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

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“…For whatever a man sows, that and only that is what he will reap.” Gal 6:8

A lot of insights I receive are first played out on the playing field of my life, through mistakes I am making.  I am indeed a rich source of fodder for the Lord to paint with, so to speak… to wit:

I am at various times impatient, or easily exasperated over what I perceive to be the insensibility or lack of consideration that people can demonstrate for others.  It registers in my thinking as general oblivion to the fact that other people exist. Of course ‘’”for others” is often code for “towards me” in particular.

It is true. I am unveiled here. I have been exposed, my true nature laid bare.  The latest exploit took place in the Wal-mart parking lot. The last TWO TIMES! (While the Wal-Mart parking lot may seem inconsequential to some, let me assure you it is rich with high drama and spiritual insight!)

First situation: I am parked in my normal location which allows for both car safety and built in life-exercise as it is roughly located in west green acres and I have to hoof it to the front door roughly 3/4 mi. When I return to the car a “foreign” (meaning not supposed to be there) car is parked perpendicular to me and right in front of me. Did I also mention I endeavor to NOT ever have to BACK UP in the said Wal-Mart parking lot because it is dangerous? There is an elderly couple siting in the car, the motor is running, they are talking on their phone. This is actually quite good because you don’t want them actually driving while holding their phone, but nevertheless as I look around I am annoyed. I survey the parking lot and there are at least 30 other acceptable options to park in similar ease and safety to discourse on their phone. But, it is my honor to have them before me. I back up, drive around them … but my thoughts are not profitable.

Second situation: Again at Wal-Mart, parked in same place actually. Return to car after shopping with granddaughter and have to unload cart and her.  An older, well-used car is parked right next to me but at an odd angle so that opening my door is nearly impossible, opening the passenger door behind me where I have to place my granddaughter in her booster seat and load the groceries will be challenging to say the least. I glance at the driver intently but say nothing. I get the groceries unloaded and close the door and again look to the driver. They are still talking but now looking up. I gesture ( not what you are thinking) quizzically, “Really?”

Instead of trying to shoe horn myself into the driver’s seat I opt instead to roll the cart back to the cart storage kiosk.  The driver takes that opportunity to drive away.

The Lord queries me, “What did you show forth Sandra?” I pull up out of my impatient musings, and I hear what He is asking.

“My flesh…,” my regret is sincere.  Immediately the words of a previous reading come back to me about, “to the merciful He will show mercy.” I realize something that has not been processed this same way previously.

At any given time there stand before me two choices: to show forth the Kingdom of God; or to show forth my flesh. To sow to the Spirit, or to sow to my flesh. To exercise the Kingdom, or to exercise my flesh. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The Lord is exceedingly patient with Me, but in the time He is expecting to see change in Me He is very clear, and He is always working in a deeper swath pattern, making greater and greater inroads into me. I am being overturned. My old nature plowed under, like a field that has laid fallow and is being prepared for new planting.

But it is clear, what was acceptable for me in the last season is no longer tolerable today. The days of sowing decay and ruin can no longer stand! The Lord is calling for change in me, and His Body!

You see it is that clear a choice. It is not that these situations have had explicit interactions. Words were not exchanged in either situation, but communication did take place … and I fell short of His glory in both.

I have had to repent and renounce this attitude of my heart. In those moments I thought I was free to exercise my natural personality and consequential opinion.

But you see as saints of God, none of us are free to do that for we have been purchased with a price – we have been made His own! We are thus called to honor Him and bring glory to Him in our body, which is His Body (1Cor 6: 19-20).

Over two-thousand years ago He paid that price for us, and we celebrate that this coming Sunday, Resurrection Sunday!  Death had no hold on Him and neither death nor its attitudes or patterns of sowing should have a hold on us today … no longer! Are you ready for that?

Perfect Peace, Happy Easter,

Is 26:3

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“Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and [telling them] that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22 Amp

“…For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you]. Lk 17:21 Amp

“The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding (discernment and comprehension) to the simple.” Ps 119:130 Amp

There is a truth so central to solving the mystery of how to enter the Kingdom …yet while in some ways so simple, one’s cursory glance will yield only confusion. Puzzles may need to be figured out, but this one the Holy Spirit untangles within you!

For me it started with being provoked to sit before the teaching of the Beatitudes. I was gripped by them, and I knew there was something there for me.  I had recently been teaching on the notion that “where your heart is there your treasure will be also.”  We had been looking at the importance of the Biblical heart.

