April 29, 2016
[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Trails We Leave Behind
Do you remember the time in your life when maybe you became environmentally conscious? You became aware that what you did impacted the environment around you. You learned it was not a good thing to throw trash out of your car. You learned that when you went hiking and camping, it wasn’t a good thing to leave your trash and garbage all over the countryside. You became aware that how you treated the environment directly impacted how others could enjoy it as well as you. Most of us have probably been disgusted when we have hiked to a beautiful spot for a picnic only to find that the previous picnickers had left bear cans, trash, or torn up the landscape, because they only thought about themselves and their enjoyment at the time. They selfishly had no regard for those that would follow them. This same principle holds true in the human landscape of our lives on a moral and spiritual plane. Our wrong attitudes, selfishness, and lack of regard for others impacts the lives of those around us. It follows then that golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you” should be applied to every aspect of our life.
If our goal, as we go through life, is endeavoring to treat all men equally with dignity and respect then we won’t leave behind us the hurt and wounded lives of those we have slandered, criticized, judged and condemned. We will regard others as Christ has regarded us, with love, compassion and mercy. Jesus had the intellect, wisdom, power and position that He could have just tore people up as he saw their heart and attitudes. He could have justly judged and condemned all of those around Him, but He says in John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jesus is all about saving people. He is about restoration, healing, comforting the broken hearted, caring about the orphan and the widow. He is all about those things that produce spiritual life and blessing in others. That is what we are to be about as well. Life isn’t just about us and what always best suits our needs. It is about others and how we might live to benefit them. Sometimes I get upset because my expectations and wants aren’t met, but that is the selfish part of me that is not thinking in terms of what is best meeting the needs in someone else. Often the needs of others constitute a sacrifice and an inconvenience on our part. That is all part of how we live to create a clean and healthy environment with those around us. Even the servant reaps the benefits of his service.
Let us esteem others as better than ourselves and be mindful of not what just suits our needs, but what will bless and minister to others as well. Make sure what you leave behind you is as good or better than what you found it.
April 28, 2016
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Speaking to Purpose
Do we ever think much about why God created us? Why He saved us by His grace when we could never earn or deserve it? He tells us His purpose in this passage of scripture. You are His workmanship. Now most of us realize that we are a work in progress, but also know that God beholds you as the finished product of His grace and workmanship in Christ Jesus. He sees you far beyond what you can even comprehend of yourself. He sees you as a good works people, not your good works, but His. You are the administration of His righteousness in the earth. You are the outshining of His glory and goodness. You are the divine expression of His love and compassion. In and through you is His divine nature revealed, because that is what He created you for.
In this present state we see ourselves as in an apprenticeship for a greater works ministry. The Holy Spirit is currently working in our lives to stretch us, train us and exercise us in righteousness. As we yield in obedience to His dealings we often find ourselves going places we would not have gone and doing things we would not have done. As we apprentice for this good works ministry Holy Spirit takes us out of our comfort zone and complacency. He exposes our prejudices and wrong motives and attitudes. He is constantly dealing and meddling in our hearts. The precious thing about the Holy Spirit as opposed to religion is He doesn’t expose our faults to condemn us, but to grow us and deliver us out of the place of our weakness and into the place of His strength and strong standing. We have to understand that where He is bringing us is not out of the place of our righteousness, but out of the righteousness of Christ in us. So as we present ourselves unto Him He begins to do in us what did in Joshua in Zechariah 3:1-10, ” Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
6 The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
8 ” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
10 ” ‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
You see we, like Joshua, we were created and destined of God to be the kings and priests of our Most High God. Jesus has taken our filthy garments off of us and clothed us with the garments of His righteousness. He puts a clean turban upon our head signifying a renewed mind in Christ Jesus. He gives us this same charge that He gave Joshua, ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.’ It is this people that He has prepared with His vesture to remove sin from the land in a single day. The scripture says specifically, “‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come.”‘ That branch is Christ who has removed the sin by His blood shed upon the cross, but the administration of that righteousness is through His holy priesthood and His holy nation.
