Wednesday, July 8, 2020
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4 NKJV
The Baptism in the Spirit is not about maturity. It isn't about being better than someone else. It doesn't mean one is spiritually superior to another. It's about the empowering of the Spirit. It's the Spirit upon for works of service.
In summation, don't be afraid of the Holy Ghost. God would never give us something offensive, or scary or bad. If you want to receive the Baptism in the Spirit, simply ask. If you've placed your trust in Christ all you need do is ask and receive.
You can simply pray a simple prayer "Father, I have put my trust in you. I know I am a child of God and forever forgiven and eternally loved. As your own, I ask for the empowering of the Spirit. Jesus, I ask you to baptize me into the Holy Ghost, and I believe I receive it right now. I praise you and thank you for this empowerment. I now praise you in my native tongue and I praise you in the Spirit, my personal prayer language, in Jesus' name."
Just speak out those words the Spirit is speaking. Don't try to understand it intellectually. Just receive it and speak, let that Holy Ghost melody flow out of your belly as you lift up the name of Jesus. God is with you and for you, rejoice.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
John 5:24 TLB
For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 MEV
Jesus answered them, John 6:29 MEV
It seems God wants us to believe. It's that simple. There is nothing more we can do to be found loved and favored and to receive eternal life. Believe. The Gospel is simple. Believe that Jesus is who He said He is. Believe, trust in, cling to His perfect work of redemption.
Our salvation is eternal. Salvation is not temporal. Our salvation isn't awaiting our doings and works to complete it. Our salvation isn't begun by God and finished by us. Salvation isn't given and then taken away because of our actions. Salvation is eternal and irrevocable.
Think, apart from traditional teachings, think about salvation. What actions or deeds or good works caused you to receive salvation? What did you do to achieve salvation? What amount of goodness on your part procured your eternal salvation? What level of personal holiness, abstinence from sin caused God to favor you above others and eternally redeem you?
Nothing we did ever amounted to the equivalence of the price required for eternal salvation. We were lost, sinful, we pursued our own pleasures, and were rebellious to God's ways. We were selfish and not at all deserving of anything from God.
So here is the good news. God looked beyond our actions, our sins, our wrong thinking, and chose us. He perfectly purchased our eternal redemption because of His Goodness, not ours. If it was His great Goodness alone that offered us salvation, then once received, what possible action or thinking or unbelief on our part could cause this salvation to be removed from us? If we didn't merit it in the first place, how could our actions, our sins, our disbelief cause our salvation to be nullified? In Christ, we are eternally secure!
In summation, our salvation is eternal and completely secure. Don't accept the notion from men that we can lose it or forfeit it. God saved us because He loved us and chose us and paid the full price on our behalf. We did nothing to obtain it so there is nothing we can do to lose it. Grace, it is that amazing.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
In our last study, we began examining the great gift of no condemnation Christ and His Finished Work procured for us. The Good News Gospel of Grace reveals there is no more condemnation in Christ. Man and religious tradition still minister condemnation but Grace speaks better things.
God knew we all owed a debt we could never pay. We all were worthy of death because of sin and rebellion. We were all spiritually separated from God because of Adam's sin and transgression. What God did is send Himself to pay the debt in full so we who receive the free gift of Grace would never face the judgment for sin.
Christ paid the price in full. Yet religious tradition still believes we need to continue making payments. They feel we still owe on the sin debt. That Father God merely made a down payment and expects us to complete the payment for redemption by our performance and perfect works.
In fact, Paul called the ministry of Law the ministry of condemnation and death. Paul shows us the ministry of Grace is more glorious. The reality is the price is paid in full. Ministry of Law, which is a ministry focused on personal performance and the ability to get it right all the time, takes the focus off of Christ and the Finished Work and places it upon us, our doing.
Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed,
Now, because of this, those who belong to Christ will not suffer the punishment of sin. Romans 8:1 NLV
In Christ Jesus, under the New Covenant, there is no more condemnation for the believer. No condemnation, no matter what! Christ Jesus in the Finished Work, paid the price in full. Jesus took all our punishment and judgment. So why would God expect us to bear any punishment for sin when Jesus already perfectly paid for it all?
In John 8 we see this beautiful example of the gift of no condemnation ministering life in the midst of sin and brokenness. In this event we see Jesus ministering the Word. Then the religious leaders bring Him a woman caught in transgression. Jesus masterfully exposes each and every one of them. No one has the right to cast stones at anyone.
10 When Jesus had stood up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, Jesus said to her,
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Not long ago we were in a study concerning becoming strong in Grace. We saw we could be strong in many things. The traditions of men, our own feelings, or we could be strong in the Grace of God.
