Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Advancing Kingdom Life

Evangelism is the Kingdom of God advanced through our lives!

The Apostle James said, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works’. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (Jms 2:17-18)

If we only proclaim the Gospel with our lips and not our lives, we are hypocrites and our faith is dead… ineffective. This is why it is so important for Christians to continually live with a vision for Kingdom Advancement. When we daily experience God’s Glory in our lives we begin to be revived and transformed from the inside out. The freedom of having a Kingdom mindset will enable us to joyfully speak of God to those within our sphere of influence. We will end the argument that aims to get people to agree with us and begin to impact the world with a flow of life.

Fear Factor:

The Devil uses intimidation to discourage us from telling our story. I often hear people say, “How can I tell anyone about Jesus when I’m not gifted at evangelism?” At that moment we must stop and apply the Truth of the Gospel to our own soul. The Apostle Paul didn’t hang his head in shame when he was reminded of his own unique history and personal limitations. He spoke to his own soul about the nature of his relationship with Christ. His confidence before kings came from knowing that fruitfulness flowed from his intimacy with God, not his personal eloquence or human wisdom (1 Cor 2:1-5).

No Condemnation… not even a little bit!

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). When clumsiness, unworthiness or shame overwhelm our soul we must preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to ourselves. Speak boldly; ”I am in Christ and He has made me righteous by faith in His blood! I take hold of His forgiveness and He washes away all sin and breaks every stronghold. His power works in me and is mine at this very moment. I’m God’s adopted Son! It is Christ who lives in me and I have inherited His boldness, because I carry His Spirit.”

Make the Grace Connection: (Eph 2:8-10)

Remind yourself, its not about “you”. I often pray over myself, under my breath or speak His Name out loud while I am driving. This is my way of staying in the flow of heaven’s resource… Glory (Phil 4:19). I am believing and receiving His grace spontaneously in those moments. It may sound silly, but I believe in laying my hand upon my own head and speaking a blessing over myself or asking God to anoint my head with fresh oil. I desire the overflow of God’s Presence to be seen upon my life, even before I speak a word.

The Holy Spirit:

This discipline has the power to radically change my focus, because it puts the weight of pressure back upon the Holy Spirit. He is My Helper, the Voice of Conviction and Discerner of the Heart. He clothes me in the Father’s Glory. Its the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us that makes us witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). He is the Spirit of Grace and Truth, but He is also the boldness we need to testify. Welcoming the Holy Spirit’s leadership is essential to any success in the Kingdom, especially evangelism.

Go into the World:

Go for it and proclaim the Kingdom Message to others… remember that someone had to tell you while you were still in the world. That same Kingdom reality that has changed you, has the power to save, deliver and set all men free from sin and intimidation. Speaking the Truth to ourselves; that is our ”soulish man”, sets our perceptions on the love of Christ and releases the anointing for breakthrough in others. Jesus is our source of life, not our eloquence or ability to formulate an argument (1 Cor 1:30). It is Christ in you that reflects God’s Glory (Col 1:27) and it is by His power activated and flowing, that you become effective in destroying the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8).

Jesus is our model: “How 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).

Real Grace

The word “grace” has significant meaning for our relationship with God, ourselves and one another. Grace is God’s love offered. As a gift is freely given, so grace must be received to be appreciated. God offers us something beyond ourselves, yet within our reach. The power of this gift called grace, grows when we truly understand how it works in connection with faith and trust.

Grace is a Person:

God so loved the world that He gave us the gift of His only Son (Jn 3:16-17). Jesus is the gift of grace to all mankind. He is the way, the truth, and the life of God, given as the full representative of grace. Through Jesus, God comes to us and reveals Himself to us, because we cannot by ourselves find God. Jesus as our advocate with the Father comes to help us know Him and believe in Him as He really is. We cannot do this by our human limitation, because we get so blinded by carnal perception. We need God’s grace.

Religious Perceptions:

Religion can be negative to our perception, as it creates a way of seeing through boxes of morality, judgment and expectations. In fact, so many people are bound to religion that Christianity is often defined more by what it rejects than what it believes.

If we are sinful (and we all are), we may not want to come to God, thinking that God is unapproachable and will punish us for our sins. We may get the idea that we must be “good enough” to be acceptable to God. But this is where grace becomes so significant. Its the gift of God!

Understanding Mercy:

All sinners experience guilt, brokenness and emotional pain. But faith is our humble belief in God’s mercy. Mercy is simply God not giving us what we deserve so that grace can become visible. When we understand mercy, we naturally turn toward the one showing us that mercy. This turning is an act of humility, because we recognize the favor (grace) being shown us is undeserved and it causes us to feel like a burden is lifted from our shoulders. There are all kinds of burdens that mercy lifts when someone favors us.

