Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Necessary Ingredient For Spiritual Promotion

“For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” (Psalm 75:6-7)
We cannot promote ourselves into the place that God has for us. This promotion comes from the Lord. But we can do the things that place us in position to be promoted in God’s timing for us.
Paul said in Romans 1:1, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” Notice that Paul was called to be an apostle. That calling happened eons ago in the mind and heart of God. But then Paul says he was separated to this call. God has a plan, a call, for all of us. There is a Divine purpose for our lives that was determined before we were born (See Psalm 139).
Though we are called, we must be separated to that call or Divine purpose. And the separation to the call is when we actually begin to function in the will of God for our lives. And that separation has more to do with us than with God. God calls, and it’s up to us to respond. Jesus said it this way, “Many are called, few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14). Being chosen means entering into the call that God has for us.
God doesn’t look for ability but for availability when He separates us to the call for our lives. And the number one character trait God looks for is faithfulness when looking to promote us. It’s the faithful man that will abound with blessing. (Proverbs 28:20). It’s required in stewards that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Paul told Timothy to look for faithful men to help him in ministry (2 Timothy 2:2). And Paul himself was placed in ministry, or you could say, he was separated to the call of God upon his life, because God counted him faithful (1 Timothy 1:12).
Are we faithful now in the small things? Promotion comes when we are faithful where we are. He looks for us to be faithful in our attitudes and words; faithful to submit and yield to others in positions of leadership. If we can’t be faithful in helping another person in ministry, how can God trust us with our own (Luke 16:12)?

God has required faithfulness in me before each time of promotion in my life. I’ve been at the place of discontent with my lot in life so many times. Each time, the Lord kept me there until I could say, “Lord, if this is you plan for me, I will stay in this place the rest of my life; I want what you want for me.”  And when I stopped striving, and focused on being faithful in what I was currently involved in, promotion came. The call comes from the Lord, but the separation to that call is determined by our faithfulness.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
The rapture of the church is in our future. In a millisecond of time, you will be involved with something here and then suddenly you will be in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Today, as everyday should be, is preparation day for my meeting with the Son of God. The fire in His eyes will try my works. All that I have done since making Jesus Lord of my life will come under the scrutiny of His gaze. The results will be gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw added to my personal heavenly rewards.
I’m going to leave you with these challenging scriptures to ponder today. The philosopher stated millennia ago that the unexamined life is not worth living. Keep short accounts with Jesus. His coming is soon. Let’s together make it our daily goal to be pleasing to Him, and to make necessary adjustments when He deals with an area of life that is lacking.
For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing] (2 Corinthians 5:10- Amplified).

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:10-12).
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Give Up Law Based Living and Live By Grace Through Faith!

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.  And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.  You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love (Galatians 5:1-6).
The believers in Galatia were encouraged by Paul to continue living in the grace of God and to not revert back to the keeping of the law to appease a guilty conscience. The Judaizers as we call them were demanding that these newly converted Jewish believers submit to circumcision and obedience to the law as well as to their faith in Jesus.
The purpose of the law was to reveal the weakness and inability of the flesh. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The law could never save from sin. The law, with its demands for outward rigid performance, is impossible to keep without the indwelling of the Spirit.
Paul urges with great intensity and passion for those who are in Christ to remain free from the dictatorial demands of religion that places accomplishment of outward demands in the place of a living current relationship with the Father.
Here in Galatians, he contrasts the works of the flesh, or the works of the law with the fruit of faith, or the fruit of the spirit. One is cold and lifeless, while the other is alive and invigorating.
Life with Jesus frees us from the outward demands of the law because it creates a desire for closeness with the Father and a motivation to shun anything that would compromise that intimacy with the Most High. Walking in the grace of God creates a liberty that frees me to respond to the Father from within and literally cancels the yearning of the flesh!
When I think of work, I think of sweat, hard toil, tiredness, and labor. The Father has freed me from a works consciousness that does to please. Now I am what I am by the grace of God! The liberty of grace working in me produces fruit. When I think of fruit I think of refreshment, of a meadow full of trees bearing all sorts of delectable treats that awaken my being and bring delight! Fruit is easy. It comes naturally. And the fruit of the spirit are borne from my personal intimacy with the Father.
When I was about a year old in the Lord, I decided that needed to fast a couple of days a week to discipline my flesh. A few weeks into this regimen, the Lord very abruptly told me to stop fasting. He told me that I was doing this as a form of works to be pleasing to Him. And He told me that it was producing spiritual pride in my life as I looked to see if others were as disciplined as I was. I stopped the regular fasting for a long time. I had to grow spiritually before I could fast with the right heart motive and not to gain favor with God.
The grace He has given us cost the Father so much that He is never pleased when we turn to the flesh and outward things to prove our rightness in His eyes. The grace provided by Jesus’ sacrifice more than enables you and me to stand in the presence of the Father fully pleasing to Him.
Stand fast in your liberty from religion today and your freedom from outward performance in order to please. His Grace is enough!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Live in the Reality of Your Righteousness in Christ!

