God is not Afraid of the Fire

THE SECRET PLACE
“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)

PART 17

GOD IS NOT AFRAID OF THE FIRE

This week definitely had its share of sorrow! Our hearts and prayers go out to the innocent victims of the latest terrorist attacks in Boston and the loss of lives and injuries that came from the fertilizer plant explosion. As always, there are many questions and very few answers. It is an hour when we as Christians must increase our spiritual discernment through prayer and fasting. Do you believe God can warn us when something is going to happen that will protect us from harm? Yes I do. Do you believe He will? Every time? That is a difficult question and one that I was faced to deal with Friday night.

I am a member of the K.C.C.R.T. (Kentucky Community Crisis Response Team), an organization that receives its support and curriculum from the Department of Home Land Security and F.E.M.A. The home office is in Frankfort and the State is divided into regions. Each region trains team members and utilizes the talents and experience of physical, mental and spiritual health care individuals, including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologist, nutritionists, along with E.M.S. Police and Fire personnel. I am a part of region 13 and I serve as a pastoral counselor that contributes spiritual care for those who are affected from any type of severe emergency crisis.

Friday night our team was invited to go to Corbin and meet with family members that had been traumatized in March, when a house fire claimed eight individuals, six from the same family, (five of them small children). The response team from Bell County needed more support and had called on our region to set up a special meeting at their High School where the family could talk with us privately without the media or spectators. I was not sure what to expect, but I can say that it was truly an anointed night of seeing His Spirit move. Again, in general the questions are always the same, (why) and the answers are always the same, (no one knows), however there is a supernatural healing, restoration and understanding when we feel and know God is present. Twenty-six family members were there and we know that much comfort and hope was planted and that in time God will continue to help them cope with their loss. I also officiated my first funeral this week and it was truly a blessing to be used by the Lord. Cheryl’s step dad was seventy- eight years old, a saved man that loved and served the Lord. It has been said that no one can preach our funeral – we do that while we are living. Nonetheless, I spoke the promises of God’s Word and Praise His holy name, The Holy Spirit ministered hope and encouragement to all of our hearts.

As a young child, our days were simple and our heart was innocent. It was like being in a dream state where the sun has not burned away the fog and we were clinging to the security that was slowly fading away. In the last moments of simplicity, our tiny amount of knowledge was naïve with a pure sincerity. However, as we grew older our conscience learned about deception, lying, pride and greed, along with how to endure the onslaught of harshness, cruelty, disappointment and hurt. Through experience, we discovered how to think on our own, how to defend and how to question what people say and do. We realized that life is not always the way it seemed so we built walls around our hopes and views to protect them. Sadly, this caused us to develop boundaries and become weary of most everyone because of our past negative experiences.

What we sense in our conscience reveals who we are, what we know and how we believe. When we hear a song or watch a drama that makes us cry – that is a tender heart or what we also call a sensitive conscience. When we read a letter that floods our emotions, we have opened the door to our inner chambers and allowed our soul to be touched. What do you feel when you look up into the sky or out into the ocean? Are you moved when a baby smiles at you, when you see two elderly people holding hands or when you walk through a cemetery? The “secret place” is a beautiful realm to live because it allows us to peek through the keyhole of a higher plane of existence. It confirms there is another dimension, a more wonderful, glorious eternity beyond this mortal experience. To believe and trust God personally, gives us the confidence of knowing there is more than what we see with our natural understanding and a much deeper experience of reality that we will one day comprehend.

I know two men, (that do not know each other) that are intelligent in the knowledge of psychology, philosophy and the science of physics respectively. Along with their impressive education, they both grew up in the church environment and are well versed in the disciplines of theology. In spending time with them separately, I have listened to their opinions and their exciting discoveries of many different ideas and worldviews of life. They claim the eyes of their understanding have been enlightened to such higher forms of intelligence that it is difficult to even have a conversation with the uneducated airheads that walk around in a simple-minded stupor. They both have confessed to me, (seriously) that most Christians are ignorant of science and have no idea how ridiculous it is to have faith in the confusion and condemnation of an error filled Bible. One man in particular, (his Father is a pastor) said that, he had read so many books and that he had developed such a high IQ, that it has caused him to abandon his faith and doubt the existence of God (?). He concluded that he had learned so much that he could not go back to the “innocence” of believing as he did as a younger man. He confessed that this troubles him deeply and he feels he is losing his mind – possibly his soul.

