Posts Tagged ‘Friend’

Believe

Jesus says it best: “When you pray, believe.” (Mark 11:24)

Crisp, clear and to the point, Jesus tells us exactly how to have an effective fervent prayer life. We can create all kinds of theories and teach about the five ways to approach God or three hindrances to our answers; but the key is “FAITH”. Believe in God’s ability to do what He has said He will do! And can I suggest something here… get over the issue of sounding religious! Faith is most easily found in relationship; because it works by love, not by rituals or perfect theology (Gal 5:6).

Faith Hears in the Spirit:

Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” (1 Kings 18:41)

This verse illustrates the confidence of the Prophet Elijah who believed God for what He had promised. I will repeat that “…for what God had promised”. The story of Elijah’s prayers holding back the rain in Israel is only climaxed by his bold confidence in proclaiming Ahab’s demise if he didn’t make haste for Jezreel. Rain is coming, because God said so… and I can hear it!

What exactly was it that Elijah heard? Nobody else seemed to hear the rain nor did they see it. The fact is, there was no indication that even one drop of rain was going to fall on any part of Israel! But faith comes out of a spiritual kind of hearing (Rom 10:17). Faith operates from a platform of putting hope in the promise of God (Heb 11:1).

Confidence:

Elijah heard the rain before it was manifest, much like we might trust our friend to send us a package in the mail. If the promise is good, then our confidence dictates our hearing. I will be looking for that package in the mailbox and praying in faith for its arrival. I’m speaking to God in prayer and speaking to others with testimony from a confident stance. “The Promise is on the way!” Its not to be hindered, not to be delayed, not to be distracted or crushed or stolen or intruded upon in any way… God has promised and I’ve heard it in my spirit.

My Defender

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (Ps 68:5-6)

How incredibly strong and wonderful is the Lord of Hosts… My Defender and Friend!

He alone is the Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. His canopy has been my Tower of defense against the onslaught of my enemies. His name shall always be upon my lips, “Jesus, the Christ; Son of the Living God”. As an eagle spreads forth its wings to cover and shade her young so has God lifted His strength to offer me protection. With a voice that shakes the heavens and stills the nations of the Earth; He speaks my name and calms my fears. By His own strong arm and His mighty hand kingdoms have been toppled and rulers dethroned- for there is no king like this King. Yet in His Majesty is the compassion and grace to father the fatherless and defend the widow. He sets the solitary in a family and brings out the bound into their freedom and prosperity.

What am I… and what have I to offer this King of Glory?

He has captured my heart with His favor and listened for my pleasures to arise. He has been good to me and shone me the paths of safety by going before me and mapping out my steps through the wilderness. I have been moved by His Manifest Presence along the way.

My Defender is the King of Glory… of whom then shall I fear; whom shall I fear?

Still Going Deeper

“And he (an Angel) showed me (John) a pure river of (the) water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1).

“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar” (Ezek. 47:1).

There is a River that flows freely from the throne of God!

This supernatural resource of the Holy Spirit, which runs through the Temple in Jerusalem, also flows through us (1 Cor. 3:16). In the same way that Solomon’s Temple was “filled with the glory of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-13), you and I can be filled to overflow with the same manifestation of His Presence in our lives. The Prophet Haggai prophesied about a greater glory coming to the Temple (Hag. 2:1). God intends for that increasing glory to flow through us.

Living in the River:

As believers we are in the River, but we must ask ourselves – how deep are we willing to go? How far will we allow the Holy Spirit to flood our lives? Are we merely standing at a safe depth to accomplish our agendas?

Have you noticed that children love splashing and playing in wading pools where the water is only ankle deep? Our early salvation experience is often like that, we got in up to our ankles and splashed around, suddenly exposed to the amazing things God can do. But are we still in that place, satisfied with surface things when God is calling us to maturity and a deeper commitment? Can we risk losing control or look foolish at His command? Are we willing to go deeper; to move in signs and wonders, believe in miracles, healings or deliverance? Have we ever thought that God would use us to touch people where they are?

Going Deeper:

As we begin to seek God and pray, letting go of agendas in exchange for His purposes in our lives… we go deeper. We ready ourselves to stretch beyond our comfort zones, trusting that He knows what He’s doing in us. And while this is a very good thing, it tests our character and our faith. As the water reaches our waistlines we find that movement is far more difficult. The Holy Spirit wants to change us, exposing pride, selfishness or unforgiveness.

Neck deep in the River, shakes our confidence and calls us to completely identify with Christ (Gal. 2:20). It is at this level that many Christians turn back, because moving is hindered by the deep water. It is at this place where the Holy Spirit begins to ask for more sacrifice and we begin to surrender our future to a higher call. In trusting God’s purposes and risking our own lives, we come to know the abundant resource that flows from His Throne (Heb 4:16). And while it feels as if you can’t go any deeper, I promise you my friend there is much more!

In Over Our Head:

As we go deeper still we must let go of the firm footing beneath our feet, learning that we must swim in order to stay alive. In the River of God we must let go of our security and allow the Spirit to take us where He wants us to go. And while we all like to feel as if we’re in control, its here that we begin to experience the true freedom of the Spirit. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who has control and once we know and trust God, we can abandon ourselves to His tender care and mercy. It feels very risky, but it is actually the safest place for the believer to abide.

Its Up To Us:

Where are you in the River of God today? Ankle-deep? Knee-deep? Waist-deep? Neck-deep? Or way over your head? Ezekiel tells us of this river experience, but it’s up to us to determine where we will live. Still going deeper brings healing and joy; but most of all it will release us into the increased Glory of God!

