THE WALK OF SORROW

THE WALK
PART 51

THE WALK OF SORROW

I must be honest with you that I was convicted writing about the power of prayer. We can talk about being a Christian all day long, but there is no greater character development than to learn (and demonstrate) the “responsibility” of prayer. We have heard the scripture that talks about those who literally give their life for others, but I believe that we can also “lay down our life” as a sacrifice to stand in the gap – as a fruit of agape love. “Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The weakness of most professing Christians is they are willing to participate in many religious activities but have never been taught how to pray. We hear about being a soldier and putting on the whole armor of God, but until the mud covered foxholes of prayer become a lifestyle, we will not understand divine reality. It is in the uncomfortable trenches of intercession, where faithful servants are developed. It is within the closets of secrecy that tears of agony become the incense of beauty that moves heaven and earth. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

To be religious only, is to live a carnal mockery of true spirituality. When we were growing up, we heard people pray in church and at the dinner table and we tried to incorporate this into our spiritual experience. However, we may have never really grown in our comprehension of holy communication or our passion to build upon this foundation. This may sound elementary but one of the most crucial aspects of the Christian life is the need to ask God to give us the desire to live for Him. For example, if we really want to witness to the lost, we must ask God to “arrange” for us the opportunities. If we choose to “have an ear”, we may hear Him say that we need to be more prepared before we run into the lions den. Likewise, if we are curious about learning how to pray and desire to enter into the realm of intercession, first we must ask Him to give us the burden to pray. I promise, if you dare to ask – you will receive.

When we look closely at the life of a prayer warrior, we notice they are very serious minded. One reason for this state of mind is how they see the destiny of souls as a life or death reality. Intercessors do not take divine reality lightly! How can anyone pour their life into something and not be possessed with living for it and dying for it? They have allowed the flame of their zeal to grow stronger until it is a raging fire unto God. Within the flames, emerges something seldom seen but is commonly referred to as a – burden. Even the word itself is so distant and archaic, that it is rare indeed. However, the burden is a very real component of being a disciple of Christ. It is a heaviness of heart, a weight of concern that reduces haughtiness into humility. It is a place where agape love emerges as a spiritual sorrow that is so intense that the person can hardly concentrate on anything else. Jesus was called the man of sorrows, not because He was emotionally sad all the time, but rather because He could discern with the eyes of His heart, the eternal “needs” of all people. Only in the power of His deity could He survive the great agony of knowing the nature of man, and what it would take to save him. He came to earth because His burden was heavier than His dread to be tortured. He willingly carried the weight of the world’s sin and endured the sacrifice of His flesh, because His love was stronger than His shame. Selah. Do you believe He ever stopped thinking about how lost we were? Do you feel He tried to entertain Himself with other thoughts because the stress was more discouraging than He could bear? No, He lived, dreamed and died to be a bridge to heaven, for ALL of us who desperately needed redemption.

Having a burden can be seen as a form of spiritual labor pains. The birthing of miracles involving salvation, deliverance, restoration and healing for example, many times do not fall out of the air as most presume, but rather have been “developing” in the secret place of travail until God’s time of delivery. When we see others with a heart of compassion, we begin to realize how much they need God and how little they know about what life is all about. This in itself causes those who are spiritually sensitive to be broken hearted. This renewed state of mind allows us to look beyond their faults and see their needs. The calloused, cold heart wants to blame people for their condition and are not willing to separate a person’s spirit from their failures. In everyone that God has saved, He his unconditional mercy has reached out with forgiveness and grace even though no one deserved it. This “holy wisdom” examines ones own heart “before” they condemn, judge or criticize others.

The burden is one of heavens mysteries and is coordinated by The Lord as an extension of His perfect will. If we begin to receive His instructions and “unction’s” from His Holy Spirit, we will sense Him laying certain individuals on our conscience. We may not always be in charge for whom we have burdens for because we are not the only intercessors out there and The Father may have someone else praying for them. Many times, we can talk too much in front of the world and actually hinder our reputation as a follower of Christ, but the intercessor is more like a secret agent that becomes very concerned with accomplishing their “secret” mission. To realize that God is constantly operating in the Spirit realm is to live soberly to say the least. This growing in spiritual discernment begins to increase our awareness of God’s presence and this takes our relationship into the deepest level of intimacy. This has been His vision all along, that His people would be in the position to hear His voice and be ready to respond to His will. The coach of the Kentucky basketball team, John Calipari, said something very interesting the other day. He said, “The young players need to realize they must be constantly aware of what they are doing, what I am saying and what their opponent is doing every second. They cannot afford to be distracted and if they lose focus – they will not succeed.” Is this not the perfect picture of how to think and walk in the steadfastness of God’s presence?

