Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Contending for Promise

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20)

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.” (2 Cor. 1:20 MSG)

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of promise. Jesus said the very gates of hell will 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 Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4) and supernatural love (Col. 1:13-14). 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 their sense of promise.

Agreement with God’s Promises: (2 Peter 1:2-4)

  • Brings Miracles: (Acts 3:1-9) In this story, Peter and John were going into the temple together to pray when they met a lame man at the gate. Peter told him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and immediately he received his strength and was healed. Your prayers of agreement can bring miracles into your lives also, just as they did for Peter and John.
  • Brings Great Power: (Acts 4:31-33) Here is an account of the Apostles praying together for boldness. After their prayers, the place was shaken and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were of one heart and one soul.
  • Brings Abundance: (Acts 4:34-37) After the Apostles prayed for boldness, and gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus, land and house owners sold their possessions and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and they then distributed to everyone who had need.
  • Brings Freedom: (Acts 12:5-11) These verses tell of Peter when he was in prison. The church prayed to God for him constantly. Peter was bound by chains with guards and soldiers next to him. One night an angel of the Lord came and he released the chains from Peters hands and set him free. These prayers of agreement gave Peter his freedom.
  • Brings Deliverance: (Acts 16:25-26) Here Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison and all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Rom. 15:30-31) Here Paul is asking for prayers that he may be delivered from those in Judea. (2 Cor. 1:8-11) Here is another account of Paul in Asia where the help of others praying together delivered him from a sentence of death.

Silence and Double-mindedness:

Offers Nothing:  Remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  The Apostle James emphasizes this point by telling us of the foolishness of doubting, saying that it makes us double-minded and unstable in all of our ways(Jms. 1:5-8).  He also contends that we have lack and confusion, because we are not even asking or we ask amiss, that we can spend it on our own pleasures(Jms. 4:2).

Contending:

When the Church does not contend for the promises of God they are stolen by deception, intimidation or religion. The Christian lifestyle was never meant to be a stroll in the park… we were made for dominion and occupation of the Earth!

We are at war! And we are advancing for both, the very victory won by Christ and the promises acquired through crushing the enemies hold on society (Col. 1:9-13). The very purpose for Christ’s coming in the flesh was to destroy the works of the devil and render him powerless over the people of promise (1 Jn. 3:8). Every time we stand on a promise of God, hold our peace in the midst of the storm or trust God in the midnight hour… all of heaven leans in to offer its resources. Our “Amen” reverberates in the atmosphere and the devil does not doubt the character of our resolve! For Christ Himself is our Advocate with the Father, making sure that the promise is fulfilled and His people are established in truth.

“And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20)

Change is Coming

Scripture: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Thought for Today: “Welcoming the Crucible”

God knows the secrets of the heart (Ps 44:21). In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet we still feel a bit vulnerable yielding our lives to change. We ask God to use us and we know changes are coming, but being in the crucible of spiritual discipline can feel uncomfortable even to the most mature Christian.

Our Resistance:

When God tests and tries our heart, there are always things that firmly resist, because they have become our safety net. We have relied upon ourselves and trusted in own strength at times when we could not see clearly. The Apostle Paul tells us that many have exchanged the Truth of God for lies by serving and the worship of things that offer no real peace (Rom 1:25). He reminds us that we have all gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). These issues represent the baggage of idolatry and must be rooted out for us to enjoy the freedom found in Christ.

Real Transformation:

As much as we would like to believe we can change, transformation is not really something we can do for ourselves. It takes the power of the One who knows us best. We can change habits and shift our focus, but it is God who changes the human heart. When we step into the crucible of prayer and fasting, we make the most important move toward God’s best for our lives. The refining process frees us from sinful behavior, renews our thinking and enables us to discern the will of God more clearly (Rom 12:1-2).

God Loves and Receives Us:

Transformation happens in the safe place of His Presence, where the Holy Spirit gains access to those things that hinder our progress. God knows what is best for us and He always acts in our best interest by treating us as sons and daughters (Heb 12:4-11). We are reminded that when we are chastened by God, it is because He loves us and receives us as a father cherishes and loves his child. Remind yourself today that God loves and receives you as His very own son or daughter.