I responded by saying that being haunted by these fearful thoughts are a good sign The Holy Spirit is trying to rescue him from deception and disaster. If God were not convicting him, he would continue down the path of secular humanism and atheism without any conviction or regret. The troubling aspect of this kind of mental assault is – I fear there are many young people that are experiencing the same dilemma and sadly, many tender hearts are becoming calloused with doubt. We have always heard that it is a wonderful thing to go to college, graduate with a degree so that we can be successful, fulfill our calling, and reach our destiny. Traditional thoughts persuade us to believe that higher education brings integrity and respect to the individual and a sense of confidence and achievement. Though some of this may be true, I ask – at what cost?

I am not going to bore us with listing famous philosophers that were atheist or describe their books of theories. If you would like to take the time and do personal research on this subject, I think you will find a tremendous amount of insanity. However, the point I am making is centered on the importance of knowing God “personally”. There are multitudes that grew up in Sunday school and have known the reverential fear of God, but have allowed the world to extinguish their flame of holy sensitivity. I am not being mean to those who have backslidden away from God; rather I am sympathetic to their deception. The skeptic cannot understand divine reality because clouds of ‘pride” block their view. They have fallen into a dark trap and must be rescued by God Himself, because He is the “ONLY ONE” that has the power to deliver and set a soul free. For those who openly claim to be a skeptic or atheist, the humanistic view comes “natural” and we can understand why they are spiritually blind. Nevertheless, what puzzles me is how someone that claims to be a Christian can still boldly embrace a humanistic worldview and feel God’s peace. As I have said many times – there is only one God – and He does not share His glory with any other false idol and will never recognize any other generic interpretation of His truth. Since THE God of all things does not compromise and has never made an error, I can say with complete confidence that whoever is not following and accepting this divine reality – is wrong. It is impossible to speak words of error and claim to be inspired by The Holy Spirit. Thus, the idea that Christians can believe in the lies of humanism and walk with God at the same time needs to be considered as dangerous and possibly blasphemous. It is only through the patience and mercy of a longsuffering God that any of us in our times of blindness, have survived. It is true, we all have made mistakes and sinned against Him in our lives and in this journey of seeking absolute truth, it is normal to have questions along with much soul searching to learn God’s will. However, to betray our faith after we have claimed to know God by pledging allegiance to carnal knowledge, is “intentionally” enlisting in the camp of the enemy. It is one thing to be ignorant of the devil’s lies, but it is another to willingly uphold and support the enemy.

We as God’s remnant cannot over-emphasize the importance of preparing for the great “shaking” that is coming to the world. He is allowing Satan to launch a spiritual attack from the pits of hell to see who will remain faithful and fulfill God’s plans for the end of the age. We see an example of this shaking, as it is described in Luke the 22nd chapter. Jesus told Simon Peter that Satan desired to “sift” him as wheat. Within the process of thrashing the kernel from the chaff is “SEPARATING” the “heart” from the trash. Satan was planning to attack Peter so that he could derail him from his destiny. Jesus continued with an awesome encouragement that He would PRAY for Peter so that HIS FAITH WOULD NOT FAIL! I believe that Satan is aiming his weapons of philosophical and secular humanism confusion toward the younger generation. He is pouring out his poison in the name of a new age culture of social, intellectual and political aggression and violence that is fighting to replace God’s Word and The Holy Spirit. Those who KNOW God intimately and personally, will take this trumpet warning very seriously. Selah.

