Posts Tagged ‘Jms 4:6’

Grace Platforms

The Ministry of Christ is a ministry of grace! His message was the Good News of a Kingdom of grace flowing from Heaven into Earth. It would bring forgiveness, peace and freedom from sin. Yet the deliverance and freedom experienced in the life of a disciple can only be attained and measured by the transformed mind. Real Kingdom mysteries require us to change the way we think about everything pertaining to God, Church and life on this planet (Mt. 4:17). Jesus has stepped into our natural reality and He brought His world with Him!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

Ministry on Christ’s Shoulder:

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given” as Christ distributes (Eph. 4:7). All ministry is simply the manifestation of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the “Christ” is our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), Prophet (Lk. 24:19), Evangelist (Mt. 9:35), Pastor (1 Pet. 5:2-4) and Teacher (Jn. 3:2). He emulated these offices and distributes the mantles for individuals to function in them, so that the Church carries His anointing for ministry (Jn. 14:12).

“…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So…they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Selected and Sent:

The five-fold leaders are not self-appointed, nor are they simply pastors of a local church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole and its witness in the world. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than the local church. They are grace ministries of Christ to the Church at large. Whether its from inner city pulpits or in the bush lands of Africa, the heartbeat of 5-fold ministry is the discipling of the nations… its our Great Commission! (Mt. 28:18-20).

Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own: 1) Recognition by the wider Body of Christ and 2) Functional Ministry to the wider Body of Christ. Jesus said that the fruit of a person’s life is the best way to recognize their identity, character and anointing. Prior to these two conditions being met, someone may potentially have a five-fold ministry gift, but will not yet be moving in the scope and authority of that gift. Jesus gives the grace for each gift to be released into the Church.

“…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Foundations:

The foundation of the Church is Jesus… the revelation of “Christ – the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:16). And yet there is this unique platform of the apostle and the prophet team (Eph. 3:4-5). This platform carries the role of unveiling the mysteries hidden down through the ages, yet revealed in Christ and by the Holy Spirit to the sons and daughters of men. I believe these two mantle gifts still serve that ministry role (Eph. 4:12-13), so it is vital for us to understand how this works in leading the Body of Christ. We must remember that proper buildings are held up by proper foundations. I would propose; that when grace flows into ministry and functions properly, under the headship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will result in the growth and supernatural health of the Church worldwide. It is the will of God to set this in order and accomplish it through His apostle and prophet teams (Isa. 9:7)… by grace.

The Key of Humility:

The Apostle James and the Apostle Peter wrote specifically about how to receive grace (Jms. 4:6 & 1 Pet. 5:5-6). The humble person receives grace and more grace even as they maintain their humility in the midst of difficult circumstances. Jesus said “Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The humble person; who lives selflessly in ministry, will receive a flow of resource from heaven according to the gift Christ has given them. Their anointing will be in proportion to their faith, assignment and their need.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). The ministry teams made up of Apostle and Prophets like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy served to accomplish great things in advancing the Kingdom of God. They were set apart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2), helped in the midnight hour (Acts 16:25-26) and anointed to do incredible miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Word of God (Acts 19:11-12).

Restoration is needed: In order for the Church to see what God is after today, our impact must set the captives free! We must rely upon the flow of ministry grace… like the dry ground soaks up the rain.

Humble Flesh

Scripture: “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish… And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16-26)

Thought for Today: “Humbling the Flesh”

The Bible seems to emphasize the idea that man was created by God with three parts (1 Thess 5:23) spirit, soul and body. The spirit or inner-man is where the Holy Spirit makes its dwelling. The soul or outer-man, consists of our mind, will and emotion and is where man processes natural realities and makes decisions. The body, called the carnal man or “flesh” is the visible part. It responds to our five senses; taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and becomes the means of expression… activity.

Sanctification:

Now in order for us to understand the value of spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, we must first recognize the broken state of our human condition. Sin separates us from God and causes us to rely upon natural sight and human reasoning. The point of spiritual discipline is to restore our connection to the voice of God by separating our spirit, soul and body from sinful behaviors, habits or thought patterns that are in opposition to the will of God.

Restoring the Connection:

Its like removing the insulation from an electrical wire so that a connection can be made between a power source (God) and an appliance (activity). This process of removing the insulating barrier is what the Apostle Paul called sanctification. He felt the struggle we all have with sin and taught about dying to self, letting go of flesh desires and yielding our lives to God’s purpose (Rom 12:1-2)(Phil 3:3). He practiced and encouraged disciplines that would release and multiply the fruit of the Holy Spirit and free us to walk like Jesus.

Quieting the Flesh:

In order for us to hear the voice of God we must quiet all the other voices that compete for our attention and affection. The voice of the flesh is like a dripping faucet, consistently crying out to be fed, clothed and nurtured. Its been doing this all of our life, from a baby until now. We have given in to its desires and unless we discipline its voice, it will try to rule us.

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)

Spiritual Freedom:

Freedom is not just living without the hindrance of the old patterns, but its the ability to live with fresh purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God gives more grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Fasting does more than just quiet the flesh… it humbles the flesh and trains it to obey the spirit, when done in unison with prayer. By making room for the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we are free to live by the spirit and fulfill the will of God!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Put God First!

