Posts Tagged ‘Walk Of Faith’

Covenant Resources

(Ps. 103:1-5) Bless the Lord, oh my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

  1. Who forgives all your iniquities,
  2. Who heals all your diseases,
  3. Who redeems your life from destruction,
  4. Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
  5. Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

My Heavenly Father renews my spirit (Eph 3:16). He offers resources, benefits and inheritance that strengthen my confidence and encourage my walk of faith. Each one of His benefits are promises to meet the need and teach me of His power and His Glory. Along the pages of my Bible; you’ll find written and dated Covenant principles that remind me of His provision for me. They are truths that will not fail!

  • He Forgives: (Isaiah 1:18)

Jesus tells us of the Father’s agreement through the blood of His own Son. A Covenant of Forgiveness and Grace. “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Mt. 26:28).

  • He Heals: (Isaiah 53:5)

I love the way Jesus fulfills His Father’s will and establishes the truth for our provision at the same time. “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (Mt. 8:16-17)

  • He Redeems: (Psalm 34:22)

Jesus declares us - righteous by faith (Rom. 3:21-24)! A reality that cannot be accomplished by our own efforts is made available through a free gift. Because we take refuge in the promises of God, there is a fellowship in the Holy Spirit that enables me to be free from the grip of sin. I am free to live in the destiny God has for me. Redemption allows me to watch as God restores the brokenness and fears of the past.

  • He Crowns: (Psalm 8:5)

The word crown can also be translated “clothed” and we see that Jesus tells His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were clothed in power from on high (Lk. 24:49). Its the Father’s will that His Children be clothed with Glory and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. The benefit of the Father’s Promise (Acts 2:4 & 8) gives us influence over the world’s system and releases supernatural impact right where we live.

  • He Satisfies: (Psalm 23:1)

Jesus makes the evidence of salvation a renewal every morning. He meets with me and satisfies my soul as a Good Shepherd leads sheep to pasture. His invitation becomes an abiding rest and empowerment. On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood on a high place and shouted, “If anyone thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (Jn 7:37-38).

Seeing Like God

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” (1 Sam. 16:1-2)

God’s greatest challenge is always to get us to see what He is seeing!

There is a key phrase in the above situation that unlocks some wisdom for us… God says “Samuel, you have to get over your feelings for Saul… if you want to see what I am doing.” When Samuel was able to obey God, “fill his horn with oil and go to Bethlehem”; an amazing plan would become visible. It was actually going to unfold before his very eyes… and go beyond his human perception. In fact, natural sight would limit Samuel’s vision! God had a king of His own choosing, to rule over Israel!

God’s guidance is usually not as discernible in the moment as it is in hindsight. We may not sense what God is doing in our midst of our situations or how God is leading us. Even the great “Prophetic Gift” did not unlock what God was doing. Yet, God did have a plan… a purpose that would gradually become more clear, more discernible and more acceptable to Samuel’s human understanding. That is the story of every Christian Believer… it is a walk of faith, not sight! Thus we must be willing to train ourselves let go of our “perceptions” in order to see what God sees.

Seeing the Big Picture:

“I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”

This story, as with so much of the Old Testament; demonstrates that God’s “providence” operates beyond the realities in which our seeing operates. But even so… we remain within reach of God… so we can have a participation in the process. Note that God’s “Big Picture” is on the flock and not just the individual sparrow. We have to remember that we are co-laborers… to His plans and purposes. In our “do it myself” age, we tend to individualize so many of the messages of the Bible. Here, it is important to note that it is the community, the people of faith that is under God’s care. Neither Samuel nor Jesse’s household would have understood the way in which God was providing for Israel, but God’s eyes were on the people as a whole and not merely the individuals.

Samuel might have questioned the direction God was sending him… Jesse might have questioned the choices Samuel was making as he turned away all of the older boys… But God was providing for His people, a king of His own criteria! He had seen something, known something and was doing something that was way beyond the limitations of human choice.

We must remember this when we decide to attack our own problems with our wisdom and limited experience. God sees the Big Picture and has a plan and purpose in His directives that go far beyond our imagination and skill level. The only way to see like God is to begin with surrendering your sight to the Holy Spirit. You might ask “How?”… and I would tell you that you will never do it by ignoring what you see!

The way to do it is by focusing on the right goal… by looking into the riches of God’s Glory (2 Cor. 4:6)(Heb. 12:1-2).

Look Into the Glory:

As you look into the Glory of God you begin to see what God sees. Inside the human heart is the capacity to see things that are images and visions placed there from the Holy Spirit. What the heart sees is better than what the mind sees, because it has the ability to evaluate and discern where it is leading. God is never seeing life in terms of “snap-shots” or “snippets”, as we see and perceive. His vision is all about spiritual purpose and His awareness is complete with all understanding. He sees the end from the beginning, with a fore-knowledge of the next moment, year or decade.

He sees from a view of Eternity… and that is what He offers those who ask in faith!