WALKING RIGHT SIDE UP II

THE WALK
PART 41

WALKING RIGHT SIDE UP II

The word of the Lord for us in this hour is “do not fear”. WE have a choice everyday as we “walk” with Jesus in this journey to either panic or pray! If we are to become what God is calling us to be, we must RELY on Him for everything. Those who have committed their life to Christ must come to the revelation of knowing that He will never fail them and that He will love them forever. We are reminded in the eighth chapter of Romans that God constantly watches over those whom He has foreknown, redeemed, predestined, called, justified and will glorify. It is our Lord and Savior that protects us, saves us, forgives us and fills our spirit with promises that cannot be broken. Verse 31 say’s, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against (defeat) us?” In addition, we have confidence in the promise found in verses 35-37, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation (troubles, difficulties), or distress (worry, anxiety, fear), or persecution (suffering as a martyr) or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. No, in all things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him that loved us.” We can stand firm and believe with complete faith and trust, that no matter how dark the world becomes, we can be filled with His pure, holy light and be the reflection of HIS GLORY.

In II Chronicles, we see that a million-man army was attacking Asa but instead of relying on his fleshly ability to fight or run away in fear, he turned to God in fervent prayer. In a powerful and humble request, Asa confessed that he did not have the strength or resources to do battle against this enemy. As he cried out to God, he depended upon Him in faith and the awesome power of the Lord come to his rescue – and the enemy was defeated. I believe we can see the parallel between Asa and us as the children of God today. We stand in this hour observing the world as an environment of evil that has blinded the eyes of an endless multitude. The deceived are committed to fight for the kingdom of darkness and against the children of light. As we ponder the situation, we are trying to find the clear word of the Lord as to how involved He is calling us to be. We are listening to His voice and waiting to hear HIS specific instructions about what we are to do and say in the midst of this chaos. We do not want to waste our time arguing against this “upside down kingdom” with the carnal weapons of our flesh but rather desire to “walk” in divine wisdom and the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit because we know it is the only power that is effective. We desire to see God’s victory and to do His will, however we realize as Psalm 127:1 say’s, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman stands guard in vain”.

Spiritual warfare has as much to do with discerning right from wrong as it does praying and confessing. If we are not aware that something is trying to deceive us – we will not sense the danger of being defeated. Selah. In addition, the amount we are aware of God’s absolute truth depends on the abandonment of our will and our level of serious determination to be “filled” with His Holy Spirit. Those who sit at the feet of Jesus and learn directly from Him will be the ones who are given the revelation of His mysteries and His keys to spiritual success. Today we find ourselves in the middle of a “War of the Worlds” except this is NOT just a fictional fantasy, but rather a literal spiritual assault against God and His Kingdom. Satan is using a deceptive strategy and when we stand back and see the big picture, we know his weapons are actually “words”. The foundation of all communication has always been words, as God’s Word has always been the supreme law that rules heaven, earth, the cosmos and under the earth. It is difficult to argue the weight of God’s statement in Proverbs 18:21 that “life and death is in the power of the tongue.” Therefore, I believe we must pray not only for self-control to prevent us from releasing carnal words of frustration but also for discernment and wisdom to know how to reply and when. Remember that Jesus was under the control of the Spirit when He went through the process of His crucifixion and only answered with humility and holy wisdom. If we agree that pure words from the Fathers heart accomplish His will, then we can also be sure the devil realizes how much influence words can have. Since he is the father of all lies (John: 44), we know that words of deception are his most powerful weapon just as much as God’s Words are His most valuable asset.