It seemed good to me to return to this study. I sensed it strong in my spirit, that we need the message of God's Grace now more than ever. Today, we want to look at an important area we all need to address to become stronger and stronger in Grace. The area of condemnation.
Condemnation is not always apparent in its working. It can be administered slowly and subtly over time. It can sometimes portray itself as something to help you better yourself. Or to bring awareness of a situation or thought process in your life.
Don't be mislead or deceived into buying into condemnation's lies. No matter how subtle or how straightforward its message is the same. There is something wrong with you. You, yourself are the problem. You don't measure up.
A doctor telling a diabetic, eating those candy bars is detrimental to your health, isn't condemnation. He is separating an action from the person's identity, but someone telling you that you are your own problem, your own worst enemy, you always mess up is condemnation. Condemnation carries accusations with it.
The Gift of no condemnation
God has bestowed upon us the greatest gift after the New Birth, the Baptism with the Spirit, the gift of no condemnation.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus Romans 8:1 NLT
In Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. No shame. No accusation. No guilt. No looking down from Heaven in disappointment. No arms folded in disgust. No distancing by our Father when we fail. No turning away by our Father, no matter what we've done. Only open arms and outstretched hands and rushing toward us with restoration and reception.
God is for us never against us. God is on our side. He believes the best of us. He isn't angry with us. In Christ Jesus, there is now no condemnation.
Throughout this week, I encourage you to pause, ponder, and meditate on this passage. To think often, that God has indeed given you the gift of no condemnation. It will free your mind of fear and worry and anger and resentment towards others.
In summation, trust in God. Rest in His Finished Work. Rejoice in this grand truth, that God has given us the gift of no condemnation. Be strong in His Grace. There is no more condemnation in Christ!
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed Acts 19:20 KJV
....For I will hasten My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12b MEV
In our last study, we revisited the prevailing Word study. We asked the simple question what are you looking at? Are we looking at the circumstances, the trial, the storm, or how long it's been? Or are we looking at the Finished Work?
Today, it seemed good to ask another simple question. What are you hearing? What are you listening to?
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 MEV
It's important to ask what are we hearing. Why? Because what we are hearing is what we are feeding on. What the Word shows us is an eternal truth. Faith comes by hearing God's Word. Faith is being divinely persuaded. It's trusting in who God is and what He said.
If we gain trust, become divinely persuaded by hearing God, what happens when we hear other voices? When we give attention, by our hearing, to what the enemy says then we will become persuaded by what he says.
For instance, many studies have been conducted concerning the words we speak. That is when children in one group were told they were failures and unsuccessful they began to fail at the tasks assigned. The other group of children was told they were successful and they became successful in their assignments. What I am saying is what we feed on causes us to be persuaded, be it positively or negatively.
So what are we feeding on? What are we hearing? Are we listening to God, and thus growing in our trust and persuadableness of His Word and Finished Work? Or are we listening too much to the other voices which cause us to have negative expectations?
What are you hearing?
Are you listening to the lies of the enemy? God says we are victorious and triumphant in Him. The enemy likes to put a question mark where God puts a period. The enemy's words try to convince you that you are a failure. That you are unloved. That you are a mistake. Even that you love sin and wrongdoing.
The Word of God says differently. The Word says greater is He that's in you than he that's in the world. That you are loved and the apple of God's eye.
Are you listening to the world system? The world has divisions, opinions, and produces much anger, strife, fear, and anxiety. They try to meet their own needs apart from God. The world has it's own standards of right and wrong.
The Word says otherwise. The Word says we love one another. We do good to each other. We bless and expect nothing in return. We live by the leading of the Spirit and the new desires of the New Creation. We don't satisfy the flesh, that is living contrary to God's will and ways, no we do things God's way and are joyful because of it.
Are you listening to religious tradition? Tradition says God is the source of our suffering. That God wants us broke and poverty-stricken. That God is not interested in our life here on Earth. That He only ordains suffering and a powerless life.
The Word says otherwise. He declared He desires we prosper in all things and be in health. The Word reveals God is the source of life not death. He is the One bringing life in abundance and it's the enemy that steals and kills and destroys.
Are you listening to Law and legalism? Legalism says you are unworthy. That you're just a sinner. That you must earn and achieve God's love and blessing and favor.
God's Word says otherwise. The Word says we are under Grace, not Law. God's Word reveals He made us worthy by the Blood. His Word shows us we are already blessed in Him. That we are favored and made righteous by Faith. We are accepted and approved of God by Faith not our performance.
What are you hearing? What are you feeding on? The words of the enemy that produces fear? The words of the world system that produces division, lust, and a trust in man's ways and not God? The words of religious tradition and Law that produce a mistrust of God's Grace and trust in your own works? Or are you hearing God and what He says about you? That He is for you not against you. That He loves you eternally. That you are accepted and approved because of Jesus.
