Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drink Deeply Of God's Spirit!

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
  
The Message paraphrase of this verse reads, Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him.  And Weymouth’s translation declares, Do not over-indulge in wine--a thing in which excess is so easy- but drink deeply of God's Spirit.
  
The Greek verb in this verse is in the continuous present tense. It should read: be being filled with the Spirit, indicating progressive continuous action. When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit enters his or her body and changes their spirit from spiritual death to spiritual life; from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to the power of God.
   
When a believer receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit, that person enters into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit immerses the person into Himself!
   
There is only one experience of the indwelling of the Spirit that we receive in the new birth. There is only one instance in a person’s life of receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. But there should be many instances of a believer being filled with the Spirit!
  
We leak. As we go through life we use up our spiritual energy reserves. They must be replenished. Being filled with the Spirit needs to be a daily experience for all of us!
 
 Here’s how. Get alone; go into your “closet” where you privately fellowship with the Lord (a long, walk, a secluded room, just a real private place). Begin to worship, singing songs in English and singing in tongues! Tell the Lord of how wonderful He is and how thankful you are that He has and is transforming your life. Sing some more.

Pick up your Bible and read a passage out loud. Lift your hands and praise some more. Sing some more in tongues. And just keep this regimen going for a while. Then pray, pouring your heart out to the Father, mentioning the things that trouble you to Him. Go into great detail, and ask Him to help you! Talk to Him about your personal weaknesses, and ask Him to help you overcome them!

Then, lift your hands and sing and praise some more. Sing songs that you know, and sing in tongues. You may not “feel” it, but you’re being refreshed and filled with the Spirit as you to this!
  
Make the previous paragraphs a daily thing! Be being filled every day! Speak to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord! Stay close to Him. Mediate the Word. You’ll stay filled with the Spirit, and the devil will run and hide when you show up!  He will sense the power of the Greater One that has risen within you!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Eternal Security No Matter How You Live?

I was taught all my life in my denominational church that once you’re a believer, your eternity is secured, and you never have to be concerned about it again. The idea of eternal security and then the other extreme of falling from grace and being eternally lost has been a bone of theological contention in religious circles for hundreds of years.
  
It really got its start in the 16th century with two men. Jacobus Arminius and John Calvin graduated from the same institution of learning but each held opposing views. Jacobus Arminius believed that if you commit the smallest sin you are lost, and need to be saved all over again. John Calvin – father of “Old School Calvinism” believed that you were predestined to be saved – “what is to be will be.” They believed that you could only be saved if God gave you a repenting heart. Today, we have “new school Calvinism,” which basically believes the doctrine of eternal security, or what we call “once saved, always saved.”
So, who is right? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. The philosophers say that truth is the mean between two extremes. And that is a wise way to progress on this subject. We must balance the sovereignty of God with the free will of man. There are as many scriptures for eternal security as there are against it in the New Testament. On the other hand, we certainly don’t want to walk in eternal insecurity, where we’re constantly afraid of losing our salvation.
Here’s the bottom line. As long as I want to be saved from sin, I am! As long as I have a repentant heart that is full of faith in the redemptive work of Christ, I’m secure. But there is no scripture that promises that if I am born again, and then choose to live a rebellious, sinful lifestyle  void of repentance and confession of sin, that I will inherit heaven as my eternal destiny.
Every believer will at some point commit an act of sin. That’s different than choosing a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. If I as a believer commit a sin, thank God that I have the blood of Jesus that cleanses me when I confess my sins (1 John 1:9). Thank God that we have a lawyer that has never lost a case (1 John 2:1)! Thank God, that when the Father forgives sin, He forgets that we every committed it, and chooses to never remember it again (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 10:17)! The Father removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)! Jesus is our eternal lawyer with the Father when we miss the mark!
But there is no scripture in the New Testament that promises that God will keep a person in His care eternally that chooses sin as a lifestyle. Not one promise offers this. Not one. In this hour of looseness and liberty, let us be careful to walk closely with the Lord, and not allow sin to harden our hearts to the point that one day we could say, I just don’t care anymore. Believer in Christ, never play with sin. It will harden your heart, and in the end, its wage is death.
I’ll leave you with these quotes:
He that is merciful to sin is cruel to his own soul (Ralph Venning).
He that loves a tree hates the worm that consumes it; he that loves a garment hates the moth that eats it; he that loves life, abhors death; and he that loves the Lord hates everything that offends Him (William Cowper).
I would rather have a moderately small meeting of earnest Christians than to have it packed with thousands of careless people (D.L. Moody).
Jesus Christ came to make the great laws of God incarnate in human life; that is the miracle of God’s grace. We are to be written epistles known and read of all men. There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ, by His redemption, can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession (Oswald Chambers).
“If God were not my friend, Satan would not be so much my enemy (Thomas Brooks).
Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world (John Wesley).
              
