Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Putting a Demand on God's Provisions

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 
John 15:7 NASB
19 But my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 MEV

  Over the year 2019, we've studied much on the goodness of God, His role in human hardships and tragedies and the varied traditions surrounding suffering. We've just concluded a series of study of walking in Grace and living by the God kind of Faith. For the majority of this year, we've been much focused on who God is, and what He has done for us and how to receive it in our lives. 

 Today, I sense the strong leading to share a truth about Faith and Grace and walking in triumphant victory. Often among those who proclaim the Radical Grace of God, I see a common theme. Don't hunger for the things of God, you're already full. Don't ask for God to show up He is always with you. Don't ask God to move, He's already moved. 

 When I hear those sentiments proclaimed, the first thing I do is look at the life of those making those statements. All too often, I don't see them walking in victory. I don't see them flowing in God's healing power. I don't see signs and wonders among their midst. Should we ask for more? Should we hunger? Should we ask God to move? Is that the answer? Where is the disconnect?

 To answer, no we don't need to necessarily ask God to move in our midst. It is true that He has moved in the Finished Work. He completed the work. He has given us His Spirit. He has made available all of Heaven's resources. So again where is the disconnect?

 A few years ago, the Lord gave me an answer about hungering. We don't hunger for the things of God because we lack. We simply hunger for what He hungers for. What the Lord showed me was though the Spirit is among His people it is up to us if we want a passive presence or an active presence. 

 Passivity is the disconnect. Saying don't hunger for more, don't beg God to move is a partial truth, but this coupled with a passive spiritual desire will always breed the same result. No power or victory present or received. The truth in its fullness is yes we don't ask or beg or plead or strive for what He has already provided. We must though know what has been provided. Desire what God desires, to see His people healed, whole, and walking in victory. 

Put a Demand on the Provision

 What is the provision made? He has purchased our complete redemption. He redeemed us from the curse of the Law. He procured our eternal redemption. He bought us back from the power of the enemy. 

 Redemption perfectly purchased and procured for us has a provision for every area of our life. He has obtained our eternal salvation. His shed blood has procured the forgiveness of all our sins, past present and future. This redemption has delivered us from the power of the enemy, translating us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son. This so great salvation has made us the Righteousness of God in Christ. This redemption has paid for the healing of our bodies, for by His stripes we were healed. This perfect redemption brings wholeness to all areas of our life, for this new life has a supply for all things that pertain to life and godliness.

 Understanding what we already have in Christ, why aren't more walking in it? This side of Heaven we won't know each and every reason why some fail to receive all God has provided. However, studying His Word we can see there are reasons given why some fail to receive. That said, none of these reasons bring shame or condemnation or minister fear to anyone. These are not disqualifying conditions either. The enemy and religious tradition deal in shame and regret but Grace says otherwise.
 One major reason some fail to receive is that they are not making a demand on what is already theirs in Christ. Allow me to give you two examples in the ministry of Jesus here on Earth;

27 When she had heard of Jesus, she came in the crowd behind Him and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If I may touch His garments, I shall be healed.” 29 And immediately her hemorrhage dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. Mark 5:27-29 MEV

 This is the woman with the issue of blood, you can read the entire account here. You see here that Jesus didn't single her out and minister to her. No, she heard of Him and His healing power. She saw the provision and reached out and received. She put a demand on the provision and received it fully in her life. 

 You may be thinking ok I am seeing something here but you keep using the word demand. Isn't that ordering God around? Isn't that being demanding of God? No. We aren't demanding anything of God, we are just putting a demand on the supply He provided. 

 To illustrate further, use your natural bank account. When you make a purchase, you use a bank card or write a check. What are you doing? You're putting a demand on the supply of funds in your account at that moment to purchase a product or service. So it is with God. We are putting a demand on the supply He purchased for us.

 Let's look at a situation where there was no demand made and see the results. Jesus was teaching and the Pharisees were there and the power of the Lord was present to heal, see the account here. Take note that no one was healed as Jesus taught. Yet the power or provision was readily available. It wasn't until those men tore a hole in the roof and lowered the man down and put a demand on the power of God did they receive. 