“Why do you spend money on what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” (Isa 55:2)

Anointing and Increase

“Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’” (Luke 4:14-19)

“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

Jesus was anointed by God… indeed “God was with Him” in increasing measures by a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. His example is designed to be our model of spiritual discipline. It was Jesus’ experience even as a youth to increase in His favor with God and man (Lk 2:52). Yet even in the transition of Jesus into His Earthly ministry, we can see a direct connection between a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and His increasing anointing (Lk 5:12-13)(Lk 6:12)(Mk 9:29). This reality is both inspiring and instructional.

Notice how God moves Jesus into His public ministry:

  • He is baptized in the river Jordan, where He is filled with the Holy Spirit and hears the voice of His Father from heaven (Lk 3:21-22).
  • Immediately (it would appear to me) Jesus establishes a posture of prayer and fasting as He is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Mt 4:1-2).
  • While in the wilderness, Jesus feels the challenges of the Devil, the hunger in His body and the threat of wild beasts. He becomes aware of the ministry of angels as well as the strength given by the Words that proceeded from the mouth of God (Mk 1:12-13).
  • He experiences increase in the anointing and breaks through the challenge victorious, because the Devil left Him until a more opportune time (Lk 4:13).
  • Jesus would return to Galilee in the increased anointing and power of the Holy Spirit bearing evidence with signs following, because people give Him glory and praise for His teaching ministry (Lk 4:14-15).
  • Now that the temptation was over His ministry would begin with a journey to Nazareth and an announcement of how He was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach, heal, bring deliverance and freedom to the captive heart (Lk 4:16-19).

Defining the Anointing:

The anointing is God being “with us” or God’s Glory manifest upon our lives. Glory is defined best as God’s “Weighty” Presence or abiding spiritual power made known through our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I have often said the anointing is God’s hand of favor upon our lives for the advancing of His activity in the world around us. We see this in how Jesus carried the anointing. He went about the Judean countryside advancing the Kingdom of God, because the anointing was on His life. God was with Him, empowering and leading Him, breaking the grip of the Devil and advancing the activity of His Father’s heart.

Why Prayer and Fasting:

Prayer and fasting increases our ability to know and sense the supernatural Presence of God, by awakening our spiritual senses and diminishing our emphasis on flesh desires. His power and His Glory begin to increase as we meet with God and experience fellowship in an unhindered way. God’s will and His ways become more recognizable when we are sensitive to His heart. I would describe the anointing as an actual physical experience whereby we feel the internal warmth of His Presence upon our body. That is why it increases as we pray and fast. By yielding our hearts in greater measure to the Holy Spirit’s activity we can welcome and value the anointing and make room for increase in our lives. It is like a signal that God sends to us saying that He is with us. He is showing Himself to us and approves of what we are saying or doing (Jn 14:21)(2 Cor 1:21).

There is nothing so important to our Christian walk than our faith in God (Heb 11:6)! It pleases Him when we step out in ways that give Him greater opportunity to reach the world through us. It is my desire to encourage prayer and fasting so that we may increase in the anointing of God and be more effective as Kingdom Agents in the world around us.

We are ambassadors for Christ {The Anointed One} as though God were pleading through us… Be reconciled to God! (2 Cor 5:18-21).

Raging from Within

Recently a reader; who shall remain nameless, sent me a request for help in what they called “their struggle to believe God”. The brokenness they felt every time they tried to trust His Biblical Truths seemed to become overwhelming… in fact they said that it felt like their heart was “raging from within”. I want to thank the “reader” for their honest transparency, because I do not believe they are alone in this struggle. The desire to know what steps to take toward freedom is a huge leap in the right direction! We all must learn and understand these spiritual principles, if we are to grow in faith as Christ’s disciples.

What most people do not understand is that they need to be free from Demonic Strongholds!

Immediately, you might draw back and feel shocked at this statement. You may even say, “I am not lead by the devil!” Let me first tell you that this issue is a spiritual battle and there is no way to be free from our past unless we admit that the past might still have a hold on our life. We will never be free from old ways except by faith in the wisdom of God and agreement with the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will watch over God’s Word and make it powerful and effective in judging the intents of our heart (Heb 4:12)… if we are willing to receive.

