Posts Tagged ‘Lies’

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)

The Stubborn Heart

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)

It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”

The Spirit of Unbelief:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!

Authenticity:

I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”

Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.

So – here’s the point…

  • Stop living without meaningful communication with God!

Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)

The Garment of Praise

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

The answer against a “spirit of heaviness” is to put on the ”garment of praise.”

Satan hates praise:

Praise exalts Jesus no matter what the circumstances may look like. It engages our trust in God and activates our faith like nothing else can do. You see, praise introduces light and supernatural life into our circumstances. It is the ultimate release of spiritual freedom. Just listen to the following verses and let something click inside.

(2 Cor 3:17) “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

(Gal 5:1) ” Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

(Jn 8:36) ” Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Praise is Agreement with God!

Praising the Lord and agreement with the truth of God’s Word, renews the mind and lifts the spirit of heaviness off your shoulders. Notice the Prophet Isaiah says that your life is designed to reflect your calling as “trees of righteousness”. Its your destiny to become the “planting of the Lord”. As you praise Him daily, you will release the stature of Christ within you… “that He may be glorified”, seen and celebrated as your Deliverer! Nothing so clearly displays the power of God like our freedom in the spirit.

The Effect of a Spirit of Heaviness:

It darkens our countenance. Our hearts are down cast. This spirit brings a “heaviness” over us and dims our vision, robs our hope and crushes our sense of purpose. There are testimonies I’ve heard from people who say “when this spirit comes it even makes the room feel darker”. It brings a heavy and oppressive atmosphere that restricts and quenches our perception. It may come like a cloud hanging over you or your location, but the most difficult part to deal with is that it causes isolation. The devil’s goal is to remove you from the atmosphere of love and approval. Think about it, if Satan can get you isolated, then he can break your spirit and remove your source of inspiration and hope.

Recognize it:

This is the first step. You are a Child of God! This is not God’s will for you!  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Don’t believe the lies… Praise God instead! Accept no criticism and carry no extra baggage. You must learn the art of selective hearing, so that you choose the things you ignore and the things that come from the Throne of Heaven. We destroy arguments and pull down strongholds, so that every thought is made captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). That means I am actively discerning where my thoughts are coming from and believe me… I can rule over them with praise!

Put on the Garment of Praise!

This literally means to be “wrapped up in praise”. God has given it to be worn and provide insulation. So put it on like a jacket every single day. Take a few moments each morning and every time there is a battle raging, to put it on like armor on a soldier. You will watch your enemy run for cover with his tail between his legs… like a whipped puppy. That’s right, praise is your most effective tool in magnifying God and shrinking the influence of the devil. Get loud, get aggressive and set your heart on spiritual freedom!

It is the anointing that breaks the yoke! (Isa 10:27)

Fighting Spiritual Battles

“Praying always with all (kinds of) prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18)

Prayer is a major weapon in fighting the spiritual battles we face as Christ’s followers. The Apostle Paul reminds us that ultimately our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against demonic fortresses in heavenly places (Eph. 6:10-20). The picture he paints for us is that of a war. Life as a Christian must not be seen as a playground - it’s a battlefield. We must stop being satisfied with the present condition of our casual spiritual lifestyle. We must pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) and with fervent passion for more (Jms. 5:16).

The #4 Reason to Pray: Spiritual Warfare!

We are instructed by an experienced spiritual soldier, the Apostle Paul. Like a Roman Centurion, he speaks of putting on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness and having our loins gird about with truth. He expects the feet of every soldier under Christ’s command to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, to be equipped with a shield of faith and a sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. In the Apostle’s view there is no retreat, no failure and no plan “B”. Our mission is to advance the Kingdom of God on planet Earth and should we accept our assignment, we will be fighting for our spiritual lives and those of our neighbors, friends and the nations.

Prayer is the Heavy Artillery!

If I were writing this passage, I would say, “Now get out there and fight the battle!” But the Apostle Paul does not say that. In fact, he waits until all the armor is fully understood and in place to communicate the real assignment in spiritual warfare – Prayer! Its the heavy artillery of battle. Notice what he says: “With all kinds of prayer… pray, being watchful… pray, with all perseverance… pray, and for all the saints… pray”. In two verses, we are commanded to pray five different times. Do you think God is trying to make a point? He is attempting to seize our attention concerning prayer’s power to defeat the devil and his tactics. 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10:3-4)

The weapon of prayer softens and pulls down Satanic fortresses. It is the cannon, reducing the wall to rubble… so that the troops can break through, take gound and possess the promises of God. Too often, the Kingdom advancement moves slowly because the softening-up process of prayer has been neglected. When practiced, however, prayer exposes the lies and deception the enemy hides behind and destroys the works that make the Christian vulnerable to defeat. Prayer is the place where revelation, discernment and spiritual victories are achieved. When the Church prays… the battles are won!

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4)

The Hour, the Cup & the Cross

Jesus embraces the three most difficult realities of life. They are signified by three words Jesus chose to pull to Himself as though they were His destiny-the hour, the cup and the cross. 

Looking In:

We are given access to the most compelling and intimate moment in the life of the King of Glory and before we know what is happening… it has begun. Betrayed by a kiss and protected by a fisherman’s sword, all we can do is watch as the scene gets more tragic by the moment. Had we been there, perhaps we would have stumbled through it just like the disciples. What in the world is going on!

Servants & Friends:

It was only a few days earlier when Jesus seemed to be offering a promotion to the disciples. Now it would appear there would be no ministry, no future and worse yet no hope of their friendship lasting beyond the end of the week. “How could He have said that one of us would betray Him? How could we have fallen asleep when all He was asking was for us to pray with Him one hour? How could Judas… how could we just stand there and watch?”

Whirlwinds Shift Atmospheres:

I step back and see the whirlwind, I know in hindsight that Jesus was reshaping the atmosphere with every commitment He made. You see, He was giving Himself to the Father’s purpose… “for this hour, I have come into the world”. He was recognizing that although the cup would release a bitter taste, it was His to drink. Long before the creation of the world He was under an agreement that He had made with His Father. As agonizing as this was about to become, it was not a surprise and it was not something He was going to delegate. He would die upon the cross, just like He said and He would drink this cup as He had agreed. This was His hour!

But it was also the greatest hour in history!

It came as the hour that scattered the disciples, but resulted in the hour that overcame the world (Jn 16:32-33). It came as the hour that challenged all truth, but resulted in the hour that clarified God’s voice (Jn 18:37). It came with confusion and the shedding of innocent blood, but it ended triumphant with power over the grave (Lk 24:6-7).

The Victory:

When Jesus embraced the hour, the cup and the cross, He broke the power of sin’s grip over us. Jesus’ resurrection was a victory over death that changed the atmosphere and released the peace of God in the face of any storm. Satan’s head was crushed and his lies were laid powerless at our feet. No more bondage and no more shame for Christ has offered forgiveness and freedom from the accuser of the brethren.

“And they (the Believers) overcame him (the accuser of the brethren) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death”. (Rev 12:11) 

Archives