foreverword

When I was a child, I spoke like a child…

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.”  I Corinthians 13:11

1 Corinthians is known as the “love” chapter. This instructional scripture is also part of that chapter and I find that interesting.

Since I have grandchildren, and one of them is just a little older than a year, she is a baby. I also have one that is 3 1/2 years old. She is a child. I see their childish ways…They are sweet but typical children. They want instant gratification of their own senses, take very little responsibility for their actions, very self-oriented, self-centered, don’t have a long range vision, throw temper tantrums and don’t care who they hurt. That is childish ways.

True or real love causes us to outgrow this behavior–it causes us to take responsibility for our actions, in other words grow up or man-up to our responsibility. True love causes us to think of others, how our actions and decisions will affect them and ourselves. We can choose!

In children we expect this behavior and it is tolerable. In adults it becomes reprehensible and ugly. There are not many people who does not have some kind of childish (or selfish) trait or characteristic but a real woman or real man with true love works at putting that kind of behavior behind them.

Let us all work at becoming “beautiful” people expressing a true love in the adult or responsible way that God calls to. Living a life that rises to a higher plane instead of sinking to a mediocre life or below.

My goal is to press to a higher plane and a higher calling–the goal that puts God first, others ahead of my own needs, and myself last. I haven’t achieved it but am striving toward it.

Forever Friend

Years ago, before there was the big hype and the popularity of the phrase “Forever Friend”, God gave a good friend of mine and me that phrase about ourselves. God gave it to us on the day that was probably one of the lowest days in our lives. God bonded us together forever on that day! It was a supernatural work of the Lord.

We were probably not the only ones to use it but I know it was probably about 10 years before it came into common use after God gave my friend and I the phrase “Forever Friend”. We are Forever Friends! That means for all eternity even past death into our heavenly life!

Forever Friends is a work done through the Holy Spirit’s direction and  the power of God’s love through the strength of his kindness and the mercy of His forgiveness. God will send special people into your lives. They will encourage you, uphold you, laugh with you, cry with you. God wants us to bond with like-minded friends. He wants us to mentor and each other into the deeper things of God.

Do you have a Forever Friend? With the mind and the eyes of the Spirit I believe God has put people in my life that are my Forever Friends. They may even be unlikely in the sight of everyone else but God knows the future, the past, the present. He knows who sees the very worst in you and still wants to know you and to love you–to forgive you and be forgiven by you.  Forever Friends cause you to be successful in life. Pray that God gives you some Forever Friends.

I encourage you to pray for your Forever Friends. They need it. Cherish them and uphold them before God and man. May God bless and keep you!

Today is the Day!

Since I got up this morning I have thought about the scripture in 2 Corinthians 6:2: For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (NIV)

The New Living Translation says, “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

Notice that in this scripture God says, NOW, TODAY! How often as Christians, we believe for something but maybe down the road or eventually or maybe in Heaven we will see it. Over the years we get sluggish or disappointed and we let our faith wane a little.

I believe God is wanting to do a work in us of immediacy.  Sometimes we just need to stir ourselves and remember the promises God has given us. Today is the day, now is the acceptable time! Sincerely ask God if that Word is for you. Say to the Lord, “Do I need this Word for my life today that I might prosper in the things of God?”

Today take hold of His Word. I heard a sermon on being “fully persuaded” speaking of Abraham and Sarah having Isaac, Romans 4:20-21says: “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”

Do we believe God is able to do that which He promised us TODAY? Romans 4:17b is speaking of Abraham: “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

By God’s grace, power, favor and protection, I am stirring my heart, my spirit, my mind to believe God’s word TODAY! I am asking God to bring to remembrance the things that He has promised me NOW. I am asking God to call into existence those blessings and truths that do not seem to exist in my life!

I am not ordering God but beseeching Him to move in my heart and life that I may be more like Him. Hebrews 11:11 says, “And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” NIV

Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” NIV
What are the promises God has given you? Here are some promises the Lord put in my spirit in the past but that He has brought to my remembrance this day:

Jeremiah 30:17: “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’ “ NIV

I am the healed of the Lord!

Joel 2:25: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm,..”

God is restoring to me the things that were lost, taken, eaten, stripped and gnawed from me!

Isaiah 54:13: “All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.”

God is moving in my children’s lives and bringing them to Him! Praise God!

 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psalm 2:8

Those that are lost God is giving them to me as my inheritance!