Words reveal the character of the one who spoke them and becomes the evidence of identification. Selah. God is perfect and His Words are perfect. In this light, we can also be sure that Satan’s strategy for distorting, reshaping, disguising, misusing, twisting and manipulating are for the purpose of conforming minds and gaining followers. The devil is the ultimate imposter and his words are an empty, devastating disappointment, however if he could somehow “infuse” words with secret meanings and hidden properties of emotional persuasion, he might well be able to lead whole populations in ways that appear to them to be good – but which are ultimately devastating. This upside down kingdom is using this dangerous “word game” to convince those who are NOT sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit. This is the reason why it is crucial to stay consumed with an attitude of prayer and focused with the awareness of God’s presence. Listening to His still small voice is the ONLY way we will discern the difference between absolute truth and a spray-painted illusion of humanistic logic that “appears” to be truth. We are reminded that God’s Word is the pure, genuine, absolute reality that will never fail and our guaranteed promise of everything He has spoken. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (Mathew 24:35)
We like to think words are just symbols that correspond to meanings but they are so much more. Words misused are little psychological explosive devises and when skillfully assembled they can become weapons of mass destruction. Deception can destroy the consciences of individuals, nations and the entire world – not physically and not immediately, but their ultimate result is part of Satan’s vision of stealing, killing and destroying. This is how the accuser of the brethren has ruined most of the governments and nations of history. The world’s conflicting ideologies, philosophies and religions are rooted in rebellion against the divine reality of God and His law, but how did it happen? By the use of clever language, twisted concepts and penetrating suppositions that build a tangled structure that seems strong and valid. It must appear impressive by instilling feelings that it has superior knowledge and the power and control of authority. These words (weapons), cause the weak to doubt themselves and to become intimidated into an alternate reality similar to the altered state of mind that drugs can give. For example, as homosexuals once seen, as people who were possessed with evil and who needed deliverance, are now embraced as being “gay”. The upside down kingdom has turned around the idea of abomination into something happy, normal and respectable. The same is true with abortion, as it was seen in the “right side up” world as a destructive, premeditated form of murder that was a sinful act of shame, it is now a “pro choice” for anyone that wants to terminate a human being. Political correctness has hijacked our language and conformed what was “unacceptable” in the eyes of God to a new “socially acceptable” world order. Atheist whom the Bible refers to as “fools” are now called “Brights”, illegal aliens are now referred to as “undocumented immigrants”. Today, increasing numbers of the socially acceptable refer to pedophilia as “intergenerational sex” and child molesters are now called “minor –attracted persons”. Euphemisms are now being used to convert a negative association into a positive one. To avoid offending Islam and Muslims (as a religion of peace?), our country is replacing the word “terrorism” with the more friendly term, “man-caused disasters”. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And, no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (II Corinthians 11:13–15) This passage contains perhaps the most important bit of information believers need to remember concerning the nature of Satan and his work. Paul tells us in this passage that the Devil “disguises” himself as an angel of light (verse 14).
Of course, Satan and his minions are often the direct source of much of the outright perversity and obvious evil that we see on this planet. However, since he is a coward and afraid of the light, the evil one would much rather approach us in the “guise” of something good and not something wicked. It is the old “wolf in sheep’s clothing idea”. If he came at us blatantly, he would be noticeable and easy to resist. The idea is the blind and spiritually unlearned are more likely to embrace his lies if he can somehow convince them (with the power of his words) that he is reliable. It is more easily understood in this sense, as to how the anti-christ will be able to convince the masses that what he can do is the healing solution to a suffering planet. Civilization has wondered just how Hitler and the other evil dictators of the past could persuade seemingly educated and “common sense” thinking people. These orators of hell were empowered with “weapons of communication” that could manipulate the human mind! We must pray constantly to have God’s view and for the protection of our thoughts from the dark arrows of words that are disguised as truth. As we recognize the imposter, we can not only focus our energy to God’s will but also help others to know His divine reality. How can we be led by God’s Spirit if we are agreeing with the wrong words?

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 DISCIPLINE

THE WALK

PART 23

THE WALK OF DISCIPLINE

Summer is here and I realize that everyone is busy. It seems there is so much to do and we are hot and tired. Having so much to think about is exhausting and a time to beware of emotions that can create a negative attitude. To say the least, these feelings of “blah” can influence our spiritual lives. Now is not the time to allow our spiritual flame to die down or our edge to become dull. I believe this is a unique hour in the history of humanity and when I talk about being prepared, I am saying it is CRUCIAL to buy oil NOW so that we will not be like the unwise virgins. The remnant that made the conscious decision to be “FILLED” with the Holy Spirit was ready and was allowed entrance into the presence of Christ. Those who did not take the initiative to “walk” in God’s divine reality tried to “catch up” at the last minute but did not have time to develop an intimate relationship. Today is a window of time that we must guard our mind so that we will not be swept away with Satan’s flood of deception. The devil wants us to stop reading God’s Word and to stop spending meditation time alone with the Lord. The dark kingdom loves it when we spend our evenings watching television instead of praying and studying. Yes, we are being bombarded from all sides with sin and the aggressive violence of hatred for God but we must maintain our courage. How can we stand for God’s truth if we are weak, uninformed, lethargic, unprepared and afraid? To say the least, it is OUR TIME with God that will pay huge spiritual dividends. Today is the day to press in, to move forward and advance toward His light. We are to be maturing and growing stronger NOT going backward into discouragement. WE are to be the hands and feet for Jesus but how can we help His Kingdom if we are depressed and not interested? Let us remain focused and alert to His direction.

