Monday, October 26, 2020

Abounding Grace: Abounding in Love

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV

You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT

  We've been in an extended study of the Amazing Grace of God. We are examining how this Grace abounds in all areas of our new life in Christ. We've seen how this Grace abounds to our Faith, our knowledge of God, and our devotion to the Father. 

 Today, I want to continue this study examining how this Grace abounds in our love walk. Often we hear messages about walking in love. We hear a sermon or read an article about forgiving others. The concern is these messages and articles don't always tell you how.

 How do you love fellow believers? How do you love the leadership in your local church? How do you love members of your family? How do we love those outside of Christ?

 The Word shows us how, and it is all by His Grace;

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 NKJV

Remember Grace supplies. God doesn't demand of us anything and gives us no power or ability to do what He asks. Grace supplies all we need to live victorious and fruitful lives.

 Because God loves us first, through this supply we can love our fellow believers in Christ. Even when they don't see things the same as we. We have the Love of the Father within. We can find common ground, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 I have friends from differing denominations. When we don't focus on our differences in theology, but on Jesus, there is a sweet fellowship. When we come in agreement to see lives changed and turned toward Christ we both rejoice.

 How do we love leadership? We pray for them. We pray for our children's ministers. We pray for the pastoral team. We pray that they speak the truth in love. If you can't find any agreement, find a church where you can find more agreement than less. For instance, if you believe in the Gifts of the Spirit for today and the church you attend doesn't, you might find it more agreeable to find a church that believes this. 

 Pray for leadership, don't tear them down with words and gossip. It's the same with your family. Pray for them. Pray for your family. If they are making poor choices, you don't have to fellowship in that setting but you can send love and kindness.

 For those outside the Church, you won't have the same worldview. That is if you have made Christ Jesus the focus of your life, your worldview is different than those who aren't focused on Jesus but on self. How then do you love them?

 Love doesn't mean you celebrate and promote other's way of living. Love means exactly what it means. Sharing goodness and kindness even with those with you disagree. Love doesn't mean you need to be a doormat for abuse. Love means you share God's Love with all. 

 Sometimes that simply means walking away from conflict. Sometimes that means not responding the same way they speak to you. Sometimes love challenges people to come up to a higher level. 

 We can love others because Christ so loved us. We can forgive others because Christ forever forgave us. We don't have to hold people's wrongs against them because Christ doesn't count our sin against us. Because we are Loved we can love.

 In summation, this Grace abounds to our love walk. Christ's perfect Love and mercy and goodness compels us to share love. This is abounding Grace, it abounds to all areas of life. 


Image by Ylanite www.pexels.com/@nietjuh from Pixabay 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Abounding Grace: Passionate devotion


But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV

You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT


  We've been in an extended study examining the amazing Grace of God. Specifically, we're looking at how His Grace abounds to all areas of our Christian life bringing fullness, fulfillment, and empowerment. So far we've seen how this Grace abounds to our Faith, our words, and our knowledge of who God is. 

 Today, it seems good to continue this study, looking at how this Grace abounds to our personal devotion to God. So often different ministries and churches declare that Radical Grace, eternal security, leads to a license to sin, a motivation to do wrong. I strongly disagree. God's Grace is the motivation for devotion to God. 

 Understand what Grace is. Grace is the unearned, undeserved, and unmerited favor of God. When received it produces and empowerment in our life. Grace isn't empowerment. Grace is unearned favor. Don't get confused as to what Grace is versus what it does. 

 When we define Grace as empowerment, we shift back into a works mindset. We still have demands, pressure, and obligations placed on our lives but Grace gives us the strength to fulfill these obligations. That is not Grace. 

 Think of this. Are your children your obligation? The word obligation is defined as duty, chore, a burden. There isn't necessarily a joy in being indebted to someone. So again is your children or your spouse an obligation? 

 I hope you don't see them as a chore. I hope you don't see family as a burden. Certainly, as adults, there is a level of responsibility we commit to. Yet, that is not at the forefront of our thinking when we love, truly love our family. Why do you find children caring for aging and sickly parents? Is it an obligation? In dysfunctional homes perhaps, but in healthy homes, I've seen the compassion from each of its members spring forth. 

 My point is, the compassion each family member brings forth isn't obligatory. It isn't trying to earn acceptance and more favor. It's rooted in a place of love and kindness shared among each member. 