 In summation, we want all God has provided and procured for us. The truth is though it won't just fall on us like ripe fruit off a tree. If it was automatic without any demand made then all humanity would be saved. We know that's not true. People who want to be saved put a demand on the provision of salvation and receive. It is the same for all of God's provision. This isn't "achieve to receive" or "strive to arrive",  this is about actually opening the gifts He has already given. So don't sit idle, don't stand passively, reach out and receive all He has provided. 
image courtesy of arztsamui/courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Monday, September 2, 2019

By Grace through Faith: the Power of Positive Confession

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be by Grace Romans 4:16a KJV

 We've been in an ongoing study looking at Faith. We've answered what Faith is and what it's not. Faith is being fully persuaded, without doubt, that what Jesus accomplished in the Finished Work and What God's Word proclaims and promises is ours now in Christ. Faith is not denying reality, or making foolish choices in this life. 

 We've seen how Faith comes and how it is released. We've seen Faith isn't a passive receiver, but rather an active participant and puts a demand on all God has purchased and provided. Today, I sense the leading to continue to focus on a major aspect of our Christian life. That is the issue of our words. 

 We saw last week that words have power. Words are containers. They contain life and blessing or they can contain hurt, harm and hopelessness. What are you saying? What are you speaking? 

Me and my big mouth...?

 All throughout Scripture we see God addressing our words. Do your words bring life? Do they minister Grace to the hearer? Do they agree with God or disagree with God? See what God says about our words.

23 Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from trouble. Proverbs 21:23 MEV

20 A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips will he be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:20-21 MEV

We see clearly that our words can bring help or they can hinder our situation or circumstance. Did you know our words can affect others too? We can bring hope and life to others who may be going through a tough time. Or we can be the "downer" who speaks doom and gloom and how there is no hope in the situation. 

 Peter quotes the Psalms about the power of our words;

10 For “He who would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 1 Peter 3:10 MEV

 Want to see good days more than bad ones? Want to experience joy and not sadness? Want to embrace hope and reject hopelessness? Want to have a better outlook on life instead of a bitter one? Think the thoughts of God and speak in agreement with what He has said in His Word and what He has done in His perfect work of redemption. 

 Remember the power of words and confession of our Faith. That being the confession of what we strongly believe. Jesus said we will have what we say

 If you don't want fear to dominate you and dictate your every action and thought, then speak words that agree with what God says. God says perfect love casts out fear. Speak words in agreement with God and His love. When fear tries to rear its head, speak the truth of God's perfect love for you. 

 Alongside fear is the deepest root, condemnation. Fear has torment because it has a fear of punishment. When we know we are accepted and approved and made perfectly righteous and no longer under the sentence of sin, we can rejoice freely. There is no more punishment for our sins. Jesus fully paid the price. We are free from shame, guilt, and condemnation. So fear and condemnation have no power over us. We then speak words agreeing with God and fear and condemnation flees. 

When circumstances and situations seem to not align with what God said, our words should still agree with what God said and not what it looks like. This is key, this is not denying the situation is real and ignoring it. This is choosing to agree with God, in spite of the circumstance. 

 When someone you prayed for to be saved is still in rebellion, don't agree with that behavior. Just continue to agree with what God said. When someone is a believer and you see them making poor choices, agree with God with your words. They are righteous, redeemed and made holy. 

 When you prayed and believed for your healing, the healing Christ purchased in the Finished Work, stay with what God has said and done. Your words can agree with the Finished Work or be based on the changing circumstances or fickle emotions. No matter the situation always agree with God. 

 In summation, the encouragement is to agree with God in your speech. Some believers seem burned out, discouraged, bitter, and hopeless. Why? Often it's because they continue to speak in disagreement with what God has said and done in His work of redemption. Agreeing with God produces a brighter outlook on life. Even if circumstances change for the worst so to speak, how we respond to the attacks is key to victory. 

 If all our words are "woe is me, I never get good breaks, bad stuff is always happening to me," how can you see God in the midst of your circumstance? God is there and He is with you and working it all out for your good. Yet if we continue to disagree with God, we are not receiving His help. We are relying on our own efforts, and the negative thinking and words disagreeing with God are hindering the reception of His goodness. Speak His words, agree with God, and trust in Him. Then victory will be ours. 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

By Grace through Faith: Miracles in your mouth!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be by Grace Romans 4:16a KJV

We've been in a study of Faith. What Faith is and how to walk in Faith. We've seen what Faith is, what Faith is not and how Faith comes. So why study Faith? Why teach Faith? What's so important about Faith?