The value of spiritual weapons… (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down of spiritual strongholds, arguments and human reasoning that war against the Truth and the knowledge of Christ.”

I want to define a stronghold for you… it is a house made of thoughts.

This house made of thoughts is built upon a foundation of lies and deceptions that rule us emotionally, because we have had experiences that overwhelm our ability to believe the Truth. We cannot identify with what we have no ability to believe. What happens is that we make “emotional Covenants”… agreement with Darkness. Covenant agreement is a powerful spiritual force that either works for us or against us. Repentance and forgiveness are the beginning of freedom and all it requires is confession of our sin, but freedom costs us our emotional safety net. Remind yourself that this safety is fear based and not safe at all… its actually a deception. We must surrender our behavior in order to be free (John 8:30-36). Sinful behaviors are connected to the “orphan heart” that wants to be loved and embraced. What happens is that we often confuse legitimate needs with illegitimate behavior (Rom. 1:18-25).

We must do several things to break free.

  • 1st Renounce the Emotional Covenants with Darkness… confess the sin and begin to destroy the yoke associated with the thinking and feeling that sin brings. Isaiah 10:27 says the anointing breaks yokes around our neck… claim that strength for yourself and destroy the yoke.
  • 2nd Ask the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to you what it is that this sin feeds in your heart. You will be able to hear in your heart immediately when you ask… God will answer and you will know. I find it helps to write a simple paragraph to God asking Him to reveal where your heart was broken and why. You might even want to ask Him where He was in the midst of your pain. You may need to go back into your heart and examine trauma or painful experiences that have caused you to make bitter judgments toward others, your parents or God. Quickly forgive them and the burden will lift, guilt and shame will leave quickly. That is where the Covenant was given its attachment to your heart. That is the easy part.
  • 3rd You must exchange the lies for the Truth of God and begin to identify areas where you are being “fathered” by emotional pain rather than God. Your Father loves you and has always been available to you. His thoughts toward you are all good (Psalm 139:17-18)(Jeremiah 29:11).

You may find many broken places where lies are hiding in your life… expose them and make them come into obedience to the Word of God. Take authority over shame and tell yourself what God has said about you… lies will bow a knee to Truth as you stand firm in Christ!

Access to Glory

Lake Victoria

Our access to God’s Glory is through entering into His Presence. We enter the gates of God’s Presence with thanksgiving and step into the courts of His Glory with praise (Ps 100:4-5). The Psalmist tells us that in doing this we will experience God’s goodness, mercy and truth in ways that both transform and increase from generation to generation.

The Glory Realm:

When we spend time in God’s Presence, we are accessing the Glory Realm. Its an atmosphere that revives the heart and renews the mind of the believer. I remind folks often that we enter the Glory Realm through the Presence, because Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus is the only Door into the Father’s heart. Through activities like praying, meditating on the Words of Christ, praise and worship, and looking into His eyes, our faces reflect His influence in our hearts. At the same time, we are being changed on the inside so that our lives begin to reflect His character. As we are transformed in this way the supernatural light that radiates within us illumines our path and increases with even greater splendor.

Moses Our Example:

“When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands he was not aware that his face was radiant, because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. When Moses was finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Ex 34:29-35).

Glory is Visible:

From this passage, it is abundantly clear that the Glory of God on Moses was visible; it was not merely a spiritual or moral characteristic. His face was radiant. This means that there was a shining or a glow about it. We also observe a cause and effect relationship here. Whenever Moses would spend time in the Lord’s presence and speak with the Lord, this glory would appear on his face. We also know that this was limited to Moses at that time, as it did not happen to all the Israelites. It was so unusual that everyone else who saw him was afraid of the splendor radiating from his face. That’s why he covered up his face with a veil.

New Covenant Access:

Now under the New Covenant, the Glory Realm is not limited to one man. All believers have access to God’s Presence and the Glory that radiated from the face of Moses is available to all who know Him. In fact, this glory is even more glorious than what Moses experienced. Notice how the Apostle Paul spoke of the ministry of the Spirit to the Corinthians:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with Glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its Glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?” (2 Cor 3:7-9)

The Ministry of the Spirit comes with even more Glory!

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away…But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:12-13 & 16-18).

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