People are hiding from the Lord just like Adam and Eve did when God was calling them in the garden. It is an ancient story featuring temptation, disobedience, faithfulness, deception and consequences, (sounds like a modern movie script). This young couple was given a perfect environment and were blessed beyond the imagination – but made a “willing” decision to disobey. I am sure their conscience felt the separation and the emptiness that occurred in their relationship with God, however let me ask the question, has anything really changed within the heart and mind of humanity concerning the way we feel and act about Him? If we look carefully, we will notice the simplicity behind the actions of people when it pertains to their spirituality. If someone is just playing religious games, they will usually avoid the realities of suffering and discipline. Why? Because everybody wants the “good stuff”, the blessings, healings, happiness, and of course the security of heaven but have never “signed up” to pay for them. Going behind the veil of suffering to draw closer to God is not the most popular spiritual teaching. The idea of salvation being “free” is a great selling point and words like grace, abundance, heaven, ransom, redeemed, rescued, forgiven, saved and unconditional love only helps the promotion. These are the “feel good” people who are always on the lookout for a comforting message that will give them the fuzzy feelings of security. Unfortunately, this variety of Christian is usually very shallow in their study of God’s word, intimate worship and the burden to intercede. The Bible calls those who hear the word but are not doers of the word, deceived, and those who put a limited amount of effort into going to church but do not have a constant, personal relationship with God are referred to as “lukewarm”. I scribbled down a basic thought the other day, “Lukewarm people love lukewarm sermons”. This nugget of truth rings loud in my spirit because I look around and see a great falling away of the commitment and faithfulness from those who proclaim God’s Word. People do not want to hear how God really feels toward their attitude because it is not popular to digest the disheartening words of rejection that comes with being vomited out of the mouth of God, (which is why this message is usually found at the back of the filing cabinet.) It is odd that people get excited about going to Africa to hand out tracts, but never think about ministering down their street. People will send offerings to missionaries to spread the gospel but have actually never shared their faith with anyone in their life. A great way to get people running and hiding from God is to point out the life changing responsibility that comes with being purchased or taking up their cross. Most people are eager to believe their ticket to an eternal paradise has been bought and paid for but would rather not consider the requirements that all of this is going to cost them, (but I thought you said salvation was free).

The salvation message of the gospel has been a great instrument that has caught many “fish” but much of the church world has failed to “clean” them with the explanation of true discipleship. Pastors are under pressure to baby-sit the carnal, religious spectators that financially support the organization. Most churches function as a corporate community that follows its own ideas and desires instead of God’s vision. Many pastors are just paid to fill a traditional position but actually have very little spiritual influence on the congregation to relay the direction of God to the people. These religious “daycares” are very disappointing to Him because he wants to see the manifestations of His power and glory. He wants to see tears of repentance, healing, His gifts and the revelation of His Word being demonstrated to the hungry hearts of those seeking Him with everything they have. Instead, He walks away from the dead programs that promote fleshly entertainment, half-truths, compromise, legalism, meaningless rituals, fabricated ceremonies and false teachings. I have written many songs about going deeper with God and have taught about pulling away from the world by reducing television and computer time and spending that time in prayer. Though most Christians agree this is a positive step in developing a closer relationship with God, the general idea does not get a lot of amen’s. Why is this? Because people do not want to surrender their carnality! Most people draw the line when it becomes uncomfortable. They only want to watch God until it hurts and then they will flip the channel. Human nature hates the things of God and this is why people shun fasting. They realize that if they draw near to God that He has many things He would like to tell them and they KNOW it is going to come with a price tag and they have already made up their mind – they are NOT willing to pay. This is what running and hiding from Godly sorrow is all about. It is the exact reason why most people do not lose weight even though they would like to look good – it hurts. Cutting out all of the delicious foods that you crave and exercising (on top of that) is the last thing most of us want to deal with.

Denying the flesh so that we can become more spiritually mature is what God is saying and whether anyone obeys or not, it will never discredit the reality of this truth. We choose each moment how much of God we want! Will His standard allow Him to accept just anything we decide to offer? Will He tolerate our attitude of just going through the motions of asking Him to bless us? Will our decisions be accepted just because He understands how weak we are? We must go further and ask ourselves, how can we stay focused on the mind of Christ? We will need to become so “filled” with His Holy Spirit, there is no room left for carnality. The reason why we cannot be consistent is that we are not consumed with God to the point that He saturates our thoughts. There is a eternal difference between being religious and being saved! It is not some of Him and some of me – it must be ALL of Him and none of me. Selah.

So, allow me to ask you some closing questions: Do you believe that your prayers can change situations that desperately need God’s intervention? Does God move and recognize the interceding of His children when they develop a burden for another person’s soul and their well-being? Do you believe that if we made a list of every person in our network that we have a burden for, and we became fervent in our prayers for them, that we would definitely see God’s miracle power change their lives? If our answer is yes, then our destiny will be a living sacrifice as we live in the Godly sorrow of a broken and contrite heart.