                                           
     

Friday, September 26, 2014

Give Yourself A Spiritual Check-Up!

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him (1 John 5:18).
IF you’re going to walk closely with the Lord, you must guard or “keep” yourself. We must be vigilant to continue to do the things necessary to keep our walk with the Father strong and robust.
  
The writer of Hebrews said it well: Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away (Hebrews 2:1). Lest we drift away could be translated run out as leaking vessels. We have a leaking problem! It’s so easy to become slack and not be diligent in the things of God.
To be a strong believer today, I must continue to do the things I’ve done in the past to remain strong. Too many believers become slack and let down their defenses and drift from the place of safety in God. Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]( 1 Corinthians 10:12 - Amplified).
Keep guard over yourselves, so that you may not lose the results of your good deeds, but may receive back a full reward (2 John 8 – Weymouth)
 
During their wilderness wanderings, God graciously gave the Israelites daily food called manna to sustain them physically. The manna would appear on the ground at night and they were to pick it up the next morning before the dew dried. And they could only get a one day supply with the exception of the day before Sabbath, where they could pick up an extra day’s supply for the Sabbath rest.
Some lazy Israelites tried to pick up an extra day’s supply on a week day, and the manna bread worms and begin to stink! You see, we can’t live on yesterday’s time with God, and we can’t depend on what has happened in our past to sustain us today in God. The blessings of yesterday won’t sustain you in the challenges of today! We must maintain a real time fellowship with the Father in the Word and in prayer every day. Smith Wigglesworth said: Pay attention to life’s inflow. Outward service will dwindle if inward energies are not renewed.
I’ve seen so many believers over the years become satisfied and slack! And I’ve watched as the spiritual fire and zeal slowly left their lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t become complacent and think that you’re safe. Take heed!
Within myself I keep this thought: just because I was spiritually strong yesterday, and just because I have a record of God using me in the past, is no indication that I will be strong today. I could fall away unless I keep doing the things necessary to stay close to my Father. Honest assessment guards against slackness.
Ask yourself the following questions. Do I take time each day to “feed” on the Word? Do I maintain a daily private life of prayer and communion with the Father? Do I judge sin in my life immediately? Or do I just let it go and think that the Father understands me and my “weakness?” Am I as close to the Lord now as I was a year ago? Are my personal habits pure? Do I guard my thoughts and refuse to think on unseemly things? Do I readily forgive all offenses? Am I selfish? Do I spend my time wisely?
A wise believer keeps careful guard over himself. Keep yourself. Give yourself a regular spiritual checkup.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Don't Allow Your Disappointments To Discourage You!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).
Anyone who has ambition will face disappointments. Ambition is not a bad thing. Ambition is a desire to achieve something. God takes the self-centeredness out of our ambition and turns ambition into useful kingdom purposes.
So out of godly ambition, when we set goals and they are not fulfilled, we get disappointed. It’s a normal human reaction to be disappointed when a desire isn’t fulfilled. But we must guard against disappointment turning into discouragement. The slippery slope is disappointment, discouragement, then depression.
Bring dreams often bring larger challenges! Those who succeed in life are not the ones who never fail. In fact, to succeed, you may fail more often than others who sit back inactive. Those who succeed in their endeavors are the ones who refuse to quit. They may face disappointments, but they get up and try again. Abraham Lincoln was a failure for years as a politician, but through faithful plodding left a legacy. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times looking for the right filament for the light bulb, but his one success changed the world.
Get accustomed to disappointment if you’re going to succeed. Remember, a righteous man falls seven times and rises up again (Proverbs 24:16). Turn disappointment into prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Never allow disappointment to stop you!
 
