Monday, April 27, 2015

As A Believer, Jesus Has Made You Righteous!

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 confesses 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 25, 2015

God's Promises Will Test You!

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 more sure? 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)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Walking With My Father God

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).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Praying In The Spirit (Tongues) Brings Rest and Refreshing To The Believer

Praying in the spirit or in other tongues is a gift that accompanies the baptism with the Holy Spirit. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4). While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God (Acts 10:44-46). Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:6).

It is the will of God that every believer has the ability to pray in the spirit.  I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification (1 Corinthians 14:5).
With the Holy Spirit baptism comes a greater degree of the presence of God in your life. And by praying in the spirit, there comes a deeper intimacy with Him.
Isaiah 28:11-12 reads: For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, To whom He said, "This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest," and, This is the refreshing...Talking to the Father from your human spirit brings rest and refreshing! It’s a wonderful thing to be able to sit quietly in His presence and pray from your spirit. In this way intimacy with the Father is available to you twenty four hours a day anywhere in the world! During times of difficulty and emotional and mental turmoil, you can turn to your Father and pour your heart out to Him in words that He alone understands.
There’s just something about being totally real with someone that releases stress from your life. When you’re involved in challenges all around, praying in the spirit can take you to that place of solace where the Father can minister His rest and peace to your spirit!
As you work today you can quietly pray in the spirit and commune with the Father under your breath. As you shop, or as you mow the lawn, or whatever you do, you can enjoyed uninterrupted communion with the Father of spirits . Take advantage of this “closet experience” throughout the day and you’ll find renewed strength for the task at hand.
He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak (Isaiah 40:29). Praying in the spirit will enable you to wait on the Lord through your busy day today. Take advantage of it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Praying In Tongues Increases Spiritual Sensitivity!

As I mentioned in my last post, the Baptism with the Holy Spirit enhances your ability to connect spiritually with the Lord. Let me go into more detail on what I mean.
When I pray in the spirit, my human spirit is talking to the Lord without the involvement of my mind. This direct spiritual connection to the Lord is so vital to effective prayer, for it enables you to pray the perfect will of God over a person or situation. It’s make prayer limitless!
But another part of this is that when I pray in the spirit, it helps me to tune into the voice of God in my human spirit. Notice again 1 Corinthians 14:14 (Amplified): For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit by the Holy Spirit within me prays, but my mind is unproductive; it bears no fruit and helps nobody. You see the Holy Spirit is in my spirit. That’s where He contacts me. His first contact with my human person is not with my mind, but with my spirit. And praying in tongues regularly helps me stay sensitive to my human spirit. And since the Holy Spirit is in my spirit, I become sensitive to Him too by praying in tongues.
Here another interesting tidbit about praying in tongues. It also helps me sort out the will of God in general for my life as well as the details of daily choices. 1 Corinthians 2: 9 (J.B. Phillips) reads: For who could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of man himself. How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God. God’s Word Translation of this verse reads: After all, who knows everything about a person except that person’s own spirit. My spirit intuitively knows things that my mind does not know, because the Holy Spirit is in my spirit. So praying in tongues helps me tap into the wisdom of God for life’s particulars.
1 Corinthians 14:13 tells us to ask for the interpretation of what we need to know when we pray in the spirit. Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. So I regularly remind the Lord that I want to know what I’m praying about when I’m praying in tongues when He desires to tell me.
Back in November of 1993 I was praying in tongues one morning and thinking about what the Lord wanted me to do in my future. At the time I was pastoring a church for a pastor while he took a year away to start a church in another country. His time to come back to his church was approaching and I was wondering what the Lord had for me. After I finished praying in tongues for an hour, the words already existing church just seemed to float up to my mind from somewhere. I knew this came from my spirit and that the Lord was talking to me about my future after this pastor came back.
I kept this phrase already existing church in my heart for six months and it evolved into you will go to pastor an already existing church. And that already existing church is where I having been pastoring for over 20 years! How did this come about? It happened because I took time to pray in the spirit and ask the Lord to let me know when He wanted to about what I was saying when I prayed in tongues.
Don’t underestimate the value of praying in tongues. Making it a daily practice will tune your spirit to hear the voice of God more clearly. And if you keep it up, then one day your future and God’s plan for your life will l blend into one!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let's Talk About Praying In Tongues

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20).
One of the great benefits of receiving the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the ability that comes with the experience to pray in tongues or pray in the Spirit. Praying in tongues is God’s method of bypassing the human mind in prayer and allowing spirit to Spirit communion with God.
Some people would lead you to think that there is little value in praying in tongues. But let me ask you a question; is there any value in talking to God? 1 Corinthians 14:2(Amplified) reveals: For one who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the Holy Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things not obvious to the understanding.

