THE WALK OF SALVATION II

THE WALK
PART 47

THE WALK OF SALVATION II

Dangerous Attitudes of Wealth

I have been involved with Charismatic teachings over the years and have some insight about the doctrines of wealth and prosperity. One of the main themes in this particular sect is the emphasis on material wealth and how God has included this blessing within His covenant. Learning is a never-ending quest for knowledge and yet the more I learn – the less I know. This article is not intended to be a money “basher” because I believe that money can be a blessing and I do believe that prosperity is included in the New Covenant. I believe that wealth is NOT evil in itself – but rather it is the “effect” that wealth has on the carnal conscience. Finances used in the right way according to God’s will can do many good deeds and bring glory to God.

As much as we desire money and believe it is a good thing, when it comes to the meaning of life and what is truly important in this world, I am beginning to understand that money falls to the bottom of the list of spiritual priorities. We are ready to pounce on those who speak in a negative way about materialism because we feel it is much better to be rich than to be poor, but in reality, money does NOT make us happy. Money cannot bring us contentment or deep personal satisfaction because it is only a “tool” that can help us accomplish something. If it is used to do God’s will, then it has the anointing and blessing upon it to bring Glory to His Name. If money is used with carnal motives and fleshly desires, it is wasted and becomes an instrument of darkness.

Why does the Bible say it is better to give than receive? Because our deeds are recorded and our obedience will be rewarded in this life and the next. The nature of God is to give as He “gave” His only Son to die for our sins, as He has also given us the beautiful earth to live in and the blessings of health and the opportunity to be saved and walk with Him in this life. So, does being wealthy inspire a person to give generously or does it cause a person to actually become more selfish? Being wealthy does not automatically produce a giving attitude. Selah. Remember the character of “Scrooge” that became possessed with piling up every penny he could make. He even seemed to suffer from his own greed by not allowing himself to enjoy the benefits of his wealth. Hoarding is the opposite of having the spirit of generosity and is in direct contrast to the Spirit of God.

I personally do not believe a person has to be rich to be a “lover” of money. There is no doubt many people who live in poverty are possessed with the love of money. The sobering thought here is how dangerous it is to become snared in this trap as the Bible say’s the love of money IS the root of ALL evil. On the other side of the fence, can a person be wealthy and not be in love with their wealth? I believe it is possible. Wealth is very sneaky and must be taken seriously for it has the potential power to control it’s owner or in other words, money can blind those who brag on their ability to see clearly – while actually possessing those who believe they are in control. It is true that God uses money to do His works, but many times money is used for carnal, selfish ideas and satisfaction – and in some cases in Jesus Name. I believe there are many ministers who are trying to build a legacy for themselves on the back of a profitable ministry. They desire to leave a “monument” in their name for the entire world to see, as one who dedicated their life to a cause so everyone can have respect and admiration.

We are reminded of Solomon’s depression while being one of the wealthiest men in the world. He had everything any person could have and in his sadness said, it is all “vanity”. Let us look deeper into why he might have felt this way. I do believe that the New Covenant of Christ is filled with spiritual and natural benefits, which are intended for enhancing our lives, but I am learning that these opportunities are based upon what God has planned for us since our birth – not entirely directed by our own ideas of personal pleasure. This earthly life was never intended for us to be self-sufficient without God but rather a school of learning about how to grow our spirit into a “master” over our carnality. The three parts of man (spirit, mind, body) must function in divine order or an imbalance occurs within the structure of our life. When this imbalance is not corrected, the results are devastating to the individual and to anyone who is connected with them. One of the very first important facts to remember in life is that all the wealth in the world is the Lord’s and all we can ever be is a good steward over it. Life is a test to see how well we can handle the illusion of wealth in order to prepare us for the spiritual reality of true eternal treasure. Selah.

It does not take a scholar to realize that money creates a false sense of security and nearly eliminates the need for faith and prayer. Our spiritual nature is being needy and obedient, with a humble understanding of our helplessness and a loving passion of His glorious presence. If we were rich, what would we need to have faith for that we could not buy? Moreover, what would we pray for, if we owned everything that could be bought? Why would we have to depend on God if we could just write a check for it? When we are frantic in a crisis there is desperation, but when we are at ease with our surroundings and we have everything we desire there is a shallow sense of dependence and security. This false sense of protection is not the genuine Godly contentment of inner peace and joy, but rather the emotional, generic feeling of not having a need for God. As followers of Christ, we have not been called to life an indulgent life of luxury because it dulls our senses to the sobering reality of a lost and eternally doomed world. Thousands of people each day go to an eternal destination of darkness and torment and our holy love for them should be of greater importance than compiling a legacy of personal achievements and treasures.

