Posts Tagged ‘Judgment’

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).

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.

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!

Anticipation

“And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.” (Exod. 12:11-12)

A few years ago, my ministry trips outside of the United States were becoming more frequent. In order to save time, I purchased duplicates of items that I use every day in other nations and now keep them packed in a suitcase ready to go. That suitcase, kept in our spare closet; is there in anticipation of any upcoming trips.

What is Anticipation?

In our culture today, the word “anticipation” has been reduced to mean a feeling of expectation. However, the original meaning of the term, had to do more with action and preparation. To anticipate is “to foresee and act in advance of something”. The old English word comes from Latin (‘anticipare’), which meant to “take care of something ahead of time” or literally “taking into possession beforehand”. It is this original meaning that I believe the Holy Spirit is bringing to my attention. To anticipate something means that we intentionally see and act, based on an invisible reality… like hope or belief.

Anticipation is a Powerful Biblical Principle!

In Exodus 12, Moses instructs the Israelites to get ready for their immediate exodus from Egypt. They were to eat the Passover lamb in anticipation of something big. They were to get prepared, by clothing themselves and having a staff in their hand, so they would be ready to go on their journey. Everything was about to change. Sometimes I hear God saying, “Get ready! It is time to move!” That’s when I must know how to properly “anticipate” my next steps. I love the fact that God promises to order the steps of the righteous man! I believe God wants to encourage us to stir up anticipation for what He is going to do on a spiritual level, on a practical level and on a ministry level.

4 Powerful Principles of Anticipation:

  • 1st. Anticipation Is An Expression Of Faith!

Anticipation is about preparing and making room for what you know is yours by faith. It is getting ready for what God has told you is coming. Noah began building the ark—a large boat—in anticipation of a flood. Hebrews tells us, ‘By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.’ (Heb 11:7) We know that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Anticipation is an expression of faith. Anticipation comes with evidence. It may be invisible in the natural, but it is visible on the inside… and it is powerful!

Ten people gather to pray for rain in a time of drought. One person brings an umbrella… that’s anticipation!

  • 2. Anticipation Will Attract Opposition:

Anticipation is so powerful that the enemy will try and prevent it. Anticipation attracts resistance. Nehemiah discovered this when their enemies schemed to stop him from rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem’s city. They tried to distract Nehemiah from his work by calling a meeting with him and secretly planning to harm him. However, Nehemiah simply sent a message, “I am carrying on a great project… Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3). Remind yourself that anticipation must be bold and audacious at times. At other times, anticipation will consist of just taking the next small step by faith. At times its an act of warfare, in the midst of trial or at a season of extreme darkness… but it is often going to be resisted. When the going gets tough, you may feel like giving up. Step up and face your oppressor! You are in the process of moving toward your destiny or dream… and you need to persevere!

Power is released when you continue anticipating during difficult times!

  • 3. Anticipation Is Key To Restoration:

When something or someone has been lost, God’s plan is to restore all that the enemy has stolen… all that is broken or in shambles. Judah’s leaders had ceased anticipating the completion of the second temple in Jerusalem. For 17 years, the temple foundations lay in neglect. But then came the prophetic word, to remind them of God’s original instruction and exhort them to begin the building project once more. What was stirred by the prophetic word – anticipation and faith! Do not give up! Allow the Holy Spirit to restore your capacity to dream… anticipation will offer strength in the fulfillment of God’s promises and the destiny He has placed in your heart.

~It might be time to go back to the original promise and instruction that God gave to you.

~It might be time to go to Scripture for the truth about who God is, and who He says you are.

~It might be time to receive a fresh word from the Holy Spirit that will stir you on, to continue acting in faith.

Anticipation is a mighty force in reaching your destiny, your family purpose or your ministry vision.

  • 4. Anticipation… Is Your Breakthrough:

To anticipate is to position for God’s purpose… the rest is up to Him! Anticipation is about alignment. It is more than expectation… it is expect-action. It is faith in motion. Anticipation is David running towards Goliath, a slingshot in one hand and 5 smooth stones in the other hand. Anticipation is Elijah sending his servant to look for a cloud in the sky, when he had just prayed for rain. Anticipation is a powerful spiritual principle, because it is practical. Anticipation means taking steps forward in spite of natural sight.

It has been said, ‘The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step’. Ask yourself – what was the moment of your breakthrough… and you will recall that it was the moment that you first began to anticipate something new! Therefore you should do something every day towards your dream and your goals! Your anticipation and your acts of obedience, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will bring evidence that your breakthrough has arrived.

This is how you take possession of God’s promises by faith… believe, anticipate and lean in toward God’s desired purposes.

You will find that your anticipation will break into Kingdom momentum!

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