I know that we are not to live in condemnation and it is miserable to walk in the shadow of a guilty conscience. Please allow me to speak honestly about betrayal, compromise, denial and the personal pain of living a carnal existence of mediocrity. Many including myself have collected knowledge through the years and have learned at least something about right and wrong. Those who are interested in seeking spiritual truth love to “collect” more wisdom like some people hoard antiques but that is not necessarily accomplishing anything. The most effective vision would be to pray for the DESIRE of discipline so that “truth” can be “incorporated” into our character. When are we going to “live” our knowledge? There is the HUGE difference between being a walking seminary – and a live demonstration. Moreover, there are many who KNOW what everyone else should do but FAIL to walk what he or she understands. Selah. I know this is hard and not really exciting but sometimes we need to hear it. Let us go on. I know I stumble all the time, I make wrong decisions and I do not always reflect the character of Christ. I know right from wrong and I can perceive truth and even communicate it, but nevertheless I feel that I am failing to walk the walk. I realize I have high expectations of what I believe are God’s vision for me (and the body of Christ) to live but at the same time, I am NOT where I should be. I will not make excuses for my carnality but on top of my personal problems, I do feel the intensity of resistance from evil. Even the news is saturated with discouragement and seems to have every intention of draining the very life from us. It is true there are dark clouds of “concern” on the horizon with everything from the economy collapsing and the one world government to the mark of the beast. Am I worried? Of course I am! However, I also believe that if I will heed God’s warnings and embrace His wisdom that I will be given the opportunity to develop the discipline that I will need to be prepared. I feel the pressure from the enemy is being increased against anyone that desires to press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. The devil hates us and he hates it when we start talking about being disciplined in the Lord! It seems as though I am being attacked from every side – even in my sleep! Do you feel that way? I want to live for God and please Him but lately it has been like climbing a steep cliff. It is HARD to get it all together and feel enthused about your progress. Even my weight has become a serious issue because I do not like the way I look or the way I feel. I need a booster shot of discipline to stop eating all the wrong foods. A man of my age should realize that I cannot eat like I did when I was twenty years old. Nevertheless, the more I think about changing my life, the more I am tempted and with delicious, mouth-watering delicacies. I am convinced that no one will change anything until the agony of staying the same becomes greater than the painful cost of changing. We can complain and cry about our situations but until we become nauseated about the way we are – we will not incorporate the discipline that is needed to become victorious. Selah.
Are we bored with preaching and teaching? Those of us that have been involved with the religious environment for years believe that pretty much we have heard most everything about the bible. No matter what the subject we feel confident that we know about it and that most of what we hear now is just repetitions and cycles of previously heard commentaries. As we read and study about a particular genre, our brain has a tendency to evaluate what others say, which comes complete with our own set of personal opinions, criticisms, judgments and arguments. What does this have to do with discipline? There is a danger to developing numbness to the abundance of spiritual teaching. We go through our email messages and delete biblical insights that we say we do not have time to read. I have a large library of biblical treasures and I seldom even pull one from the shelf. I receive numerous magazines and newsletters but usually scan them at the most. I have sat in my office many times and nodded out reading about the glorious splendor of God’s love and provision. Why? Am I tired of hearing about the cross of Christ? Am I turned off with the subject of discipline because I am not interested in suffering? Has the world’s pleasures spoiled us so bad that we have become fat and lazy? Have we traded our swords and shields for the false security of materialism? If there was ever a time when the body of Christ needed to drink freely from the fountain of God’s mercy and be transformed into the image of Jesus it is NOW. Let us not yawn at spiritual truth but rather be excited and count it a privilege that we can still receive His Word without persecution. There may be coming a time in the near future where there will be a famine of God’s Word. The Lord is giving us His Word NOW to help prepare us and build our FAITH for the time of tribulation. Amen!

