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Archive for the ‘Under-the-Influence, Devo Shorts 2011’ Category

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“But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Hab 2:14 AMP

“Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and in his faithfulness.” Hab 2:4

“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain, but I have prayed for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.”  Lk 22:31-32 AMP

“Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Edom [descendants of Esau] and for four [for multiplied delinquencies], I will not reverse the punishment of it or revoke My word concerning it, because he pursued his brother Jacob (Israel) with the sword, corrupting his compassions and casting off all pity, and his anger tore perpetually and his wrath he kept and heeded forever.” Amos 1:11 AMP

How many believers are seeing divisions in the Body of Christ in a new light?

How many of you are hearing reports from other parts of the Body that call into question the authenticity of another’s beliefs, doctrine, and practices?

How many have witnessed an exodus from fellowship of numbers of believers because of disagreement or division?

How many of you are currently living in a Christian home in a Christian marriage where unity in purpose and intent is lacking, and you live basically estranged lives but you are stuck because of anger, unforgiveness, and wrath?

How many of you have terminated fellowship with an established place of worship, and have embarked upon a home-based cell group that follows the teachings of some national Christian figure?

Right now the Body of Christ is reeling and staggering under multiple variations of the above descriptions.  It is reeling in the family unit.  It is reeling in the fellowship houses.

The cause is some division. It can be for many reasons, and I do not discount any of those. Maybe you have discerned a wrong spirit, or a wrong doctrine.  Maybe those things were addressed but they seemed to fall on deaf ears. Maybe your warnings were utterly dismissed and you felt so as well.

Here is the point of my discussion: I believe there are multiple siftings going on in the Body at multiple levels.  Their goal is like what Peter experienced in Luke.  His sifting was first of all about separating him from his pride, for his soul was not straight or right within him. Second, it was to establish and strengthen Peter in compassion and Truth, so that when his faith prevailed he would turn and strengthen and establish the brethren.

You see Peter had a destiny on earth just as we do.  And it is for a time such as this…But Peter had to be conditioned and strengthened to be of the same foundational quality as Jesus before he could bear any weight.

The Body of Christ is in just such a similar place.  There is much earthly sediment being kicked up even within the Body, and even within households within the Body. This sediment obscures clarity and makes issues murky like water that has been churned.

Where we make our mistakes are in decisions and ways that are not led by Christ.  We think we are discerning the Lord’s heart when for conscience sake we withdraw and forsake fellowship.  But any withdrawal from a home or a fellowship, or from the Body needs to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Our confidence has to be more trusting in the Spirit than our own opinions. We see the speck in our brother’s eye, but fail to see the plank in our own eyes. Even worse, having observed the speck of our brother’s, we make a decision before even interceding or travailing in prayer.

None of this activity is beyond the observation of the Lord.  He understands that we are but dust.  But He has also provided a way so that we can stand up under every temptation, even the temptation to judge and then cut bait and run.

I read about Esau and how he did not remember his brotherly covenant when Israel sought safe passage and was refused (passage through Edom).  Esau had nursed wounded pride and anger.  Amos says he kept his anger yet it tore perpetually.  The issue wasn’t that he was not treated badly by Jacob.  He was. But Esau chose the way of his flesh to try and address this situation rather than becoming willing to confess his anger and sense of betrayal and even himself turning back to God.

So many in the Body are standing in this tactical path of Esau – their eyes on their right of having been wrong or betrayed.  So many are keeping their anger almost as a badge of courage rather than submitting it to the Lord and receiving their healing.  It is important to recall Beloved, Esau was lost when he gave up his birth right and then reaped condemnation because he pursued his brother with the sword.

Many in the Body are becoming like Ham who could not hold back his glee at finding out the fault of his father Noah. They then broadcast this failing to all who will listen, but the cup of their intercession sadly remains empty.

What is my point?  I believe sifting comes to all of us in the Body. Only when we have been broken in this manner can the life of the Holy Spirit have freedom in us to break through the natural self.  Only then can we walk in the Spirit … because the grain of corn has fallen to the ground and died (Jn12:24).

I believe the Lord is more than able to protect Truth, Unity, and accuracy in His Body, just as He has done in His word.  But where we get confused is we think we are the arbeiter of truth and we should contend with all those who believe differently.  But what the Lord wants is us to walk out His playbook strategy according to His power and might, and in His nature.  We think we see the end point of truth and rush to that point rather than walking in the right way.

