Posts Tagged ‘deception’

The Stubborn Heart

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)

It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”

The Spirit of Unbelief:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!

Authenticity:

I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”

Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.

So – here’s the point…

  • Stop living without meaningful communication with God!

Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)

Clothed in Glory

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering, as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. This means they walked together in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a covering) and God’s Honor (atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing and they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish?

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear.

Spiritual Death:

We are able to see a powerful expression of God’s Fathering love in the moments following the broken relationship. God, seemingly unaware of man’s location, calls out to man and asks him of his connection to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11)

Spiritual Life:

Then God makes the first sacrifice, in order to clothe them properly.  ”The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God would spill the blood of a lamb; one of His created beings, to provide a garment suitable to cover human shame. This would serve as humanity’s first revelation that spiritual life is in the Blood.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

Our spiritual death has its connection to sin by the loss of our covering (God’s Glory) and our relationship (God’s Honor) based on His Presence (Holy Spirit atmosphere). Yet the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us of the reality of God’s grace… God’s favorable actions toward us who trust in Christ Jesus. He  tells us that God has restored access to His Glory and Honor in the free gift of salvation. Access to all that was lost could be restored through the Blood of Jesus. 

“We have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

The Gospel of Restored Glory:

This good news cannot be overstated, because it is not accomplished by anything man can do (Rom 3:20)(2 Cor 5:21). God proved His love by sending Jesus to die for us, in our place and for the spiritual relationship to be restored that once was established in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that when anyone turns to God in faith, a veil is lifted from their hearts and they are enabled to behold the Glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:16-4:6). As believers who continue to look into that Glory a transformation takes place, whereby we are being changed into the same image (God’s original intent) from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

Jesus Said – Be Clothed In Glory: Power from On High!

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)

Where Fear Began

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

The first thing we learn from this verse is that fear is a spirit… an atmosphere that is personified. This means a being with a spirit is occupying some space in our thoughts and imagination that is not from God. In other words, its a demonic stronghold… a house of thoughts ruled by a demonic spirit. We understand that this spirit is not from God, because of two realities. First, has to do with what God has given every believer… “power, love and soundness of mind, or peace. These are the greatest platforms to build a spiritual identity! Now the second reality is that what God gives has authority or dominion over fear… power dissolves fear, love casts out fear and soundness of mind breaks the power of fear. Well… that means there is just no place for the devil to hide in the believer’s identity, unless that believer allows squatters. The true believer can be clothed in the Glory of God!

Let Me Explain:

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering… as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven… a fearless place full of worship and love. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. Even the term “cool of the day” is ruach in the Hebrew language and means spirit or glory. This means they walked together daily in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a heavenly covering) and God’s Honor (heaven’s atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing. They were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish? Yet an opening of their eyes also left an opening of the door to a spirit of fear.

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear and torment.

But – God has Restored the Glory!

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6) NO MORE FEAR!

“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 (or restore to us) all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32) HE HAS DELIVERED US!

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:17-19) LOVE HAS CONQUERED FEAR!

No Name Like Jesus

What have we labeled “IMPOSSIBLE”?

There is a name like no other… its above every name that can be named among men (Phil 2:9-11). Its the name of “Jesus” that allows access into heavenly resources, breaks through in difficult circumstances and pulls the believer into new seasons of influence. The name, “Jesus” on the lips of the believing heart is the most amazing force in the universe… for in that name is power and authority.

Access – Breakthrough – Purpose:

Jesus said, “All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and in earth“ (Mt 28:18). “In My name they shall cast out devils” (Mk 16:17). He literally gave us His own authority when He gave us His name. An authority to deal with the Devil. Every act of stealing, killing and deception is now abruptly held to a new standard of authority. The authority of the most recognized name in Heaven, the most powerful name on Earth and the most significant name in history… has been delegated to our use.

Authority is delegated power.

A person’s authority is only as great as the power that stands behind them! The police officer directing traffic in the middle of the street is wearing a badge that represents the power of the governing laws that he enforces. A large truck could easily crush him in the middle of the busy street, but because the driver understands the power of the badge, he quickly yields his will and submits the power of his large vehicle to the authority of the badge.

