Whose side are we on?

THE SECRET PLACE
Hurt me with the truth and never comfort me with a lie
PART 29
WHOSE SIDE ARE WE ON?

We proclaim that we desire to fulfill God’s perfect will for our life. We believe in having faith and love as foundational building blocks to help us achieve God’s plan for our destiny. However, many times we do not recognize the seriousness of how what we say could be affecting our success. Our words are confessions that establish a divine connection of positive or negative power. They are a part of the spiritual laws of God’s realm, similar to how gravity is a law within our natural realm. Words can enhance faith by the principal of “agreement” or cancel the expectations of hope and faith with the possibility of making a difference between a miracle and a defeat. In this light, it is not unreasonable to say that we can become our own worst enemy. With our adversary watching us and attacking our weaknesses we must become disciplined to help ourselves and realize that if we are trying to believe for miracles yet dragging them down with our words of doubt – we have become the devil’s helper against our own possibilities!

Let’s talk about WORDS. Where do words come from? Our heart and our mind create thoughts and imaginations. Sometimes we are given ideas for words through influences from God or the devil, but in both cases we still have the freewill to hold or release. Remember the old saying? “Our mind is a garden – our thoughts are seeds – we can grow flowers – or we can grow weeds”. The point is that our mind is producing and sorting information constantly but ultimately our will decides what comes out of our mouth. There is another old saying, “what is in the well will come up in the bucket” what does that mean? The well is referring to our heart which houses our motives and intentions. We must realize that words are so important because they are directly connected to what we really believe. Our communication is a spiritual force of blessings or curses that hold us accountable. So, are we believing one thing and saying another? If so, that is the definition of being double-minded and we are promised to NOT receive answers to our prayers.

Let’s read Mathew 12:33-37. “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. You offspring of vipers how can you being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the “heart” THE MOUTH SPEAKS. A good man out of the treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

So just how powerful are words? They are not just our victory – they are God’s victory! What do you mean? God speaks His will and everything is subject to His authority to appear as He intends. God lives in us and is waiting for us to understand the revelation that we are His mouthpiece to speak His will into existence within our life. Our yielding and obedience to His will – and our faith to release His Word is God’s Divine order for perfect success. Maybe we are NOT serious with our words because we are not serious about God or His Word. Selah.

The world does not understand how words can create change because they believe that whatever happens will happen. Many believe that we cannot know anything about the spirit realm or that faith can change situations. However God’s Word says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; THAT WE MIGHT KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.” (I Corinthians 2:12) “THE DEVIL WANTS US TO DENY GOD’S AUTHORITY! God is in us and we are in Him – THROUGH THE NEW BLOOD COVENANT OF JESUS CHRIST! Our spiritual fellowship has been restored! GLORY TO GOD FOREVER! This is the GOOD NEWS of the gospel!

Let’s close with reading Mathew 10:38-39, “And he that takes not his cross, and follows after Me is NOT worthy of Me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for My sake shall find it.” We will only take up our cross and follow Jesus if we truly believe who He is and we will only lay down our will if we believe His Word is true. “Finding” our life is living according to our own desires. Losing our life is focusing on His voice only – saying and doing exactly what He is saying all the time. There are some that actually live for God – and there are many who talk about living for Him. Are you like the disciple who was fishing, (working hard trying to make an honest living) yet dropped everything when Jesus said, “follow me”? Or are you like the successful man who said, no – it requires more discipline that I desire to do – I love my possessions and I am NOT willing to let go – I choose NOT to pay the price – I do NOT want to yield my will – I will just stay where I am and hope that God will understand – and he walked away? I realize that our Father is filled with mercy, but the above verses (for by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned), sound very serious and specific. Maybe it is time to check the level of our awareness of His presence.
It is true, He is understanding and forgiving – but what about AFTER we KNOW the truth?