But as I began meditating anew on the Amplified Bible’s rendering of Matthew Chapter 5 …something in the language struck me full in the face. It hit me in my place of deep deficiency. To clarify this I must quote just the first of the beatitudes:

“Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous – with life joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 5:3

I saw in this passage for the first time how much I lacked life joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation. Explosion! I saw how in the midst of any onerous condition of life, I have readily available the state of being in joy because I possess God’s favor, and I should have satisfaction because I have been blessed with salvation.  But to experience this truth I had to learn to believe it, and to exalt it, in the midst of my situations! This truth is not just a “reason” for gladness, but it is the very reality of the constancy of Christ.

The more I sat before this truth, the more I saw something bigger, grander than I could ever imagine. In the very midst of every condition that we experience here on earth, God has breathed the reality of His kingdom so that in Him we can find life joy. In Him we can find satisfaction no matter what we are experiencing. In Him we find the very expression of the answer to the deepest needs we have.

Are you poor or broken – do you appear to lack this realm’s assets and thus seem insignificant in this world? – You have from God’s Kingdom ready to be appropriated, all that is needed to have joy in this moment, in this situation.

Are you in a place of mourning? Someone or something has died – The same is true for you as well…

And on and on through each … meek… hunger and thirst… merciful… etc.

Here is the point. Your current residence is this realm, on earth. You experience challenge every day: some small and irritating, some massive and devastating. But in the very midst of that challenge, what matters most is not what is assaulting you from life, but what is living and abiding in you as you go through the difficulty!

You must understand, you have the very real state and substance of God’s kingdom waiting to fill you and fortify you; to lift you up, and to carry you through the challenge in a manner that you shine with life joy and satisfaction in God’s provision for you. And it is through the active, living, agency of the Holy Spirit that this provision flows – through His Presence! He brings to bear, and reveals, and discloses, and transmits to us all that is Jesus’. (Jn 16:13-15)

So that while the appearance is that I am living in this moment in this world moving through its trying and sometimes terrifying terrain, the greater reality is that I can carry as a constant state the blessing of the kingdom and the Presence of God – in me and with me!

Now this you must hear: The Key to the door of the kingdom is this: to enter the kingdom, it must first enter you…. To enter the way of eternity, eternity must have first made a way in you.  Before I can dwell in the future place of the Kingdom, it must be already at work in me.

The beatitudes demonstrate this truth. I overcome my condition right here and right now on this earth through God’s provision and by keeping my heart and mind focused on the truth that I have His favor and blessing and salvation! These can trump and overcome any situation as surely as Meshach, Shadrack, and Abednigo overcame the flames of the furnace because Jesus was the fourth man in the furnace with them.

The evidence of the Kingdom in you is this: you have power and ability to have life joy and satisfaction in the midst of any trial, because you know that God is with you! And your victory is not just mentally overcoming with a good attitude, it is the substance of the kingdom having its way in you to bear you up! 

As you entertain this concept of the kingdom being available to you and able to keep you in a state of life joy and satisfaction with God’s provision, examine this concept as it applies to these teachings in the Bible:

– Mt 7:21-27 the house founded on the rock

– Mt 18:3 the child who I greatest in the kingdom

– Mt 23:13 pretenders and hypocrites

– Mt 25:1-12 the wise virgins

– Mt 25:14-29 the talents

– Heb 4:3-11 the Lord’s rest

– 2Pet 1:3-10 partakers of the divine nature

Without fail you will notice: Each time something is first given, and something is received, and that thing yields a crop of righteousness and blessing for the receiver…

May you recognize and embrace anew the fullest blessing of your salvation and life joy and satisfaction in this moment … whatever your situation.

The Favor of God be with you…

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“Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man] – blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.” Prov 29:18 Amp

Yesterday afternoon’s reports from the National Republican Committee Convention depict total mayhem, madness, and a throwing off of every previous restraint of decorum and party protocol as there was refusal to listen to any other drumbeat but that of Trump. States with valid issues concerning delegates had no voice. Intransigence has entered the picture as republicans have taken a page from the Obama democratic playbook and determined, “If I don’t listen to you, you can’t tell me I can’t do it.”

The Trump party has opted for “bulldozer” tactics and to not deviate no matter what.