 When we receive the Love of the Father, knowing how He sees us, how He's made us accepted and approved, devotion, passionate devotion is the natural response. Grace abounds toward us and our devotion to Him grows more and more.

 When we think of His unfailing Love toward us, when we reflect on His all the time Goodness to us, when we see His great Grace overshadow all of our flaws, failures, and foul-ups, What else can we do but devote ourselves more and more to such a loving Father. His Goodness, His Grace, His Love, is the motivation for devotion. He is so so Good!

 God's unwavering faithfulness toward us reminds us of how much we need Him. His faithfulness abounding to us brings to our remembrance that if it had not been for the Lord where would we be? He is even faithful when we are faithless. This faithfulness produces such a thankful heart, a joyous heart, and a heart of gladness because God is our everlasting Father who is well pleased with us.

 This abounding Grace empowers our devotion. We are eager to become a blessing to those around us. We are enthusiastic to help advance Jesus' name and His kingdom all throughout this Earth. All because we've seen and known His goodness, faithfulness, and Love abounding toward us.

 In summation, this Grace is so great. It abounds in all areas of our life. It empowers our Faith, our words, and knowledge of God. It produces an enthusiastic, energetic, empowered connection with our Daddy God. He is so Good!


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Abounding Grace: Knowing God

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV

You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT

  We've been in a study examining the great Grace of God. We are looking at how this Grace abounds in all areas of our lives. So far we've seen how this Grace abounds towards our Faith, strengthening and empowering it. We've seen how this Grace makes our speech more effectual and dynamic in blessing and loving others.

 Today, we want to see how this Grace abounds to our knowledge. That is, Grace abounding to our knowledge of God. Knowing God is something the Father longs for. God our Good Father desires for His children to know Him more and more. 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 MEV

 God wants us to know Him. Religion and traditions of men make that rather difficult. The enemy looks for ways to prevent the people of God from becoming more intimate with their Father in Heaven. That's why this Grace abounds more and more so we can know Him.

 Just look back at Genesis. When Adam and Eve fell, they hid from God. Why? Fear, worry, shame, and condemnation from the enemy were working overtime to keep them away from God's presence. The enemy wanted them to be disconnected from God. Yet God sought them out, that's Grace!

 When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they refused to go up to the mountain. They wanted Moses to go but they were afraid to go. They drew back. They didn't press in. Why? Again, fear. Fear that they would be wiped out, killed by God's wrath. They didn't know God. 

 God wants us to know Him. Look in the Old Testament, we see the various names of God recorded. Names such as Jehovah Jireh. The Lord who sees or provides. Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our banner or victory, His banner over us is Love. Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals you. 

 There are many other names. Why did God do this? He wanted the people to know who He is. 

 God is a Good Father. He longs for and strongly desires for His people to know Him in all His goodness. To see Him in His great Love. To know and experience His mercy, Grace, goodness, and unconditional Love. 

 The Father wants an intimate relationship with His people. This begins by knowing who He is. It begins when we see Him in all His goodness. It begins when we know and understand how He sees us. When we know how much He loves us and how flawless He sees us in Christ, our intimacy with the Father grows, and our relationship with God grows sweeter and sweeter as the days go on.

 God wants us to know He is a Good Father. He is not the author of our tragedy. He isn't the one orchestrating our losses or hardships. He is not the designer of our detriment or any earthly disaster. Knowing God isn't the creator of our difficulty or the one ordaining death, disease, or destruction, we won't run from Him, but rather we run to Him to find refuge, help, and hope in times of trial or temptation. 

 God wants us to know He isn't holding our sins and shortcomings against us. He is the One who bore the full penalty of our sins on the Cross. When we trusted in Christ, He forgave us of all our sins. He made us perfectly Righteous, accepted, and approved of our Good Father. We can come to Him even when we fail because we know He has hope and restoration for us. We can rest in Him, knowing He has forgiven us once for all time and isn't holding anything to our account.

 God wants us to know He is our healer. He wants us to know He isn't the author of any sickness or disease. God is the One who heals you. It's His perfect will that you be healed and made whole. We can come to Him and receive without doubt or unbelief. He is Good!

 God wants us to know who He is. We get to know this Good Father by studying His Word. We study the Word in context. We study the Word by rightly dividing between the Old Covenant and the New. 

