Posts Tagged ‘receive’

Reign in Grace

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

Great Power & Great Grace… these are the keys to Great Christian Character! God’s Word promotes the idea that grace is more powerful than sin or test. We should never, never, never allow our perceptions of reality to diminish the flow of God’s power. “For if by the one man’s offense, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

We have been made kings and priests to our God (Rev. 1:5) and grace is necessary to rule and reign in spiritual life. Grace is necessary to exercise authority in the way that God desires. God rules, but not harshly. He rules and releases His power by grace, justice, mercy and truth. In order to exercise authority in every situation, we need to receive more and more of God’s grace. This grace gives us power not only to use authority over negative situations in life, but also to testify in a way that will build strength into our faith and service for the Body of Christ.

Grace inspires us to…

1. Believe:

The Scripture tells us that Apollos helped those who had “believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). Even the faith which saves us comes through God’s grace. We don’t produce faith – we receive it as a gift from God. “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8). Grace is favor that inspires us to exercise the faith which God has given us (Rom. 12:3).

  • By the grace we have, we must believe God… His Word, His promises, His commandments, His judgments.

2. Receive:

God’s Word says, “much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17). The Apostle Paul speaks emphatically that grace was a precursor to walking out Kingdom lifestyles and anointing for ministry…  “We have received grace and apostleship” (Rom. 1:5). God does give grace, and it should inspire our bold Christian witness. We must be willing to receive it.

Also, grace must be received as grace. It cannot be received as payment for good behavior or good works. If we are thinking we receive grace from God on the basis of our good behavior, we will not be able to receive it as grace. Grace is given to the humble heart (Jms. 4:6). This is why God many times seems to greatly bless a sinner who has recently turned to Him, while seemingly ignoring many “good church people” who have been struggling faithfully for years with pride and selfish ambitions. Many have a wrong mentality concerning grace.

3. Continue:

“Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43).

It is vitally important that all of us, especially those who have recently turned to God and trusted in His grace, continue in the grace of God. God gives more grace, so that we are inspired to flow with gracious words and activities. Jesus shocked the people of Nazareth who knew Him as a carpenter’s son, because of His gracious words (Lk. 4:22) and activity. We need to allow God to keep guiding our hearts to the place where He can continue to work in us by His grace. In the moment when we cease to allow God’s grace to work in us, we start to dry up as Christians and that life of God in us begins to lose its effectiveness. God will not force us to remain in His grace. It is something He gives us the power to do, but we must choose to go on. Don’t give up!

4. Discover & Manage:

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Pet. 4:10).

Every born-again Christian has a ministry, through receiving a spiritual gift and using it for the glory of God. We have all been given grace to serve somewhere. God’s grace takes many forms, as many as there are people in Christ; every anointing is unique and special. A steward or manager must use what has been entrusted to him and multiply it, otherwise; he is not being a good and faithful steward. God’s grace and blessings were not given simply for us to sit in “services” and feel good. Rather, they were given that we might not only be blessed, but also be a blessing. Greater works (Jn. 14:12) require fresh grace!

5. Multiply & Spread It:

“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15).

Grace and peace do multiply… as more and more people spread it. We can spread God’s grace through giving, through preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and by “speaking such a word as is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29 & 5:18-21). It is the privilege of every true Christian, not just a special few; to spread God’s grace to as many as possible. When we to this, more and more people will bring pleasure to the heart of God (Ps. 133).

Grace is our Prophetic Destiny:

“Arise, shine; For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isa. 60:1-3)

Amazing Choice

But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” Barabbas was a revolutionary. (Jn 18:39-40 NLT)

We don’t know much about Barabbas, but what we do know is pretty interesting because he stands in stark contrast to Jesus, even his name tells us this. Where Jesus was the Son of The Father (God) the name Barabbas means son of A father. And while both Jesus and Barabbas were arrested for leading an uprising – Jesus was peaceful and non-violent while Barabbas’ was being held for murder. History tells us, he was accused of killing someone hoping that it would lead to a larger revolt by the Jewish people against the tyranny of Rome.

