Posts Tagged ‘experienced’

His Word to You

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28)

Here we have the amazing story of how Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her she would become the mother of the Messiah. Naturally Mary was shocked and asked how such a thing could be, since she was a virgin. The angel did not go into a longwinded explanation, but simply told her “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35). That was good enough for Mary and she responded with a powerful declaration of faith: “Let it be to me according to Your Word”.

Discovering Favor:

That simple reply is at the heart of the mystery of answered prayer. Mary came to believe that as a virgin she would become pregnant and give birth to Israel’s long awaited Messiah. There were probably a lot of young Jewish women that might have hoped for that privilege, but Mary didn’t just hope it – she lived it. She knew a secret, because God had revealed His Word to her. Yet, she would come to live it out, only as she discovered her favored estate with God. For Mary to have felt favored by God would seem normal and expected in Jewish households, but a divine revelation from the angel Gabriel would have certainly emphasized its reality.

Favor Establishes Faith:

Now there would be nothing absurd about Mary’s belief in God, because she was finding His favor in His Word to her. It was rooted firmly in the Word of God’s supernatural encounter. God’s Word to her made faith… reality and had made the ridiculous… reasonable. As the angel told her, “With God nothing will be impossible!” I can almost hear a shout of “Amen!” as she embraced the words. “I am Your maidservant! Let it be to me according to Your Word.”

Receive His Favor:

Most of us are not likely to experience a visitation from Gabriel, but we have encounters with the Holy Spirit waiting for our embrace right now. The Bible is filled with words for us from God and there are angels that accompany our activities everyday. As Kingdom Agents, we are designed to walk in the favor of God and establish an atmosphere around our lives that allow His voice to become recognizable.

Like a fragrance, Mary found that favor longs to be discovered. You can be told that it is there, but it must be received and experienced, to be sought out and appreciated. God’s Word to you is like Mary’s secret, dependant upon your willingness to recognize His favor.

The Eternal Focus

“…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:18)

To what does hope look? Just as faith can focus on the past and love will focus on the present, hope should focus on the future… what we are becoming!

THE FUTURE – Things Yet Unseen and Experienced

Our Spiritual Benefits! (Ps 103:1-5)
Our Spiritual Blessings! (Eph 1:3)
Our Spiritual Birthright! (1 Pet 1:3-9)

Focus Upon Christ:

There is nothing that releases more hope than to awaken ourselves to the Spirit of Revelation (Rom. 8:19)(Eph. 1:17-20). The Bible is full of open heaven experiences (Jn. 1:51), where believers come into a knowledge that transforms their understanding of life (2 Cor. 4:6). You and I are designed to have a living hope, one that moves us into faith and purpose. We experience faith bubbling up inside of us when revelation begins to flow. Our spiritual eyes begin to see the truth of who Jesus is and who God has made us to be as His light shines in our hearts. Faith comes by hearing the revelation of Jesus from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). When our eyes are focused on the revelation of Christ, our hearts become flames of fire. We experience His love and see beyond the immediate natural realities. By simply opening ourselves up to His revelation, we experience the power of a living hope.

Its like the young boy Samuel who was awakened by a voice from heaven (1 Sam. 3:8-11). The Priest Eli wisely guides his response, ”Speak Lord, for Your servant hears”. Samuel would never be the same as he was awakened by the spiritual revelation of God’s Heartbeat. Hope changes how we see!

Focus on Salvation:

There are so many benefits, blessings and privileges based upon our New Birth in Christ. As Sons and Daughters, we are chosen and accepted in the Father’s House. Our destiny is never to be limited by our history! God makes all things new! What the past should become is nothing more than fertilizer for future fruitfulness. God is at work in us, both to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Phil 2:13). Salvation releases righteous character, Kingdom power and fresh perspective on the future. To be saved is to be delivered from the oppressive weight of a meaningless life. To be saved offers peace with God and strength through an abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit. You and I are not alone and our battles are designed to enable us to reflect the hope that resonates from deep within (1 Pet. 1:3-9)… joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Focus on the Return of Christ:

  • “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
  • “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

With these words we encourage one another in our blessed hope. It was Jesus who said, “I will come again and receive you unto myself” (Jn. 14:3). Perhaps the most victorious reality of all is that Satan is defeated and Christ will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! This is the focus of our hope… to become more and more like Him, for we will soon see Him in all His Glory!

The Working of Faith

“For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love” (Gal 5:6) Amplified Bible.