The Path Less Traveled

THE SECRET PLACE
Hurt me with the truth and never comfort me with a lie
PART 26
THE PATH LESS TRAVELED

“Enter in at the straight gate: for WIDE is the gate, and BROAD is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go into it: Because straight is the gate and NARROW is the way, which leads unto life, and FEW there be that will find it.” (Mathew 7:13-14)
How easy it is to follow the crowd. It is true that personality has much to do with how people think and act, and no doubt is a direct influence when it comes to being a spectator or a performer. It seems the masses are not concerned about what to think because they are confident and eager to wait and watch for the next trend. Our modern technology and the conveniences of pleasure has taken much of the worry about “survival” away and replaced it with laziness and apathy. In other words it has become easier to depend on floating by the seat of our pants than to plan, coordinate, concentrate, learn and develop the skills of practical thinking. It is being said now by scientist that our new generation of young people are actually losing a portion of problem solving intelligence along with their ability to effectively communicate. The era of computers and cell phones that have become the focus of mental attention is causing the personality to be altered and the basic instincts of mechanical and motor skills to not be developed because the lack of functioning is allowing the brain to be re-wired. In the days before television for example, time was spent trying to figure out how things operated so that when they broke people could fix them. They were more independent and self-sufficient, whereas now most young people cannot fix anything because they have never spent the time learning practical problem solving skills. However, for those who pay no attention to the “popular path”, the determination to follow the heart has been allowed to be more independent rather than longing to follow the crowd.
Within the Christian world, there is even a more refined definition when it comes to the decision making process of those who enjoy blazing their own trail. Instead of a rebellious attitude that intentionally rides off into the sunset, the Christian follows the inner voice of the one who rules their soul. When Christ is allowed to sit upon the throne of someone’s conscience, the blood covenant of salvation declares that the redeemed must surrender their will – as a spiritual allegiance of servant hood to the King. This sacrificial obedience is developed in the intimate, personal relationship of worship, devotion, reverence, purity, faith and most importantly – love for God. This concept of commitment is not a religious ritual – it is based on the awareness of God’s presence every second of the day and night. It is very easy and comfortable to join a religious club and support an organization. It is quite another thing to allow our heart to be melted and created in HIS image and our mind to be renewed and transformed into HIS constant way of thinking.
I have read much in my life about spiritual warfare and I believe that it is a reality. It is clear the devil is against God and His people and will do anything he can to disrupt or destroy. However, it seems what we as Christians do not like to talk much about is another enemy that is equally as dangerous – carnality. In many cases, I believe that Satan does not even need to implement strategic attacks or the snares and devices of military combat. Unfortunately, many Christians are very effective at ruining their life all by themselves and this includes the damage from a hypocritical personal witness. For any of these things to be realized within our heart, there would first need to be a willingness to take a personal inventory of our own conscious. This is an act of humility that is as popular as going to the dentist and is the main reason why people are the way they are. Until we can defeat “denial” and become honest with ourselves – we will NOT enter into the change process. We may realize it and even sympathize with it, but facts are just thoughts until we deal with them. Selah. Dreams are accomplishments that have NOT been acted upon. Maybe this is the problem. Could it be that most people have no desire or vision to be anything more than they already are? Could we assume that our human nature opposes the idea of surrendering its power to being controlled? I absolutely agree. This is the very reason humankind hates being told what to do. The power of the human brain is much craftier than it has been given credit. It has the ability to know what it needs to do to deny the truth and live in the la la land of happiness. The battle between our spirit and flesh will have eternal consequences that we could have changed. However, it may be futile to absorb more information about how and when to change – until we decide whether or not we want to.

Whom Shall I Send, Who Will Go For Us?

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 15

WHOM SHALL I SEND,
WHO WILL GO FOR US?