The Name of Jesus is like a “Badge of Authority”!

God knew that you needed a weapon of defense against all that the wiles of the Devil (Eph 6:16). What we must come to understand is how to use the name to our benefit. His name represents His person, His position, His seating, and His influence over all things. His promise to the believer is clear, ”If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (Jn 14:14). Jesus’ name can accomplish things that might feel impossible in the natural; yet when we live in intimacy with Him, we experience a growing awareness of how the natural is dominated by the Spirit.

Faith-filled and Lead by the Spirit:

The early Church recognized the incredible power they carried in the name of Jesus. Look at how Peter and John address the crippled beggar at the Gate Beautiful of the temple, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). The beggar immediately received strength in his feet and ankle bones and as Peter grabbed his hand, he leaped to his feet with joy and praise to God. Later Peter needed to explain the miracle to some critics saying, “It was His name, through faith in His name, that made this man strong whom you see and know.” Amazingly the critics were familiar with this beggar and all of Isreal knew him, because they had passed him daily going into the temple. Yet this was a new day and demonstrated a new authority, where faith in the name of Jesus was confronting what they had seen as normal.

Confronting Normal:

God was and still is, breaking in at the very gate of all that humanity has labeled impossible; simply because we have adjusted our seeing. He has handed the world an opportunity to experience the “New Normal”, where the name of Jesus offers access to all the authority of Heaven. This new normal confronts all that we see as familiar, impossible and overwhelming. But it offers hope, beyond the limitations. The new normal is living by faith in the name of Jesus.

Agents of Transformation

True revival from the Holy Spirit inspires both the will and power to live as agents of transformation… to be in the world but not of the world.

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psa. 85:6)

Defining Revival:

Revival in Hebrew is Chayay {khaw-yah’-ee}. It means to be quickened, to be made alive, to be restored to life or health… from sickness, from discouragement, from faintness and even from death! It refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. In other words, revival in the heart of a believer is to be awakened from spiritual slumber or even revived and raised from spiritual death! It encompasses the resurfacing of a greater love and passion for a Holy and Righteous God than they usually have ever experienced. Revival moves beyond the heart of nominal, complacent Christianity and is usually marked by a life that is lived in holiness… because He is Holy.

Initiated by the Holy Spirit:

True revival is always initiated by a prompting of the Holy Spirit! It creates an awareness of something missing or wrong in the person’s life that can only be transformed by a Holy God. In turn, the person must respond from the heart, acknowledging his or her need. Then, in a powerful way the Holy Spirit draws back the veil the enemy has cast over the truth, allowing that person to fully see themselves in comparison to God’s glory, majesty and holiness. Obviously, such comparisons bring great humility and repentance, but also bring an awareness and awe of God in relation to His great love for them personally and His truly amazing grace. For the believer, unlike the original conversion experience that brings about a new relationship to God; revival represents a restoration of fellowship with God. It always takes them to a new place, a new level, a new depth of intimacy and love with God. After salvation, the first tactic of the enemy is to distract you with the cares of this life or busyness of new ministry or even a religious lifestyle. We can become weighed down with the cares of life, rituals of religion, even ministry, and we soon find ourselves just going through the motions… thereby losing our first love. It’s then that we no longer experience the joy of serving Christ. True revival initiated by the Holy Spirit helps restore that first love, passion and intimacy towards Christ.

What it Produces:

Revival stimulates an aggressive hunger and passion for His Word and a desire to be with those of like precious faith. It brings conviction… an awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and always deepens a believer’s faith, opening his or her eyes to spiritual truth. It marks a new beginning of obedience to God… through intense worship, devotion, prayer and fasting, fellowship and reading God’s Word. Revival produces agents of transformation by taking the focus off of ourselves. We experience the fascination of loving God and freely move in the power of the Holy Spirit to resist the temptations of the world. Revival is an awakening… and a fresh way of seeing that enables the believer to renounce all that blinds the eyes and dulls the hearts of men (Isa. 44:18)(2 Cor. 4:4).

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