THE WALK OF PEACE

THE WALK
Part 45

THE WALK OF PEACE

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He has chosen for His inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)

I am sure that as we approach this election, that it is not the first one that has been a major concern among the masses. However, I do believe this one is especially high on the “worry scale” because we realize our Nation is “really” in serious trouble and on the brink of collapse. I was in Indiana this weekend and was having dinner with my wife and some women that she works with. They asked me why it seemed the average person does not appear to comprehend the seriousness of what is happening. I said, I believe it is because for many of us, our lives for the most part have not been personally affected up to this point, however as we have seen in the recent natural disasters – conditions can change very quickly. It is probable that we are being “warned” by God, to stop and look deeply into the mirror as to whom we are, and whom He has called us to be. I believe we will eventually see and “feel” the effects of a transforming world and we must prepare our hearts for the levels of tribulation that is coming. When people are cold and hungry, they snap out of their trance and take notice they are in trouble. It is in these times of desperation that God is going to use us to minister LIFE to those who are searching for truth. We, who are followers of Christ, have been training to learn the true meaning of life and very soon will be used in divine appointments to introduce many to Jesus. Praise God! Just because the world falls apart does not mean that we are left helpless or hopeless! I quote Leonard Ravenhill, “I have The Father on my side, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit and 2/3 of the angels. What do you think I am going to do? Sit down and cry?” In this light, let us rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life and may we have faith to believe that whatever happens, God will give us the grace and wisdom to overcome. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a WITNESS unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mathew 24: 14)

There was a time when honest men and women rolled up their sleeves and worked with a clear conscience. The system has always been corrupt and possessed with an evil agenda, but it was the “core” people (like our parents and grandparents) who believed in God’s Word and prayed in the fear of the Lord. Most did not realize what was going on behind the scenes; they lived a difficult but simple life, trying to do what was right according to their limited understanding. Through time, (unfortunately) this inner circle has dwindled while Satan’s strategies have been growing. Now, the deceived outnumber the remnant and work day and night to destroy our system in order to rebuild this planet into a New World Order. I remind us of the words of the angels throughout God’s Word – Fear Not! This is not a day to pace the floor and be fearful of what is coming. In Luke chapter two, let us listen to the message of the angel and be reminded who is actually in control. “Fear not: for behold, I bring you GOOD tidings of GREAT JOY, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Jesus is the King of all Kings and He is still Savior and Lord of all. With His love and grace, He has saved our souls and we will “walk” in this hour, with confidence that He knows what is happening and will do whatever it takes to bring His will to completion. “THY kingdom come, THY will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Mathew 6:10) We walk in peace because we believe this is true. Amen.

Prophecy has been written by the finger of God and His absolute truth will come to pass EXACTLY as He has spoken it. The idea that politicians can bulldoze the past corruption and build a better world is a fantasy to help the masses stay calm. If the people of this dispensation realized what the anti-christ has planned for the future, there would be rioting and chaos in the streets (which will probably happen anyway). God has written in His Word that life on earth would progressively continue to deteriorate. Today the same evil spirit controls the legal system and religious world that crucified Christ! When Satan deceived Adam and Eve, he obtained authority to become the “prince” of man’s earthly government system. God allowed Satan to execute his destructive agenda but is limited to God’s will – as the story of Job reveals the Omniscience of the Father. The devil’s dark agenda contains the formula to distort man’s thinking and turn his eyes away from the truth by giving him a new philosophy to call his own. The “NEW” World Order is an old man made agenda to rule the earth according to his own carnal thinking. Millions of souls have been lost to hell and millions more are on the edge of eternity. We have NOT been called to save an earthly government – we have been called to be light holders for the love of Jesus Christ. We have been called to “LIVE” the cross of Christ in front of the world, so the eyes of the blind may be opened and many souls might be saved. Our thoughts are about the blood of Jesus and our prayers are about people – because it is all about God’s love.

Over the years, we have witnessed the leaders of our country abandon their “duty” to execute common sense in exchange for personal gain. Have we come to the point of no return? It is possible and as I try not to be filled with a “doomsday” attitude, I am sure all of you have been thinking about it in the back of your mind. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that another elected official in the White House will NOT be able to keep a ship (which has a large hole in the bottom) afloat. It is a very sad time when the masses would rather put more faith in a deceptive politician than God- but it is true! Many people would rather spend all their time debating over the hopeless scenario of our economy, than to invest their time and resources into prayer, giving, loving and witnessing.