Two Types of Freedom: 

So the two men wanted the same thing, freedom for God’s people, but they went about it in different ways. Barabbas walked in violent ways to overthrow the power of Rome and establish the kingdom of Israel, while Jesus walked in spiritual ways to overthrow the power of sin and establish the Kingdom of Heaven. The choice given to the people is clear. Will you choose the way of power, strength and violence or love, forgiveness and sacrifice? Do you want someone who will set you free in the political world today or someone who will set you free from sin and death forever? And the people made their choice; they chose the way of worldly power and political freedom. They chose Barabbas.

Would We? 

As we watch this hour unfold and hear the shouts of the crowd choosing Barabbas, we are shocked and saddened. We want to say, I would never do that… I would never make that choice. I could never choose Barabbas! But so many times we do. Think about how we choose Barabbas?

  • We choose Barabbas every time we fight for human comforts over sacrificial love.
  • We choose Barabbas every time we focus on personal gain over advancing the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • We choose Barabbas every time we decide to be safe instead of stepping out in faith for the salvation and wellbeing of others.
  • The truth is that we choose Barabbas every time we don’t place God first in our lives.

To Choose Christ:

To choose Christ is to understand ourselves, our selfish ambitions and our lives as His disciples. To choose Christ is to realize our freedom comes only with the burden of a cross, a passion and a commission. You see to truly choose Christ is to recognize that… He chose us, first. He chose us to live, while we were still sinners. He chose us to love, while were we still making all the wrong choices. He chose to make us His friends and call us by name to share in His Father’s Glory. Not one of us has any righteousness of our own… it was His to give. It was His amazing choice. 

The most amazing choice we will make… is to receive.

The Substance

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).

Village Church in the Myango District

Village Church in the Myango District

Faith is “The Substance”:

Its the assurance or confident belief in who or what we place our hope. Faith comes before we possess the reality. Once we receive what we hope for, we no longer hope for it. We just begin to live from a different perspective, from the substance of a new revelation. Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen, but within reach. The amazing thing about faith is that it is the spiritual substance of our walk with God that enables flesh and blood to pull upon invisible things that are waiting to become physical and actual.

The Promise Connection:

The Apostle Peter said it like this, ”through believing and trusting in God’s exceedingly great and precious promises, we become partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Pet 1:2-4). God’s power has given us access to everything we need pertaining to life and godliness and when we come into the knowledge of His will for us, we can pull it into our world through faith.

Faith like Jesus:

Jesus came to the earth as God in the flesh (Jn 1:1-3) and He was completely reliant on His Father through faith. Jesus said: “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me” (Jn 5:30). This is rich with meaning for us, because it sets a model for our relational access to the Father. Jesus was humble before God and looked to God in trust… and for faith. Jesus did not seek His own will, but the will of His Father.

Slow to Believe:

Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples after His resurrection and His disciples were slow to believe that Jesus had risen from the grave (Lk 24:36-43). Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Lk 24:38). Becoming slow to believe is the evidence of a troubled heart where doubts are beginning to arise. The seeds of doubt are like weeds in the soil of the heart; they must be removed or they will crowd out faith.

A Limited Mindset – “Seeing”:

Later Jesus appeared again to His disciples and this time Thomas was among them. Thomas earlier had said: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Be a Believing… Believer!

Jesus said to Thomas: “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. “Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:24-29)

Blessed… Empowered:

Faith and believing, even when we cannot see the evidence… is the posture that moves the Father’s heart. Don’t sit back and wait any longer with needs that have not been met. Run to the Father and awaken your heart to the Promises of God’s Word. There is substance in the heavenly realm waiting for our faith to get activated. When you believe in the Promises of God… you become empowered to live in the substance of those Promises. 

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet 2:21).

Right Now!

What does God want you to do right now, with your time, your energy and your life? There is no way around the fact that if we do not evaluate our experience by the Will of God, we will eventually have to justify wasting our lives on self-centered ambitions. The Apostle Paul reminds us to “redeem the time because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16). What we must understand is that when we waste time we waste our greatest asset… life!

