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Posts tagged ‘New King James Version’

Prophetic Word for 2014: The Righteous Will Never Be Shaken.


 

oak stree
The righteous will never be shaken. (Stock.xchng)

For many years I’ve heard prophecies proclaiming, “Whatever can be shaken will be shaken.” Indeed, I’m sure I’ve prophesied along those lines in years past. These types of prophecies are in line with Hebrews 12:27, which promises “the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

To be sure, the shaking is underway. There have been more earthquakes, famines, wars and volcanoes in the first 13 years of this century than the entire 20th century. At the same time, we’ve seen economic collapses, rising turmoil in the Middle East, the redefinition of marriage in a growing number of U.S. states and foreign nations, and a decline in church attendance. Clearly, the shaking is intensifying, just as many have prophesied.

A Mighty Promise From God

But there is yet good news. The Lord spoke these words to my heart, “The righteous will never be shaken.” This is in line with a mighty promise in Psalm 112 (NKJV):

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.

“Wealth and riches will be in his house, And his righteousness endures forever. Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

“Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; He will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

“He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor. The wicked will see it and be grieved;

He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked shall perish.”

You Are the Righteousness of God

This promise is for you, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Now, this is your legal position. Your living condition may not line up with your legal position. In other words, you may not fear the Lord or delight greatly in His commandments as you should. You may need to come up higher in trusting the Lord to battle the fearful imaginations that come against your mind. You may not be giving to the poor—or giving at all. You may need to cooperate a little more with the grace of God so that your living condition matches your legal position.

I beseech you by the mercies of God to come up higher this year. Yes, we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. But we still live in these fleshly tents. God wants to change us from glory to glory to reflect the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). Press into the gospel, “for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). As you pursue gospel truths, you’ll receive revelation of God’s righteousness in you that will spark faith to walk in His Word.

Vows to the Consistently Righteous

In the days and years ahead, you’ll want to tap into the promises to the righteous. The New King James version of Proverbs alone mentions the “righteous”—what the Amplified calls the “consistently righteous”— or “righteousness” 75 times. The righteous are promised:

Sound wisdom (Prov. 2:7)

God as their buckler Prov. 2:8)

His secret (Prov. 3:32)

Deliverance from death (Prov. 10:2)

Avoiding famines (Prov. 10:3)

Granted desires (Prov. 10:24)

Gladness (Prov. 10:28)

Immovability (Prov. 10:30)

Direction (Prov. 11:5)

Deliverance for family (Prov. 11:21)

Flourishing (Prov. 11:28)

Recompense in the earth (Prov. 11:31)

Right thoughts (Prov. 12:5)

Excellence (Prov. 12:26)

Life (Prov. 12:28)

Favor (Prov. 14:9)

Hope in death (Prov. 14:34)

Treasure (Prov. 15:6)

Heard prayers (Prov. 15:29)

Safety (Prov. 18:10)

Honor (Prov. 21:21)

Boldness (Prov. 28:1)

Rejoicing (Prov. 29:6)

Yes, there is a shaking going on. But the Lord wants you to know this: “The righteous will never be shaken.” Those things you put your trust in apart from God—people, money, positions, or something else—may be shaken but God won’t be shaken and you won’t be shaken if your rely completely on Him. So ask the Holy Spirit if your living condition lacks His righteousness in any way, and then work with His grace to pursue righteousness. Jesus put it this way: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33-34). Amen.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Prepare for Battle.


woman armed
(Alainjuteau/http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The days in which we are living are some of the most exciting in history. But they are not without peril. The kingdom of God suffers violence (see Matt. 11:12), yet these are still times of hope and peace for those who know who they are in Christ. In order to survive the onslaught of the enemy against us, we had better learn to become women who are mighty in spirit.

Perhaps my best example of such a woman is my mom, Gaynell Chavis Jacobs. Unassuming and unpretentious, Mom was baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit and raised 12 children to know, love and serve the Lord. She was an extraordinary prayer warrior, and when she would lay hands on the sick, they would be healed.

