Monday, April 27, 2009

Perspective That Brings Peace

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (surrender) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". Philippians 4:4-7

Too often we hear the last part of the passage regarding "the peace that surpasses comprehension but we fail to realize that there is a precondition.

Rejoice ALWAYS; in EVERYTHING...with thanksgiving; these are the things that guard our hearts and minds which lead to the peace that doesn't make sense!

Rejoice, the Lord is near!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hide and Seek

For several months now, I have been telling people a brief story:

If, on that day when God came to the Garden of Eden, instead of saying, "Adam, where are you?" he said, "Adam, I know where you are." and He turned His back on mankind and walked away, still:

He would be worthy of all praise

He would be worthy of all honor

He would be worthy of everything that we could offer!

But the truth is, He did seek Adam! How could we give Him less!

This last weekend, God completed the story:

"Adam, where are you?" God inquired.

"My God, why have you forsaken Me?" Jesus pleaded

God did not turn His back on Adam. Instead, He turned His back on Jesus so that He could turn His face toward me!

Still He calls out: "____________, where are you?"

What are you still hiding from Him?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sharp as a sword

For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Many are very familiar with this scripture. Knowing about this scripture is far different from knowing the scripture. There exists a serious lack, in terms of time invested, in the Bible by Christians today. This lack has brought severe consequences. Fear, stress, relationship troubles, pornography, impatience, debt, mistrust, insomnia are commonplace in the lives of Christians in current times.

Jesus prayed the following words: They (the followers of Jesus) are not of this world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:16&17

We are “sanctified”(set apart for God’s purposes) by God’s word. There is no other method available. Jesus knows that living in this world dilutes are strongest resolutions. The llies and flase values of this world begin to take on an air of acceptability over time. The only antidote for the “truths” of this world are the real truths of God’s world and the only place that we experience God’s world is through His word.

Hebrews tells us that the Word of God is living and active. Clearly then, scripture is not a stagnant document. This is an important distinction because, unlike every other book or document, the Bible reveals its truths in levels.

…the natural man does not accept the things of God; for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. I Corinthians 2:14

The closer we are to our “natural man” the less likely we are to read the scriptures because we do not “understand them”. The amazing resilience of scripture provides that, even if we begin close to our “natural man” state, the “sharp, two-edged sword" begins to speak to our spiritual man.

As our spiritual nature feeds on God’s word, our spiritual nature grows stronger and stronger. As our spiritual nature (faith) grows new levels of scriptural truth open up to us.

It is time to begin again. Pick up God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to direct your thoughts and reveal His truth.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Restored to Our Original Design

As you may recall, God did not give Adam ownership in the Garden of Eden. What He did give to Adam was dominion over the Garden and its produce and its other inhabitants.

God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:28

God's design is so plainly simple, but we make it so complicated by attempting ownership with the things that were never ours to own. We will develop this thought in another chapter but for now we must return to the idea of this world was created for mankind to have dominion (subdue and rule).

This dominion, which was ordained for mankind, was surrendered when Adam chose to subject himself to another god (Satan).

Then to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you return to the ground because from it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:17-19

LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. Genesis 3:23

From this time on to the present day, mankind has been a laborer within the domain that was surrendered on that day. We must understand that man could not surrender that which was not his. The ownership of everything remained with Almighty God, the Creator. All that mankind surrendered was the subduing and the ruling of Gods’ creation (domain).

Jesus addressed the clear distinction between the two positions or realms:

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. John 18:36

Here is where things become incredibly interesting. In referring to Jesus, scripture says:
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (Colossians 1:13)

There several important truths presented here that we must see before we move on in our understanding.

First, this scripture talks about an event that has already happened; it is in the “past-sense” that we (the redeemed) have been transferred from one realm into the other.

The second truth is that we were “rescued” from the domain of darkness. We were entirely captive and helpless in the very realm that we was designed for us to subdue and rule. Instead, for most of our lives we have been subdued and ruled by that realm.

The third truth is that we have been transferred into God’s kingdom; the very place where it all began.

There is far too much to say about this third truth to go into here. As a matter of fact I am writing my first book about this very topic.

It is so very important for the Church of Jesus (you and me) to understand their positions. We have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God however we still live in the former condition. We strive to own that which is not ours to own, to control those things and people that are not ours to control, and to struggle and to toil in our jobs and responsibilities.

We, only by faith, now live in the position of authority originally granted to Adam within the Garden of Eden. We have the same access to God and to His provision; we have the same access to His protection and His presence.

Faith is the key. The faith that I am talking about is different from the wispy faith of most of today's Christians. This faith is the faith that we read about in the Book of Acts wherein followers of Jesus were beaten, thrown in prison and brought before tribunals simply because they couldn't resist telling people about their Jesus!

This faith that I am talking about is what Hebrews describes as: The assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen.

Does this description sound like your faith? Do the words "assurance" and "conviction" apply easily to your faith? Or, like most of us, is your faith more in the "hope for" and "unseen" category?

Scripture states clearly that Jesus is the "author and the perfecter of our faith". If our faith, then, remains immature it is only because we have chosen to remain within our comfort zones and have resisted the perfecting process of Jesus.

I encourage you this very day to repent (change your mind) and run into His tender arms of mercy and plead for the faith that know full assurance and complete conviction.