In summation, hear God and Him alone. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. Feed on God's Word for victory and success.
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
Thursday, June 4, 2020
So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed Acts 19:20 KJV
....For I will hasten My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12b MEV
We've studied in the recent past, the prevailing Word. How God's Word prevails over any and all circumstances and is eternal. Today it seemed good in my heart to share another post on this important topic.
In previous studies, we saw how our words have power. How our Faith is the victory that overcomes. Today, I'd like to highlight an area where the Word prevails for us. This is the area of our attention, our concentration, our focus.
What are you looking at?
When we were younger, I'm certain we can all recall at one time or another teasing our friends and family by asking them what are you looking at. Sometimes it was spoken in a derogatory manner. Sometimes it was in simple jest. So today I feel strongly to ask you this same question again. Not as a joke or as to belittle you.
What are we looking at? Are we looking at the circumstances that seem unchanging? Are we looking at those symptoms that don't seem to dissipate? Are we looking at the paths our loved ones are going down that's leading them away from Christ and His ways?
God wants to know what has your concentration? What has your attention? What are you focusing on? If what we are looking at is negative or contrary to what God says, the Word can and will prevail for you regardless of your situation.
Some may be saying you don't know my situation. You don't know how long it's been this way. I may not know your situation but I do know Paul's words of encouragement to us. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4 to look at the unseen not the seen.
Paul also shared this reminder;
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
here is this same verse in another translation;
The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. 2 Corinthians 5:7 Voice
What we focus on, what has our attention, what we concentrate on determines how we think. It determines how we speak. It determines even how we act. That's why it's imperative to focus on His Finished Work. It's vital to give our attention to His Word. We must concentrate on His promises, His power, His Love, His Grace and Goodness, not on contradictory circumstances and the fears that accompany them.
The Finished Work is complete. We don't add to it. Yet tradition seems to think our actions and our deeds are what seals the deal, so to speak. So when one says they are the Righteousness of God in Christ they find it difficult to accept.
Why? Because they want to see something in people's life or words that proves this. They are walking by sight. This seeking signals or signs that one is Righteous also determines how they judge if someone is saved or not.
Jesus tells us that He will never lose anyone who comes to Him. He says no one can snatch away any of His. We who believed are eternally His and forever in His hands. He says we've passed from death to life and never again to come under condemnation. Jesus is clearly showing us we are eternally secure.
Yet traditional religion has adopted a reactionary theology. They see one who proclaimed Christ carried off in a terrible sin. They conclude how could that one still be saved? They are walking by sight. What they can see.
Changing the seen, shaping the unseen.
We want to walk by Faith and not sight. We want the Word to prevail in all areas of our life. We do that by believing what God has said and receiving what Jesus accomplished in the Finished Work.
We can change the seen by shaping what is unseen. By believing and trusting in what Christ said and did for us we can walk in victory. Agreeing with what God said and accomplished through Christ changes things.
When the believer says they are the Righteousness of God in Christ, they are shaping the unseen. They are agreeing with the Finished Work and God's Word. This eventually changes the seen, as the believer begins to manifest righteous words and thoughts and deeds.
When a believer becomes deceived or gives in to temptation, and seemingly falls away, instead of looking at the seen, we can shape the unseen. We don't deny their eternally secure salvation. We shape the unseen by speaking the truth over them in prayer and if we have the opportunity, speak the truth in love to them when we see them, we can cause the unseen realm to affect the change in the seen realm. When we agree with God we will see the outward manifestation of what He already accomplished in their heart.
When stubborn symptoms don't seem to be removed we don't cease believing in God's healing power. We don't throw Faith aside. We also don't throw wisdom aside. We accept all means God has provided to receive wholeness. Be it through a combination of Faith, nutrition, medicine, and even rest, we receive all God has. We must agree with God, and not let the seen change our minds about God.
In summation, let's ask again what are you looking at? Are you looking at that wayward child? Are you looking at that angry spouse? Are you looking at the symptoms? Are you looking at the sins in others? Let the Word prevail in these situations. Agree with God. Change the seen by shaping the unseen.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Have you ever been working on a project or an assignment and not getting much success? Were you slightly frustrated with the lack of progression? Later on, when you found out there was a better way and you employed its use and found success, surely frustration gave way to relief and celebration as the project was completed.
When God cut the New Covenant, all of Heaven celebrated. This Covenant is a better Covenant. It is founded on better promises. Do we really understand what that means?
The Old Covenant promises were made by God to man predicated on man's ability. In essence, it was a promise made by both God and man. The Old was a pact between God and man. The problem wasn't God but mankind. We could never uphold our promise to do and do more and do it perfectly. Of course, understanding Grace we know that was the point of the Old, to show mankind their need for a Savior.
