Tuesday, March 31, 2015

To Receive God's Best, Personal Consecration Is A Must!

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)
  
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword"; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 1:19-20).
  
Jesus prayed the prayer of consecration in the garden of Gethsemane before He faced crucifixion, died, and then was raised from the dead. The word Gethsemane means the place of crushing. There in that olive tree orchard olives were harvested and crushed in order to provide the rich and healthful oils that benefit humanity. And in that same olive orchard Jesus was faced with giving up His human desires to a higher cause, the redemption of all humanity from the penalty of sin.  
Jesus had to experience the place of crushing and then He had to face the physical agony of death by crucifixion before He could attain His stature in heaven of being seated at the right hand of the Father. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).
  
Before His exaltation, Jesus faced personal humiliation. There is a pattern here that we must see. If we are going to occupy that place of being seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and of being heirs of God and equal heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17), then we’re going to have to be willing to experience our personal Gethsemane. This is the place where we take all of our personal human ambition and desire and lay it down before the Father. Then we willingly submit to whatever plan the Father has purposed for our lives from the foundation of the world.
 
Unless you’re willing to bow in humility before the sovereign purposes of God for your life, you will never attain to the best that God has for you right now.
  
Isaiah stated tersely that only those who are willing and obedient will eat the good of the land. Willingness and obedience go hand in hand. The Father wants you to be willing to do anything He asks you to do and to go anywhere He asks you to go. That kind of personal consecration takes life out of the sphere of self-centered living, and places us into the abundant stream of God’s will.
  
Kenneth Hagin used to mention the Lord speaking to him in a time of personal consecration while he pastored a church in Texas in the 1940’s. He said that the Lord told him that at that time he had only entered into the first phase of the ministry that God had for Him, and at the time he had already been in ministry for 12 years! Then Kenneth Hagin mentioned that the Lord said to him that many ministers live and die and never enter the full will of God for their lives. He then noted that God did not speak to Him further about his own ministry until he took extra time to seek him and make personal consecrations.
 
Then Kenneth Hagin mentioned something that may shock you. He said the Lord told him that this lack of consecrating to do the will of God is the reason that many die before their time, and die in mid life! That’s quite shocking, but the truth is that we don’t qualify for God’s best unless we give him our best, our ultimate consecration of our now and our future to the Father.
  
To be seated in that position of authority and blessing with Jesus our Lord, we must pass through our own Gethsemane and our own crucifixion of fleshly desire and will. To receive the best that God has for us, we must seek Him with our whole heart!
 
This prayer of consecration should be a regular part of our personal prayer life. Let’s take some time today and commit ourselves afresh to do the will of God, whatever it may be for our lives. If we do, we’ll qualify to eat the good of the land. If we refuse, it could cost us dearly!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Every Relationship Is A Potential Test Today

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not (Deuteronomy 8:2).
 
God dealt with the Israelites a certain way in order to train them and as He said in the above verse to humble you, to test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. What happened to Israel is an example to us of how the Father deals with us as New Covenant folk who are to walk in love at all times in every situation.
 
I’ve seen so many patterns over the years in my own life that show me that this is how the Father trains us for the next level of responsibility He has for us. He will allow us to be placed in a relationship that makes us uncomfortable, that draws out of us a fleshly, carnal attitude, an anger problem, resentment and unforgiveness a caustic, bitter thought, word, action, or feeling. Then He sits back to see how we’re going to deal with our human responses to those who don’t treat us the way we think is correct.
Our response shows our maturity and ability to change and adapt to all circumstances and put love first, or it shows our carnality and lack of spiritual maturity and the need to grow or deal with personal issues.
 
The deeper you go in God, the more He will ask of you. If you run when problems arise in relationships instead of facing the issues and dealing with yourself, you actually hinder an important part of the growth process in your spiritual life. Walking in love will make great demands on your flesh, on your human responses!
 
If you going to be used by the Spirit of God to minister life, you have to die! That is, die to having your own way, to having things go the way you think they should go. Being used by the Father means coming to the place that your personal needs and opinions no longer matter! What matter most is what God says as revealed in His Word.
And for us New Covenant believers, we must be willing to compare all of our thoughts, words, actions, choices, attitudes, demeanor, as well as our responses to others with the unconditional love that we’re commanded to walk in!
 