The Book of James Chapter 3 speaks about natural wisdom – that natural wisdom mankind was born with the first time.  He describes this wisdom as earthly, unspiritual, of an animal type that can even be demoniacal. This is the wisdom of man, responsible for jealousy, envy, contention, rivalry, selfish ambition, confusion, unrest, disharmony, rebellion, and all sorts of evil and vile practices…even in the church.

But there is a better wisdom, wisdom that comes down from above:  it is pure (undefiled), peace-loving, courteous, willing to yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits, wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).

The Body of Christ stands at the threshhold of its destiny, but it will fail unless is refuses to operate according to natural wisdom and instead embraces wholeheartedly the wisdom from above.  The Body’s destiny is to be as earthen vessels filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the water covers the sea (Hab 2:14).  But there is only one footpath to approach that destiny.  It is to walk in the Spirit in obedience to Jesus and His word, which translates as walking like a little child: humble, lowly, loving, and forgiving (Mt 18:3).

None of these four traits can be seen in the current divisiveness and self-righteous backbiting so prevalent within the Body’s rank and file today. It is time to lay down the swords of flesh that keep us perpetually in a conflict state, press in in Love to the fullness of the Presence of God, and to be about the intercession and travail where we discern error, and snatch those out of the fire in love. 

 

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“And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, but he who endures to the end will be saved.”  Mt 24:12-13 AMP

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What is it that we as the Body of Christ are to endure in?  Love. Love for God.  This is love that first looks to Jesus and loves Him and will keep His word as He asks (obey His teaching) Jn 14:23.

Anyone who does not really love Him will not obey His teaching (Jn 14:24).

Truly, this is the crisis that the Body of Christ faces today.  We must learn to prefer obedience to Christ over our own opinion and preference.  Because we continue to exercise our perception and opinion, rather than obedience, we remain in the realm of the flesh instead of operating in the spirit.

The story of Noah and his three sons gives great clarity to this need of the body…

After the flood, Noah plants a vineyard and harvests grapes to make wine. It happens that his youngest son, Ham, finds him uncovered in his tent.

It is Ham’s flesh which delights in reporting on Noah’s sin. Yes, even though Noah was God’s authority at this time, he had a failure here. He got drunk and was uncovered. Ham makes use of that to point out his father’s failure.

But Ham fails even before then to regard the dignity of God’s authority.  His obedience has been half-hearted up till now, and the one who is insubordinate in heart will always expect authority to fail.

It is the flesh of man still operating that delights in finding the failure of authority.  But Shem and Japheth act with love, as they go and cover their father even walking backwards so as not to look upon his failure.

What can we learn from this concerning love? Love is not just an emotional condition, it is a spiritual choice that causes me to act in concert with obedience to Jesus.

Is it that by my love I am condoning sin? No. Noah’s sin had already happened. In covering their father, the issue was not of condoning. it was continuing to give a place of dignity to the authority of God. And most importantly, it was Shem and Japheth operating according to God’s principal of love rather than rebellion.

Here is the vital point that we often miss. When we are only half-hearted ourselves in our obedience to God, another’s sin can provide a necessary catalyst to expose our own half-heartedness and even insubordinate heart, thus bringing before us our own need for forgiveness and repentance.

Sin and imperfection are apart of our lives as long as we live in tents of flesh.  But we show ourselves to be God’s children when we choose His way of covering sin in love rather than our own way of declaring another’s failing.

Somehow, we fear that to cover with love allows the other party to get away with the sin. But this is the enemy’s tactic to get us to operate out of our flesh and in the principle of rebellion and insubordination.

God does not need our trumpeting of another’s failure.  He desires our obedience to His word and the demonstration of our love for Him that supersedes even our own opinion and flesh.

As He has covered us so graciously and undeservedly, who are we to uncover another?

Now, the ramifications of this are most poignant for these end times…

The Lord is preparing His Body to be His Bride, but we in the Body are often finding out our brother’s sin and lifting it up to scrutiny to the  world.  Where is our obedience in that?  Do we think the Lord doesn’t know of the spots and blemishes still on His Bride?

But recovery comes as the Body pulls together in Love and fights against the enemy’s plan!  Beloved! We cannot win this battle in the enemy’s tactics or nature. We win when we walk in the spirit and nature and obedience of the One Who has redeemed us!!!

Today, the need is more dire than ever before for us to begin a strategy under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to intercede for the Body at large in love and travail  – for otherwise we will devour each other as the enemy desires.