Sometimes in life, we need to stand back and try to see the “big picture”. It is amazing how our experiences and what we have learned, can influence the way we think. I have an unusual spiritual background but also have been hindered in my life because of the way I perceive the church and what God expects from His people. I just wanted to sit down, put my views on paper, and ask the Lord to help me sort out my expectations from God’s reality. For those of you that know me and have read my writings over the years, you know that I have a vision to see the glory of God being manifest in our midst. I expect to see miracles and manifestations of divine power just like when Jesus walked the earth. Am I a dreamer? Please do not misunderstand me, I still believe this can happen and that God desires to demonstrate His power, but as it has always been – there are problems on the human end. These “problems” within the congregations have been very frustrating for me and has caused me to become twisted up in knots. I have blamed myself and others for not being spiritual enough, desperate enough, holy enough or just not having a strong determination. I have criticized pastors for not allowing the freedom of the Holy Spirit to flood the services. I have warned the people for being satisfied with their “amount” of God, and how it seemed they did not want to jump in at the deep end. I have rebuked the traditional church because of their seemingly lukewarm attitude and their religious game playing. I have said for years, that no wonder Jesus does not go in many churches, because the masses do not want Him or His piercing truth that demands for them to change their lives. I have asked the Lord to forgive me for my attitude. Granted, some of these things may be true, but it has caused much grief within my heart. I just want to know what is true and how to operate in God’s will. Let’s go on.
I want to share a little bit about my background. I was raised in a traditional independent Baptist church. The services were normal and very much like most all other Christian meetings. In 1972 when I was 14, I accepted Christ and was baptized. I went to Sunday school, and as I grew, I joined the youth group and participated in the Bible quizzes. After learning to play the guitar, I led our teenage group in worship songs and every now and then a special. I had serious questions even at this early age and was always told that the age of miracles had passed and now we live by faith. It seemed to me, that faith was what God was looking for in order to perform His miracles, but who was I to argue? A few years passed and I married my wife who was a Southern Baptist. We attended her church and I became involved with a quartet and sang specials with my guitar. I had the same questions there and was told the same thing. One day I asked the pastor how he received his messages, and he opened up a filing cabinet and showed me his sermons that were dated and prepared. He said he cycles them and no one ever remembers or notices they are the same every year. I thought the man of God was to listen to the Lord and receive a fresh word each week. I realize it is still God’s Word, but I just had higher “spiritual” expectations from such a holy office. I believe it is a humbling responsibility in the realm of acts and deeds to sincerely relay what God is saying to the people.
We left and started to visit some Pentecostal churches and independent full-gospel assemblies. As we joined the leaders of these churches, we were taught about the great coming revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit and how God was ready to move in supernatural power among His people. At last, I had finally found some disciples who were saying things I felt good about. I was still singing specials with my guitar and during a revival, an evangelist called me out and gave me a prophetic word. He said that soon I would begin to write the “new song” of the Spirit. As he left that night, I followed him out to his car for “more information” about this, but he said that was all the Lord gave him to say. I walked away not knowing what to expect, as I had not written a song before. A week later, I started scribbling down words at work, and when I would come home, I would pick up the guitar and sing the song. It was truly a miracle that I could do this and the prophetic songs just kept coming. Soon, I was writing special musical messages before the church services and after I sang them, the pastor would say, that is exactly what the Lord told me to preach. Therefore, as I have had a “personal” experience of being a Psalmist and a worship leader, I was very serious about this spiritual phenomenon and was very intense about this gift. Throughout my experiences, it has been somewhat discouraging because only a handful has ever understood them or appreciated them. However, actually, this is normal. The degree that we accept “anything” with a spiritual content is a direct reflection of just how serious we are to know God. It has been surveyed the average church member only retains about five percent of the message because they do not take notes.
We continued to hear messages about how through the covenant of Christ, we will see the restoration of the tabernacle of David, and the anointing will be poured out on God’s son’s and daughters. This is where I believe I became a little side tracked. I believe this is happening and will increase, but too much emphasis has been put on this manifesting only in the corporate “church” meetings – and not enough is being mentioned about having a Holy Ghost filled LIFESTYLE. These leaders have made their “living” in the arena of organized church and that is where they put all of their attention. They did not want the “church” to think that God’s people can act independently under the anointing and leadership of the Holy Spirit, without the covering and direction of a church leader. If this were true, (and it is), these pastors would not be needed to baby-sit the spectators. It reminds me of the Catholic legalities that teach how the church leaders have all the attention and authority, while the members are devoted more to the religious organization than to God Himself. The idea of having people confess to a priest for the forgiveness of sins is just another way to control the thoughts and finances of the weak and deceived. While on the subject of church leadership, allow me say that many leaders that have become pastors, are not really called pastors at all. Those that are talented and have gifts to teach, eventually learn that it is difficult to make money in the ministry. Lay teaching, music, visiting, and helps within the church are usually volunteer, but those who believe they have a spiritual calling to lead and want to make a living at it, realize the only way to have ministry as a profession, is to be a pastor. This is another reason why many congregations suffer.