 We get to know this Good God by spending time in prayer. Think about it. God the Creator wants to spend time with you. He desires intimate fellowship with you. We can spend time with Him in prayer any time throughout the day. 

 In summation, this Grace abounds to our knowledge. Grace reveals the true nature and character of our Good Daddy God. Return to Him in intimacy. He longs to fellowship with you. Turn off the media, tune out the social media, put the electronic device down. Spend a few minutes with the Father. Your life will be incredibly blessed more and more as you do this consistently. You will find your joy increasing and worry and stress and anxiety decreasing. God is a Good God!


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Abounding Grace: Graceful speech


 

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV

You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT

 We've begun a series focusing on the Grace of God. Specifically, we're examing how this Grace is abounding towards us. How this Grace enables and empowers all aspects of Christian life. 

 So Far we've seen how this Grace produces empowerment when received. We've seen how this Grace impacts our Faith. Today, let's go further and see how Grace abounds to our words. 
 
  Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners. Ephesians 4:29 MEV

 His Grace abounds to our utterance, that is our speech, our words. We should speak words that reflect what's happened inwardly. That is, His unearned, undeserved favor has overtaken and blessed us with new life. Our words and messages to others should convey the good news.

 There are three areas of our words where Grace abounding brings change for the better. Let's briefly examine them. First, we see it from Paul here in Ephesians. 

 Our words should build others up. Instead of constantly criticizing, belittling, cursing others we can build them up. We can speak words of encouragement. We can speak words of hope. We can speak words of life, not death.

 Proverbs tells us a soft answer turns away wrath. Harsh and unkind words just stir up anger. Words of Grace defuse and deescalate tension and anger. I've seen how an angry person has relaxed when soft words were spoken. This is not a weakness but a strength.

 The next two areas often work in tandem. The area of judgment and condemnation. Words should not be used to sit in judgment of others. Our words should minister Grace never condemnation.

 Speaking of utterance, some like to claim their words are inspired of God. They then begin to proclaim doom and gloom. That judgment is coming upon this city or this nation or that region. These claims dismiss the Grace of God. Jesus paid the price for all sin and the Father accepted the Finished Work. Jesus took the full judgment and bore the wrath of God. There is no judgment on nations or cities for their sin. Jesus' blood was enough.

 Words that are spoken or ministered should never be seasoned with condemnation. Condemnation doesn't produce change. Condemnation just forces people to conceal their habits, their addictions, their sins deeper, and more cleverly. Only Grace being spoken and received will produce a change of mind.

 Some ministers like to minister with a mixture of Law and Grace. With a little condemnation and then a little Grace. They enjoy the large altar calls in their gatherings. 

 Want a large altar call? Here is how to have a large altar call in two easy steps. Step one, strip away the full assurance of eternal life in your hearers. Step two, preach about how sinful your hearers are. The altar will be flooded with those awaiting to get saved over again. Repeat weekly.

 Now it will appear that your church or gathering is in revival. In reality, all you're doing is telling the children of God, those who've accepted Christ by Faith, that they really aren't God's children. All you've done is become an echo and mouthpiece of the enemy bringing accusation to God's beloved. Instead of the enemy whispering his lies in their ears, he has preachers proclaiming them loudly through a microphone. 

 God's Grace abounds to the believer. His Grace abounds to our speech and utterance. We can speak words of life. We can speak words of hope. We can speak in agreement with God and the Finished Work. We don't have to allow our words to become the echo chamber of the enemy and his lies.

 In summation, His Grace abounds to all areas of life. Our words under the influence of Grace will speak life, love, and liberty to the captive, to the downtrodden, to the lost. Our words can minister to others. Our words can pick people up when they're down. Our words of Grace can rebuke shame and guilt and fear off of God's people. The enemy likes to say shame on you, Grace speaks shame off of you. Our words influenced by Grace bless others and reminds us of who we are and whose we are.


Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Abounding Grace: Abounding in Faith

   

 









You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV 


  We've begun a new study looking at the abounding Grace of Almighty God. We saw that Grace is not just an entry-level truth of the Christian life. We saw that Grace is not just an excuse to never mature and never interact with other believers. God's Grace received produces empowerment and triumphant living.

 Today, let's look at how this Grace abounding toward us empowers our Faith. Let's examine how Grace makes walking by Faith fruitfully joyful and not frustrating. Grace and Faith were designed to function in unison. 