Neither Trump, nor the Republican Party, nor America has noticed… Humpty-Dumpty has slid off the wall. Not all of Trump’s horses, nor all of his men can ever put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

Who or what is Humpty-Dumpty?  It is synonymous with the illusion that the United States ever was, or could ever be, “Great Again” –short of its anchoring to, reliance upon, and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ!  Everything good about America is directly related and reaped from a historical submission and National relationship “under God.” When that submission and trust and reliance upon God departs, things come crashing down.

The Real Failure

To believe that we sit now with a failure of a two-party political system, and to wring our hands in worry over candidates is to actually miss the greater issue, and our greater failure, and the chance for true success that still lies before us!

The real failure is we (the Church/The Body of Christ) have failed to retain our vision, our corporate National focus on the Lord. The verse quoted above, Prov 29:18 reads like this in the New King James version:

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.”

When Moses climbed Mt Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, the people corporately threw off all restraint. They fell to carousing, sensuality, and base behavior.

In Moses was resident the prophetic vision of God. He was the one God had spoken to and given the instruction to deliver the Hebrew Nation. In the absence of Moses and his leadership (his vision of God), the people threw off restraint.

Now, lest you misunderstand, every time the church has decided against God’s leading and provision and will, but instead chose to be lawless, to rebel, to be unfaithful, to be independent, to follow and put other things before Him, to forget Him, to worship other things…etc. She, (We the Body) have thrown off His restraint, time and time again.

The consequence is, when the Body, charged with being salt and light in the world, fails to remain in a committed relationship with the Lord, their power to preserve and cover grows small and weak.  It is like the light of a candle that is burning dimly weakens and cannot cast much light.

This is not to say that there are not members of the Body who are in right relationship with the Lord, and living righteously… there are. This is to say that we are seeing in the breaking of Humpty-Dumpty, that even the Body has put too much trust in things other than Jesus Christ.  We have believed in government solutions and education, and other things.  And we have been content to allow a political sector that has no relationship to the Lord, grow and take charge and tend our national heritage. Yet their only regard for this heritage and what our Forefathers purchased with their own blood, is to steal it and bend it into something it was never meant to be!

Our Real National Treasure

Our real National Treasure is the freedom that was secured by God’s grace, operating in those same Forefathers, that opened a destiny for America to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and follow Him, as a Nation!

For those people in America who are truly saints of God, He is not lost to us, but He has been marginalized by many of our decisions that have elevated things of this world and have lost sight of the things of God.

Matthew 6:21 tells us: “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

America, it is time to recognize our true Treasure once again.  It is time to come back to the Lord with hearts repenting over loving other things more than Him.  It is time to see where we each actually are, and where He has called us to be. It is time America, to fall in love with Jesus again, and actually forget ourselves, the things of this world, and begin to know Him and follow Him to the exclusion of other things.

We must put Him first! Our natural logic might say,”No, we need to fix this, or focus on this in the world” …These are just the squeaky wheels demanding your attention and energy.  But to give those your energy now, would be a grave mistake.

On our own, even as citizens, we have no power to stem the tide of what is coming. But in our devotion to Christ, we can actually be the salt and light He has charged us to be in a land of increasing darkness. In that manner, we stand to draw people to Him! And that is truly all our greatest need!

If He is Lifted Up

The word of God tells us that Jesus is the same, today, as yesterday and tomorrow. He doesn’t change – He is steady state. When we lift Him up in our hearts, in prayer, in worship, in love, in service, in our lives as the Chief, the Head our Beloved… then it is the same as when He was lifted up on the Cross – He draws all men unto Himself!  This is our purpose for being in this world!  Not to lift up America or try and make her great again!  But to be mirrors of the Lord’s glory and light, lifting Him up before all men, that by any means we may save some!

America, it is time to align our hearts with the reality that our true treasure is in Christ alone! Only when our treasure, our hearts, and Jesus are in the same place will we ever walk into the destiny that the Lord has for us as His Body and His Bride. It was never about making America great… it is about loving the One Who is Great, and Who shares Himself with us!

Shalom

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“…[And now, Job, who are you who dares not arouse the unmastered crocodile, yet who dares resist Me, the beast’s Creator, to My face? Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?” Amp Job 41:34

“And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].” Amp Acts 9:5

“In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the curse and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes God].” Amp Eph 2:2

“Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will 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)?” Amp Rom 6:16

Your life as a believer is made up of choices. You chose to hear the word, you chose to receive the life of Christ, you chose and still choose to walk it out daily and deny yourself.