As I later received another powerful word of prophecy in Freemont Ohio, that I would be a “chenaniah” (leader of songs). Again, I was becoming more convinced that my position and God’s Holy manifestation was being contained within the four walls. I believe that subconsciously, I was putting pressure on myself to be super-spiritual, while at the same time, judging the hearts of everyone connected with each service. In other words, I believed that God was going to manifest His “literal” glory every time we had church and I did not want anything to prevent Him from coming. It seemed many were just yawning and looking out the window, while I was doing everything but standing on my head trying to make sure everything was right, because I really thought the King of Kings was going to descend from the ceiling, as it describes in Isaiah chapter six. I began to blame the apathy and coldness of the people and criticized their sluggish desire to feel the presence of God. I was so intense I felt like I was going crazy, and I’m sure many thought I was. Allow me to say this – there is a lesson in this for all of us. The way we think, controls our attitude and actions.
I still believe that if God’s people cry out for His train to fill His temple with His power and glory – He will come in the demonstration of His miracles! I believe if the remnant is serious about experiencing God’s presence, they will stagger around, drunk on the wine of His Holy Spirit. However, if the people do NOT want God’s presence – He will not come, and there is nothing you and I can do about it! We can preach heaven down and worship until we have no voice left, but if the people are not interested, they will forget about it before they get home. The church will become filled with God’s glory when His people become hungry and thirsty for Him! Nevertheless, there is a slight twist to this statement. When Isaiah said that he saw the Lord and His glory filled the temple, I believe this is a type and shadow of God filling the “hearts” of the New Testament remnant. Since we are the church because Jesus lives in us and not a brick building – the GLORY of God’s presence will be seen in the stores, at work or wherever we go! Instead of viewing the church building as the place where God is going to demonstrate His glory, we have been called take this temple to those who may never go to church and allow them to see the glory of Jesus IN US! God is filling His house and His house is our heart! God can heal people from cancer under a palm tree the same as He can at a church alter. Anyone can be delivered and saved when they fall under the conviction of God’s Word – ANYWHERE! Sickness and disease can be crushed through prayer and laying on of hands – ANYWHERE! Instead of the church house being the demonstration center, maybe it is to be used as a supply house where we encourage one another in the battle and testify about what God has done THROUGH US, while we’ve been fighting on the front lines. Of course, I’ve known all of this for years, but I have needed to examine myself to understand why I have had such a difficult time with church. I have needed to see why I have struggled and I believe I know more clearly the way things are and God’s plans for the future.
There have been times when I have been leading worship, and I have thought how wonderful it would be if God would come like He did on the day of Pentecost. Acts chapter two, verse two said, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled ALL THE HOUSE where they were sitting.” This was an awesome manifestation and I believe it could happen in the corporate setting, but the previous verse, explains the criteria that makes the difference between witnessing His presence and going through the motions of a religious program. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” It is the UNITY of the faith and the intensity of being in ONE ACCORD! The reason why these events do not happen often, is that most people do not believe it, do not desire it, are not praying for it or expecting it! They want a nice comfortable service that does not threaten their level of commitment. Most people have all of God they want and are not interested in going any deeper. They are satisfied they have mastered the perfect balance of flesh and Spirit, and have become set in their ways. This may look normal on the outside, but in God’s view, it is lukewarmness and rebellion. Living according to our own carnal desires, with just enough religion to get us to heaven, is not God’s idea of taking up our cross and following Him. Selah.
Am I changing my views about what God is going to do in these last days? Absolutely not! I am simply being honest and realistic about how and where it’s all going to happen. I am still a dreamer that believes in the super-natural power of God, anywhere – any place – anytime! However, these divine demonstrations are not limited to the church sanctuary. I believe every letter of God’s Word and His plans will be fulfilled exactly as He has prophesied. The overcomers will walk in the anointing of God’s power and as the bride of Christ; they will walk in the love, faith, purity and holiness of His glory! Amen!
Am I depressed or sad that it is not going to manifest like I thought it would? Well, I am not saying that it CANNOT happen within the corporate setting, I am just saying that I believe it will be difficult because of the lack of unity and “sold-out” desperation. If we are waiting for it to happen in the midst of a group of people that are not allowing the nature of Christ to manifest in them as a way of life – we may not see it. I am saying that if we are born again, everything we need is already inside of us. The possibility of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is in us, however the amount or level of His “person” depends on our devotion to obeying God’s voice. Do NOT be discouraged in these last hours. We must face the truth; the world is growing more aggressive and I promise we will all have the opportunity to either agree with sin or be opposed. Prepare your mind to abandon this world and get ready to stand for God’s absolute truth – no matter the cost. Knowing that God is with you – you can boldly say, “Then said I, here am I; send me.”