New Covenant Believing

Most churches have not understood the reality of New Covenant Believing. The challenge is that the Spirit of the Lord has set us free and we are not sure what we should do with our religious standards! Trying to fulfill the Old Testament Law has caused us to loose sight of “grace through faith” and minimize the very power of the New Covenant itself. Many denominational structures have become very good at mixing the Old Covenant instituted by Moses with the New Covenant ratified by the Blood of Jesus. They have forgotten that the Old Covenant has become obsolete while the New Covenant is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

The New Covenant of Liberty:

It is our freedom… our Day of Jubilee if you will! Jesus said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (Jn. 8:36). The problem with living under religious systems is that they tend to teach the burdens of faith, rather than the freedom of belief. Stepping away from grace will always lead to a loss of freedom in Christ. But Christ has made us free to celebrate and worship in the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding Covenantal Seasons:

The Old Covenant brought death (and always will), because it was designed to be a “tutor” that would bring us to Christ. The New Covenant brings life as the morning speaks of a New Day, because it reveals the victory over sin and the wealth of strength offered to the believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1-11). Make a note of the word “believer”, its not a title, but an activity. You see, the central goal of the Old Covenant is to behold our sin and make sacrifices according to how we have fallen from Glory (Rom. 3:23), but the goal of the New Covenant is to behold the Glory of God as it is revealed in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6), and experienced in our personal transformation (2 Cor. 3:4-18). This means we are called to worship and celebration by what we see in the eyes of Jesus. Our praise is motivated by the fact that we are moving from one level of Glory to another level of Glory by the Spirit of the Lord… its our freedom in Christ.

How Jesus has Set Us Free:

Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I call you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15). Jesus gave His disciples some of the most amazing secrets, like keys to His Father’s heart. And He made it clear that the things He was telling them would need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand and walk out daily (Jn. 16:12-15). Obedience was not going to be bound to a set of rules, but a hearing and perceptive ear. As these disciples were able to hear the voice of the Spirit, they would begin to obey the purposes of God by relationship and honor… “friendship”.

Favor & Fellowship:

The Holy Spirit is changing us and it effects our behavior, our attitudes and our believing. To live in the freedom of listening to the Holy Spirit’s Voice releases two powerful realities… favor and fellowship. Knowing you are loved and accepted by God allows you the freedom to grow in the knowledge of the Glory of God as you look into the face of Jesus. When we live in relationship, we experience the power of love and the freedom that comes to those who walk honorably toward the heart of the friend. In this case God is calling us to see ourself as His friend, His Child and His Chosen One.

Living by Human Standards:

Living by human standards distorts our view of real friendship. When we find ourselves unable to live up to the standards set by those we perceive to be more mature than us, it releases guilt, shame and issues of condemnation. When we live according to some arbitrary religious standard and find ourselves successful without the need of relationship, we become vulnerable to personal pride and boasting. It doesn’t make having some basic standards wrong, it just means they are subjective and difficult to measure in changing times and cultures.

Jesus came to do away with the measurements on all levels and substitute His life for any standard, perceived or real… we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Christ became our “Standard Bearer” so that we could walk in freedom. Being led by the Holy Spirit; and feeling the joy of a living relationship with the Father, is New Covenant Believing. Its a freedom to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit and live out of the abundance of our growing knowledge of Christ’s victory at the cross.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)

Believing Church

“For indeed the Gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)

God won’t move in unbelief! Therefore, we must activate faith in His Word, faith in His activity and faith in His prophetic purpose.

Don’t wait… Activate!

Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mk. 16:14). He did this because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Unbelief and hardness of heart are at the center of ineffective ministry and powerless Christianity.

Without Belief there is no Faith! (Mk. 6:3-6)

According to God’s Word without faith, the Gospel will not profit you. After seeing His ministry in action; hearing His prophetic voice and experiencing three years of signs, wonders and miracles, the eleven apostles sat in unbelief and hardness of heart. Why? Because they found nothing inside of them to energize their vision! All they could see was their plight.

Activating Faith is a Choice to Believe Something!

The idea of belief must be taken seriously, because it is what engages our hearts to move in faith (Heb. 11:1). Though their Friend and Master had died, He had spoken of a plan in the midst of this moment (Jn. 14:3). Fear had them paralyzed! They were wanted by the authorities and scared for their lives; yet, they should have been able to step into the promises Jesus had left with them (Jn. 14:29). They needed to bring to their memory the words that encouraged them so many times before. But once again, we see them huddled around the table discussing their plight.

Hardness of Heart:

Suddenly Jesus appeared and rebuked them for their hardness of heart. And why? Because they needed to make a choice… they could have engaged their faith by believing what Jesus had said and seen God’s prophetic purpose. Hardness of heart is the inability to move on what you know!

Did you catch that… “Hardness of heart is the paralysis of analysis!”

The Capacity to See:

Believing awakens our capacity to see what Jesus sees. Instead of lecturing His disciples and beating them over the head with Scripture, Jesus calls them up higher. Its as if Jesus was telling them to just take the leap and obey… make the choice! His purpose of reaching the nations was about to become their lifelong quest (Mk. 16:15-16) and He needed them to break free from distractions. He needed them to awaken their capacity to see, and embrace what He could see. What could we see - if we were truly free from distractions?

If we would just lay aside our fears, our agendas and our desire to please one another, the world would feel the impact of an energized vision and Jesus would soon return for a glorious Believing Church.

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