The Lord never takes away your choice. Just like King David chose to stay home when kings were out fighting, and he brought himself into the choice of taking Bathsheba…choices matter greatly. Some of them will change the course of your life, eternally.

If as a believer you consistently make choices that run counter to the will and purposes of God … then even though you might call yourself a believer, the principle operating in you is more like sin and rebellion than the principle of obedience.

Thus, what you have continued to surrender to (sin) becomes the defacto ruler over you, even if you have confessed Jesus as Savior.

This is the truth behind the Scripture in Mt 7:21-23. If you have truly surrendered your life to Jesus (Who is the Emblem of Obedience), then His nature will have victory within you, and that victory will foster obedience.

The struggle between your natural life (call it gravity) and your supernatural life from the Spirit (Aerodynamics) are continuously in a struggle. They are adversarial forces which will always be diametrically opposed to each other, but one of them is going to win.

Which one wins is your choice. You get to choose! You choose whether gravity happens and you crash and burn, or whether you overcome gravity with the principles of flight!

Here is the hard part. Choices are not always easy. Sometimes they cost you greatly, and in surrendering again to Christ, you are called to die to your self, die to your rights, die to what seems fair, die to your own opinions and emotions.  This is hard. But it is necessary. And the Lord has given us everything necessary to make the hard choices. We just don’t like it, but it will yield a harvest of righteousness that will bring peace that is freedom from every agitating passion and moral conflict.

Right now my heart aches for many people I know who are locked into a difficult struggle, where the cost of victory in Christ seems too high. They find themselves falling again and again, captive to their natural emotions, to old habits and patterns of behavior that have only yielded wounds so deep they appear like gullies in the terrain of their soul.

These people are choosing comfort and safety. They think they are choosing freedom, when by their choice they abort the conflict in preference to peace. But it is not a true peace, for it is only the quieting of the struggle, but with it comes a loss of perception, of insight, of holiness in the character of God – for they have actually chosen sin, something that conflicts with God’s will and purpose (the comfort and ease of the flesh).

But I would tell you that in Christ all efforts are worthwhile and profitable, and will yield an eternal reward. You have everything given to you that you need to choose to please God rather than yourself. Choose to please Him!

1Peter 4:1-2 speaks to this directly…

“So since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God]. So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.” Amp

The choice is before us daily to live for Christ. It never leaves us. It is never taken away. Rather, it is like while seeing gravity before us, we choose instead to mount up with wings of eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint.

Remember, the Lord doesn’t lay a standard before us to walk out on our own. He is God with us… Emmanuel, and He provides all that we need to stand up under the trial (1Cor 13:10).

Rest in Him even as you fight the great fight!

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“For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we do not belong either to the night or to darkness.” 1Thes 5:5 Amp

“But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corselet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 1Thes 5:8 Amp

“And behold, I will send forth upon you what My Father has promised; but remain in the city [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with power from on high.” Lk 24:49 Amp

“Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].” Col 3:12 Amp

“For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Annointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ.” Gal 3:27 Amp

As a believer in Christ you have a dual provision from the Holy Spirit!  You have the Holy Spirit residing in you – for yourself, and you can have the enduement of the Holy Spirit in power upon you for ministry to others!  Two provisions are available – but we need them both! Do you have them both?

If I am missing the residence of the Holy Spirit, I have none of Christ nor am I any of His (Rom 8:9). But if I lack the enduement of the Spirit, the clothing from on high (Lk 24:49), I lack the power to be Christ’s witness here on earth, and I am like a nuclear powered submarine docked and without fuel cells. I am going nowhere!

The enemy would have us doubt and disbelieve our reality (sons of light) and our clothing of power – both which are substantiated in the word of God, but both of which are apprehended by faith!

Today are you less certain of where you stand than you should be? You may need to check your wardrobe! You are in fact a power-dresser of the first order, but if the enemy has taken you to the cleaners, you may need to refresh your ensemble! Check out Ephesians 6:10-17 to find where you should be standing and on Whom!

If you are without power in your life, and you are fighting in your own strength – the likelihood is that your power cells need recharging or that you have never received the Promise of the Father! Check out Acts 2:39, Joel 2:32, Acts 1:4, and Jn 14:16 and 26.

If you look at the Scripture for Col 3:12 you will see the use of the word, “clothe.” That is the same word used in Lk 24:49 describing to be clothed in power from on high.  It is also the same word used in Gal 3:27 describing you as being clothed in Christ.