Some believe that democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government but rather can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves financial support from the public treasury. We have filled our social system with mindless spending to the point where now the people vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits. As we can see first hand, this way of operating opens the door to loose and dishonest fiscal policy, which always leads to collapse and is followed by dictatorship. However, we as Christians do not claim this world as our home but realize that we are spiritual aliens that represent another world called heaven. We are spiritual missionaries and will either live for Him and be protected until we accomplish our mission or die for Him as we experience the ultimate sacrifice for our Lord. Whatever our destiny, may we stand strong on the front lines with the assurance that He is worthy of all honor, worship and glory! “Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:18-19) I can say within my own heart and conscience that if God Almighty does not reach down and untangle this “sinful” mess – our country will be bankrupt. Of course this is exactly what Satan is waiting for, to enable his anti-christ to present his new “beast” that will lead the world into bondage. God in His foreknowledge has always known what man would “choose” in his gift of free will. In addition, we can read prophecy that allows us to know how our world eventually comes to an end. We can see the world grows darker and more evil against God until He comes back to destroy it. This is not being negative – it is accepting what has been promised. God did not corrupt the world. Humanity was given the freedom to choose good or evil and since time began, the natural man has loved pleasure and temptations of the darkness more than the beauty and peace of God’s eternal light.

(Lord Woodhouselee, Alexander Fraser Tyler) Tytler believed that democratic forms of government such as those of Greece and Rome have a natural evolution from infancy to eventual corruption and decline. In Greece, for example, Tytler argues that the patriotic spirit and love of ingenious freedom became gradually corrupted as the nation advanced in power and splendor. It has been noted within the general masses, the short lifespan of some nations that made great advancements, yet went into a full circle returning to their original state. This is the dreadful progression that is evident in our own country: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; and from dependence back into bondage. Some believe the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase, because there is so many already dependent on the government. With our government giving away all of our resources to a world that despises us, on top of supporting a huge percentage of our own people, it is clear that no one could balance our checkbook. Satan inspired our government to borrow money from other nations so that bankruptcy could manifest at a faster rate. With the weight of maintaining a very expensive military and the staggering cost of natural disasters, it brings up the question of just how much is our credit limit? What happens when we are told that we cannot borrow anymore money? The candidates will not touch this subject because they do not have a clue. The candidates will not plead with the people to fall on their knees and repent to God, because they are ashamed and afraid of the heathen that will mock their campaign. Little humans that are deceived to think they can patch the bottom of the ship and set course on a new successful voyage to paradise. Emanuel – God is with us! It is not about the success of a country – it is about how devoted we are to Christ within our network! He is our lifeline to safety that enables us to live in His peace. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

THE WALK OF PEACE II

THE WALK
PART 29

THE WALK OF PEACE II

I have felt impressed to watch what I eat lately and have started a regular routine of walking and light running. I am taking baby steps but have already experienced some improvement in my stamina. I live in a subdivision that is next to a beautiful old country road. Several years ago, a new road was built and they closed this road, which leaves it isolated and very seldom traveled. The other day I was walking along and was sensitive to God’s presence, and as I looked up into the sky, the white puffy clouds were peacefully floating along. The birds were singing and rabbits were crossing back and forth in the road up ahead. I closed my eyes and breathed deep because I wanted to soak up every drop of this serene contentment. I was talking with God and asking Him to help me with my failures and to teach me how to be more like Jesus. I had many questions about life and situations because I do not understand why certain things happen, but Praise God for His patience to not become annoyed or act as if we get on His nerves.

As I have been walking everyday for the last two weeks, I can say that it enhances your prayer time and clears out your mind so that you can think. I highly recommend that you consider adding walking to your daily “walk” with the Lord. It will tone your entire body and increase your energy while giving you plenty of quiet time with Father. For myself personally, I recognize the danger of sitting in front of the entertainment box every night and how the enemy loves to distract us and steal our precious time. About a month ago on the way to work, I was asking Him to please help me. It seemed immediately after I made the request that I heard a voice in my spirit that said, “I also really need you to help me! It hit me hard and I meditated on this for several days. Without realizing it, how often do we just present our petitions without asking Him what He wants from us? Do we even give Him the time to respond? Since we are too busy to slow down, many times we just give Him our list to fill and rush off to do errands that are more “important”. I wonder if sometimes we stay in a frantic rush to “avoid” what He really desires. Selah. I believe that of all the things we could say or do, that He desires to have All of our heart – and that will give us the peace that is beyond our comprehension. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

We find a story in Luke 10 and verses 38 through 42, about two sisters that loved the Lord. Martha was busy in the kitchen, rushing around and frantic about all the details of serving the meal, while her sister Mary was relaxed, listening to Jesus talk. Martha became aggravated and eventually complained to Jesus about Mary not helping and asked if He would tell her to get up and help her. It is interesting to hear His response because it gives a different perspective about what is truly important in this life. He said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful (anxious) and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” It is not that He did not appreciate all of the hard work Martha was doing, but instead was making a point that it is more important to spend time with the King than to just labor all the time for the Kingdom. When we are overwhelmed with being busy, our life becomes hectic and exhausting. This in turn causes us to become tense and irritable. I believe Jesus was trying to teach the importance of living in His perfect peace. He is not saying that work is bad because there is much to do, but if we keep Him in our thoughts – our deeds will be pure and our long hours will accomplish everything with the right attitude.