It is time to have our own hearts purified of our divided opinions and interests.  It is only God’s opinion and interests that matter. We must confess our lack of confidence in His ways and plans, and fully cast our hearts on His altar of love so that we too will become fully clothed and operating as one in the spirit.

It is time to put off …

“Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion …” Eph 4:22

It is not that Jesus needs to hear our findings on other’s failures.  It is that He desires to see us choosing His nature and provision over that of our own.  It is this way that is obedient.  It is this way that ushers in the victory and the Kingdom of God.

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“Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not fair and just. Hear now, O house of Israel:  Is not My way fair and just?  Are not your ways unfair and unjust?”  Ez 18:25 AMP

One of the greatest challenges to our faith is a line of thinking that calls into question God’s fairness, His goodness, and His plan. Sometimes when we are under the gun, when we are in the thick of life’s challenges, because I don’t like what is currently happening, I may be tempted to conclude: God is unfair.  Because the circumstances that are playing out in my life or another’s seem overwhelming, as a result, I may label God as unfair in my heart and thinking.  This is a problem:  God is greater than the circumstances I see;  and God is fair.

This is the line of belief that I believe the Lord is crafting and sculpting in each of His believers.  But unlike you and I, He is not afraid to allow many and varied opportunities to arise where we easily can indulge a less charitable estimation of Him.

I want to assure you: He is good (fair); and He is greater than any situation we face.

Sometimes in our haste to process events before us, we label them too quickly.  We seek to orient ourselves to the issue, so we begin to decide that it is either good or bad.  But even Jesus Himself abstained from judging the situation. 

Listen to John 5:30:

I am able to do nothing from My-self [independently, of My own accord – but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders].  Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide.  As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”

What He is describing here is His operation in the Spirit. He did not even trust His own soul (His will, intellect, or emotions) to decide a thing, for His own soul would have brought forth a rendering in the flesh.  That is what our soul is … flesh.

Instead, He abided in faith with the Father and received through the Spirit the opinion and dictates of the Father, and acted upon those.  He was obedient in all His ways.  And He has through His Spirit abiding and dwelling in us, made a way for us to live in the same deference to the Father as He did.  We too can live in such obedience … through the Grace that He has extended to us.

Now, back to the topic at hand…

In Ezekiel chapter 18, the Lord presents a defense of how He is fair.  He presents descriptions of righteousness juxtaposed with wickedness.  A life of righteous deeds leads to living. A life of wicked deeds leads to death.  This is just one such description:

But if the righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live?  None of his righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered.  In his trespass that he has trespassed and in his sin that he has sinned, in them he shall die.”  Ez 18:24

This death He describes is because of an important condition known as sin that has become fully matured.  James 1:13-15 discusses how we are all tempted by our evil desire (lusts and passions). When this evil desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.

This is the death that was first set in motion in the Garden of Eden.  This is the death that Adam and Eve passed to all mankind as an inheritance:  the death of our connection and fellowship with God in the spirit; and a capacity to forever after only be ruled by sin.

Enter then the Son of God as the Son of Man: God incarnate  — the Living Word made flesh.  He takes upon Himself the sins of the World and dies upon the Cross with all of our sins ( and the note that was in force against us).  He rises after three days to a new life and gives us who would receive it, a new life in Christ. 

For the first time ever, man is not held captive to his old man nature to sin and self, but now he can live according to God’s new nature in us!

The problem back in Ezekiel Chapter 18 is that ultimately no one under the law could become righteous. The law itself could not make us better; it could never give us a new nature.  It could only condemn or approve us.  God was looking for more that just qualified behavior – He was looking for a return to the fellowship with man that was lost with Adam.  Why?  Because only then could He reveal, and disclose, and transmit the love that He has for us – through the agency of His Son’s death on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit coming to dwell inside us.

Now the discussion in Ezekiel 18 is about God’s fairness in assessing right and wrong.  Because there is no darkness in Him, His judgment is always perfect.  But because God wanted more than just to be right about us – He wanted to be with us (Emmanuel – God with us), the grace of the Son was required to cover us from all iniquity – even the operation of our own soulish derived thinking and doing that fell short of the glory of God.

So that is what He does. God gives us grace (God’s riches at Christ’s expense) to cover us with love against judgment while He works in us to make us what we ought to become.  The Lord is ever working upon us and within us for a long-term, eternal destiny of fellowship that exceeds all time and overcomes the oxidation power of the world to derail us. 