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

 Paul by the Spirit reveals so clearly the role of Grace and Faith. It is God's Grace, His Goodness, not our doing which purchased the blessing. His Grace provided all salvation and the Finished Work procured on our behalf. Life eternal, Righteousness, forgiveness, health, prosperity, provision, deliverance, protection, and wholeness were provided by Grace, but they are received by Faith. 

 Faith reaches out and takes what Grace makes. Faith doesn't sit around waiting just hoping that the provision comes. No Faith reaches out and takes what Grace purchased and provided. Faith isn't working or striving or attempting to earn anything. Faith receives what Grace provides, not by working but by believing and speaking and receiving it. 

 Too often Faith is presented as something that we must muster up in our own power and strength. That if we just get our Faith up to a certain level we will finally achieve the blessing. We can work our way to deserving God's Goodness. This is a mistaken idea. 

 Faith is in our hearts, our spirit man, and released out of our mouth. In other words, we believe what Grace provided is in fact ours now. We speak in agreement with Grace. We say yes to Grace and lay claim to what is ours because of Grace. 

22 Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 For most certainly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and doesn’t doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says. Mark 11:22-23 WEB

 Mark 11 in the WEB translation here is amazing. We must believe what we are saying is actually happening. Who makes it happen? Ourselves? 

 Is it our own goodness causing it to happen? Is it our personal holiness, that is abstinence from sin? Is it our ability to be nice and polite to people, to show love? Is it our ability to give and keep giving? Is it our church attendance? How many messages we listen to? 

 Certainly, it is good and right to walk out this holiness, to abstain from sin. It is good and right to walk in love and be the light and be kind to people. It is good and right to be a generous giver, to support the kingdom financially. It is good and right to go to church regularly and to feed on the Word taught. Yet these things aren't the source of the blessing and benefit and Goodness of God on our behalf.

 We believe what we are saying is happening because Grace made it. Grace has provided all things that pertain to life and godliness. We see what the Finished Work accomplished and we agree with that readily.

 So often we make the assumption that Grace only means Christ died for our sins and gives us the New Birth, eternal life. That Grace is only about forgiving our sins. That Grace is only about giving us new life when we were undeserving. Of course, Grace did that but there is so much more. His Grace provided for total redemption.

 Total redemption is ours through Grace. By Grace we who believe are a New Creation in Christ, forever forgiven and made the Righteousness of God in Him. Grace doesn't just save us, Grace also heals us, prospers us, protects us, and delivers us. This Grace makes us whole, spirit, soul and body. Total redemption through Grace and received by Faith.

 In summation, this Grace is abounding to us. This abounding Grace empowers our Faith. We can trust Christ to provide for all our needs because of His Goodness not our own. Victory is ours by Grace through Faith.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Abounding Grace

 


 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV

You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT


 We who believed have received such abounding Grace. We who received this wonderful free gift of eternal life have experienced His over the top Grace. For those who have yet to receive,  God's Grace is abounding toward them searching for them, inviting them, finding ways to show them God's goodness and love.

 Grace is abounding on the Earth. Grace is constantly revealing itself. God and His Love is pouring out to the multitudes. Many churches and ministries are proclaiming God's Love and goodness and Grace more and more for all to hear. This is a move, this is God reaping the harvest of souls and lives.

 This is good news. Grace is being made known. We who have received Jesus, His free gift of eternal life, we who put our trust in Him, have experienced Grace. It compels us to share it with others. We receive Grace upon Grace and we want others to partake.

 That said what about after we've received this abounding Grace? Is that the end? We receive His Grace, we are then made a new creation, made eternally secure, made perfectly righteous, completely forgiven, and approved of God. Is this it? Is this all Grace does for us? 

 Sometimes it seems that is it. That is we get saved and afterward, it's all up to us to grow up. We are now to rely on our own efforts and doings to grow up. Grace is just the beginning, from here out its work and work and more work. 

Still, to others, it seems that Grace means we receive new life and that's it. There is no maturity. There is no renewing the mind. No growth. Just do whatever you will. Read the Bible? Give? Be a part of a local church? Build relationships? What? I have received Grace, that's all there is. 

 Both ideas are wrong. It's not Grace is the beginning and the rest is performance and hard work. It's not I received Grace, now it's just me and Jesus, I don't need to grow up. Grace is the beginning, the middle, and the end. That is the whole Christian life is about Grace.