So, let me continue with how much I have been enjoying walking and jogging. There is only one house on the lane and it is down at the end of the road. They have a large white American Bulldog that I would estimate at 80 to 90 pounds that is quite intimidating. It runs free to guard their property and it has run out on me before, growling and bearing its teeth to scare me away. One night the dog ran toward me and the owner caught it and held it until I could pass. Sometimes I see the dog and other times it does not come out, so I have been taking unnecessary risk with a potentially dangerous situation. This past Saturday night, I was running along my usual route and I was feeling good. I went past the house, saw no trace of the dog, and kept on going. I made another lap and headed back down to the end of the road. This time out of the corner of my eye, I saw something white running out of the garage. I turned to see the dog coming at me with full speed, so I stopped to contemplate what I should do. I did not want to be aggressive so I chose to be calm and say gently, – good boy, good boy. Before I could blink an eye, he bit me hard on the wrist. I was in shock as I looked down and saw the blood pouring out of my arm. I must say that in spite of my trauma I am very grateful that he willingly let go instead of locking on and twisting his head. I am completely convinced that he could have torn my hand off and for that matter, could have mauled me to death. There is no way I could have fought this dog off. I believe his “little bite” was simply a warning for me to leave and a notice that next time he would not be so nice. I felt very helpless as I had no protection and I am grateful that he did not keep biting because there would have been nothing I could have done to stop him. God must have restrained him.

Even though I knew the dog did not particularly enjoy me jogging on the road, I really did not think he would actually attack me. I kept thinking that he was probably a big old teddy bear that just liked to appear mean. Now that I look back on it, I should have been carrying mace or some type of protection in case I needed to use it. Well, some family members came out of the house as I was screaming for help. I kept trying to tell someone to hold the dog because I was afraid he was not finished biting me. There were several older women and some teenage girls that came out but they were all afraid to touch the dog. They saw the blood pouring from my wounds and they seemed to panic. I could not understand anything they were saying because they were speaking in Spanish. I finally asked them if they could drive me home and they did, to which I filed a police report and went to the emergency room. They did not stitch the wounds because they wanted them to stay open for a few days. Later that night I had to go back to the emergency room because the pain in my wrist and arm was excruciating. I could not bear the intensity of the pain as the doctor said the swelling was pressing on the nerves in my wrist. They gave me more pain medicine and a shot to put me to sleep. It is Monday morning and I have just returned from my doctor to check for infection and to re-dress the wounds. I will probably miss several days of work this week because I cannot bend my fingers or turn my wrist – but it could have been much worse.

I have been wondering why this happened, as I was having such a peaceful time out alone with God. Nevertheless, I realize that Satan does NOT want us to enjoy God’s presence. I will not allow this disruption to stop my exercising or my time with God. I will keep walking down this lane and have told the devil that nothing can stop me from legally jogging on a public road! I have peace with God and I am so grateful He allowed me to survive. This event has reminded me that as much as we like to believe that we have a hedge of protection around us, maybe it is not completely one hundred percent. In other words, there might be times when the enemy can find a crack in the wall and take advantage of an opportunity to strike. Remember Job was being protected, but Satan begged for access to his flesh for the intention of turning Job away from God. Glory to God, Job held on the best he could and finally passed the test of faithfulness and obedience. The Lord proved to Satan that Job was truly a man of God and He rewarded Job accordingly. We see many stories of people being assaulted by the devil and we wonder how this could be. A family that has a car accident on the way home from church, a church being set on fire or a child that runs out in front of a car, we shake our head in bewilderment. You know, there are many unanswered questions in this life and I am sure we will personally have many more, but the lesson to learn is that it is not what happens to us – it is how we REACT to what happens to us. Sometimes it might be something that we did that causes our problems and sometimes we are completely innocent, but in the end it is how we CHOOSE to deal with it that will cause us to fail or be victorious. The devil wants us to turn against God just like he tried with Job but we must stay strong in our love and confidence with Father to know His Word will never fail.

Sometimes when a crisis happens, it makes us feel that we are defeated. We have a natural tendency to feel sorry for ourselves and become discouraged with our situation. However, God’s peace is the highest, most powerful feeling we can experience because it comes from the spiritual realm. We need to learn to let go of our abilities to handle things and let God make ALL things work together for His purpose. Selah. His peace is far beyond our emotions because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His peace is stronger than our fears and crushes our worries and anxieties. His peace floods our heart with His courage and His confidence. Jesus is victorious and His promises are guaranteed to quiet our soul and replace restlessness with contentment. His peace opens the floodgates to His treasure house of joy and freedom to enjoy the beauty of His person. There is only one condition to living in His peace and that is – we must make a determined decision to receive it and accept it! Father will not force His blessings on us and they are not usually automatic. As we grow in His Word and learn about our covenant with Him, we begin to understand the gifts He died for us to have. The darkness CANNOT steal our perfect peace.