Now is the Acceptable Time:

Its the right time to take an inventory of your gifts and your calling in Christ. Ask yourself this key question: “What does God want me to do right now?” Now is called the acceptable time, because it is more than just a moment to observe life – its an opportunity to receive and release life to those around us. Its the essence of what we commonly call… MINISTRY! Every follower of Christ has one, but only those who understand the word “now” will have a successful one.

Wasting a Wilderness:

If the day comes that the wilderness is more than you can bear, it is probably because you are wasting your energy continually walking around the same mountain you walked around yesterday and the day before. The Psalmist explains that the truly blessed man is the man whose heart is set on pilgrimage, “as they pass throught the Valley of Baca (tears), they make it a spring of refreshing” (Ps 84:5-7). The amazing thing about a blessed man is that they are empowered to prosper in what God has set before them and they are not seeing with the eyes of fear, but the excitement of following God’s heart. They have learned to redeem their time and find out what pleases God along the journey.

Don’t Wait!

In wasting our time in selfish exercises we actually receive the grace of God in vain and eventually that grace will wear thin by our abuse of it. We are called to be workers for God, who serve as co-laborers with Christ in the ministry. In order for this to happen we must become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and walk in unity, integrity and courage. The Apostle Paul says, “We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed (or come under accusation)” (2 Cor 6:3). Think about it, the most destructive element used by Satan against our ministries is blame and accusation. This is because, he is the accuser of the brethren. When we do not do what God requires in the “now”, by wasting time and energy; demonic forces are given openings to bring havoc within our ministry. Life gets lost in our ineffective use of time.

This is the Battle:

We are not designed to just fight battles against enemies and enjoy a fleeting victory. We are called to occupy the Promised Land. Our goal is the establishing of an embassy for God on planet Earth for the next generation. Lets live in such a way that our activity begins to shake the foundations rather than just stirring up the dust. We can do this in Christ… Right Now!

New Glory Everyday

Fresh Glory Everyday

Fresh Glory Everyday

So how do we receive, carry and reflect God’s Glory? On this side of Heaven we do it imperfectly; but as we begin to grasp how real and incredible God’s Glory is, it starts to show up in our lives. Our capacity to experience the Glory is a hunger issue, that must be nurtured by our awareness of God’s Presence.

 Have you stopped recently to acknowledge God’s presence in your life?

 His Presence is like a canopy or shadow that accompanies us in our daily routine, simply because He enjoys being with us. David touches upon this concept when he writes, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your Presence?” (Ps 139:7) His point was clearly to acknowledge the same reality that Jesus assured His disciples of, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). I have become convinced that the Holy Spirit is drawn to individuals who make Him feel welcome.

A Miraculous Story: Many years ago my friend and his wife were riding home from church and came into a miracle. God simply spoke to them to take a different route home… so they obeyed without realizing the serious nature of this Holy Spirit directive. On the way, they came upon the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, the motorcyclist was on the ground motionless. An EMT on the scene said that he was dead and a small crowd began to gather. Without thinking, yet fresh from the Presence of God, my friend and his wife began to pray in the Spirit and approached the body in faith. It felt to them like God was about to manifest His Glory. That’s when the miracle happened… this friend of mine told the man to get up and life re-entered his body. It was a wonderful expression of the flowing power of the Glory of God. People who witnessed the event were shocked and some even praised God. Many of them probably didn’t even know God personally, but they knew He was real after they saw the evidence of His Glory.

God’s Glory is available for each of us today!

 Now I don’t know about you; but I believe that this is why we are here… to demonstrate God’s Glory in the tough moments of everyday life. What God wants to do in the Church is move us into a fresh new realm of Glory everyday. He has a special Glory for today’s experiences, won’t you look for it? (Isa 43:19).

 Moses asked God, “Please show me Your Glory” (Ex 33:18).

 Paul reminds the Corinthians that the purpose of our redemption was so that we might increase in the Glory (2 Cor 3:18). You are His Child today and called to the same ministry that Jesus modeled in the Earth (Jn 14:12). This will require us to receive His Glory and maintain the fullness of the Spirit upon us. Recognize; there is no greater privilege, no greater life, than to become carriers of His Glory!

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