There was a time in my life when God spoke a specific word to me about the value of compassion and love. It was during a season when I was aggressively seeking Him for more faith. I had fasted and prayed, spent hours in Scripture and even gone to a powerful conference that incredibly blessed and enriched my heart. Yet – I had forgotten this verse, that indicates specifically how love impacts faith! God seemed to be nudging me into a different place… a love place. So reluctantly I pulled away into His Presence.

Here is what He said to me: “When faith rises above love, then we come dangerously close to living in idolatry!”

God has made numerous promises regarding the power of faith. Faith can move mountains. Faith can heal diseases. Faith can receive answers to prayer. Nothing is impossible with faith. But the most valuable truth at that moment… was that “faith works by love”. I wanted to know the power of faith without understanding the governing factors that make faith active. Faith is activated by love, energized by love, expressed by love and works by love. What God seemed to be saying to me is that “faith alone” was not the key to getting the results He wanted for my life and that my continual search would lead me down a dangerous path. Faith was not meant to work on its own, but to be measured and empowered by love… not a feeling, but an activity of loving according to God’s Truth.

Faith works by Love!

Have you ever felt frustration in your ability to trust in God? Is your faith not working the way the Bible promises it should? I will never forget the words of Heidi Baker, who said: “All fruitfulness flows from intimacy.” The problem may have very little to do with your faith, but more with your love. Notice that faith is activated and energized by love.

Many people’s faith is dead and inactive, because they cannot see through the eyes of compassion. If your faith is like a dead battery; unable to produce power, then you must realize that you are deficient of love. Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). When you are hearing the message of God’s Word, you are abiding in a supernatural resource that has the ability to transform sight. You are not listening to faith… you are listening to love. Love is the message… its the reality that activates, energizes and empowers us to see and do things we never considered possible – the faith stuff.

Jesus called the message, the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mt 4:23-25) and it stirred the supernatural activities that drew the crowds, because they could feel their pain and see their brokenness. He was activated in His faith by compassion and love; it is what moved Him (Mt 9:35-38). The Good News is that God’s love is realized and experienced when we come to believe… love becomes the encounter that makes faith a reality.

Love gives Faith its Authority!

A good battery may not be able to work, because it has been drained. You don’t throw away a good battery; instead, you recharge it. Your faith may be in great shape, but unable to work. You can recharge it by plugging it into love… you are called to abide in love! Spend time in the Father’s love. Let your life be immersed in the warmth of the Holy Spirit’s embrace and you will find faith moving in spontaneous ways. Stop working it up, and begin to live from an intimate place in the Father’s heart. You will begin to see that love activates faith.

Reclaiming a Miss-directed faith.

I was thinking about this just this morning, and the famous love chapter (1 Cor 13) was brought to my mind: “…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” This scripture does not say that you cannot move mountains without love; it says that you are nothing without love. Your faith will be of no benefit to you without love, because you stand alone. You might have the faith to move mountains; but without love, you will be nothing and your faith will be hype, miss-directed and unable to accomplish God’s real purposes. And just so we understand; if that faith could function and bring results, we should question the source.

What God wanted me to see is that I could find myself in idolatry, believing that I was doing something by the power of God; when in fact it was flesh, or worse… demonic. Satan loves to masquerade as a purveyor of false gifts and manifestations.

God is love (1 Jn 4:8). God traffics in love and therefore faith that is properly focused from love will set us free, heal us and deliver from all the works of the Devil. Love never fails (1 Cor 13:8).

The Father’s Blessing

No greater joy can be experienced than having the Blessing of God in your life. Its the Father’s Blessing that is most needed by every Son or Daughter… natural or spiritual.

Jesus experienced it at His baptism in the Jordan River… “this is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17).

What is this “Blessing”? Its Heaven’s affirming word… I Love You! And it belongs to you and I. All who would receive Him, He has given the authority to become Sons and Daughters (Jn 1:12). You might ask, “So, what are the benefits of the Father’s Blessing?”

The Family Identity: Ephesians 1:3-14

The Apostle Paul describes the Father’s Blessing as “spiritual”, and as resources that are held in “heavenly places”; meaning the blessings go beyond physical or material realities. The Father’s Blessing is a blessing of hope, peace and wholeness… the kind that would accompany an abundant life for all eternity. His offer is far better than just money or health, its a “family identity”. That is not to say that the blessing of God does not include material or physical things. God does provide for our physical needs (Phil. 4:19). But when He meets our needs, it is not merely physical… it is supernatural. It is meant to sustain an awareness of security through a focus on relationship and abiding in His love (Jn. 15:9). The Father grants these blessings “in Christ” and they are expected to be maintained by fellowship and faith. This is a continual theme we see throughout the New Testament. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).

