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Archive for the ‘Devo Shorts 2011’ Category

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“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,…” 2Cor 10:4 Amp

“Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in,…” Rom 11:25 Amp

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” Rom 12:2 Amp

“There has befallen them the thing spoken of in the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and, The sow is washed only to wallow again in the mire.” 2Pet2:22 Amp

Dog vomit…. It does not pose a very attractive picture. Nor does the believer, who becomes stuck in his old patterns of thinking, resistant to the very word of God to free him by the power of the Holy Spirit – to renew his thinking.

Understand in this day many believers remain stuck – even immovable by their own preference for indulging fleshly, soulish thinking.  Once having developed an opinion on a matter – it remains to them as “Gospel Truth.” Yet on the contrary, it is full of dark perspective and has not been renewed by the light of God as it is brought captive to the obedience of Christ and is corrected.

Not one believer can claim to have never been stuck in this way. We all have. And it is the grace of God that brings a wreaking ball of His power to expose and sift our fleshly thinking, that it can been transformed into kingdom thinking.

The wreaking ball of God frees us from returning as a dog to his vomit!

Think of Job. He had developed some dark, fear-based thinking about God. God addressed these patterns of fleshly thinking that kept Job captive as He confronted Job: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”(Job 38:2)

Thus…wreaking ball breaks inaccurate thoughts about God…

Jobs thinking is flooded with the light of truth and he declares: “[You said to me] Who is this that darkens and obscures counsel [by words] without knowledge? Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:3)

The plain fact was, as good as Job was, as blameless as he was, he had areas of his thinking that were stuck and needed to be unstuck. They needed to be renewed. They needed the weapon of God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds.

Only God could do it for him, and only God can do it for us! You and I can not run a self-diagnostic to indicate such harmful thinking. You and I cannot self-diagnose or self-treat. But the Holy Spirit is very faithful to put His finger on problem areas! He guides us into all Truth, and He takes what is of Christ (His Truth) and He reveals, discloses, and transmits it to us! (Jn 16:13-14)

This means the Holy Spirit is not only showing us truth as information, but He is actually importing truth into our very spirit! The problem occurs when I am not open, teachable, or humble before God for such a learning experience and such a transformation. Enter then, the wreaking ball!

How many believers have you witnessed as being stuck. Maybe it concerns their doctrine – things that make them uncomfortable and they fear they will lose control.  Maybe it is their own pet-perspective, some cherished myth about God not based on truth. Whatever it is, you will be able to recognize it because this error will be revealed through their speaking. It will reveal the very local of the initial corruption, because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Lk 6:45). As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. (Prov 23:7) It is with your heart you first believed (Rom 10:10), and this is true for righteousness as well as retaining error. 

It is the corrupted heart that is hardened or insensible to God’s call. It is the hardened heart that persists in thinking that is adversarial to God’s truth.

Where your thinking and believing in your heart are not overturned by truth and the word of God, you will persist in error. Corruption will openly lodge in your heart, and your spirit will immediately reflect such a state. The dog turns back to his vomit. The sow has been washed only to wallow again.

This is the reason victory seems illusive in a believer’s life. This is why breakthrough seems unavailable.  But the shortcoming is not on God’s side, it is on ours. We have failed to have error overturned by truth. We have resisted and protected our own putrid thinking. Ultimately, we have regarded our own thoughts as superior to God’s truth: we have moved in idolatry maybe without even realizing it.

Are you a believer that has professed Christ for many years and yet, while you have read and studied the word of God, it has not been given freedom to know and study you? It has not been able to overturn favorite, protected ways of thinking? It has not been allowed to be light that pierces the darkness? Dog vomit.

Do you find yourself repeating the same confrontations, with the same arguments, and you are in the very same position you were years ago? Playing out the same exact struggles? No change? Dog vomit.

Beloved it does not need to be so. God is ready to disclose and unveil your personal error in thinking. But it requires your letting go, willingness to be found out, sacred tables to be overturned.

We must come before Him as a little child (humble, lowly, loving, and forgiving). We must repent ( change, turn about our thinking), or we can never enter the kingdom of God.