We all have this potential because Jesus declared: “Great works shall you do because I go to my Father” (see John 14:12). The Spirit of Christ will enable you to walk into a room and have every demon of hell walk out. He will empower you to speak God’s Word in a way that will change the atmosphere and the situation.

We are going to need this power. I believe we are in for the fight of our lives until Jesus comes back. There will be times when, despite our being Spirit-filled, we will encounter assaults from hell that are designed to stop us from doing what God has called us to do.

The devil is not after you because of who you are but because he knows what God has put in you and what God can do through you. In the natural, the giants will always appear bigger than you are, but in the supernatural, you can see through the eyes of the Spirit, just as Caleb did when he declared, “We are well able to conquer [the land]” (Num. 13:30, The Living Bible).

I’m sure there are many strategies for becoming mighty in spirit. But during the course of my life, I’ve found six practices to be very effective in overcoming the power of the enemy and walking in victory.

BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR CALLING In Galatians 1:15-16 Paul wrote: “Even before I was born God had chosen me to be His, and called me–what kindness and grace–to reveal His Son within me so that I could go to the Gentiles and show them the Good News about Jesus. When all this happened to me I didn’t go at once and talk it over with anyone else.”

When you are confident in your calling, you don’t have to seek anyone’s permission or approval. You know you are called because of the witness of the Holy Spirit inside you, but Satan will try to make you doubt that your calling is real.

I can recall an incident that happened to me when I first went out as a soloist in full-time ministry. During a service, a young girl, who was possessed by demonic spirits, lunged toward me, screaming obscenities and totally disrupting the meeting.

I could have given in to fear and intimidation, but I chose to put the enemy under my feet, and the girl was completely delivered and set free. Today, deliverance is still a vital part of my ministry.

God never told us that we were going to float along on this journey to become all that He destined for us and never have another problem. But He did promise us this: ” ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you’ ” (Is. 43:2, NKJV). You must decide now that you’re going all the way.

HAVE STRENGTH IN ADVERSITY When I left home to pursue God’s call on my life, I knew it was not going to be easy. I’d made up my mind to follow hard after the Lord, but I remember a very discouraging time in my life while I was in college.

I had just lost my mom. My father had already passed away. Trying to go on with my life while dealing with my intense grief was very difficult. Finally, I decided to abandon my plans and go back home.

On the day I was preparing to leave I suddenly thought, Maybe I should go to church one more time and say goodbye to my friends and my pastor. At the close of the Wednesday night service, my pastor called me onto the stage and said to me: “God says to tell you, ‘You are not your own, you have been bought with a price. I have chosen you and appointed you to go to the nations of the earth, so you can’t do what you want to do. My strength is made perfect in your weaknesses, for when you are weak, then I am strong.’ “

Without anyone touching me, I was slain in the spirit. Hours later, when I got up, I had a new confidence, a greater boldness and a determination to go on that hell could not touch.

Jesus said: ” ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you’ ” (John 15:16).

You, too, are not your own. Be strong and don’t abandon your calling.

DEVELOP GODLY CHARACTER When David wrote, “Assign me Godliness and Integrity as my bodyguards” (Ps. 25:21, The Living Bible), he must have understood that, ultimately, if your character is ungodly, it doesn’t matter how sweetly you sing or how people respond to your ministry. It is a grave mistake to put all your energies into your “kingdom work” and leave little or no time for intimacy with the Lord. You can begin to live to be seen by others and forget that character is who you are when no one is looking.

Isaiah said: “Be clean! You who bear the vessels of the Lord” (52:11, NKJV). There are times when I can’t do what I want to do. Paul says we must make faithfulness our goal. “Consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Morever it is required in stewards that one be faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2).

Leave a good example for those who will come behind you, unlike King Saul, who was anointed but lost his kingdom and his life. King David was anointed, also, yet he fell into a trap due to his unruly passions.

You must be painstakingly conscientious about everything–attitude, lifestyle, personal worship and gifts. The enemy of your destiny has already been defeated, so don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by his devices.