“The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.” Isaiah 50:4 (New Living Translation)

Let us listen to God, believe His Word, stir up that faith He has given you, love God, be kindhearted toward others.
No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD. (NIV) Isaiah 54:17

 

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A Dream From God

Have you ever had a dream you knew without a doubt it was from the Lord? I have had several dreams from the Lord but I want to share one particular dream that has influenced my life for the good. This dream encouraged me through the years when I was down and at times seemed to be floundering, not knowing my purpose.

I dreamed I was standing in the middle of a wide river. I was about waist high in the water facing upstream. The river was somewhat turbulent with some white water but I was steady in the river. I then started walking upstream with the water getting a little deeper. Then slowly people started drifting down the river some fighting it and some just letting the river take them wherever it wanted. It upset me and I knew I needed to help them.

I started talking to the people and encouraging them to stand with me and go upstream because I knew what was downstream was bad, ruinous, wrong, loss, suffering and death. Some people listened and started standing beside me walking upstream with me. Then some would reach out their hand to me asking for help. They couldn’t stand up but I could hold them and keep them from going downstream. Some people would hang on to my arm and body and I could help them. Some I just would try to hold with my hand and then they would purposely let go. I felt such anguish and heartbreak when those people just let go into the swirling water being Imagetossed to and fro and for those that wouldn’t even try. All through the dream I kept saying the Lord is good, come stand with me, God can and will save you.

I knew through that dream that the Lord would keep me regardless of what was happening in my life even at times when I was low and struggling. I also knew from that dream that God called me to witness to the lost, to encourage those that believed, to help those that seemed to be weak and to even carry them if necessary. God called me to go against the regular flow of life and to be strong in Him. Through the worst times in my life, God would bring that dream to my mind and I would be encouraged that God was with me!!! There may even be more to that dream and as I need it, God will reveal it to me.

Isaiah 43:2 a, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.”

Hebrews 3:1, Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”

Hebrew 3:12-14 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”

Do not be afraid of a dream from the Lord. Throughout the Bible God revealed His will to people through dreams. God spoke to Joseph about Mary in a dream and also to flee to Egypt when Jesus’ life was threatened. Many of the prophets dreamed and also interpreted dreams. When God gives you dream, compare it to the Word of God and the intents of God. Remember in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

If you believe that God has given you a dream, then it is for a purpose. First, ensure the dream is actually of God by comparing it to scripture and ask for Holy Spirit confirmation. Talk to your pastor or a spiritual friend you trust if you have some doubt. Then ask God for the interpretation of the dream. If it is truly of God then your life will prosper from that dream.

Daniel 2:19, “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;”

Portrait of an Intercessor

I have been thinking about the power and necessity of Intercessory prayer. The Lord brought to my mind the scripture, Ezekiel 22:30, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”

God is saying that he is looking for people to pray, to intercede, to intervene in the Spirit realm for other people, for our cities, for our country, for our world. The word hedge means the protection wall, a place of safety behind the wall, to dwell in the shelter of the Most High. We as Christians should be praying for our weaker brethren and for the lost. We should pray for the leaders of our church and for our government. We should through intercessory prayer make up or even repair any damaged walls.

Then we look at the word gap. God says he is looking for someone to stand in the gap. What is the meaning of gap? It means the unfilled space or break or hole between God and man; holiness and sin; righteousness and evil. God wants us to stand in that gap as lights of the Lord to lead men and women to Him to encourage others to good works and righteousness.

If we want to see change in our world, Intercessory Prayer is vital!

I want to do short study on an extraordinary woman in the Old Testament who maybe be only mentioned in one chapter of the Bible but what a woman!!! Her name is Rizpah and she is found in 2 Samuel 21. Before we look at 2 Samuel, I want to look at the first part of Parable of the Sower. This is found in Matthew 13:1-4, “That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.” Now look at verse 18-19:  “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.”

The seed is the Word of God, the experience of God, the very presence of God. And what happened? The birdie of the air came and ate it up. Who is this birdie of the air? None other than Satan, the devil, the enemy of our soul who would snatch the Word from the lost or the wavering
souls who need New Life, who need Jesus. What do we do about it?

Let us look at Rizpah now.

2 Samuel 21:1 – 14

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”  So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah).  Thus David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?”  Then the Gibeonites said to him, “We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “I will do for you whatever you say.”  So they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king said, “I will give them.

 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORDwhich was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan.  So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite.  Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.

And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.  When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa.He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus they did all that the king commanded, and after that God was moved by prayer for the land.