Searching for the Mind of Christ

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 12

SEARCHING FOR THE MIND OF CHRIST

The most important tradition found in ancient civilizations has been the passing of knowledge to the next generation for the simple reason of preserving the heritage and legacy of the past. One sign of a dissolving society is when the older leaders become deceived with error, laziness, apathy, and sin. As they fail to stand for truth, the up and coming decision makers begin to reject traditional thinking and eventually the original established philosophies are set aside and replaced with new and seemingly dynamic concepts. If moral convictions that were once a normal way of life are allowed to be transformed into unfamiliar worldviews, the next generation of movers and shakers can actually change the thinking and complexion of the culture. Change is good as long as it brings more of God’s truth, but when mixed with secular humanism, it can be just as dangerous as it is helpful. Moreover, society must not become so angry and frustrated with their condition, that they accept a “new age” of change out of desperation. This is an old “hat trick” from Satan, which falls into the category of spiritual witchcraft with the consequences being damaging and deadly.

There is nothing more important for us who know biblical truth than to devote our lives passing the spiritual baton of “soul saving” secrets of divine wisdom to the future. It is the hope and security of God’s Word that has the ability to sustain and empower those who have been chosen to embrace its principals. For example, modern education is openly teaching young minds, the politically correct idea that the evolution theory is uniformity; that is, it seeks to show that life in all its various forms and manifestations probably originated by causes similar to or identical with forces and processes now prevailing. They teach the absolute supremacy and the past continuity of natural law as now observed. Uniformity says the changes now going on in our modern world have always been in action, and these present-day natural changes and processes are as much a part of the origin as anything that has taken place in the past. This fairytale view of nature and matter tries desperately to disprove God and his Word for the purpose of establishing an atheistic order of laws and precepts to live by. In reality, the truth is that man is evil, and as he continues to destroy the earth, even the atmosphere, the ocean or the animals will not be able to survive his greed. In turn, God is bringing judgment upon man because of his selfishness, and is very displeased with the way humans have treated His beautiful creation.

