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Living Stone

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  1. No condemnation intended, Christ's words made alive by the Holy Spirit and received, believed in our hearts, are able to make us, anyone, His disciples who then go and make other disciple by Him! And he (Jesus) said to them, “Follow me (My words), and I will make you fishers of men.”
  2. Who are today’s disciples of Jesus Christ? According to Jesus (Am I becoming a disciple myself – am I making others disciples? It is our mission) Matt 28:19 (Our Mission) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, There are just 6 things that Jesus said make and identify a disciple – 3 relate to the major areas of my life that God invites me to fully submit into His hands – my relationships, my possessions and my self will. The other 3 relate respectively to my continuing to allow God to impart Christ’s nature to my heart, my continuing to live in that new nature, which is love, towards other Christians and finally under the direction of God’s Spirit my ongoing willingness to share that nature– which is the life of Christ – through my prayers for and my words to both unbelievers and believers. Lu 14:26 If anyone comes to me and does not love less his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (In other words my love for God must be greater than my love for each of the members of my family and must exceed my love for myself – Surely in recognition that there is only One, Jesus Christ, who died for my sins how could my first allegiance and my first devotion not be to Him – otherwise I am not His disciple, and if I’m not a disciple of Christ what or who am I?). Lu 14:27 And whoever of you does not bear his cross (which is really his share of Christ’s cross, by understanding and believing that when we abide in Christ we share in His death on the cross to His flesh and thus become dead to our own flesh with its sin nature), and follow me (in the Spirit), cannot be my disciple. (Will I allow God to reveal to me that my own flesh, that is my human nature also being my sin nature where self rules, is despicable, ugly and the enemy of God? If so, I will gladly embrace the further revealed truth that when I am in Christ I am dead to my flesh with its sin nature because I now share in His death to the flesh on the cross - but if I reject God’s provision, in Christ, to free me from bondage to my sin nature, even though I know how it has harmed both me and others in the past, then I cannot be Christ’s disciple – and then what or who am I?) Lu 14:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake (surrender ownership claim to) all that he has, he cannot be my disciple. (In other words cheerfully transferring my authority to God over position, possessions, money, ambition, acclaim, image, an independent will, and personal rights. When the full impact dawns in my heart that God purchased my life from Satan, with all that this implies both now and for eternity, it will not be difficult for me to see that my stuff came with that purchase and belongs to God. If I refuse to see this truth it casts doubt on the validity of God’s purchase and I cannot be Christ’s disciple – then who am I?) Jo 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him If you abide in my word (continue in, feed your spirit on and walk in the light of) then you are my disciples indeed; (In other words day by day allowing God to impart more of His divine nature through His living words to my heart – progressively conforming me to Christ, by whose life in me I am enabled to overcome all 3 of my enemies, live in the center of God’s will and expand His Kingdom on earth. But if I drift away from God, neglect His ongoing salvation and lose my appetite for His daily spiritual bread my enemies will trample all over me and I will no longer be a disciple of Christ – then who am I?) Jo 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. (The love of God is in Christ Jesus, as we live in Christ, full of His Spirit with hearts abounding in His new and past words that He has spoken to us, His love nature as is reflected in 1st. Corinthians Chapter 13 will abound in us and through us to other Christians. But if we don’t live in Christ, in unbroken submission to His Spirit, and thoughts and words other than His abound in our hearts, then it will be impossible to walk in love towards other believers – and we will no longer be disciples of Christ – then who or what are we?) Jo 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples. (This is the fulfillment of our mission and our calling. It is only possible on a consistent basis as we believe and live in the five revealed truths outlined above concerning discipleship. Therefore now, in Christ, and being anointed by the Holy Spirit with our hearts daily nourished with more of God’s words, we will bear living fruit in the form of our prayers for others and in the form of our words that enter the hearts of others who have eras to hear them. In this way, through prayer and living words of God, the very life of Jesus Christ is imparted, birthing unbelievers into God’s Kingdom and making disciples of believers. Jesus said we are known in the spirit realm by the fruit of our lips. When we are in Christ, life giving words come from our hearts as living water – but when we are not living in Christ, we are detached from the Vine, our words are devoid of life and do damage to God’s kingdom – and we cease to be Christ’s disciples – and then what or who are we?). Matt 28:19 (Again, the Mission of a Christian is) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, A person has to be a disciple of Jesus themselves in order to be used of God to make others disciples of Jesus –Can I really be a Christian if I am not becoming nor intend to become a disciple of Jesus Christ? Let God answer this probing question in our hearts! God bless
  3. Thank you all for taking the time to view this post. My only desire with these posts are to strengthen and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ, just as I have been by the truths in them. God used others that know Him to share them with me and they have work mightily in me as I believe them. I spent decades of my natural life as a christian in the natural part of me, that is my flesh, not knowing my heavenly Father gave me a spirit, “a heart to know Him.” All those years I tried in my own strength to appropriate the knowledge of God thru my human intelligence, which ended in failure. And rightfully so, Jesus said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” This is not just hearing with our natural ears, otherwise all would hear and be saved. No it is much deeper, it is a hearing in the spirit. Our prideful intellects are the great hinderance, the veil that lies over our hearts. That’s why Jesus says, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things (the understanding of God’s word) from the wise and well educated (by this worlds standards) and revealed them to little children (humble, teachable, not masked with pride)… But when a person, the unconverted or a christian, “turns”, that is, away from self dependence toward God with the humble, teachable heart He gives them at the new birth and they hear, believe, with their heart what the Spirit says personally to them, “there is liberty.” God bless you, your brother in Christ
  4. We Christians have two natures one utterly corrupt the other totally divine Eph 4:22-24 (Written to Christians) That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man (human nature) which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts… and that you put on the new man (divine nature) which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. What the old man, human nature really looks like, The truth about the characteristics of my human nature, this is what the Bible refers to as my flesh, and this was the nature I lived in until I was born again. This nature is inherently selfish, self absorbed, self promoting and self pitying. It’s most dominant characteristic is pride, which man defines as boastful but which God broadens to mean a rebellious independence from Him. This nature secretly envies, covets and lusts after what others have. It lives entirely in the material visible realm, living by faith in God is foolishness. It makes all it’s choices and decisions by physical senses, human intellect and reasoning abilities, therefore it can only be content when all its circumstances are favorable. It falsely assumes that the accumulation of much stuff will result in happiness. Since these desires are seldom achieved it is prone to constant worry and anxiety over the potential lack of things. Even when they are achieved it is prone to worry and anxiety over the loss of those things. This nature, since it can’t find contentment within itself, is touchy and irritable about many trivial things; it is very easily angered and offended by others, and virtually incapable of truly forgiving them. It will bear grudges for a lifetime. It struggles to keep its basic animal wants in check and they often become compulsive or addictive. It tends to be lazy unless motivated by gain or glory, it is deceitful and manipulative. Because its core nature is so rotten it becomes a master at concealing and camouflaging itself with all manner of outward false airs and graces, that mask its true inner motives. If you ask me did God make me with this horrible nature? The answer is no. Where then did I get it? I got it from my parents who in turn ultimately got it from Adam and Eve. And they in turn got it from Satan when they believed his words – that’s how his nature got into them – instead of believing God’s words to them, so that His divine nature could have remained in them. We all, if we’re honest would agree that even if these characteristics don’t always manifest themselves outwardly, they are alive and well in our thoughts, Eph 2:2-3 In which you once walked according to the course of this world, NKJV/AMP according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh, our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature, obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind. We were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells… Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me… Jer 13:23 Neither are you able to do good—you who are accustomed to doing evil. As a Christian I will live in and continue to be controlled by this evil human nature, unless: (1) I consciously and very deliberately choose to live in, that is, for my will continually to be controlled by, my new nature. This nature is my spirit or heart, and it was created in Christ the moment that I was born again. However to live in this new divine nature requires that I remain in continuous submission to God’s Holy Spirit, as He directs all of my steps. Eze 36:26-28 I will give you a new heart…put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, (God) responsive heart…I will put my (Holy) Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes (words), and you keep my judgments (words), and do them. NKJV Rom 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if…the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Acts 5:32 …The Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. Gal 5:16 So I say, walk in (every step directed by) the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (2) I consciously and very deliberately allow God to grow my new nature with more of that nature, by daily feeding me more of His words, by His Spirit, which words are that nature. However for this to happen I must continue to live in my new nature and to fully believe with that nature, my spiritual heart, the words that God personally brings to me each day. The genuineness of my belief will always be evidenced by my own words and actions being consistent with those words of God. A mere mental acknowledging or memorizing of His words keeps their life from my heart and makes me falsely assume that I know them. Jer 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them (believe them in my heart), and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart… ESV 2 Cor 4:16 …The inward man is being renewed day by day (or God intends it to be). Jam 1:21 …Receive with meekness the implanted word (from God), which is able to save your souls (your will from being captive to your flesh and so to sin). 2 Pet 1:4 …There are given us exceedingly great and precious promises (God’s words), that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature… Unless I choose to do both (1) and (2) above I will remain, that is, my will or soul will remain, under the continuing dominance of my corrupt human nature. This is what the Bible refers to as a Christian who is carnal, born of the Spirit but has returned to his flesh, 2 Pet 2:22 But it has happened to them…“A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” What our inward man, new divine nature looks like, If I do consciously and very deliberately choose to do (1) and (2) above I will be living in my new and ever growing divine nature, in which Jesus Christ, by His Spirit and by His words, ever increasingly lives. Let me share with you what this new nature is like: It is always forgiving just as it is forgiven; it is loving, but with a purer divine love rather than a highly conditional and often impure human love. It is increasingly patient and considerate of others and constantly thinks about their spiritual and eternal welfare. It is humble, in the sense of knowing its total dependence on God, therefore it isn’t envious of what others have, even what they have spiritually; instead it is charitable without any need to be given credit. It is not easily angered but rather seeks peace as it keeps getting stronger in faith toward God and bolder in its witness of Jesus Christ to others. Because it trusts God it is free from worry, it always wants to please God so it doesn’t sin. It is immensely joyful often for no apparent visible reason. This nature is “supernatural” it is the very nature of Christ, Col 1:27 …God willed to make known…this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. John 15:7-8 (Jesus) If you abide (live) in Me, and My words abide (live) in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 1Cor 15:49 …just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the Heavenly Man (Jesus Christ). KJV To live permanently in my new nature requires my becoming dead to my human nature, If I consciously and very deliberately choose to do (1) and (2) above then the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, will guide me to certain specific truths in God’s word. Truths that tell me Christ, by dying to His flesh on the cross, has already provided a way for me to die, in Him, to my flesh. As with the initial gospel truths, this deeper truth of the gospel simply needs to be revealed to my inquiring heart, and then just believed, so as to become mine, Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Rom 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon (believe) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then in order to stay dead to my corrupt human nature I simply need to continue to believe, each day, that I am dead, in Christ, to my flesh. This is taking up my cross daily, Luke 9:23 Then He (Jesus) said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me”. My human nature will not want me, that is, for my will, to be dead to its sinful influence; nor will the devil; and nor will unconverted people and fleshly Christians around me. But my love for and gratitude to God, my knowledge of just how evil my human nature is, and the powerful growing nature of Christ in me, will both motivate and easily enable me to overcome my enemies and to be made conformable to Christ’s death - which was for me, Phil 3:10 That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, Gal 5:24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh… These two natures of ours, one evil and one good, are in total conflict with each other. The conflict ends when we choose to die to our evil human nature and live with our will under the continuous influence of Christ’s nature within our hearts. This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ, now we will bear much fruit, through our words, into the lives of others. And our heavenly Father will be glorified and our eternity will be secure, Gal 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, NIV 2 Pet 1:8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you Father, You keep us, You water us every moment, so nothing harms us, and all this by faith!