“But seek first (strive and pursue) the Kingdom of God (His ruling Dominion) and His righteousness (right standing, purity and holiness), and all these things (necessities of life) shall be added to you.” (Mt. 6:33)

I have learned that spending time with God is a vital necessity in my life. Something amazing is adjusted in my mind and ministered to my heart when I make God my first and highest pursuit. In fact, I cannot do what I am called to do if I don’t seek the Presence of God every day… early and passionately! I need that supernatural peace and sense of anointing that I feel in His Presence! If I don’t make time for God first, then everything else seems to become more difficult… at times even falling apart or hitting the inevitable “wall of resistance”.

Selfish Ambition is Subtle!

Selfish ambition often masquerades as important priorities in our daily routine. Yet when we hit the wall of resistance, it is because God is speaking… calling us to His side for fellowship. You see, God apposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Its my own pride and selfish ambition that stand as barriers to living the life that Christ has promised… the abundant and overflowing life (Jn. 10:10). The abundant life is the Holy Spirit directed life. What I am continually reminded of is that God is waiting for me to begin the conversation and He will spend as much time with me as I will give Him… as much time as it takes for grace to begin to flow.

Quality, not Quantity:

If you measure your seeking by the amount of time, and set a timer for 30 minutes or 3 hours; you might find you feel nothing and believe there is no value in putting God first. But we must realize, time in God’s Presence is measured by quality, not quantity. He is waiting for the shifts in your mind and heart!

“Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18)

Jesus tells us to repent, or change the way we think and see… for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mt. 4:17). Indeed, the Kingdom of God is within reach and we can experience its influence when we set our minds and hearts for encounter. This shift of setting our “inner pursuit” is the connection He looks for… its our ability to enter into His fellowship, find His counsel and pursue His priorities. This is what honors Him most and releases His grace like showers of blessing in our lives. The best part is that by pursuing what pleases God… empowers us to accomplish more and experience peace that goes beyond our understanding.

Putting God first every day, allows every thing in life… to find its proper place!

From Our Knees

“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” (Jms. 4:6)

He gives us more grace dependent upon out posture. That is why Scripture tells us that the cure for evil desires is humility. Pride makes us self centered and leads us to conclude that we deserve all we can see, touch, or imagine. It creates greedy appetites for far more that we need! Its the devil’s domain and we must resist it. We can be released from our self centered desires by humbling ourselves before God, realizing that all we need is His approval!

When the Holy Spirit fills us, we see that this world’s seductive attractions are only cheap substitutes for what God has to offer.

Humble Yourself:

Humbling ourselves opens the doors of spiritual opportunity. God will exalt us in due season (1 Pet. 5:6). It means we are recognizing that our worth comes from God alone. Let me repeat that once more and perhaps you should say it out loud and boldly to yourself… MY WORTH COMES FROM GOD ALONE! We do not deserve His favor, but He reaches out to us in love and gives us worth and dignity, in spite of our human shortcomings.

We sometimes feel bold as a lion, wise as a scholar or courageous as a soldier, but as Children of God; we can best see His face from our knees.

Experiencing Grace

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore, come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:13-16)

Prayer is the process of drawing near the Throne of Grace. It energizes our spirit like nothing else can, it releases blessing into our circumstances and transforms the way we see. It opens our spiritual perception to the mind of Christ and to the possibilities of God’s influence. When we pray, we are pulling on the promise of “daily bread” (Mt. 6:11), the provision of God for the season of need. Notice, the writer of Hebrews sets the Throne of God into a context of grace and mercy, rather than judgement and condemnation. This is how God wants us to see in prayer… with boldness and confidence that our High Priest understands our weaknesses. We have access by the Blood of Jesus and we should come boldly to the Throne.

The #2 Reason to Pray: To Experience Grace!

Prayer is the practice of experiencing grace. It’s difficult to understand grace without understanding the law. We see God’s perfect law as how He wants us to live and frankly we often don’t measure up (Rom. 3:23). The law is like a mirror for us. When you look into a mirror you may see a big smudge of dirt on your face that you didn’t know was there. The mirror is not to blame and it can’t get rid of the dirt, but you’re probably glad you looked at that mirror before you walked out the door. In the same way, God’s law reveals our shortcomings, our sins, and we are thankful to see them, so that we can bring them to God and deal with them through His grace. When we come to Christ we know we need a Savior. The fact is, for the rest of our lives, we need a Savior. We need Jesus, Our Great High Priest who understands and has an answer for our weakness!

“The law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ that we may be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24)

Coming in Truth and Humility:

We can experience grace when we come to the Throne of Grace in truth and humility. The Apostle James said, “you do not have, because you do not ask and when you ask you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your own pleasures” (Jms. 4:2-3). “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (Jms. 4:6). When we humbly come to God in prayer there is a waiting Father full of mercy and grace, to help in time of need. ”If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to Him, but let him ask in faith without doubting…” (Jms. 1:5-6). You see, God sees everything, nothing is hidden from His sight and His care. He is a jealous God, not for perfectionism, but for holiness that allows unhindered access to our relationship with Him.

Holiness is a Reflection:

Holiness is something imputed… something God gives, not something we acheive. Its a reflection of God’s “light” in us and upon us. We are being transformed by the Spirit of the Lord as we look into the law of Christ and begin to reflect His life and glory (2 Cor. 3:17-18). It just makes sense that the more we pray and look into His glory, the more we will reflect His character, love and power.

Prayer enables the grace I need to become like Him, in all of His beauty… I want to”be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Phil. 3:9)

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