It is sad that many have been brainwashed into these deceptions and choose to rely on fiction instead of trusting the wisdom of God who has already proven his validity. It is with complete confidence that I proclaim that man did not evolve from a microorganism, a monkey or any other animal form. The theories and daydreams of such thoughts are an insult to God and to those who are His disciples. This is not to say there is no such thing as evolution, because it is possible for certain things to change, however everything was originally made by the One and only God of Alpha and Omega. For example, breeding certain animals and coming up with a specie modification is completely different from saying that a whale can morph into a elephant or that a rhinoceros can transform into a wolverine. Creation was not a process but rather was “spoken” directly and plainly into existence and instantly manifested by the authority and majesty of who God is. The liberal, humanistic leaders of modern intelligence cannot accept this magnitude of the miracle of creation. God is deity, from His nature to His name and He is the only one who can create from that which does not exist. He is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He has always known everything from past, present and future, the beginning, the end and everything in between. It is a blind and deceived fool that would belittle God’s divine omnipotence by explaining away the power of His Word. If every human tossed God’s Word in the garbage can and decided to write his or her own worldview it would not affect the truth. God’s Word, ability and authority is true whether “anyone” believes it or not!

To better understand God, one must bow down to him with not just the physical knee but also a surrender of the “will” of their heart. This has always been where humankind draws the line. It comes down to the attitude of pride every time, which reveals the condition of the carnal conscience. Man wants to control his own destiny and believes he can. This mindset has brought floods, fire and great destruction to the world since time began. Those who remain calloused automatically become a hindrance to the progress of the kingdom of light and cannot comprehend what is spiritually or morally correct. They cannot see through the altered lenses of delusion. This transformation process called “salvation” or being ”born again”, that consist of yielding and bowing our will, has not been taught correctly neither has it been understood by the masses. Our mental, emotional and spiritual plans and ideas must be totally surrendered to him before he can intervene. He has come to rescue us from ourselves and we need him desperately. God’s kingdom is the opposite of man’s religious system. We “descend” into greatness; less is more because the less there is of us the more God can minister through us. Pride is the evil spirit that puffs us UP – but humility is a downward mobility that is required to manifest Christ. In Psalm 51, there is a verse that speaks about this attitude “adjustment”, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

If you are a student of the New Testament you have already seen the outline of its message; the world hates the message of surrender and the messenger is Jesus. Christians and non-Christians relate to Christ many different ways and how much they accept His message depends on which Jesus they choose to tolerate. For example most people love baby Jesus because babies are so cute and non-threatening. He is not confronting them and they love the feeling of being larger and stronger than him. Adults are naturally in total control of a baby and the human conscience can rest easy in the presence of an infant. At Christmas most people are in a festive mood of cheer and good will and can go along with the story about the wise men and Bethlehem. For the masses Jesus is harmless as long as He is kept in the manger. It is when He is allowed to grow up and express His absolute truth that He becomes a ruling King.

Another picture of Jesus that is widely accepted is when He fed and healed people. Our mind registers this view of Jesus as a provider and supplier of our needs. We like the idea of someone presenting us a delicious buffet or relieving our pain. This is a positive image that is tolerated among those who do not acknowledge God until they “need” something. These simple-minded thoughts about Christ are easy to deal with and are about as much of God as most people want. Where the masses begin to turn away from Jesus and walk away is when he is presented as teacher and master. This turns the tables and places him in authority and control. When the world is introduced to his anointed instructions and requirements the room begins to thin out, as people grow uncomfortable and rebellion begins to rise up from their human nature. To most individuals life is an amusement ride built for their enjoyment. Humans love pleasure and desire to stimulate every nerve and indulge in every pleasure with constant gratification – and to consume it all in lust. The world does not want to be told what to do in their personal thoughts and actions and they certainly hate to develop self-discipline or to be governed. They will have the last say or die trying. It is the ever-present attitude of pride that breeds rebellion and the age-old battle of control between the spirit and the flesh. In fact, the more that people understand what Christ desires, the more they begin to realize that he wants to rule their every thought and decision. Bingo! Religion has always compromised, distorted and watered down the Word of God because it is too difficult. The churches are being deceived with cupcake lessons in socially acceptable thinking and a logical tolerance to SIN! Sadly, the masses are generally NOT becoming closer to God – they are drifting farther away.