The New Covenant is a Covenant and a promise between God and Jesus. Within the Godhead, this New Covenant was cut and ratified by the precious Blood of God the Son. This is the better promise.
This New Covenant then introduced a new and living way to live. Under the Old, we had a way to live that only brought condemnation. The yearly sacrifices could never cleanse sin but merely cover it. The consciousness of sin was ever-present.
The New, a Better Covenant
The New is a better Covenant. Under the Old, we had to earn our righteousness. We had to keep the Mosaic Law. Paul tells us the words written on stone are the ministry of condemnation and death. Under the New, we have the ministry of Righteousness. Grace made a way. Jesus took the sin problem and nailed it to the Cross. Now we have a New and Living way to live under this New Covenant.
Faith, the New and Living Way
The Old Covenant was a covenant that was rooted in performance. It was a covenant that forced the people to walk by sight and not Faith. One's righteousness was seen by men. That is one knew you were righteous because they observe you going to the Temple. They saw you honor the Sabbath. They could see you abstain from forbidden food and keep the holy days.
Faith is the New and Living Way He established in the New. Our receiving the blessing and favor of God is no longer tied to our performance or behavior. It is received by Faith. Our Righteousness is a Righteousness of Faith and not of Law or works or our ability.
Paul clearly shows us why Faith is the way of the New in Romans 4. He speaks such a powerful truth. It is by Faith so it may be by Grace.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Monday, May 18, 2020
In our last study, we debunked yet another mistaken idea perpetuated onto the Body of Christ, that Luke 6:38 is referencing finances. It seemed good this week to continue addressing these mistaken ideas. Mistaken ideas about God, what His Word says, and how He sees us, brings much error and wrong thinking in the minds of believers the whole world wide.
Today, I want to address the mistaken idea of the remnant church. In Spirit-filled, Charismatic, Pentecostal, "prophetic", spiritual warfare centered, end time focused, churches, and ministries the phrase remnant church is spoken of often. I heard it often when I was in Bible College.
The idea expressed is that there are a select group of Christians, who in the last days as Jesus returns, are found to be the most faithful. The truest of believers. The most sincere, the most obedient, the most spiritual. Those who've "kept all the commandments" and honor God most by their living.
The preacher would shout it from the stage. God has always had a people within a nation. A family within a family. A Church within the Church! These were the most committed of believers. Those proclaiming this idea generally were certain they were part of this "remnant church." As for the rest of us, they weren't so sure.
This begs the question, so what must one do to be more accepted and favorable to God? What must one do to find God more approving? What must one do to find God treat them differently, or look upon them more fondly? What must one do to be a part of these more special believers?
This teaching also begs the question, is accepting and believing in Christ no longer enough? After we believed, it's still not enough? We need to do more to be found in the more accepted group?
Heaven has no VIP Lounge
In our human experience, that is, as long as mankind has been on Earth, there have always been sects and cliques and VIPs. It's in our thinking. Night clubs, fraternities, sororities, parties all have some type of measuring line they use of who gets in or doesn't. The Good News of Jesus has a different measuring line.
The Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ measuring line is whosoever will may come. The "cool", the popular, the rich, the affluent, the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless, the "loser", the "dork", the "nerd", the "geek", the unpopular, the tall, the fat, the thin, the pretty, the ugly, no matter what list you create, all are welcome with open arms to the Father's house! Whosoever may come. You are a whosoever.
Heaven has no VIP Lounge. God doesn't have any popular kids and unpopular. He will always pick you for His team. Even better, He picks you first! He saw you and chose you. He gave His own Son for you. All who believe and receive the free gift of Grace, are VIPs to God.
This idea that there is a more special class of believers has already been debunked by Jesus Himself. The mother of James and John petitioned Jesus for the privilege of sitting on His right and left when He came to His kingdom. This was a status position in the eyes of men. Jesus said the one who serves is the most honorable.
They asked who is the greatest in the kingdom? Jesus answered saying, become like this child. A child cannot fend for themselves. They are dependant on their parents for sustenance, shelter and provision and protection. Interesting, that Jesus showed them that becoming dependant on God apart from their own doing is what made them great. Jesus is showing us that Grace is great, not ourselves or our performance.
There are a couple places where the word remnant is found in the New Testament. All the word remnant means is a part of the whole. It doesn't mean special ones. In Romans 9, Paul is speaking of the physical deliverance of Israel.
In Romans 11, Paul addresses the part of the whole of Israel who has accepted their Messiah. What is amazing, is in the context of this mention of a remnant, is the Bible definition of Grace.
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