PRACTICE VIOLENT FAITH I believe that sometimes we come up against things in our lives when simply believing won’t be enough. I can remember a time when I was very sick with bronchitis, which, according to my doctor, had turned into pneumonia. At this point in my walk with the Lord, I was determined to go to the next level of faith, so I rejected my doctor’s recommendation of hospitalization and returned home.

For three weeks I was isolated from my husband, Jamie, and our two girls. I was believing for a miracle and expecting an angel to walk into my upstairs bedroom and lay his hands on me. Instead, as I lay in bed, I heard the Lord saying: “Get up out of this bed, go downstairs and command this junk to get out of your house and out of your body.”

I got up, realizing now that this was an attack from the devil to take me out. I opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch in the dead of winter. I was desperate. I had a word from the Lord, and I needed a miracle!

I lifted my voice and said: “In the name of Jesus, bronchitis, pneumonia and everything associated with it, get out of my body….You cannot stay, and you will not stay. On the authority of God’s Word and through the name of Jesus, you will leave right now!”

Immediately I felt an overwhelming breath flow through my body. That kind of attack has not been back at my house. All you need is one word to see God do the miraculous.

Violent faith combines determination with spiritual aggressiveness and raw, if you will, guts. Violent faith is Abraham standing on top of a mountain, preparing to sacrifice his promise (Isaac) to God (see Gen 22).

It’s Esther going into the king’s chamber for the sake of her people, saying, ” ‘If I perish, I perish!’ ” (v. 4:16). And it’s Peter taking the crippled man by the hand, saying, ” ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,’ ” then jerking the man to his feet (Acts 3:6, NKJV).

Violent faith will cause you to do things in the supernatural that make no sense in the natural. As you practice it, your prayer life and hunger for God will increase, and there will be a determination forged in you that nothing can shake.

BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER The apostle Paul gave us a formula for getting our prayers answered and tearing down the enemy’s strongholds. He wrote these powerful words: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18, NKJV).

Jesus said: ” ‘Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you’ ” (Matt. 7:7, NLT).

Don’t give up. Pray again. You may be feeling right now that you have tried, cried, prayed and fasted without results. With as much compassion as I can write this, I would tell you that what moves God more than anything is faith, violent faith!

Taking back what is yours from the forces of darkness takes courage and is not for those who are passive or faint of heart. It is for the person who would say: “This is it, I am drawing the blood line today. It will never be the same again.”

You can exercise this kind of faith, too. You can choose to say, “I know what the outcome of this thing is going to be, so I am going to lift my head up and rejoice, because right now the Father God is working it all out.”

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know About Spiritual Warfare.


Satanic pride
(Stock.xchg)

When God called Jeremiah as a prophet to the nations, it came with a sixfold prophetic-apostolic mandate to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build and plant. A humble Jeremiah accepted the calling and, despite the spiritual warfare that raged against him, he walked in obedience and fulfilled his mission in God.

Prophets or not, God’s people are still called to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build and plant. We don’t engage in physical battles, but we wrestle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12, NKJV). We have spiritual weapons for offense and defense, including the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit and prayer (vv. 14-18).

As Paul said, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10:3-6, KJV).

3 Things Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know 
First, Satan doesn’t want you to know that you have the authority in Christ to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build and plant. Or, as Paul describes it, pull down strongholds, cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Second, Satan doesn’t want you to know that you are wrestling against persons without bodies that are launching fiery, faith-stealing darts against your mind in the form of thoughts contrary to God’s Word.

However, most savvy Christians understand their authority in Christ and realize they are in a battle that’s targeting their minds. Yet there’s still one thing Satan doesn’t want you to know about spiritual warfare: You can’t effectively pull down strongholds, cast down imaginations and bring every thought into captivity without casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God in your own mind. Consider the Amplified Bible’s version of 2 Corinthians 10:3-6:

“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.”

Casting Down Your Proud Thoughts
We all know we can’t battle Satan in the flesh, yet the temptation is to rely on the flesh in warfare in subtle ways. As I’ve noted in the past, in an article entitled “You’re Resisting the Devil, So Why Won’t He Flee?” we can take pride in our spiritual warfare skills. But it’s not just pride in our warfare skills that can hinder our effectiveness in destroying strongholds. It’s pride in any area of our life.

