem is that God does not give me that right. He only grants to me the right and responsibility of a parent and grandparent tasked with setting a good example and training those He gives me in the ways and truths of the Lord.
Our nation is in trouble: not because I say so, but because God says so in His warning to those who follow Him, found and outlined throughout His word. The hope of our children lies with God, and we must do all we can to give them the resources they need to make the choice that is for their best “today” and their eternal destiny.
Beloved, our nation is in trouble because it chooses more and more to go the way of this world’s system, and that is the fulfillment of prophesy long ago warned of as the end of days draws ever closer to its conclusion. The question is, are we following God as Kingdom People, or are we toying with life as part of the world and its philosophy, afraid of taking our stand with God for fear of losing our position in this life or connection with those in it?
“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, we will serve the Lord” ~ Joshua 24:14-15.
We each have our choice to make. Choose today whom you will serve and be the people of God’s Kingdom despite the ways of this world. In that decision, be head under God in your own home, refusing to allow the ways of the world to find refuge there. Realize, parent, that the father of the prodigal had to release the son to the world for a time, allowing him his fill so he could realize the caregivers in charge of hogs have it better in the Father’s house than one can have in the world. We all must die to self before resurrection in Christ can come. They must make their choice just as we had to do.
Our choices have consequences, be it blessing or curse. Our nation in this world is toying with the curse, in keeping with the dictates of this world. However, Beloved, the world has no hold on us who are the Blessed and Beloved People of God’s Kingdom. Walk as Children of Light (Ephesians 5:7-10; 1 Peter 2:9-10).
“…Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE Lord, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (read 1 Corinthians 1-2).
Read John 17
“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” ~ vs. 11-13.
Hedged by His Name ~ Part 3
As we live within the hedge as people of God’s name, we possess a mind set on and driven by eternal purpose; and we bear His image, having His nature in heart and flowing out as adornment. Last in my thought for the hedge we have when we are In Jesus’ Name is found in John 15:
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” ~ vs. 8.
When we name our Children, we give them personal names that distinguish them as individual, but they are born automatically possessing our family name. It tells the world that this is Joseph of the family of Smith. Discipleship is the same. This is Peter, disciple of Jesus. Andrew was disciple of John until he united with Jesus, changing his alliance: he married into the family of Christ.
A family’s character is judged by the reputation of its family members, each making an impact on the reputation of the whole. Likewise, the teacher grew in reputation partly by the actions and behaviors of those aligned under his discipleship. That is what happens with us as we become disciples of Christ, we come under the name “Christian”, representative of that family name. People know of Christians what they see and experience of our actions and behaviors. Thus, they believe they know who Jesus is through that experience. Do we represent Him well? Our lifestyle is the answer that reveals the sincerity of connection with the Christ. It is not just words, but it is our actions and ways of living that reveal the truth.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” ~ vs. 1-8.
God has long had a people in the world, tasked with representing Him and His interests. They are called “the Children of God” and are of the lineage of that Name, disciples fed by His heart desires, through which the fruit of His Spirit at work in and through them makes Him known. That name comes with great responsibility and with the full resources of God for the fulfillment of our responsibilities as His representatives in the world. As we abide in the vine of Christ, possessing the family name He passes to us, we are His disciples, tasked with discipling others.
Like with the nation of Israel, others may see what God is doing for and through us, His great blessings toward us, and desire to take part in that. Their desire may draw them in with claims of possessing the family name, but they are weeds beside us, never fully grafting to feast on the vine in true commitment and surrender to Him. Such people are unproductive branches that sap the provision of God meant for feeding the vine.
Simply saying, “I belong to Jesus,” is nothing without fruit that proves adherence of the graft. The things we do and the words we speak have power that will reveal the vine upon which we feast. Beloved, if we call ourselves Christian, but live as one fed by this world’s philosophy, we blaspheme the name.
“The person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from among his people” ~ Numbers 15:30.
We can walk along side and claim the people of God as our own, but we cannot claim God without vitally uniting with Him. The truth of our unity with God will reveal itself by a life changed to agree with Him and His nature. The Amplified version of this verse in Numbers is scary to me:
“The person who does anythingwillfully and openly, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one reproaches, reviles, and blasphemes the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people [THAT THE ATONEMENT MADE FOR THEM MAY NOT INCLUDE HIM].”
“Whether native born or a stranger.” Strangers hear and see the blessed of God and enter the fold to claim the blessing without wholeheartedly taking the marriage vows that make for vital union and right of name bearing. Likewise, we can be born and raised among God’s people, but without personally choosing relationship found in vital union with God through Christ, we cannot possess the family name in righteousness and truth.
If we truly belong to God in Christ Jesus, taking that family name through belief in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf, giving us life and a new name, it will show in our lifestyle, choices, words, thoughts and desires. We will faithfully feast on the vine of Jesus, bearing fruit that represents our God, Lord, Father, and King. If we fail to bear the fruit of abiding, we are impostors and not true Children, and we are in danger of eternal damnation, separated from God and His family forever.
“…To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature…. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” ~ 2 Peter 1:1-11.