Jesus mentioned several times about giving away the objects that would cause distraction from His voice and give us a DIVIDED heart. The idea of taking up the cross is symbolic of selling out our lives our plans and desires, and exchanging them for a life dedicated to the cause of Christ. The world has promoted the idea within its system that climbing upward on the ladder of success is the way to become more accomplished. The natural man can only see the temporal world and to him this is the ultimate dream of life. He or she cannot see true reality because their spiritual eyes have not been opened. Only when we are born-again can we perceive the sick condition of our soul and the eternal remedy. The Romans are one example that clearly teaches us the negative effects of an empire that became so “drunk” with prosperity and pleasure that it became the very cause of their ruin. Unfortunately, we are following the same path of being a prideful civilization that is mesmerized with instant gratification and unlimited indulgence.

Let us turn our attention to the recorded conversation between Jesus and a wealthy young man in Mark, chapter ten. The rich young ruler is a very interesting true story because the fact of him being very wealthy is being mentioned intentionally for the benefit of the lesson being taught. One very important side we see is that rich people are never satisfied with riches, as he comes seeking Jesus to fulfill an emptiness in his life even though he is in need of nothing materialistic. The young man has everything this life has to offer and now desires to obtain everything God offers in the eternal life. He has realized the void in his soul, which is a very necessary part of the conviction process and has boldly come forward to learn what he must do to reserve a place of prominence at the heavenly banquet table. Jesus tells him to obey all of the commandments and he quickly replies that he has been aware of them and has kept them diligently, (which leads us to believe that he has knowledge of religion). Then we notice, that Jesus, looking at him – “loved him” and I am sure it is a reminder that he also loves us even when we do not comprehend his reasoning. Jesus as the Son of God and deity in the flesh, can discern this young man’s conscience, then says, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” The young man I presume was stunned at the request as it is recorded that he became sad and walked away grieved because he had great riches. I want to add a very important note here and that is; I am not saying that wealthy individuals do not desire and have a very fulfilling walk with Christ but I believe scripture is trying to reveal that it is extremely difficult. How many people who profess to love God would respond joyously without reservation at a command such as this? It would also be interesting to see the reaction from those who are poor and have very little worldly possessions. Let us continue with verse twenty-three. “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again and said unto them, Children, how difficult is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Jesus goes on to explain that it is NOT impossible for those with great riches to be saved but confirms the spiritual reality that it would only be possible through the divine power of God. It is naturally impossible for a huge beast to pass through the eye of a needle; however, Christ was painting a word picture, which would illustrate the awesomeness of God’s ability and glory. I am also convinced that as, (the eye of the needle could represent a low gate in which a camel would have to crawl on its knees to get through), any person who intends to keep a sharp focus on God’s vision for their life – must stay in an attitude of humility and prayer. A very sobering question arises out of this teaching – Is God asking every born again believer to sell everything they have and literally follow him? Many would argue that it is only a figure of speech or is this a smoothed over excuse to live a double life? How powerful and effective would the church be if every member was walking in God’s Spirit and totally focused on accomplishing His will – without always holding on to their desires? Was this a special mission for the twelve disciples only or did humankind rush in to “modify” this teaching of pure spirituality into a more manageable, “realistic” religion? Maybe after the disciples were martyred and the intensity of persecution against the first Christians was observed in fear and discouragement, the entire biblical idea was scrapped and a humanistic interpretation was carefully constructed. Thus, we have the modern day representative of what is supposed to be the nature and character of Christ. Sadly, the powerful waves of the Hollywood and their worldly influence has tempted the body of Christ and the average Christian has allowed the destructive influence of carefree lust to corrupt their mind and program their thinking from the innocence of sacred light to the perversion of darkness. The pure message of sacrifice is slowly being replaced with the normal lifestyle of carnal satisfaction.