Sin should always be recognized and treated as the enemy of our soul and when “secret deals” are made between our flesh and the devil it is never in our best interest. I have noticed in my life and in human behavior in general, the cravings of the flesh dominate this world. Yes, humans are very emotional and have a “wiring” system that is controlled by carnal pleasure. Now brother, Christians have overcome the flesh and are not prone to being led with their flesh aren’t they? Well, I know what God desires from His children but sadly, I am convinced that most people who consider themselves religious have NO intention to discipline their mind and harness their carnality. This “deal” that I mentioned is the compromise of receiving a new “home” from Father God but decorating it completely in our own style. The home represents our new spirit, our new agreement or covenant that guarantees temporal blessings and eternal security. The “style” is moving in all of our OLD thoughts, ways, actions, attitudes, opinions, habits and merging them with our new promises. In this light, we become deceived into thinking that we can have the best of both worlds. Like a brand new ship where we are still the captain or inheriting a manufacturing plant and we are the CEO that decides what is produced, how much volume and at what cost. This is NOT the revelation of spiritual discipline and is NOT Christianity.

Discipline is a word that is commonly used whenever there is a need for REAL change. It is not a very likeable word unless you are very serious about accomplishing something important. It is a popular word like “love” or “prayer” but also a hated and avoided word because it always accompanies other words like sacrifice and pain. It is closely related to determination in that nothing usually happens unless there is a vision so strong that someone actually becomes “possessed” with seeing it through. Multitudes can draw blueprints, hold seminars, write books and even dream about accomplishing goals but it is nothing without discipline. No destiny will ever be realized, no destination will be reached with only talk and hope. Discipline must become the legs of our faith so that God can breathe His miracle power into our calling. Selah. Our flesh desires to not only do what WE want to do – but to accomplish it as painless and easy as we can. Again, this is NOT being led by God and is always out in “left field” when it comes to living in His Divine Reality.

“Father we cry out, Oh God for your mercy. We are struggling to stay steady in a world that is reeling and groaning under the weight of depravity and abominations. Give us the desire to want MORE of you. Please, blow on the embers of our heart that we might become a flame for your glory. Shake us and wake us from our slumber. Open the eyes of our heart that we might be able to KNOW you and your perfect will. Break our hearts and reveal to us our sin. Tear down our idols and anything that is keeping us from you. Please convict us when our love waxes cold and we judge others through the eyes of prejudice. Allow us to know the revelation of Jesus and the cross that we been called to carry. May we abandon our carnality and embrace the faith that moves mountains. I know that most of this will depend on how much we want you and I simply ask you this day to help enhance our awareness, sensitivity, holiness and discipline. In Jesus Name, amen.”

THE WALK OF FAITH

THE WALK
PART 9
THE WALK OF FAITH

Do you believe that God has the desire to intervene and change things not only the way people believe but also inanimate objects? Do you believe that God can and will release His super-natural power just like He did in the Bible? I hope you are a spiritual dreamer and still cling to your child-like faith. I am amazed at how many Christians deny the power of faith to move God and do not believe that He will perform miracles that have no limit to size or difficulty. I was listening to a Christian carry on a conversation the other day about their views about physical healing and the gifts of the Spirit. They calmly explained that Jesus performed miracles in His ministry for the purpose of building His credibility and to establish Christianity. They went on to say that miracles are no longer needed because now we have the Bible and the abundant life that is mentioned in the scriptures only pertains to the spiritual realm. Allow me to say, this doctrine is the most depressing outlook of faith and one of the very reasons that many churches are cold and lifeless. When man begins to carve out the all the thoughts and ways that are higher than his own – all that is left are ceremonies, programs and philosophies. Imagine how you would feel if you created the universe and yet your own children doubted that you could answer their prayers.