In John 14:9-14 Philip is asking to see the Father, but it is because he doesn’t yet have a revelation of the Father. If we are still looking to see Jesus, it is because we don’t yet have a revelation of Christ. ” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus, Himself, has declared that we are that greater works ministry. That was the purpose for which you were created for. Yield yourself to the in-working of the Holy Spirit for even now He is preparing and bringing you into the good works, ‘which God in advance, prepared for us to do.
April 26, 2016
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The Switch from Darkness to Light
The world stands in a state of condemnation. The only difference between the believer and the world is faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. No matter how guilty we were, if we have repented and embraced Christ in faith, the blood of Jesus has acquitted us of our just punishment. He paid the penalty in our stead. God has not only liberated those who put their faith in Jesus, but He has given us the right to be His children and joint-heirs with Christ. The ever-amazing thing is that we could never do anything to deserve or earn what the Lord has freely given us. All we can ever do is give our lives back to Him who gave us life and even that is with the enablement of His grace and mercy working in us.
Faith was the light switch, which turned on the light of our souls. The Light dispelled our darkness and brought us into the hope of resurrection life. As a result, we are the lights of the world. We are the light bulbs of God’s manifest power and life. The question we have is, have we pulled back the shade of our lamps that we might so shine among men? If we shine, then how does the world perceive our light?
There are those in whom the light is like throwing on the floodlights and everything is about Jesus. A lot of the world is taken back at this and tend to withdraw from the overzealous Christian.
Then there are those that hide their light and you would never know that they even acknowledged themselves as believers in Christ.
When we look at Jesus we see that He didn’t deny whom He was, nor did He flaunt and boast of Himself among men. He presented Himself with wisdom. He discerned the hearts of those that were listening to Him and spoke to the issues of the heart rather than to the surface issues. If we just scatter seed indiscriminately at will does that make us good planters? The farmer prepares the soil and he plants in season. Then he doesn’t just forget his planting, but waters, cultivates and tends it. He does this because the success of his crop is much greater than if he just went about indiscriminately throwing out seed, or if he never got around to planting any seed at all.
We live in a world that needs to see the reality of God’s light and truth manifesting in a people that aren’t just all talk, but have a walk that demonstrates their belief through the operation of love, mercy and righteousness. The communication of the kingdom of God is not just about verbal communication, it about the communication through a lifestyle that reinforces what we profess to believe and adhere too. People aren’t just listening to your words; they are watching your life. Are we wisely planting our seed of Life today? Are we the light that shows forth the character and nature of the Son? We live in a world of darkness that desperately needs what we possess. We can not arrogantly say, “I believed and if they don’t that is too bad.” God has redeemed us into the ministry of sharing our life with others. If our attitude is only for self, then we might question if we truly possess the love of God. God’s love and salvation needs expression through us. In order for us to communicate and express Christ properly we need His wisdom and relationship. We each have unique abilities and giftings that God has given us to communicate His life and salvation. Let’s endeavor to grow into that place where God would be able to use our lives to so shine before men in reality and in truth.
April 25, 2016
The Radiance of His Glory
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
The glory of the Lord is an awesome thing. It is the outshining of God’s very presence, being and life. No mere mortal man can stand before it. Even the mighty men of God that experienced it, like Moses and Daniel were completely undone and prostrate before it.
When Jesus came and walked among us we were able to view the glory of God, but it was veiled in human flesh. When our Christ comes again there will be no concealing His glory. It will be fully manifested. A few of the disciples briefly beheld Him in the fullness of His glory on the mount of transfiguration.
2 Thessalonians 1: 5-12 reveals, “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” When the presence of Christ is revealed in His glory, His glory will be made manifest in the earth. The fullness of the Head will come in union and fully be enthroned within His body. The glory that is resident in the Head will be manifested throughout His body as He comes to rule and judge the earth. Isaiah 60:1-5 prophesies, “”Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” The radiance of God’s glory will not only shine forth from the Son, but from those who are enthroned with Him. Revelations 20:4-6 says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Thrones are the symbol of authority and power. This is the full expression of this King-Priest ministry that rules and reigns with Christ. They are fully as one. They express even one mind and one heart, that of the Father.
