Posts Tagged ‘dying to self’

Our Highest Prize

Scripture: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:31-32)

Thought for Today: “Living for Jesus – boldly”

Our highest prize is to be found living for Jesus. Living in such a way… that places are shaken, fullness is experienced, unity is established and all things are shared among a generous fellowship. God is offering us the invitation to walk in spiritual prosperity and release His love to the world around us. Our enemies are God’s enemies, our difficulties are God’s difficulties and yet, our victory is God’s testimony. We are beginning to understand that we have full access to everything for which Jesus died. Its not about the bigger, better or more popular life, its about gaining Christ. He has captured our hearts, by loving us in the midst of discovery!

“We cannot, but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

Prayer and fasting can lead us to believe that our Christian faith is more about dying to self than living for Christ. Yet, we are exchanging the ashes of a misguided life for the beauty of abiding in His Presence. Though darkness lasts for the night, fresh joy gets released in the morning. The Lord, Himself becomes our Everlasting Light and shapes the way we see our world. It truly is Christ in us that is the hope of Glory (Col 1:27).

The Unveiling:

Yet, Glory goes unseen, because flesh is a veil that the devil uses to hide what is available to us (2 Cor 4:4-6). The inward, spiritual man is so much more wonderful than the outer, natural man of flesh and blood. Its the Holy Spirit’s influence that begins to delight our heart and remove the veil of flesh, so that blessing, purpose and fruitfulness can emerge as our treasure (2 Cor 3:16-18). And treasure it, we will… just try to still our voice, shift our vision or hold us back! We have understood the call to go forth in power and it is now inside us, to endure all things with bold perseverance (Heb 10:35-39).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Rom 8:31-37)

Humble Flesh

Scripture: “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish… And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16-26)

Thought for Today: “Humbling the Flesh”

The Bible seems to emphasize the idea that man was created by God with three parts (1 Thess 5:23) spirit, soul and body. The spirit or inner-man is where the Holy Spirit makes its dwelling. The soul or outer-man, consists of our mind, will and emotion and is where man processes natural realities and makes decisions. The body, called the carnal man or “flesh” is the visible part. It responds to our five senses; taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and becomes the means of expression… activity.

Sanctification:

Now in order for us to understand the value of spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, we must first recognize the broken state of our human condition. Sin separates us from God and causes us to rely upon natural sight and human reasoning. The point of spiritual discipline is to restore our connection to the voice of God by separating our spirit, soul and body from sinful behaviors, habits or thought patterns that are in opposition to the will of God.

Restoring the Connection:

Its like removing the insulation from an electrical wire so that a connection can be made between a power source (God) and an appliance (activity). This process of removing the insulating barrier is what the Apostle Paul called sanctification. He felt the struggle we all have with sin and taught about dying to self, letting go of flesh desires and yielding our lives to God’s purpose (Rom 12:1-2)(Phil 3:3). He practiced and encouraged disciplines that would release and multiply the fruit of the Holy Spirit and free us to walk like Jesus.

Quieting the Flesh:

In order for us to hear the voice of God we must quiet all the other voices that compete for our attention and affection. The voice of the flesh is like a dripping faucet, consistently crying out to be fed, clothed and nurtured. Its been doing this all of our life, from a baby until now. We have given in to its desires and unless we discipline its voice, it will try to rule us.

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)

Spiritual Freedom:

Freedom is not just living without the hindrance of the old patterns, but its the ability to live with fresh purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God gives more grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Fasting does more than just quiet the flesh… it humbles the flesh and trains it to obey the spirit, when done in unison with prayer. By making room for the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we are free to live by the spirit and fulfill the will of God!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Living for Jesus

Today is day 21 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Acts 4:27-32
Thought for Today: “Living for Jesus”

Our highest prize is to be found living for Jesus. God is offering us the invitation to walk in spiritual prosperity and release His love to the world around us. Our enemies are God’s enemies, our difficulties are God’s difficulties and yet, our victory is God’s testimony. We are beginning to understand that we have full access to everything for which Jesus died. Its not about the bigger, better or more popular life, its about gaining Christ. He has captured our hearts, by loving us in the midst of discovery!

“We cannot, but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) 

Prayer and fasting can lead us to believe that our Christian faith is more about dying to self than living for Christ. Yet, we are exchanging the ashes of a misguided life for the beauty of abiding in His Presence. Though darkness lasts for the night, fresh joy gets released in the morning. The Lord, Himself becomes our Everlasting Light and shapes the way we see our world. It truly is Christ in us that is the hope of Glory (Col 1:27).  

The Unveiling: 

Yet, Glory goes unseen, because flesh is a veil that the devil uses to hide what is available to us (2 Cor 4:4-6). The inward, spiritual man is so much more wonderful than the outer, natural man of flesh and blood. Its the Holy Spirit’s influence that begins to delight our heart and remove the veil of flesh, so that blessing, purpose and fruitfulness can emerge as our treasure (2 Cor 3:16-18). And treasure it, we will… just try to still our voice, shift our vision or hold us back! We have understood the call to go forth in power and it is now inside us, to endure all things with bold perseverence (Heb 10:35-39). 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Rom 8:31-37) 

Humbling the Flesh

Today is day 12 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Galatians 5:16-26 
Thought for Today: “Humbling the Flesh”

The Bible seems to emphasize the idea that man was created by God with three parts (1 Thess 5:23) spirit, soul and body. The spirit or inner-man is where the Holy Spirit makes its dwelling. The soul or outer-man, consists of our mind, will and emotion and is where man processes natural realities and makes decisions. The body, called the carnal man or “flesh” is the visible part. It responds to our five senses; taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and becomes the means of expression… activity.

Sanctification:

Now in order for us to understand the value of spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, we must first recognize the broken state of our human condition. Sin seperates us from God and causes us to rely upon natural sight and human reasoning. The point of spiritual discipline is to restore our connection to the voice of God by seperating our spirit, soul and body from sinful behaviors, habits or thought patterns that are in opposition to the will of God.  

Restoring the Connection:

Its like removing the insulation from an electrical wire so that a connection can be made between a power source (God) and an appliance (activity). This process of removing the insulating barrier is what the Apostle Paul called sanctification. He felt the struggle we all have with sin and taught about dying to self, letting go of flesh desires and yielding our lives to God’s purpose (Rom 12:1-2)(Phil 3:3). He practiced and encouraged disciplines that would release and multiply the fruit of the Holy Spirit and free us to walk like Jesus.

Quieting the Flesh:

In order for us to hear the voice of God we must quiet all the other voices that compete for our attention and affection. The voice of the flesh is like a dripping faucet, consistently crying out to be fed, clothed and nurtured. Its been doing this all of our life, from a baby until now. We have given in to its desires and unless we discipline its voice, it will try to rule us.

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)

Spiritual Freedom:  

Freedom is not just living without the hindrance of the old patterns, but its the ability to live with fresh purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God gives more grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Fasting humbles the flesh when done in unison with prayer. By making room for the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we are free to live by the spirit and fulfill the will of God! 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

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