Now here is my point. Looking at Col 3:12 the imperative command is to “clothe yourselves.” You clothe yourselves in Christ and in His power, which is also to be enfolded in His love (Col 3:14). As you are so clothed you have the power from Christ to minister in HIs behavior, His character, and His nature.  You are thus empowered to have tenderhearted pity, mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourself, gentle ways …and you will have the power to endure whatever comes with a good temper!

I want you to understand this is dynamite! This is miraculous, wonder-working power! You may think it is less than feeding the five-thousand, or turning water into wine.  But you yourself are the vessel being transformed! And the power of God is coming forward through you to minister out of the full-ness of Christ!  Without His enduement of power and His clothing from on high, you will not be able to endure the things of this world with a good temper!  This is a miracle manifested through you in life-changing character. And as Colossians 3:10 states, this is not a static thing. You are ever being renewed and molded into fuller and more perfect knowledge after the image and likeness of Christ….

SO… if you are without this enduement … this clothing of Christ that manifests as power to minister to and for others…

Wait for it…

You are seriously lacking in your party clothes for the marriage supper of the Lamb! (Lk 15:22, Mt 22:11)  This is the very same garment that is the promise of the Father – clothed in power!

Would you refuse such a garment provided for you? Would you scorn to wear the provision of Christ?  I pray not. I pray your thinking would be renewed in truth to receive all that Christ has for you, with no rejection of anything!

Blessing from Him!

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“Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is, and do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.” Eph 5:17-18 Amp

Sometimes improving our spiritual walk is more about refining our focus than improving our stride. Sometimes we need to hone our aim – if we truly become what we behold, then improve your beholding!

The force of the word of God can focus us and it can empower us. Let it do so! So as Ephesians above instructs us – Stop being vague and thoughtless and foolish! We dissipate the force of our lives by doing so.

Often we think of the end run and where we would like to be and we try and focus on that as the target to hit. But a better plan might be to focus our heart and to aim with the force and provision of the word.

Hear what I am proposing: Ephesians gives us a glorious target. Exact, definitive, perfect as a target, and a singularly refined point that will ensure not just the focusing of our heart but rather that all things will proceed along that same line! What I place my heart to pursue, ensures the rest of me will follow.

So what is our improved focus? What is our better aiming point? To grasp firmly what is the will of God – and to do this by ever being filled and stimulated by the Holy Spirit!

As I agree with God in this, as I incline myself towards that goal, and release myself by faith into His hands – He aims and shoots us like an arrow to an unseen destiny of a time and duration of His choosing. But in His hands we can be certain we will hit His mark! Propelled in trust and rest and confidence in Him, I can be certain all things are corrected for – thrust, wind, velocity, etc. –He will get us to where He wants us to be!

What I have to give up is control, and that seems to be the hardest part. If I realize, however, that not knowing what we are going to look like in our final state (1Jn 3:2) means it is impossible to aim at that target, then perhaps I can begin to trust the trajectory the Lord is aligning for me…

My part, my responsibility… is to be ever filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit. Even as I may not particularly know how to do that, again it is accomplished by faith, and trust, believing in the Lord, and placing myself in His hands, in His authority – that He will bring me to such a place because His word says that is His desire and will for me, and He can make it happen.

Even though that may seem a vague thing because it is a spiritual target, and not seen by natural eyes, it is not a vague thing and requires a deliberate, ongoing effort of trust and faith from us!

Saints, launch out in this! Press into Him by faith! Place yourselves fully in His hands! Without vagueness, thoughtlessness, or foolishness, let Him hone you and shape you! Your destiny, your life, your fruitfulness and your joy will reach a level in Him that you cannot even imagine, but He can do it!

The way is His, be the arrow in His hands, and FLY! To God be the glory!

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“For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

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Are you aware this very day you have available to you righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees? You also have before you relationship with One Who dwells ever within the kingdom of heaven, and it is available without price, without penalty, already purchased for you.  But there are demands that will be made of you: to submit, to obey, to trust, and primary to all …BELIEVE in the One Whom the Father has sent and to cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His messenger (Jn 6:29).

But the demands that are asked of us are far eclipsed and exceeded by the delight of knowing the Lord here today, and of course in eternity that we get to enjoy in Him and dwell with Him.