 The answer is found in God's Word. In four places God declares the Just (those made righteous) live by Faith. Paul declared that we walk by Faith. The author of Hebrews (who I believe was Paul) declares without Faith it is impossible to please God. Clearly, Faith is a big deal with our Good Father. 

 Why is it of such importance? Because as our text states, it is of Faith so that it may be by Grace. Faith is the level playing field. That is, all God has promised, provided, and procured for us is available to any and all believers. They only need to believe it and lay hold of it by Faith. This proves there are no special category believers. There isn't one who is more loved than others. It is by Faith so it might be by Grace.

 One might ask well I don't think I have the Faith to receive. Wrong, friend. If you've put your trust in Jesus you have His Faith inside you. To grow and develop this Faith, just feed on who Jesus is. That is to find Him in His Word and see all He's done for you. Whom He has made you. What He can do through you. Your Faith will grow more and more. 

 Another exciting truth of Faith is that of our words. Did you know words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe? Words can bring help, hope, and healing or they can bring hurt, hopelessness, and harm. 

 See what God says about the power of our words;

18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his mourners. 19 “I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,” Says the Lord“And I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:18-19 NKJV 

 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 MEV

 I think God was trying to show us something. Words carry weight. Words have power. Words are containers. They can contain Grace, Faith, hope, joy, life, wholeness or they can contain, wrath, anger, disbelief, hurt, judgment and condemnation and death. Your words can agree with what God has said or disagree with Him.

Positive Confession or negative confession?

 So we can have a positive confession or a negative one. We can hold to a good confession or a bad one. We can speak life or speak death, this choice is ours. 

 Confession means to agree with God. When we hold fast to a positive confession we are using our words in agreement with God. We are saying Father, all you did for me in Christ's Finished Work I agree is mine. All Jesus made me in the New Creation I agree with. All redemption provided for I accept and agree with, my words are in agreement. 

What then is a negative confession? A negative confession is a confession that discounts and disregards and disagrees with God. Negative confessions contradict what Jesus has done for us. Negative confessions hold fast to denying all Jesus did for us. Sometimes He forgives our sins. Sometimes He sees believers righteous. Sometimes He heals. Sometimes He provides. Sometimes He's good. Sometimes but not all the time. 

 Faith is released by speaking. Words are the locator of our belief. Look at the Word again on this subject;

...but believes that what he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:23b MEV

13 We have the same spirit of faith. As it is written, “I believed, and therefore I have spoken.” So we also believe and therefore speak, 2 Corinthians 4:13 MEV

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the word of faith that we preach Romans 10:8 MEV
10 for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation Romans 10:10 MEV
 This is Faith's believing and speaking out. We believe and we speak. It is clear over and over in the Word of God, our words have power. Our words carry weight. Words can put us over or cause defeat. If you have experienced constant trouble, do a check of what you have been speaking. Are you agreeing with God or circumstances or the lies of the enemy?

 We know we live in a fallen world. However, in the midst of this world, don't disregard God and what He has done for you. You don't have to agree with and accept the circumstances. 

 In summation, we can use our words to describe our situation or we can use words to change them. We can use words talking about the mountain or we can use words and speak to the mountain. We can use words to curse the darkness or we can use Faith-filled words speaking what God said about our situation. True freedom and lasting hope comes from placing our eternal trust in Jesus and agreeing with God with our words and actions. 
Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay 

Monday, August 19, 2019

By Grace through Faith: The Faith That Takes

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be by Grace Romans 4:16a KJV

 Over the last few weeks, we've been in an ongoing study of Faith. What is it? How does it come? How do we grow and develop Faith? We've seen the answer to these questions and many more in previous articles. If you missed any you can locate them on the bottom right of this blog site under the archive banner.

 Today, I sense the leading to closely examine how to have a more victorious prayer life. How to triumphantly lay hold of all that God procured for us in the Finished Work of Christ. How to manifest abundant living in Christ. 