To understand about Rizpah’s remarkable deeds, we need the backstory on this portion of scripture. Probably four or five years into King David reign over Israel there were three bad years of famine. David was very concerned for his nation and the people. When a country is in famine there is hunger, want, starvation, destitution, deprivation, drought, loss of crops, loss of life, poverty, calamity, tragedy, discontent among the people. David was desperate and 2 Samuel 21:1 says, David sought the presence of the Lord. David knew there was a reason for the drought and only the Lord could tell him yet the answer was astounding and somewhat horrifying.

The reason for the drought was King Saul and his bloody deeds. In Joshua chapter 9 nearly 400 years previous, the Israelites made a covenant or oath that they would keep the pagan tribe of the Gibeonites safe and would not kill them as they claimed the land promised them by the Lord. This was an oath made before God and was honored until King Saul decided that he would decimate the tribe of the Gibeonites. Who knows how many men, women and children Saul killed? The Bible does not say. Because of this bloody deed of Saul, the whole land suffered until it was made right.

King David asked the Gibeonites what would it take to make things right with them. Remember, the Gibeonites were a pagan tribe and it was a time of “an eye for an eye and a life for a life”. The Gibeonites said, “let seven men from his (Saul’s) sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul…”. Gibeah was where Saul grew up, his home town. The Gibeonites were within their rights to ask for these deaths and King David had little choice in the matter. So David chose the two sons of Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, and the five sons of Merab, the daughter of Saul. These innocent young men were then all hanged together at the first days of harvest, probably in the middle of April.

Then we see a remarkable, extraordinary sight. Rizpah takes sackcloth and spreads it upon the rock. She stays there five months for just one purpose! Day and night, day after day and week after week, she beats off the birds of the air and the beasts of the fields off of her sons so they cannot desecrate the bodies and pick the flesh off of her sons and probably Merab’s too. We see a powerful comparison with the Parable of the Sower’s Birdie of the Air to these birds of the air.

In Rizpah we see a true Portrait of an Intercessor! She humbly stayed on the rock and without ceasing beat those birds and wild beasts off her sons. If only we would do the same in prayer. Get down on our knees and in prayer and through the power of the Holy Spirit on our Rock, Jesus Christ, beat the birdie of the air (the enemy) off our children, off our loved ones, off our church and city and country.

One more point here, this was a generational curse. These boys were innocent but because their father/grandfather sinned they were hung in shame. Often we need to come against generational curses in our own lives and our children’s lives and our family! Sometimes our family or we ourselves are oppressed or there are open doors for the enemy to harass us. We need to intercess and beat that birdie of the air off and those wild beasts off so we can be victorious in our walk with Jesus Christ.

That is not the end of the story. Because of Rizpah’s selfless task of protecting her children, King David brought Saul and Jonathan’s bones back and took those sons and grandsons and buried them all with honor. The shame was gone and those boys were honored by the King.

Rizpah stayed there at Gibeah on the rock beating the birds of the air and the wild beasts off for 5 months from April to October. In October there was finally rain, after three years famine was broken and the nation was blessed and returned to prosperity. Praise God!

Do not give up on praying and interceding! Earlier this year the Lord gave me a scripture, Isaiah 49:25b, “For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons.” Who contends with me? The devil, the enemy of my life and soul, but the Lord said He would battle with Satan on my behalf. Then the rest of the verse says—and I will save your sons! God would save my children!!! We can trust in the Lord to fulfill His Word. The devil is a liar and God is Truth!

When you intercess and beat off the birdie of the air for your children, speak the Word of God over them!

“All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.” Isaiah 54:13

“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons.” Isaiah 49:25

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalms 37:25 (NIV)

These are just a few scriptures for your children and grandchildren. I encourage you to be the prayer God wants you to be. When you are obedient to God, you will be blessed!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesian 3:20

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Sanctifed?

When I was a young Christian, we had testimony time in church. People would stand up and give a testimony of how God moved in their lives during the week or perhaps in their lives. I often would hear the phrase, they were “saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost”. For a long time I did not understand the term “sanctified”. I finally did a study on sanctification and received clarity from the Lord.

The word sanctify means to be set apart for sacred use; consecrate. It also means to make holy; purify. Sanctified means made or declared or believed to be holy. Some synonyms are cleanse, purge, purify.

Sanctification is a definite work of Grace just like salvation, baptism and the infilling of the Holy Spirit but sanctification is also a progressive work of Grace.

Sanctification: A Definitive Work of Grace

1 Corinthians 6:9, 11 says,

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? … And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

First we come to the Lord by the drawing of the Spirit. We repent of our sins and ask the Lord into our hearts to cleanse us and wash us free from our sins. We set that in place by baptism in water. Then the scripture says: you were sanctified. What it means is that you are called to be set apart, no longer following your own desires but following Christ. Your body is now the temple of the Holy Ghost, a sacred place. You are to walk holy and differently than you did before.