“Make certain of His calling and choosing you.” That suggests we can have a false encounter with God that tricks us into believing that we are safe and secure in that relationship. We cannot bear true fruit without real relationship. The proof of relationship is in the fruit of our lives.
These things, Lord, You speak in the world so that we may have Your joy made full in us. We can face this life as we unite more and more with You, being one together with You in the power of Your Spirit, bearing Your name, flowing out of and adorned by Your nature, as righteous representatives of the family of God. As You have spoken over us, O God, so let it be done. In Jesus, amen.
Read John 17
“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” ~ vs. 11-13.
Hedged by His Name ~ Part 2
Last post we covered that, as people living in the hedge of God’s name, we possess a mind set on and driven by eternal purpose. Focus on the eternal leads us to our need to clothe ourselves in our new nature through the internal flow and external adornment of the image of God.
“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart…” ~ Colossians 3:9-10, 12.
As the Beloved of Christ, made One with God through Him, we are to put off the old self and put on the new that bears the image of the One who is God. That image we put on flows from a heart that is changed and made One with Him.
The heart of our soul is the essence of our character and nature. Made new in Him, His new creation, having His image in us brought to life, the habits and character of our old nature that was dictated by fleshly, self-centered desires, is pushed out and overruled as we possess the nature that is God. The most quoted passage, speaking of the nature we possess in the power of God’s Spirit is Galatians 5:22-23.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The remainder of Colossians 3:1-17 describes these and other attributes of God’s image found living in us. These characteristics we possess as our own, allow the Spirit to freely live in and flow through us to express God’s glory in the world around us.
Note that when we have His nature living and active within us, that image we bear has no law that stands against it. Our fleshly nature fell under the dictates of many Laws of God set in place to rule the ways of humanity. Even in today’s world, it is too often laws that motivate us to do the right that is expected.
In our flesh, which is self-indulgent, we run from God and walk all over any who get in the way of our fulfilling our desires. However, God’s nature is perfect and holy, fulfilling eternal purpose based on God-centered desires for unity and glory, and His Spirit transforms our nature. Leaving the worldly behind, we walk with godly intent and purpose. We are no longer motivated by force of law, but by the power of a right heart in Christ. Possessing His nature fulfills the Law and reaps a harvest of glory, hedging us in the protection found as we live our lives in Jesus Name.
These things, Lord, You speak in the world so that we may have Your joy made full in us. We can face this life as we unite more and more with You, being one together with You in the power of Your Spirit, flowing out of and adorned by Your nature. As You have spoken over us, O God, so let it be done. In Jesus, amen.
Read John 17
“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” ~ vs. 11-13.
Hedged by His Name
Beloved, look at what Jesus is praying here. He placed a hedge of protection around us who are in His Name.
“…keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are…”
In His Name, living and breathing and moving and speaking as people made One in Him, is a hedge of protection for us. It seems vital, then, that we understand what it means to be in the Name of God / Jesus. As I think of where to take us in discerning the fruit of being in His name, the following come to heart as a beginning of our discovery, getting you started on the road to living it. In keeping these posts more devotional length, we will look at this subject for several days, covering each passage in turn.
The most vital need on our journey to become one with God, hedged and protected in that name is having His priorities and mindset for life, being eternity driven:
“If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth. For as far as this world is concerned, you have died, and your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in the splendor of His glory” ~ Colossians 3:1-4, AMP.
God keeps bringing me to this realization, that I am one with Him, made complete in Him. All that I do, think, and speak is to flow out of this unity. It begins with possessing eternal perspective. To get a picture of what this mindset looks like as it bears its fruit in us, we must consider Paul’s teaching through verse 17 of Colossians 3.
Vs 5, Amplified Bible (AMP), warns us to beware the things that work “the deifying of self and other created things instead of God.” Our lives must always reveal God as God in us. This eternal perspective gives us power over fleshly emotions and desires. When God is God in us, we do not give ourselves to fleshly impulses. Instead, we walk a life that reveals that we are no longer children of disobedience, obstinately opposed to divine will, being fully surrendered to the Spirit residing in us (vs. 6-9).
Vs. 10 advises that we in Christ have clothed ourselves “with the new, spiritual self, which is ever in the process of being renewed and remolded into fuller and more perfect knowledge upon knowledge after the image and likeness of Him Who created it” (AMP).
Letting go the flesh and its desires and putting on this eternal takes a lifetime. The produce of it reveals itself in us as spoken through the remainder of this Colossians 3 passage:
Vs. 11: all distinctions vanish. When we are one together in Christ, seeing Him in each other, we are no longer separated by race, color, creed, family history, etc. Past issues set aside, we are one together with God, removed from all dissension, hatred, unforgiveness, distrust, etc. We find unity in the love of God that flows through us as new creations in Christ to each other.
Vs. 12-17: our very nature bears His image, being holy as He is holy through the adornment of the character and nature of God who flows through and covers us.
These things, Lord, You speak in the world so that we may have Your joy made full in us. We can face this life as we unite more and more with You, being one together with You in the power of Your Spirit. As You have spoken over us, O God, so let it be done. In Jesus, amen.