This year, make a change. Get off the Merry-Go-Round. Dis-engage the do-loop. Stop singing: “She’ll Be Comin Round the Mountain.” Trust Him enough to become like this little child. You have nothing to lose but the chains and bondage of dog vomit thinking.

Shalom

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eyenebula

“Show Me a denarius (a coin)! Whose image and inscription does it have? They answered, Caesar’s.  He said to them, Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Lk 20:24-25 Amp

“[He has also appropriated and acknowledged us as His by] putting His seal upon us and giving us His [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as the security deposit and guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise].” 2Cor 1:22

“And just as we have borne the image [of the man] of dust, so shall we and so let us bear the image [of the Man] of heaven.” 1Cor 15:49

“Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are the flashes of fire, a most vehement flame [the very flame of the Lord]!” SoS 8:6

Many commentaries and books about Song of Songs admit that a great difficulty in interpretation stems from not knowing exactly who is talking.  This difficulty becomes compounded when trying to apprehend the meaning behind Scriptures like Song of Songs 8:6 above.

The paramount question becomes: “Who is setting, and Whom is to be set?” I would like to take issue with the common rendering of most translations that imply the Schulammite or the Bride is speaking to her beloved Shepherd, and asking Him to set her like a seal upon His heart …and upon His arm.

Sentimentally, that would be something we would see in the world today. The one you love tattoos your name on his arm. It appears to be an indelible sign of his devotion… his never-ending love. Our hearts are touched by that. We like it.

But I believe there is much greater profit and purpose if we render the focus and flow differently, having the Beloved/Shepherd asking the Bride (Schulammite) to set Him like a seal upon her heart, like a seal upon her arm. Allow me to share why.

When the Bride applies the Beloved Lord like a seal to her heart and to her arm, it is a witness to the world – she is the Lord’s! The currency of her heart and life are forever engraved with His image!  And this is proper and appropriate, as we are to now forever bear the image of the Man of heaven.

It is also appropriate because we have the seal of the Holy Spirit upon our heart as a security deposit until the promise is fulfilled in eternity – that we will join Him.

But I believe there is an even greater reason and emphasis for embracing such a rendering… of having the Bride with the Lord’s seal upon her. Previously in Song of Songs (Chapter 4:12), the Beloved describes His promised Bride as a garden enclosed and barred, a spring shut up and a fountain sealed. This doesn’t just have to do with her devotion as being singularly the Lord’s, although that is part of it. It therefore does allude to keeping herself as consecrated to their future marriage. But it also speaks to the need that she, the Bride has currently to remain filled and abiding in His Spirit.

In Bob Sorge’s devotion, “Secrets of the Secret Place,” he unlocks the importance of shutting the door when you enter the secret place of God’s Presence (Mt 6:6). He explains that to get into the Lord’s Presence, you must shut the door.  Now, this is not the door to your study, nor is it blocking out this realm by shutting your eyes. Instead, I believe that it is closing the door to the tabernacle of your heart, the very Holy of Holies, where you are meeting with the Lord. Shutting the door allows you to fill up in the spirit of your heart with the substance of His Presence, with the very rarified air of the Kingdom of God.

The Lord has given me a metaphor to understand this… and it deals with ships entering the locks of the Panama Canal.  When a ship enters the lock, doors are closed which allow the water level to rise. The ship is then free to exit the lock and operate on a higher plain. I believe when we meet with the Lord and shut the door of our spirit, we too are filled and able to operate on a spiritual level otherwise impossible. It then becomes an issue of frequency and faithfulness in our meeting with the Lord, and shutting the door against dissipation of the spirit, that causes us to walk in life led by the Holy Spirit and to manifest the seal of the King’s signet ring, His seal emblazoned on our hearts and testifying of His strength operating in us.

If this expansion bears witness in your heart, take it into the Lord’s Presence with expectation. Shut the door when you come into the secret place, believing His desire is to meet with you and fill you! Come empty! Come hungry for Him! Come believing with all your heart that He wants you to be sealed with His signet ring as a testament that you are His!

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Water lilies

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him.” 2Chron 16:9a Amp

Let us all come forward and draw near with true ( honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power and wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.”Heb 10:22 Amp

I have been increasingly blown away and provoked by the role and function of the Holy Spirit, and what He accomplishes within us and how… that I must share this.