Elijah became disappointed right after the victory over the prophets of Baal when God by fire sovereignly consumed his water soaked sacrifice. After this great feat, Elijah outran Ahab’s chariot when he heard that Jezebel wanted him killed. Elijah allowed himself to become disappointed, discouraged, and depressed, as he thought on the idolatry of Israel and how few godly prophets there were to lead the nation back to God. And Elijah’s discouragement and depression cost him his ministry.
 
When God spoke to him after he found him hiding in a cave, he gave Elijah instructions to anoint Elisha to take his place in ministry! God cannot use discouraged people! And God will find someone else to perform a task if the person he has chosen to do it sinks into discouragement! (You can read about all of this in 1 Kings 17 through 19).
 
Refuse to allow present disappointments to discourage you! When you face a setback, take a step back, and reassess your plans. Take disappointment and turn it into an appointment with the Father in prayer! Tell Him what bothers you, cast the care of the disappointment on Him, and get up and go again!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Develop The New Life That God Has Placed In You In The New Birth!

Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:10-11).
As I mentioned yesterday, Zoe is the Greek word for the life of God manifested in the believer in the new birth. Zoe is the nature of God placed within the believer. Given opportunity, this life will begin to crowd out the works of the flesh, and will produce stability and fruitfulness in the believer.
 
This life must be nurtured and not ignored. Believers that ignore this Zoe and refuse to do the things necessary to cause it to grow remain spiritual infants, with the carnality ruling their lives.
  
The food that nurtures this life of God is the Word! As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food (Job 23:12). The Word causes us to be partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:3-4)!
  
The Word of God causes the life of God in you to grow. Doubt, fear, selfishness, unforgiveness, irritability, worry, lusts of the flesh, uncontrolled anger, lack of self-control, unrest, impatience etc., are signs of spiritual malnourishment. If you have these symptoms, the cure is a rich diet of the Word so you’ll grow spiritually! This Zoe life of God has to be nurtured and cultivated if it is to really make a difference in your daily conduct.
  
If you’ll allow this Zoe to grow and rule you, it will work its way into the fabric of your life and change your habits, your dominant thoughts, your desires, your relationships, your interests, and your job performance! It will move you to be a better father, mother, husband, wife, employee, manager, friend, and you’ll be motivated by love in all you do.
  
When thinking about this Zoe life, the Lord reminded me of some centipede grass I planted in the yard of a house I had built years ago. I sowed some centipede grass seed in along with the fescue grass that I had planted for quick ground cover. It took some time, but the centipede eventually crowded out the fescue, and hindered weed growth too! And that’s what Zoe will do if you allow it to grow in your life. It will begin to choke the “weeds” of the flesh and the world that seek to rob you of spiritual vitality! In fact, it will not cease to worm its way into all your dealings in life, and will move you to change areas that you’re slack in.
 
Zoe, the life God, brings a life of change to the believer. Let it loose in you today by treating the Word as the spiritual food that it is to you. If you do, the Divine nature will rise up and eventually overwhelm the weakness in your life so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in your body!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Zoe- The Life of God in the Heart of Man

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4).
 
The Greek word for life in the above verses is Zoe, and is pronounced Zoa. It means life in the absolute sense; life as God has it; the life of God. It’s an astounding thought that in the new birth God actually places in our spirits His own life and nature! In the New Testament, it’s called Everlasting Life or Eternal Life. It refers to a quality of life, not a quantity. As a boy I thought that the eternal life my pastor preached about was living forever. But no, it’s a nature that comes to indwell the child of God!
 