That’s what He did — now what are we to do?There are requirements for us as well to live a life that includes obedience, repentance, worship, and being a disciple of Christ. (But that is another topic).

So, is God fair?  That’s like asking if eternity is endless. That is not even a debatable question:  He is as far above fair as the heavens are to us.  He has given us all things for life and godliness — and by means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them we may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature. (2Pet 1:3-4)

He has freed us in Christ from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts.  By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope in Christ Jesus.  We are born anew into an inheritance that is beyond the reach of change and decay, and is kept for us unfading, and unsullied in heaven.  We are garrisoned (guarded) by God’s power through our faith until we fully inherit the salvation held for us in the last days. And we should be exceedingly glad about all that, even though we may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations.  Because this testing is going to prove the genuineness of our faith and will redound to our praise and glory and honor when the Messiah is revealed. (1Pet 1:2-7)

Is God fair?  A better question might be: “What more could have been done for My vineyard that I have not done in it? (Is 5:4)  What has God left undone that needs to be done?

That answer was declared by Jesus at the Cross:  “It is finished!” Jn 19:30  Nothing more was needed of Him at that time in His earthly life.  Yet He ever lives to make intercession for us. He will never leave us or forsake us.  And He has gone to prepare a place for us so that where He is we can be also.  And there is a day ahead, when we will be gathered before Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb…

So, is He fair? More than we can ever imagine. More than our greatest hope…  We can trust Him. We can lean on Him without caution… He is worthy of all our confidence and more.

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“ …Have faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].” Mk 11:22-24 AMP“Let us 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, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.” Heb 10:22 AMP4da82d72b813bdc7f8edca78995ed1d5As much as Buzz Lightyear believed he had power to fly … (“to infinity and beyond”), we should have at least that much confidence in God.Yes, as Annie sings in Little Orphan Annie, it can be a Hard Knock Life … but even when it is our confidence in the Lord should not be shaken. Even when we are shaken, even violently, we can continue to hold fast to Him, for He is unshakeable and He holds us.You see the Lord has a plan for you and me. This is confirmed in Ps 139:16 … where we are told that every day of our lives were written before they ever were.Now some of those days are awful, tragic, and filled with evil. That makes it a challenge to wrap our head around their content, and God’s authority over them. And while that factor has caused many to doubt God and His goodness, I believe it is the very reason we can trust Him.We look at the train wreck of our lives, and only see the devastation. But God’s perspective is looking beyond the limits of time. He is looking at things we cannot even observe let alone weigh: the impact on others; changes in hearts and thinking patterns; the coming together in consolation and prayer… etc.Look for a moment at the well-studied life of Joseph, son of Israel, and the things which happened to him. His brothers faked his death, sold him into slavery, he was bought by Potiphar, accused of rape, sent to prison, left to languish there, forgotten by the butler and the cup-bearer, and then finally released to render an interpretation to Pharaoh’s dream.Joseph had a grand call on his life from God, and these events all served to bring Joseph into the place where he was qualified by God to move into this call. This was serious conditioning, not many of us will experience, but there is an amazing take-away for us all.As Joseph was demonstrating to his brothers that he held no malice towards them for the calamity he experienced he spoke to them and said: “Fear not; for am I in the place of God? [Vengeance is His, not mine.] As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.” Gen 50:19-20.Astounding! What they meant for evil God meant for good. There was not a day or moment that God lost control of Joseph’s situation. God never had to recover for unexpected developments or unplanned collisions. God had already written in His book every day of Joseph’s before it ever was…He has written yours and mine as well. And this is the point. You might perceive your destiny as small and not worth His vigilant attention. Yet He is the same God as Joseph knew and followed. He is no respecter of persons. He is perfect in all His ways. And though we may not see it, the plans that He has for us are for good and not for evil, for a future and a hope.

We can trust Him fully. We can let our confidence in Him soar to infinity and beyond, because He has already been there and back again, written about it in His book, and is here now walking you through the play by play. You can trust Him! Its not about how the situation looks, it’s about Who He is…

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“… you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?”  Rom 6:16 Amp

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A Slave to Lower Thinking?

As God was preparing Moses to be His Ambassador in Exodus 4, God changed Moses’ rod from a rod into a serpent. And then God had Moses take it by the tail and it is changed back into a rod.

God told Moses to put His hand into his bosom, and what was a normal hand suddenly was leprous and as white as snow.  And then God changed it back and the hand was restored as before.