Every relationship and every conversation you have today is a potential test for you. The Lord wants to see how you’re going to deal with others when they don’t treat you the way you think they should. It’s a character test. Your relationships today and how you deal with them are showing you what is in your heart.
Let the Father take you to the place of brokenness today. Brokenness is the response of humility to the conviction of God! Cry out to the Father for Him to have His way in you and help you make adjustments in how you relate to others. Make a choice to pass the tests life brings through your contact with others today!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Learn To Be Independent of Circumstances!

No, I have learned in whatever condition I am, to be independent of circumstances. I am schooled to bear the depths of poverty, and I am schooled to bear abundance. In life as a whole, and all its circumstances, I have mastered the secret of living – how to be the same amidst repletion and starvation, amidst abundance and privation. I am equal to every lot through the help of Him who gives me inward strength (Philippians 4:11 – A.S. Way Translation).
Spiritual Maturity enables us to endure any situation with confidence. The Lord wants us to get to the place that nothing moves us. He wants us to be able to be the same during times of prosperity and poverty; during times of great victory, and in times of tremendous duress.
  
Spiritual maturity means that we are not affected by outward things, but are only moved by the internal standard of God’s Word and His unconditional love for us.
The more we are moved by circumstances, the less we are influenced by the Word of God. When our spirit nature gains the ascendancy in our lives, circumstances have less and less effect upon us.
Years ago, Smith Wigglesworth used to say: I’m not moved by what I see. I’m not moved by what I see. I’m moved only by what I believe.
Start now to act on God’s Word throughout your day. Decide to be a doer of the Word in every circumstance of the day. In the office setting, at home with the kids, with the obstinate person in traffic, or alone with your own thoughts; decide to put God’s Word first place in your life.
Little by little you’ll become independent of circumstances. God will be able to use you in the most difficult situations, because He can trust you to stand strong and not waver.
  
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Your Sensitiveness To Pray Could Save A Life!

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:19).
Some time ago, I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning with the one of my ministry friends on my heart. He was going through what may have been one of the greatest tests of his life to date. When I woke up, not only did I have him on my mind, but I felt him in my emotions too. I felt what he felt; which was loneliness, isolation, hopelessness, etc. The sense was very strong and I recognized that the Father was giving me intercession for him. I was taking his place in prayer. They Lord rolled his burden upon me for a few minutes as I wept and prayed.
When a person comes to your mind, day or night, it just may be the Holy Spirit urging you to pray. When He wants to minister to someone, that ministry starts in prayer. He usually alerts someone close to the person to make intercession.
 
In 2004 my appendix burst mid flight on the first flight of a four flight trip to India. God gave my mother intercession for me two weeks before the trip, and as a result, I’m still alive!
My father was given a dream about me dying in August of 1995, and he prayed for me for most of the next day. The following day I was involved in an auto accident that could have killed me. It resulted in only damage to the car. Neither me nor the other person involved were physically hurt. My father’s prayers were answered.
In 1984, I was involved in another car incident where my car careened down an icy hill and almost fell 20 feet down into a manmade, cement bottomed stream. My mother had intercession for me several weeks before the incident and again, my life was spared. My only injury was a broken wrist!
God gave me intercession for a backslidden friend years ago during my morning devotional time with Him. I felt lost and away from God, just the way my friend was at the time. He called me a few days later and shared with me the story of his repentance and return to the Lord. The Father answers prayer!
 
Don’t take lightly the faint thoughts of others that invade your consciousness. Someone’s life could be hanging in the balance. Take time to pray!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Free Yourself From Bitter Root Thoughts and Bitter Root Expectations

Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it (Heb 12:15-Amplified).
  
Bitter root strongholds and bitter root expectations are often at the core when we’re having problems in our relationship with God, with ourselves and with others. When others wrong us, and we hold on to that wrong in the form of unforgiveness and resentment, that event can become a bitter root in our thoughts, and can color future behavior.
 