Notice above that in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Light stands for development. The light was the development of man. In this life that we receive in the new birth is the wisdom of God and the mind of Christ that will direct us in the affairs of life.
  
You may note historically that after Martin Luther received the revelation that the just shall live by faith  in the 1500’s that the world came out of the dark ages and the industrial age began. No country has needed a patent law until eternal life was found there. I believe that the progress that we’ve had as a relatively young nation in the US is due to the enlightenment that comes in the new birth to the spirit of man. Our founders craved religious freedom and some had been born again. An impetus to create, to explore, to improve, to aid, to help, to solace, and to better mankind is placed deep within the spirit of man by this Zoe!
 
In personal life, when received and allowed to grow, this Zoe will transform behavior, taking the mediocre, and pushing it into excellence. This life breaks habits and forms new ones. It presses its bearers to mold to its convictions, and pushes rebellion and sin away and in its place creates freedom, joy, liberty, and purity.
  
This Zoe must be allowed to develop and grow or it will not produce change. It thrives when its bearer feeds on the Word of God and becomes prayerful. It is stymied when a person ignores it, pushing it aside for the lusts of the flesh and the attitudes of the current age.
  
If you’ve received Zoe through the new birth, take time each day to feed it with the Word. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Given nourishment through God’s Word and prayer, this Zoe will grow like a seed, eventually crowding out the “weeds” of the works of the flesh in a human and will little by little begin to produce Christlikeness.
  
Zoe is awesome. Don’t ignore it in you! Allow it to thrive, and it will take you places you never thought you’d go in life! We’ll continue this tomorrow!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Allow The Refiner's Fire To Work In You Today!

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderers' soap (Malachi 3:2).
  
God is Holy; set apart from all of creation; perfect from flaw and blemish; total purity. He revealed Himself in a burning bush to Moses. Then again on top of Mount Sinai He revealed Himself in lightning and thunder. Ezekiel saw the Lord and He appeared as a Being of fire. Yes, our God is a consuming fire!
 
Fire speaks of purity. Fire purifies precious metal. Fire cleanses germs from the surgeon’s instruments. The fire of God will purify a sin tainted life.
 
We’re baptized in the Holy Spirit and Fire. If allowed, this fire from the Father will melt away and dissolve impurity from the life of the believer. It works only as the believer applies the Word to his daily conduct and willfully chooses to walk away from the old lifestyle and embrace his new life. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (Psalm 119:9). Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11).
 
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Holiness starts in our hearts. We must choose to be like Him in thought and conduct. We must embrace the mind of Christ before we exhibit the character of Christ. As Paul said in Romans 6, we must recon ourselves dead to sin and alive unto God through the Lord Jesus.
  
Peter encourages us to walk in this holiness. But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
  
The good news is that the holiness of God has been placed in our spirits by the Holy Spirit. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). The word sanctification and holiness come from the same Greek word. So you can see in this verse that God’s holiness is already in you if you’re in Christ!
 
We must choose to allow this holiness to come alive in us. You will only walk in holiness by personal choice. Cry out for the fire of God to penetrate your mind, your emotions, your will, and your body. Ask Him to work His holiness into every part of you. Make a choice today to carefully guard what you hear and see.
 
All around us the enemy has polluted the world with his enticements to lust and selfishness. We will only walk in holiness by making daily choices to turn away from every single fleshly allurement. Ask the Father for His penetrating fire to protect you. Then refuse flesh encouraging TV shows, movies, internet sites, and music all day, everyday.
 
On a very practical note, I have found that if I’ll spend quality time in the Word and prayer then I will be filled with desires for God and not the flesh. Attention determines desire. Praying in the spirit will also intensify the spirit of holiness in you. An hour of praying in tongues a day can be the catalyst for great life change!
 
Pray for the fire of God to consume you every day.