When I was first saved after I asked Jesus into my heart and forgive me of my sins, I struggled to be a Christian. I wanted to live according to the Word of God. I wanted to leave my old life behind but I kept messing up and doing wrong things. It was like I had one foot in God’s realm and one foot in the world or in the realm of sin. I wanted to do right but kept going back to the old life. This went on for months and I carried a lot of guilt. Then one day, tragedy struck. I was twenty years old and living at home. My beautiful Christian mother was struck down with a brain aneurysm and died within in a few hours. She was only 38 years old. On the way home from the hospital I said, “Lord, I want to go to heaven to be with you and with my mother.” I made a declaration and commitment to God. At that moment, I totally surrendered my life to the Lord, His ways, His Word, His plan for me. After that, it seemed as though my eyes were opened. I no longer struggled or wanted my old life. I wanted to be a born again Christian woman. My heart was totally God’s. Sin no longer reigned in my life but King Jesus reigned with righteousness and holiness.

Romans 6:6-8 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

Sanctification as a definitive work of Grace is surrender to God and His plan for our lives. I quit fighting God and surrendered. My old life died with Jesus on the cross, I was no longer a slave to sin. Once I yielded everything to the Lord, I was living with Him, wholly consecrated to the work and life of the Lord. It was easy to make right decisions. I am not saying that I never made a mistake but it no longer ruled me.  God has ownership of me.

Many people do not have such a decisive event in their lives that they can point to and say, “Yes, that the moment when I received sanctification.” Often it is when a person gets born-again or maybe in the weeks or months following but it is a work of Grace, a time of surrender to the complete ownership of ourselves to God.

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10

Sanctification as a Progressive Work—

Sanctification is also a progressive work. First, we surrender to God and we are made holy under His cleansing blood, His life and His purpose for our lives—the definitive Sanctification. We no longer struggle against His plans for us, His design for our lives. Next, we allow God to continue to perfect us, to grow closer to Him that we might be in the place where we develop godly virtues.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (NIV)

We need a daily purification from all that surrounds us to be able to grow as a Christian. How do we do that? We need to study our Bibles daily, seek Christian companions, be involved in our local church, daily prayer and most of all be obedient to God, His Word, and let the Holy Spirit do a work in us. As we daily surrender ourselves to Him, then we grow in grace and knowledge of the truth. Colossians 3: 2, 10 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. And put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV)

Become mature overcomers in Christ. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

“As we continually yield ourselves to Christ, surrendering ourselves by faith to His nature and His words, we literally build the impenetrable stronghold of His presence around us. The way into the fortress of the Almighty is simple. Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.” ~Francis Frangipane

If you are struggling in your Christian walk, just surrender your life, your everything to God. Eternal life is worth it!

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Romans 6:22 (NIV)

Are You Wounded?

Have you ever been hurt, wounded, marred, made to feel low and second-class, victimized, criticized about your looks, your weight, your manner of speaking, despised, abused, suffered, laughed at, talked about, lied about, rejected? Maybe you haven’t experience all of those feelings but I am sure that you have experienced some of them at one time.

I know I have been on the receiving end of many of those wounds and hurts but I have also thoughtlessly caused them. None of us are perfect, we make mistakes and some of us have made more than others. We say hurtful things because we have been hurt. We wound because we have been wounded.

Lately, I have been asking the Lord why certain things have happened in my life and why I seem at a standstill. I feel like I am at a crossroads but don’t know where to go or what to do.

Some scriptures come to mind about Jesus found in Isaiah 52 and 53.

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain…” (Isa 5:3)

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isa 5:5)

In Isaiah 52:14 “Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—“

So here we see Jesus wounded, rejected, despised, physically hurt, and crushed. People were horrified at him. He was marred, an object of horror.

Marred is an interesting word. It can mean: disfigured, damaged, spoiled, scarred, impaired, hindered, wasted, flawed, injured, defaced, deformed, distorted.

Do you identify with any of this at least emotionally, in your heart? Jeremiah, Micah, and Job speak of their wounds being incurable and they are. Many of us have been wounded, hurt, marred, and scarred from childhood throughout adulthood. These wounds cannot be healed except through the power of the Holy Spirit doing a redemptive work in our lives. These wounds have taken root in our hearts and we must deal with them.

Often we ask, “Why me??? I have just tried to do good, I didn’t deserve this!” Right now, God is wanting to do a great work in your life! He wants to do a deep, maturing, spiritual work in you!