The Word of God teaches us that there are two resurrections. Those partaking in this first resurrection are those who will rule and reign with Christ. After the thousand years there will be a general resurrection in which all of the nations will be judged. We can glean that those who partake in this first resurrection are those that don’t partake in the mark of the beast and refuse to worship him. While we may not see this beast yet manifested the way that we might one day expect; his spirit still presides over the earth and the affairs of men. Our being caught up in the worldliness of this present time and our dependence upon the world can represent a partaking of that mark. This company of first resurrection saints are those who are willing to lay down their lives for their witness of Jesus. Their lives are not seated here; they are seated with Christ in God. They do not seek here any lasting city, but they are sojourners, foreigners, looking to a city whose builder and maker is God.
Where are our lives today? Is this earth our home? Is our glory found here? Are our hearts truly set upon the King of Glory and lived out in the hope of Him. There is no earthly comparison to the radiance of God’s glory. Let us not sell ourselves short of the great and glorious calling we have in Christ Jesus even if it cost us everything in this life and physical life itself.
April 22, 2016
I Come to do Thy Will
Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Do we live Old Testament or New Testament lives? Do we live to please and appease our God or are we like our Lord who came to do His will. Much of the Old Testament thinking was about pleasing God, making amends and sacrificing objects to Him. It wasn’t the motions of keeping the Law that the Father longed for, it was the sacrifice of “will”. When Jesus came into His ministry there were more than a few times he offended the religious people by not “keeping the law”. What they didn’t comprehend is that this man was the fulfillment of the law. He was what they could never be or ever accomplish, because of the inherent weakness of the creature that tried to live up to it. Creatures weakened by a state of sinfulness. It wasn’t through the offerings and burnt sacrifices that God took pleasure in, it was in the sacrifice of His Son that took away the first order to establish the second.
We think of Calvary as being the sacrifice that Jesus offered, but it was only the consummation of the sacrifice of a life that “came to do Thy will.” Romans 6:5 –7 says, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” For he that is dead is freed from sin.” When we became identified with Christ, we became identified with His death to sin. Sin comes forth out of the will of man; therefore our will was crucified together with Christ that we might no longer live to the will of the flesh, but to the will of God. We took up the identify of Christ in that “we came to do Thy will, oh God.” King David caught the revelation of this truth in Psalm 40:6-8, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. 7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. 8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.” According to Exodus 21:6 if a servant willing gave himself to serve his master the rest of his life his ear was pierced to mark him as free will servant. That is what we are called to become, free will servants, having offered our will for His, not my will, but Thine be done. 2 Corinthians affirms this calling upon our lives, “And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him whichdied for them, and rose again.” Again, in Galatians 2:20 Paul defines the sacrificial life, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
The Father is not looking for our offerings, our works and our tributes of religious service, He is looking for the hearts that are saying, “Here I am, I have come and I desire to do Your will, oh my God!” The place I start is on my face, emptied of self and seeking You to fill me and order the steps my life each day
April 21, 2016
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.
The Law of Kindness
The one thing that most of us really want from one another is to be treated with respect, dignity and friendliness. We want to be appreciated for who we are as a person. We want to know that someone really cares about us beyond an empty platitude that asks, ‘how are we doing?’ When we operate out of the law of kindness, we are doing just that, we are expressing genuine concern and interest in an individual. If we would want others to treat us after this manner then it is upon us to exercise this same kindness. We approach each person, seeing them through the eyes of Christ. We may see that they have character flaws and don’t measure up in ways that the world judges important, but we know that in God’s eyes each person is special and unique. In Christ the law of kindness teaches us to look beyond the outward and into the heart of each soul. Instead of seeing another’s faults God wants us to see their need and be the resource to help meet those needs in the ways that we can.
Ask yourself, is the law of kindness in your tongue and in your heart. Do we really have the heart of Christ toward other individuals? Sometimes that takes us out of our comfort zone and stretches us in ways that are not comfortable, but afterwards we experience the warmth and the joy of being God’s instrument of kindness and mercy toward another. In building another up and making their lives more special we have communicated the love of Christ and the heart of God toward them.
The law of kindness shouldn’t just operate at Christmas; it is a part of the Spirit of Christ in us. We need to be sensitive to it and operating in it.