 What the Lord is sharing is that Grace is received and afterward it continues working in you and through you. It matures you. It strengthens you. It increases you, the real you, the new creation you, the Righteous you, the forgiven you, the secure you. 

What is Grace? Grace is the unearned undeserved unmerited favor of Almighty God. You can't earn or achieve anything with God. You can't work enough for God to merit anything. When this Grace is received though, it produces an empowerment. Grace empowers you to serve others, to be generous, to believe God, to speak His words and truth. It transforms your desires into passionate devotion. It's His doing not your own that causes this to come to pass. It's abounding Grace.

 In the next few posts, we are going to be looking at how this Grace empowers our Faith. How it empowers our knowledge of Him, our words, and love to others. How it empowers passionate devotion in our lives and motivates us to be a generous blessing to the kingdom of God.

 In summation, Grace is abounding on Earth. Grace is being made known more and more. God is looking for His people to grow up in Grace. To receive it and allow it to empower all areas of our life. Receive His abounding Grace, your life will never be the same.


Image by Treharris from Pixabay 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Receiving and experiencing the Extravagant, irresistible Love of Father God


Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us... 1 John 3:1a NKJV

 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 NKJV 

 In our last study, we began looking at the great Love of Father God. We saw what makes this Love so irresistible. We saw His great Love brings forgiveness. No matter how far we've fallen or bad we've messed things up His forgiveness is already there. 

 We saw that His Love brings transformation. That without any accusations and browbeating this extravagant Love alone when received brings about real transformation. We saw this Love gives the gift of no condemnation. This is what makes this Love so irresistible.

 Continuing in examining this Love, let's see the other two areas that make this Love of God so irresistible. Let's examine what makes this Love so extravagant.

The irresistible Love of God empowers

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to theend of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NKJV

 The Lord is telling us when we receive His Spirit we receive the Power of God. God in His great Love grants unto us His Spirit. Think of this. God in His great Goodness and Love bestows His Spirit within us and upon us. 

 Look at the life at the Apostle Peter. He was always eager with his words. He told Jesus he would never leave Him. Yet Peter's actions didn't match his words. Look at this account in Matthew's Gospel

 Peter didn't have the strength inwardly to stand for Jesus and declare he knew Him. Peter felt like a failure. He felt like he didn't belong. He had denied and forsook Christ. Let me tell you though about another aspect that makes this Love that empowers so irresistible, it also brings restoration.

 Look what happens when Jesus arose and the angel gave a message to the disciples seeking for Jesus. Take note the angel gave a specific word to Peter. God had Peter on His mind. His Love was thinking of Peter. 

 God's Love has specific words for you. Words that bring hope. Words that bring comfort. Words that bring life and wholeness. Words that bring restoration. Words that bring healing and empowers you to overcome. 

 Jesus brought about restoration to Peter. When Peter received this empowerment from on High, the Baptism in the Spirit, there was no denying Christ. He boldly proclaimed the risen Christ to a multitude

 This Love empowers us. It emboldens us to walk victoriously. It makes us overcomers. It turns victim mentalities to victor mentalities. We see triumph not defeat. This Love of the Father is so extravagant and irresistible. 

 The irresistible Love of God heals and makes whole

Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Matthew 4:24 NKJV

 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Matthew 12:15 NKJV

And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 NKJV

 This irresistible Love of the Father heals and makes whole. God and His Love is the reason why He heals. So often traditional religion only attributes miracles and healing to Jesus simply so He would prove His deity.

 They proclaim Jesus only healed when He walked the sandy shores of Galilee because He needed to prove He was God. He needed to prove He was the Messiah. Is this true? 

Yet He warned them not to make Him known, Matthew 12:16 NKJV

 Jesus has just healed the multitude. What a great chance to prove to all He was the Messiah. To prove He was God. Yet Jesus tells them don't say a word. 

 Jesus right here tells us the reason for His actions on Earth. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, wrought miracles, and brought supernatural provision not to prove anything. He did these great works because He is love. Because the Spirit was upon Him to do good and free those under the oppression of the enemy. He did all these things because He was representing a Good Father who so loves us all. Love, the irresistible and extravagant Love of God is why Jesus heals.

 God loves you and desires your wholeness too. God is a Good God. He longs to bring life and peace. He longs to bring healing to you. He purchased our healing in the Finished Work. Why? Because God so loves you too.