Look at Isaiah 53:10 and what a revelation this word is:

 “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…”

God willed the Lord Jesus to suffer. Why? Verse 12 says,

“….because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered among the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Jesus took our sin. Isaiah 53:11 says,

“By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities.”

Francis Frangipane in his study, The Gift of Woundedness, says “As Christ forgave His enemies, Heaven’s power rent the temple veil in two.”

Praise God! You wonder why things have happened to you? God wants you to be Christlike. He is leading you there. He wants to do a wonderful deep work in your character. One time I was going through something terrible, being treated mean. I went to my pastor and she said something I didn’t like at first but knew it was great wisdom. She said that God wanted to do a work of love in my heart. That I should pray for those treating me unjustly and forgive them! I did not want to do that, I wanted to lash out and somehow get them back. But that is not Christlike. The Lord let me see the carnality in my heart and the selfishness.

When you pray and sincerely forgive those who have hurt you and wounded you, there are great things happening in heaven. The Father is well-pleased with you. You gain new perspective in your life. Those incurable wounds are being rooted out and healed by the power of the Holy Spirit. A supernatural work in happening in your life and character.

Paul said in Hebrews 5:8

“Even though Jesus was God’ Son, he learned obedience from the things that he suffered.”

Dear brothers and sisters, through the things that we have suffered, let the Fruit of the Holy Spirit be manifest in our lives: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness! Intercess, pray, forgive those that have hurt you in the past. Go forward, becoming Christlike, obedient to the Father’s Will and enjoy abundant life.

Paul says in Philippians 3:10:

“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

What sweet fellowship with our Father and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ if we embrace those things that have happened, forgive, learn obedience, let our hearts be always soft while yearning for more of the Lord. We would truly see clearly and know the path the Lord has for us. Not only for us but we would see a great move in others as we pray for them. What is our calling and goal it life? To be popular, well-liked, well-thought of, a nice person? NO! It should be to be like Jesus! To manifest his nature in our lives! To grow in grace & knowledge of Him! Although we see Jesus persecuted and hated by some, He was loved (and is loved) by so many! He inspired people, healed them, helped the hopeless. He not only was loved but He loved us so much that he laid down His life for us. Let us strive to be like our Savior!!! If we suffer, let us turn around and let the work move our hearts toward Him!

A prayer from Francis Frangipane, The Power of One Christlike Life:

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Let the Dead Bury the Dead!

The other day I read an interesting scripture that really spoke to my heart.

Luke 9:60 “Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” King James 2000 Bible

Sometimes as we grow older, we live in regret, we let past failures haunt us, all the what ifs, should haves, could haves, and if onlys weigh down our minds and hearts. In fact, all these things clog our hearts from receiving the new blessings God has for us. God cannot move us into new realms if we are back with the dead, the old, the past. We often go into depression and darkness even though we still believe the Word of God and love the Lord Jesus Christ with all are hearts, we are slowly being choked from the newness of His Love and freshness of his Sprit.

Lamentations 3:22, 23 says, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

God’s mercies, love, blessings are new every morning but do we receive them every morning or are we still in the past? Are we dwelling on loss, failures, grievances, even past conflicts or perhaps past successes?

When I read that scripture, Let the dead bury the dead, God told me to let go of all those things that are hindering me from receiving that new revelation of Him and His Sovereignty in my life!

If I did that then I would see a mighty move of God in a fresh anointing in my life. Remember the second part of that scripture? But you go and preach the kingdom of God! Praise God!

Earlier I wrote about a word God gave me in January 2012, “Your latter end will be greater than your former!!!” What a great journey God has me on! How can I go forward if I am dwelling on the past whatevers? I can’t. I think that is why Luke 9:60 spoke so strongly to me. The Lord is saying: Get on with God’s business, blessings, freshness, fresh revelation and let the past go and not only be gone but dead and buried!!! Amen? Amen!!!

Wreckage and Mercy

The other day I heard a sermon from the book of Jonah. All week I have thought on the truths found in the book of Jonah. I want to share two particular truths the Lord has shown me.

First, a person’s rebellion against God’s will and especially a Christian’s rebellion against the directives of God causes wreckage in others lives as well as his/her own.

Secondly, God loves repentance and mercy over justice.

 The book of Jonah is found in the Old Testament. It is not a parable or a fictional story but a truly historical narrative. The names and places in the book are historical.  Jesus also spoke about Jonah not as a fictional story or parable but as history.

