Posts Tagged ‘soul’

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)

Going After God

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” (Ps. 63:1-8)

3 Truths About the Power of Thirst:

  1. Thirst stimulates the flesh… and motivates behavior!
  2. Thirst awakens the soul… and shapes imagination!
  3. Thirst places a demand upon the spirit… and causes hope to arise!

David understood how thirst sharpens the human heart to focus on God… and to go after God without hesitation. He speaks of how the chase for satisfaction aligns his desires and causes him to do spiritual things, like looking in the sanctuary, praising God vocally or lifting up his hands to celebrate the memory of God’s loving-kindness! Thirst is an essential part of our relationship with God! Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt. 5:6). Thirst leads to fullness… to satisfaction! When we search for the right drink, look in the right places and go after the right Person… our lives get filled. In fact, going after the living water Christ provides, is how love is discovered and keeps us coming back for more… its spiritual intimacy.

Love is Always Being Tested:

It is a sure thing that our commitment to Christ will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives so that true fellowship can be experienced and joy can come bubbling to the surface. Jesus said that when we abide in His love we would experience His joy (Jn. 15:11). This is the Spiritual Man’s greatest resource in Christ! As we process life on spiritual levels; our hearts are aligned and behaviors are adjusted and affirmed by a sense of the Presence of God. The Peace of God and the joy of Christ rule our hearts like nothing else can.

Talk about it!

Tell somebody of God’s great love for you! Testimonies help us feel encouraged and strengthen our resolve! We need not be anxious about our future, because God is with us. He has proven Himself in times of trials and our trust is set by our knowledge of His loving care for us. We can rejoice and be thankful through all things. There is an abiding peace which passes understanding, guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; and we are able to experience the stability of love in storms or struggles (Phil 4:4-7). Nothing can stand against us! Nothing can overwhelm us! Notice what arises out of David’s meditation from his bed:

A resolve to rejoice beneath the shadow of God’s wings and a willingness to follow close behind Him no matter what comes or goes.

At the Core, Love

Open and enjoy

Open with joy

There is a lot of confusion among people today, about the true essence of Christianity. Is Christianity a set of biblical teachings we are to follow? Is it just another world religion, that calls upon a god that cannot be known? Is it a philosophical view of the world that engages the weak and simple minded? Could it be more than just a set of beliefs, rituals and doctrines designed to get us into heaven someday after we die? Just what is the Christian faith and what key thoughts are at the core of a biblical worldview?

At the core of Christianity is a relationship.

Jesus said, ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-39)

Jesus was saying; Christianity is about who you are and how you relate to God… its about love!

According to the Bible, living in relationship with God defines all other relationships. Our most significant Christian Truth is that God designed us from the beginning for relationship with Him. We were created in His image and for His purpose. We have been made to become carriers of both His love and His promise, as His dear children.

Therefore, it is crucial that we know how God intends for us to see Him… as a loving Father.

Loving Him is where it all begins for the Christian. At the core of this relationship is the awareness that He first has loved us and revealed that love in tangible ways. Like a hug feels warm and embracing to the person receiving it; so also there are things God has revealed to us that we can see and receive as signs of His love for us.

God wants us to see and feel His love for us (Jn 14:21).

The most important sign is that God sent His only Son into the Earth to die upon a cross, in order to forgive us of all of our sin. His desire was to remove any barrier to the clear revelation that God, as a Father loves and delights in humanity. There would be no question of His heart toward us, if man could just see the gift offered freely and receive it with joyful appreciation.

God did not send Jesus to condemn us! (Jn 3:17)

His love is not revealed to us in this way to condemn or punish, but to communicate a willingness to receive us as sons and daughters no matter how far away from ”home” we have strayed (Lk 15:21-24)(Jn 1:12). God’s embrace is given with a promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5); that He wants to give us life abundant and restore what has been stolen by brokenness and confusion. He stays with us and walks it out within our hearts through the person of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5).

Beholding love, stirs us to love (1 Jn 3:1).

These are the amazing truths that enable us to respond to God as a Father and live with Him as sons and daughters. They compel us to embrace His heart and love Him back, in responsive relationship. Christianity is a life worth living, because at its core.. is love.

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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