Of course, we all have a measure of pride in our carnal nature. But when the Holy Spirit is dealing with us about pride in some area—or when we see our own pride and don’t cry out for the grace of humility—we’re walking in sheer disobedience. The Bible says we are to have a “readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Cor. 10:6, KJV). I believe the more we seek to walk in obedience to the Word of God, the more effective we’ll be in spiritual warfare.

So we return once again to the admonition of James: “He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:6-8, NKJV).

In our flesh, we’re no match for the devil. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to back up our authority in Christ to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build and plant. We can’t drive demons into obedience to the Word of God when we’re blatantly disobeying the Word of God in any area, whether it’s walking in pride or some other sin.

Before you engage in spiritual warfare, examine your heart, and take the time to break agreement with the enemy, repent before God and ask for His guidance. It could be that you’ve opened the door to the spiritual enemies that are attacking you and that simply renouncing agreement with them will stop the attack. In any case, we should enter spiritual warfare with confidence but not arrogance. We can be confident that God will lead us into triumph over our enemies if we lean and depend on Him and not on carnal weapons or pride. Amen.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

{ Day 336 }.


For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the thing of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, NKJV

Jesus promises to proclaim the Father’s name as He sings in the midst of the congregation (Heb. 2:12). This implies that the Holy Spirit gives the church a deeper revelation of the nature and personality of God in prophetic messages through song. It also encourages extolling and declaring the majesty and beauty of God and His ways through prophetic prayers that are sung. Romans 8:26 states that the Holy Spirit, who resides within believers, helps them communicate the depths of their being to God in prayer that is in harmony with His will. Still, I think there will be an intensification of the Spirit’s work in releasing His songs before the Second Coming of Jesus. Perhaps one aspect of the depths of God is the treasury of heavenly music that the Holy Spirit will impart to prophetic musicians within the body of Christ for the blessing of all mankind and the furthering of God’s kingdom. This music will reflect a full range of the attributes of our awesome God, from His tender mercy to His terrible judgments.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me, Spirit, to recognize the beautiful bridge that music builds to link the revelations of our awesome God to us, His people. Let me show Your beauty through my expressions.

The Holy Spirit is the communication
link between God and His people.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 335 }.


I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You. Hebrews 2:12, NKJV

This scripture implies that one of the deepest longings within the heart of Jesus is to sing the praises of His Father in the midst of and through the instrumentality of the congregation of the believing. In light of the nature and importance of music, it should not surprise us that God has used minstrels to inspire and activate the prophetic (2 Kings 3:15). Nor should it be surprising that prophetically inspired people will be led to sing in the Spirit, communicating the heart of God to His people and the heart of His people back to God. This is the essence of what some have termed the “song of the Lord.” This phrase, popularized by the charismatic renewal of recent decades, refers to the scriptural references to the Lord’s song (Ps. 137:4), spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19), and singing a new song to the Lord (Ps. 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 149:1; Isa. 42:10).

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Free my spirit to express the songs of Your Spirit. Help me to communicate the heart of God to Your people through my unfettered expressions in the Spirit.

The risen Christ loves to impart some of the passion
He has for His Father into the hearts of His
younger brothers and sisters through
giving them His songs by the Spirit.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 335 }.


I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You. Hebrews 2:12, NKJV

This scripture implies that one of the deepest longings within the heart of Jesus is to sing the praises of His Father in the midst of and through the instrumentality of the congregation of the believing. In light of the nature and importance of music, it should not surprise us that God has used minstrels to inspire and activate the prophetic (2 Kings 3:15). Nor should it be surprising that prophetically inspired people will be led to sing in the Spirit, communicating the heart of God to His people and the heart of His people back to God. This is the essence of what some have termed the “song of the Lord.” This phrase, popularized by the charismatic renewal of recent decades, refers to the scriptural references to the Lord’s song (Ps. 137:4), spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19), and singing a new song to the Lord (Ps. 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 149:1; Isa. 42:10).