Reasonable Service

I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy (and) acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  (Rom. 12:1)

This verse from Romans not only tells us the nature of true worship, but gives us the context for its success. Success is tied to an awareness of God’s mercy! As we are called to live for God, we must discover a mercy that goes beyond our sense of frailty. We need to know how to do all that He requires, all that is “holy and acceptable” to Him. This verse is a model that all Christian leaders ought to meditate upon. It offers us one of those key spiritual truths that reveals His heart to us.

Mercy is… God not giving us what we deserve! 

In my work of discipling nations, I see so many good spiritual leaders stumble and fall looking for their identity, only to become frustrated by the way religion has put faith in a box. If you are like me, you need mercy consistently because you live with limitations. Most of our limitations are between our ears, but sometimes we carry around pride and selfish ideas like they offer us hope in ministry. I find more questions than answers in the ”church culture” of today. So I would rather approach God from a fresh view of His mercy, than rules or institutional religious formulas.  

Reasonable Means Logical:

Rather than getting into a whole mess of Greek definitions, we need to look at one phrase. The Apostle Paul says that to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice… is “our reasonable service”. A service that would be reasonable sounds good. It would make “common sense” and be logical. The New International Version of the Bible says something interesting. It says this presentation of ourselves is our, “spiritual act of worship”. That means it is a functional lifestyle.

Here in this verse; the Apostle Paul uses the phrase, “logikan latreian”. The word “logikan”, kinda makes us think of our word logic or logical, refers to “thought out” or “well reasoned” - reasonable, if you will. ”Latreian” means “to serve, to render religious service or homage”.

Be Devoted to God’s Purposes:

“To worship” then as the Apostle Paul seems to be speaking of here means, “to be devoted to”. It speaks of who I serve with my life or who governs my life. Worship is more than just praising with words, as sincere as those words might be. Its about God’s purposes! It means more than just acknowledging God’s greatness! To worship God means service and activities that honor His priorities!

Devotion’s Foundational Pillars - Mercy & Logic:

We need to be devoted to God in all we do, because of His mercy, and because it is logical. To be devoted to God means allowing the Holy Spirit, at work in our lives, to govern us from a perception of mercy. We must yield ourselves to His leading.

Our spiritual journey is a walk of faith, a sacrificial one; but in light of mercy it becomes an effective one as well. Our spiritual journey is a walk holding on to our Master’s hand; but when led by the Holy Spirit a logic begins to emerge that guides us in all Truth. This is the renewed mind that we can expect from God (Rom. 12:2), for we have the Mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

Therefore, what we  must know, if we have seen the mercy of God and truly value it, you and I will present ourselves to God as devoted followers. We will lay aside all that would get in the way of pleasing Him. Doing so is our reasonable service… it is our worship. We are responding to the God we worship by giving ourselves to Him… and in turn we become filled with hope and faith.

He is faithful – His Mercy is New Every Morning!

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lam. 3:22-24)

Bible Teachers

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  (2 Tim. 2:15)

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (Jms. 3:1)

“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Heb. 5:12)

There is an expectation that as Christians, we mature to become teachers of the Word. But we must realize that raising up teachers in the Body of Christ, requires understanding in the things of the Spirit. Teaching; as with anything done for God, must carry an anointing and a testing of character, especially if it is to feed the hungry with Truth. Jesus, praying to His Father said, “Sanctify them by Your Truth. Your Word is Truth” (Jn. 17:17). With maturity comes responsiblity, and with responsibility comes accountability. Without a doubt, the greatest work of the Bible Teacher is to mature the believers so that they correctly and consistently divide God’s Words of Truth for themselves.

The “Sophomore Effect”: (Prov. 18:2) 

The word “sophomore” comes from “sophus” which means wise, and “moros” which means fool (where we get the word “moron”). A sophomore will often feel smarter than they really are. This sophomore effect is a dangerous reality that most recent converts must wrestle with. The Apostle Paul instructs overseers to “not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). He goes on to say that “they want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Tim. 1:7)

Influence Requires Maturity:

As teaching can have a huge impact on many people, teachers are to be judged more strictly, and not just by God. Teachers need to be scrutinized by the leaders and mature believers around them. They need correction and instruction in their gift, so they become workmen who accurately divide and offer practical instruction in the Truth. God’s Word, is what we are aiming to teach; and while there may always be a variety of methods, there are no real shortcuts. God’s Word must be taught in a way that releases the revelation of God’s heart. 

The Real Issue – “Itching Ears”

Too often people listen to teachers only to affirm what they want to hear, what sounds good to their “itching ears”. Yet, what sounds good; may actually offer no benefit, or worse - it may be harmful to their walk of faith. The Apostle Paul tells us, “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4) Too many Christians replace the Bible with their own theories and find their lives wandering off the solid paths of Christ. Even teachers who are products of a Bible College education can become mindless drones whose allegiance is to a denomination, religious tradition or worse, a “new revelation” of some sort, rather than the Word of God.

Warning to Teachers - ”Wolves”:

There are reasons why the Bible warnings us to beware of false teachers! Its because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing and have done great damage to the faith of honest believers. The Apostle Peter points out that, “…there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up” (2 Pet. 2:1-3). Even Jesus tried to warn us, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Mt 7:15).

Yet teaching the Word of God in an accurate way, releases abundant joy and spiritual strength into the Body of Christ! (Eph. 4:11-16)