Posts Tagged ‘treasure’

The Point

“Living for Jesus”

Our highest prize is to be found living for Jesus. God is offering us the invitation to walk in spiritual prosperity and release His love to the world around us. Our enemies are God’s enemies, our difficulties are God’s difficulties and yet, our victory is God’s testimony. We are beginning to understand that we have full access to everything for which Jesus died. Its not about the bigger, better or more popular life, its about gaining Christ. He has captured our hearts, by loving us in the midst of discovery!

“We cannot, but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

Often the disciplines of our Christian faith can lead us to believe that our life is more about dying to self than living for Christ. Yet, we are exchanging the ashes of a misguided life for the beauty of abiding in His Presence. Though darkness lasts for the night, fresh joy gets released in the morning. The Lord, Himself becomes our Everlasting Light and shapes the way we see our world. It truly is Christ in us that is the hope of Glory (Col 1:27).

The Unveiling:

Glory goes unseen by many, because human desires of the flesh are a veil that the devil uses to hide what is available to us (2 Cor 4:4-6). The inward, spiritual man is so much more wonderful than the outer, natural man of flesh and blood. Its the Holy Spirit’s influence that begins to delight our heart and remove the veil of flesh, so that blessing, purpose and fruitfulness can emerge as our treasure (2 Cor 3:16-18). And treasure it, we will… just try to still our voice, shift our vision or hold us back! We have understood the call to go forth in power and it is now inside us, to endure all things with bold perseverance (Heb 10:35-39).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Rom 8:31-37)

Trained by Chastening

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

As you grow in your walk with God, you will discover that one of the strongest forces you will ever face is to rule your own flesh! But that is exactly what “chastening” is… ruling and reigning over your flesh! Your flesh will try to oppose you, stand against you and resist you on all sides. You find that the flesh has a memory and a mind of its own. It will distract you and try to lure you into believing that you can do a little, but still get a lot. It will whine like a baby and cry about the “unfair treatment” you are challenging it with… even before anything has been done. Yet your goal must be relentless… as believers we are commanded to crucify the flesh! (Rom. 12:1-2)

The Serious Nature of Chastening:

The Apostle Paul said, “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it (the flesh) my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor. 9:27). He saw something deeply rooted inside that needed to be dealt with or it would be his greatest disappointment… he would look like a hypocrite to those that he was preaching to. Also he felt the weight of being disqualified for the prize… the highest honor of pleasing God with his assignment.

If you’re going to be mightily used by God, your flesh must be disciplined so it can become an instrument through which the Holy Spirit can flow. You have to pay the price of crucifying the flesh in order to have the resurrection power of Jesus Christ expressed through your life.

The Unruly Child:

If you look at a child with no parental guidance or discipline, you’ll see exactly what the flesh does when it has its own way. The child will probably lie around, watch television, and eat junk food from morning till evening. And any person who lets his flesh do what it wants will most likely adopt the same lifestyle! That’s why dealing with the flesh is almost like chastening a child. The flesh must be controlled, corrected and made to obey even if it wants to do otherwise. The process is painful, but the rewards are eternal!

To be treated like Sons and Daughters of God!

Here is the often forgotten exhortation: chastening is part of the family dynamic… God chastens the ones He loves and receives! Don’t let your flesh rob you of the joy of the Father’s heart revealing itself in intimacy and embrace. He is treating us like His sons and daughters… rather than slaves.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” (Heb. 12:5-8)

The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness:

1st) You are Legitimate Sons: You are not slaves – you are Sons. Let that sink into your mind and meditate on it whenever you feel the burn of the flesh. Remind your flesh once more that the benefits far outweigh the pain or discomfort. Sons walk in favor, receiving all the privileges and resources of the family. Sons do not fight for their rights or “earn” their keep… they are legitimate and carry their training as a badge of honor. The look in their faces and the confidence in their behavior shows that the were shaped in the Father’s household.

2nd) You are Partakers of Kingdom Discipline: You are looking better every day… and in every way! Chastening reveals the gold… the treasure that is inside comes to the surface (2 Cor 4:7). This divine fruit of righteousness means that Christ Himself is being formed in you, reflecting through you and working itself out beyond you… to others. Love, joy, peace, patience and kindness, self-control and faithfulness are beginning to bubble up to the surface and there is a revelation of God’s voice in every step you take.

A Depth of Knowledge

Jesus said, “But when you fast…” (Mt 6:17).

The lifestyle of prayer and fasting was and still remains part of traditional Jewish faith. For example, Yom Kippur is another name for the Day of Atonement and part of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. As one of the most important days of the Jewish year, prayer and fasting is practiced as a means of repentance. What this tells us is that prayer and fasting was as important to the spirituality of the Jew as any other discipline. It was used to challenge the depth of a person’s spiritual strength and evaluate where they found their treasure. That is why Jesus would say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).