God is the authority of all things. He is the Lord of the impossible and has never failed in anything. His words produce life and His will creates what He imagines. There is no higher power and He has always been who He is. He has no beginning and He will reign as an omnipotent, Majestic King forever. When He created people He gave them a free-will and an extra dose of “spunk” that generates their motivation to think and stimulates their energy to pursue. The problem comes when man forgets who made him and why he is here. It does not take humans very long to develop a blinding attitude of pride and even when they receive Christ into their hearts this dark side must be “cleaned out” and destroyed or it will keep them crying in the bassinet for their pacifier. How deceived people become when they think they have “outgrown” God and are convinced they know more than Him. They can see the scriptures are written very plainly with ink on paper, but they do not have a clue as to what they mean. They sing songs of victory but do not experience it. They speak of God’s presence but are too dignified to reach out for Him. They pray long dignified prayers about things they do not even believe and yet somehow all of this is considered living for God. On the subject of praying, I cannot understand why we would pray and ask God for help if we did not believe He will do it. Allow me to connect with my opening question and present a specific example. If your car was not running very well and you were in a tight financial condition where you were unable to pay for repairs, do you believe you could pray over your car and ask God to “heal” it? Now brother, that is weird! You cannot just go around and ask The Lord to fix things that are broken. Are you saying that you believe He CAN do it – but that He DOES NOT do it? You don’t believe He can repair washing machines, charge batteries, multiply food or stop roofs from leaking? Ok – what about praying over your bank account and asking God to stretch your money so that you will have enough resources to meet your needs? No way! God gives us a brain to figure things out and a strong back to work for what we need! Ok – I was just checking where you stand with miracles and it is obvious that your prayers are powerless to bring change. But, let’s keep going.

Allow me to say that being sent a comforter in the person of the Holy Spirit – was not just to wipe the mud and blood from our face as the devil stomps us. God lives inside the heart and spirit of the believer and He longs to be released in His FULL POWER and GLORY! Our prayers were designed to be sown as seeds and faith was given to ACTIVATE these visions. They are not limited to just the spiritual world because we do live in the earth and the material, physical realm is a vital part of our existence. If we lose our foundation of seeing Him and knowing Him as our FATHER that longs to provide for us, then what kind of personal relationship do we have. The enemy is the lord of religion and is an excellent teacher of lies that portray God as a stone sculpture that sits on the top of a mountain where no one can approach Him. This “long distance” view of God has been digested by the false church and the absence of God’s presence is felt in their midst as, “having a “form” of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such TURN AWAY”! (II Timothy 3:5) “Ever learning and never able to come to the KNOWLEDGE of the TRUTH”! (Verse 7) This is the exact same spirit of the Pharisees. They only possessed the intelligence level of knowing ABOUT God but never knew Him personally.
You see, if we cannot allow our heart to accept the truth that God can and WILL do anything we can believe Him for – then how can we have the faith to be saved? If we cannot believe Him for a new kitchen table how can we believe that He can resurrect us from the dead and reunite our spirit and body to live forever in heaven? We read in the Bible where Jesus raised the dead but why would any Christian scoff at the idea that Jesus can heal them of cancer? I am so glad you asked that question. Since, “Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8), we can definitely rule out that He has changed His mind about releasing His power. Where does it say in God’s Word, that He stopped performing miracles and stopped releasing His super-natural power through the prayers and faith of His saints? NO WHERE! The problem has always been with man and His lack of spiritual development. God is ready to move the mountains but He is waiting for man to develop and believe! It is the IMMATURITY of His people that are holding back much of His ability to change situations and their laziness, doubt, fear and disobedience is to blame! When people are not spiritual they will always try to whitewash their carnality with legalistic, manmade doctrines and a blind arrogance that would rather argue and tear down than express love and unity. The false church is led by the dark influence of pride whose conscience is seared as they hide behind their stained glass windows. My heart breaks for all those who are hypnotized under its spell as it could be they have never been born again. The reason why many do not have faith is because they do not have the NEW BIRTH. May the coming judgment of God shake the foundations of the earth and may His grace awaken those who are asleep.