  5. Living Stone

    I am crucified with Christ!

    From the book “The Master's Indwelling” By Andrew Murray Chapter 9 (in part) DEAD WITH CHRIST (and Risen with Christ) Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ... (words in italics added) We often ask earnestly: How can I be free from the self life? The answer is, “Get another life.” We often speak about the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us, but I doubt if we fully realize that the Holy Spirit is a heavenly life come to expel the selfish, and fleshly, and the earthly life. If we truly want to enjoy fully the rest that there is in Jesus, we can only have it as He comes in, in the power of His death, to slay what is in us of human nature, and to take possession, and to live His own life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Christ died for my sins, He was judged for them as my substitute, only He could do this, God's Word takes us to the cross of Christ, and it teaches us about that cross, two things. It tells us that Christ died for sin. We understand what that means, that in His atonement He died as I never die, as I never can die, as I never need die; He died for sin and for me. 1 Jo 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his NIVSon as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (to be judged as our substitute). Christ also died to the sin nature and wants to conform me to it, to free me from sin’s power, He also died to sin, and in dying He conquered sin. Now, I cannot die for sin like Christ, but I can and I must die to sin like Christ. Christ died for sin. In that He stands alone. Christ died to sin, and in that I am to have fellowship with Him. I am crucified, I am dead. Rom 8:3 …God…condemned sin in human nature (judged it and sentenced it to death) by sending his own Son, who came with a nature like man's sinful nature(and then He died to it, on our behalf) to do away with sin. TEV Phil 3:10 That I may know Him...being conformed to His death (to sin), 2 Tim 2:11 This is a faithful saying: for if we died with Him we shall also live with Him. Christians are largely ignorant of Christ’s death to sin, therefore sin still reigns over them, If we want to have the real Christ that God has given us, the real Christ that died to sin for us, in the power of His death and resurrection, we must take our stand here. But many Christians do not understand the 6th chapter of Romans. They do not know that they are dead to sin. They do not know it, and therefore Paul instructs them: Do you not Know that as many of you as are baptized into Christ Jesus, are baptized into His death? How can we who are dead to sin in Christ live any longer in its power? (Rom 6:2-3). We have the death and the life of Christ working within us. But, alas! most Christians do not know this, and therefore do not experience or practice it. They need to be taught that their first need is to understand and to believe what Christ did about the sinfulness of their human nature on Calvary, and what that means to us when we are united to Christ. A person must begin to say, even before he understands it, “In Christ I am dead to sin.” It is a command: Reckon (believe) yourselves to be dead to sin. (Rom 6:11). Get hold of your union to Christ; believe in the new nature within you, that spiritual life which you have from Christ, a life that has died and been raised again. A person’s acts are always in accordance with his idea of his nature. So I cannot live the life of a true believer unless I am conscious of this new nature every day: “I thank God that I am dead in Christ. Christ died to sin, and I am united with Christ, and Christ lives in me and I am dead to sin.” The Adam life I inherited is alive to sin, but the Christ life in me is dead to sin – if I know it, What is the life Christ lives in me? Ask what is the life Adam lives in me? Adam lives in me the death life, a life that has fallen under the power of sin and death, death to God. That Adam life lives in me by human nature as an unconverted man. And Christ, the second Adam, has come to me with a new life, and I now live in His life, the death-life of Christ. As long as I do not know it, I can not act according to it, though it be in me. Praise God, when a person begins to see what it is, and begins in obedience to say, “I will do what God's Word says; I am dead, I reckon myself dead,” he enters upon a new life. On the strength of God's everlasting Word, and your union to Christ, and the great fact of Calvary, reckon, know yourself as dead indeed to sin. A Christian must see this truth. Rom 6:10 For the death that He (Christ) died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Gal 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh, the godless human nature with its passions and appetites and desires. AMP Gal 2:20 (I believe God’s word and hence know that) I am crucified with Christ... KJV Rom 6:7 For he who has died (with Christ to sin) has been freed from sin. John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free (from sin), you shall be free indeed. Matt 1:21 ...You shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins. By my belief in this truth, and the power of the Holy Spirit I’m kept free from my sin nature, And that is what the Holy Spirit will teach us and work in us. If I have accepted Christ in faith by the Holy Spirit, and yield myself to Him, Christ every day keeps possession, and reveals the full power of my fellowship in His death and life in my heart. To some this comes undoubtedly in one moment of supreme power and blessing; all at once they see and accept it, and enter in, and there is death to sin as a Divine experience. It is not that the tendency to evil is rooted out. No; but the power of Christ's death keeps us from sin, and destroys the power of sin. As we believe God’s word, the power of Christ's death will be manifested by the Holy Spirit's always putting to death the deeds of our human nature. Rom 8:13 For if you live according to your human nature you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body (your old self), you will live. I get asked if, after this, spiritual growth is still needed. Yes it is. By the Holy Spirit a person can now begin to live and grow, deeper and deeper, into the fellowship of Christ's death. New things are discovered by him in areas of which he never thought. A person can be filled with the Holy Spirit, and yet still have great imperfections in him. Why? Because his heart, perhaps, has not been fully prepared by a complete discovery to him of sin. There may be areas of pride, self-consciousness, impatience, or other qualities of his old nature which he has never noticed. The Holy Spirit does not always cast everything out at once. Out intellects won’t accept our human nature is riddled with sin and God’s curse is upon it, Here is one of the reasons why the Church of Christ enters so little into the death of Christ: Christians do not want to believe that the curse of God is upon everything in them that has not died with Christ. People talk about the curse of sin, but they do not understand that the whole of human nature has been infected by sin, and that the curse is on everything. My intellect, has that been defiled by sin? Terribly, and the curse of sin is on it, and therefore my intellect must go down into the death. Rm 8:6–8 The mind of the flesh is death…because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s Law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh (and it’s intellect) cannot please God. I believe that the Church of Christ suffers more to-day from trusting in intellect, in human wisdom, in culture, and in mental refinement, than from almost anything else. The Spirit of the world comes in, and men seek by their wisdom, and by their knowledge, to help the Gospel, and they rob it of its crucifixion power. Christ directed Paul to preach the Gospel of the cross, but to do it not with wisdom of man’s words. The curse of sin is on all that is of human nature. If there is a minister who delights in his preaching, who does his very best, who gives his very best in the way of talent and of thought, and who asks, “Must that go down into the grave?” I say, “Yes, my brother, the whole man must be crucified.” Matt 16:24,25 (Jesus) "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross(every day reckon, believe himself dead, crucified with Christ to his sinful human nature, primarily his human wisdom) , and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life (natural life) will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (their life in Christ).” It is very hard to give up a thing to the death, and it is hardest of all to give up my life to the death, and I never will until I have learned that everything about that life is stamped by sin. And let it go down into the death as the only way to have it quickened, brought under the life of God, and sanctified, made Holy when given to God as a living sacrifice. Col 2:11–13 In Him (Jesus) you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh (old man) was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism (in death to the sin nature), in which you were also raised with Him through your faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. NIV Don’t look for crowds before dying to Self – God is rarely with the crowd but with a remnant, Do not wait to see what others do; if you wait for that,—alas! I desire to say it in love and tenderness,—you will not find much company in the Church of Christ. Pray incessantly: “Lord Christ, let the power of Your death come into me.” For God's sake, pray the prayer. If you want to live the life of Heaven, there must be death to sin in the power of Jesus. There must be a personal entrusting of the soul into His death to sin, and a personal acceptance of Jesus to do this mighty work. 1 Thes 2:13 …the word of God (Jesus Christ) , which works mightily in you that believe. Shall we not come into personal contact with Jesus, and shall not each one of us just speak before the world these simple words: “Lord, here is this life; there is much in it still of self, sinfulness, and self-will, but I come to You; I long to enter fully into Your death; I long to know fully that I have been crucified with You; I long to live Your life every day.” Rom 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with...For he who has died has been freed from sin.