Jonah was a prophet of Israel and God. God told Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because it was so wicked. Ninevah was the capital of Assyria, a very wicked and immoral nation. Israel considered the Assyrians a threat and hated them. So when God told His man, His prophet, Jonah to preach to them, Jonah in his rebellion and his own wisdom decided to not do what the Lord asked of him but to run the very opposite way.

Jonah 1:1-3: “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (KJV)

 We see Jonah rebel and go his own way. Have you ever God, “No, Lord, I don’t want to do that”? Have you gone your own way instead of God’s way whether through sin or slackness or fear or just saying NO to God? Oh, maybe you justify the waywardness or sin but deep down you know it is wrong, you feel guilty and shame but it is not enough to stop you or turn you back to complete surrender to the Lord’s will.

          FIRST TRUTH–when a person rebels against the Lord there will always be wreckage!

Jonah 1:4-6 says, “Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”

Now we start seeing the wreckage in other’s lives caused by one man’s rebellion against God. Because of the great storm the crew lost their cargo and was in peril of their lives. What was Jonah doing? He was sleeping!

 Romans 14:7 says, “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” What we do affects others whether for good or bad. Most of us would like to ignore this fact but it is a truth! When we are in rebellion or sin, we don’t pray as we should, we don’t set the example as we should, a lot of times we become very selfish and self-minded and say, “It is my life! Leave me alone!”

  We don’t want to acknowledge that what we are doing affects others adversely and most of the time it is the ones closest to us that is affected—our family, our children, our spouse, our friends, our church, our community! Exodus 34:7 says “…Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

 Not only is there wreckage in other’s lives but in our own when we rebel against the Lord. We see Jonah going down to Joppa, then down in to the ship and eventually, down into the ocean.

Jonah 1:11-16:  The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they (the sailors) asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the Lord, “O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. (NIV)

Finally, Jonah mans up and says—Hey, this is my fault and I am going to own up to my mistakes, my rebellion, my sin even if it means my death.

           SECOND TRUTH– God loves repentance and mercy over justice.

Jonah 1:17,“But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” (NIV)

God showed mercy to Jonah. Instead of a watery grave for Jonah, God sent a great fish to preserve him. Inside of that fish, Jonah repented of his sins, asked God to forgive him and surrendered his life, his will, his ambitions, his hopes, his all once more to God.

Jonah 2:9,10: But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.”

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah 3:1-4: Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”

 Then the Lord brought Jonah back to where he should have been and gave him back his ministry. Praise God!

Sometimes our place of preservation is not the most pleasant and it certainly wasn’t for Jonah—inside the belly of the fish. Jonah called it the pit. Have you repented and are spending time in the place of preservation and it seems like things are not going your way? You wonder why? God is teaching you, fortifying you and perhaps even testing you to see if you will stick to the course this time, if you will prove true to Him, if you really will love Him above all else? I am sure being vomited out of the place of preservation wasn’t fun either but Jonah was a true man of God and listened for God’s voice and was obedient to do what God had called him to do.

 Our Lord and Savior Jesus is not a hard taskmaster but loving, kind and merciful. Psalms 91:4 says, “His huge outstretched arms protect you – under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.” (The Message Bible). He puts us in the cleft of the rock and keeps us from harm. (Exodus 33:22) As we want the best for our children and when they mess up or make a mistake, we correct them and instruct them, most of all we love them. How much more does our Creator, our Heavenly Father, want the best for us? He knows our talents, our character, the direction that our lives should go. If we go the wrong direction and go down instead of up, our God will do what he needs to do to correct our paths so we can go up and see His glory!

 Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh and they heard the word and repented—the whole city! Yet, Jonah became extremely angry. He knew these people had greatly sinned! They deserved punishment! Have you ever seen perhaps a Christian leader, someone whom you admired and respected, get caught in some bad sin? You were hurt. Then they repented, God had mercy upon them, even though they had to pay the price for their sin, you didn’t think it was enough. You despised them in your heart? Perhaps you were like the Sons of Thunder, the apostles James and John, who wanted to call down fire from heaven on a group of people for the disrespect to our Lord and Savior Jesus? (Luke 9:52-56)

I have been there and done that. I’ve had to repent over my attitude of wanting God’s justice instead of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The Lord pointed out my own failings, my own missing the mark, my own rebellion. When He opened my eyes and showed me His great mercy to me, how He restored me, how He brought me through; I fell on my face and wept. Who was I to point a finger at my brother?

God wants to show mercy to a clueless people, He wants people to repent of their sins. He wants to restore people to who they should be.

 John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (NIV)

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

 Let us be a people who shows our neighbor, friend, brother or sister God’s compassion, mercy, kindness instead of judgment and harshness. Let the following verse be our creed in life—to love mercy!