Praying in tongues provides a way for the believer to talk to the Father about things he would otherwise know nothing about.
I pray with my mind throughout my day in English. But I also take time throughout the day to pray in tongues. When I exhaust my limited understanding of how to pray for a person or situation, I tell the Lord that I’m going to pray about that in tongues so that I cover anything that my mind didn’t know about the situation.

Notice Romans 8:26-27: Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (this is a reference to praying in the spirit or in tongues). Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Praying in the Spirit or in tongues provides a way to pray the perfect prayer!
Praying in tongues will build you up or edify you spiritually. 1 Corinthians 14:4 reads:
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

The word to edify in the Greek means to build up. A car battery is built up by the alternator while the car engine is running so that it has energy for the next time you need to start your car! Praying in tongues provides similar spiritual edification or building up. I pray in tongues for a couple of hours before I minister the word because it produces the necessary spiritual building up I need before I preach. I get up every morning and pray in the spirit to build myself up spiritually for the day.
Some people question the validity of praying in tongues, saying that it is an emotional experience that produces no fruit. I say that a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument! I’ve benefitted so much over the years that it’s a mute point to discuss with those who don’t or won’t believe in this experience. My life has been dramatically altered for the better as a result of praying in tongues every day!
I’ll talk about this awesome experience more next time. Take time today to pray in the spirit!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Three Things The Baptism With The Holy Spirit Produces In Your Life

In the last two posts, I have been discussing the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I continue that theme today!

Three things happen to the person who receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit. They receive boldness to witness, an increase in understanding of the word, and they receive a new way to pray!
Acts 1:8 reads: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. The Greek word for power here is dunamis and from this word we get our English words dynamic, dynamite, and dynamo. There is inherent power produced within the believer when baptized with the Holy Spirit.

The day after I was Spirit baptized, I noticed a boldness that rose up within me that I had never experienced before. As a 17 year old, I was working in a grocery store the day after I received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and a girl asked for a cigarette. Well, I threw mine away the day before, and simply had no desire for them.  I started to tell her that I quit, but before I could speak the Holy Spirit from deep within me prodded me to tell her that Jesus set me free from smoking. When I told her that, she was so surprised that I thought she would fall in the floor! And then a joy rose up in me that I had never experienced before. Ever since then that boldness has risen up in me.
The second thing that you will notice after having received the baptism with the Holy Spirit is that a greater hunger for and understanding of the Word will come. 1 Corinthians 2:14 reads: But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The Holy Spirit authored the Bible. He inspired men to write as they were moved by Him. When He comes into your life in fullness, He will take the Word and unfold its deeper meanings to your spirit.

It one thing to intellectually understand the Word, but it’s an awesome experience to suddenly gain the spiritual application of it when you read. I experienced this the day after I was Spirit baptized in 1976. As I read passages that I had known since childhood, suddenly the revelation of their spiritual application to me poured from the pages I read! It’s totally amazing.
The third thing that you receive with the Holy Spirit baptism is a new way to connect with God. Praying is in a whole new realm. It’s one thing to try to connect with the Father with mind to Spirit communication; that is, your mind seeking to make contact with Him who is the sum total of all knowledge! But it’s awesome to be able to contact the Father directly spirit to Spirit. When you pray in tongues after being Spirit baptized, you gain an ability to speak in tongues which is your human spirit making direct contact with the Father of spirits! 1 Corinthians 14:14 (Amplified) declares: For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody].

Things that were pent up in me for years were released as I prayed in the spirit or in other tongues. This is the perfect way to pray, because when you’re praying in tongues, you’re praying the perfect will of God for whatever you’re praying about!
Don’t neglect the precious gift of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Allow it to be a door that opens you to a new realm of spiritual experience and understanding as you receive boldness, illumination, and a new prayer language.