Let us observe another important passage that exposes the confusion and carnality of those whose knowledge has not become a revelation. Jesus is addressing a congregation with a literal message of disappointment. These individuals are no doubt another example of what happens when wealth is converted into personal pleasure. One manifestation that occurs is a fact that eating tremendous amounts of rich delicacies causes not only health problems but also mental apathy, lack of energy, being tired and sleepy, laziness, depression, weakness, cloudy thinking, a lack of discernment and so on. In other words human flesh becomes stagnant and calloused when flooded with physical pleasure, and like a zombie, we lose our enthusiasm and excitement about everything – most importantly our spiritual responsibility and reason for living. No doubt, the enemy of our soul has learned over the years how the weapons of this life can be used against us to stop the advancement of what God is going to do. Let us be reminded that God does not necessarily have to have us to accomplish his will but does use man as his agents of change. God is in control and every word and prophecy will happen exactly as God has spoken it. So we clearly see how when the flesh becomes intoxicated to the point of being numb with the idea that “I do not need anything”, these tendencies present a very dangerous and ineffective state of being that is a definite hindrance to the healthy advancement of the kingdom of light. Revelation chapter 3 and verse 15 – 17 gives us a perfect example, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked:” These church people were wealthy and had allowed their prosperity to contaminate their attitude. They were calloused with pride and arrogance to the point of spiritual blindness. They were bragging about their abundance but had slid into a coma of selfish carnality that had become so sickening to God that he makes the vivid description of vomiting them out of his mouth, which must be a type and shadow of eternal outer darkness and separation from Him. I believe wealth that is inspired and given from God can be a blessing and a testimony to God’s grace. May we remember to give God thanks all year and not just at thanksgiving. He is worthy to be praised for all of the good things He gives for us to enjoy. He deserves our gratitude and in turn, we should develop the attitude of generosity toward others. The dangerous influence of wealth is too powerful for a weak mind and a weak spirit. Our spirit works with the Holy Spirit to control our conscience in the triune realm of man. Our challenge is when we become “determined” to obey God by allowing prayer and sacrifice to be who we are.

Author Thomas Carlyle tells how, when he was a boy, a beggar came to the door. His parents were out and he was alone in the house. On a boyish impulse, he broke into his savings bank and gave the beggar all that was in it, and he tells us that never before or since did he know such sheer happiness as came to him in that moment. There is indeed joy in giving.

Dear Father, we thank you for all that you give. The air that we breathe, the beautiful sky and the gentle breeze. The restful sleep, the pain free days and the blessings of having enough are gracious gifts from your hand. Help us to let go of “things” and hold tightly to your hand. You are Jehovah Jireh, our provider. Whether in abundance or in lack, we look to you as our source for all things. We love you with all our heart. Amen.

THE WALK OF TRUSTING GOD

THE WALK
PART 43

THE WALK OF TRUSTING GOD

As much as we would love to include in our world view that faith is a magic lamp that contains a Genie who waits to grant our wishes – our maturity brings us back to the wisdom of obedience, patience and spiritual responsibility. It is crucial in our theological understanding of practicing our faith here on earth, to face the holy truth that we are to live in a “heavenly” enviroment. This “heaven on earth”, divine reality is based on eternal principals and spiritual laws that are set into perfect motion and cannot change. There are no limitations to God’s power but there are spiritual reasons why many dreams and missions are not manifested. God’s character and nature is Divine order and He has given specific instructions on how we can receive answers to our request. They are based on the “conditions” of following His Word and believing in what we cannot see with our eyes. It is easy to learn about God’s Word and yet live exactly how we desire. This is called “religion” because it is based on knowledge without the personal abandonment of the will. Many who confess they are a Christian, will never know what it means to trust Him. Selah.