As a function of the Holy Spirit in John 16:13-15 – we see that He takes what is Jesus’ (read that as what He promised and has provisioned for by His sacrifice/atonement on the Cross), and He (the Spirit) receives, draws upon, reveals, discloses, and transmits it to us.  If you have ever wondered how you can draw upon the redemptive life of Jesus Christ – it is here, through the agency of the Holy Spirit that it is accessible to you!  He not only brings to bear the concept, or understanding of what Jesus has accomplished – He is the One Who literally brings forth the substance of the Life of Christ and applies it to us!  All the promises, all the Words of Christ, all of the Redemptive portion of the Nature of Christ is ours for appropriation through the Holy Spirit, – if we will put our trust fully in Him.

From John 16:16 we see the disciples were told that in a little while they would no longer see Jesus, then after a short time they would see Him again.  This is referring to Jesus departing and returning to the Father, but then sending the Holy Spirit. It is then that the Holy Spirit takes the things that are Jesus’ and reveals them – not just to the disciples, but to us as well!  The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ perfect Ambassador – for He does not speak His own message, but He only presents what is of Jesus Christ.

So when John 16:33 speaks of what Jesus promised … that we can have perfect peace and confidence in Him even through tribulation and trials, and that we can be of good cheer because He has overcome the world for us (even deprived it of power to harm us) – we can quite literally possess and appropriate the truth and substance, and nature of this state of peace and courage.  The Holy Spirit brings us into possession of it!!!

What is required of us for this to happen? The greatest need or imperative is for us to continually and completely rely our entire soul or personality in trust upon the Lord!  Look at 2Chron 16:9. It speaks of the heart that is blameless toward the Lord.  This is the heart that relies and trusts the Lord completely – no matter what is seen. Verse seven mentions that King Asa relied on the King of Syria – and not the Lord, and it did not go well for him.  Verse eight reminds the Hebrews how the Ethiopians and Libyans were a huge host arrayed against them but because they relied on the Lord He gave them into their hands.

Our greatest challenge, yet our greatest need is to continually rely our entire personality (soul) in trust upon the Lord; to yield to Him all our faculties and members that they become instruments of righteousness (with His Life animating them through the power of the Spirit). Rom 6:13

When our hearts are blameless before the Lord – they are not trusting in any other person or thing.  Our reliance is strictly dependent on the Lord.  Thus, His eyes go to and fro showing Himself strong on our behalf.

Are you a believer today who is going through trials or tribulations only to find you have no joy or confidence that the Lord is your sun and shield? Are you feeling alone and abandoned in your situation?  Then you must examine where you have been putting your trust.  I tell you with certainty – it has not been on the Lord.  Beloved, His conditions and love are sure and trust worthy.  But you must meet His conditions for His provisions to be transmitted to you by the Holy Spirit.

Again, what is that condition? You must completely rely the entirety of your soul upon Him.  Listen: “But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.” Ps 5:11 Amp

The one who is most joyful is not always the one whose life lacks challenge or trial.  It is the one who has laid His life in confidence upon The Rock – and who is now covered and defended by Him, who is watching in awestruck wonder the very unfolding and application by the Holy Spirit of the Life and provision of Jesus being transmitted into his very own spirit – because the Word promises.

Shalom!

Heb 10:24

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Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.”  1Cor 6:12

What exerts the most power over you?  The answer to this question is only something you can decide – but I would recommend you not decide it alone – let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth concerning this question.  Otherwise we have a tendency to look too kindly at our motivation and what really holds us.

There is a quote by Oswald Chambers that lays more insight into this question and its true response than perhaps we want…. But here it is: “It is not what we spend the most time on that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us.”

Think of that now –It’s not about what you spend the most time on, but what exerts the most power over you….

Many of us spend a lot of time reading the word of God, excavating Scripture for deep insight, time in prayer, serving, ministry etc.  But this quote is saying that those matter not in terms of molding us most – because it depends on what exerts the most power over us! In fact… the thing that exerts the most power over us may not even be of the Lord, but it may be of this world.  This is something to then investigate carefully!

This has driven me to inquire of the Lord… “How can I give You, Lord, the ability to exert the most influence over me?  How can You become the preeminent force of my life? How can I choose to align with giving You this kind of power Lord?”