  6. God is the great revealer, Satan is the great concealer Man gave control over the world to Satan, at the beginning, through disobedience to God, God created all angels (disembodied spirit beings) and humans (spirits living in a physical body) with a freewill, the ability to choose, a will that is free to make decisions independent from Him. Satan and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven when they chose to rebel against God. Man transferred his God given dominion over the world to Satan in the Garden of Eden the moment he chose to hear and obey the devil’s words over the words he had heard from God. From that moment Satan became the god or ruler of this world and the source of all the evil that influences the lives of most of the human race. This is why in the temptations of Jesus, Satan could legitimately boast that “The kingdoms of the world …this has been delivered to me” (Luke 4:5-6 - and Jesus didn’t refute Satan’s claim). 1 John 5:19 We know positively that we are of God, and the whole world around us is under the power of the evil one (Satan). AMP 2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. KJV Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. In the end Jesus takes back the dominion of the world from Satan, Rev 11:15 “The kingdoms of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” ESV/KJV Satan, the concealer, does not want us to know if or how he operates in our lives, Now Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of darkness, meaning he operates where there is no light or insufficient light from God, who is light, in men’s hearts to expose his activities. God’s word makes plain to those who have light that Satan has an enormous influence in the lives of all the unconverted and sadly in the lives of many of those converted to Christ but who do not currently walk in the light. But all of these who Satan constantly influences for evil are largely unaware that Satan exists let alone is a dominant factor in their lives. Why? Because Satan is the master deceiver, and able to remain anonymous in the lives of those with whom he proceeds to steal and to kill and to destroy (John 10:10). Hence: Luke 21:8 (Jesus) “Take heed that you not be deceived…” Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived… James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. These are multiple warnings, not to the world that is completely deceived, but to us Christians who also have the potential of likewise being deceived by the great deceiver: Isa 14:12-17 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer…You who weakened the Nations…Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners. Rev 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world… Eph 2:2-3 AMP In which at one time you walked habitually. You were following the course and fashion of this world…following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to and under the control of the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience…Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh, our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature, obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind…we were then by nature children of God's wrath…like the rest of mankind. The extent of our ignorance of Satan’s operations shows how successful he’s been with us, The scripture makes clear that Christians were all once under the influence of Satan as everyone else is without exception and, we like they, did not know that we were. Why? Because this master concealer operates through thoughts that he imparts into our thought lives, that we in our ignorance falsely assume to be our own thoughts. These are what the scripture calls the fiery darts of the enemy, thoughts which only the faith that comes from an active, deepening relationship with God can extinguish or take captive. 2 Cor 2:11 Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices (the same greek word translated devices is translated as thought in) 2 Cor 10:5 …Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery(thought) darts of the wicked one. Satan’s principal weapons are thoughts, and are the major source of all evil in the world! Not just thoughts of overt wickedness, but also more subtle thoughts that have the superficial appearance of rightness about them. But they’re thoughts designed to divert us from a full surrender to Christ and to challenge the authority of God’s words to us, just like he did with Adam and Eve. Satan can’t force his will on us, for we have a will and a conscience, but if we don’t know how to discern his influence he’s bound to have some control in our thought lives, particularly with respect to God. It shouldn’t surprise us therefore to learn that Satan, as the great concealer, can disguise the nature of his thoughts so that they appear to us to be both truth and light: 2 Cor 11:14 …Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light! TEV 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (consume with his thoughts). What are some examples of Satan disguising himself and his thoughts, which he imparts to people, as right and illuminating thoughts? Since there is only one mediator between God and all men, Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5) Satan inspires all the other, seemingly right, religions to divert those he can deceive from becoming Christians. Then within the Church he sows the thought seeds of many, seemingly right, Christian teachings. But they are all false teachings that oppose God and keep Christians from being fully saved and eternally secure. 1 Tim 4:1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that…some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. NLT Therefore, 1 Tim 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine (teaching) closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. He is able to get away with these deceptions because all of the false doctrines that contradict God, that he imparts through thoughts, like - “the inevitability of sin”; “God is in control anyway”; “I can’t lose my salvation” – These teachings all have a strong appeal to and give license to our sinful human nature, Inevitability of sin, 1 Jn 3:8 The one who practices sin is of (belongs to) the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the (sin) works of the devil. Matt 1:21 …you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin. Rm 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you… NKJV God in control, Matt 6:10 Your kingdom come, your will be done (because it is being hindered by the kingdom of darkness), on earth as it is in heaven. Can’t lose my salvation, Heb 6:4 …bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened, those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come, and who then turn away from God. NLT As Christians we do not have to be deceived, provided we grow and walk in God’s light, God has made it possible for every Christian to see through the deceptions of Satan and continue to walk in the light and not be snared by the subtle works of darkness. God’s two principal requirements to do this are: (1) A heart or spirit that remains tender toward God and receives daily the engrafting of more of God’s light giving words, and (2) A willingness to submit to and do God’s will and thereby remain under the leading and control of the Holy Spirit. Only such Christians as continue to hear and obey God’s voice, God speaking through His word and by His Spirit, and don’t listen to Satan’s thoughts or voice. John 10:4-5 And when He (The Chief Shepherd) brings out His own sheep...the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger (Satan) but will flee from him for they do not know the voice (thoughts) of strangers... 1 John 2:26-27 These things I have written to you (God’s word) concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing (Holy Spirit) which you have received from Him abides in you and…teaches you all things, and is true, and is not a lie… Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God (your spirit clothed with the protective truth of God’s words), that you may be able to stand against the wiles (deceits) of the devil. In particular Satan imparts thoughts that contradict the true teaching that every believer in Christ needs to be baptized with and remain full of and under the control of the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the only One who can cause the word of God to become truth and light in the hearts of believers and so expose all of Satan’s works of darkness. Acts 19:2 Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? Matt 3:11 …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit… Eph 5:18 …be filled (continually) with Spirit… Rm 8:14 …as many as are led (under the control of) by the Spirit, these are the children of God. Satan does not want to be known, but God wants to be known, He is the great revealer, 1 Cor 2:9-14 ….No (natural) mind has conceived the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God…But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God…nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned (revealed by God’s Spirit to a person’s re-born spirit). Matt 11:25 …Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (to those spiritually born again and willing to grow up in spirit). Col 1:26-27 The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known…this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Everywhere in scripture our loving and redeeming Father makes indisputably clear His eagerness to reveal Himself to the hearts or spirits, but not to the intellects, of anyone who will allow Him to do so. This of course is the absolute worst thing from Satan’s standpoint and he will do everything possible to conceal this truth. He wants to stop people becoming Christians, and then if they do, to stop them becoming true disciples of Christ. Since they, with Christ actively living in them, will make others of his captives into Christ’s disciples too. Although Jesus Christ defeated Satan at Calvary he still controls the world and most of the Church because of their ignorance of his devices. And what is God doing? He is regaining control one soul at a time, as each soul turns at His correction so that He can make Himself known to their hearts by the Holy Spirit and through His word. 2 Tim 2:24-26 …the servant of the Lord must not strive (quarrel); but be gentle to all men (people), able to teach, patient, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if perhaps God may grant them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. NKJV Prov 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My words known to you (to make you holy as He is holy and to expose the beguiling thoughts of Satan). Jn 16:33 Jesus, These things I have spoken unto you (the truths in this message!)…In the world you shall have tribulation (trouble, because of the world, our own flesh, and the Devil), but be of good cheer; I have overcome (All your enemies!)… NKJV Thank you Father for revealing the truth and for making a way for us to be more than conquerors, and to always triumph “in Christ”, Amen!