You may be thinking that sounds great, or maybe even that sounds too good to be true, so how is this accomplished? I can tell you it is not by having a passive, whatever will be will be, passionless kind of faith. It is by having the God kind of Faith, the Faith that takes!

 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24 MEV

Jesus here gives us insight into what the prayer of Faith is. The prayer of Faith is not the prayer that waits for change to believe it receives. It is not the prayer that believes it receives it when it appears different. It is not the prayer that believes it receives when it feels like something happened. The prayer of Faith believes it receives it when it prayed. 

 Going back to Hebrews 11:1 this defines Faith for us. It is the confident hope that what God said is ours, is presently ours even when we can't see it. It is being fully persuaded that what God purchased for us is already ours even though the senses cannot yet perceive it. 

 To walk in the triumphant, victorious, overcoming Christian life we need to have the Faith that takes, not the faith that is moved by feelings and experience and is stifled by low expectation. The believer who knows who he is in Christ and what God promises Him in the Word but never acts on this truth, will not be an overcomer. You must lay hold of the truth to walk in the fullness of it. 

The Faith that Takes

Let's examine this further to gain a better understanding. The believer who first and foremost possesses little to no knowledge of His great Grace, Christ's perfect redemption, and who Christ made them can't walk in full triumphant Christian living. Secondly, the believer who has heard the Good News but doesn't lay claim on these awesome promises for themselves, cannot walk victoriously in this life. 

 What do I mean by claiming these promises? As a Christian, we've been made a New Creation in Christ. We've been made accepted by God. We've been made the Righteousness of God in Christ. We've been forgiven of all our sins, once for all time, all this occurred the moment we believed. Now as true as this is if one doesn't act on these truths they will not be a living reality in their life. 

 God declared you accepted, but if you don't receive that truth of redemption, you will go around through your daily life feeling alone, isolated, and that you don't fit in. So your senses, your emotions, your thinking, will make this seem a reality in your life, all the while Christ has already made you accepted. You just have to believe it, to claim it for yourself. 

 In your daily life, you may experience the sensation that you aren't so accepted, or forgiven or loved. The enemy loves to bring people across your path that don't speak life over you but the negative. You may even hear preaching that says God's mad at you. You may sense the enemy trying to heap guilt and shame and condemning accusations on you. What do you do? Do you just hope these feelings pass?

 No, bless God, you rise up and reject those thoughts. By Faith, you lay claim to what Jesus already did. Your words agree with what God said. You lay claim for yourself what Jesus did for you. Instead of accepting shame or guilt, you deny it and proclaim who Jesus said you are. That's reaching out and taking what He provided. 

 Some have the faith that just sits around and waits, passively hoping for their situation to change. Then others have the Faith that takes and they reach out and take the fullness of the redemption Christ procured. They don't wait around, just wishing and hoping things get better. They claim all Christ provided for themselves. 

 Christ said we who believe are world overcomers. Reach out with the Faith that takes and receive that for yourself. He declared we haven't been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. So by Faith lay claim on that and refuse to accept fear. Christ made us Righteous, lay hold on that by Faith and refuse guilt and condemnation. Christ bore all the curse on the Cross for us, lay claim to wholeness in every area of life by Faith and resist and refuse the work of the enemy. 

 Now religious tradition comes unglued, so to speak when we begin talking about living victoriously. When you wish to have an overcoming life they will be quick to say it's all about God's sovereignty and whatever will be must be because God preordained it. 

 I even heard one of the biggest proponents of this sovereignty, (see my study on this for further clarity), teaching actually try to teach having Faith in prayer was unnecessary. He tried to use the account of Peter's imprisonment and subsequent deliverance to illustrate this. The idea that the Church prayed for Peter, and when he was delivered, he came to see some Christians and they couldn't believe he was free. See, they obviously didn't have Faith and Peter was rescued, so it must be all God's doing not our believing. 

 You can accept this absurd point of view, but you will not walk in victory, you will be sitting around a long time awaiting change or victory in your life. Look, this passage did say the Church prayed, it doesn't say what they prayed for, what mattered is what Peter himself believed. He was asleep in the cell, he was already in Faith trusting in God. And also, the unbelief of a few doesn't undo the Faith of the many. Now sometimes if the doubting believer has some influence in the life of one being prayed for it might be necessary to get the doubting influence out of the room so to speak, but praying in Faith is essential to walk in victory. 