The religious system feeds the masses what they want to hear in order to keep up the salaries and expenses to finance their existence. The truth is that religion loves their non-threatening, “pleasure programs” but actually hates the real Jesus and would never support Him or His doctrines. The religious world seems to be powerful in pomp and ceremony but spiritually they are shallow and powerless because they do not know God personally. The attitude toward Jesus has not changed since the religious system cried out for his execution. It is basically the same – He stood before them as an innocent man and they denied His uncompromising word of truth! Selah.

THE WALK OF THE CROSS

THE WALK
PART 20

THE WALK OF THE CROSS

What do scriptures like Mathew 10:38 really mean when it say’s, “And he that takes NOT his cross, and does NOT follow after me, is NOT worthy of me”? First, we need to read this verse in context with the flow of thought in the entire passage. According to historians, a person condemned to death by crucifixion had to carry his own crossbeam to the execution site as was within the law of capitol punishment. The cross was an instrument of death and Jesus used this parallel for us to see the cross as a place for our carnality to die and a bridge to heavens grace all at the same time! Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us and we likewise sacrifice our will through the same concept so the world can see Him in us. Going back to the collective thought of the section in Mathew chapter 10 we see verses 34-39 explaining that walking with Jesus is not for the faint of heart. Jesus is talking about priorities and how nothing can be exalted above living (and dying if need be) for Him. Even when it comes to family, He is saying there can be NO compromise. Any tolerance of sin leads to backsliding and the danger of a lukewarm attitude toward the red-hot – on fire “passion” of our calling. The walk of the cross is humility that is under girded with Holy strength. It is truly the meaning of life.

Taking up our cross creates the difference between the sheep and goats, the wheat and tares and the spiritual from the religious. It is the definition and foundation of salvation because of the miraculous power of love that it contains. It is the denial of sin and yet also the honor of obedience. It is the suffering of discipline and the source of faith for us to yield our will to Him. It empowers us to choose the narrow path of this life while securing our future with Him in the next life. The cross is NOT an END but an exciting beginning of glory and triumph because of HIS resurrection! It represents THE WAY – the only way into a personal, intimate relationship with God and the guaranteed validity of the promises of His Word. In other words, our entire life as a Christian must be melted down and poured into what the cross represents as the bond of our holy union with Christ. His cross was erected on Golgotha (the place of the scull) and likewise it is there in the deepest recesses of our mind that we must become transformed into His image. We must choose the cross in response to the cross choosing us. Selah. The revelation is learning about what is in His cross – and the responsibilities of our cross. Our heart “chooses” the painful, agonizing transferring of control from us to “His will be done”.

The cross is identification with him and this in turn causes us to become representatives for him. Therefore, we can say it is an example and a descriptive parallel of the requirements of all Christians to surrender everything they are and everything they have to the divine reality of the cross. That message is about the endless love of God to save many from an eternal torment. It is about the endless mercy and compassion on the hopeless condition of lost sinners and how he gave his life to purchase them with his blood. It is more than a piece of jewelry and more than an ornament on top of a steeple, it is a life of suffering persecution, Godly sorrow, sacrificing and denying to live according to our own plans and dreams. It is also the gateway to living in the glory of His presence, being saturated in His love and living in the blessings of His revelations of truth that change us from the inside out – while being a constant reminder that we are NOT our own. “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”. (I Corinthians 6:20) “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant is the Lord’s slave: Likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” (I Corinthians 7:22)

For Jesus, going to the cross was a mission that was done willingly and likewise it must be with us. Following Him is more than just reading about his adventures; it is actually doing and living just as He lived. The reason why Jesus was so serious and intense all the time is because the cross was always in His heart. This is a revelation for us that can only come from spending time in God’s Word and praying for this revelation.
Jesus embraced the cross as His destiny and “chose” to suffer so that many could be ransomed. He realized how His Father was to use Him as the perfect lamb and that He would become the “bridge” between heaven and earth so that Man could once again crawl into the bosom of God as a little child. We also have the free-will to obey this heavenly invitation so that through our willingness to “walk the walk” many people can hear God’s Word, be convicted by His Holy Spirit and give their hearts to Him. He was filled with genuine agape love, which is the only way He could have endured the assignment – as the same also applies to us in that agape love can be the only reason and motive for our deeds. He walked in humility and was filled with the infinite power of the Holy Spirit the same way we are to walk and live in the divine reality of the miraculous. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For who ever will save his life will lose it: and who ever will lose his life for my sake will find it.” (Mathew 16:24-25) We have been called to lay aside our custom blueprints, our selfish dreams, our independence and carnal nature so that God can be seen in us. Our cross is the daily journey of being like Jesus. Our cross is walking in the divine reality of His Spirit and not giving in to the lust of the flesh.