Bitter root expectations arise out of bitter thoughts left unchecked in the soul. I have a bitter root expectation when I expect someone now to treat me the way someone in my past treated me. It’s a set up for problems in relationships, and is very common.
 
Let me show you a very simple instance of how I’ve had to deal with this in my own life. When I was a young boy, my friend and I would plan to meet at a certain place while riding our bikes. My friend would tell me that he would meet me at 3:00 PM at a certain place. I would go there and wait and he didn’t show up. I was early and waited for him for 20 minutes or more, and he never came. This happened several times, and then was repeated by others. I was on time, and they were no shows! This really bothered me but I just shrugged it off and forgot it.
 
Then, as an adult I found myself not trusting people when they would commit to do something for me. I would check on them three or four times when a person made a commitment to do something for me at a certain time. It go to the point that I would rather do something myself than to trust another person to do it for me!
 
One day the Lord showed me the root of this distrust I had in people in general, and I saw that I had developed a bitter root expectation. I had really harbored unforgiveness towards the friend who constantly let me down. This unforgiveness or bitter root stronghold buried in my inner thoughts created in me an expectation that made me think that I just couldn’t trust people. Once I saw it, I prayed and repented for harboring the unforgiveness towards my friend so many years ago.
 
Once I did this, I found that I was enabled to trust others in a way that I couldn’t before. My deep inner thoughts had been released from the expectation that others would fail me!  I was amazed at how quickly this helped me.
 
I’ve taken this same principle and dealt with many issues in my life; issues with personal beliefs about myself because of how others treated me in my past; issues with authority figures in my life that let me down; and so many other things.
 
It’s important that we cleanse our soul from bitter root strongholds and bitter root expectations. One way to do this is to write down the names of people with whom you’ve closely related. Parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, relatives, boyfriends or girlfriends, ex-spouses, pastors, etc.

As you think about that person, write down any uncomfortable things that happen between you and that person. Pray and specifically forgive the person for anything that that he or she did that brought harm to you. Tell God exactly what the person did to you, and how it made you feel. Then, by faith, release them by forgiving them for the offence toward you. It’s initially an act of faith and not feelings. Once you forgive them and release this to the Lord, make a decision to never allow your mind to go there and dwell on what they did again.

In prayer before God you have released the person from anything you’ve held against him or her. I call this itemized forgiveness. Thought by thought, you go before God and purposely release any negative thoughts you have about any person in your past.

When the thought of the person and the event comes back to your mind through the day, remind the Lord that you have by faith forgiven that person and then thank God for freeing you from bitter root strongholds of thoughts and from bitter root expectations.
 

This releases you from bitter root thoughts that create negative expectations in your current relationships. This releases you from so much mental and emotional baggage! Forgive on this deeper level and you’ll be free to love and free to bless in your current relationships.

Monday, March 23, 2015

We Must Cut The Root Of Wrong Thinking If We Want Our Behavior To Change

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls (James 1:21 - NLT).

We should be constantly growing and changing. James tell us in the above verse that the implanted Word will change our thought patterns and emotional responses. Hebrews tells us that the Word is so powerful that it is able to divide soul from spirit: For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12 - NLT).

The Word goes down deep into our human nature and sorts out what is flesh and what is spirit.

The Word is so powerful that it actually goes down into the very thoughts that give us consciousness. These are the thoughts that make us behave the way we do and cause us to act and react almost automatically in many situations.
 
We all have thoughts that are so deep within us that we’re not able to recognize them. These are the thoughts that form our belief system. These thoughts are formed by our interaction with our parents and families and are the drive that makes us act the way we do.
  
Here’s the deal. If there is a disconnect between what you read in the Word and what you do at home and in your close relationships, then there may be a root of thinking that needs to be dealt with in your life. All of us have these kinds of roots of thinking that must come out! These are trans-generational sins that we must allow the Holy Spirit and loving friends to reveal to us. We usually don’t see them ourselves.
 
Here’s a quote from my friend Chip Judd: God wants to identify, challenge, and change any patterns of thought, belief, or behavior that are contrary to His will. Many of these patterns are so much a part of us that we can’t see them without the revelation of God’s Spirit and the help of other loving Christians.
  