  7. Why does God need me to pray, for what, who, and how? God wants me to let Him awaken and open the ears of my heart so that I can hear God’s Spirit speak to me through His word. Isa 50:4 The Lord GOD…awakens my ear to hear as the learned (His disciple). Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says… Have you chased down a truth in the Bible recently, with your heart? Let’s do that today, let’s chase down the truth of why God needs prayer, and then what He tells us about the way we must pray so that we overcome the certain opposition to Him bringing the answer. Prov 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter (from our natural intelligence**,** so as not to favor the smartest) But the glory of kings (all Christians are spiritual kings in Christ - Rev.1:6) is to search out a matter (with our hearts). Matt 11:25 (Jesus) Father, You have hidden these things from the (humanly) wise NASU and intelligent and have revealed them to (the hearts of spiritual) infants. Why pray at all, won’t God’s will be done anyway? No it won’t. God says that Satan rules this world and that He (God) doesn’t: 1 John 5:19 …The whole world lies under the sway (the influence) of the wicked one. Matt 4:8-9 The devil...showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world...“All this I will give NIV you" he said "if you will bow down and worship me" (Jesus didn’t disagree). Now Jesus Christ defeated Satan at Calvary and tells us His people, the Church, “I have given into your hand the spiritual land currently occupied by Satan. But the Church, while abiding in Me, is going to have to take that land back and bring it into God’s Kingdom”. Does this command by God sound familiar? It is the identical command that God made previously to His people Israel, under the first Covenant, but this time it is a spiritual land. Num 13:2 (God)...The land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel... Matt 28:18-19 (Jesus to us) "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...” Satan acquired his dominion over the world legitimately when Adam and Eve bowed their knee to him and surrendered the dominion God had given them, to him. Therefore our righteous God and Father is constrained now to work through the only legitimate agents He has who have authority on earth in Satan’s kingdom, that is us His true Church. Eph 3:10 To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, This is why bible teacher and author, Andrew Murray said “God has made the extension of His Kingdom (on earth) dependent on the faithfulness of His people in prayer”. In the Lord’s prayer Jesus lists the essential things we need to pray for each day: For the bread of His word to feed our spirits; For the leading of His Spirit; For deliverance from Satan; For God to forgive our sins as we forgive others; and for God’s kingdom to expand and His will to be done on earth as it is Heaven. By telling us to pray these things, Jesus makes clear that if we don’t pray, these things won’t be done. For God needs our prayers! Matt 6:10 Pray...Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The parable of the “persistent friend”, the key to Christ’s teaching on how we must pray: Immediately after telling us what we must pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus recites the parable of the “persistent friend” in which He teaches us the way He wants us to pray. The parable ends with God exhorting us to seek and ask Him in prayer on everything, but only the way this parable teaches; And specifically to ask Him for the Holy Spirit this same way: Luke 11:5-6 And He (Jesus) said to them, which of you (Christians, who love Me and always only do what I say - 1 Jo 2:5) shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight (having first prayed and knowing this to be My will – Eph 5:17) and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; (Notice this is not for himself but he seeks bread for another, so it’s intercession. It inconveniences him, its midnight, but he does it anyway). 7 And he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you' (But the persistent friend, having prayed God’s will, sticks with it and won’t give up on his intercession). 8-10 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his boldfaced insistence (his importunity, his refusal to be denied) he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask (in this same way), and it will be given to you; seek (and don’t give up), and you will find; knock (refusing to be denied), and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks (this way) receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11-13 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?…How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those (of His children) who ask Him (in this same way). Let’s not confuse God with the friend who first wouldn't meet the need but afterward did: God is nothing like the reluctant friend. God is simply using this parable to make the crucial point that prayer is likely to encounter some obstacles, of the kind that we will see in a minute, before the answer God has given actually shows up. Of course there will be obstacles, because the prayer is being made while we are still in Satan’s territory and he’s going to try and get the person praying to give up on the prayer. The question is, faced with obstacles, will the person praying persist in believing or not? Mark 11:24 (Jesus) ...Whatever things you ask when you pray believe that you receive them (right now, and don’t give up believing), and you will have them. Some of the possible obstacles a person praying may run into, that can result in doubt: A delay between the prayer and the manifestation of God’s answer. It often takes time for the key people and the circumstances to be brought to a place where the manifestation occurs. Or someone close and influential opposes the prayer or states it is unachievable. Dan 10:12,13 Angel speaking to Daniel, Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. NLT …the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia (the Devil) blocked my way. While waiting in faith for the manifestation, with circumstances visible to my natural eye not yet in accord with the prayer, dark thought clouds may arise to challenge the prayer. These will be strong thoughts that invade my thought life such as: You are not worthy enough to expect God to answer, this is not the will of God, this prayer is not working, others are not praying this way, you don’t have the faith; all seeking to get me to give up. When obstacles do confront me, at the first sign of a doubt thought I must go to God, who lives in my heart, to re-confirm His will and to strengthen my faith with more of His words. Matt 21:22 All things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive. Some key things this parable teaches that are not a valid basis for prayer being answered, The request of the friend in need initially met with failure. From this we can conclude that the following things while necessary, when obstacles are encountered, are in and of themselves not a valid basis to expect the manifestation of the answer to our prayer: Relationship - In the parable it is friendship, in Christianity it is sonship. A right relationship with God will not of itself enable me to overcome prayer’s guaranteed obstacles. Need - having a legitimate need doesn’t automatically defeat opposition to prayer. Simply asking or praying - A tentative asking in prayer, meaning it is unsure, a wishing and not believing prayer, will be easily overthrown by Satan. Jesus wants me to know by this parable that if I base my expectation of an answer to prayer on the wrong premise, when the first road block appears, and it will, I will abandon my prayer and give up quite possibly falsely assuming it wasn’t God’s will. And what God wanted me to have or wanted to bring to someone else, through me, now can’t happen. Rm 8:26,27 …the (Holy) Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us (and in us)… ESV …the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 1 Jo 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. What does Jesus say is the only basis on which to expect an answer to prayer in His will? Importunity, meaning a confident, brazen, shameless insistence that the will of God must be done. A person praying this way clearly will have diligently sought, by God’s word and through God’s Spirit, the knowledge of God’s will on the matter, before praying. But once the heart of that person is locked on the knowledge of God’s will and prays accordingly, they then must absolutely refuse to be denied. Luke 18:1 (Jesus) …Men always ought to pray and not faint, lose heart or give up. Consider the key elements that result in successful prayer: A person made righteous by Christ whose prayer can be heard, the revealed knowledge of God’s will with respect to a specific need, the heart desire to pray and the inspiration for the right prayer, the unwavering faith to believe God for the answer and the answer itself, all come directly from God. This therefore is not me strong arming God to achieve my objectives but it is God using me to achieve His objectives and at the same time deny Satan’s objectives. Jam 5:16 … The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much - has great power and wonderful results TLB. After telling us here all that prayer can do, and why it’s necessary, God gives an example: Jam 5:17-18 Elijah was a man with a (human) nature like ours and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain... Elijah prayed that it wouldn’t rain. Then he prayed that it would rain. If we look at his second prayer we find that before he prayed God told him that He was going to send rain: I Kings 18:1 ...The word of the LORD came to Elijah...saying, Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain on the earth (couldn’t happen until Elijah prayed) So, Elijah prayed for something God had already told Him He was going to do; Then God uses this prayer as a blueprint for all prayer. God reveals His will but needs us to pray it into existence. Rm 4:16,17 So the promise (God’s will on a matter received in prayer) is received by faith… (and faith is certain that what God promised, will come to pass and,) calls into existence the things that do not exist. Should a persistent, believing prayer be repeated? No, not if it is in faith, just re-affirmed: When God tells me to ask and keep on asking Him for things, so that His will can be done He means that I should pray with importunity over one need. But before the manifestation of the answer comes, I must also pray with the same importunity over other needs too. Matt 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do… The seeming exception to this are prayers prayed with respect to each individual day, such as the Lord’s Prayer. In this we repeatedly ask for the same things, His word, His Spirit, His deliverance, His forgiveness, His will and the expansion of His Kingdom, but they apply to that particular day. Each time it’s with importunity, so this is not repetitious. Jesus says prayers prayed with importunity will always succeed. Because these prayers lock onto God’s will and won’t let go. They overcome every obstacle and hindrance from Satan, for they are prayed in faith, overcoming faith, the faith of Jesus Christ active in the heart of us Christians. How do we get it? By hearing His words and yielding to His spirit: Ro 10:17 Faith comes by hearing...the word of God (we know and believe God’s will) 2 Co 4:13 We have the same Spirit of faith...we believe (what we are led to pray for). “Our praying, however, needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a persistency which will not be denied, and a courage which never fails.” — E. M. Bounds “Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things ‘above all that we ask or think.’” — Andrew Murray “God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.” — John Wesley “All prayer is to God, for men, and against Satan.” — Watchmen Nee
  8. Our great peril if we won’t let God answer and remove our doubts! Each of us is choosing to believe God or doubt God, moment by moment, depending on what or who we are looking at, and the thoughts we are allowing to occupy our minds: Matt 14:29 So He (Jesus) said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. Peter heard with his heart Jesus speak the word of God. God’s words impart faith, the ability to believe. Peter was thus enabled to walk on the water of God’s word, and to do what Jesus called him to do, which otherwise couldn’t have been done - So too with us: v. 30 But when he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" When Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked full on at his circumstances, and thought about them with his reasoning faculties, faith died and doubt and fear gained control. He started to drown, but, in a last gasp of faith he cried out to Jesus for help, and he was saved: v. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Everything God does requires our believing His word to us, doubt prevents Him from helping us: James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; Heb 10:39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition (destruction, through doubt), but of those who (continue to) believe to the saving of the soul. Jn 20:27 Jesus, “…Do not doubt, but believe.” We can doubt God, as to whether He exists, or is willing, fair or right. We can also doubt ourselves as to our ability or need to trust and obey God. What or who we look at controls whether our thoughts are of trust or of doubt. All sin causes doubt and doubt leads to fear: Heb 12:2 Looking (with heart faith) unto Jesus (who is the word of God) the author (source) and finisher (increaser) of our faith… KJV Heb 3:12 Take heed (listen with the intent to obey), brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil (sinful) heart of unbelief (doubt), in departing from the living God. Rev 21:8 …the fearful, and unbelieving… But what about Grace? Grace is God’s word; it can’t work if there isn’t faith to receive it: Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace... KJV Acts 20:32 So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Heb 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines (words or thoughts that contradict God’s words). For it is good that the heart be established by grace (God’s words), not with foods (thoughts and words that feed the heart with doubt and falsehoods) which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. As our hearts think on God’s words, or on Satan’s lies, either faith or doubt is produced: Heb 11:6 But without faith (to receive more grace) it is impossible to please Him... Rom 5:17 ...Those who receive (by faith) abundance of grace (God’s words) and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Jn 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (our faith). Peter began to doubt, but called on Jesus and was saved, so must we or we’ll go down: Jer 33:3 Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' When doubting thoughts come, and they will come because that’s what Satan does. He challenges our faith in God by imparting to us doubting thoughts, questioning thoughts, reasoning thoughts, to get us to waiver in our faith. He did this with Eve saying to her “Did God really say...” (Gen 3:1). Our faith is more precious than gold (1 Pe 1:7), we must not allow doubts to fester and so get a hold on us; we must go immediately to God for help: Phil 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests (questions) be made known to God; Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace (by hearing more of His words) to help in time of need. Ps 27:14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart (with His words that impart faith); Wait, I say, on the LORD! Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing of the word of God. God says those who have let Him make and keep them righteous, live by faith (Heb 10:38) and involve Him and trust Him in all their ways. Doubting thoughts will inevitably come, but most will be quickly overcome by those Christians who receive their daily bread of God’s words and hence keep on growing in faith. Disobedience to God will always give rise to doubt. If doubts can’t be overcome it is imperative for any Christian to quickly eliminate sin, if any, and seek God. For God alone is the source and increaser of our faith (Heb 12:2). God will always be found by every Christian who seeks Him with a pure heart (Jer 29:13, Matt 5:8) and He will give them the exact words that always restore their faith. But if Christians allow doubts to continue unabated, they will now be given even more doubting thoughts by their merciless adversary, Satan. Doubt will spread like a cancer with its goal of ruining a Christian’s faith in God and the consequential loss of their soul. Faith is the victory! This overcoming faith comes when we hear God speak with our hearts, not with our heads: Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind (the human intellect, including that of Christians) is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law (or rule) of God... Rom 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh. which is sense and reason without the Holy AMP Spirit, is death, death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin... Rom 10:10 For with the heart (which is the spirit) a person believes... AMP The words God speaks to us are spirit (John 6:63), they are intended to be received by us first in our spirits not the mind of our flesh; to which our spirits will then communicate them: Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding (your natural ability to reason and doubt, based on what you see); In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Our faith comes from the words God speaks to our hearts, and works by our love for God: Gal 5:6 For if we are in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith...working through love. AMP Luke 7:47 (Jesus) ...Her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is (thought to have been) forgiven, the same loves little. Our love for God is increased the same way our faith is, as our hearts receive His words: 1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him... 2 Thes 3:5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God...(into His word) Jn 1:1 …the word was (is) God… We Christians are not saved by our works, but we are saved for works! We can easily say we have faith but if our actions don’t correspond to it, we are deluded: Jam 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works (that reflect that faith)? Can faith save him? Jam 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works (to evidence it), is dead. True faith, “God’s faith”, which is the nature of Christ always desires to obey His Father: Heb 10:7 (Jesus) …I have come to do your will, O God…, So can you and I if, …I live by the faith of the Son of God… Gal 2:20 KJV Rm 1:5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake. Abraham believed God. Jesus says to us “Have faith in God” it’s the #1 thing in Christianity: Rom 4:18-21 When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do...He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief (doubt) but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. MSGE/NKJV Mark 11:22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God”. John 6:29 Jesus replied, This is the work (the service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent, that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger, (and the words He speaks to you) AMP To be free from ruining doubts we must live in Christ and Christ must increasingly live in us: To grow in confidence, or faith, toward God requires constant daily fellowship with Him, in the Spirit. And, an ever deepening knowledge of Him through His word as revealed to our spirits by the Holy Spirit. This alone will overcome any doubts about God’s existence or His character that arise, either due to the widespread false doctrines in the Church or due to the often initially perplexing turn of events, or behavior of some people, in everyday life. John 6:56 (Jesus) He who eats My flesh (continues to receive My words - Jer 15:16) and NKJV drinks My blood (obeys My Spirit 1 Cor 12:13) abides (lives) in Me, and I in him. Eph 3:12 In whom (that is, when we live in Christ) we have boldness and access with confidence (and without doubts) by the faith of Him. KJV God has made provision in every way to build us up in our most holy faith, so let’s cry out to our Father, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Let’s feed and keep on feeding on His Faithfulness! Amen
  9. Wrong words defile our hearts, then we can’t see God and all is impure! God speaks often about the crucial role of our words – how our salvation hinges on them, Matt 15:11 (Jesus) Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man (or woman); but what comes out of the mouth (our words), this defiles a man. Prov 13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips will have destruction. Matt 12:37 (Jesus) For by your words you will be justified (regarded as innocent) and by your words you will be condemned (regarded as guilty). NKJV 12:37 Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation. MSGE Rom 10:10 ...It is by confessing with your mouth (and believing in your heart God’s words) that you are saved. NLT What kind of words defile us, when we speak them, and instantly separate us from God? ANGER - Cease from anger, and forsake wrath... Ps 37:8 …the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God… Jam 1:19 IMPATIENCE - For you have need of patience... Heb 10:36 by the, …Spirit of…patience… Gal 5:22 PRIDE - Love is very patient and...never boastful or proud, 1 Cor 13:4 TLB Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God 1 Pe 5:6 DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD - ...That you did not obey My voice. Jer 22:21 LYING - Do not lie to one another... Col 3:9 COVERING UP SIN - He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Prov 28:13 COMPLAINING - Nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 1 Cor 10:10 Do all things without complaining and disputing, Phil 2:14 UN-FORGIVENESS - For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matt 6:14 ENVY - ...Envy is rottenness to the bones. Prov 14:30 RETALIATION - Not returning evil for evil or reviling (bad mouthing) for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing 1 Pe 3:9 FLATTERY - (False praise for an ulterior motive) ...With flattering lips and a double heart they speak. Ps 12:2 SELFISHNESS - Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil 2:4 What happens to us the moment we speak words like these that we shouldn’t speak? Matt 15:11 (Jesus) Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth (our words), this defiles a man. Titus 1:15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure...(everything around us will now seem negative) Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (the impure in heart who have been defiled by their words, can no longer perceive God in the Bible) Prov 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it, for death (separation from God) or life (in God). AMP Unless we allow the Father of righteous words, “All the words of My mouth are righteous” Prov 8:8, to train our lips, to give us the tongue of the learned, our words will constantly fall into one or more of the above categories. We may wonder why we never see God the way some other Christians do. It’s because we pridefully keep control, and decide for ourselves what comes out of our mouth, and in so doing we stay defiled and separated from God by our words. Our own self generated, and influenced by Satan words will condemn us in the Day of Judgment unless we get right with God and allow Him to change us by His Life giving words, so that we stop defiling ourselves. What role does Satan play in inducing us to speak wrong words? Bigger than we know: Satan, who is the father of wrong words, “father of lies.” Jn 8:44, wants us to defile our hearts and separate us from God. He or his demons will attempt to feed lying thoughts into our thought lives. Fiery dart thoughts in one or more of the subject areas listed above, to get us to defile ourselves, and potentially defile others: Ps 39:1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. KJV James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity...it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell (Satan and his demons). Prov 17:14 The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water (wrong words): therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with (by Satan). KJV 2 Cor 2:11 Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices (his thoughts – we are to recognize this stranger’s voice and shun it). Are we all alone in this conflict? Not at all "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 2 Kings 6:16. Who are those with us? God’s Angels, provided we are living in Christ: “Because you have made the LORD...your dwelling place, For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways”. Ps 91:9-10 and “Because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” 1 Jo 4:4. What do we need to do to insure that we don’t speak wrong words which greatly harm us? We refuse to be deceived any longer about the enormous significance of our words: James 1:26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Prov 13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. We make it our purpose to never speak words we know to be evil: Ps 17:3 ...I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. We look to God in child like faith to alert us and preserve us from damaging words: Ps 141:3 Set a guard O Lord over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. 2 Thess 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one (Satan with his thought suggestions of wrong words to speak). We reserve our lips for giving God praise and thanks and for speaking His words: Ps 71:8 Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day. Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 4:29 ...Grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word We agree that God has ordained that we praise Him, to silence our spiritual enemies: Matt 21:16 (Jesus) From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise Ps 8:2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. NIV We desire God to keep changing us, by His words and Spirit, to make us Christ-like in heart, and free us from our flesh with its wrong words - often induced by Satan: 2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face (heart), beholding as in a mirror (God’s words) the glory of the Lord (Jesus) are being transformed into the same image(of Christ) from glory to glory (line upon line, verse upon verse), just as by the Spirit of the Lord. Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man (including our mouth under the control of our sin nature) was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. We value and believe, maybe for the first time, the words of God about our words. John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. James 1:21-22 So...humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. NLT 3 If we are willing to see our need for our heavenly Father to be the Lord of our lips, and present our mouth a living sacrifice to Him, He will work in us to speak His words! Amen
  10. How well have you learned to hear your Father’s voice? God really does have a voice and currently speaks to anyone who can hear Him: Jer 7:23 (God)…Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people… that it may be well with you. Joh 10:27 (Jesus) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His (God’s) voice, do not harden your hearts…” Who is your real Daddy, the Father of your spirit – Do you always recognize His voice? Heb 12:9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits (and the Father of my spirit) and live? Jam 1:17 …The Father of lights…(are you one of the Father’s lights?) John 8:12 (Jesus) "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (how does His light get into us?) 2 Pet 1:19 …The prophetic word…which you do well to heed (hear) as a light that shines in a dark place…(Jesus, the word of God, in our hearts is our light) Mat 5:14-16 You are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt 23:9 And don't address anyone here on earth as 'Father', for only God in NLT heaven is your spiritual Father. (Don’t you know your own Father’s voice? What kind of a child doesn’t know his Father’s voice? Only a prodigal child) Perhaps you have a major (or minor) decision to take, perhaps you are facing a crisis, or perhaps you are troubled by some habit or a relentless pattern of thought – the first question will always be: What does God say? What does your own Father have to say? Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God (in your heart) and His righteousness (His word is righteousness) and all these things shall be added to you. Every Christian has personally heard God’s voice at least once. Otherwise they couldn’t have been born again as a Christian: Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door (of a person’s heart) and knock. If anyone hears My voice (My word) and opens the door (by believing Me), I will come in to him and fellowship with him…That’s how we’re born again 1 Pet 1:23 Being born again…by (hearing the voice of) the word of God… KJV Some Christians can recall the very first time God spoke directly to their hearts through a scripture and they were born again – others may not have such a recollection but virtually every Christian has experienced, even if just very occasionally, a scripture seeming to come alive to them, to jump off the page and resonate deep within them. And the words of that particular scripture became to them extremely precious and different from the rest of scripture. That was the voice of God speaking personally to them. Sadly, this hearing God speak, which should happen every day, is for many Christians only a very rare occurrence. With what part of me can I hear my Father’s voice? Matt 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (and they all had natural ears) Jesus repeats this statement about 14 times in the New Testament, more than any other statement. It must be important. What type of hearing was He talking about? What kind of ears was He referring to? Four times in scripture this answer is given: Heb 3:7-8 …Today, if you will hear His (God’s) voice, Do not harden your hearts So, we can only hear God’s voice with our hearts, meaning we can only hear God, who is a spirit, with our own spirits – which is the part of us that He is the Father of. 1 Pet 3:4 But let it be the hidden person of the heart…the beauty of a meek (hearing) and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Prov 20:27 The spirit (God uses spirit and heart interchangeably in scripture) of man (or woman) is the lamp (place of illumination, the entrance of His words spoken by His voice brings light) of the LORD... Jer 24:7 (your Father speaking) I will give them (you) a heart to know Me… But even then, we will only hear Him with our hearts if they remain tender and we haven’t allowed them to become hardened. When our hearts become hardened we become dull of hearing or spiritually deaf – we cannot hear God: Heb 5:11 Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your spiritual hearing… AMP And what is it that we do that makes us dull of hearing and unable to hear the voice of our Father? Only one thing, which is why our Father wants to keep us from it – sin. Heb 3:13 Speak to each other about these things every day… so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by …sin. TLB Is My Father’s voice audible to my natural ear? We hear God’s voice only with our hearts. The Holy Spirit is the living voice of God. He may speak through the word of God, through another person or directly to me. When He speaks through the word of God, I may be at the time reading it with my natural eyes or hearing it audibly with my natural ears, but the only important question is; are these words silently speaking to my heart? God will always speak to a heart that is tender and meek toward Him, that therefore can hear His voice. All Christian growth, and all Christian ministry, depends on hearing, believing and obeying the voice of God. Ps 89:15-16 Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound (of God’s voice)They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance (the light of the words you speak). In Your name (your word) they rejoice all day long… You and I will also face many critical moments in life, the outcome of which will depend entirely on whether we heard and then held fast to what God said to us. These pivotal moments can alter the course of our or other people’s lives. Our loving Father wants us always to hear the wisdom of His words. He even invites us to ask Him in prayer: Ps 143:8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness (Your loving words) in the morning, For (because) in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For (because) I lift up my soul (my will) to You. If I can’t hear God speaking to me, am I listening to other voices, completely unaware? John 10:5 (Jesus) Yet they (My sheep) will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. If my heart is hard because of sin it is likely that I will not hear the voice of my invisible Father – recognizing it doesn’t have to stay that way one moment longer, for receiving God’s forgiveness will immediately soften my heart. But while it stays hard, there will be other voices from equally invisible beings, called strangers, speaking to me through thoughts. Thoughts, contrary to God, suggesting what I should do and say. I will likely assume that these thoughts are my own, but they are not, they are from evil spirits. Hearing and knowing God’s voice is something a son or daughter must constantly learn. It takes time to learn to hear our Father’s voice. But if we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, who is the voice of God, He will teach us. His “still small voice” is not burdensome and driven. He teaches us with a comforting gentleness, feeding us our daily bread through the words He speaks to our hearts. Initially it will be only at live meetings (where the Holy Spirit is leading) of the Church, then through inspired writings and audios that all teach me how to hear My Father’s voice, both from the Bible, by His Spirit, and directly from the Holy Spirit, all through the day. John 8:47 (Jesus) He who is of God hears God's words; … John 18:37 (Jesus) …Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice Rom 8:14 For as many as are led (because they hear His voice) by the Spirit of God, these are the sons (and daughters) of God. Are you getting to know the voice of your Father? Do you hear Him, through scripture and in direct conversation, better and more clearly this year than last year? Are you, by faith and under His teaching, constantly allowing Him to improve your daily communication with Him? Praise the Father of our spirits, we have ever increasing faith in Him as we hear His voice speak to our heart through His words! Amen
  11. When I blow it – God longs to quickly restore me God’s door – it’s always open to me When I’m: -Seething with anger, resentment and unforgiveness, or -Wallowing in self-pity and seeking sympathy, or -Pouting with pride and self-justification, or -Overcome with guilt and self-loathing falsely believing this is humility, And therefore I’m unhappy, troubled and with a totally dark and negative outlook on everything and I suddenly realize where I am – in a pit – I should: Go to God immediately and nowhere else, for He will always lovingly cleanse and deliver me from my anger, self-pity, pride and guilt, and the misery of them. He will completely change my perspective on my circumstances and on people to one that is positive, light and peaceful so restoring my happiness and confidence in Him. Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 13:5&6 ...For He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do to me. The more I do this, going directly to God when I’ve messed up and I’m in trouble, the more it becomes a good habit and the easier and quicker I’m able to do it. God’s love for me never changes, never diminishes, His welcome is unwavering no matter what I’ve said or done I can never wear it out. If He wants me to extend forgiveness to others at least seven times seventy times what do you think the extent of His forgiveness towards me is – limitless. Remember the prodigal son; he messed up big time, what happened when he turned back to his father (a symbol of God our Father)? Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Jeremiah 31:3 (God speaking)...Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: God will never not forgive me – I really need to know that. Whenever I go to Him, after stumbling, and spend time quietly alone with Him my determination should be that I’m not going to leave until He has made me right again. I seek Him with my whole heart knowing that He can always be found. I am instantly and sincerely ready to say I’m sorry for any and all the wrongs I may have done, because I know that Jesus purchased my forgiveness at Calvary by taking those sins I just committed on Himself. I am completely unafraid of God’s reproof or correction or instruction because He does it by His Spirit through His word and, since He is love, He always does it in love. I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I Peter 2:24 Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree... II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: I John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love;... When I go to Him He never fails to restore me to peace and to cause a morsel of scripture to come alive to my heart and thereby to strengthen, comfort and establish me. It is very safe always to go to God when I’m in trouble, He never turns me away and He always blesses and refreshes me. John 6:37 ...He who comes to me I will by no means cast out. Acts 3:19 ...When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; My enemy doesn’t want me to go to God When I yield to temptation and sin, be it pride, anger, self-pity or whatever, it wasn’t God that tempted me, it was Satan who the Bible describes as the tempter. Having then successfully tempted me it is Satan again who heaps accusing and condemnation thoughts on me for what I’ve just done. Part of that condemnation will always include how I do not deserve to be forgiven (as if forgiveness was on the basis of what I deserve) and therefore I shouldn’t even think about going to God. This thought coupled with the fact that I may not “feel” like going to God, because my flesh may want to savor its anger, pride or self-pity, keeps many believers from a quick recovery and they remain captives. These lying thoughts and feelings can only be overcome if my heart is established in the truth that God wants me to come to Him regardless, and if I then act on the truth instead of the lie. James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: 1 Cor. 7:5 ...That Satan tempt you not... Rom. 8:34 Who is he that condemns, is it Christ that died...? 1 Tim. 3:6 ...lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Of course if the enemy of my soul can trick me (that’s what “wiles of the devil” means) into believing that God was responsible for my fall with a thought such as “why did you let this happen to me God?” then Satan really has me in a headlock. Not only am I not going to God to free me, but now I have a resentment against God, the very worst thing a Christian can possibly do. Once again, it is only my knowing the truth in my heart that God always desires to either lead me away from temptation or sustain me in and deliver me from the temptation that will keep me from this awful snare of the devil. Mat. 6:13(God wants me to pray and believe daily) And do not lead me into temptation (so that He can then always lead me out of it). 1 Cor. 10:13 There is no temptation that has taken you that isn’t common to man but God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able to bear, but will along with the temptation also make a way of escape that you might be able to bear it. Hebrews 2:18 For in that He (Jesus) Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to aid (assist and relieve) those who are tempted. I am in a war, the battle is in my thought life & it’s only winnable through God, Whether we know it or like it or not we Christians are constantly engaged in warfare and it’s a thought warfare. Unless I know the truth in my heart, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is always good to me, always does the right thing, will always take care of me and can be utterly trusted, then I will be dead meat in the hands of my enemy. I will inevitably fall easy prey to the fiery darts of the character assassinating thoughts he gives me about God. Oh but when I believe in the unchanging goodness of God, turn quickly towards Him in my heart when trouble comes and stay anchored to the truth of His word, then the devil is dead meat and runs away in fear. Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (deceiving thoughts) of the devil. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (people), but against ...wicked spirits... Psa. 27:13 I would have lost heart (and given up the fight) unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord... Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. When I know who my enemy is, it’s easier to always forgive people, as I should. Pride, anger and self-pity always come with contention, hostility and resentment towards other people, which will remain as invisible prison bars, with me the prisoner, until I forgive everyone of everything. This forgiveness is made easier when I understand that Christian people (me included) often do and say things contrary to their true nature when their thoughts, words and deeds are to varying degrees under the influence of wicked spirits. Unsaved people, according to the Bible, are unknowingly, by virtue of their being unsaved, much more heavily influenced by demons. It would be foolish of me to expect godly behavior from an unsaved and therefore ungodly person. Yes, as the scripture in Ephesians quoted above says, my fight is really not with people but with the spirits behind the people. Eph. 2:2-3 ...Following the prince of the power of the air (you were (Amp. Version) obedient to him and under his control) the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience...among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves... When these realities are combined with the fact that the one who extended mercy towards me and my sins, requires and will enable me to extend the same mercy to others, then granting forgiveness becomes both desirable and achievable. Especially since the alternative, of harboring unforgiveness towards another, forfeits my own forgiveness from God. Mat. 10:8 ...Freely you have received (forgiveness) freely give Eph. 4:32 ...Forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Mat. 6:15 But If you do not forgive men (everyone of every thing) their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. The same spirits that may have induced a person to wrong me will endeavor, through thoughts, to induce me to not forgive them. If I am to remain free I must come down on the side of God’s truth, knowing that He will empower me to do so, and, regardless of my feelings or even if the person is sorry, forgive them. After I’ve blown it and God has restored me, When I’m restored and learning to live more at peace in the spirit than in the flesh and troubled, it would be wise for me to let God start to strengthen my heart with His word in the area(s) of my weakness. Whether that weakness is anger, self-pity, pride, condemnation or whatever God not only will restore me when I fall but better yet His living words in my heart will literally change me so that I’m no longer vulnerable to falling in the same pit over and over again. Under the New Covenant God no longer requires that I measure up through self-effort and will power to His standard of right behavior, no, He offers to change my nature and actually make me more like Jesus. How, through planting individual scriptures in my heart as living seeds – these words of His in me are alive and very powerful and are the exclusive way God transforms a Christian into the image and likeness of His Son. Heb. 4:12 The word of God is alive and powerful... 1 Thes.2:13 ...The word of God which works mightily also in you that believe 2Cor 3:18 But we all...are being changed into the same image (of Jesus) Rom.8:29 ...To be conformed to the image of His Son... Scriptures, any one of which, if in my heart, will change my nature, Anger: The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger; and it is to his glory to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11 Self-pity: For consider Him that endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. Hebrews 12:3 Pride: Only by pride comes contention (arguing and quarreling).. Prov.13:10 Guilt: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Rom. 8:1 Thank you Father for Your forgiveness!