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Free my spirit to express the songs of Your Spirit. Help me to communicate the heart of God to Your people through my unfettered expressions in the Spirit.

The risen Christ loves to impart some of the passion
He has for His Father into the hearts of His
younger brothers and sisters through
giving them His songs by the Spirit.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 333 }.


But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11, NKJV, emphasis added

Being called into some kind of prophetic ministry is not necessarily the reward for how diligent you have been to seek to mature in prophecy. It’s not even determined by how eager you are to grow in wisdom and character. It is a matter of God‘s sovereign call. The same thing is true with regard to each individual manifestation of the Spirit. We serve a personal God who has His own purposes for each individual. God is not an impersonal force. A Tibetan monk may go through exercises and disciplines, thinking these will help him become an ascended master. But the gifts and callings of God are not primarily based on our striving, seeking, or searching, but they are based on His sovereign choice and His grace. It is not a matter of our efforts to attain or develop spiritual skills. It is all about God’s sovereign calling and God’s gracious giftings.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, help me to understand the purpose for the giftings You have given to me. Show me why You have called me to these gifts, and enable me to respond as Your grace gives me strength.

There is a place for diligently seeking to grow in gifting,
character, and maturity. But while diligence causes you
to grow within your calling, it does not
determine your calling.

By MIKE BICKLE.

What Should We Be Most Grateful For This Thanksgiving?.


Carey Kinsolving

In reading Thanksgiving poems, I came across this clever writing by Edgar A. Guest“When turkey’s on the table lain, / And good things I may scan, / I’m thankful that I wasn’t made / A vegetarian.”

Vegetarians and carnivores alike should be grateful for this Thanksgiving prayer written by Steve, 10: “Dear Lord, thank you for my dear family and that none of them have been hurt physically. Thank you for my food, clothes and house. Lord, I especially pray for our police officers, our country and president. Give him wisdom to make the right choices.

“Thank you for sending your son to die for us. Thank you for all my blessings. Amen!”

The Apostle Paul called for all Christians to pray for “kings and all who are in authority” (I Timothy 2:1). All Christians, regardless of your political persuasion, should pray for the president, his cabinet, the Congress, governors, military leaders, fire fighters, police officers and other government authorities.

I confess that I often take for granted the peaceful conditions in which I live in South Texas. All I have to do is travel about 30 miles to the Mexican border to realize why I should be giving thanks. If you ever have an opportunity to befriend a police officer, you’ll learn about the challenges the police face every day so that we can live in peace.

Even if you don’t patrol the streets with a gun in your holster, you can pull the trigger in the spiritual realm by praying for those in authority. The Bible tells us there’s a realm where demonic rulers war against God‘s angels and God’s people for the control of nations (Daniel 10:4-14). The battle is hot, the casualties are real and the consequences eternal.

Let’s be thankful for victory in the greatest battle, says Karla, 11: “This Thanksgiving, we should be grateful for what the Lord has done for us, and what he let his wonderful, loving son do for us. Jesus Christ gave his life for our sins without complaining or even worrying what would happen to him. Even though Jesus Christ died at 33, he still lives inside of all of us, if you let him in.”

I’m glad you made it clear, Karla, that Jesus lives today.

Be grateful that Jesus looked evil in the eye and didn’t blink. When falsely accused at his trials, he didn’t answer. When mocked and spit upon, he refused to retaliate. When nailed to a cross, he asked his Father to forgive his tormentors. But when placed in a tomb after his murderers thought they had won, he burst the bonds of death to give eternal life to all who believe in him.

“This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for being safe,” says Shelby, 11. “I am part of a great American body and under God’s control. I am thankful that God is a part of me, and I can trust he will take care of me. I will keep trusting God.”

We’re glad to be Americans, but we must remember that America is not unshakeable or eternal. Everyone who belongs to Jesus, however, is part of an everlasting kingdom. As the Bible says, “So let us be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken,” (Hebrews 12:28 NCV).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and the Mission Explorers Documentary at http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CAREY KINSOLVING

Publication date: November 15, 2013

{ Day 330 }.