Consecrate Yourself

Have you heard God tell you something? He just drops it into your heart and mind faster than you could even say it to somebody and you know that you know it is God!!!

The other day I was visiting with a friend. It was a good conversation about the things of the Lord. Then without expectation God spoke to me the following words:

 

Joy leapt up in my heart! With these words I felt the Lord was taking me deeper in Him. I am a mature Christian but I felt like the Lord was dealing with me in a strong way. Sometimes, we go about our daily lives and maybe get lax or complacent or even self-satisfied. I thought I knew what to consecrate myself meant but wanted to do more of an in-depth study on consecration. During my Christian walk, I want to be real, honest, open.

When God speaks to you like He did me, He wants you to ponder the words, seek His face, be obedient to what He tells you. I don’t believe I know the whole of the message right now but I do want what He wants for my life.

Let’s study a little about consecration.

 What does it mean to be consecrated?

The word consecrate means to be set apart for the service of God. There were four main words that were used in the Hebrew to describe this:

  1. Haram – to devote
  2. Nazar – To separate
  3. Qadhesh – To set apart
  4. Mille yadh – to fill the hand: used to describe the ordinations of priests

The term consecrate was applied to several aspects of the Jewish life:

  • Places: Holy of Holies – The inner most part of the temple
  • People: Priests and prophets
  • Things: Altar of Incense and the Ark of the Covenant
  • Times: Various feasts and special days such as Yom Kippur or Passover

Consecration is for all Christians. It is not optional but required since we are all priests for God.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

“For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

And that he died for all, that they who live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.”

The Constraining power of the Lord’s Love—

Constrained means “pressed on from all sides,” tightly confined on all sides. Christ’s love binds us. He shed His blood because He loves us. Because of that great love, we are His. We are wrapped in His love. Praise God!!!

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“Love is a basis of consecration. Love has bound us up, and we cannot run away. When a person is in love, he will have a sense of bondage. We are bound by Him; we have no way out. He has died for us, and we should live unto Him today. Hence, love is the basis of consecration. A man consecrates himself to the Lord because of the Lord’s love. No one can consecrate himself unless he first touches the Lord’s love. A man must touch the Lord’s love before he can consecrate himself to Him. When one touches the Lord’s love, consecration spontaneously follows.” (Watchman Nee)

The Lord’s expectation of Consecration in our lives:

1 Cor. 6:19-20

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Because the Lord bought our lives with His own sinless blood, he has the right to ask us to consecrate ourselves.

Consecration unto service to God—it is the receiving of the ministry of service to God. It is to say to the Lord, “Because you have loved me, saved me, brought me out of darkness into your marvelous light, because you protect me and keep me, because You have so drastically changed my life for the better, because you have made a new person of me—I will serve you and do what you ask of me!”

In order to be consecrated we must first ask Jesus to forgive us, to cleanse of all unrighteousness, of all sin. Repent! We have been bought with a price—The Blood of Jesus. Our entire beings belongs to Him alone.

The Hebrew word consecration means “to have one’s hands filled”. “I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God which is your reasonable service” Rom. 12:1

A saturation of Christ is what God calls consecration. God calls us to service and we answer, “Yes, Lord I am yours body, soul, will, emotions. I am grateful and privileged to serve you however you see fit.” See Romans 6

Consecration is service or to “wait upon the Lord”. Be prepared to serve. We present our bodies to serve God in whatever capacity the Lord has for us. We need to be flexible. The Lord comes first.

“Our entire life is directed toward the service of God. Consecration is not how much we can give to God. It is being accepted by God and being granted the honor of serving Him.” (Watchman Nee)

Consecration means that we say, “Lord, You have given me the opportunity and the right to come before You and to serve You.” It is saying, “Lord, I am Yours. My ears were purchased by the blood; they belong to You. My hands were purchased by the blood; they belong to You. My feet were purchased by the blood; they belong to You. From now on I can no longer use them for myself.” (Watchman Nee)

(Watchman Nee was a devout Chinese Christian who died in 1972. He spent the last 20 years of his life in prison being persecuted by the Communist in China. He wrote about the Christian life and founded many churches in China.)

Jesus is to be first in our lives!

Let’s look in Mark 10:17-31. A rich young man came to Jesus and ask what must he do to inherit eternal life? The young man told Jesus that he had kept the commandments but Jesus said he needed to go and sell everything, give that to the poor and then follow him. The young man didn’t do it.