So Here are 5 Wonderful Blessings of the Father:

1. We are adopted as sons and daughters (v. 5). Adoption grants non-physically related children all the privileges of a natural born child. We are not God’s children naturally. Our spiritual nature makes us enemies of God. But because of the forgiveness of God and the redemption he gives us through Christ, we become God’s adopted children, part of His family.
2. We have redemption and forgiveness of our trespasses (v. 7). Our past sinful lifestyles made us enemies of God and slaves to sin. God has forgiven the believer of these sins and redeemed us from our sinful captivity.
3. We know the mystery of His will (v. 9). The mystery of his will discussed here is the mystery that God sent Christ in “the fullness of times.” Those who followed God before Christ longed to see and understand the fullness of God’s salvation plan (John 8:56). We have the privilege and blessing of being on this side of Christ, and thus be able to see the details of how God has redeemed us.
4. We have obtained an inheritance (v. 11). Because we are adopted children of God, we are heirs of God’s estate (Rom. 8:17). My children are heirs to my estate. But that really is not much of a source of hope for them, for my estate pretty much consists of a house, a couple of cars, some furniture, and a small amount of savings. But what is God’s estate? What does God own? God owns everything (Ps. 50:10-12)… and we are the heirs to this estate.
5. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (v. 13). In centuries past, letters were sealed with wax and then stamped with the signet ring of the sender. When someone received a letter with the seal intact, they knew the letter had not been tampered with. Furthermore, the seal assured them that the letter had not been forged. The Holy Spirit seals these blessings, assuring us that we aren’t going to be tampered with and assuring us that these blessings are genuine. The term pledge is like an earnest money agreement. It is a down payment guaranteeing the intention of one party to fulfill the contract. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee, warranty, or pledge that our salvation will lead to the spiritual riches of an abundant life both here in earth and in heaven. Its our inheritance “in Christ”.

Maintain the Promise

Scripture: “…And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls. (Joel 2:28-32)

Thought for Today: “Becoming A Power Team”

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of power. Jesus said the very gates of hell shall not prevail against Her (Mt 16:18). She is a people of Promise (Lk 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of supernatural love (Col 1:13-14) and Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and She has advanced in every culture. Yet, She fights Her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry Her Promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain that Promise.

The Promise of the Father:

We, as God’s People; cannot emphasize this enough – The Promise of the Father is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Jesus told His disciples to go wait in Jerusalem until they were endued, or clothed with power from on high (Lk 24:49)(Acts 1:4-8). This is the Promise that was experienced on the day of Pentecost and continues even today, and it is the force that has made the Church most effective in the modern world. Power was released that made those early followers “witnesses” in their world and that same power is alive today if we will maintain the Promise of the Father.

Maintaining the Promise of the Father: (2 Chron 7:14)
If My people who are called by My name will… 1st) humble themselves and pray… 2nd) seek My face… and 3rd) turn from their wicked ways.

God’s Response: Renewal, Revival and Restoration
Then I Will… 1) hear from heaven… 2) forgive their sins… and 3) heal their land.

Please notice that God’s Promise is conditional, meaning we must maintain its reality. God will only do what He can do, when we do what we have been called to do. The Church is responsible for the spiritual condition of our neighbors, city and nation, because God has given us delegated authority to advance His cause in our World. We are the Power Team in the Earth. We are the carriers of revival to different spheres of society. We maintain the Promise of the Father by fervent, persistent and faith-filled praying. When we as God’s People humble ourselves and seek His face, He will hear and respond. God will not fasten our destinies to a dead end vision or lifeless system maintained by religion. Remind yourself that it is still His Church… He is simply wanting to rule and reign in it again!

Another Great Awakening:

I believe there is gonna be another great awakening, but it starts right here with us… God’s People; humbling themselves before God, praying and fasting, turning from their wicked ways and seeking His face!

God says through the Prophet Joel; “…afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Joel 2:28)

The question to ask is; “after what?” Please do not forget what precedes the promise. “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning…”(Joel 2:12) “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly…” (Joel 2:15). God was saying, assemble a people who will fast and pray to recover what has been lost. This was God’s call to His People for the recovery of their Promise.

Another Example:

John the Baptist was a burning and shining lamp. It was the quality of his life and the fire of his devotion that captured a Nation. His authority to be a voice was in his lifestyle. Through prayer and fasting he prepared the way of the Lord. The same applies to us, through prayer and fasting we will prepare the way of the Lord. For Him to do a great work through us, He first has to do a great work in us. We carry the Glory of God within us… we are His Image Bearers; called to awaken and respond to His purposes in the earth (Hab. 2:14).

Revival starts with us, because we are the commissioned ones… we must maintain the Promise!