Clarifying Our Focus:

It is important that we reject sinful behavior, but never reject ourselves or the person we see sinning. Unfortunately, in real life, many of us have the tendency to blend the two into one: we often associate the behavior with the person. In this way, we become condemning and judgmental, hypocritical and proud.

This is where God’s grace becomes visible. Jesus is not a policeman, but an advocate. An advocate is somebody who pleads the case for mercy and stands on behalf of the guilty before the accuser or the judge.

Restoration and Hope:

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father is not judgemental and condemning, but a restorer of broken relationship. Jesus tells us, he throws his arms around the returning son and kisses him, while his servant is commanded to prepare the house for a party.

Consistent with Grace:

Jesus would have us see God as the waiting Father, who runs to embrace the son at the first sign of his turning toward home. “This son was lost, but now has come home! Bring out the robe, the ring and the sandals, for my son was dead and is alive again. Prepare the fatted calf… tonight we feast!” (Lk 15:20-24)

Walking in Real Grace:

The other son is caught up in the epic battle with religious seeing and self-righteous attitudes. Jesus does not approve of that moralistic attitude, because it is hypocritical. In offering grace to others, Jesus wants us to embrace people at the first sign of turning toward home. Its not that we condone what they have done as much as we embrace who they really are. He wants us to know that grace is God’s unconditional love revealed at the first sign of humility. The Apostle Peter said “…be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 4:5).

Becoming Believers

“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.” (Mk. 16:9-11)

Did you catch that… the disciples didn’t believe that Jesus was alive! Even though Jesus had told them over and over again that He would be crucified and raised again on the third day… they still seemed to stumble over the news from Mary. No question, the disciples had faith in Jesus; they knew He was the Messiah. He was a trusted friend… their Lord, King and Master. To the best of their ability they knew Him as God, but they couldn’t believe He was going to do what He said He would do. It’s just like many Christians today. They have faith in God, but they don’t believe the promises of God… what He tells us in His Word.

Faith vs. Believing:

Is there a difference? In some ways there doesn’t seem to be much difference. We see the words faith and believing used interchangeably. Yet it is important that we see the difference, so that we can grow in our faith by enlarging our capacity to believe.

Faith, as the Bible tells us is the substance of things hoped for and the assurance of things not yet seen (Heb. 11:1). In this way it becomes a force that emerges out of your spirit man, based upon knowledge and hope. The Apostle Paul said faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). It’s a gift from God and a fruit of the Holy Spirit that grows as we learn how to overcome doubts and unbelief. In fact, Timothy was commanded by the Apostle Paul, his mentor; to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12).

Believing on the other hand is an activity of the soul, choosing to believe mentally or to agree with God – is what unleashes the force of faith. You might ask for an example… the best I can think of is Abraham’s faith. The Book of Romans tells of Abraham’s believing, against all the facts and natural limitations; that he and Sarah would have a son. It says that “he did not waver at the Promise of God through unbelief but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). His believing was activated by his consistent praise and “giving glory to God”… and he grew in his conviction that God was able to do all that He had promised.

Unlocked & Released:

So we can see the difference between faith and believing, in that faith must be unlocked and released by our actions… our words and behavior. These are soul realities and activities of the mind, will and emotion. Believing is what makes faith the force that pleases God (Heb 11:6). If faith is the currency of heaven… then believing is the transaction that moves the heart of the Father. Faith itself may be available, but until it is acted upon, vocalized or passionately demonstrated; it is like wanting a trinket, but never getting the coins out of your pocket. Faith without works is dead (Jms. 2:20)… but Jesus said that if you believe nothing will be impossible (Mk. 9:23).

Power of Persuasion: Part 2

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (Jn. 8:44)

Truth is… Reality from God’s Perspective!

Lies are Counterfeits:

Faith comes from hearing… lies also come from hearing, but not from the Words of God. Sadly, like faith; lies inspire actions… they “persuade” the listener to follow or behave in a certain way. Like faith, a lie requires that you pull from a source of information. People sacrifice for faith, because they know that they are choosing well. A sacrifice for a lie is a blind and foolish choice. It might feel like a right choice at the moment, but the difference comes in the harvest. Faith reaps something good, while a lie deceives and betrays our heart… bearing a heavy price. The quicker the lie is removed, the less damage it can cause.

The Heart of the Liar:

Liars, lie because they lack a foundation of Truth for their personal identity. They really do not know who they are. To lie is to pass on a false impression or hold out a false picture that others will believe to be reality.