These instances were not simply a change in perception or thinking.  God did not cause Moses to just believe his rod was a snake, or his hand was leprous… he got to experience the reality of those situations, and the reality of God’s authority…

Christ is the True Reality

When Nebuchadnezzar was changed from being the king into a wild creature that ate grass, had feathers and long nails, this was not just a change in his thinking – it was a change in his reality.  He became a beast of the field whose thinking and understanding were likewise crippled, until God intervened again. 

To live like a beast of the field for seven years I want you to see that Nebuchadnezzar’s thinking was not responsible for his growing feathers and long nails.  And as there were outward manifestations of physiological change, I believe we should expect that there were internal changes that made it possible for him to live in such a state – such as a stomach equipped to digest grass.

To try and explain away what Nebuchadnezzar experienced for seven years as some kind of psychotic state in which he simply believed he was a beast, places the reality of the situation into the realm of the soul (your perception or thoughts about it) and not the spirit (where full truth resides). It refutes the reality of the changes he underwent.

Evidence of Last Days Crisis

In 2Tim 3:1-5 a state of deterioration is described in those who profess to be believers in God.  It demonstrates a conscious resistance to the power of God’s Word, and consequently that resistance manifests itself as a form of religiousness that is counterfeit to real Christianity.

These people are completely lovers of self and self-conscious.  This is their true focus.  Conversely, true believers are Christ conscious – they continually lose sight of themselves and their lower lives, and focus on Christ.

They are without natural affection and thus they operate in loose morals and conduct.  A true believer is gifted with God’s love operating within his heart and bringing him to a level of moral excellence operating within his soul.

The description continues within verse four to describe the perverseness these people operate at — constantly in the realm of their soul which as they have given it the pre-eminence – their soul, in its state of depravity, rules over them.  All they are about is self: their needs, their desires, etc.

Verse five talks about them having a form a religion, but they deny and are stranger to the power of true Christianity.

What has happened? 

Everyone gets to set the watermark of God’s control and involvement in their lives.  Where we simply allow God to clean the outside of our cup of life, but give no access to Him for bringing change about within us, where we adopt a religious form externally with no abiding life of His inside — we set ourselves on the road to being counterfeiters of true belief in Christ.

The danger begins when we fail to allow our thinking to be transformed by the word of God.  Though once maybe having received God’s life, we are now trying to progress only according to our thinking – our soul which once was washed when we were saved, has become corroded for lack of cleaning and renewal by the word of God.

This is the purpose and function of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!  Where salvation brings the residence of God through the Holy Spirit into my spirit, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit brings the enduement of power of the Holy Spirit over and throughout the functioning of the soul!  Over my real self!  Now there is power like never before, to choose to love, to die to myself and loose my lower life, and to be the witness in power that God calls each of us to be who have received Christ. 

Salvation begins at the door of the spirit, but the victory of Christlikeness and walking in Him begins when I receive His enduement of power, His clothing, His life, His armor, His light … as covering over my real self!

From Nebuchadnezzar to Crisis of Belief

The progression to a corrupted state as 2Tim 3:1-5 describes, begins with resisting truth.  We try and explain away something like the transformation of Nebuchadnezzar as simply his deranged thinking.  We absolutely fail to acknowledge God’s right or power to take someone through this process.

We dismiss Moses’ examples of the rod, or leprosy as colorful stories.  We completely fail to realize that belief resides in our heart, and that while we may read the word and even understand it – UNTIL WE GIVE THE WORD ACCESS AND A PLACE OF UNIQUIVICAL RULE IN OUR HEARTS AND SUBMIT TO IT AS TRUTH WE ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO CONTROL THINGS AT THE LEVEL OF OUR MIND. 

As you continuously surrender to your own thinking, believing it to be true, you become a slave to your own thinking and its limitations. You then do not possess truth, but a carefully crafted and restricted perversion which cannot yield life or transmit life to others.

So what is the remedy? Realize what you have been doing.  See the great distance between where you are and the fullness God has provided for. Repent of rebellion in your heart and idolatry – for you have been trying to be your own God.  Submit to God – resist all of Satan’s tactics and lies, and he will flee. Come to the Lord humbly, believing what His word says, and receive the Promise of the Father (Lk 24:49, and Acts 1:4- Acts 2:39), receive the Holy Spirit’s power upon and be filled throughout your souls and begin the journey of walking in the Spirit like you have never known.

Then, as you receive the truth without compromise, your experience of God’s Spirit operating on and through you will increase. He will make you what He wants you to become – in Him!