But how can we have the righteousness required to even enter the kingdom of God? How can little old you and me meet the standard required?

Under the Old Covenant, the scribes and Pharisees possessed a righteousness that was of a legal, performance-based, external nature. They personified the cup that was cleansed on the outside, but inside is full of greed and robbery and extortion and malice and wickedness. Their own righteousness had a limitation, it could not penetrate into the heart of man because the covenant could not cleanse the inside of man.

Hebrews 9:9 portrays the situation this way: “Seeing that the first [outer portion of the] tabernacle was a parable (a visible symbol or type or picture of the present age). In it gifts and sacrifices are offered, and yet are incapable of perfecting the conscience or of cleansing and renewing the inner man of the worshiper.”

This Scripture is saying that under the Old Covenant, cleansing of a person could not penetrate to the inner man or conscience. Rather, it cleansed only the outside and was to tide mankind over until the New Order of the Messiah came that would bring a better covenant (Heb 9:10-11).

But the Good News is that the Messiah has indeed come! He has enacted a better covenant, by which no area, especially the inner man, is left uncleansed. Rather, all of man is cleansed – especially the inner man, the heart, the conscience, the seat of man’s thinking and personality – all are cleansed.

This then is what makes the way for man’s righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees… to receive Jesus Christ as the Messiah, to enter into covenant with Him as Lord and Savior – and to receive His cleansing that penetrated to the very inner man! It is only “in Christ” that we can possess such righteousness – because this righteousness is of His very own nature that comes to dwell within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In so entering into relationship with Jesus, you then also enter into His Kingdom which He Himself has advanced. You are now a new creation where the old has passed away – and the new has come!

It is important to understand a basic requirement for walking in such righteousness, for it is not automatic. The need is to not only be saved, but it is to remain responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is only those who are led by the Spirit that are called the sons of God (Rom 8:14).

The difficulty which remains after salvation is that you have a continual choice. Sometimes even a moment by moment choice…to obey the new resurrection life of Christ now in you, rather than your old nature which has technically been made dead with Christ by being nailed to the Cross with Him (Rom 6:6).

It is in the failure to recognize this need and to exert proper self-control that people fall into a life-style of ignoring this truth – and thus become perpetual “sons of disobedience” (Col 3:6). It is here that people deify themselves and only obey their earthly nature and appetites and fail to rest in faith in the new nature of Christ that should be in headship over their lives.

These are in fact people who have received Christ as Savior, but have never worked out their salvation with fear and trembling, nor have disciplined themselves to rid themselves of things like anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from their lips!

In essence, their old nature (which has been nailed to the Cross- and which they should reckon as dead) has retained rights and place and status that it should not, and so it still makes demands. They continue to respond to these demands and thus lead a rollercoaster life … sometimes having victory, others plummeting deeply into sin and failure.

The real problem is they have not become servants of righteousness (Rom 6:18). Instead, they have continued to cater to their flesh. You must understand, this is a very dangerous place! A new choice is needed here, and every power that is needed to make that choice has been already given!

Listen to Romans 6:19 as Paul instructs: “I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and every increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.”

If you have received Jesus as your Savior there is a need to have reflected a corresponding change in your life and the way it is lived! If you do not see such progress and change, then you should question the reality of your salvation! You should not delay but resolve the issue today!

If your current vehicle for transportation is undependable for a trip across town you would not set out on a journey across country with it. Likewise, if your current relationship with the Lord is weak and undependable in your eyes, how is it that you would trust it to usher you into eternity safely? The Lord would have you rectify the situation even today!

So today, is your righteousness more than that of the scribes and Pharisees? Is your relationship and interaction with the Lord such that you are ever seeing progress in how you live your life? Are you tender and humble before the Lord, or is a two-by-four the implement of choice to get your attention?

Warning. You are too far away from the flame of the Lord in your life. Move closer! Seek Him continuously! Pursue Him in love! Be responsive and able to be moved by Him easily! Live and move and have your being in Him – there is no counter-fitting this! Press in with all your heart. It is to your benefit – not His!

Last thing. A servant of righteousness conforms to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action. Like dentures lacking enough adhesive bonding, are there big gaps between your thinking and the Lord’s? Your actions and the Lord’s? Your purposes and His? If so …ask Him to bring you in line.  Ask Him to bring what is needed.

Today, become the slave of God with your present reward in holiness, and your end in eternal life with Him! Have His righteousness that exceeds and far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees!

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