Dens of Iniquity:

The environment of a liar is a den of iniquity, filled with falsehood, human logic and self absorbed reasoning. Anyone that deceives another person is exchanging the Truth of God for lies (Rom. 1:25). They are making agreement with darkness and releasing an atmosphere where all kinds of evil is allowed to have dominion. Those who receive liars and deceive, bring judgment upon themselves and their hearers (Rom. 1:18). Unrepentant liars have made a spiritual covenant with the devil to speak from his resources.

Remember – a Liar is “fathered” by lies!

Clarifying a Liar’s Heart:

  1. Lies are a cover for poverty. Lies numb us from an awareness of weakness or lack (Rev. 3:17). Lies are empty bricks in the foundation. When pressure is placed upon these hollow blocks, they will crumble. Building upon lies will lead to the spiritual structure falling.
  2. Lies forfeit the future. Lies cost us our integrity and our character. You cannot go deeper with God or man by living in lies. Life in honest relationship is a proving ground for promotion. Your future depends on your will and your success in walking in truth. Your gift may make room for you and bring you before kings (Prov. 21:6), but to stay in that room or stand on that platform requires character and integrity.
  3. Lies are built on outward appearances. Lies become all the reality liars possess. They pose and pretend, seeking approval from those of legitimate substance. Deceivers are hungry, but empty; because they cover up their lack rather than getting their needs met appropriately. Liars seek the acceptance of others like a moth to a flame. For a liar, to be in a church is to be “righteous”, like being in a garage makes a person a car. As silly as it sounds, appearances are the only reality the liar has, because they are the most deceived of all. Satan enters into the liars heart and takes dominion in order to destroy both the liar and those who will listen.

Discernment:

It takes the anointed eyes of Christ to see it happening, as Jesus saw it happen in Judas at their final Passover Meal (Jn. 13:27-28). The Apostle John told us to test the spirits to see if they are of God, because there were lying spirits in the world set on promoting evil and infiltrating the Church (1 Jn 4:1-6). The Apostle Paul said the days are evil and there are wiles of the devil that we must stand against in these days (Eph. 6:11-13).

Repentance and Truth – Set us Free (Jn 8:30-36)

Freedom in Truth:

Honesty is the beginning of recovery. Humbling oneself breaks the power of a lie. The preacher needs to get free from his own sin. The boss needs to stop robbing his employees. The husband needs to deal faithfully with his wife. Some can never stomach honesty, because they wait too long to try. We must all throw light upon lies, if they are to be removed … especially if those lies are our own (Jn. 3:19-21). We must commit ourselves to truth (Prov. 23:23).

Live in Truth!

This is a call for all followers of Christ, especially His leaders, to abandon the “father” of lies. We must thoroughly renounce and reject a lying spirit. We must handle the things of God in an open and honorable way (2 Cor. 4:2). Removing a lying lifestyle involves breaking covenant with the “father” of lies through prayer, discipline and loving the Truth.

“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are His delight.” (Prov. 12:22)

We must hold ourselves accountable to the Truth!
We must fear God enough to yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit!
We must love God more than outward appearances!

Power of Persuasion: Part 1

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (Jn. 8:44)

When a lie is removed, the enemy loses the power of persuasion! Satan cannot stand in Truth, because there is no Truth in him. His pursuit is to kill, because he is a murderer; to steal, because he is a thief… and to destroy, because he is the father of lies. No question God’s Truth matters. In fact, Truth is our foundation… we must be people who embrace the Truth, speak the Truth and guard the Truth.

Our Spiritual Gardens:

A lie does not tell itself or grow by itself. It uses the soil of the human heart. Lies are like weeds growing in the midst of other plants in the garden, but they steal resources, drain energy and choke out good growth. Also, like weeds, a good gardener will pull them out as quickly as they are spotted. We must be like Christ and learn to discern a lie quickly, or else it will begin to rule the garden. It will try to “father” us.

Context:

Truth has a context… and that “context” is Christ and Scripture. Truth is reality from God’s perspective! Perhaps that is the first and easiest contrast to draw between truth and lies. No liar wants you to put things in context or dig around at the original source! Anyone can quote a Bible verse to prove their point; but the devil, the “father” of lies aims to deceive. The devil did this with Christ by pulling truth out of context (Mt. 4:1-11). Yet, fully equipped in the truth, Jesus boldly stated, “It is written!” Only the Words of Truth bring freedom from satanic lies. The Bible speaks of itself when it says, its alive and active like a two-edged sword that cuts between soul and spirit. Its a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the human heart (Heb. 4:12). The more we rely on the Word of Truth, the more clarity we have and the more confident we become.

Truth is reality from God’s perspective!

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