Jesus looked into the heart of this young man. Jesus wasn’t saying that you couldn’t have money to be saved but that you must not have idols or anything that was more important that the Lord. The young man wanted to go to heaven but he put riches and wealth above the service and love of the Lord.

Consecration is putting Jesus absolutely first in your life, above all else, be ready, be prepared to serve him and do what He asks. Christianity is not casual. Christ asks us to take up our cross daily. Luke 9:23 “Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Following Jesus, being a committed Christian is not burdensome. When the Lord said take up our cross daily, He was saying, “die to self” each and every day. Surrender your will, ambitions, life, politics, opinions, dreams, hopes, fears, to the Lord each day. Listen to his voice and do what He says. The Cross represents death. Jesus died on the cross. Living a Christian life is great joy but the dying to self is often what is hard. Discipleship is sacrifice. It means taking all idols out of your life like the rich young man and following Him.

If you wonder if you are ready to take up your cross, consider these questions:

  • Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends?
  • Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?
  • Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means the loss of your reputation?
  • Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?
  • Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?

In some places of the world, these consequences are reality. But notice the questions are phrased, “Are you willing?” Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean all these things will happen to you, but are you willing to take up your cross? If there comes a point in your life where you are faced with a choice—Jesus or the comforts of this life—which will you choose? (taken from GotQuestions.org)

Consecration is putting Jesus first, setting yourself apart from what you once were, dedicate yourself to the things of God, prepare yourself to be sensitive to the voice of God and when He calls—answer.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Joshua 3:5 says, “Joshua told the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

God wanted them to:  Turn their hearts to God. Put their faith and trust in God and His promises. Put away sin and do good as the Lord showed them. Make a true commitment to God’s ways! Be an overcomer! Many of us look good on the outside but harbor anger, bitterness, unforgiveness.

We often manipulate people and try to be in control of every situation. To see God’s amazing works in our lives, we must examine ourselves and motives and commit ourselves to Him in every area. This surrendering involves every part of our lives—physical, mental, and spiritual.

God wants us to grow and not remain spiritual babies but become His useful servants. Absolutely know you have been bought with a price! The Bible says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…, and you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price. So then glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Romans 14:8 says, “Whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s.”

In other words, we are owned by Christ. Not unwillingly but we give our lives to the Lord when we ask Him to forgive us and save us from our sins.  We consciously and willingly become God’s servants or slaves. Yet, many people say, “I only want to serve God or do for God a certain extent.” They want to go to church, feel good about themselves, but still keep a part of their lives and hearts apart so they can do what they want. They want to be independent instead of acknowledging to God, to the world, to themselves that they have been bought with a price and they are literally owned by our Savior Jesus Christ. So they stray away, or never grow as a Christian because they are always fighting against God’s service.

When we consecrate ourselves to God, we sacrifice our desires not because we have to but because we want to. We are in a love relationship with Jesus. Because we love the Lord, we are willing to lay aside our own wishes and do what the Lord asks. It is not grievous; it is a joy because we know the Lord has our best interests in mind. He is divine, He knows what is ahead, He is Sovereign.

Exodus 21:1-6 shows us a picture of our love relationship with the Lord. Verse 5 – 6 says, “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”

If only all of us would say of our love, “I do not ever want to be free of the Lord. I am His man or woman forever. I am His servant, His slave. Do with me what you want! Your way is the best for me!” Not making this commitment in just words but in deeds!

Consecration is not just for our own benefit but also for the Body of Christ. When we consecrate ourselves, we are able to help other people whether Christian or the ungodly. Through consecration we will be in the right place at the right time because we will hear the voice of God and know what to do.

How can we consecrate ourselves?

  1. Be willing to spend time alone with God. Try to set a time that you will not be interrupted.
  2. Examine your life. Ask God to show you things that you are thinking or doing that would come between Him and you.
  3. Ask forgiveness for wrong attitudes, wrong thinking, unforgiveness, busyness, any idolatry. Idolatry is anything you set above doing the will of God in your life—whether it is wealth, the accumulating of wealth, your family, your pride.
  4. Want to be used of the Lord regardless of whatever way. Not everyone is called to be a missionary or be a pastor but everyone is called into service someway.
  5. Grow up in the things of God, surrender all to Him, read and study your Bible.

These are but a few of the ways to consecrate yourself to the Lord. Ask God to help you!

“Solitude, silence, and unceasing prayer form the core concepts of the spirituality of the desert.”

Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart

 

I am desperate for the Lord and I want hear his voice! I want to be constrained by Christ! I want to do what the Lord said to me and have the results of what the Lord said to me!

Jeremiah 33:3

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