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
My own righteousness is like a filthy rag when I stand before God. I can’t do enough good works to be right with Him and He knows that! So the Father has imputed the right standing of Jesus to me. Jesus became what I was so that I could be what He is to the Father.
To be righteous means to be able to stand before the Father as though sin and condemnation had never existed in your life. It’s just as though you had never done any wrong! The Father made us righteous in Jesus so that we could have full fellowship with Him twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Notice Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. To the person who has been made righteous, there is no record of past sins!
When a believer sins and makes confession of the sin to the Father, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). It’s important when you sin to bear your heart to the Father and confess it before Him.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2). And when sin is confessed it is as though it never happened! Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more (Hebrews 10:17).
Satan traffics in condemnation and inferiority. He wants you to think and feel as though you’re not quite good enough to approach the Father for fellowship and requests. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down (Revelation 12:10).
Refuse the character assaults that Satan brings your way. Forget what God has forgiven! Your sins have been cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Condemnation and inferiority are the chief enemies of your faith life, and it’s your faith that overcomes the world. See condemnation and inferiority to God as an attack of the enemy to hinder your faith, and to rob you of your boldness before God. Stand your ground against these assaults and see yourself as the righteousness of God in Christ!
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1). And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death (Revelation 12:11).

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Don't Give Up When Things Are Tough

Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him (Psalm 105:19).
The above verse refers to Joseph. He had a vision of his family bowing in obeisance before him as a leader. He was 17 years old at the time. This did not come to pass until Joseph was 30. The in between time was difficult. He was sold as a slave by his brothers and his father was told that he was killed by wild animals.
The ruler’s wife thought Joseph was so handsome and she lusted after him. He refused her advances and she accused him of trying to rape her. He was sent to prison for many years. It looked as though God’s promise was untrue. For years he remained imprisoned though innocent of the charges.

Joseph eventually became what we would now call the Prime Minister of Egypt. The whole land was under his authority. Only the Pharaoh was mightier than he.  His family came from Canaan starving for food during a famine and during their visit the Word of the Lord to him was fulfilled.
Yes, the Word of the Lord tested Him. Did God speak or not he may have thought during those years of misery. But no word from God is void of power (Luke 1:37)!
So here you are in the middle of some tough circumstances that just don’t let up. Nothing that the Word declares seems to be true in your life. You’ve prayed. You believe that you receive. You’ve stood your ground against the circumstances that tell you repeatedly that you prayers are unanswered and that your faith is not working. The test is on!

Are you going to believe the promise of God, or are you going to yield to the pressure. That’s what Joseph faced all those years. But he knew that if God spoke, then that Word from Him was surer than the rising of the sun. Joseph’s faith kept him for 13 years while the Word of God worked itself out in his life.