  12. Why spend time each day alone with God in prayer, in worship and in His word? Matt 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Ps 31:20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence... Isa 26:9 ...Yes, by my spirit (my heart) within me I will seek You early... When I get alone with God, quiet my thoughts, insure with my heart I’m in God’s presence, and can hear His voice, and can receive His words and His understanding of them; then: -I am always at peace and made genuinely happy, because I’m currently in Christ. -I receive such light from Him to see my life clearly, and power to do what is right. -My heart gets filled up again with His love for me, and for others, and mine for Him. -It is so much easier to say sorry or to forgive others, worry and pride evaporate. -My faith in God and His goodness is re-energized; I know He’s taking care of me. -I become increasingly interested in others and want them to really know Him. -I’m not preoccupied with my own will; I delight to do the will of my heavenly Father. When I don’t get alone with God, due to laziness, muddled thinking, disobedience, work, people, distractions, other commitments, or unresolved sin – God gets crowded out; then: -I seem less able to overcome the daily opportunities to give in to things like resentment, irritation, un-forgiveness, worry and pride. -I have a growing inner sense of guilt and condemnation. My conscience, the voice of my spirit, if it’s tender, condemns me, causing me to feel guilty. -Because I secretly don’t feel good about myself I find I tend to lash out in anger at others more quickly, and blame them for my mounting problems. -With a dark cloud over my soul I can’t help seeing circumstances and people increasingly in a more negative light. I’m more prone to feel sorry for myself. -I have a sense of being driven (not knowing by what) to indulge my favorite appetites to try and make me feel better – but it really doesn’t work I just get more deeply entrapped in bad habits, with a deeper sense of shame. I lack God’s power. Of course I have all kinds of mental explanations for these things – but with reduced or no spiritual light I simply can’t see that the world, my flesh and the devil are having increased influence over me and I’m less able to defend myself against them. And my desire for God and my confidence in Him diminishes. I’ll even think He’s to blame. Isaiah 5:13 Therefore My people are gone into captivity because they have no (new revealed) knowledge (of Me)...they are famished and parched with thirst. Prov. 29:18 Where there is no (new daily) revelation of God (to our spirits from His word by His Spirit) the people cast off restraint (cannot control their own desires). How to start your day with God Jer 29:13 You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Ps 63:1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You... Isa 26:9 ...Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early... 1. Obedience (a) Are you right with God, walking in total forgiveness and without care? (b) Did you go to bed last night when God wanted you to? (c) Did you get up this morning when God wanted you to? (d) Won’t you start your day obeying God and therefore in righteousness? Rom 6:16 ...Either of sin, which results in death (to God), or of obedience, which results in righteousness with God. 2. Priorities Is God your first priority today and will you give Him the pre-eminence over everything and everyone else starting with your early morning time? Col 1:13-18 He has delivered me from the power of darkness and conveyed me into the kingdom of the Son of His love...All things (me included) were created by Him and for Him...that in all things He may have the preeminence. 3. Prayer Matt 6:6 When you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, shut your door, (physically and spiritually) and pray to your Father who is in the secret Place (your spirit); and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (a) Do you start your day with prayer to your heavenly Father? (b) Is it silent or spoken out loud and delighting angels and driving demons away? (c) Do you thank God for a good night’s sleep? (d) Do you thank God for awakening you alive, and alive to Him and dead to you? (e) Do you tell Him that you want to follow Him today, that you will deny yourself and take up your cross, meaning you believe your old nature was crucified with Christ, the body of your sin has been done away with, you no longer serve sin? (f) Do you present your body to Him as a living sacrifice and as an instrument of His righteousness, because it belongs to Him and is available for His use? (g) Do you ask Him to fill you, to lead you, to water you, to teach you, to conform you, to keep you and to use you, moment by moment, with and by His Spirit, not into temptation but to deliver you from the wicked one? Do you believe He will? (h) Do you ask Him to give you the daily bread of His living word and to renew your inner man with the fresh revealed knowledge of Himself? And expect it? (i) Do you ask Him to cause you to hear His lovingkindness (words) because you trust Him, to cause you to know the way in which you should walk, because you lift up your soul (will) to Him and to cause you to walk in His statutes and to keep His judgments and do them – exactly according to Psa 143:8 and Ezek 36:27? (j) Do you affirm that it is His kingdom in which, and His power by which, you live, it is to His glory for all He is making you and doing through you – in Jesus name? 4. Worship John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit (from the heart, not the head) and truth (for real, not mechanically). (a) Do you sincerely, ignoring feelings, take time to tell God how much you love Him for who He is and how grateful you are for all He has done and is doing for you? (b) Do you tell Him you worship and adore Him, that you bow your knee before Him and are ready to burst into songs of praise about Him, as you lift up your holy hands in awe of Him, because He alone is worthy to receive honor and glory. For He is your God , your savior, your redeemer, your sanctifier, your life, your king and your Lord? (c) Do you bless Him, and ask that He be glorified through you and His Church today? 5. Feeding Isa 50:4 Morning by morning...He awakens my (spiritual) ear to hear... Prov 6:22 ...When you awake, they (My words) will speak with you. Col 3:10 ...The new man (spirit) is renewed in knowledge (God’s word, transforming him) into the image of Him (Jesus Christ) who created him.. (a) Having asked Him, believingly, for your daily bread how do you now receive it? Reading slowly the next Chapter or one given to you, in the Bible, or an inspired devotional for a given day, or a segment of a truth paper you’ve been drawn to? Or receiving a specific chapter and verse from God and then looking it up? (b) What do you then do? i - Do you ponder the verse or portion of it that is speaking to you? ii - Ask for God to reveal what He wants you to understand by it? iii - Make confession of a revealed sin, pray a revealed truth, intercede for a person He identifies, and give Him thanks for a wonderful revelation. Ps 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law. iv- Ask Him for counsel on people and issues upcoming for today? v- Write down on a scratch pad or journal what you’ve received? vi - Insure that God has nothing more for you before you move on? vii - Keep thinking on, believing and acting on what God has said? viii - Plan later to review your notes and then file them by subject in folders? 6. Habits Do you start your day with God this way? All the men and women God greatly used started every day this way. They all found that this was the key to being able to live in Christ all through the day and being enabled by God to overcome whatever challenges the day may have brought, staying at peace, full of joy and the Holy Spirit. If you are not doing this or something like this; and your heart is already saying to you that you should, then why not decide this moment to start. Begin tomorrow morning using this as a guideline and refuse to waiver. Get up early enough (going to bed early enough) to do this well before any commitments for the day. This is of God and He will bless and enable you to do it. When we stick with something, what could be more wonderful than this, for about 30 days, a good habit is now formed. Prov 8:17 I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me. KJV Be Blessed!