Our Father’s instructions are laced with the constant reminder that we are not to lean on our own understanding but strictly submit and abide to His way of thinking. It is NOT our creation, we did NOT redeem ourselves, plan our destiny or anyone elses for that matter. The world is NOT our vision and neither were we consulted on all the reasons why or why not. However, I do personally believe that we as “agents of change” can grasp the basics of God’s wisdom about faith in our lifetime and will be rewarded for the investment we have spent trying to comprehend His will and OBEY His voice. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9) Many times, teachers will stop at this verse as they try to use this passage to prove that we cannot know the deep, hidden secrets and mysteries of God’s revelations. Let us go on, “But God HAS revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches ALL THINGS, yea, the DEEP things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that WE MIGHT KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST”. (I Corinthians 2: 9-16) I believe Father wants to open our spiritual eyes so that we can know His wisdom and comprehend His prophecies and mysteries. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him who knocks it shall be opened”. (Mathew 7:7-8)

Whenever faith is being discussed many of us are reminded that we have been waiting on miracles for years and have not received them. With positive confessions along with our visions and dreams, it is not that God or His Word is being a “teaser” but rather as He is Omniscient, He shines His Holy light into our souls and knows the motives of our heart. Based on our faith levels of understanding and His perfect timing which is directly related to His foreknowledge, He responds when the time is right – His time. Most of the time we are trying to see through a “glass darkly” and all we can see is our one puzzle piece, but we must remember – He is looking at the other 999 pieces. This explains why and how He can cause “all things” to work together for the good. Father is in the miracle buisness (His super-natural power has never faded away) but this usually does not include us trying to come up with new plans or ideas to help Him. He does not need us trying to think of new ways to help Him – He is perfectly capable of planning everything out on His own. In fact, our Christian life has nothing to do with how “busy” we are performing labor that seems right or that sounds good to us – it is simply LISTENING and TRUSTING Him in the things HE HAS “TOLD” US TO DO! Walking in the Spirit is all about the sheep hearing His voice and them “following” Him – not the sheep running around doing everything they can think of, then asking Him to bless their endeavers. He would be delighted if we would just stop all that we are doing and just focus on His voice. Selah.

As toddlers do not drive vehicles or fight in combat, Father evaluates the faith of His children in the valley of patience as well as our intentions in order to monitor the entire spectrum of everyday life. I do believe the Lord has high expectations for each person and is ready to assist them in any way for their success but there must be an investment of time to become prepared for the responsibilities that come with higher levels of thinking and stronger spiritual authority. When we refer to success, we must realize that we are being used for His success – not that we are using Him for our success. Selah. Furthermore, there is a principal truth that being in “position” to receive has everything to do with the final result. We live in a “drive through” culture of instant gratification but in the spirit realm we must follow the divine order of building line upon line, precept upon precept. Natural growth is a type and shadow of spiritual growth and this type of maturity is not based on age but rather the “understanding” of holy revelation knowledge. In all spiritual truth there are layers of discernment and we must have a desire for deeper enlightenment and a determination to sacrifice our flesh in order to obtain it. If we really want to be more sensitive to His Spirit then we must agree to the lifestyle of disciplining our flesh, to even begin learning from Him. If our wisdom does not come directly from Him, we will never learn the absolute truth. If we do not listen to His voice only we will always have just enough bits and pieces of knowledge to build a “homemade” patchwork of interpretation. If we do not have a burning passion for His Holy revelation we will not receive His divine illumination that will enable us to detect error or open doors of opportunity. Instruction that comes from another teacher is very helpful to inspire us and plant seeds of God’s Word in our heart, but we are to take our studies into a personal, indepth research so that we can receive Fathers confirmation. We must know why we believe or we will not be divinely “informed” about how to trust God’s Word in this last hour of “glittering gold” fraud.

Large structures take much preliminary work in order to prepare and make sure the foundation is worthy to hold the building. Our life is the structure and the time spent learning about wisdom, trust, obedience and character must be resting on the solid bed-rock of God’s Word because these absolute truths are the strength of our life. It takes more than a general belief system to become an effective minister for the Kingdom of light because the intensity of the enemy is increasing. The demons and Satan himself believe that God is the Almighty God and they fear and tremble in His presence, so we must realize that just believing in biblical “facts” does not automatically make us who we should be. The most wicked people in the world know about God and would agree that He is who He says He is, but this “aknowledgement” does not necessarily take anyone to a higher spiritual plateau or is it credited to a person as righteousness. Trusting the Father is more than believing – it is knowing Him personally as Lord.