If this can work for Joseph, a man under the old covenant, can it not work for us, whose faith is established on a better covenant with promises that are even surer than that which Joseph trusted?

We must persevere as Joseph did against the negatives that life brings. Joseph kept his focus on the promise of God and received and so will we! So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18- NIV)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Humility Is Necessary For Growth

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Isaiah 57:15)
Pride challenges us all. Lucifer became prideful of his exquisite beauty and became corrupted. He lost his lofty position and fell. Pride brings us low. Humility exalts us.
Throughout scripture we are encouraged to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He can exalt us when we’re fully prepared to handle promotion.
In my first year with the Lord, the Father revealed the above scripture to me. Pride ran deep in my person. I knew it could hurt me and others. When I found out that the Father will draw near when we humble ourselves, I began to pursue humility.
I began my times of prayer with, Lord, I humble myself under your mighty hand. I saw roots of pride in so many things I did, wanting others to see my skill, my achievements, dressing to bring attention to myself, having to be in control in social situations, shifting blame instead of taking responsibility. Even self-pity is a form of pride and I was full of it.
If allowed, pride will destroy all that is lovely in a personality, wrapping its tentacles around that which is wholesome and degrading it.   
We’ll have to deal with this pride as long as we live. Our relationship with the Father and the degree that He will use us will be determined by how we deal with the noxious weed of pride.
Knowing that pride was born in the heart of Lucifer makes it repulsive to me. That makes me want to push it out of my life and resist it. Rancid food will make you sick if you eat it, and pride will destroy you unless it’s brought under control.
The Father draws near the contrite heart. Let’s humble ourselves today. Open your heart and share your deepest thoughts and needs with the Father. Purposely humble yourself before Him. Ask Him to reveal how pride affects your behavior and ask Him to root it out of you. You’ll find yourself asking others to forgive you for the unkind word or the selfish display. Motivations and attitudes that have been seated in you for years will begin to yield as you purposely pursue the path of humility.
As water ever seeks the lowest place, so the presence of God seeks the humble. Give yourself to humility today!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let Me Introduce You To My Father

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord (Psalm 104:33-34)

My Father reigns supreme over all. When I’m lonely or confused I go to Him and pour my heart out. He knows exactly how I feel and infuses me with courage and strength.

When unrelenting fear comes, I go to Him and He brushes the fear away and points me to my faith in Him. He replaces the fear with a knowing that things will work out well for me. He always causes me to triumph in Christ.

When I’m faced with financial loss or lack, I go to Him and He provides wisdom for the next step. He assures me that He is my supply, and urges me to look away from the foreboding circumstance and keep my focus on Him.

When the enemy attacks with sickness, my Father urges me to stand my ground on His word and never cower or back down. He and His Word are one. He sent His Word and it heals me, and delivers me from my destructions.

When a friend turns his back on me and forsakes the relationship we’ve had, My Father takes me in His arms and comforts me. He shows me that though others may fail me and bring disappointment, He is a safe place for my emotions and my thoughts.

My Father has proved His love for me over and over again. When I get involved with something that would eventually bring me pain, harm, or hurt, He pulls me aside and talks to me about it. And then He shows me the proper way to deal with the issue.

He shows me when my motives are wrong, and allows me to pour my heart out to Him about it. He never threatens or loses patience with me. He calmly listens, then I can He His soft voice beckon me to obedience.

He always leads me towards peace. He is the tenderest person I have ever met. I feel safer with Him than with any person I have ever known. I often wonder what it will be like to actually meet Him for the first time face to face. In my mind, I see myself just melting to the ground in awe of Him. Then I see Him pick me up and hold me to Himself as He brushes away insecurity and self-consciousness. I see Him infusing me with His own nature through and through, finally releasing my soul from every trace of debris from my past. He looks away and points into the future. There I see the ages to come, where in eternity I experience what it means for mortality to be swallowed up by life.
So that for all future time He could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7 – NCV).

But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed (1 Corinthians 2:9 – Amplified).