Archive for November, 2010

Spiritual Rest

The key to finding spiritual rest is hidden in this Scripture:

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the Gospel preached to us, just as they did (speaking of those wandering in the wilderness 40 years); but the word which they heard did not profit them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest…” (Heb 4:1-3)

Do you see it? Verses 2-3 make it clear… if we believe, then we can enter spiritual rest. If we believe? Is this for real, can He be talking about the same kind of believing that the preacher was speaking of last Sunday?

Is something missing?

Yes, that’s the point. Its not the same belief that so many are experiencing in the church today. Its a participation in the love only found in the Father’s heart! When we come to believe in Christ and truly trust in Him, something has to take place in the spirit realm. How can the most powerful love in the universe make such a small impact upon our tiny broken heart? Its like being hit by a Mack Truck at 200 miles an hour and getting up from the pavement with the thought… “Is that all you got?”

There has to be more… and there is!

We are undergoing a transformation of the heart. Christ begins to reveal to us the Father’s love, by preparing a place for us in His heart and ushering us into it by the Holy Spirit’s hand. Its this revelation that calms our restless wandering; it heals, renews and restores the orphan feelings of the past. We cease from our work and no longer live for the approval of others, because we see that we are accepted by the Father, in the Beloved (Eph 1:6).

Notice from the passage above, that the word being heard did not profit the hearers, because it was not mixed with faith. Here was a people who could not obey God; could not trust God, because they just could not get past the 400 years of bondage and human expectations. They were unable to feel like sons and daughters, because of their slave mentality. They had made bricks and made bricks, reached quotas and followed their masters. Now God was asking for them to trust in His love. It was too hard… tell us what we need to do? It required faith, something they had long given up on.

So… 3 suggestions ring forth from this passage that we must take to heart.

  1. Be Careful… spiritual rest must not be underestimated nor ignorantly missed simply because we find it difficult to receive love.
  2. Its the Same Gospel… spiritual rest is available to all who hear and obey its promise. “God so loved the world…” (Jn 3:16-17)
  3. Embrace the Father’s Love… spiritual rest is the resource that meets the need of the orphan heart.

Jesus said “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go… I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (Jn 14:2-3)

Fleeing from Idolatry

My heart burns for Him

Christ is My Light

The issue of idolatry in the Body of Christ creates an enormous distraction from the True Light of God’s Love. We are told in Scripture that the Devil masquarades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). His goal is to bring confusion and hide himself in the stuff God values. He wants to destroy the Truth with lies and pervert the grace of God with false promises. What makes Satan hard to defeat is that he appears as attractive, engaging and persuasive… but its all poison.

 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Cor 10:14) 

 Here Paul is saying that we should avoid any sort of idolatry; run from it. We must not be involved in loving or valuing anything more than God. We often think of idolatry as being things we actually worship in place of God; but I want to propose to you that anything that impresses us more than obeying God is an idol. Things can carry influence and give Satan access to our heart.

Take notice of the stuff you protect (1 John 5:21).

 The fault does not fall only on the leaders in our congregations. When we esteem others more highly than we should, idolatry has taken root. Priorities can get out of focus and prevent us from hearing or seeing with clarity. Our organised religious model often promotes the leadership as the ones who hear from God, give teaching and fight the spiritual battles for us.

We tend to enjoy the role of spectator.

   Being a Christian; however, is a calling to become an ”anointed one” and live in relationship with Christ, The Anointed One (Jn 14:6). Jesus is to be the supernatural resource of light that shines through us. He is the One we emulate and want to reflect to the world around us. Our faith is not about rituals or traditions or relying solely on teachers or pastors. In fact there are no buildings, pews, alters or communion cups that offer deliverance from sin or power over the Devil. The Bible tells us it is the anointing that is given by the Holy Spirit that breaks the yokes of bondage (Isa 10:27) and teaches us all things (1 Jn 2:20).

Trusting Christ is the best way to flee from idols!

 Do we need accountable relationships? Absolutely, but only Christ offers the power that overcomes darkness and brings peace in the midst of the storms of life. Trust that is not placed into God’s hand is misplaced and falls into the grasp of convenience, neglect or worse… idolatry.

God’s Will is Overflow

Wells of Salvation

Fountains of Revival

Knowing the will of God is essential for our discipleship… yet “knowing” needs to be followed by obedience.  Clearly we are told to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:17-19). There is spiritual power produced in us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and it makes us effective in ministry to the world. We overflow with living water and splash on all we come into contact with. Peter alluded to “joy unspeakable and full of glory”, when he described the impact this experience has upon a person’s life (1 Pe 1:8).

 Paul’s conviction was that this overflow of power was the will of God for all people.

 So many believers are missing out on the greatest blessing of the Christian faith… becoming a “witness” for Him (Acts 1:8). By receiving and walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, we come under an anointing of power that overcomes the captivity of sin and breaks the chains of satanic assault.

Jesus carried this same anointing (Acts 10:38).