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:5-6, NKJV

Because of our preconceived notions, we sometimes draw wrong conclusions from God‘s silence or His presumable lack of intervention on our behalf. We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned or that we are unworthy of His attention or perhaps that we are being punished for something. But that was certainly not the case with Lazarus. The Scriptures say several times that Jesus loved Lazarus along with his two sisters, Mary and Martha, but His delay in coming to help Lazarus in his greatest need was precisely calculated. We know that Jesus’s seeming lack of response had nothing to do with lack of love, but had everything to do with fulfilling the redemptive purpose of God. The ensuing miracle was a prophetic sign to many of His own resurrection. But for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary it was something more—a lesson to trust God always, even when they must walk in darkness beyond the edge of their understanding.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like Martha I often cry out, “Why didn’t You come when I called?” Teach me the lesson of placing my ultimate trust in You even when I cannot understand Your plan and purpose.

We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned
or that we are unworthy of His attention or
perhaps that we are being
punished for something.

By MIKE BICKLE.

How Parents Influence Your View of God.


mom with kids
A parent has a powerful influence on how their children view God. (http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The problem of belief in God has never been solely to convince the conscious mind. If it were, He would need only to raise up brilliant debaters and apologists rather than pastors and churches that nurture. Paul wrote, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10, KJV).

It is easy to confuse deep, heartfelt conviction with mere intellectual assent and to think salvation is thereby accomplished. I do not mean to say that anyone’s conversion experience is thereby invalid, but that it did not finish the process. We have been too easily convinced of completion.

When belief in the heart, to whatever degree, opens the floodgates of understanding to the mind and conviction to the spirit, and we respond in the sinner’s prayer to invite Jesus in, we are redeemed and justified. Our sins are washed away in the blood of the Lamb and our destinies are changed from hell to heaven. We are once and for all time fully saved.

But the experience of conversion is not all there is to being saved. Salvation has a larger meaning than justification, redemption, being born anew, going to heaven or all these put together.

Unbelieving Saints

Redemptionjustification, being born anew are entrances to the process of growing into salvation (1 Pet. 2). Going to heaven is the end product. All of what happens in between, the process ofsanctification and transformation, is the major part of salvation, which means “to become whole, to be healed.”

When we ask, “Have you been saved, brother?” we mean redeemed, justified, born anew and going to heaven. Well and good. But perhaps the question is confusing. If we mean, “Has the Lord gotten hold of you, paid the price, and set your face toward heaven?” every born-anew Christian ought to answer with an unqualified, “Yes, I’m saved, and I’m going to heaven.”

But concerning the process in this life of being saved, none ought ever to reply that it is all done. Each one should answer, “I’m saved, and I’m being saved every day,” because “by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14, NASB).

Although every believer is in process, he knows by faith that positionally he has already been made perfect and is already being raised up to sit with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). Whatever further conversions of the heart we explore ought never to be taken to imply that our first conversion was invalid or insufficient.

On the other hand, no matter how dramatic or conclusive that conversion was, we run the risk of crippling our abundant life the moment we build a tabernacle as though it once and for all finished the process it, in fact, only began. The heart needs to be transformed anew every day, or we fail to grow in Jesus. Indeed, that is our primary definition of growth in Christ—further and further death and rebirth through continuing inner conversion.

Continual conversion of a believer’s heart moves the heart from unbelief to belief and repentance. This happens as the light of God’s Word reaches into the dark, hidden recesses of the heart, and begins to prepare it to produce good fruit (Matt. 13:3-8).

Historically, in America, sanctification has come to mean striving to live up to the law on the base of a supposedly transformed character. That struggle all too often has led to judgmentalism because tragically, the transformation had never been complete.

True, we are washed clean at the moment of conversion, and our consciences sprinkled (Heb. 9:14). But not all the character has been transformed at that moment.

Jesus is not yet that firmly seated as Lord in the inner depths of many Christians. It must hurt the Lord deeply that in churches considered most sound, sin so often still runs rampant, even among the leaders. Or where obvious sin has not reared its head, so little fruit of the Spirit is seen.