 In summation, this Love of the Father is so Good. Receive this great Love. It is truly immeasurable. It is irresistible and extravagant. This Love is for you!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Irresistible: Receiving and experiencing the Love of the Father


Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us... 1 John 3:1a NKJV

 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 NKJV


 God's Love. Many speak of it. Many sing about it. Many quote passages about the Love of God. Yet, how many have actually experienced the Love of the Father? How many have received the Love of the Father?


 Too often we see believers struggle in their walk. They struggle with their identity. Many still seem to be plagued by thoughts of lowliness, poor self-image, and low self-esteem. Why? Because though they've received Jesus' free gift of Grace they haven't fully known and understood and received fully the great Love with which God loves them.


 The Love of the Father is great. It is matchless. There is nothing like it to compare. He loves us with a furious, passionate Love that will never be quenched. His love is unconditional. His Love meets people right where they are. His Love shows up in the fiery furnace, His Love parts the seas so we can walk on dry ground, His Love takes our place, paying the full price for our inheritance and redemption. This is the Love of the Father.


 To help people receive and experience the Father's Love let's examine this Love. Let's see what happens when this Love is welcomed, sought out, and received. Let's see why this Love is irresistible.


 1. The irresistible Love of God forgives

God and His great Love brings forgiveness to even the most unworthy. To those even the world and religion say is unworthy. 

47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Luke 7:47-50 NKJV

In Luke 7 we see an amazing account of the Love of the Father and forgiveness. A woman with a bad reputation, a sinner, one who was not living right, who was living in and practicing sin, sought out this Love. She welcomed it. She received it and found forgiveness. 

 The beauty of this Love is that forgiveness has been purchased for all who will simply receive it. No matter how far you've fallen His great Love is there offering forgiveness. This Love forgives the worst of us and makes us accepted and approved. This love is irresistible. 

2. The irresistible Love of the Father Transforms

God and His great Love transforms the lives of all those who receive it. He takes us from sinner to saint. He takes us from unrighteous to Righteous, being made the very Righteousness of God in Christ.

 In Luke 19 we see an amazing account of how this Love welcomed and received brought forth transformation. 

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; Luke 19:8-9 NKJV

This is amazing, irresistible Love. Zacchaeus, without any commands, or orders from Jesus, made a change. The Love of the Father met Him right where he was. He went to his home. Jesus didn't wink at his wrongful practices and dishonesty. He didn't excuse it away. In fact, He didn't even mention it. 

 Jesus, the Love of God in action, just showed up. He showed Zacchaeus the Love of the Father. That Love received transformed him. He at that moment realized he was no longer going to cheat and mistreat people. That's Godly transformation. No condemnation. No browbeating him for his transgressions. Just the extravagant, irresistible Love of the Father manifested and welcomed and received. 

 3. The irresistible Love of the Father gives the gift of no condemnation

In John 8, we see a powerful example of the Goodness and Love of the Father. A woman was brought before Jesus caught in the actual act of adultery. She was guilty. It was as clear as if they caught the act on security camera footage. There was no denying her guilt. Yet what was Jesus' response?

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:7, 10-11 NKJV


Jesus gave this guilty woman the gift of no condemnation. If Jesus gave this guilty woman the gift of no condemnation how much more will the Love of the Father bestow this great gift upon us in the New Covenant? The irresistible Love of the Father brings restoration and wholeness to all who receive it. It removes guilt and shame and the burden of condemnation. It gives Grace and mercy which brings about transformation and right thinking. 


 In summation, we see just a few reasons why this Love of the Father is so irresistible. We will continue in our next study seeing the other two reasons why this Love of the Father is so irresistible. Receiving the Love of the Father brings wholeness and peace. It reveals to us our true identity and our worth to God. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem cannot stay when we receive this extravagant irresistible Love of the Father. 


Image by kalhh from Pixabay 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Why Tongues? Even more benefits

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude 20 NKJV

We've been in an extended series answering the question of why tongues? That is why speak with tongues? Why pray in the Spirit? What's the point in praying with words you can't even understand? 

 Again, traditional religion and mindsets rooted in unbelief dismiss praying in other tongues as mere gibberish. That it is an act of emotional babble. It serves no purpose and has no power or benefit to the believer in Christ. The Word reveals clearly that this is an untruth. 