LEARNING HOW TO WALK IV

THE WALK
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

PART 7

LEARNING HOW TO WALK IV

THE WALK OF LOVE: “Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children. And WALK in love, as Christ also has loved us and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) We can do a lot of things in the Name of Jesus but we cannot “work” our way into God’s favor. There are many reasons why people labor for the cause of God’s Kingdom but unless the motive is genuine love for God and love for people – we have drifted into the tainted area of personal politics. Love is the nature of God and everything we are and all the “branches” of our abilities and intentions must sprout from Him as He is the Divine Vine. Growing as a Christian means that we are slowly transforming into His image and this awareness of compassion for others comes from the same love that was in Jesus when He willingly suffered on the cross for us. The idea is for the branch to receive nourishment from the vine and allow the beautiful fruit of God’s presence to be seen and tasted. When we stop trying to be our own vine and begin submitting to His divine order, we can begin to grow correctly and blossom into His perfect will. This process of learning how to WALK in the Father’s divine reality separates the religious imposters that have a form of Godliness from the serious minded disciples that weep over the souls of others. “He that loves not does not know God; for God is love. In this was manifested (revealed) the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (I John 4:8-9) “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him.” (Verse 16) Walking with God – is walking IN God’s love!

We see throughout God’s Word how high on the list He has placed love. Godly love is not an option or a religious formula – it is a mandatory requirement that reveals just how much of God we have “allowed” to be manifested in our life! It does not matter what we do – it is all about who He is IN US! Selah. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not CHARITY, it profits me nothing!” I Corinthians 13:3) Not only are we to love God and people with all of our heart, mind and strength, but we must be careful to not fall in love with the “things” of the world. This attraction to the pleasures of this life is directly connected to satisfying the lust of our flesh. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust thereof: but he that will do the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2:15-17) We want to please ourselves and this comes from our old carnal nature. If we allow our old way of thinking to control us, we are no different from the unsaved that are led by their emotions and demonic influences. When we become born-again, Jesus helps us move everything out of our heart so that He can fill us with His new way of seeing and thinking. When our mind begins the renewal process and the eyes of our heart are opened to His will, we begin to desire to please Him and not our flesh. So we can understand the reason why people struggle with being led by the Holy Spirit is because they actually love their self too much with the wrong type of love. This is the “phileo” or lower love of the flesh that is stimulated within our emotions. The agape love is the “higher” spiritual love that comes from God and is ministered through our spirit into our mind. Spiritual love goes far beyond how we would handle situations because it is a deep commitment to the principals of God’s Word and His character. It has nothing to do with our “feelings” but has everything to do with our submission and obedience to Him. As we allow Him to become the LORD of our life, His agape love will grow stronger within our conscience. Our love will be the light and salt of our testimony and will reveal to the world that Christ is the Savior and King of glory.

Godly love is not just an emotion but the character that is imbedded in the nature of His divine person. We know we are IN HIM and He is IN US when we desire to constantly know Him, serve Him, please Him and abide in His presence. Natural love is a fleshly attraction that is based on emotional feelings and carnal thinking (what can you do for me). God loves people even when they spit on Him and curse Him because He loves them “spiritually” unconditionally. We also are to look beyond what is causing people to be blind and lost and love them with a vision to see them delivered and saved. If we spend all of our time lusting and chasing the pleasures of this world we will ignore the real purpose of our mission and fail in the intended destiny of our life. The devil’s strategy is to distract us with pleasure so that we will not care about pleading with Father to give us the revelation of love. When we pray for God to open the eyes of our heart we are asking Him to show us the “spiritual” condition of those who need Him. This discernment is for the purpose of becoming more sensitive to others. The point is for us to look beyond people’s flesh and listen to what Father is telling us to do. Agape love is a Godly REACTION to how others treat us and this DEMONSTRATION of His nature will always open the door to conviction which gives the Holy Spirit the ministry opportunity God is looking for. When we walk in agape love we are a USABLE candidate for a holy, divine appointment. Those who walk in the emotional, flesh realm cannot be used at all because they will react in the default system of flesh which is the complete opposite of God and totally ineffective for His kingdom. Let us go a little deeper and look at these verses. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love) I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” In other words God is saying that we might be an impressive speaker with bold flattering words but if we do not genuinely love people, it is all just a bunch of bologna! People will not believe we are sincere and our lectures and speeches will be annoying and irritating. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not charity – I am nothing.” Many in the faith will focus on prophecy and everything connected with eschatology and that is fine. But I have personally known those who could talk with you all day long about the spiritual “mysteries” and yet be mean, harsh and nasty to everyone all around them. How can that be? It seems something is out of order and I believe that is the interpretation of these verses. How can a Christian go to church and proclaim to know all about the Bible and yet have hostility and hatred toward other races? The Lord is saying that some people will be deceived by thinking they are closer to God than everyone else when in reality God does not even consider them His children. “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:21-23)