Is faith a principal that can be used by anyone to unlock the doors of power? I am persuaded that anyone who is mentally stable can learn the secrets associated with higher thinking. To produce a vision from the invisible world all the way to a literal reality is a mystery because the kingdom of darkness has worked very hard to keep it that way. It is kept by God and He does not to withold the power of truth from His children but rather keeps it for them until they develop the desire and maturity to receive. There is a difference between spiritual faith and the natural understanding of the power to make things happen. In Acts chapter eight, we find a sorcerer trying to “purchase” the super-natual power of God from Peter, but was rebuked for thinking such a thing could be controlled by humans. It is true that many seekers of the hidden secrets of super-natural power and energy have learned and used spiritual laws that will produce fruit. But the most pure hearted and effective avenue is the submission to God, the obedience of His Word and the development of a personal relationship with Him. “Perfect” faith is produced when a person is completely submitted to God’s perfect will. Selah. The Lord is not mocked or unaware of the motives and intentions of a human heart. No one is getting anything over on God. I believe there are different varieties of trust. Many people accomplish great acheivements with a vision, a burning desire, hard work and a huge amount of trust or faith in themselves. Let us say this particular group does not know God neither are they concerned with the spirit realm, so allow me to ask. Did God intervene with their life or was their life built completely on human ability? Well, the answer would have to be that obviously God allowed them to achieve an earthly increase as the gift of free-will, while being monitored in the process. Each situation is unique pertaining to the will and intentions of the plan of God. Many are accomplishing God’s plans and do not even realize they are actually a piece of the puzzle in someone else’s picture. For example, if a person accumulates great wealth, they may be filled with pride in their accomplishment, but God in His ability to know all things may see that in their death many charitable organizations will receive much help. So in this particular case the wealth was not just for one person but for thousands of people whose lives would be changed including future generations. Does God bless a person with material success without them being born- again? This has been proven over and over. We see wealthy powerful kings in the Old Testament, (Pharaoh for example) or in modern times, (Sadaam Hussein) that have been very wealthy but did not know God. The human brain is amazing and many people are very intelligent when it comes to creating wealth. It seems that some are even gifted with creating wealth and it is noticable with those who are called entreprenures, for them to invent ways of creating wealth. I believe it would have to be considered a blessing from God since He is ultimately in control. He is incorporating their ability to create wealth with the hope they will see His truth and give their heart to Him. However if they never abandon their will to Him all is not lost. He will still use their substance in His ultimate perfect plan to bless many others that were never directly involved with the situation. In some particular cases it would seem that a lost person that believes very strongly in the vision of wealth is producing a type of faith based on the principals of what faith is. Is this a different kind of faith than what is mentioned in the Bible? I believe that spiritual principals can be used by non-christians as a “power” to produce results the same way a gifted, annointed singer can use their spiritual gift by singing for the kingdom of darkness and becoming worldly wealthy. Is faith more than believing? Does man possess faith or is it a gift from heaven? If all faith is a spiritual gift then we may be judged according to how we used our faith. Selah. Evidently every person has faith or they would not be able to trust Jesus for salvation. Romans 12:3, say’s that God has dealt to EVERY man a measure of faith. It is a strong possibility that our judgment may hinge on whether we concentrated our trust toward the advancement of God’s kingdom – or our own selfish desires? Abusing our faith or mis-using this holy gift could be another example of USING God to accomplish our personal agenda of accomplishment. Does this mean that prayers of “faith” that do not line up with God’s sovereign “specific” plan for our individual life will not be honored? The final judgement may consist of a much closer examination than we presume.

THE WALK OF OPTIMISM

THE WALK
PART 30

THE WALK OF OPTIMISM

Walking in OPTIMISM – is living with the attitude that everything will work together for the good and that the best is still ahead! Is that the way you really feel? Well, I must admit that some days that is NOT how I feel. And, why is that? Because I see the world growing darker and colder and I am convinced that most people do not consider God in their life. I also believe that the economy is on the edge of collapse and that violence and suffering will become a horrible reality. How can we who are Christians, not accept the fact of future tribulation and the New World Order of anti-christ? Living with these thoughts it is difficult to imagine that our best years of happiness and peace are ahead of us. Ah, that is the problem! I am only seeing the future as time on earth. We must separate our temporary “feelings” from our eternal reality but how can we do that? It is simple; we pray that God will help us develop our mental “filter” that will divide the fleshly from the spiritual. Only then can we keep everything in perspective. We must not live in a pity-party of emotional worry and distress because we have been called to live “above” the darkness. We are the light holders of God’s presence and with Him, nothing is impossible! There is much work to do and Father is calling us to do it – yes, even in the midst of a calloused, barbaric and violent world.