 In summation, you can walk in triumphant victory in your life. It's up to you. You can lay hold of all God has done for you and put a demand on it for your life. You can agree with God and receive all He has for you. You don't have to wait for anything, just reach out with the Faith that takes and lay claim to all that's yours in Christ. Christ Finished the Work, all He's asking you to do is to believe it and receive it for your own life by reaching out by Faith and taking it. Grace makes, and Faith takes!
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Monday, August 12, 2019

By Grace through Faith: Having the God kind of Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

Therefore it is of faith that it might be by Grace; Romans 4:16a KJV

We've begun a new series of study focusing on Faith. We've seen what Faith is and what it is not. We've seen how Faith comes and how it is released.

 Today, I sense the leading to ask what kind of Faith do you have? You see there are two kinds of Faith. The natural, man-centered kind of faith that is moved by the senses. That is a mere trusting in what it can see, hear, or feel kind of faith. The "seeing is believing" faith.  Or you can have the God kind of Faith.

 Jesus had this God kind of Faith. He said of Himself He only did what He saw His Father doing. He only said what His Father told Him to say. Jesus wasn't moved by what it looks like but what the Father said. 

 You too can have this kind of Faith. Jesus gave us insight into this kind of Faith.
22 Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 For truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:22-24 MEV

Jesus tells us to have Faith, that is the Faith of God. The literal Greek says have the Faith of God. Jesus was offering this to us. Other translations or paraphrased versions bring this out.
22 Jesus replied, “Let the faith of God be in you! Mark 11:22 TPT

 It is clear God wants us to have His Faith in us not our own. Look at the texts we are using for this study;
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

 For by Grace we are saved through Faith, and this Faith isn't of ourselves it is the gift of God. We are saved by His Faith given to us when we hear His Word. We all begin with the same measure of Faith, the God kind of Faith. We can choose to grow and develop that Faith or rely on the sensory realm faith that humanity operates on. You trust your employer enough that you work forty hours a week even though you haven't been paid first. They trust that you will work forty hours. 

 We develop and grow this God kind of Faith within us by continually feeding on His Word, and what He says about us. By continually acknowledging what we have in Christ, who we are in Christ, what He accomplished for us in the Finished Work, what Grace made available to us. What redemption purchased for us. 

 Grace makes and Faith takes. The God kind of Faith, deposits the Word within. The God kind of Faith, knowing what Grace provides puts a demand on it. The God kind of Faith speaks to the mountain of impossibility and commands it to be removed. 

 The God kind of Faith believes what God said is true, that what Grace made and purchased for us is indeed ours already. This God kind of Faith doesn't believe it because we've experienced it, this Faith believes it because God said it, because Grace made it and because it is the truth we know we will experience it. 

 Grace makes and Faith takes. The God kind of Faith speaks, calling those things that be not as though they were. Faith's constant confession agrees with the New Covenant, New Creation redemptive realities Grace made. Faith's confession creates the reality of it in your own life so you can walk in the redemption Christ purchased. 

 God's Grace has removed the disqualifiers from God's people. No longer is the promise or the provision contingent upon your performance or faithfulness. Redemption realities are already yours in Christ Jesus. They are based upon Jesus and His faithfulness and obedience and goodness no longer upon our own. All you need do is to reach out with the God kind of Faith and lay hold on them. you just need to simply believe. It is by Faith that it might be by Grace. 

In summation, what kind of Faith do you have? Do you have the sensory knowledge faith? That natural faith that must see it to believe it? That unsteady, wavering, sight focused faith? Are you ignoring the God kind of Faith that was deposited within you when you believed?  

 Simply relinquish trusting in your senses and trust in what God said about you or your situation. Don't feel saved? Don't look righteous? Doesn't seem like you have favor with God? You can trust in those feelings or disregard those feeling and consider Jesus and what He says about you and look at what Grace made and consider not your circumstances or fickle emotions. This God kind of Faith works in every arena of life. Find what Grace made and reach out with the God kind of Faith and take it and experience it in your own life. 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net