Do you desire to draw closer to God and bring the power of His cross closer to your heart? Fasting sobers us and is a key to drawing close to Him as it helps us to hear His still small voice so that we can understand the mysteries of His Word. Our conscience can become dull and cluttered with everyday chaos but fasting will bring much needed clarity and quiet to the worldly noise so we can focus on His person. When we just know “about” the cross, it is not the same as KNOWING Him. We can actually become comfortable to its historical image and at the same time become desensitized to its seriousness. Similar to portraying Christ as a baby in the manger, we can mentally reduce Him to a helpless infant while distracting our conscience away from His convicting power as the King of Kings. It is not the cross itself that is the power – it is falling upon it in complete surrender and trust that activates the life-changing power of Christ into our heart. Only when man falls on His face in the humility of repentance can he begin to take baby steps toward his destiny. Sadly, much of our theology has replaced humility with arrogance and the cross with enjoying pleasure. There is a balance, a time for sorrow in the prayer closet and a time to live the abundant life. Jesus was always AWARE of His destiny and he is trying to reveal the revelation of this hidden mystery that we also might be constantly AWARE of who we are and who He is. If we can become focused on the cross that stands before us – it will increase our burden for lost souls. This will happen when we accept these difficult facts.

Number one: the world will hate you and desire to kill you because they hate truth. “Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution.” (II Timothy 3:12) This is not a sermon that will have them dancing in the isles – but it is truth. The farther we go toward the future the more this will become evident. “Then will they deliver you up to be afflicted, and will kill you: and you will be hated of all nations for my name sake. And then will many be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Mathew 24:9-10).

Number two: The cross is not an “option” for the overcomer. “If any man comes to me, and hates not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple, And who ever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27) It is all about priorities. Our motives and intentions produce attitudes whether good or bad. If we are playing a religious game of church, then we will be more concerned with who is singing out of key and where we are going to eat after the service than interceding on our face before God for others to experience salvation, healing and deliverance. If my prayers are centered on making me rich more than making me a soul winner then I am living on the level of a spiritual toddler. If I believe that Jesus is going to rapture me without me having to suffer any persecution then no wonder I am not concerned with being a living sacrifice. How many brothers and sisters have tasted the martyr’s death? How many are suffering now? Why are we not hearing the sermons warning of the coming persecution that could prepare the saints to stand in the coming days of affliction and trouble? Because, the cross is a message for those who desire spiritual reality – not for the ones that love to live in a fantasy world of relaxation, comfort and pleasure. The cross would rather be seen as a golden ticket to eternal life – not as the refining FIRE that purges our carnality.

If we are in the cross – the cross will be in us and this is the only power in heaven and earth that can transform our mind. His cross bears the fruit of His character and blossoms within the crucified life of the believer. If we surrender to His cross in the inner chambers of our heart – our life will be a reflection of His perfect will. The amount of “work” we allow His cross to do in our life – the more He can accomplish within us. Selah. Let us not be like the hypocritical Pharisee that worships a legalistic, empty religion. If we embrace the truth of the cross and allow it to purify us into pure, transparent gold – all that can be seen will be the presence of Christ. All of me – none of Him, less of me – more of Him, none of me – all of Him. “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, put up your sword into the sheath: the CUP, which my Father has given me, shall I not DRINK it? (John 18:10-11) Are you drinking this bittersweet cup?