There is healing for diseased bodies, restoration of broken relationships and the recovery of lost destinies in the Promise of the Father (Acts 5:16). As God’s Children; who find their hope in the words of His mouth, we must see the Promise and run to the atmosphere that offers outpouring. God’s Promise still remains, “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters… your young men and old men… menservants and maidservants… they are all going to prophecy, see visions and have dreams” (Acts 2:17-18). Our hearts are not hardened by the mysteries of things we do not understand, but our eyes are fixed on His purposes. For He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8) and has left with us a mandate that if we will walk in obedience, He will crush Satan under our feet (Rom 16:19). 

More Lord everyday, for Your will is overflow! 

  If you haven’t been filled with the Holy Spirit, then don’t let the Devil rob you of your inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Pray for it until you receive  power from on high! This is not just for preachers… everyone in the Body of Christ needs the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

 In the early Church even those who waited on tables needed to be men “full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:3).

  Peter said, “Look at us, we have no silver or gold; but what we do have we give to you… rise up and walk” (Acts 3:4-6). This boldness was released because of a fullness within. Peter and John flowed from the platform of the will of God into the purpose of setting captives free. They knew that God’s will for their lives was to overflow with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Under the Influence

On the Day of Pentecost 120 disciples (committed followers of Jesus) were amazingly touched by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). This fulfilled the promise Christ had made to them a few days earlier. He had said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).

Jesus calls us to become completely emersed in the Holy Spirit’s power and influence (Lk 24:49).

 We must recognize that this initial experience of being baptized (emersed) in the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of a lifelong experience. God wants us to remain filled with the Holy Spirit… to remain under His influence. Many accused the disciples of being drunk after the initial experience in the upper room, because there seemed to be no explaining their unusual behavior.

“Don’t be drunk with wine…” says Paul, “but be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:18).

 Perhaps another analogy would help to clarify. As Christians we could be compared to a “reservoir” for producing electrical power, like Hoover Dam. When we accept Christ, construction of our reservoir is complete. We now have the potential to be useful and to affect lives. Yet until the flood gates are opened and the cascading river waters pour through, no power is available. So it is when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit… the flood gates open.

 We yield our lives to God and the Holy Spirit pours into us and through us… like power stations.

 It is then that we become most effective in God’s service. As with the reservoir, this power-generating experience is not intended to be a one-time occurrence. It is to be an ongoing process… a flow. When our spiritual power runs low, we need to return to the Source and let the Holy Spirit pour into us again, bringing fresh power.

Keep on being filled – over and over again!

 This happened to the early followers of Jesus. They had already been baptized in the Spirit; but later, when persecution arose, they needed a new surge of spiritual power; so they prayed to the Lord once again and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). Even the building was shaken. As the Spirit-filled believer serves the Lord, there is an expenditure of spiritual power. It becomes necessary for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, in order that His power may be replenished in us.

Spiritual growth is measured by our capacity to flow in the anointing.

  Here lies the secret of Spirit-filled living. The Spirit-filled life is a continuous process of receiving and giving, of being filled and pouring out to others, of receiving power from God and spending it in Kingdom ministry. Jesus said “freely you receive, freely give” (Mt 10:8).

The Work of Forgiveness

Tender and Precious

My Little Princess

Do you remember the Old Testament story of Eliam?

 Ok, maybe not. Eliam is a rather obscure character in the Old Testament. In fact he is only mentioned twice, but here’s his story.

 Eliam was a father of a little girl… perhaps like my own daughter she was his “Little Princess”.

 Like all fathers, he loved her and watched her grow into a beautiful young lady. The day finally came that Eliam gave his daughter’s hand to a young man to be his wife. It was a proud moment in the family and all of the wonderful Jewish tradition was followed to the letter. Eliam’s daughter and son-in-law were making a life together when tragedy stuck. One day, while Eliam’s son-in-law was away at war, several men came to the family home. They broke into the house, took Eliam’s daughter by force and gave her to their leader. After inappropriate relations with her, this man of power had Eliam’s son-in-law murdered and took her into his possession, as his wife.

 The son-in-law’s name was Uriah. His daughter was Bathsheba. And the man of power… King David.

 Ouch, “now you know the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. Its a different story when told through the eyes of Eliam. We know and love King David in spite of his murderous and adulterous actions. We “brush off” his misdeeds and count him as one of our heroes; but what do you think Eliam thought of this “noble” king of Isreal?

There are two sides to every story. 

Through the eyes of Eliam; we can see ourselves at times, when we think about how injustice effects us emotionally. Do you think it might have been difficult for Eliam to forgive David… I would think so, which brings me to my point.

Forgiveness is hard work!

 We can talk about forgiveness all day long and know all the right Bible answers, but we may not appreciate how much work this spiritual discipline requires. Forgiveness is easy until you experience real betrayal. Loving your enemies is easy until you really have an enemy of your own. We must never become overconfident in our ability to forgive.

True forgiveness requires a grace from Heaven.

 Continue to work at it and mature in this spiritual discipline, because the day will come when you will hurt someone and you will need their forgiveness. Remind yourself of Jesus’ words from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34). When you think you’ve finally understood… well, go back and try looking through the eyes of Eliam.