Our thoughts about us in the context of others begins with our family, or family of origin. What we think and believe about ourselves, God, others, male, female, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, all begin with our parent or those that raised us from childhood. How we respond to others and their behavior is learned from our family of origin. What love looks like, what it means to be loved, cared for, and nurtured all comes from the atmosphere created by our parents or care providers in our family of origin

Here’s a brief glimpse at what I mean. I’ll give you some stats on what kind of children both loving and harsh parents produce and you may see what I mean in your own life.
  
If you had harsh, demanding (perfectionistic), neglectful, and condemning parents then more than likely you:

1. Are plagued by insecurity, guilt, fear, anger, loneliness, and withdrawal (self
   protective walls around them).  
2. Have high, rigid, unattainable standards.
3. Have a feeling that you do not measure up.
4. Are driven to accomplish goals and to please others in order to win the love and
   acceptance that you crave.  
5. Think that something is wrong with you (children tend to believe that parents are
   always right).
6. Condemn yourself for not being worthy of love. You either deny your need for
   love or you may try to secure love by performance.
7. Struggle with your perception of God. You just can’t do enough to please Him. You
   often feel that God is distant and condemning.

On the other hand, if you had loving, compassionate, protective, affirming, and disciplining parents you probably:

1. Feel loved, valued, and secure.
2. Are able to try new things without threat of condemnation if you fail.
3. Are able to take appropriate social and business risks without  fearing failure (you  
   are self-confident)
4. Are able to enjoy relationships without fearing intimacy. (If you were not loved by
   your parents – to you intimacy may hurt).       
5. Are emotionally, relationally, and spiritually healthy.
6. Believe that God is caring, loving, and affirming.
 
If you have the fruit of the behavior, then you probably have the root of thinking that motivates it. If you’re able to relate well with others, if you’re able to reveal your heart, if you’re able to receive admonishment from others without feeling hurt and betrayed by them, then you probably came from a family that loved you with some measure of unconditional love.
 
But if you’re easily offended, if you can’t receive constructive criticism from others without thinking that they totally reject you, if you often feel isolated and alone, then there are root thoughts in you most likely formed from problems in your home as a child. They are buried deep in your soul and hinder your current relationships. The Father wants to wash them away with the water of the Word and with His unconditional love and forgiveness. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how this works!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Develop Your Ability To Love

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples (John 13:34-35).

For the last week, I’ve been writing about the characteristics of love according to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. Love should be the most important item in our lives as believers. Our witness to the world is tied directly to our love walk. 

Our spiritual growth is tied directly to our love walk. Our effectiveness in the kingdom of God is motivated by our love walk. Our authority over the demonic is rooted in our love walk. Take your love walk seriously. It determines your success in spiritual things.
  
The following is a compilation of several translations of the characteristics of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I encourage you to copy this and keep it with you. Meditate on it regularly and your lifestyle will change!
 
Let me describe love. It is slow to lose patience; love stays in difficult relationships with kindness, and it always looks for ways to be constructive. There is no envy in love. It is not possessive and never boils over with jealousy. Love makes no parade of itself; it never boasts, nor does it puff up with pride. Love is never arrogant and never puts itself on display, because it is neither anxious to impress, nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. Love never gets irritated and is never resentful. Love holds no grudges, and it keeps no record of evil done to it. Love refuses to be provoked and never harbors evil thoughts. Love is not rude or grasping or overly sensitive, nor does love search for imperfections and faults in others. Love does not compile statistics of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails. Love celebrates what is real and not what is perverse or incomplete. Love never does the graceless thing. Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. Love never insists on its own rights, never irritably loses its temper, and never nurses its wrath to keep it warm. Love is not touchy. Love can stand any kind of treatment because there are no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust. Love bears up under anything; it perseveres in all circumstances. Love’s first instinct is to believe in people. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best in him, and always stand your ground in defending him. Love never regards anyone or anything as hopeless. Love keeps up hope in everything. Love’s hope never fades. Love keeps on keeping on! It trusts in God in every situation and expects God to act in all circumstances. Love goes on forever. Nothing can destroy love. Nothing can happen that can break love’s spirit. In fact, it is the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.