Its how Jesus would have defined maturity. We see the Son of God grow in strength and favor with God and man as He maintained a sensitivity to the voice of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must adopt the same disciplines if we want to deepen our spirit and impact our world.

A lifestyle of Prayer and Fasting does 3 things well…

  1. Deepens our roots in the discipline of faith (Acts 10:30)
  2. Deepens our strength in the battles we endure (2 Cor 10:3-6)
  3. Deepens our discernment in the spiritual realm (Acts 13:2)

Deep People:

Let’s take this thought one step further. A church’s greatest treasure is its deep people. I know recent church growth manuals emphasize seekers, young people and programs, but more than any other issue… depth matters! A healthy church is a growing church, yet if there is no core of deep people, its in trouble no matter how big it becomes.

Nurturing Depth:

Deep people do not just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured by a lifestyle of commitment to maturity. Spiritual depth is nurtured with the oversight of the Holy Spirit… from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). Maturity must be understood much like a farmer would understand his crop. Unless the seeds of faith are planted deeply, fertilized and nurtured, those seeds will not produce the type of harvest desired. Good farmers define their harvest by its fruitful plants not by its beautiful field. A strong harvest relies upon deep roots and strong plants.

Prayer and Fasting deepens the believing heart for larger people and larger Kingdom impact. Its time that we lift up out eyes and begin to see the harvest (Jn 4:35).

Our Highest Prize

Scripture: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:31-32)

Thought for Today: “Living for Jesus – boldly”

Our highest prize is to be found living for Jesus. Living in such a way… that places are shaken, fullness is experienced, unity is established and all things are shared among a generous fellowship. God is offering us the invitation to walk in spiritual prosperity and release His love to the world around us. Our enemies are God’s enemies, our difficulties are God’s difficulties and yet, our victory is God’s testimony. We are beginning to understand that we have full access to everything for which Jesus died. Its not about the bigger, better or more popular life, its about gaining Christ. He has captured our hearts, by loving us in the midst of discovery!

“We cannot, but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

Prayer and fasting can lead us to believe that our Christian faith is more about dying to self than living for Christ. Yet, we are exchanging the ashes of a misguided life for the beauty of abiding in His Presence. Though darkness lasts for the night, fresh joy gets released in the morning. The Lord, Himself becomes our Everlasting Light and shapes the way we see our world. It truly is Christ in us that is the hope of Glory (Col 1:27).

The Unveiling:

Yet, Glory goes unseen, because flesh is a veil that the devil uses to hide what is available to us (2 Cor 4:4-6). The inward, spiritual man is so much more wonderful than the outer, natural man of flesh and blood. Its the Holy Spirit’s influence that begins to delight our heart and remove the veil of flesh, so that blessing, purpose and fruitfulness can emerge as our treasure (2 Cor 3:16-18). And treasure it, we will… just try to still our voice, shift our vision or hold us back! We have understood the call to go forth in power and it is now inside us, to endure all things with bold perseverance (Heb 10:35-39).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Rom 8:31-37)

Deeper Believers

Scripture: “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

Thought for Today: “Developing A Spiritual Depth”

The lifestyle of prayer and fasting was and still remains part of traditional Jewish faith. For example, Yom Kippur is another name for the Day of Atonement and part of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. As one of the most important days of the Jewish year, prayer and fasting is practiced as a means of repentance. What this tells us is that prayer and fasting was as important to the spirituality of the Jew as any other discipline. It was used to challenge the depth of a person’s spiritual strength and evaluate where they found their treasure. That is why Jesus would say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).

Jesus said, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face”… because its not about appearances, but deepening your believing heart. (Mt 6:17).

Its how Jesus would have defined maturity. We see the Son of God grow in strength and favor with God and man as He maintained a sensitivity to the voice of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must adopt the same disciplines if we want to deepen our spirit and impact our world.

A lifestyle of Prayer and Fasting does 3 things well…

  1. Deepens our roots in the discipline of faith (Acts 10:30)
  2. Deepens our strength in the battles we endure (2 Cor 10:3-6)
  3. Deepens our discernment in the spiritual realm (Acts 13:2)

Deep People:

Let’s take this thought one step further. A church’s greatest treasure is its deep people. I know recent church growth manuals emphasize seekers, young people and programs, but more than any other issue… depth matters! A healthy church is a growing church, yet if there is no core of deep people, its in trouble no matter how big it becomes.

Nurturing Depth:

Deep people do not just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured by a lifestyle of commitment to maturity. Spiritual depth is nurtured with the oversight of the Holy Spirit… from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). Maturity must be understood much like a farmer would understand his crop. Unless the seeds of faith are planted deeply, fertilized and nurtured, those seeds will not produce the type of harvest desired. Good farmers define their harvest by its fruitful plants not by its beautiful field. A strong harvest relies upon deep roots and strong plants.

Prayer and Fasting deepens the believing heart… deeper people means larger Kingdom impact. Its time that we lift up out eyes and begin to see the harvest (Jn 4:35).

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