Posts Tagged ‘flesh’

Serious Alignment

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!” (Ephesians 6:10)

Thought for Today: “Becoming Armed and Dangerous”

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we have been given supernatural tools for warring against spiritual forces (Eph. 6:13-18). He first says, “put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11). We find ourselves wrestling with principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. I believe we can be armed and dangerous. We can be equipped, shod and gird about with the most impressive sounding weapons God has in His arsenal, but it all works through prayer and fasting. Praying, watching and persevering with all kinds of prayers.

Not by Human Might:

We are ambassadors of Christ with amazing potential to do exploits and achieve the impossible things Jesus did, but it only happens with the help of the Holy Spirit (Zech 4:6). You see, we are battling invisible forces. Spiritual enemies that cannot be seen with our natural eyes. We can see the effects, but never get to the source of the real battle unless we are trained through prayer and fasting.

The Apostle’s Boldness:

Notice how the Apostle Paul writes these words to the Church in Ephesus while he was in prison, saying “I am an ambassador in chains”. He is making the point that his warfare is not fought in the flesh, but in the spiritual realm (Eph 3:10). His boldness was based upon an awareness that God’s grace was flowing through his life (Eph 3:8). Being armed does not necessarily make us dangerous to the devil, unless we are trained in the use of the weapons of our warfare… trained in prayer and sharpened by fasting.

Delegated Authority:

Its all about knowing who you represent! God has chosen you, called you by name and He will work in and through you… but your standard of training is up to you. Jesus was always calling His disciples up higher! He lived with them and taught as one holding the authority, but in a new season, new skills are needed. In John 15 a new season was about to begin. They would no longer be called “servants”. They would begin to discover what their Master was doing (Jn 15:15). As servants, they followed according to commands, but as “friends” they would follow the “heart” of their Master. Jesus was now shifting the relationship, deepening the responsibility and trusting that they would begin to live from what they understood – heart to heart. Friends discover the secrets that give them an advantage in how they walk together. Jesus wanted His disciples to achieve victory in every area of their spiritual journey. Knowing the heart of God is a key to real spiritual trained and impact in the spiritual battles we face. When we know the heart of our friend Jesus, we are able to carry our delegated authority into any challenge. One of the greatest spiritual truths is that your authority gets established through your intimacy with God.

Representing Heaven on Earth:

Becoming a dangerous threat to the devil means you will need some serious alignment with heaven. You are an ambassador for the Kingdom of God… you must represent heaven on earth in a way that makes the devil nervous and demons flee. That is what prayer and fasting will produce in you… the capacity to be armed and dangerous.

Submit to God (through prayer), resist the devil (through fasting) and he will flee from you (Jms 4:7).

Going After God

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” (Ps. 63:1-8)

3 Truths About the Power of Thirst:

  1. Thirst stimulates the flesh… and motivates behavior!
  2. Thirst awakens the soul… and shapes imagination!
  3. Thirst places a demand upon the spirit… and causes hope to arise!

David understood how thirst sharpens the human heart to focus on God… and to go after God without hesitation. He speaks of how the chase for satisfaction aligns his desires and causes him to do spiritual things, like looking in the sanctuary, praising God vocally or lifting up his hands to celebrate the memory of God’s loving-kindness! Thirst is an essential part of our relationship with God! Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt. 5:6). Thirst leads to fullness… to satisfaction! When we search for the right drink, look in the right places and go after the right Person… our lives get filled. In fact, going after the living water Christ provides, is how love is discovered and keeps us coming back for more… its spiritual intimacy.

Love is Always Being Tested:

It is a sure thing that our commitment to Christ will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives so that true fellowship can be experienced and joy can come bubbling to the surface. Jesus said that when we abide in His love we would experience His joy (Jn. 15:11). This is the Spiritual Man’s greatest resource in Christ! As we process life on spiritual levels; our hearts are aligned and behaviors are adjusted and affirmed by a sense of the Presence of God. The Peace of God and the joy of Christ rule our hearts like nothing else can.

Talk about it!

Tell somebody of God’s great love for you! Testimonies help us feel encouraged and strengthen our resolve! We need not be anxious about our future, because God is with us. He has proven Himself in times of trials and our trust is set by our knowledge of His loving care for us. We can rejoice and be thankful through all things. There is an abiding peace which passes understanding, guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; and we are able to experience the stability of love in storms or struggles (Phil 4:4-7). Nothing can stand against us! Nothing can overwhelm us! Notice what arises out of David’s meditation from his bed:

A resolve to rejoice beneath the shadow of God’s wings and a willingness to follow close behind Him no matter what comes or goes.

Pathway for Glory

“The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isa 40:5)

Kingdom People are designed to carry the Glory of God and release shifts in the atmosphere where peace is needed. Throughout the Bible we are commanded not to quarrel over words or be divisive. Our affections are to be set on the Holy Spirit, who is referred to as “Comforter”, “Counselor” or “Helper”. We must recognize that the work of the Holy Spirit needs a platform, a pathway to enter. The Holy Spirit must feel welcome if He is to stay active in a person’s life.

Preparing the Way:

In the verse above, we see the central goal of John the Baptist. His ministry was to be a voice crying in the wilderness, “prepare the way of the Lord”. People needed to examine their hearts and repent of their sinful ways, because the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. John was not looking for just any Kingdom or any King. The Lamb of God would be recognized by a very interesting symbol… the ”dove”. God had given a word to John that in His baptism, the Holy Spirit would come like a dove and land upon Him and stay. God was asking John to notice how Glory would come into the world through the peace of Christ. The Lamb of God would serve as an entry point for the “dove” and for Glory to be recognized. That is an important pathway… “a place for the dove to land”. It was the pathway for Glory (Heb 1:1-4).

Looking for Peace:

This is the picture God has shone us through Noah. When the rain had ended and the ark continued to float aimlessly, Noah begins to look for a resting place. Not just any resting place, but a place for a dove to stay. Even as he waited for land to appear; he could not be confident until the dove, having been released from his own hand, found a place to land and stay. Noah was not just looking for land, he was looking for an entry point. A new day was about to begin with a rainbow… and a promise that would promote life.

Kingdom People must look beyond meetings; we are looking for an open heaven, where the dove will have a place to rest… a place that will promote life.

Peace and Glory:

Its important to understand that God’s Glory is a weighty substance that rests in the atmosphere of God’s Peace! When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples He said, “freely you have received now freely give”, yet when they went into a community, they were to look for places to impart peace. If the household was worthy, they were to impart their peace into it, but if not then they were to wipe the dust off their feet and journey to the next house (Mt 10:8-14). Peace seemed to be an atmosphere that could be imparted at the will of the disciples based on how well the house embraced the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And it would be needed, if the ministry was to continue in that region.

Making Glory Visible and Recognizable:

What Jesus was saying is that we must be looking for places where the “dove” will be welcome. Places of peace provide rest for the soul, give access to God’s deliverance and freedom from the oppression of the devil. The dove is the Biblical symbol for Peace provided by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. This is still our urgent mission; not just to win a bunch of people to our point of view, but to bring an atmosphere that unlocks the revelation, that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Peace is Heaven’s influence. The pathway for the Glory of God is a significant point of entry, where God is welcome and the Holy Spirit makes habitation among us (Eph 2:19-22).

5 Disciplines to Welcome the Holy Spirit:
1. Humility: (1 Pet 5:5-7)
2. Praise and Worship: (Psalm 63)
3. Passionate Love: (Eph 3:17-19)
4. Entrance of God’s Word: (Neh 8:1-6)
5. Fellowship of Believers: (Mt 18:19-20)

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).

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)

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