In such churches, conversion may be complete in the conscious mind, but the heart remains almost untouched.

The Lord must be allowed to fully occupy each believer’s heart. This will be accomplished through the weapon of the Word of God being spoken to one another through preaching of the Word, the ministry of small groups, and through diligent, intercessory prayer for and with each other. As the Word touches the places of unbelief in our hearts, we will arise in conversion to take up the battle cry against the flesh and make it our joy to plunge to inner death and rebirth.

Purity of Heart

Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (KJV). Mark again those words, “pure in heart.” Jesus was saying that those whose hearts are purified come to understand and embrace God for who He actually is.

The inference is that because our hearts are not pure, we impute to God motives and ways that are not His. We do not see God, but only our projection of Him.

The Scripture teaches, “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:19-21, NASB).

Here we see that the impurity is hate. Our hatred of fellow human beings colors what we see of God—or prevents it altogether.

This is one of the primary facts that necessitates continual conversion of the heart. Our hidden andforgotten judgments, especially against our fathers and mothers, prevent us from seeing God as He is.

“He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness,” wrote Solomon (Prov. 20:20). Our judgments made against our parents in childhood, usually long forgotten, have darkened our spiritual eyes. We do not see ourselves, others, life or God accurately.

Many times people have come to us saying: “Don’t talk to me about a loving God. Why doesn’t He stop all the wars, or at least prevent some of the bestial things men do to men, sometimes in the very name of religion? Or doesn’t He care?” We have all heard statements like that.

Being prayer ministers, Paula and I never try to defend God. We avoid theological debates. We know the answer is not a mental one but a matter of an impure heart. We merely ask, “What was your father like?”

Invariably we uncover a history similar to what the person has imputed to God—cruelty, insensitivity, desertion, criticism and so forth. No matter what the mind may learn in Sunday school of a gentle and loving God who “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16), the heart has been scarred and shaped by reactions to our earthly fathers.

As a result, we often project cruelty, insensitivity, desertion, criticism and other negative factors onto our understanding of who God is. Our minds may declare His goodness, but our behaviors reveal what the heart really thinks: “As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7, NKJV). Until we are able to forgive our natural fathers for the hurts they may have caused in our hearts, and repent for the judgments we have formed against them, we will not be able to truly see God as gentle, kind and lovingly present in our lives.

Repentance Fosters Healing

I (John) had a gentle, kind father who was a traveling salesman and gone much of the time. During the summer of 1979, I found myself puzzling over why thoughts of unbelief so often trooped through my mind.

In airports or while driving on busy freeways, I would find myself thinking, How can God really be concerned about every detail of all these people’s lives? Or, How can He actually know every hair that falls from every one of these teeming millions of heads? (See Matthew 10:30.)

My mind insisted, “This is purely a logical matter. After all, that’s a reasonable question to ask.” But my spirit was not at rest.

Finally I thought to ask the Lord. He instantly replied, “Your father had little time to notice what you were doing.” That revealed my inner world of judgments. I had judged, “Dad wouldn’t see, compliment, affirm or care.”

Nevermind that he did, in fact, do those things when he was home. My bitter root grew because he wasn’t always there. So, of course, God wouldn’t be there for me. And I worked so hard for Him!

Those thoughts plagued my mind most especially whenever Paula and I were busy serving the Lord. The little boy had been hurt because he worked so hard and received so little notice for it, and the grown-up subconsciously expected God to treat him like that, too.

Following the revelation, repentance was easy and joyous. I have never since been bothered by such nagging doubts. Now I do not merely have belief, but surety of knowing and feeling that my Father sees and approves of my service to Him. Now I have abiding fellowship with Him, in heart as well as spirit (1 John 1:3).

How many of us have come to our parents for something, and they said, “We’ll see,” and then forgot about it? Or our parents made a promise to buy us something, but either it never arrived or came so late that the joy of it was gone. Covertly, that colored our faith in God.

What kind of anger did we push down and forget, because we thought, It’s not good to be angry with Dad and Mom. What kind of resentful judgments did our hearts cherish and our minds forget?.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

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