We can (and must) clearly discern the condition and reality of this temporal realm and react with the wisdom and maturity of someone who knows God and His Word. Much of the information that we absorb in our brain comes from events that happen around us. These “happenings” demand a response from our conscience and the results are the finished product of emotions. Those who walk heavily in the temporal realm are tossed “to and fro” because they are so tightly connected to reacting in their flesh. Those who have disciplined themselves to walk closer to God are not carried away so easily. This might have been easier when people lived at a much slower pace and were not bombarded with instant media. However, in this age of the information super-highway, we are choosing to process a great deal of “happenings” and unfortunately, most of it is negative. What is all this doing to our mind? I believe it is bringing darkness to our soul. I am thinking of the difference between being happy because you are not worried about anything, and being sad because you realize you are going to have to deal with some difficult situations. Now what does that remind you of? That’s right, a little child. When we were children, we were happy because we thought there was nothing to worry about. Everything seemed fine because in our world of knowledge, all was at peace and taken care of. We did not know how much money our parents had and had no clue if the bills were paid. How would we know if someone was ill or the price of tea in China, if someone did not tell us? The most important thing we knew was that we felt secure snuggled on the couch with the people we loved and who loved us. The older we grow the more the know, and the more worries we accumulate. “And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, verily I say unto you, except you become CONVERTED, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mathew 18:2-3)

Bearing one another’s burdens is a result of agape love but it is not the same as worrying about the price of gas. This is why it is crucial for us to understand how to allow the negative information to run off like the rain on the roof. I am not saying that negative knowledge is not important but it is one thing to PRAY for a situation and let it go, and another to embrace it and carry it around like an iron weight. Selah. Most of us have become “heavy” filing cabinets of information that not only we CANNOT change – but has caused us great STRESS. This heaviness is mentioned specifically in Isaiah 61:3 as a “spirit” that can alter our personality and change us into a pessimist. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, THE GARMENT OF PRAISE FOR THE SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” You remember that Jesus read part of this scripture in the fourth chapter of Luke, and is describing His mission as well as those who follow Him. So, if our attitude is to be seen as a garment, we can learn a few things about how to make this a reality. First, let us see that being optimistic is associated with being thankful. This scripture said “praising God” would eliminate the dark, depressing feelings of sadness and discouragement. Praising Him is the result of TRUSTING Him. The reason why so many people live in fear is that they have not and ARE not convinced that God has everything under control. We notice the next verse in Mathew 18 mentions humility, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same shall be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” There is a secret to praising God – it is bowing your knee and lowering yourself before Him without pride. I believe that along with being “heavy” with depression is the presence of resentment, anger and pride. Many believe their life is the way it is because God has not helped them. They walk in the dark clouds of negativity and pity themselves because of their circumstances. Unless they repent from their anger toward God and receive a clean conscience, they will not be able to praise Him and thank Him for His goodness. Moreover, without putting on the garment of praise they will continue to be oppressed by the spirit of heaviness.

The next practical thought about the garment of praise is that we cannot sew pieces of praise to our coat of anxiety. In other words we cannot dabble in being happy in God some of the time or be partially clothed in optimism. The garment of praise is not something that magically appears on us but rather it is the determined, INTENTIONAL” act of learning about it and putting it on! It is something WE must do out of faith and obedience to God. The problem today is that too many Christians are trying to “partially” live their faith. They are trying to cram their brains with the world while not recognizing they have no room left for Jesus in their heart. We cannot absorb the negativity of the world and expect to be a bright shining star of optimism. In Mark 2:21, we see the idea that one cannot be halfway sold out or half-hearted in wearing their garment of spiritual convictions. True spirituality is more than head knowledge of facts but rather a commitment and dedication to love and serve Christ completely. “And no man also sews a piece of new (material that has not been shrunk) cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that patched it up takes away from the old, and the tear is made worse.” When we try to put on a fake smile while freaking out on the inside, we do not really believe with our whole heart. True optimism must be more than just a “memorized” motivational speech. We need to KNOW that what we are exhibiting is the truth that we would not only live for – but also die for! There is no place for “fake” charisma or manufactured inspiration on the front lines of battle. It is simply a spiritual revelation of faith and trust.