April 20, 2016
Count Nothing as too Insignificant for God
And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to [his] disciples, and the disciples to the multitude And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
I was pondering the story of the feeding of the multitude and how Jesus told his disciples, “you give them to eat.” What happens to us when we receive a word from God to do something that is seemingly impossible to us? We have no clue about how we could do it, but all we can think of is to find out what resources we have to work with. That is what the disciples did. All they could find is one little boy with a lunch of five loaves and two fishes. Now what if that little boy had taken the attitude when the disciples told Jesus, “ all we have is five loaves and two fishes,”and the little boy said, “what is this we”? “Do you have a mouse in your pocket? This is my lunch; these people should have come better prepared. They aren’t my problem. I’m not giving up my lunch to try and feed all of them.” We never even hear that it was a concern or reservation on the little boy’s part. He, in child-like faith, gave all that he had at the request of Jesus. It is hard for me and probably others of us as well to sometimes be willing to let go of what we have for a greater good. We think, “what difference is my little bit going to make. Besides I worked hard for it and if I give it up there may not be enough.” What do we do when God asks us to do the impossible? Are we willing to give up the little that we have to trust Him for a greater increase or will we hold tightly to the little? Every step of faith that we take demands that we step out of our security and comfort zone to believe for something more than we can see or that we have yet experienced.
When God sent Elijah to the widow’s home as she was fixing her last cake to feed her and her son before they died, what did Elijah ask her? 1 Kings 17:10-15 gives this account, “Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’ ”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.” When God ask us for our little insignificant something, even though it is significant to us, be willing to open your hand and trust with your heart. We have to be willing to place something into the Lord’s hand for Him to be able to bless it and give it the increase.
Let’s be honest, it is hard for us to give up our security, but then it is all His to begin with. If we are truly giving our utmost of His highest then it will start with the little things. The things we are clenching tightly in our fists. What you consider as small and inconsequential to God may be the key you are holding to unlock the richness of His blessing, but we have to take it out of our hand and put that key in the door. Some of us are struggling with releasing what we consider ours. Give wherever God tells you to give and release whatever He asks you to let go of. That five little loaves and two fishes might be what feeds a multitude and you won’t go hungry in the process. The Lord is not looking for what you can produce in your strength, but what you will trust Him to produce through your obedience, trust and willingness to give.
April 19, 2016
Jhn 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Light of the World
John 1:4 says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
Have you ever felt your way in the darkness? You’re feeling around holding your arms out while you move them back and forth feeling for objects in your path, gingerly putting one foot in front of the other while you seek to find your way. Especially in unfamiliar surrounding we develop a distorted view of what our surrounding are really like in the darkness. If we lived in this condition continually then our reality would come to be based on the distorted perceptions that we would develop. Then one day someone pulls back the curtains lets the light shine brightly into that environment we had been dwelling in so long without light. Perhaps our initial reaction is one of confusion and bewilderment as we struggle to adjust to this illumination of the area we thought we had all figured out while it was in darkness. We begin to realize that if we saw anything at all it was just the highlights of our surroundings, but so many details we had missed. Suddenly the light has brought a whole new meaning and dimension to life that we had never been aware of before. In that light so much is revealed and lot of it isn’t good. We see all the messes, the dirt and the filth we had been able to overlook in the darkness. The light introduced a whole new dimension in our lives that wasn’t there before. Now we are faced with a decision, do we walk and live in the light and begin to operate our lives based on this new insight or do we see all of the things we are much happier to leave hidden in the shadows and darkness of our lives and choose to pull the curtains back shut, continuing to live in the darkness?
God was the one who pulled back the curtain of spiritual ignorance and allowed the light and knowledge of Christ to shine fully upon the spiritual darkness of this earth. Jesus brought the spiritual light to men and shone into our darkened hearts with the truth of His Word.
What will we do with the light of His truth? Will we receive the light of Christ and in union with the Holy Spirit begin to clean out the garbage that has polluted our lives or will we do as John 3: 19-20 says, “ And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
Will we allow the light to fill our lives and bring us into the light and life of God or will we pull the curtains and reject the light, choosing darkness and spiritual death? God has left the choice to you.
April 18, 2016
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
I waited for what seemed the longest time for the Lord to drop what He wanted to speak into my heart and when He did it was contained in one word, “YES”. Just say yes Lord to whatever He ask of you, whereever He directs you and whatever He requires of you. The Yes of obedience is greater than all that we can do for Him or to try and please Him. What pleases Him is our, “Yes Lord”.