  13. Living Stone

    The Self Life

    From the book “The Master's Indwelling” By Andrew Murray Chapter 2 – THE SELF LIFE (words in italics added) Matt. 16: 24. (Jesus) If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. In the 13th verse we read that Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” When they had answered, He asked them, “But whom do you say that I am?” And in verse 16 Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus answered and said unto him: “Blessed are You, Simon Barjonas, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven. And I say also to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock (of the Father’s Spirit revealing through His word, to a person’s spirit, the knowledge of Me) I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Then in verse 21 we read how Jesus began to tell His disciples of His approaching death; and in verse 22 how Peter began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You.” But Jesus turned and said to Peter; “Get behind me, Satan; You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” We often hear about Christians who compromise their lives and the question arises, what lies at the root of it? What is the reason that so many Christians are wasting their lives in the terrible bondage of the world instead of living in the manifestation and the privilege and the glory of the child of God? And another question perhaps comes to us: What can be the reason that when we see a thing is wrong and strive against it we cannot conquer it? What can be the reason that we have a hundred times prayed and vowed, yet here we are still living a mingled, divided, half-hearted life? The Root of the Trouble To those two questions there is one answer: it is self that is the root of the whole trouble. And therefore, if any one asks me, “How can I get rid of this compromised life?” the answer would not be, “You must do this, or that, or the other thing,” but the answer would be, “A new life from above, the life of Christ, must take the place of the self-life; then alone can we be conquerors.” Let us consider from these words of our text the one word, “self.” Jesus said to Peter: “If anyone wants to come after me let him deny himself, his own self, and take up the cross and follow me.” This is a mark of the disciple; it is the secret of the Christian life. Deny self and reckon you died to self through Christ’s crucifixion, which you share in when you abide “in Christ”; and all will come right. Note that Peter was a believer, and a believer who had been taught by the Holy Spirit. He had given an answer that pleased Christ wonderfully: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Do not think that this was anything but extraordinary. Peter knew it; and Christ saw that the Holy Spirit of the Father had been teaching him, for He said: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjonas.” But note how strong the carnal man still is in Peter. Christ speaks of His cross; Peter could only understand about the glory, “You are the Son of God;” but about His cross and His death he could not understand, and he ventured in his self-confidence to say, “Lord, that shall never be; You cannot be crucified and die.” And Christ had to rebuke him: “Get behind me, Satan. You are not mindful of the things of God.” You are talking like a mere carnal man (governed by your human nature), and not as the Spirit of God would teach you. Then Christ went on to say, “Remember, it is not only I who am to be crucified, but you as well; it is not only I who am to die, but you also. If a man wants to be my disciple, he must deny self, and he must take up his cross and follow me, in death.” Let us dwell upon this one word, “self.” It is only as we learn to know what self is that we really know what is at the root of all our failure, and are prepared to go to Christ for deliverance. The nature of the Self life Self is the power with which God has created and endowed every intelligent creature. Self is the very center of a created being. And why did God give the angels or man a self? The object of this self was that we might bring it as an empty vessel unto God; that He might put into it His life. God gave me the power of self-determination, that I might bring this self every day and say: “Oh, God, work in it; I offer it to You.” God wanted a vessel into which He might pour out His divine fullness of beauty, wisdom and power; and so He created the world, the sun, and the moon, and the stars, the trees, and the flowers, and the grass, which all show forth the riches of His wisdom, and beauty, and goodness. But they do it without knowing what they do. Then God created the angels with a self and a will, to see whether they would come and voluntarily yield themselves to Him as vessels for Him to fill. But alas! they did not all do that. There was one at the head of a great company, and he began to look upon himself, and to think of the wonderful powers with which God had endowed him, and to delight in himself. He began to think: “Must such a being as I always remain dependent on God?” He exalted himself, pride asserted itself in separation from God, and that very moment he became, instead of an angel in Heaven, a devil in hell. Self turned to God is the glory of allowing the Creator to reveal Himself in us. Self turned away from God is the very darkness and fire of hell. We all know the terrible story of what then took place; God created man, and Satan came in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve with the thought of becoming as God, having an independent self, knowing good and evil. And while he spoke with her, he breathed into her, in those words, the very poison and the very pride of hell. His own evil spirit, the very poison of hell, entered humanity, and it is this cursed self that we have inherited from our first parents. It was that self that ruined and brought destruction upon this world, and all that there has been of sin, and of darkness, and of wretchedness, and of misery; and all that there will be throughout the countless ages of eternity in hell, will be nothing but the reign of self, the curse of self, separating man and turning him away from his God. And if we are to understand fully what Christ is to do for us, and are to become partakers of a full salvation, we must learn to know, and to hate, and to give up entirely this cursed self. The works of Self Now what are the works of self? I might mention many, but let us take the simplest words that we are continually using: Self-will, self-confidence, self-exaltation. Self-will, pleasing self, is the great sin of man, and it is at the root of all that compromising with the world which is the ruin of so many. Men cannot understand why they should not please themselves and do their own will. Numbers of Christians have never understood the idea that a Christian is someone who is never to seek his own will, but is always to seek the will of God. He is someone in whom the very Spirit and nature of Christ lives, so he too has the nature of Jesus that cries: “I come to do Your will, Oh, My God!” (Heb 10:9). We find Christians pleasing themselves in a thousand ways, and yet trying to be happy, and good, and useful; and they do not know that at the root of it all is self-will robbing them of God’s blessing. Christ said to Peter, “Peter, deny yourself.” But Peter through his actions said, “I will deny my Lord and not myself.” Christ had said to him the night before, “You will deny Me,” (Mat 26:34) and Peter did. What was the cause of this? Self-pleasing. He became afraid when the woman servant charged him with belonging to Jesus, and three times said, “I do not know this man” (Mat 26:74). He denied Christ. Just think of it! No wonder Peter wept those bitter tears. It was a choice between self, that ugly, cursed self, and that beautiful, blessed Son of God; and Peter chose self. No wonder that he thought: “Instead of denying myself, I have denied Jesus; what a choice I have made!” No wonder that he wept bitterly. Christians, look at your own lives in the light of the words of Jesus. Do you find there self- will, self-pleasing? Remember this: every time you please yourself, you deny Jesus. It is one of the two. You must please Him only, and deny self, or you must please yourself and deny Him. Then follows self-confidence, self-trust, self-effort, and self-dependence. What was it that led Peter to deny Jesus? Christ had warned him; why did he not take warning? Self-confidence. He was so sure: “Lord, I love You. For three years I have followed You. Lord, I refuse to believe that I could ever deny You. I am ready to go to prison and to death.” It was simply self-confidence. People have often asked me, “What is the reason I fail? I desire so earnestly, and pray so fervently, to live in God's will.” And my answer generally is, “Simply because you trust yourself.” They answer me: “No, I do not; I know I am not good; and I know that God is willing to keep me, and I put my trust in Jesus.” But I reply, “No, my brother; no; if you trusted God and Jesus, you could not fall, but you trust yourself.” Do let us believe that the cause of every failure in the Christian life is nothing but this. I trust this cursed self, instead of trusting Jesus. I trust my own strength and wisdom, instead of the almighty strength and wisdom of God. And that is why Christ says, “Self must be denied and die.” Then there is self-exaltation, another form of the works of self. How much pride and jealousy is there in the Christian world; how much sensitivity to what people say or think of us; how much desire of human praise and pleasing men, instead of always living in the presence of God, with the one thought: “Am I pleasing to Him?” Christ said, “How can you believe, you who receive honor from one another and don’t seek honor from God?” Seeking honor from each other renders a life of faith impossible. Self started from hell, it separated us from God, and it is a deceiver that always leads us astray from Jesus. Getting rid of this cursed self Now comes the third point. What are we to do to get rid of it? Jesus answers us in the words of our text: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Note it well. I must deny myself and take Jesus himself as my death and my life. I must choose. There are two lives, the self life and the Christ life; I must choose one of the two. “Follow me,” says our Lord, “make me the governor of your existence, the ruler of your conduct; give me your whole heart; follow me, and I will take care of you completely.” Oh, friends, it is a solemn exchange we have set before us; to come and, seeing the danger of this self, with its pride and its wickedness, to cast ourselves before the Son of God, and say “I deny my own life, I take Your life to be mine.” Look at Peter again. Christ said to him, “Deny yourself, and follow me.” Where was he to follow? Jesus led him, even though he failed; and where did he lead him? He led him on to Gethsemane, and there Peter failed, for he slept when he ought to have been awake, watching and praying; He led him on towards Calvary, to the place where Peter denied Him. Was that Christ's leading? Praise God, it was. The Holy Spirit had not yet come in His power; Peter was yet a carnal man; his spirit willing, but not able to conquer due to the weakness of human nature. What did Christ do? He led Peter on until he was broken down in utter self-abasement, and humbled in the depths of sorrow. Jesus led him on, past the grave, through the Resurrection, on to Pentecost and to the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit Christ with His divine life came, and then it was, “Christ now lives in me.” There is but one way of being delivered from this life of self. We must follow Christ, set our hearts upon Him, listen to His teachings, give ourselves up every day, that He may be all to us, and by the power of Christ the denial of self will be a blessed, unceasing reality. Never for one hour do I expect the Christian to reach a stage at which he can say, “I have no self to deny;” never for one moment in which he can say, “I do not need to deny self.” No, this fellowship with the cross of Christ will be an unceasing denial of self every hour and every moment by the grace of God. We are called upon to live the life of Christ, and Christ comes to live His life in us; but one thing must first take place; we must learn to hate this self, and to deny it. Let us pray fervently: “Lord God, self changed an archangel into a devil, and self ruined my first parents, and brought them out of Paradise into darkness and misery, and self has been the ruin of my life and the cause of every failure; Oh, reveal it to me.” And then comes the blessed exchange, that a man is made willing and able to say: “Another will live the life for me, another will live within me, another will do all for me,” Nothing else will do. Deny self; take up the cross, to die and live with Jesus; follow Him only. May He give us the grace to understand, and to receive, and to live the Christ life. 2 Cor 5:15 He (Christ) died for me, that I who live should live no longer for myself, but for Him who died for me and rose again. Be Blessed
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