That might sound a little rough but I believe the point is very clear, that developing agape love is not an option! I use the word “developing” because we do not automatically have this deep spiritual compassion when we become born-again. When the Lord talks about our mind needing to be “renewed” He is not just reminding us of another free gift that comes with salvation. Along with everything else that is “offered” in His redemptive grace and mercy, the concept of sacrificing in order to receive is crucial to understand if we really desire to grow. The Christian life is filled with “conditions” which means that God is waiting for us to take the initiative to grab hold of His promises and to follow through with our responsibility to cooperate with Him. If we do not “invest” our time and our energy into His divine reality we will not receive the empowerment that we must have to know Him and to live for Him. If we do not absorb His revelations of wisdom and the mysteries of His faith, we will not mature into the overcomer He has destined for us to become. Learning HOW to love will take personal study and fervent prayer because we must transfer our focus from the old self into God’s perspective. We cannot react like we used to or would like to because we have submitted that old nature and will to the grave. We now need to see people the way God sees them and that will take a consecrated life of learning to live in the awareness of His presence.

We all hear the word “love” used but much of what we say and hear from others is but only a well-intended, surface gesture. We all must look beyond the charismatic personalities and on into the depths of God’s Word to find what true love really is. The house that was built on the sand did not have love as it’s foundation and was washed away. If we have not been shown love in our childhood or if we have been treated badly, we will have a tendency to not be as close to people or be willing to trust them. Family problems especially with Fathers create a barrier of bitterness and can require counseling to help reveal what is holding us back from reaching out in love. At the bottom of our Christian foundation is where all of us must begin to fully comprehend the meaning of spiritual love – and that is learning how to love God just for who He is. It’s our relationship WITH HIM that creates His love within us! Selah. When we are filled with His Spirit we are filled with His love. When we take the time to worship Him and tell Him how much we truly adore Him – then He can begin to give us the passion to love others. So, our love for others is measured by our love for Him. Selah.

WALKING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE III

THE WALK
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

PART 3

WALKING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE III

Dear Father, we feel the conviction of your Holy Spirit to re-examine our life. We sense that you are knocking on our hearts door to convict us, to provoke us and motivate us to a higher enthusiasm to WALK as Christians. Dear God, we ask for more of your FIRE! More of your PASSION to live what we believe! We repent of our sins of laziness, of being lukewarm, too comfortable, not caring, being judgmental, critical and arrogant. Open the eyes of our heart that we might see how you feel and how you think. Give us wisdom and maturity that we might become more serious about love and compassion. Put a guard on our mouth and do a work of patience in our heart. Today is the day to CHANGE the way we talk, the way we think and the way we act. Take our hand and lead us out into the deep waters of your perfect will. Give us the desire to pray for more ZEAL! For your glory and in your holy name we pray, amen.

THE WALK OF PASSION: Our Lord is presenting a challenge to us this day. He is saying that if we really desire to go to the next level with Him, we must have a burning PASSION for Him! How can we generate this spiritual craving to go all the way with Him? We cannot! We can become extremely emotional but that is all we can create. The same way that humans must be drawn unto the Father to be born-again under the convicting power of the Word and the Holy Spirit – we also must have the super-natural revelation gift of PASSION! If we really want to completely be sold-out to everything God has planned for our life, then it is time to ASK HIM to do a deep work in our heart so that He can be the Lord of our life. Are we AFRAID to ask Him because of what He might call us to do? Selah. If we surrender our will and pray with a sincere, fervent intensity, I believe that Father will begin to pour out His power which will renew our mind and strengthen our faith to a place we have never experienced before. The reason why many have never had spiritual doors open for them in the ministry is because they have not had enough PASSION to support their calling. Some of you that are reading this have been waiting for answers and miracles to bless and confirm the direction you have been seeking but Father has been waiting on you to be consumed with His passion so that He can release His anointing within you. If we are serious about seeing our ministry bloom then we must get off the couch and fall on our knees pleading with God to give us His passion that will fill us with courage, strength, faith and confidence until we explode with the brightness of His glory. A zealot is one who is FULL (in this case filled with God) – showing a fervent enthusiasm to an EXTREME or EXCESSIVE degree! Are you saying that we are to be a fanatic and even a militant? Yes, exactly! Many have forgotten but we are soldiers that should be interceding in spiritual warfare against the dark spirits that hinder the advancement of the Kingdom of God. If we are not fanatics for Jesus Christ we will never be a sold-out, faithful follower. Selah. If we become nothing more than a religious spectator we will fail in our mission, our calling and our responsibility as a Christian. If we never become light or salt, if we are not obedient and our mind is not renewed, then what are we? If we have no attributes of Jesus and do not feel the haunting of His conviction to change – then it is evident that we are either severely backslidden or we need to be born again.