Perhaps during times of affliction you have almost fainted. You may have been so weak and weary you thought you couldn’t go another step. But now, from where you stand, you can say, “I never want to go through that again but thank God, He brought me out. He has been faithful. Praise the Lord! Father does appreciate us being thankful but actually, He is seeking from us a much deeper realization. He is saying – “I did not bring you through all those troubles and afflictions just to make you a grateful overcomer. I’ve spent years training you, putting you through all these things for a purpose, and I’m not going to let you waste them now. I fully intend for my investment (AND your investment) to pay off and I am trying to reveal to you that your best work is ahead of you!” You see as we develop within our deeper-level afflictions, God opens our eyes to those struggling divine appointments all around us who are still in kindergarten. These beloved ones are confused and discouraged, so what do you do with your affliction experiences? God whispers to you, “I need seasoned, tested veterans, people who have survived deep waters and awful fires, who have been refined through suffering. I want people who have learned to stand and will prove MY faithfulness to this generation. I need disciples who can DEMONSTRATE the power of MY grace and love!” “That ye may tell it to the generation following” “Now also when I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have demonstrated thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come.” (Psalm 71:18). Listen to Paul in Philippians 1:12-14), “But I would ye should understand, brothers, that the things which happened unto me have actually turned around out unto God’s glory for the furtherance of the gospel. So that my bonds for Christ are clearly seen in Caesars court and to all that have heard about it. And, many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more BOLD to speak God’s Word without fear.” That is saying something! When Paul wrote this, he was an older man with years of experience and he was in the midst of one of the worst trials of his life. He was speaking from his heart that it would be the most wonderful thing right now if he could go home and be with his Lord. However, he was trying to teach them with his example. He said, I am a veteran, and I’ve been through severe afflictions and trials – but I know I’m needed here. This generation needs to see a sufferer who survives and rejoices with TRUE FAITH in any affliction. Therefore, it is best that I stay and endure these trials and afflictions with SPIRITUAL OPTIMISM! He had genuine hope! He was not down or depressed but rather said, I rejoice in the Lord for all He has brought me through! Is this not the attitude that we also must have in these last days? How can we “stand” as overcomers if we forget that Jesus has ALREADY WON the VICTORY? Trusting Him brings the joy of peace!

THE WALK OF THANKSGIVING

THE WALK
PART 26

THE WALK OF THANKSGIVING

I have something very exciting to share with you. I know that most of you have been Christians for a long time and many of you have ministered about God’s love and even taught classes, preached and written articles concerning His mercy. I too have heard about God’s never ending love all of my life and have shared this great revelation. Nevertheless, as I was driving to work the other morning, I was reminded again within my spirit, how that God KNEW every sin that I would commit – yet still loved me enough to die for me. It is not that He died for me and then I have disappointed Him to the point where He feels He made a mistake. That way of looking at the situation is like the human way of seeing. If we bailed someone out of jail and they promised to be good, then turned around and robbed and killed while laughing at us, we would feel that we were used. This is not the way God operates. He knew every detail of our “entire” life. Everything we would do in secret, and every thought we will ever have. As the psalmist relates the wonderful statement that “His mercy endures forever” it is beyond comprehension the patience and compassion He had and has for us. It is the supernatural power of His love and His commitment to saving us that should give us the constant attitude of thanksgiving. This great, awesome covenant that He has signed with His own blood is the final say to the reality of His promises for our inheritance. Whenever the devil tries to bring discouragement or condemnation to us for failing God, let us remind him that our Father loves us with infinite forgiveness! The devil may run to God and tell on us, but The Lord knew about that sin from the beginning of the world. I can see the scenario of Jesus telling the devil to go away and forget about it because it is “covered” under HIS blood! We learn about news everyday but this is the BEST news the world could possibly know! We do not have to preach sermons or write books in order to witness to the lost. This “good news” of God’s love is the arrow of conviction that can pierce the heart of the hardest sinner. This good news has the power to transform lives but it must have someone to tell it! When is the last time you shared the message of God’s love? Ask Him for a divine appointment to share this simple truth about how the Fathers love sent Jesus to shed His blood for those who will receive by faith the truth that He KNEW us – yet still LOVES us? All Praise and glory to His Name forever!