 So far in this study, we have seen eleven amazing benefits of praying in other tongues or praying in the Spirit. With so many benefits how can anyone conclude tongues are mere emotional babble? That it offers no benefit for the Christian?

 With that let's continue examining even more benefits of the powerful prayer language God grants to those who desire the fullness of the Spirit.

12. Praying in the Spirit offers us a powerful way to offer praise and worship to the Lord.
 Paul's instruction reveals we can pray in the Spirit as well as sing in the Spirit. Praise and worship in the Spirit bring our devotion to a much higher level. Tradition mistakenly assigns the definition of singing in the Spirit as singing with just a little more energy, gusto, and vigor. The Scripture is clear singing in the Spirit is to sing in tongues. Paul references singing spiritual songs and hymns and making melody in our hearts towards the Lord.

 As we shared in our last study, our praise, our worship, our thanksgiving is given total expression spirit, soul, and body when we lift up prayers in the Spirit. This benefit takes our praise to higher heights. Not suggesting that those who aren't filled with the Spirit and pray in other tongues can't offer praise to God. Just stating that praise and worship in the Spirit is a powerful method to express our thanksgiving and adoration to God. 

 Prayer and praise in the Spirit capture our heart's expression of love and honor and devotion to Jesus. Again it finds its full expression of praise. This benefit takes our praise to deeper depths and opens the door to the supernatural and flow of the Spirit in our midst.

 13. Tongues act as a doorway to the supernatural, flowing in the gifts of the Spirit and operating in signs and wonders. 
 Mark 16 reveals Jesus' plan for the ministry of the Church to operate in signs and wonders. He includes speaking in tongues as one of these signs. Throughout the book of Acts, we see many miracles and mighty signs and wonders manifested by the Church. None of these began to happen until the believers had received the Baptism in the Spirit and spoken in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. As we just mentioned about praise and worship in the Spirit, tongues are the open door of all the supernatural power of God. 

 The supernatural begins with being made a new creation in Christ, passing from death to life. Having all sins forgiven, past and present, and future. Being made the Righteousness of God in Christ, eternally secure in Him. It continues as one receives the fullness of the Spirit, being immersed into the Spirit Himself and speaking out a heavenly language. It culminates when we continue regularly praying or speaking forth this heavenly tongue and the Spirit begins manifesting Himself through us to bless and transform and bring wholeness to others. 

   14. Praying in the Spirit enables us to bypass our natural mind and our own thoughts and agendas or ideas and pray God's plan.

 It is clear from Paul's Epistle when we pray in the Spirit our understanding is unfruitful. In other words, tongues eliminate the potential selfish or self-seeking motives in prayer. We are able to bypass natural thinking and tap into Heaven's wisdom when we pray in the Spirit.

 So often our desires and wants can scream louder than what God is saying or doing at the moment. For example, you hear of a job offer that may pay more but at what cost? More time away from family. Relocation away from all family. Removing you out of a fellowship of believers that has helped in your spiritual growth and brought restoration and wholeness to your family. 

 The natural mind may only be focusing on a larger paycheck. Praying in the Spirit helps bypass that natural mindset and looks to God for His wisdom in the situation. In the natural, a bypass diverts us around and away from traffic congestion, and slower travel times stuck in big city traffic. Prayers in the Spirit bypass our own traffic congestion of natural wisdom, emotions, and the sensory realm and takes us straight into the Father's heart and mind on the situation. There is so much benefit to this Grace gift of praying in other tongues.

15. Tongues are God's plan and will for all believers. 

Mark's Gospel reveals the words of Jesus. This is His best and will for all His Church. Tongues? Blame Jesus! Paul's Epistle echoes the same sentiment. It's always been the Father's highest and best for His Church to operate in the power of God. When we receive this free gift we are fulfilling His plan and desire for the Church. This is not to say God is disappointed or looks down on those who have yet to receive. The Finished Work is what completes our identity, not any Spiritual gift.


 In summation, in these studies, we have listed fifteen benefits of praying in the Spirit. Don't allow the enemy or religious tradition or negative experience deter you from receiving all God has for you. This gift of the Holy Spirit infilling and accompanying prayer language belongs to you in Christ. Simply desire it and ask for it and you will receive it. This power and these benefits are for you.               

  

Image by michel kwan from Pixabay