As we grow deeper in our personal intimacy with Father, we begin to enjoy His presence. The more we drink in His promises, the more we obtain His revelations that change us. As the eyes of our heart gains a “higher” and a clearer, mature vision, we begin to see WHO HE IS and what He desires for us. We discover that we can WALK with Him and pour out our problems and literally BELIEVE that He will help us. Let us look once again to the often used scripture that explains what faith is. I’ve seen this passage hundreds of times brother; don’t you have something new to show us? Well, I have also read this many times but I know that I have not received the revelation from it yet. God’s Word comes in layers of revelation. It is like each phrase is a phone book of insight that can only be processed as our spirit and mind can handle the higher wisdom. The anointing in His Word is far above our ability to comprehend and is absorbed at the level of our development. The reason why this passage is presented again is because we need to see it again. When the seeds of our understanding begin to take root and bear fruit then our impatience and frustration will grow into wisdom and worship. “NOW FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) This seems like such a simple explanation but its truth is hidden like a treasure that is buried in the ground. It is not hidden FROM those who seek its beauty but rather it is kept FOR them. The mystery and wonder of this revelation is another example of an Almighty God trying to relay His thoughts past the “dark glass” of mortal perception and into the renewed conscience. Revelation is in the context of God “revealing” Himself to those who seek Him. The reason why most Christians do not understand scripture or cannot hear the whisper of His voice is because they have not been seeking “first” the Kingdom of God or His righteousness. We can have all we want if we are willing to sacrifice our time to dig for it. It is something to consider how easy it is for people to believe in the super-natural belief of a bodily resurrection from the dead and the eternal heaven of perfection, but roll their eyes in mockery at the idea of believing God for healing or prosperity.

God has faith. The “evidence” is whatever He envisions. He believes and knows that what He says will appear and whatever is manifested when He speaks IS the “substance” that He has created with the power of His belief! The same is true with our evidence of “THINGS” not seen. These visions, desires and prayer petitions are waiting in the incubation chambers of our patience and His timing. His covenant oath is a bond that promises our faith connection to Him and it is our pledge to commit our heart and mind to Him. This relationship is the ultimate revelation of spiritual intimacy between man and God and is the heartbeat of understanding His divine reality. He is not the one holding us back from doing His will! Our refusal to dedicate our life to Him hinders the inferno of Holy Ghost power and the release of His glory in our life. The bride of Christ will overcome and the remnant seed will follow Him to the end with their last breath. Selah. How can something that has not been manifest yet be something that we can see and feel? The petition that we are interceding about must become so real in our spirit and mind that it becomes more than just a whim or a passing thought – it must become a tangible “consistency” that is as REAL as the literal touch of a tree or stone. This type of hope is not a wish or a dream but a KNOWING along with an aggressive embrace that will NOT fall prey to doubt or fear. Our faith cannot be anything less than a complete CONFIDENCE that He has heard us, that He will respond through us and that He is in the process of making it come to pass! This type of relationship is developed through presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, confessing His Word, fasting, praying and ABIDING in His divine reality. This is the reason why true faith is nearly extinct – very few are committed to reaching this level of love and devotion to Father. It is much easier to spend an hour in church each week than to actually WALK with Him. It is much easier to believe that whatever happens will happen than to be used as a catalyst of change. It is much easier to read the paper and shake your head about how bad it is than to get off the couch and actually help someone. “What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith and has not works? CAN FAITH SAVE HIM? If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say’s to them. Depart in peace, be warmed and filled; but you do not give them what they need; what does it profit? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. Yes, if anyone would say, you have faith and I have works: show me your faith without thy works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18)

Knowledge without faith explains why when troubles come people turn to every practical, logical, human idea they think of without ever considering turning to God until they are completely out of ideas. Desperation will usually not work because true faith can rarely be planted, watered, developed or harvested – overnight. Father is not looking for us to call on Him as a last resort but rather to be built up in Him strong so that when we need faith it will already be available for us to release with the assurance that victory is on the way! This is why the Lord is angry with religion. It is not real! It looks good on the surface but is not genuine. It is like a cardboard town, fools gold or a diamond ring in a bubble gum machine. There is also a difference between positive thinking and living in faith. It is wonderful to be an optimist but to have FAITH is to have the attention of God. The lost can be positive minded but they cannot have faith because they do not have the spiritual connection. The unsaved do not have the legal, spiritual privileges of God’s Kingdom because they are not a part of that realm. God is not necessarily moved and is not obligated to act just because someone has a need. We can see the vast amount of suffering and dying in the world with people crying out for help. But His will is established by His own perfect divine order and the truth of His Word is the foundation of His integrity. He waits for us to see the evidence and receive His substance.