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“But the people would not welcome Him or receive or accept Him, because His face was [set as if He was] going to Jerusalem.” Lk 9:53 Amp

“And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.”  1Cor 2:4-5 Amp

Power over Presentation

The power of God working on us radiates from His Spirit within our spirit, and His enduement of power or anointing upon our soul, outward to the physical body and its functioning.

So when Jesus’ face was set like He was going to Jerusalem it was like a covering of steel over His person to assure no deflection, no distraction, and no missing the mark. He was an arrow shot in service to and of God to accomplish a work.  No tactics of man or the enemy was going to impact or change this work.

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But the Spirit and heart of Jesus all the while was still One of Love, One of Peace, One with the Father.

Even though His face was determined and set, His face was merely the needed covering over divine purpose and divine power.  Like an arrow about to be shot into great turbulence and resistance, it needed a determined covering to be strong to resist external forces that would deflect its purpose.

The realization for you and me, is that our appeal for the Gospel cannot be to or through the flesh.  In essence, when the Spirit of God is leading you, your task is to make sure you are one with His Spirit, and then to be released to whatever He brings forth in you.

So often, we think it is the arrangement of our countenance, our passion, or our winsome words that will win a person’s engagement with the truth.  But Jesus demonstrates and Paul explains to us that this is not the case.

Paul assures us in 1 Corinthians that enticing and eloquent words can compete with God’s power as can human philosophy and wisdom.  Man’s plans and thinking and words can make a hash of things when they try to be the front-runners rather than the servants of God.  They must all be submitted and placed in service under the Lord’s authority.

What does this mean for us as witnesses? Ultimately our faith must not be in our own competency, or understanding. When witnessing or teaching, forget yourself and your presentation completely. Roll everything onto the Lord, and let your faith rest solely in the power of God – not the wisdom of men.

Essentially, quit worrying or focusing on the polish of the delivery – and instead let your preparation be of the cultivation of a humble and contrite heart which breaks with God’s love for the lost and those sitting in darkness.

Often we believe, “when my delivery is perfected (like a salesmen’s), then I will have success!”  But the springboard for success here is not out of your flesh (your plan, or words spoken), but it is out of the Spirit and Heart of God working through you!

So let God work on your inner arrangement bringing light and truth and love to all your inward parts. Study then to show yourself approved… and then let the arrow of witnessing be released in the Lord’s timing with His strength and power propelling it to its destination.

Forget your face… forget your desire for a beautiful presentation… its about His plan, His purpose, and His power… working through you.

Then let the arrows of the Lord fly… and let every success or reaction (negative or positive), be released into His hands.

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Have faith in God constantly…

Don’t doubt… believe…

Whatever you have asked for… BELIEVE you HAVE received it…  (Mk 11:22-24)

Be well-balanced…

Withstand him (your enemy); be firm in faith [against his onset – rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.”  (1Pet 5:8-10 Amp)

Saint of God where is your place?  It is to be in faith… in confidence in God.  It is to be withstanding every assault of the the enemy, because you have be given power to do that very thing – that you will be a witness for the Lord!

We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. So why do we struggle so?  We all have the same Peter tendency… to get caught up in looking at the waves and their appearance overwhelms us.

So you at this very moment have a choice:  to stand or to cave; to arise to the challenge or collapse under what it looks like.  I encourage you … keep your eyes on the Lord!  If Peter had, he wouldn’t have noticed the waves!  But remember, even though he did notice them, and did sink, Jesus had him — and He was safe.

No matter what is threatening, no matter what storm rages around you — in Christ you are safe, the overcoming one lives in you. You have supernatural buoyancy!  He’s got you!

The goal is to outlast the assault by faith and do not doubt.  Proverbs 12:21 tells us that no actual evil or misfortune or calamity shall come upon the righteous…. Are you experiencing evil or calamity?  Is it like the fiery furnace of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?  They were in the furnace for sure.  But the furnace couldn’t touch them.  Not even the smoke could cling to them!

You are no different if you are in Christ! If it looks evil, or calamitous, just trust God… you have been given a great opportunity to demonstrate the power and faithfulness of God!

So stand Saint! Stand in confidence in the One Who is always faithful.  Stand in faith, knowing He never leaves you or forsakes you!  Stand … and take your place as a witness for the Holy demonstration of the ages of what His grace is bringing forward in this very time.

Stand Saint … and take your place in Him, in the cloud of witnesses! He’s got you.

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