The answer is both simple, and yet difficult: simple to understand, difficult to exercise.

To allow the Lord this kind of preeminence, this kind of power exerted, we must make a conscious effort to frame every insight, to bring every thought captive, and every response yielded to the authority and reality of redemption that is found in the Cross and the work of the Cross through Christ Jesus.  In essence, to live under the shadow of the reality of the Cross – continually allowing it to determine our position on every issue of life.

You see, as believers, we are no longer our own.  However, while that is true in premise, many believers continue to live as if they are only their own – and call it Christianity.  That kind of living does not display the demonstration or power of God in our lives, because we continue to live lives that are natural in substance – not under submission.

The greatest reality in life is what Jesus did at the Cross – it has overcome the world, even our faith!  But unless we continually yield and live under that truth, we are allowing other things to exert the most power over us…

For instance: I may be completely yielded to the Word of God and what it reveals to me – but if I haven’t made the Cross a higher order of submission, then I have made my own understanding and intellect the preeminent thing.  Thus, my soul is still basically in charge of what I do, my responses in life, and the thing that exerts the most influence over me.  Not because I spend the most time in mental pursuits, but because that is the place of my highest yielded-ness. What that means is, that while I may understand what the Word shows me – it remains just an intellectual exercise.  Until I have given Jesus and the Cross all authority to rule over me, I will continue in the mode of determining what I will and will not obey.

Once I yield myself totally to the redemptive reality, suddenly the pivot point for all my choices and all my understanding defaults to the Cross.  Every issue that arises thereafter, every concern and question, every need and experience then becomes tied to the atonement.  The baseline question for every need then becomes:  “What does this issue have to do with the atonement?”  In other words, what does the Cross and the reality that I am Christ’s now require me to do?

Without this preeminent authority being given to the reality of the redemption, I will decide things and give power to something lower than the Cross and Christ – generally my soul.

The litmus test for this reality is: What was the last time your heart was rent over a decision – because you were choosing submission to the Lord?

You see – no amount of intellect or mental insight into the instruction of the Lord would ever have brought Abraham to the place of offering his son Isaac on the altar. No intellectual understanding of the concept of forgiveness would have motivated Joseph to forgive his brothers of their betrayal and selling him into captivity. No great intellectual insight prompted Moses to choose oppression with the Hebrew slaves over the riches of Egypt.  Every one of these situations required a renting of the heart to obey and choose the way of the Lord.

It is no different for us today! Daily we are faced with choices of comfort and convenience or the leading of the Lord and obedience.  Where He is truly Lord – we will face a struggle in our own heart to obey.  There will be a renting as we choose to submit! And yet, that is the provision He has made a way for at the Cross as He gave us not only forgiveness for our sin nature, but a new nature in Himself – abiding in us!

This is the redemptive reality that should exert all power over us!  This is the life of Christ and the Kingdom ruling over us!  It is not about more time in Bible Studies or prayer, or service. It is about the recognition of His authority over us and the walking of that authority out in our lives!  This is the very reality and intention behind the Sermon on the Mount – The Beattitudes!

Yes, everything is permissible for me as a behavior and choice that is approved within me by the presence of the Holy Spirit abiding in me! The only choices that are lawful for me are ones led and in agreement with the Presence that rules in me that is the Spirit. As my choices are born our of the Spirit’s Presence dwelling in me – there can be no charge of lawlessness brought against me. (Gal 5:22-25, Col 3:15, Rom 8:4-8) This is where we should be living – daily! Otherwise I become a slave to something or someone other than the Lordship of Christ! It may be my appetites, my intellect, my emotions, or my agenda and plans – but these are simply the elements of my soulish life which are to have been laid on the Mercy Seat as an offering (like Isaac) – that righteousness from Christ and His life in me can come forward.

What exerts the most power over you?  As a Christian — it should be the life of our Savior Jesus, aligned with His Word, compelled by the Spirit in love. Is this true for you?

It is not our perception or understanding of the image of Christ’s glory that we are being continually transfigured into, but is is the reality of Christ we are moving into from one degree of glory to another – and we shall resemble Him! (2Cor 3:18, 1Jn 3:1)

Maranatha!

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