What makes our faith worth dying for? How far and how long are you willing to stand for what you believe? Are you positive that Jesus is your Lord and that you personally and intimately know God? Is there anything that could cause you to abandon your convictions? Of course not! What about your love for comfort and pleasures? If today is not the day to re-evaluate your spiritual attitude and position with the Lord, then is there a day in the future that would be better? There is a huge difference between possessing the knowledge of it – and being a disciple for it! There is another crucial difference between rightly dividing (interpreting) the Word of God – and conveniently ignoring it! Selah. The church is filled with knowledge and the average pew sitter has heard many sermons and teachings about what the Father expects from us, but unless the passion “wires” are connected, the words will fall by the side of the road and the distractions (birds) will eat the seed before it has a chance to grow. All of this talk about how we are to WALK is just “words” unless we obtain the revelation of what it means to be PASSIONATE for Christ! Well brother, I go to church. That is wonderful but that does not automatically place you in an elevated status of higher spirituality. I am not referring to what we “say” we are – I am talking about what we “really” are! Christianity is not a fan club and does not give exclusive memberships to be a religious spectator. This type of attitude is what makes religion an enemy of the cross! Why do you think Jesus came against the church of His day? Because they had twisted God’s Word into a legalistic, shallow system of do’s and don’ts until they had pushed the presence of God completely out the door! It is easy to see why every church fights against each other because they are operating under the influence of the same spirit. They are only looking to the differences in their doctrines instead of seeing each other through the eyes of love and unity. Jesus was trying to explain to them about a personal relationship with Father and they were correcting Him about how to live the religious law. They were blind to the truth then and are still blind today. Christianity is being a follower and a vessel that Jesus Christ can flow through which includes obeying and demonstrating His character and all that His Word demands. Yea, yea brother we know all of that. Well, ok that’s great but maybe the reason you keep HEARING it is because God is still waiting for you to PRACTISE it! I am not talking about selling everything you have and moving to Africa, I’m talking about demonstrating the character of Christ in the grocery store! How about not back-stabbing everyone you know at work and at church because they are not doing what you think they should do! Ouch!

It has been said that if we are truly born again, there is no possible way we can keep Jesus a secret. What is our new mission in life after we receive the God of the universe into our conscience? Well, to put the Christian objective in everyday language, “we are to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. Some may want to know what this means and then again maybe there are those who do not really care to hear about it at all. I am sad that some would desire to exercise their religious politics but avoid dwelling on their ultimate spiritual responsibility. And, of course there are those who do not want to talk about Christ at all, like it is every man for his own self. I remember my Mother in-law telling me about her friend who would become anxious and offended every time a discussion would take place about the Lord. She believed religion should be a private, personal subject which everyone should keep to themselves. It seems the point of being a light holder would be for allowing the world to SEE the light of God. Could it be that in their shame, they realize how embarrassing it is to not possess what they profess? Or are they afraid of being criticized for being a fanatic from the humanistic world of scoffers? How can we keep the fruit of the Holy Spirit a secret? And how can we screw a lid on the jar (us) which contains the presence and power of God? The Holy Spirit in us should be an automatic comforter to those whom we come in contact with and who need to feel the encouragement of His compassion and joy. And those who avoid His spiritual peace, hope and happiness, should also feel their need for Him when we are around them because of Fathers convicting presence in us. WALKING in His Spirit is the constant awareness of Him being in us and all around us and the lack of understanding about this is one of the hidden mysteries of spiritual development. Sadly, most Christians are generally not aware of God or His divine appointments as they live their own busy lives. The revelation of awareness can only be realized through an “enlightenment” of spiritual truth. This gift can be received through prayer but until we see how crucial this “ingredient” is to being a true Christian we will never incorporate it into our life. Everyday we make an impact or impression on everyone we meet whether favorable or negative which is exactly why we should be constantly sensitive to His voice. Spending time with God will sharpen our sensitivity and increase our PASSION. This is why there is such a war against us to steal our time away from Father. When we become filled with His presence – He can use us! Faith is learning to follow and trust His plans and will grow stronger when our obedience becomes more IMPORTANT to us than living our own destiny! We are NOT called to “blend in” or compromise – we are called to WALK holy and produce an awareness of JESUS with everyone. If we are not making an impact we are backslidden and need to sincerely repent for not asking God for more FIRE! The world is asleep, spiritually dead and we have been called to wake them, but we need to WAKE UP first! If our neighbor’s house was on fire in the middle of the night would we feel the responsibility to wake them and try to help them out? Is not their eternal soul more important than what we fear they may think about us “disturbing them”? If we had the vaccine to cure a deadly plague, would we not give it to the world? People are convicted of their spiritual condition when their conscience is pricked by the light of God’s truth and who do you think is holding the light! Jesus wants to be released as the TRUTH that can change everyone – everywhere. He is the “Christ in YOU” the hope of glory! The reason why He is not overflowing and “spilling out” constantly is because we are not filled with Him to capacity! WE ARE WHAT WE CHOOSE TO BE! Selah. Will we ask God to give us His PASSION that will increase our love, zeal and devotion or will we “remain the same” and enjoy the level of comfort and security we now live?